California Baptist University: Scaling with Dante to Meet a Huge Range of Audio Networking Needs | Audinate | Dante, Pro AV's Leading Networking Technology

California Baptist University: Scaling with Dante to Meet a Huge Range of Audio Networking Needs

California Baptist University, Riverside, CA United States

California Baptist University (CBU) is one of the top private Christian colleges and universities in Southern California. CBU hosts nearly 11,000 students, offering bachelor's, master's and credential programs at its Riverside, San Bernardino campus as well as through online courses. The 160-acre main campus is comprised of more than 30 buildings featuring the 95,000-square-foot Eugene and Billie Yeager Center, the 270-seat Wallace Theater, and the JoAnn Hawkins Music building—one of the nation's most advanced music production and recording facilities.

A wide variety of AV-network-based sound systems at CBU are used to support all types of presentations, including support for school President and VIP presentations, chapel services, sporting events, and of course, music and arts performances.

Because of these critical uses, the school is continuously looking for ways to easily and securely share and manage audio content throughout the campus, and in turn, improve the student experience. For CBU, the AV solutions turned out to be IT based.

AV done the IT way

The CBU IT team recently helped plan and open the new 5,000-seat, 153,000-square-foot Events Center, and – to keep up with the steadily growing campus – also re-worked and updated many of the school's theaters and performance music systems, including most general speaker systems throughout campus.

Joe Way, Ph.D., CTS, Director of Multimedia and Information Technology Services at CBU, explained that the university now has close to 600 total AV spaces across the campus. Way also said, the critical component to success in setting up these spaces, is Dante by Audinate.

Dante is a complete media networking solution and the de facto standard for digital media networking. Dante distributes uncompressed, multi-channel digital media via standard Ethernet networks, with near-zero latency and perfect synchronization. It enables digital audio distribution via standard Ethernet networks — the same networks used for home or office data networking. In fact, Dante is designed to allow audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network.

Along with unparalleled audio quality, Dante delivers ultra-low latency and near-perfect synchronization. Dante’s intuitive user interface and network management features enable even the most complex networks to be set up and configured quickly and easily, making system integration simple.

"We had a lot of Dante devices in general because we are a big performance school,” Way said. “But using Dante – and especially Dante Domain Manager – across the campus has really made a big difference."

Dante Domain Manager is network management software that enables user authentication, role-based security, and audit capabilities for Dante networks while allowing seamless expansion of Dante systems over any network infrastructure. Dante Domain Manager organizes a network into zones called "domains" that each have individual access requirements, making it clear and easy to know who can access any area of the system. All activity is logged, tagged, and date-stamped so problems can be quickly identified and solved.
The CBU facility has experienced significant growth over the last few years. The campus has a robust fiber network backbone running between every building and every switch, their longest copper run is no more than 100 feet. The high-quality, high-bandwidth infrastructure allows the team to bring a range of systems online. There is also a real-time audio network between the school's main campus and another facility that's six miles away, with zero issues and zero latency.

Currently, Way and his IT Manager, along with a dozen student workers, manage 115 different nodes with Dante Domain Manager. Even with such a comprehensive network there are still more areas to cover. The team's goal is to bring every AV space and every classroom onto the AV network and use Dante Domain Manager to manage everything possible.

Dante AVIO makes is easy to adapt

Way also utilizes more than 100 Dante AVIO adaptors in the school’s audio system. Available for analog input or output, for AES3 and USB conversion, Dante AVIO Adapters allow users to connect their favorite audio gear with any Dante-connected system — delivering the interoperability, performance, and scalability that only networking can bring. Cost-effective and compact, Dante AVIO adapters deliver the network connectivity that every audio pro needs.

"You start realizing, oh we can easily share audio from our multi-track recorder that's in the music department with the sound system in our theater, and even route that content to speakers outside in the patio area," said Way. "AVIO adaptors make it very easy to bring any audio device up on the Dante network."

Way explained that all large performance venues and some lecture halls have installed Yamaha TF series mixers, and that most of their input devices are purchased as Dante enabled, so their most common uses for the AVIO adaptors involves connecting laptops and loudspeakers to the network; including in-ceiling systems or performance-level installed systems or portable speaker systems.

"If a performance group needs audio support in a room or venue that is not wired as a performance area, we usually roll out a Dante-enabled Yamaha TF Series mixer, take the audio onto our network and to a portable speaker system via network adaptors," said Way. "Every room on campus has network ports, so we role in a TF series mixer in the back of the room, plug it into a network wall port there. The front of the room has a wall port that's on the AV LAN as well, so we plug in a stage box and the speakers there. We don't need to run audio cables or a thick cable snake up and down the room, AV networking makes portable or temporary systems simple, clean, and fast."

Dante powers flexibility and potential

Way and the IT department oversee the design and use of all network installations and equipment for the entire campus. But while his team oversees the AV needs for all academic instruction uses, the school also has about a dozen other groups that manage productions, including the School of Music team, an Athletic group, and a Conference and Events team, who all run their own respective events.

"Our really large systems, like the one in our basketball arena, are all Dante enabled as well," said Way. "The arena has a pair of big Dante-enabled Soundcraft mixing consoles, and everything is Dante networked throughout the entire arena building — in the main arena of course, but also all down the hallways and into all overflow areas of the building."

A Dante network even runs through the school's Nursing department to support accreditation requirements, where the department must record all training sessions to show that students are meeting the necessary hours. Every nurse instruction room is multi-track recorded via the network, simultaneously.

"With the AVIO adapters, they're everywhere. We use them in classrooms because they are such an easy way to extend the system," said Way. "We can take any music system and add a whole other layer of functionality just by knocking an adapter on the system."

Way said the versatility of Dante – from the functionality and observability of Dante Domain Manager to the scalability and interoperability offered by AVIO – allows for creative and powerful uses nearly anywhere on campus.

"Once you get your mind around the flexibility and potential of an audio network and what can be accomplished with Dante, it's easy to start finding a long list of uses," said Way.

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