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Thinking through a Dante wired studio
Old 17th April 2017
  #1
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Thinking through a Dante wired studio

Hey all, posting this here as it seems this group has the most experience with Dante...

Long story short I'm going to be moving my studio into a bigger space this summer and am considering wiring it all out with CAT6 instead of analog. The central concept of the studio buildout is a 'ala carte' space rental. So for large sessions a client could book the whole facility, for smaller they can book only what they need. Dante/ethernet is really appealing here as a 2nd control room can become an iso for a guitar amp when tracking etc. I attached a pic of the basic floor plan I have in mind (this isn't final)-

So a few of the questions that I have-

1. Is it a hassle to adjust preamps in the tracking spaces? And/or is anyone using stageboxes etc that allow for remote trims? It seems like the stagebox gives the added flexibility of trims for line ins, and extra remote controlled pres.

2. Can DVS licenses be put on a dongle? Some people will bring their own computers, it would be nice if I can let them use a prepaid DVS license for their session.

3. How bad is DVS latency? Is it comparable to a USB2 interface?

4. What solutions are working for personal headphone mixers? Currently we have the Behringer P16 system, which has it's own protocol- this means I would have to include a separate network (or 3) just for those?

5. How many dedicated networks would you run? I plan to have a central server for projects (like a RAID 50 setup), this network would also host wifi for clients and some IP cameras...it seems like considering the relatively low price it would be easier to have that be a separate network than the Dante one, but then would I still be able to use 2nd NICs for the computers to connect via R-Remote or Rednet control etc?

6. Anything else I'm overlooking? I figure just drop 5 or 6 Cat6 cables in each room and tie them all together in the server room- then I could have redundant dante, server network (plus wifi for client internet), and 3 headphone feeds. The AM2 seems like it might work as an additional problem solver.

7. Is this going to be problematic for a freelancer to use?

Right now my tentative thoughts would be to put a rednet 3 and 5 in each control room connected via HDX or native, the rednet 3 connects to some ADA's and monitor controllers each booth would get a TIO1608-d and the live room 2 TIO's. Additionally my guitar reamping rack, and analog fx racks would have either a rednet 1 or 2 as needed.

Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks
Attached Thumbnails
Thinking through a Dante wired studio-basic-floor-plan.jpg  
Old 18th April 2017
  #2
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Your clients that are bringing their own computers may already have their own DVS. If not, you can buy them their own DVS for $30. Just remind them to bring the same computer the next time. Or even cheaper, buy the 30-day DVS for $9.95.

As far as the Focusrite RedNet 3 and RedNet 5, do you need more than one of the 3? What about the Ferrofish A32 Dante Version?

Among the various pieces of Focusrite gear, I especially like the concept of the RedNet 4. Two rack spaces, but you get 8 mic' channels, 8 line in channels (if you add a d25 snake), and 2 DIs.

The only Dante hardware I've used are the Allen & Heath iLive 48 and the Ashly digiMix24. I like them both.

best, john
Old 18th April 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabney View Post
Your clients that are bringing their own computers may already have their own DVS. If not, you can buy them their own DVS for $30. Just remind them to bring the same computer the next time. Or even cheaper, buy the 30-day DVS for $9.95.
I didn't know about the 30 day...that will probably work for many scenarios. All the regulars will probably just pick one up, but I'm finding a pretty good market of touring acts looking for a creative space while they are in town. It's kinda hard to push that they have to buy extra stuff when they just want a couple days...$10 is not bad at all though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jabney View Post
As far as the Focusrite RedNet 3 and RedNet 5, do you need more than one of the 3? What about the Ferrofish A32 Dante Version?
It looks nice but is overkill for my control room needs, especially considering how inexpensive the 3 and 5 are used. My main monitors have a digital input, have been using an Avid Omni. It looks like maybe the TC BMC connected via spdif would work. Focusrite has a near miss with the red4pre for me...no volume control on the spdif out, no A/B switching!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jabney View Post
Among the various pieces of Focusrite gear, I especially like the concept of the RedNet 4. Two rack spaces, but you get 8 mic' channels, 8 line in channels (if you add a d25 snake), and 2 DIs.
From the manual it seems like it's only 8ch at once though...I would love it if it was 18- I would definitely be looking at those instead of stageboxes.

Thanks for the input! I've never used any Dante products-
Old 18th April 2017
  #4
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Personnaly I wouldnt count on dvs for band tracking sessions.
The minimun 4ms latency makes it a no go as any other process will only add more!
I recently had a drumme complain he heard latency when i fed his headphones from hd native on a "real" dante network (250us setting)

In my opinion dvs is only good for quickly recording live shows.
Or for mixing only.
Old 18th April 2017
  #5
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I suspect most of your mobile clients will be using macbooks, you might consider having a pcie dante card in a thunderbolt chassis available.
Old 18th April 2017
  #6
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
I recently had a drummer complain he heard latency when i fed his headphones from hd native on a "real" Dante network (250us setting)
So Dante was the only source of latency at 250uSec? That's a difference in the sound point-of-origin of 3". Not likely he heard that. Fifteen feet between the guitar player and his amp? 15mSec.

D.
Old 19th April 2017
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by j.frad View Post
Personnaly I wouldnt count on dvs for band tracking sessions.
The minimun 4ms latency makes it a no go as any other process will only add more!
I recently had a drumme complain he heard latency when i fed his headphones from hd native on a "real" dante network (250us setting)

In my opinion dvs is only good for quickly recording live shows.
Or for mixing only.
This is absolutely true if you're trying to do all your foldback/cue mixes on your DAW.

On the other hand, because my origins were in the pre-DAW days, I've used the X32 platform for tracking and used a DVS Reaper DAW as a "dumb" multitrack with great success for overdubbing, by generating the cue mixes on the X32, or by generating the cue mix of previously recorded tracks in the DAW and the overdub signal direct from the board. Reaper, at least, does all the sync work so that the overdubbed track is aligned with those previously recorded, and the latency is limited to the .3ms found in the X32 itself. This approach also helps keep computer workload lower as you don't have to set your buffers to really low settings to minimize latency. The only drawback is that you have to use the digital mixer's effects for foldback/cue instead of the DAW.

I suspect if you were building a higher-end studio you could get the same results using an analog mixer and high-end Dante AD/DA (Burl, for instance). you're basically replacing something like a RADAR with your DANTE-enabled DAW.

And one thing I've run into is that you can only use a Dante license, even on the same machine, so many times before you need to call Audinate and ask for a reset. This has been a problem for me once when some troubleshooting required deinstall/reinstall of DVS multiple times. It seems that when you deinstall it doesn't always register back at Audinate's licensing servers.

I'd like to try a Dante PCIe card in a PC sometime for a more DAW-centric experience, but at the $600+ for a card, I haven't been able to justify it in my mind. I might ask Audinate for a loaner the next time I'm chatting with them, because I'd love to see the difference.

Oh, and yes, the Ultranet network on the X32/P16 platform is NOT Ethernet, so that's dedicated from a switching standpoint. But if you put in a proper Gigabit ethernet network in your facility, you can mix and match your Dante and other data traffic, or you can have separate VLANs to segregate it, either way on a single switch.

If you're going to stick with the Ultranet stuff, What I'd suggest you do is put in two runs of CAT6 UTP and two runs of CAT5e STP in each room, all homed to a central spot. Then you can put in the appropriate patch panels. As you probably know Behringer recommends STP Cat5e for Ultranet with the shield continuous. This matters a lot in live sound where the potential (pun intended) for static discharge is high. In a properly wired studio I would think (but not promise) that you could get away without the shielded etherconns on the ultranet.

Most of the remote stagebox/preamps (Rio Stageboxes, Grace Preamps, Focusrite) have IP-based remote control so that you can easily adjust them.

Honestly, in your situation, if you were to put in AD/DA in each room I think you'd be much happier than running a zillion analog tie lines.

Feel free to PM me about this - I'm "somebody" when it comes to networking, even if I'm not "somebody" when it comes to location recording (yet).

Last edited by TMetzinger; 19th April 2017 at 12:58 AM..
Old 19th April 2017
  #8
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Thread Starter
Thanks everyone-

@j.frad Yes mostly macbooks and maybe some macminis so far. This has me taking a 2nd look at red4pre. I might look into using a minidsp 4x10 for a crossover and speaker management vol-control in which case the focusrite is looking better again. I've personally shrugged off TB because ever since the macpro went hipster I dug in with some 5960x hackintoshes- Why mess with TB when you have PCIe? TBH I would really like to have something USB too...but I can probably do USB to SPDIF and then a USB nic to the dante network for routing control.

@TMetzinger I was hoping you would chime in here too...I've read all your posts on Dante networks here. Yes that was my thought, 3 ultranet networks 1 Dante, and 1 server/wifi/internet network all home runs. The central hub area (and server) will be above the bathrooms (12' clear height, open joists to 14'). I'll probably drop a 6th line in there just for good measure. And thanks for the reminder on the STP for the ultranet. I knew that, but sortof forgot about it as I've had no problems with UTP cables- might as well do it right.

Of course the headphone latency issue is an entire other can of worms. Generally I prefer to run fast enough computers to shoot for a 5-6ms RTL for a number of reasons. I will (eventually) have my APB H1020 setup on the network with something like a rednet 2 etc, so I could use it for a dante-latency foldback when needed.

In anycase two quick follow up questions- If I have one network for the server/wifi/internet (and ip cameras) and another for dante, will that present any problems for using the remote control apps? Each computer will need two NICs correct? Trying to wrap my head around how the control apps connect to the right network...

And the other, is there a good reason to run a redundant Dante network? And if so, that's an entire 2nd network with it's own hubs and cables etc?

Thanks everyone!
Old 19th April 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
So Dante was the only source of latency at 250uSec? That's a difference in the sound point-of-origin of 3". Not likely he heard that. Fifteen feet between the guitar player and his amp? 15mSec.

D.
+1. Of course it won't stop people from complaining. I feel about the same about 96k. I'm not really sold on it, but if possible I'd like to stay compatible or close enough that I don't have to replace everything.


I really wish the line level ADA boxes (lynx/ferrofish/focusrite etc) supported a basic +/- 12dB remote controlled analog trim. This is something motu did right with their AVB line that the Dante people need to get on board with IMO.
Old 19th April 2017
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
I really wish the line level ADA boxes (lynx/ferrofish/focusrite etc) supported a basic +/- 12dB remote controlled analog trim.
Lynx does not allow for analog trim over Dante, yet. It is, theoretically, on the way. Lynx does allow for analog trim via a number of add-on cards that are not Dante; USB and FW at least.

D.
Old 19th April 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
Thanks everyone-

<snip>

@TMetzinger I was hoping you would chime in here too...I've read all your posts on Dante networks here. Yes that was my thought, 3 ultranet networks 1 Dante, and 1 server/wifi/internet network all home runs. The central hub area (and server) will be above the bathrooms (12' clear height, open joists to 14'). I'll probably drop a 6th line in there just for good measure. And thanks for the reminder on the STP for the ultranet. I knew that, but sortof forgot about it as I've had no problems with UTP cables- might as well do it right.


In anycase two quick follow up questions- If I have one network for the server/wifi/internet (and ip cameras) and another for dante, will that present any problems for using the remote control apps? Each computer will need two NICs correct? Trying to wrap my head around how the control apps connect to the right network...

And the other, is there a good reason to run a redundant Dante network? And if so, that's an entire 2nd network with it's own hubs and cables etc?

Thanks everyone!
So - Ultranet. In your situation, if you're going to be using ultranet for P16 stuff only, rather than using Midas/Behri stageboxes as preamps, you can probably get by with UTP, because a studio isn't the electrically "messy" situation a live show is. On the other hand, if you put in a couple runs of STP they can still be used for normal Ethernet duties so they aren't "wasted". Just have the proper ports on the patch panel and build the right sort of patchcords to go from the panel to the devices. If you look at going beyond the P16 in the future to dante-capable systems like the Klanq:Quelle you'll be able to reuse it. One thing's certain.. you can never have too much wiring in the wall, and during construction is the right time to install it. I'd suggest running DisplayPort or HDMI at the same time if the distances are reasonable.

The remote control apps vary. The Dante Controller must be on the Dante LAN. Depending on the devices, they may have a separate remote control interface (like the X32) from the Dante interface, or they may (like the Rednet AM2) use the same interface for both. What I'd recommend is a business class Gigabit ethernet switch, and put all your stuff on one VLAN to start (with the wifi hanging off one port of that switch - do NOT use the Wifi device as a switch, only as a bridge), and trust the fact that Dante packets are marked and get prioritization to ensure traffic flow and the switch will respect it. Only IF you experience any congestion would I recommend splitting the Dante and other traffic, and you can then do that by putting them in separate VLANs on the same switch. Be sure any switch you get can disable energy efficient ethernet (802.3az) as that protocol can screw up the PTP packets Dante requires.

I also don't see the need for redundant Dante in a recording studio. You've already got lots of potential single points of failure (mic, cable, preamp) and ethernet switches are very reliable. The only time I ever use redundant switching is in a critical live or broadcast situation, or where safety is important (as in a recent design for a hospital where the paging system used Dante)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 

The KLANG:quelle is an option for headphone monitoring, it has four outputs (no built in mixer though). The Focusrite AM2 has a lower Dante latency of 1ms so it's not really useful for monitoring whilst tracking. I'm waiting for an Aviom-like headphone mixer that supports Dante in the unit itself (and with low latencies).

The Avid MTRX is also something you might consider for interfacing with Pro Tools. It's expensive but very flexible.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukehatpadl View Post
The KLANG:quelle is an option for headphone monitoring, it has four outputs (no built in mixer though). The Focusrite AM2 has a lower Dante latency of 1ms so it's not really useful for monitoring whilst tracking. I'm waiting for an Aviom-like headphone mixer that supports Dante in the unit itself (and with low latencies).

The Avid MTRX is also something you might consider for interfacing with Pro Tools. It's expensive but very flexible.
I've had no issues with people monitoring with the AM2 while tracking. The less than 1 ms latency actually achieved hasn't bothered any of the players, including drummers.

Normally when I do tracking and overdubs the cue mix is generated by the preamp/interface and then shipped via analog to a headphone amp or via dante to an AM2.

The Klang:Fabrik is interesting as well. I'm intrigued by the benefits of binaural cue mixes for live and studio work.

Given that 1 ms is the equivalent of moving your head 30 cm, I'm surprised that folks detect it, let alone complain about it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Thread Starter
Thanks everyone-

I picked up a red8pre on reverb, going to see if I can swap my Omni and 16x16 comfortably...It seems like a good starting place and the more I think about it it might work best to have the red8 in the live room and 2 red4's in the CR's with analog tie lines to the isos (I would still include some dante lines in each as well). It's interesting that the focusrite 'red range' are by far the most affordable Dante enabled products that are capable of 96k-

Do the AM2's have a higher latency than the Klang stuff? One thing I'm interested to play with is the focusrite control to see if it can replace the p16 system.

96k isn't the highest priority for me, but generally I would like to have compatibility there. I find with the P16 I need to have it hooked up via the adat ports for noise reasons. This makes 96k (and half the channels) very clunky...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
Do the AM2's have a higher latency than the Klang stuff? One thing I'm interested to play with is the focusrite control to see if it can replace the p16 system.
Yup, 1ms vs down to 0.15ms for the KLANG. This is Dante latency, converter latency depends on the sample rate and should be less than 0.1ms at 96k.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post

Given that 1 ms is the equivalent of moving your head 30 cm, I'm surprised that folks detect it, let alone complain about it.
They don't. Just don't tell 'em.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukehatpadl View Post
Yup, 1ms vs down to 0.15ms for the KLANG. This is Dante latency, converter latency depends on the sample rate and should be less than 0.1ms at 96k.
Good to know-

The 1ms in itself isn't the end of my world, but of course latency is cumulative. That being said it sounds like the AM2 has about the same latency as the P16's that I'm using now.

Is this based on what type of Dante chipset these products use?

It does seem like there is a hole in the market for a personal mixer system that speaks Dante directly.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
They don't. Just don't tell 'em.

D.
Right? The "L word" for recording engineers. Never to be brought up during a session...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
Good to know-

The 1ms in itself isn't the end of my world, but of course latency is cumulative. That being said it sounds like the AM2 has about the same latency as the P16's that I'm using now.

Is this based on what type of Dante chipset these products use?

It does seem like there is a hole in the market for a personal mixer system that speaks Dante directly.
Different chipsets do have different latencies published . And that's based on worst case scenarios. I've tested the Brooklyn II and Ultimo chipsets and always gotten less than 1 ms latency. In my experience the DVS is the "slow" part of my setup... I want to check with a PCIe card sometime.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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I have plans to check "real" latency of my 24-track rig. I am guessing that I can use my oscilloscope (the gridlines must have a use, right?) to check it. Since mic input and cue feeds have to do the whole route from stage to control room and back to the stage, I wonder how long the actual latency will be. I don't do "hardly any" cue feed sessions, and I think that it is possible that I can eliminate the round-trip if I split the appropriate mics to cue using the stage box only and an iPad for control. More work to do on that.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Thread Starter
This is all a little off topic, but naturally you can't do a digital thread, talk about monitoring and not have the latency discussion come up.

It seems the two prevailing theories are that there is a perception window for latency (5-20ms depending on who you ask) and then there is the comb filtering theory.

The comb filtering theory is that the blend of headphone foldback with any latency will cause a degree of comb filtering with the direct acoustic source as no headphones can offer 100% isolation- especially for your own voice. This theory does get a little dubious (to me) with other instruments when you factor in the speed of sound in air- and other interesting facts like the action of a piano is said to have around 3ms of latency on it's own.

In my mind, the argument that it's unnatural for our own voice to have a quick reflection of 3-4ms that is actually louder than the vibration traveling through the body is specious. That is exactly what happens when people sing in the shower! What I think is that what is unnatural is for that reflection to be entirely specular.

But the easy fix for that is to add a very tight dense reverb, preferably stereo. It doesn't need to be more than 200-300ms if people don't want to 'hear a reverb effect'. In my subjective experience this works. If someone complains about latency and the system is in the 8ms range etc, if I add a tight clean, barely perceptible reverb then it *fixes* it...

Horses for courses, and one element here is the acoustics of the recording space...dead rooms are naturally going to be more susceptible to the perception of the comb effect.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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So if I may chime in with a question, it seems Dante, along with DAW CPU creates too much latency for voice overs/ film ADR, or just tracking music overdubs. Has anyone found a solution using network audio? Perhaps parallel MADI? How can this be made successful in a simple iso booth/control room studio with computers in a machine room?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Disagree. No more latency and often less than usb.
It all depends on how and where in the chain you generate the cue mix.

More when I'm not on a phone.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draudio2u View Post
So if I may chime in with a question, it seems Dante, along with DAW CPU creates too much latency for voice overs/ film ADR, or just tracking music overdubs. Has anyone found a solution using network audio? Perhaps parallel MADI? How can this be made successful in a simple iso booth/control room studio with computers in a machine room?
I haven't used DVS yet, but from what I gather it is more akin to USB in the turn around latency- maybe a tad higher. Other options are the Dante PCIe or TB options which should be like for like with PCIe/TB MADI.

If you want lower than going-through-the-daw, you can use a digital mixer on the dante network (like an x32 with a dante card), or you can use an interface that has it's own mixer- like the Red 4pre or 8pre that have the focusrite control app- similiar in concept to RME totalmix.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
I haven't used DVS yet, but from what I gather it is more akin to USB in the turn around latency- maybe a tad higher. Other options are the Dante PCIe or TB options which should be like for like with PCIe/TB MADI.

If you want lower than going-through-the-daw, you can use a digital mixer on the dante network (like an x32 with a dante card), or you can use an interface that has it's own mixer- like the Red 4pre or 8pre that have the focusrite control app- similiar in concept to RME totalmix.
Exactly, or an analog board, a Dante interface, and treat the daw like a tape machine for tracking.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by draudio2u View Post
So if I may chime in with a question, it seems Dante, along with DAW CPU creates too much latency for voice overs/ film ADR, or just tracking music overdubs. Has anyone found a solution using network audio? Perhaps parallel MADI? How can this be made successful in a simple iso booth/control room studio with computers in a machine room?

If you want to use a $30 piece of software (Dante Virtual Soundcard) with your existing Ethernet port... then the latency is going to be higher.

You talk about MADI... fine... but you then need to buy a MADI card for your computer, and MADI devices "the other end".

If you spent the same money on a Dante PCIe card as a MADI card, then you would find comparable performance.

It's not "Dante" it's the old price/performance question.

At least compare apples with apples please.

Thanks
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draudio2u View Post
it seems Dante, along with DAW CPU creates too much latency for voice overs/ film ADR, or just tracking music overdubs. Has anyone found a solution using network audio?
Merging Premium Core Audio driver. Much improved performance over Dante Virtual Soundcard.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
I haven't used DVS yet.
DVS has 4ms of latency and maxes out at 64x64 when used with the built in ethernet interface.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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SonicAxiom's Avatar
I have made the transition from point-to-point (ADAT, USB, Firewire) to Dante in my studio 3 years ago. I've been using DVS for more than 2 years before purchasing the Yamaha AIC128-D PCIe Dante accelerator card. While using DVS, I used to split incoming signals in the Orion32 to run them to the DAW and into Reaper via USB2 and simultaneously to a YAMAHA DM1000 via ADAT for cue mixes. DVS latency was a non-issue as it was only used to track and not for real-time monitoring.

Since I purchased the AIC128-D I can monitor live through the DAW while recording VST instruments incl. a bunch of VST plugins on top.

I recently got the Ferrofish A32 Dante. It allows to route its analog inputs right back to its analog outputs in Dante Controller, thus allows for near-latency-free direct monitoring at appr. 0.7 ms of RTL. It also features an internal mixer to mix sources from any of its inputs and outputs. A brand-new remote app is about to be released that allows remote operation via USB, MIDI and notably the network.

The connectivity options of the A32 Dante are plenty: 32 analog i/o, 32 ADTA i/o, 64 MADI i/o and 64 Dante i/o, MIDI-over-MADI (essentially, it's an Orion32 with additional Dante interface and double ADAT connectivity). All sources can be routed internally in groupes of 8 between any format. The 64 sources that you route to Dante can then be distributed via Dante Controller. Channel count of the unit at high sampling rates is only reduced for ADAT and MADI, not for analog and Dante.

I'm not using redundancy at all and never had problems. I'm using two manageable Cisco SG200-08 switches. My internet router is also connected to the network without introducing issues. All Dante hw devices are set to the lowest Dante latency of 0.15 ms. The A32 Dante can be set to function as a AES67-to-dante bridge if need be in the future.
Attached Thumbnails
Thinking through a Dante wired studio-ferrofish-a32-dante-specs.gif  

Last edited by SonicAxiom; 3 weeks ago at 03:40 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
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The Ferrofish is an awesome box. I went with the Attero Tech unD32 which is similar. 32 Dante to analog conversions. Simple, no fuss. I use it to feed control room monitoring analog into a Presonus SL2442AI whose Dante card is stuck at 48k. Dumb, dumb, dumb! I got so enraged at Presonus customer care (the Dante issue wasn't the only one) that I was removed from the forum for bringing up the new Lawo mc²96 IP Console. Presonus told me that touting "competition" wasn't allowed. I replied "COMPETITION??? You wish." and I was gone. Lots of pennies to save for a new panel but I am done with am-ass gear.

D.
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