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Adding I/O to SSL Nucleus with Dante Preamps
Old 12th May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Adding I/O to SSL Nucleus with Dante Preamps

I am trying to build a mobile recording rig that is easy to break down and transport. I was thinking about getting a SSL Nucleus and maybe a Neve RMP-D8 to add preamps, I don't need eq or compression for tracking and don't plan on mixing with the system. I have a crane song spider that I could also add, but not sure the best route to integrate this for tracking. I only need 10 to 16 inputs at one time and 2 artist mixes are enough.

I am mostly trying to reduce the amount of gear, the amount of wiring and the set up required while still having a good workflow for tracking. I like the idea of having DAW integration, a talkback system, artist mixes with no latency, but not sure if the Nucleus can easily add external pre amps without introducing latency while tracking.

I welcome any other recommendations.
Old 13th May 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 

I was a nucleus user for quite a while. It’s a great unit if you want some basic daw control and an all in one interface/monitor controller/mic pre’s and so on.

I’m not familiar with Dante connectivity with the nucleus but I will tell you it’s a very limiting unit when you go beyond tracking more then two inputs. No one likes to carry more gear then needed but this may be something you need to consider especially needing 10-16 input channels. Nucleus just wasn’t targeted for those needs. Mine turned into using faders for automation and that was it. External converters ended up sounding better and offered more channels of ad/da, I liked a passive monitor controller better because of more options and ended up selling because of the limitations.

I would like to hear how well Dante incorporates with the unit though.
Old 13th May 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the response. Your experience sounds like what I am worried about. I wish the info online and in the manual on adding more external pre amps was clear and explained how nucleus would actually interact with a Dante network for monitoring, tracking and routing, or, better, SSL had an option to have more channels natively (like the tascam fw 1884.
Old 13th May 2019
  #4
Gear Head
 

Honestly, I think that unit is not meant to handle anything more then what it houses as far as I/O. You seem like you’d benefit from the features of a matrix much better then a nucleus.

I think a lot of that stuff isn’t in the manual because it doesn’t support a larger I/o count.

Get rid of it and by a nice converter/interface that can handle the track counts of what your looking for along with including some extra features to help your workflow. The sound will be better and you’ll thank yourself in the end. You can always grab an s3 or something if you need some faders.

An Apollo system might be a good choice for you considering you need pseudo “console” features. Not sure if your familiar but this can be a good alternative. That’s actually what I ended up going with when I sold my nucleus. The plugin processing took a load off my laptop during mixing and I could actually run sessions with my MacBook Pro. I fitted that with an SPL MTC and it faired pretty well. Had all of the features I needed. Your situation may be different though. Just my 2c
Old 14th May 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 

As far as my understanding of Dante goes, you should be able to connect the Nucleus and the Neve to a network switch.
Connect the network switch to your computer and you can now patch all inputs and outputs with Dante Controller.
If you are using Dante Virtual Soundcard, the lowest latency you can get is 4ms.

!j!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

You juste need a network switch and you'll be ok !

I have build a Dante network, linked to a Pro Tools rig and a SSL Nucleus, in my studio, and everything is perfectly managed by a network switch (a Netgear GS724T)

This switch is definitely needed for the Nucleus (ipMidi) and, of course, for the Dante network. Choose an unmanaged switch (see Audinate recommandations about switches :

https://www.audinate.com/networks-and-switches
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyTurbo View Post
As far as my understanding of Dante goes, you should be able to connect the Nucleus and the Neve to a network switch.
Connect the network switch to your computer and you can now patch all inputs and outputs with Dante Controller.
If you are using Dante Virtual Soundcard, the lowest latency you can get is 4ms.

!j!
Round trip latency is usually closer to 10ms once you factor in the buffer size and the DVS latency.

The way the Nucleus 2 cleverly deals with this is via the blend control between wet (from DAW) and Dry (Nucleus 2 input) signals.

If you are using DVS for outboard Dante preamp signals you will only be able to sum them in the Daw and would lose the low latency capability of the Nucleus 2 for anything not plugged into it.

The way I deal with this is to not use DVS but rather a Thunderbolt interface with Dante for expansion, or you could use a hardware Dante card from SSL, Yamaha, Focusrite.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
SonicAxiom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonal View Post
... Choose an unmanaged switch (see Audinate recommandations about switches :
little typo there, sonal! you should definitely choose a "manageable" gigabit switch with Dante to turn off any green ethernet feature and to proiritize Dante traffic and clocking via QoS!

-----------------

I've used Focusrite RedNet and Yamaha TIO Dante stage boxes feeding directly into a laptop for tracking and into either a Yamaha DM1000 or a 01v96 fitted with MY16 Dante cards and its great fun and super smooth. During my summer holidays I've taken a rack with a bunch of 500 series pres in front of a RedNet 4 with me and fed those signals directly into the laptop - no-brainer.

A mobile Dante tracking rig is extremely easy to set up and operate. Main considerations are

- how many channels are needed?
- do you need remote control capabilities?
- is low-latency real-time audio mixing, monitoring, processing required?
- a redundant secondary network might be imperative for safety reasons

Expanding a Dante system by more channels is as easy as plugging another Dante stagebox or Dante converter into the network switch. Every Dante stage box has remote controlling capabilities via the same existing Dante audio cabling.

If zero-latency is a requirement because you have to do live mixing, provide live monitoring or do some live audio processing (EQ, Comp, reverb, VST instruments) you'll have to ditch Dante Virtual Soundcard due to its rather high latency and do everything with Dante hardware devices. For my purposes, the very cheap second hand 01v96VCM fitted with a 16-channel Dante i/o card is the optimal setup. I'm only using the boards digital processing (the VCM effects sound really great) and none of its analog inputs (converters). Using its analog main and monitoring outs is absolutely fine. If I need more than 16 channels for mixing, I grab the DM1000VCM instead of the 01v96.

As soon as you need to provide live-processed audio with no perceivable latency from a computer and not from a digital console, you'd need a desktop computer fitted with a Dante PCIe accelerator card (128 i/o @ 48k) or a mac with an external thunderbolt case that holds the PCIe card. Those cards can be set to a minimal Dante latency of 0.15 ms in a single-switch network (just like the other aforementioned Dante hardware devices). ASIO/Core Audio latency (DAW) adds to the Dante latency and is usually far higher than the latter (2-10 ms depending on buffer settings and computer specs).

I'm enjoying Dante audio networking in my entire studio and on location and I wouldn't wanna do it any other way again.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAxiom View Post
little typo there, sonal! you should definitely choose a "manageable" gigabit switch with Dante to turn off any green ethernet feature and to proiritize Dante traffic and clocking via QoS!

.
Well, I might do many typos but from my level 2 Audinate level certificate lessons I noted you'd better use a non manage-able switch with Dante as long as you don't really need it.

It's not that Dante won't work with a manage-able switch, it just that it won't give you anything more for it, except more complicated settings to take care of, and possibly a bit more latency (one gigabit switch would stay around 1ms latency, though, so that's not a big deal)

About green-ethernet features, you'd better choose a switch that has no such features than trying to turn them off, in my opinion.

You definitely can run a Dante recording studio setup into an Ethernet network with a non-manageable switch. Managing features are requested as long as you setup a Dante network in a more complex environment including, say, many offices and studios, printers, voice data, confidential emails ...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
SonicAxiom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonal View Post
Well, I might do many typos but from my level 2 Audinate level certificate lessons I noted you'd better use a non manage-able switch with Dante as long as you don't really need it.

It's not that Dante won't work with a manage-able switch, it just that it won't give you anything more for it, except more complicated settings to take care of, and possibly a bit more latency (one gigabit switch would stay around 1ms latency, though, so that's not a big deal)

About green-ethernet features, you'd better choose a switch that has no such features than trying to turn them off, in my opinion.

You definitely can run a Dante recording studio setup into an Ethernet network with a non-manageable switch. Managing features are requested as long as you setup a Dante network in a more complex environment including, say, many offices and studios, printers, voice data, confidential emails ...
(not related to the quote!) The biggest problem with Dante is the massive lack of profound and consistent information available about it. I've been using Dante intensively since 2015 and I'm still stunned seeing that it hasn't gained more attention around the world, equally on the seller's side as on the customer's/user's side.

Now, regarding switches (and the quote): I've had numerous conversations with Audinate tech people over the years and I'm aware of the fact (also from own experience) that Dante can work flawlessly over unmanaged switches. However, I would still point out to unexperienced users or Dante "beginners" that in the end it's much safer to use manageable switches right from the start instead of start building Dante networks around unmanaged switches. If someone picks up your statement and starts building his Dante network and manages to expand it quicker that he thought, he might run into issues, being unaware of the fact that at a certain point he would have needed to use manageable switches to avoid troubles.

You are a trained, Dante-certified user and are aware of its potential pitfalls. Most people are not at all Dante-trained. To be clear: Yes, it's absolutely possible to run Dante audio over unmanaged switches in small networks but I'd say it's considerably safer and yields more stability in the long run to use manageable switches and appropriate quality gigabit network cabling right from the start. You wrote "you'd better use a non manage-able switch with Dante as long as you don't really need [a manageable one]". How can one determin that the time has come to preferably use a manageable switch besides starting getting into problems? When working in live audio, you never know what network you'll have to deal with in the next venue. Also, being able to take the decision to purchase a non-Green Ethernet switch requires the knowledge about what Green Ethernet may present as potential issues in the first place. So, an unexperienced person reading your statement could be led to believe that ANY unmanaged switch is fine which is certainly not true!

There's no woodoo associated with configuring a manageable switch for use in a Dante network! Audinate, Yamaha and Focusrite offer easy to understand PDF instructions on their websites and configuring 4 Cisco SG 200-08 was a matter of minutes. I don't think that those PDF instructions are complicated even for networking beginners and I also don't think that the configuration was overkill for my environment. Here's what you have to do:


disable Green Ethernet settings:




and configure Quality of Service:



You basically set all parameters to "1" except those marked in the circles.

That's all there is to it. I never experienced a single audio glitch resulting from my Dante networking config, however, I probably eliminated a lot by configuring it. I'm constantly heavily using the audio network for internet and computer data traffic with no impact on Dante audio/clocking.

Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAxiom View Post
So, an unexperienced person reading your statement could be led to believe that ANY unmanaged switch is fine which is certainly not true!


I think I clearly wrote one should read carefully which switches are certified to work at least with the SSL Nucleus, because the person who initiated this topic had a Nucleus and wanted to manage a Dante network with, and that's precisely the situation I encounter in my personal studio. The Nucleus needs Midi through Ethernet to work and not every switch is recommended.

You're certainly 100% right about live situations; if you're about to share datas in a network you don't know, you'd better come in with a manage-able switch, and you might even want to have the person who's in charge of the network with you, because you'd going to need some authorizations and some passwords to even make any data flow into the local network.

i agree with you that Dante is very exciting and make some technical dreams we had come true. We knew that would happen, but they eventually made it.

Maybe the fact that several protocols were (and somehow still are) in competition has something to do with the fact that Dante success is not as big as it could be right now.

Another thing is that it's a proprietary format, and there's also the commercial perspective. You don't want to spend too much too soon on a new technology, when you don't know if it's here to stay; and finally there's the risk Audinate might ask for a subscription one day and you'd be tied to them like we are with Avid or Adobe ...

Anyway, thanks for your deep experience and informations that I find to be very informative and interesting. I'm glad to talk about Dante technology, I'd love to have more people interested by it around me here :-)
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