Widgets Magazine

3 Tips for Starting with Dante

By Alesia Hendley
One thing my audio 101 teacher never told us was you can’t learn everything you need to know in school. Of course I should have known that, especially with technology growing and moving as fast as it does. Once I began this journey I realized experience was going to be my best teacher. The position I hold at The Berry Center, a multipurpose sports complex center, allows me to operate a wide variety of multimedia equipment and expands the experience.
The building includes a theater, conference center, stadium and arena. Our in house AV department can provide Front of House (FOH) and monitor mixing, lighting design, large screen projections, video and recording, rigging as well as power services. We host a several different kinds of events throughout the year. The facility is owned by the Cy-Fair Independent School District. One of our busiest times of the year is in June when we house all of the district high school graduations.
The flexibility of the venue means there must also be a flexibility in the technology we use. 2015 was the first time I was introduced to Audinate’s Dante, a digital audio network protocol that sends multichannel audio over category cabling. Here are three things you need to know when diving into Dante for the first time.
1.) Know where you’re going and where you’re coming from. 
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
Signal flow is the most important component. You’re going to invest time into the initial set up, so make sure you invest your time into knowing where you signal is being sent and where your signal is being received. Stay focused and assign everything step by step to ensure you have routed your signals properly.
2.) Create a Channel List
Do not only create a channel list but organize it. Know which channels are your inbound channels and which channels are outbound. Dante Virtual Soundcard software allows you to assign and see which channels are which. It is very easy to lose yourself when trying to handle this bull during your first rodeo. With channels being bi-directional a patch list will come in handy, especially if you’re an in-house engineer.
3.) Know the Limitations of Your Device
In September 2015 Audinate announced they had reached 500 Dante enable products, but each product has a limitation on bi-directional channels. The Berry Center houses the flexible Allen and Heath iLive console package. The iLive system lets us connect up to 64 channels of bi-directional audio over a category cable. You don’t want to find yourself needing 64 channels but your device only provides you with 32. Get familiar with your device limitations as soon as possible so you know what you can and can’t do for your clients in the initial consultation.
These are three basic starting points that will lead to success. Let me know how you and your team are utilizing Dante. Thank you for reading.
Alesia Hendley is an AV professional that found her passion at a young age as a sound engineer with her Father’s church. In the early stages of the church’s foundation they couldn’t afford musicians. By utilizing audio and technology she and her Father found creative ways to go higher both musically and spiritually, taking the congregation with them. Now you can find her operating/installing audiovisual systems or executing creative ventures. As a young professional she’s finding ways to bring AV, creatives, and creative visions together in the effort to leave her mark by making an impact, and not just an impression.

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  1. Nicely done, Alecia. Shared this with my nephew (technologyguru77 on YouTube) who is much more of a tech-y than I am. Applauding your progresssion from content writer to thought leader. My favorite part is the bio at the end. It makes me feel like I know you a little better. Grenae

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