Dante Audio Networking Injects New Life to Sojourn Church

Sep 2015

Dante improves audio quality and flexibility, while minimizing integration time and labor costs

PORTLAND, OR – September 21, 2015 – Schoolhouse Audio-Visual, a Plano, Texas based systems design and integration firm, has brought new life to nearby Sojourn Church, by integrating Dante network from Audinate. Since launching the state of the art network, the 950-seat church has significantly elevated its routing flexibility and audio quality, pleasing everyone from parishioners to clergy and the church band.

Schoolhouse Audio-Visual was first hired to repair existing loudspeakers, and soon discovered that Sojourn Church wanted to bring a number of disparate audio components into a common system. For Blair McNair, systems project manager at Schoolhouse Audio-Visual, the choice was simple.

“Dante is the first and only networking system I have looked at to date that really makes sense out of the box,” said McNair. “When looking at this project, it immediately dawned on me that I can incorporate wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, consoles and front-of-house signal processing all on one network. With somewhere over 210 major manufacturers across a diverse set of markets already jumping on board, it makes me confident that Dante will be around for a long time. I am really excited about how it simplifies our world and unified the ability to transport audio to anywhere you need it to go”.

Upon evaluating the existing legacy systems, McNair recommended retaining an existing Digico console, and adding a Focusrite RedNet6 interface to bring MADI channels into the Dante environment (and vice versa). The signals progress from there into an Aviom D-800 Dante system for signal distribution, which can deliver up to 64 audio channels to in-ear monitors for the church band; a BSS Audio Soundweb processor for delivery to loudspeakers; and a Dante Virtual Soundcard for multitrack recording.

According to McNair, the biggest benefits of the transition are exceptionally low latency, reduced labor costs and ease of scalability to other locations.

“My choice has always been to stay in the digital domain as much as possible,” said McNair. “We keep the full bitrate count by staying digital, which lowers system noise, increases headroom, and keeps the latency very low; as compared to transitioning back and forth from digital to analog and vice versa several times. For live sound, if the audio is three or four milliseconds delayed, the musicians feel that – especially the drummers. Dante reduced the latency down to one millisecond at the most, in this application, and that’s over the entire network.  Latency has always been an especially difficult challenge with in-ear monitors. Dante solves all of these problems, and is the first system to truly deliver a digital transport system with a wide channel count and without the latency penalty usually encountered in these systems. The band was absolutely thrilled when we launched this system.”

The Schoolhouse Audio-Visual team also reaped the benefits of Dante’s time-saving attributes, eliminating the labor-intensive process of preparing and running multicore cable bundles across the infrastructure. McNair estimates they saved several days of labor, noting that the Dante network was simpler to deploy over a couple of easily installed Cat6 cables.

“What I appreciate about Dante is that they give you more time to think through how to best handle the network, instead of messing with a soldering iron and a crimper,” said McNair. “The terminations are easy, and with just two off-the-shelf switches to add the wiring portion of the project was completed very quickly. Once I got the network cable connected to the various devices, it was just a matter of mapping them out in the Dante Controller software. Everything goes where you want it to go, and it’s a huge operational benefit to shift everything to one network.”

For Sojourn Church, the ability to easily expand the Dante network is especially attractive as they begin to upgrade other rooms, which include a fellowship hall and a youth room. McNair notes that if either of these rooms were needed for overflow, it’s as simple as bringing the house or record mix onto the Dante network, with some Cat5 connections running to each room.

For McNair, the proposition of using Dante for other projects is exciting for him and the greater Schoolhouse Audio-Visual team. This includes the prospect of specifying Dante Via software into his projects, which he sees as a huge value proposition for his customer base.

“The ability to pick up audio with Via from an off-the-shelf workstation and network that with other workstations throughout the building is an amazing proposition for shipping audio around to end users,” said McNair. “Now, with Dante Via, Dante becomes this post-production backbone as well. Once you are finished with the worship service, you can share audio with the video production team, the youth center, and so on. The possibilities are endless, and it almost seems too easy.”