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Dante Price + Uses

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by macsound, May 16, 2019 at 1:57 PM.

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  1. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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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!
     
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  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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  3. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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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.
     
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  4. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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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.
     
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  5. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    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.

    ----
    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.
     
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  6. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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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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  7. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    I'm not yet set my fees for cardio-thoracic procedures but I'll do Yamaha firmware updates for a negotiable charge. :D
     
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  8. DrewE

    DrewE Member

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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.
     
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  9. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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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)
     
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  10. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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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.
     
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  11. AlexDonkle

    AlexDonkle Active Member

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    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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  12. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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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...
     
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  13. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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