This article originally appeared in the November 2000 issue of Pro Sound News. Innovations is a monthly column in which different pro audio manufacturers are invited to discuss the thought process behind creating their products of note.
Dante audio-over-IP technology has been widely adopted in live sound, broadcast and studio environments. As Dante networks become bigger and start integrating many different types of applications including live sound, broadcast, intercom, P.A., recording and so on, it can be a challenge to match clocking and sample rates.
This challenge can be solved with the new Penta 721s – DNT from NTP Technology, which provides two separate Dante interfaces. The built-in sample rate converter makes it possible to interconnect two Dante networks with different clock sources and/or sample rates. However, the Penta 721s – DNT offers much more than that.
The Penta 721s – DNT is based on the Penta 721s base unit. As standard, the Penta 721s features a 64-channel Dante interface, one coax MADI I/O and eight AES I/O. Further, two MADI I/O, optical or coax, can be added as options. All of these are synchronized to the same clock.
The Penta 721s includes a slot where an optional I/O card can be installed. This can be a 128-channel Dante card, a dual MADI I/O card, an eight-channel AES I/O card, a dual SDI embedder/ de-embedder card, an eight-channel analog input card or an eight-channel analog output card. This makes the Penta 721s suitable for a wide range of applications, including conversion between multiple formats.
In the case of the Penta 721s – DNT, the option slot is configured with the 128-channel Dante card, which provides 128 Dante channels at 48 kHz, 64 channels at 96 kHz or 32 channels at 192 kHz. Apart from the high channel count, it also boasts a low-latency sample rate converter, which is used to adapt the clocking and/or sample rate of the Dante interface to the clock and/or sample rate of the Penta 721s base unit.
There is a routing matrix between the main and the option sections that allows the user to patch any input channel to any output channel, and even to multiple outputs simultaneously. The routing matrix includes a 256 x 32 summing engine. This combination allows the user to take, for example, a 96 kHz Dante channel on the option card, samplerate convert it to 48 kHz, and output it on the Dante and MADI interfaces of the base unit, and vice versa.
LIVE SOUND: A common issue in live sound is that some desks use 48 kHz sample rate, while others use 96 kHz; the Penta 721s – DNT provides an easy way of interconnecting these. The option section is connected to the 96 kHz desk with up to 64 channels, while the 48 kHz desk is then connected to the main section, either via Dante or MADI, with up to 64 channels. The routing between the main and secondary section is then set up, and even allows the channel sequence to be reordered. Because of the sample rate converter in the Penta 721s – DNT, the two sides do not even need to be synchronized.
RECORDING STUDIO: Recording studios can also benefit from the Penta 721s – DNT. Many recording studios use Dantebased personal monitoring systems. Some personal monitoring systems only operate at 48 kHz, for example, making it difficult—if not impossible— to record at other sample rates. And even if the personal monitoring system supports other sample rates, it can be cumbersome to change the sample rate of all Dante devices.
Inserting the Penta 721s – DNT between the recording converter and the personal monitor system provides a separation between the recording sample rate and the sample rate of the personal monitoring system. This allows the recording to be changed at any time without having to worry about the sample rate of the personal monitor system. In short, it provides a quick and efficient way of interconnecting Dante networks with different clocking and/or sample rates.
NTP Technology North America • www.ntp-us.com