Dante Price + Uses

macsound

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More just wanting to get into a fun project than anything...

Do we know why Dante interfaces are so expensive?
Expensive parts, expensive licensing, low demand?

Essentially I was thinking about playing with wireless speakers on a wireless network using dante, just as an experiment, but at $200 for the in and $200 more for an out, it doesn't make sense for me. I know there's actual digital snakes that are cheaper per channel, but just wondering about the above and what we conjecture the future holds for Dante.
Thanks!
 

MNicolai

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Licensing, low-demand, development R&D costs for making sure your product is compliant, integrating whichever Dante chipset you're using correctly.

Not sure I understand your intent correctly but Dante won't work over WiFi. The latency of streaming audio is measured in pico seconds. WiFi latency is in milliseconds and not stable enough.
 

macsound

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The wifi thing was just an idea for something to play with. Ok if it wont work.

Still interesting that there's no sub $100 hardware because I could imagine wiring a whole school or office building with random xlr connectors everywhere "just in case" but not really feasible at the current pricing but still totally doable with analog cable.
 

themuzicman

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Do we know why Dante interfaces are so expensive?
Expensive parts, expensive licensing, low demand?
All of the above. Limited market, limited scope of usefulness, R&D and other sunk costs, limited upgrade cycles.

Every Dante device you buy is built around a common set of chips made and licensed by Audinate. The Brooklyn II chips for high channel, Broadway for medium, and Ultimo for low channel count. The HC for super high channel count and the Adapter modules for super low channel count. Once you've physically got the chips, you still have to design your product around the chipsets.

I'm sure if it was an open protocol where they released chip specs and manufacturers pressed limited runs of chips off a common spec we'd see lower prices at the expense of more headache on implementation. This is just one set of factors in Dante pricing, but I know the chips used aren't cheap.

You also have to factor in support and software upgrades into the cost of any modern device. You aren't paying for just the device now, but X number of years of software updates. There is going to be some initial overhead cost associated with that product support. I know Yamaha builds 10 years of support and software updates into the cost of their products.

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As for the Sub-$100 hardware in classrooms. Focusrite 2i2's and Dante Via make a compelling argument for a DIY approach to the problem.
 

MNicolai

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@themuzicman, Yamaha's a great example especially when you're talking about investing in a long term solution. They've had 4-5 major firmware updates for their CL/QL consoles since release, each of which was a major new introduction of features. If you bought a 2015-era CL console you've had a lot of extra value added to your system to keep it relevant. In the age of digital transport, manufacturers have a ton of leeway to continually breath new life into existing hardware.

I'd rather have open heart surgery than go through the actual firmware upgrade process -- a complex process of setting IP addresses, flipping DIP switches, pushing files, power-cycling boxes one at a time, and having to step through v3 to update to v4 and onto v5 and such, but they've been a good steward for their customers.
 
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TimMc

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@themuzicman, Yamaha's a great example especially when you're talking about investing in a long term solution. They've had 4-5 major firmware updates for their CL/QL consoles since release, each of which was a major new introduction of features. If you bought a 2015-era CL console you've had a lot of extra value added to your system to keep it relevant. In the age of digital transport, manufacturers have a ton of leeway to continually breath new life into existing hardware.

I'd rather have open heart surgery than go through the actual firmware upgrade process -- a complex process of setting IP addresses, flipping DIP switches, pushing files, power-cycling boxes one at a time, and having to step through v3 to update to v4 and onto v5 and such, but they've been a good steward for their customers.
I'm not yet set my fees for cardio-thoracic procedures but I'll do Yamaha firmware updates for a negotiable charge. :D
 

DrewE

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I'm sure if it was an open protocol where they released chip specs and manufacturers pressed limited runs of chips off a common spec we'd see lower prices at the expense of more headache on implementation. This is just one set of factors in Dante pricing, but I know the chips used aren't cheap.
There's no such thing as an inexpensive limited run of chips. The up-front costs are astounding, and for parts that are not mass-market, quite possibly could dominate the cost of building the chips. A set of semiconductor masks is six or seven figures. Commonly, especially for complex chips, there are design errors in the first set that need to be corrected and one or more additional mask sets produced before volume production can begin. As an analogy, the cost and effort to build a set for a show that plays only one night is about the same as it would be for a show that runs for a week...and if it's an amateur production where that happened to be the main expense, the one-night show would not be more cost effective at all to produce.

If Dante could be handled in software on already existing chipsets (which, at least in the absence of any actual knowledge about the protocol itself, does sound plausible to me), then there would be opportunity for lower cost third-party solutions if the right specifications and legal details were available/worked out/etc.
 

macsound

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There's no such thing as an inexpensive limited run of chips. The up-front costs are astounding, and for parts that are not mass-market, quite possibly could dominate the cost of building the chips. A set of semiconductor masks is six or seven figures. Commonly, especially for complex chips, there are design errors in the first set that need to be corrected and one or more additional mask sets produced before volume production can begin. As an analogy, the cost and effort to build a set for a show that plays only one night is about the same as it would be for a show that runs for a week...and if it's an amateur production where that happened to be the main expense, the one-night show would not be more cost effective at all to produce.

If Dante could be handled in software on already existing chipsets (which, at least in the absence of any actual knowledge about the protocol itself, does sound plausible to me), then there would be opportunity for lower cost third-party solutions if the right specifications and legal details were available/worked out/etc.
As far as I understand, there is no dedicated hardware chip that is needed to make dante work, using the assumption that any Mac can become a virtual soundcard with no added software drivers. So that means all the processing done by Dante within the Mac is something the Mac can already do using the hardware already inside the box. Also assuming the hardware in a Mac that deals with audio and networking are not one of the many Apple made custom chips, creating a standalone Dante interface using the same guts used in any Mac would indeed take advantage of low cost, stock chips.
(Im using a Mac as my example because running Dante Virtual Soundcard on a PC does require drivers and extensions to be installed)
 

FMEng

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It's their technology, and their reputation if a manufacturer's implementation doesn't work reliably. The reason Dante is successfully becoming a standard is because of Audinate's attention to how it has been rolled out, from the very start. The level of support they provide for users and manufacturers costs a lot to do, and its worth every penny.
 

AlexDonkle

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As far as I understand, there is no dedicated hardware chip that is needed to make dante work, using the assumption that any Mac can become a virtual soundcard with no added software drivers. So that means all the processing done by Dante within the Mac is something the Mac can already do using the hardware already inside the box. Also assuming the hardware in a Mac that deals with audio and networking are not one of the many Apple made custom chips, creating a standalone Dante interface using the same guts used in any Mac would indeed take advantage of low cost, stock chips.
(Im using a Mac as my example because running Dante Virtual Soundcard on a PC does require drivers and extensions to be installed)
I'd assume Mac's are using their x86 (Intel) CPU for the conversion, but most PC-on-a-sticks with an x86 CPU wouldn't be much cheaper than $100, and that's without the A/D converters.

An alternative approach to this might be converting from Dante to a different codec with fewer licensing challenges, like the Opus codec seems to be popular with Rasberry Pi users for cool audio over IP projects.
 
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Jay Ashworth

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So, what does Dante run atop?

Layer 0 Category copper?
Layer 1 ETH PHY?
Layer 2 IP?

I'd thought it was the last; we seem to be using the virtual soundcard to talk to a RedNet 1 in our Protools rack, and to Dante cards in our LS9-32, and I see an IP interface there with an address...
 

macsound

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Doing some bad math in my head, but still wondering (in the deep of my mind, not actually questioning business practices) about Dante pricing.
Avio 1 CH Input $99
Avio 2 CH Input $129
TiO 16 Input $800

So assuming the $99 module has enough processing power for 2 channels, the additional $20 is partly to push people to the cheaper model and partly to pay for an additional A/D converter.
Now the Yamaha box, 16 Inputs at $800 is only $50 per channel. Surely there's even less of that $50 per channel that has anything to do with Dante inputs because there are also 8 outputs and a larger rack mounted case that costs money too. Probably some Yamaha proprietary hardware in there too for console controlling and stuff.

Of course Yamaha would produce more chips than someone who doesn't also make audio consoles, but interesting that there isn't the usual plethora of gear using factory second chips or lower quality like happens in every other product line from cheap scissors to cheap cell phones, monitors, solar panels, batteries and cables.

Yes I'm thinking about this in a selfish way because I want more cheap Dante options to play with, but also genuinely wondering why so many companies that are already making Dante stuff but aren't making every possible configuration of this stuff.
 

EdSavoie

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Windsor, ON, Canada
Licensing, low-demand, development R&D costs for making sure your product is compliant, integrating whichever Dante chipset you're using correctly.

Not sure I understand your intent correctly but Dante won't work over WiFi. The latency of streaming audio is measured in pico seconds. WiFi latency is in milliseconds and not stable enough.

InfiniBand anyone?


Seriously though, as for smallish product runs, FPGA is increasingly practical for this kind of thing.
 

KBToys82

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I would love to put Dante on my entire music tech lab, but I'm afraid at how much my school's firewall would interfere. Although right now the entire lab is wireless without any ethernet cable, I doubt the tech people would want a closed off lab with cable and would insist on connecting it to the main server.
 

MNicolai

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I would love to put Dante on my entire music tech lab, but I'm afraid at how much my school's firewall would interfere. Although right now the entire lab is wireless without any ethernet cable, I doubt the tech people would want a closed off lab with cable and would insist on connecting it to the main server.
When there's a church and state requirement, dual NIC's are the way to go. Whether you use WiFi for internet/LAN, and a wired connection for isolated Dante, or you do dual wired connections one for each. I've got several projects where we leave a remote troubleshooting/management PC in place. Throw 3-4 NIC's in it so we can look at Dante, Control, Internet, Q-LAN from one PC via Teamviewer.
 
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TimMc

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I would love to put Dante on my entire music tech lab, but I'm afraid at how much my school's firewall would interfere. Although right now the entire lab is wireless without any ethernet cable, I doubt the tech people would want a closed off lab with cable and would insist on connecting it to the main server.
Dante "doesn't do wireless." Audinate will explicitly tell you that. It's also Bad Practice to use a shared network for both Dante and "regular" network traffic once you get past a couple of Dante streams. This is why Dante traffic is on a dedicated network or sub-net in 99% of systems.
 

KBToys82

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I know about not connecting wireless, what I was saying was I want it to be on a dedicated network, but I doubt the technology department would like that.

I already have a router for my FOH mixer that isn't connected to the network that I'm sure they wouldn't be happy with if they found out.
 

TimMc

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There's another thread here on the forums about a University IT dept having a fit over the Dante traffic (they see the multicast traffic as "rogue") on the theater's networks. They get cranky over stuff they don't understand and, because they're I.T. GODS, you cannot possibly educate them about anything 'network'. :p

Stealth is good - turn off your "router" when you're not using it at rehearsals or shows. If they can't see it on a WiFi scan, it doesn't exist.