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DANTE drawbacks? Consoles
Old 1 week ago
  #1
DANTE drawbacks?

So, I've been working with analog splits for a long time, but the world is quickly drifting towards networked audio for everyone at live events. DANTE seems to be the dominant force, at least for now.

I recently had a situation where the venue tried to get a client to dump me off a gig and go in favour of someone whose rig was compatible with their in-house DANTE system; so it seems to me that at some point I have to make this move.

I have some reservations, and am hoping some here can point me in a direction to resolve them:

1 - If I am tying in to their system, I am at the mercy of the FOH mixer's gain structure. From my understanding, whoever has control of the stagebox determines the gain structure for everyone else on the network. In other words, if he's asleep at the switch and the vocal mic is consistently driving into the red, my recording is doomed. Am I wrong about this?

2 - If I am tying into their system, I am at the mercy of the quality of their front end. It is one thing if someone is running DAD or Merging, but mostly I'm seeing Yamaha Rio's, and my experience with Yammy mic amps and converters is that they're OK, but definitely not going to deliver the quality I am currently getting. Am I wrong about this? What is the work around?

3 - I still hate the idea of depending on a laptop, and now I'd need two to run redundant rigs. Plus, I think I'd need to use some sort of aggregator to monitor the stream if I were using DVS; and in my experience aggregators tend to make laptops even more unstable. Yeah - I could spring for a BBR-64 or a Pix270i, but that's a lot of bread for a box that will end up being beholden to a live-sound-grade front end most of the time.

4 - Since these are established venues, and/or touring shows, someone else is probably handling the network admin, which makes troubleshooting and problem-solving a bit harder for me, since some things will be out of my hands. I have also seen where some folks on the network can end up causing problems for others who are connected. Am I wrong about this?

Thanks for your insights.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

1 - "I am at the mercy of the FOH mixer's gain structure".
yes - of course - same as taking any Digital split (such as MADI) unless you are using a matching console, that brand has gain tracking, and you take head-amp control for that performance. You could then adjust and the FOH console would digitally trim in the opposite direction to keep their apparent gain constant.

2 - "I am at the mercy of the quality of their front end".
yes, of course. Only work-around is analog splits and your own preamps.

3 - "I still hate the idea of depending on a laptop, and now I'd need two to run redundant rigs".
what are you recording on now? if it's not a computer-based system, you could just buy yourself a decent Dante-Analog box (there's quite a few 32chan ones out there now) and feed your recorder at line level when you are in this situation. You don't HAVE to run redundant rigs - even if the venue is wired for redundant Dante. Dante is quite happy for some devices to exist on the Primary network and not be present on the Secondary network (computers running dante Virtual Sound Card for example, or anything using the new little Avio convertors).

4 - "Since these are established venues, and/or touring shows, someone else is probably handling the network admin"
in the vast majority of cases a venue using Dante is a Yamaha rig at the moment, the Dante 'network admin' is being handled by the Console, and adding your interface to the dante network is going to have to be done by the FOH operator. Deal with it, or bring your analog splits. This may be a good way around the venue operators who are insisting you tie into their Dante network too - just tell them using your splits and preamps create less disruption to their established / working Dante network.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
I rarely do jobs that are other than acoustic recordings, and never, so far, needed to interface with a Dante network that is already in place. But I agree that this question will need to be worked out and sooner rather than later. Rob, I have no answers for you. But I may have input as the discussion moves along and will certainly be interested it what others have to say.

I do believe that knowing the Dante and networking technology is going to be key to doing anything like what you are talking about successfully. And being hopeful that the engineer you are interfacing gear with knows his s**t as well. It is fairly complicated and gets more so, of course, as we delve outside of a "simple" closed network.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
Bring your analog splits. This may be a good way around the venue operators who are insisting you tie into their Dante network too - just tell them using your splits and preamps create less disruption to their established / working Dante network.
This is what I would do if it were me, today. Split the mics on the stage and use my pres. I would probably be adding mics to the setup and would need preamps for that anyway.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

These days, any current micpre and AD converters are more than good enough, me thinking. If you can convince them to let you plug in your own mics at the stage you all pretty much there. The microphones make much bigger difference in your situiation.

If they have enough spare channels in the DANTE system, just plug in your own mics into these channels and deal with the gain yourself. Or, better yet, bring your own DANTE front end. You can then network your DANTE into their system, or not.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
Or, better yet, bring your own DANTE front end. You can then network your DANTE into their system, or not.
I believe that this would be a non-starter for any tour or venue. No one is going to give up any control of their rig for someone they have never met before.

I remember as a monitor mixer for large touring acts, I would offer the openers three inputs, lead vocals, and input of their choice and an FM tuner.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I believe that this would be a non-starter for any tour or venue. No one is going to give up any control of their rig for someone they have never met before.

Well, bring your own ethernet cable then. You will be better served this way.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I'm late to this. With a DANTE system, do the mic lines still run via snakes to the FOH mix position?
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm late to this. With a DANTE system, do the mic lines still run via snakes to the FOH mix position?
It depends where the DANTE mic-pre is. It can be anywhere as long as an Ethernet cable can reach it. Ideally, you run short mic cable to the DANTE Mic-pre box and connect the box to other DANTE boxes/console with Ethernet cable.

If you don't have a DANTE mic-pre box, you run mic snake to the FOH DANTE console.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
1 ... Deal with it, or bring your analog splits. This may be a good way around the venue operators who are insisting you tie into their Dante network too - just tell them using your splits and preamps create less disruption to their established / working Dante network.
This is the way I have worked for well-nigh two decades. Imagine my surprise when the venue went behind my back to the client (before even having any discussion) saying it would be too difficult to accommodate me, and that there was no room for my rig (before asking how big my rig was - it has the footprint of a furniture dolley).

But I very much appreciate the detailed reply. I was hoping I was missing something, but I guess not.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
It depends where the DANTE mic-pre is. It can be anywhere as long as an Ethernet cable can reach it. Ideally, you run short mic cable to the DANTE Mic-pre box and connect the box to other DANTE boxes/console with Ethernet cable.

If you don't have a DANTE mic-pre box, you run mic snake to the FOH DANTE console.
And this is the solution I imagine I'll eventually implement - splitting in the analog realm and then using a Ravenna system like DAD or Horus. CAT6 is a lot lighter than the copper I lug around right now...
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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I've generally found that the Dante deal (almost all Yamaha) locks me out of using my own pres and convertors. When I run into situations where the venue insists that I record off their Dante network that usually really means that the venue wants to do recording work themselves, since all that needs to happen (in their minds) is to add a recording laptop to the network and off they go. It's down to a client choice--do they care enough to have the recording done via your "acquisition chain" so to speak, or are they good with Yamaha? In the last several years I'd had a big drop in the number of live-concert recording gigs I get due to the ease with which the house can do it themselves (and charge for it). There are now many venues in my town that have a blanket rule that if recording is going to be done that they will do it, with their system, period.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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dante is not the problem, it's the lack of interoperability amongst manufacturers: wish they'd team up (as with midi and madi) and give us a common protocol so we can use a stagebox of choice to go with the existing desks in all venues - not gonna happen...

i'm mostly adding a few mics for ambis (or double when not liking the house engineer's choice at all), record off the monitor desks (which tend to be operated at more conservative gain levels and imo always should have control over gains when a gain sharing/compensation option is used) and i carry active splitters (when possible) as i came across too many venues which had no splitters at all and/or i wasn't allowed to access their dante patch...

not much love for network protocols here although it's clearly the future - btw, dante does not do that much more than what we had 20 years ago with cobranet and ethersound - still much prefer and use madi.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Dante network

Hi Rob, I faced this exact situation this week, so I can comment as a complete newcomer to Dante networking being thrown in at the deep-end....a simple answer to all questions you pose are a "yes, but..." You are indeed the last rat at the end of the sewer system !


Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
So, I've been working with analog splits for a long time, but the world is quickly drifting towards networked audio for everyone at live events. DANTE seems to be the dominant force, at least for now.

I recently had a situation where the venue tried to get a client to dump me off a gig and go in favour of someone whose rig was compatible with their in-house DANTE system; so it seems to me that at some point I have to make this move.

I have some reservations, and am hoping some here can point me in a direction to resolve them:

1 - If I am tying in to their system, I am at the mercy of the FOH mixer's gain structure. From my understanding, whoever has control of the stagebox determines the gain structure for everyone else on the network. In other words, if he's asleep at the switch and the vocal mic is consistently driving into the red, my recording is doomed. Am I wrong about this?

This is correct...however when (after tech rehearsal run) I explained that I thought my input gains of all 16 channels were consistently below -30, he was able to add 6dB to my gains and somehow subtract these from the mixer input levels (don't know how ?) so I was happy. Good communication, an early approach to solving gain issues and a co-operative mixing person helps a lot

2 - If I am tying into their system, I am at the mercy of the quality of their front end. It is one thing if someone is running DAD or Merging, but mostly I'm seeing Yamaha Rio's, and my experience with Yammy mic amps and converters is that they're OK, but definitely not going to deliver the quality I am currently getting. Am I wrong about this? What is the work around?

Yes, but the Yamaha CL5 mixer I was tied to had quite adequate and low noise mic pres and conversion sounded fine. Only workaround (if you can swing it) is splitters at the stage and and using your own mic pres


3 - I still hate the idea of depending on a laptop, and now I'd need two to run redundant rigs. Plus, I think I'd need to use some sort of aggregator to monitor the stream if I were using DVS; and in my experience aggregators tend to make laptops even more unstable. Yeah - I could spring for a BBR-64 or a Pix270i, but that's a lot of bread for a box that will end up being beholden to a live-sound-grade front end most of the time.

In my case I used a PC laptop, so was unable to use an additional playback soundcard as aggregate device for monitoring (you can do this with a Macbook Pro however...which is something I'd highly recommend) However, the venue guys somehow sorted out an external headphone amp for me, patched into Dante, which gave me stereo cans monitoring, so i was happy. Again...helpful, informed people running the rig are a real blessing, in helping it all run smoothly ! I downloaded and bought the DVS on a 30 day purchase for around $10 or 12 US, and it worked perfectly...just like any USB interface in terms of specifying latency etc. I run Reaper, which allows me to record to 2 discrete drives simultaneously...or perhaps you can slave another laptop as a secondary device and a safety backup ?

4 - Since these are established venues, and/or touring shows, someone else is probably handling the network admin, which makes troubleshooting and problem-solving a bit harder for me, since some things will be out of my hands. I have also seen where some folks on the network can end up causing problems for others who are connected. Am I wrong about this?

I think you're right...in that as the 'last connector person' in the grid you have the capability of causing grief to the PA mix person, if you do something inadvertant or stupid with your recording config. Which suddenly makes your connections with and successful recording conditions within their Dante network a Really Big Deal to the PA operator.

So this niggling concern and risk ties their mixing fortunes and yours together very intimately from the get-go, and there's a mutually advantageous strong reason for them to take a keen interest in you getting what you need at the outset.....and not jeopardizing "The Joint Mission" ...to both parties' benefit !!


Thanks for your insights.

Last edited by studer58; 6 days ago at 01:28 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Rob,
In the past where I've been forced to take elements from the house production over Dante, I typically asked them to either put it to a MADI output where I can then plug it into my Direct Out MADI SRC or bust it out to analog and take it from there. Usually these inputs are additional wireless or production elements in large opera productions, so I don't worry about sound quality so much. RME now has a new Digiface Dante that we just ordered that should make jailbreaking the sources out of their Dante network easier...If only they would add a SRC to the package, we'd really be in business....
The thing that usually bites you in the arse is when they have these sources in scenes in their console and the dante routing changes when they snap the next scene... On a one shot recording I would be very hesitant to trust the house production to get the routing and trims correct on the first try... Even after we fax out all the lines and signals, the sources are never correct on the first try.
All the best,
-mark
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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tourtelot's Avatar
Sincere question. Why would you want to take post-house console mic feeds? Seem very risky to me. It seems to be pretty straight ahead (although certainly more costly to the location recordist) to provide everything they need from the mic cable's male XLR back to their recorder.

Like I said, I will always add mics on a stage that aren't part of the acts normal FOH package so I will need preamps on stage anyway. So yes, I have needed to add a bunch of expensive Dante mic pres, but after that, nothing additional that probably wouldn't be in most Dante recordist's package.

So good splitters, whatever Dante mic preamps that you might like (and there are more and more choices available every day) and one run of Cat5e or Cat6 back to the "control room," whatever that might look like, and Bob's Your Uncle.

Well, and then all the Dante gear you need to make the recording, switches, monitor mixer, recorder, computer control and back up, etc, etc. But once I committed to Dante, it was just what it was.

BTW, the JoeCo BBR64-Dante is an awesome box. It can be set up with control and metering on an iPad. Stunning technology and hasn't ever let me down.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Sincere question. Why would you want to take post-house console mic feeds? Seem very risky to me. It seems to be pretty straight ahead (although certainly more costly to the location recordist) to provide everything they need from the mic cable's male XLR back to their recorder.

Like I said, I will always add mics on a stage that aren't part of the acts normal FOH package so I will need preamps on stage anyway. So yes, I have needed to add a bunch of expensive Dante mic pres, but after that, nothing additional that probably wouldn't be in most Dante recordist's package.

So good splitters, whatever Dante mic preamps that you might like (and there are more and more choices available every day) and one run of Cat5e or Cat6 back to the "control room," whatever that might look like, and Bob's Your Uncle.

Well, and then all the Dante gear you need to make the recording, switches, monitor mixer, recorder, computer control and back up, etc, etc. But once I committed to Dante, it was just what it was.

BTW, the JoeCo BBR64-Dante is an awesome box. It can be set up with control and metering on an iPad. Stunning technology and hasn't ever let me down.

D.
It just may be down to how much your client believes in what you are doing to the extent they will go to bat for you with an intransigent venue. Part of the issue is money, another is time, and a 3rd could be union regs.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
And this is the solution I imagine I'll eventually implement - splitting in the analog realm and then using a Ravenna system like DAD or Horus. CAT6 is a lot lighter than the copper I lug around right now...
DAD is DANTE. Can make it the front end if you are friendly with the client. Good options from Grace too.

Or just bring a single CAT5 and piggy back of their network. But then again, the house guy could just do that.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
I used to get pushback from folks opposed to the use of analog splitters (who gets the direct vs who gets the transformer output), and AOIP hasn't made a difference in the fundamental tension between recording and SR over "who's in charge".
I always take my lead from whoever is paying my bill, and if there's a conflict between SR and recording, the person in charge at the scene may have to make the call. Sometimes I "win", sometimes I don't.

When working with others, I am generally successful in proposing that I:
Use their network, and connect my Dante devices into it.
Add my own mics and preamps when I need additional or different coverage. They can use them in their SR mix if they wish, or not.
That's my opening bid in negotiations - minimal risk to them. It always comes down to establishing mutual respect and trust.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
But then again, the house guy could just do that.
If the house guy knows what they are doing.

Having just come from being a house guy for the past 10 years--a house guy that designed and installed 4 separate Dante based live sound systems in the same building (one of which is a 64 channel Protools HDX rig), and designed and installed two more Dante based PA systems for two more consulting jobs--Not all house guys are created equal. In fact, most of them can barely function one level above your basic stage hand. The house guys that took over after I left my house job are not qualified to do what they are doing, and don't understand Dante at all.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
Gear Addict
 

You guys that are interested in learning more about Dante, should check out the Dante Level 1 Certification from Audinate. It's free, completely online, and takes about an hour to watch the training videos, then you can take a free test at the end of it. You can watch the videos an take the Test as many times as you want, no charge.

It will answer a ton of questions and demystify the Dante digital audio networking system.

Dante Certification Program | Audinate

Audinate also offers free onsite training courses, often times in conjunction with Yamaha Commercial Audio all around the world. They are usually also free, plus they usually feed you lunch and often times there's some nice swag given away.

Upcoming Events | Audinate
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
If the house guy knows what they are doing.

Having just come from being a house guy for the past 10 years--a house guy that designed and installed 4 separate Dante based live sound systems in the same building (one of which is a 64 channel Protools HDX rig), and designed and installed two more Dante based PA systems for two more consulting jobs--Not all house guys are created equal. In fact, most of them can barely function one level above your basic stage hand. The house guys that took over after I left my house job are not qualified to do what they are doing, and don't understand Dante at all.
I'm guessing Norse meant that 'the house guy' is capable of hitting record on a DAW whose input gains are a mirror of the Dante-enabled desk, and has probably been setup from a template typical to the house. If they're incapable of even that level of complexity....well, I guess that's why the USB recording socket was invented for PA desks, to simplify things yet further !
Old 6 days ago
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I'm guessing Norse meant that 'the house guy' is capable of hitting record on a DAW whose input gains are a mirror of the Dante-enabled desk, and has probably been setup from a template typical to the house. If they're incapable of even that level of complexity....well, I guess that's why the USB recording socket was invented for PA desks, to simplify things yet further !
Personally I found the tone of your comment stuck-up, arrogant and over generalising. Just for context, I've never been a house person. I have done FOH, mons, system since 95, plus live and studio recording and classical editing and mixing since 2005.

Simon
Old 6 days ago
  #24
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i don't always get studer's sense of humour either but isn't it so that we're occasionally making fun of each others approach/technique/behaviour - which may be working perfectly well in their own area but seem strange when looking from another angle?

i have to admit that i get to experience a high degree of ignorance in live sound quite often: almost as often as in location recording or broadcasting - and i'm not even talking about video or the lighties... :-)
Old 6 days ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potscrubber View Post
Personally I found the tone of your comment stuck-up, arrogant and over generalising. Just for context, I've never been a house person. I have done FOH, mons, system since 95, plus live and studio recording and classical editing and mixing since 2005.

Simon
My live sound and recording experience is pretty much parallel to yours. I was responding to JC's specific comments in the post immediately prior.

If you want to decode, intuit or interpret the tone or attitude I have towards my very recent Dante/house-sound co-operation experience, at least do me the courtesy of reading post#14 above...you'll find it diametrically opposed to the characterisation you (lazily) make here....potscrubber calling the kettle black.
Old 6 days ago
  #26
There's no tone in text. That's part of the problem. I'm convinced that at lest 33% of what we "hear" when we read another person's post is our own preconceptions and biases.

I, for instance, when I read Studer's post #22 , had a moment of "yep, know just what you mean". I've met lots of "house guys" who know what they were taught however-many-years ago, and haven't learned a damn thing since. They know how to make their equipment do 10 specific things, but they don't understand how it works or why it works. I also have dealt with the other extreme - guys who have taken ownership of their systems, can make it do just what you need, and have the fundamentals to address any problem that comes along.
Old 6 days ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Sincere question. Why would you want to take post-house console mic feeds? Seem very risky to me. It seems to be pretty straight ahead (although certainly more costly to the location recordist) to provide everything they need from the mic cable's male XLR back to their recorder.
In most opera productions, the sfx with ambiences and effects are created at front of house or at the monitor console. We always get files of the dry original cues from the sound designer, but most of the time what actually goes out of the speakers in the house has been manipulated in some way and we need to get copies of that as well..
All the best,
Mark
Old 6 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
There's no tone in text. That's part of the problem. I'm convinced that at lest 33% of what we "hear" when we read another person's post is our own preconceptions and biases.

I, for instance, when I read Studer's post #22 , had a moment of "yep, know just what you mean". I've met lots of "house guys" who know what they were taught however-many-years ago, and haven't learned a damn thing since. They know how to make their equipment do 10 specific things, but they don't understand how it works or why it works. I also have dealt with the other extreme - guys who have taken ownership of their systems, can make it do just what you need, and have the fundamentals to address any problem that comes along.
My first and only Dante-interfacing experience was earlier this week, with FOH/monitor techs who knew their house system (incl Dante) inside out, and went 110% to ensure that it worked for all of us. As I mentioned in post #14 , there's the interactive nature of the shared connection which makes failure at any point everyone's problem...unlike the silo/quarantined division of a good old-school transformer splitter box and a bunch of xlr tails !
Old 6 days ago
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
There's no tone in text. That's part of the problem.
Good writing isn't vague in its meaning.
Old 6 days ago
  #30
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tourtelot's Avatar
I have had both experiences mentioned by many above. The good and the bad. Isn't that just like life?

Always more fun, less stressful, more satisfying, and a better product when it's good. The opposite if it's bad.

I will say that the most of my experience "interfacing" is good lately. I find myself in venues with seasoned pros who, while they might not always be enthused, the are professional and knowledgable.

But all that said, I will always try and make my side of the project as stress-free and under my own control as possible. It will continue to get more complicated which also means I will have more options, which is probably a good thing. As AoIP becomes the norm, more engineers will be proficient, and we will be more and more capable of making the combined resources work to allow us to make a better recording.

D.
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