What is Dante?

...Does it hurt?

Dante is the next generation of Audio over Ethernet technologies, and offers significant improvements over the older networked A/V systems. Like CobraNet and other AoE protocols, Dante-enabled equipment sends and receives a digital audio signal across standard computer networks. Like the others, Dante can be reconfigured at the touch of a button, uses less cabling, transmits pristine quality in real time, makes installation and troubleshooting a breeze, and has all of the other benefits of digitally networked audio distribution.

But it doesn't stop there. For just about every limitation of the older technologies, Dante has an improvement:

Plug & Play Configuration

No more fiddling with Tx/Rx bundle assignments, configuring unicast or multicast, sussing through baud rates and setting stop bits before anything will work. Just plug more than one Dante device on the same LAN, and they'll automatically connect and sync with one another. From there, you'll, fire up the Dante Controller software and have a simple interface for setting those routing flows and connecting end points, all done through an easy-to-understand crosspoint matrix.

Modern Networking Technologies

Dante takes full advantage of modern Internet Protocols, and is compatible with TCP/IP traffic. Where the earliest AoE technologies were limited by their extremely low-level networking protocols – limiting your equipment choices and requiring greater awareness and control over the network-at-large – Dante has access to all of the modern capabilities of a switch. Dante devices can claim their own IP addresses and then broadcast their presence over the network. Device IDs can be changed, so human beings can actually understand what they're looking at when they see a list of device names instead of inscrutable numbers. And, Dante can play nice when it's sitting on the same network as non-audio traffic.

Off-the-Shelf Networking

Those modern techniques also mean you can use basically anything to run a Dante setup, including the standard switch you'd find at Best Buy. You probably don't want to use some $10, off-brand switch you got off of a shady fella on Craigslist, but you don't need to go buy some enterprise-grade switch either. Dante uses the same tools to prioritize traffic as VoIP telephone software does, which is more and more often a default feature even in entry-level switches.

Lots of signal, just one cable

Dante was built from the start to work on Gigabit Ethernet, so it already rides a fat pipe, but it's also really efficient. A single 1Gb link can send 512 channels in each direction (uncompressed, 48kHz, 24-bit audio). Like with CobraNet, you pre-configure a set latency, as low as .25mS. But Dante takes it to the next level, where one link can simultaneously carry audio with different sample rates and bit depths. Add in the smarter networking, and you now have a system that can be split up into multiple network zones, each with a different latency to match the acoustic needs of your venue.

Future Proofed

From the very beginning, Dante has been built and road-mapped with an eye towards the future. Well before Gigabit switches were commonplace, Dante could handle the speed. Dante also has built-in support for control and monitoring signals, so that manufacturers like us can bake equipment-specific messages and additional bells and whistles into our devices.