Audio over Ethernet (AoE) in 2016

I have written several earlier on audio over Ethernet technologies. Audio over Ethernet (AoE) is the use of an Ethernet-based network to distribute real-time digital audio. It is designed to replace bulky snake cables and fixed wiring with standard network structured cabling. Most AoE systems use proprietary protocols (at the higher OSI layers) which create data packets and data frames that are transmitted directly onto the Ethernet (layer 2) for efficiency and reduced overhead.

There are several different and incompatible protocols for audio over Ethernet. I have earlier posted about Dante and AVB. I might have mentioned JACK Audio Connection Kit, that is Linux audio API for audio applications to communicate with each other and with audio hardware, and there have been several efforts to provide JACK-over-a-network (for example NETJACK).

In professional audio world there are several proprietary standards widely used for Audio over Ethernet, and also some standards for inter-operation to be made. My posting AVB, Audinate Dante, and AES-67 tried to look at what the situation was few years ago.

Now there is time for update what is happening in this field. Controlgeek blog has an excellent posting AVB and Audinate’s Dante: An Audio Networking Update After Infocomm 2016 that gives view to what is the situation in Audio over Ethernet right now. Live sound market is driven by end users, with manufacturers making decisions like what audio networking protocol to use and then selling us a solution. The continuing success of Audinate and Dante was not hard to see at Infocomm 2016.

Dante so widespread in the live sound market, what about the companies that build their product lines around other solutions? There are people who want a networking connection from Meyer’s AVB world to the larger Dante world (either a Dante interface or AES-67 open standards). Audinate has included AES-67 support in their products for a while, it has been tested but there are still some complications in it (lack of discovery mechanism).

So is AVB dead?  Absolutely not.  Dante is dominating the live sound market, but AVB/TSN is a well engineered solution that has found a home in portions of the live sound market (most notably Meyer Sound, Avid, Pivitech and MOTU). AVB/TSN is finding acceptance in the automotive and industrial markets, and one of the big developments on the AVB front at Infocomm is that Cisco now (finally) has AVB support in some of its higher end switches (some time ago Extreme networks switch with $400 AVB option only AVNU certified switch).

There are also other systems. For example Ravenna is gaining wider use in the broadcast world, but hasn’t crossed over much into the live sound arena. Ravenna is a technology for real-time transport of audio and other media data in IP-based network environments. All protocols and mechanisms used within Ravenna are based on widely deployed and established standards. It has contributed to AES67 standard (compatible with AES67).

And audio will still be audio, so as long as we have something like AES-67, we’ll be good.  With AES67 we now have an open-standard, Layer 3, modern way of getting high quailty audio between networks. AES67 is an interoperability standard which defines guidelines based on which devices belonging to different network technologies or solutions can exchange audio streams with each other. ES67 is very similar to Livewire and Ravenna, it’s just that AES67 doesn’t specify a discovery mechanism. It is multicast with PCM in RTP frames according to the existing RFC, and it seems that VLC can already play AES67 streams (official support is in development wish list).

AES standard of AES-70 standard was mentioned in AVB and Audinate’s Dante: An Audio Networking Update After Infocomm 2016: industrial control manufacturer Beckhoff has gear for it.  Open Control Architecture (OCA) by the Audio Engineering Society was ratified the AES70 standard. OCA (Open Control Architecture) is an open control and monitoring standard for professional audio and AV media network devices. From a single device and controller to networks with almost any number of devices and multiple controllers, OCA provides for powerful, high speed, low cost, robust system control and monitoring of devices from different manufacturers. OCA can be used in conjunction with any available transport protocol (Dante, AVB, AES67, Cobranet, etc.).

More material:

Roland Hemming’s great talk on the state of the audio networking world

A New Direction for AVB: Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) for Industrial Control

Amphe-Dante Dante Adapters

AVB, Audinate Dante, and AES-67: Peering into My Crystal Ball


ISE 2016: AES70 ratification and Beckhoff OCA implementation major themes for OCA Alliance


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Time-sensitive networking and Industrial IoT

    The future of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is built upon the foundation of time-sensitive networking (TSN). IIoT creates a smart system of systems where smarter, hyper-connected devices and infrastructure of manufacturing machines, transportation systems, and the electrical grid will embed sensing, processing, control, and analysis capabilities. Here’s how TSN will help.

    The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) promises a world of smarter, hyper-connected devices and infrastructure where manufacturing machines, transportation systems, and the electrical grid will be outfitted with embedded sensing, processing, control, and analysis capabilities. Once networked together, they’ll create a smart system of systems that shares data between devices across the enterprise and in the cloud.

    Much of today’s network infrastructure is not equipped to handle such time-sensitive data. Many industrial systems and networks were designed according to the Purdue model for control hierarchy in which multiple, rigid bus layers are created and optimized to meet the requirements for specific tasks. Each layer has varying levels of latency, bandwidth, and quality of service, making interoperability challenging and flexibly changing data connections virtually impossible.

    Today on Ethernet networks, there is a need for functions such as quality of service, which we can think about as paying to get onto a toll road.

    TSN provides not only access to a tollway, or an express lane, but along with providing access, the signals along the way are all very tightly coordinated with time. Not only is there the benefit of a priority through the network, but it can actually guarantee end-to-end scheduling, and every light turns green at the right time.

    Certification helps interoperability

    The AVnu Alliance, an industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, in addition to advancements made to TSN, is working with member companies to drive this next-generation standard and create an interoperable ecosystem through certification. Members are working within the Alliance to develop the foundational elements needed for industrial applications based on the common elements of AVB/TSN.

    TSN promises through standard silicon to converge the previously disparate technologies needed for standard Ethernet communication, for deterministic high-speed data transfer, and for high accuracy time synchronization. These developments will create a common foundation that will impact numerous applications and markets ranging from machine control and asset monitoring to test cells and vehicle control.

    The keynote speech by Marek Neumann, “The future of self-driving vehicles and how time-coordinated, networked intelligence will make that future a reality,” offered a compelling view of potential developments involving TSN. There were 27 speakers over the two-day conference across markets and industries.

    “This year’s TSNA Conference was proof that support for TSN is growing at a rapid rate,”

    As IIoT adoption continues, increased amounts of data and widely distributed networks will require new standards for sharing and transferring critical information

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Friday Quiz: Time Sensitive Networks

    TSNs are gaining traction of automotive, industrial IoT, and audio/video applications.

    Time-sensitive networks (TSNs) are moving beyond their legacy pro-audio applications and into applications such as automotive systems, and industrial data-acquisition and control. Additional future applications are sure to follow, such as military and aerospace.

    While many of the TSN standards are already in place, some are still in revision. As reported in Time-Sensitive Networks Find New Applications, the UNH-IOL is adding three TSN testing services (automotive, industrial, and audio/video) to its portfolio.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AES67, AVB and Audinate’s Dante: An Audio Networking Update After Infocomm 2017

    This year, it seems, there’s not a whole lot to write, since there was more of the same, with some exciting directions for the future which I’ll get to in a bit. It was interesting that the AVNU Alliance didn’t have a booth as they did in previous years. From what I can see, as I’ve been detailing here over the years, AVB/TSN has been accepted by some manufacturers in the live sound industry (Meyer, Avid, etc), and it’s holding strong there. But the number of Dante products seems to keep expanding, both in the live sound and install markets.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Audio/Video Systems and Information Security

    The purpose of this thesis was to investigate presentation technology systems
    and theirpotential security holes. Three different areas in audio/video
    were chosen for this. These were Video Conferencing, Audio over Ethernet and IP announcement systems. This study was carried out for Mission Critical Network team of Pöyry Finland Oy.

    Dante AVB/TSN, Ravenna and various other presentation
    technology systems are covered.
    Lastly, IP announcement systems are explained

    The analysis offered some solutions for Video Conferencing systems regarding how to avoid security breaches, but no obvious fix for all situations was found that would be easy to implement.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Audinate’s Dante (and SDVOE?), AVB/TSN and AES67: An Audio Networking Update After Infocomm 2018

    This year, I would describe the state of the A/V networking world to be pretty much the same as last year, with some interesting developments on the horizon. The lion’s share of the products on at the show running audio over ethernet are doing so with Audinate’s Dante; a few (important) companies are running AVB.

    To Watch For the Future: AVB/TSN and Milan

    The biggest A/V networking news at Infocomm was the announcement of “Milan”, a new effort to help with AVB inter-operability. They had a roll out at Infocomm, but I was not invited–I only found out about it at all because I was hanging out talking to friends on the d&b stand.

    What is Milan?

    The AVNU Milan website describes it this way:

    AVB is an open standard that each manufacturer can use in their own implementation, but device interoperability isn’t guaranteed without certification. Avnu Alliance compliance testing and certification is ideal for network infrastructure switches and ensures interoperability at the network layer, but doesn’t outline specification requirements for the application layer such as media formats, media clocking, and etc. It doesn’t assure interoperability amongst Pro AV end devices. Milan does.

    Effective inter-operability was a goal of AVB from the beginning.

    What Will Milan Offer?

    In the section titled benefits for “AV System End Users” (who are listed fourth after Manufacturers, AV Managers, and IT Managers), the Milan white paper gives us the following:

    * Milan fulfills expectations for real plug-and-play net-work setup and functionality. Network structures don’t require setup or complicated switch configuration tasks.
    * Networks as signal and control transport structures becomes easy, fast to set up and reliable. Users can concentrate on their creative tasks.

    Neither of these things is true today in AVB systems, where real, practical multi-manufacturer inter-operability exists only in limited ways.

    Who Developed Milan and Why?

    This part of the whitepaper really felt condescending to me, and seems to have been written by a bunch of very smart people who haven’t really done their market research to see what people are actually doing today in the field (or the text was fluffed up by a very competitive marketing person):

    Milan is the result of 18 months of close collaboration amongst direct competitors including AudioScience, Avid, Biamp, d&b audiotechnik, L-Acoustics, Luminex and Meyer Sound. Milan was created by the technical experts designing the systems and driving product roadmaps to impress upon other manufacturers the importance of this technical transition for the future of their business.

    SDVOE Over Dante?

    The world of video over Ethernet is still a bit like the wild west. One really interesting proof of concept on the show floor was Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVOE) implemented by Audinate into Dante. They were doing presentations and had a working proof of concept system; I saw it patch video right through Dante controller, which is very cool.

    We’ve been seeing SDVOE development boards and so on for years, but when you see Dante controller patch video, even in prototype form, then it seems like a real thing.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #96 – Sound Devices 970 64-Track Dante Recorder First Look

    we’re looking at the Sound Devices 970 recorder.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #100 – Sound Devices MD-4 Dante Audio Interface: First Look

    2018-08-03 – In this video we’re taking an close look at the Sound Devices MD-4 Dante Audio Interface.

    #105 – Audinate AVIO Dante Audio Adapter: First Look & Review

    The Audinate AVIO Dante adapters are a new, low cost addition to the Audinate line up. Check out how they can help you grow your Dante network for very little upfront cost. -2018-08-29 @DcSoundOp

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #117 – PreSonus NSB 16.8 StageBox Teardown & Review

    In this weeks video we do a full teardown of the new PreSonus NSB16.8 AVB Networked Stage Box. We take a look at what they are made of and how they work in the StudioLive Series 3 Eco System. 2018-12-12

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #117 – PreSonus NSB 16.8 StageBox Teardown & Review

    In this weeks video we do a full teardown of the new PreSonus NSB16.8 AVB Networked Stage Box. We take a look at what they are made of and how they work in the StudioLive Series 3 Eco System. 2018-12-12

    #112 – PreSonus StudioLive Series 3 In-Depth System Review Ep. 1

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Audio over ethernet. AVB or Dante?


    Open is NOT a good thing when you want reliability and repeatability. Look at PC (open) vs Mac (closed), or iOS (Even more closed and compare reliability. Dante is open enough that it has wide support from 1000′s of manufacturers and devices. Personally, I wouldn’t want it to be so open that it has the potential for unreliability or problems.

    The IEEE standard is available for purchase as a document to enable compliance but no product needs to send a license fee to IEEE to use the protocol. It is, by contrast, necessary to pay a license fee to Audinate for each physical interface created using the Dante protocol. Every Dante product you purchase supports a price burden to put the Dante technology in the product.
    Linux is open source, IEEE is an open interface, Dante is a closed source and closed interface. Reliability of open vs closed is a heated argument that nobody wins.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Comments from

    Dante is a very option for Audio over Ethernet, yet there are many others you can use such as Waves’ SoundGrid, EtherSound or even AES50.
    But Dante is by far the most adopted and useful protocol!

    And for those that think that AVB is ‘catching on’ its been around for years and still seems to retain its back seat networking protocol. I am not surprised.

    However, I am still persevering with AVB currently (I also have Dante on other equipment) and will decide over the next month or so to either keep it all working on a PC or throw out the AVB and NEVER go back.

    Dante protocol. For your application ( A small network with 3-4 devices and 1 switch) you could have latency as low as 250 microseconds. If you scaled into a larger application your latency would be 1ms, which is beyond human comprehension.

    Plus, Dante only requires the switch to “snoop” packages when in multicast mode. Dante is usually in Unicast mode

    These unicast setups don’t require the switch to decide where packages go. This is why Dante can work with unmanaged network switches.

    Finally, the applications that Audinate makes for Dante are much better than the products made for the AVB protocol. For instance, Dante via and Dante Virtual Soundcard. These pieces of software are super powerful and can really Up the game of any studio or live production.

    I tried AVB before I went to DANTE… I found that one manufacturer’s AVB wouldn’t work with another manufacturer’s and when they did work they were very error -ridden. Dante worked flawlessly from the start. I have 32 analog i/o, 64 MADI i/o , 2 macs, 2 win10, NAS, and a server all running on the same network with low latency and zero errors. All on cat 5 through a $100 off-the-shelf router from Office max…….DANTE may be a licensed system but sometimes you don’t get what you don’t pay for!

    traditional pcie interfaces/dsp cards(uad) with properly written drivers tend to have the best latency, 2nd place is thunderbolt/usbc, 3rd place is usb3.0 and earlier. this is just in general

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Getting Started with Dante: 1. Dante Overview

    First in our 8-part series on Getting Started with Dante:
    - Moving from analog to digital networking
    - Working with Dante products from multiple manufacturers
    - Dante performance
    - Basic network equipment requirements for Dante
    - Basic networking knowledge and Dante

    Getting Started with Dante: 2. A Simple Dante Network

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #129 – Talking Networking in Pro Audio w/ John Huntington pt.1

    #130 – Part 2 – Talking Networking in Pro Audio w/ John Huntington

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Neutrik DLINE & DPRO PoE Dante Audio Network Interface – Second Look

    In this video we’re talking a second look at the Neutrik Dante DPRO & DLINE Dante interfaces.

    These are a both rugged 2×2 Dante audio network interfaces, with a ton of mounting options for any situation. You can rack them, hang them or toss them out on stage like a like a drop snake.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ethernet Audio
    Everything You Need To Know About Audio-Over-IP

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    X32/M32 AES50 Cable Type and Length (Public)

    00:00 Intro
    04:26 Test setup
    05:35 Cable lengths AES50
    07:00 Stability and AES50 pairs used
    07:40 Tone test 100M Cat7 inducing failure
    09:46 Long cable runs and AES50
    13:10 Dirty RJ45 and crimping
    14:24 Outro

    Viewer comments:

    I came to the exact same conclusion as you did after doing 300+ shows from stadiums to clubs and bars with these. I couldn’t find a pattern at all with what worked and what didn’t. After a couple random drop outs at some festivals, I decided to run my own cable wherever possible. I would use one of your purple supercat 60m cat5e and carried an extra 15m one with a neutrik ethercon coupler when I needed that slight extra bit of length. 95% of the time 60m was plenty, but the times I needed the extra length, I never had an issue with the 60m + 15m. I did try a 75m +15m purple supercat once and I will say that did not work at all.

    Any time I’ve had issues with AES50 it always has come down to bad cable certification, especially with crosstalk failure. I would shoot them with a fluke tester and they would fail cat5e certification. As soon as we fixed cable lengths or fixed cable quality we would get stability back. Not everyone has access to a expensive cable certifier though.

    Hey Dave, Thank you for all the wise lessons you have taught over the course of these video’s. As an owner of a x32 compact i consider them very helpful. I have been pondering on buying a dante expansion card for more compatibility whenever i am somewhere else, but i was always wondering about the overhead of TCP/IP on the audio signal, as it makes the package a lot bigger than necessary and it needs to be encapsulated, transported and then decapsulated. I would really like to see a test on any audio board and see the latency delta between a signal on a local bus and that same signal on a dante bus. plus maybe an input on dante to the board and then output on dante again. maybe even compare that to the latency in AES50 in the same setup. Again, thank you for the great content and wise lessons.

    For short runs, aes50 is stable and has low latency. If you are running a long run, the need for ultra low latency tends to be loss likely

    Why do we need a latency of leads that 12″ when the source is 300 feet away? Do we really care if there is 2bor 3 feet more latency when the source is 200 feet from us and 20 or 30 feet from the stage?

    So do long runs, the added latency of dante may not be a concern for many applications with longer runs especially when the added stability and muting rather than popping on errors is desirable

    makes sense when saying it like that. I was concerned with timing of tap delays for instance but come to think about it, as they have the same latency as the original signal it makes no difference at all. Thnx for another lesson.

    Use headphones for tap delays, as the distance sound travels almost always exceeds the latency by huge amonts

    I’m switching my stage to a DL32 stage box from a worn out (20+ years old) analog snake. I think my run is about 30 meters and I’m using Cat7 with braided shielding running through protected conduit from M32 to Stage. I’m hoping that will be stable. I had thought about some longer runs through the building for mixing overflows, but I think now I’ll do that with Dante.
    Data is a vastly different animal to analog. The shielding and twisted pairs have to be maintained entirely from one end to the other. I use copper tape to connect the shielding and make sure the pairs are somewhat maintained in the connector when terminating. All these pieces add to the stability of data cable. AES50 doesn’t seem to have the same level of error correction as most other network transport protocols do.

    Careful recommending cable beyond Cat-5e. One issue with AES-50 is the interpair slew, which is allowed to be bigger with the newer cables to allow different twist patterns for better performance. That does not cause a problem with EIA-568 networking, but it can misalign things enough in AES-50 to really become a problem.

    Interesting. With the supercat sound cable, when working on the design, I went with the same twist rate on all pairs as the crosstalks was so much lower with individually shielded pairs than with the overall shield.

    It’s not just the twist in the pairs that’s at play here – it’s how the pairs are twisted around each other. Do you have test gear which can measure skew? (Note I said slew above, skew is what I meant; “Propagation Delay Skew” or “Time Delay Skew”). The video guys bump into this sometimes, too, when pushing HDMI over distance. Going by memory – and please don’t trust my memory – Cat-6 allows 50ns skew at 100m (and typical measured is 25ns) but Cat-5e typically has no skew at all. 100-base-T doesn’t care at all about skew, because pairs aren’t used together, but AES-50 is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Note that the cable industry purposefully introduces skew because it helps with FeXT. I wish I knew what the allowable skew was for AES-50.

    Another thing that has me scratching by head is – what happens with consoles/boxes with ground offsets – there will be a higher potential difference with long cables using higher resistance shield material. Not sure why that would matter, but these consoles seem to be really picky about having an identical ground reference. I would love to find a problematic 100m stagebox install and a 100m power cord from the console to the stage box…and see if that fixes it…

    As far as the ground issue in my tests, the consoles are right next to each other and grounded to the same power on short cords and there are issues.

    Perhaps there are more issues possible with remotely located consoles but even plugged into the same ground, the issues exceed what I believe is acceptable for a 100m spec

    I have always used 50 meter max and never had any issues at that length.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dante, AES 50, AVB and all that: What audio networking format is right for you?

    Audio Networking is becoming an increasingly important part of live and studio setups. But what’s the difference between all the networking formats? Do you know your Dante from your AVB? And which networking format should you choose? Grab a coffee and let us guide you through the maze of audio networking protocols.

    If you’ve worked with or looked into network audio, it’s inevitable you’ll have come across Dante. Introduced around the mid-noughties, Dante has almost become the generic trade term for networked audio. Importantly, Dante is the only network system with which you could build a complete system from microphone to mixing console, to speaker system wholly on a single audio network.

    Runs over standard Ethernet network
    Greatest support of any audio networking format
    Best prospects for long-term support
    The “Industry-Standard” for mid to high-end pro audio
    Dante-equipped hardware is expensive due to licensing costs
    Dante control software not easy to use with many stages of “certification” for those wishing to master the technology

    Audio Video Bridging or AVB is another audio networking format you’re likely to have heard of. An open-source format under the designation of IEEE 1722, you may also have come across it branded as Milan in pro audio systems. AVB has many similarities with Dante in that it’s a way of sending network audio over an Ethernet network. Well, when we say Ethernet network, there are some caveats

    Theoretically lower latency than Dante thanks to time-sensitive networking
    Lower cost as an open-source format
    AVB hardware compatible with existing Ethernet cabling and architecture
    Requires AVB certified Ethernet switches and hardware
    Low industry takeup and uncertain future in pro-audio

    When is an audio network not an audio network? Answer: when it’s AES50! AES50 is an open-source audio networking format for multi-channel audio carried over regular CAT5 networking cable. Now, strictly speaking, AES50 isn’t an audio networking format as it’s inherently a point-to-point connection protocol. Think about a mixing desk connected to a stage box; that’s a classic point-to-point setup.

    We’re including AES50 here as it’s one of the most commonly found ways of connecting multichannel audio gear over CAT5 cable. AES50 is also used extensively by Midas and Behringer, with consoles such as the X32, M32 and Wing offering Dante networking solutions. As a result of those desk’s ubiquity, you’re likely to encounter AES50 in most modern live venues and project studios.

    Remember we said AES50 isn’t an audio network format? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t create an audio network based around AES50. AES50 can be networked using specialised routers via centralised “star network’ topologies. It’s also possible to buy interfacing solutions to connect your AES50 gear to Dante networked hardware for example.

    Music Group’s adoption and inclusion of AES50 has assured it a strong place in the live sound industry. We expect this open-source format to remain as the default connection for interconnecting consoles and stage boxes, for example.

    Extremely low (practically nil) latency in operation
    Low cost as an open-source format
    Ubiquity thanks to Music Group adoption (X32, M32 ,Wing)
    Can be interfaced and networked with Dante via 3rd party hardware
    Doesn’t natively support networking
    Requires specialised hardware to create an audio network

    Other Proprietary Formats
    You might be reading this and shouting at the screen, “But my mixing desk doesn’t use any of those networking formats!” Yes, there are audio networking formats aside from those we’ve already mentioned. Worthy of note are Allen & Heath’s gigaACE, and Waves Sound Grid which you’ll find on DigiCo, Yamaha and even Allen & Heath desks! There are also some older legacy formats such as CobraNet which is the granddaddy of audio networking formats.

    What Networking Format Should I Choose?
    Ultimately, your choice of networking format will be governed by budget, application and to some extent the mixing console you feel most comfortable with. Dante offers the only networking format which can be supported cross-platform. It seems almost every manufacturer is offering Dante plug-in cards or native Dante support nowadays making it a “future-proof” solution.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What is AES50?
    AES50 is an Audio Engineering Society open standard defining the bidirectional. transmission of multichannel digital audio over 100 Mbit/s CAT 5/5e cable. AES50-2005. AES standard for digital audio engineering – High resolution multi-channel audio interconnection (HRMAI).

    AES50 – Applications in Live Concert Sound

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AES50 (SuperMAC)
    • 100 Mbit/s over CAT5/CAT5e copper cable (100 metres)
    • 24 bidirectional channels @ 96 kHz (48 bidirectional channels @ 48 kHz)
    • Latency per link = 6 Samples (62.50 μs) @ 96 kHz (3 Samples (62.50 μs) @ 48 kHz)
    • 5 Mbit/s Ethernet auxiliary data channel

    AES50 (and HyperMAC) take a very different approach to IP-based audio systems.
    • They use the physical layer only of the Ethernet technology – the cables and transceivers
    at each end.
    • There is no need to send and decode complex header information (required for Ethernet
    Packets) because the link is only designed to send audio data from Point to Point, not
    generic computer data across the Internet.
    • Audio samples are be streamed continuously using Ethernet Frames to achieve a far more
    efficient use of the available bandwidth that IP-based solutions can physically offer.

    AES50 Performance
    • 100 Mbit/s over CAT5/CAT5e copper cable (100 metres)
    • 24 bidirectional channels @ 96 kHz
    • 48 bidirectional channels @ 48 kHz
    • Latency per link = 6 Samples (62.50 μs) @ 96 kHz
    3 Samples (62.50 μs) @ 48 kHz
    • 5 Mbit/s Ethernet auxiliary data channel
    All of the Above – All of the Time!

    AES50 is ideally suited to Live Concert Sound applications, as it simultaneously provides:-
    • High Channel Count
    • Ultra-low and Deterministic Latency
    • Accurate Phase-Aligned Low-Jitter Clock Distribution
    • Single cable Bidirectional Interconnection for Audio and Sample Clocks
    • Minimal Configuration – Ease of Deployment and Use
    • Comprehensive Error Detection and Correction
    • Redundant Networking Capability

    Keeping transmission latency to an absolute minimum is critical with the increased
    adoption of in-ear monitoring.
    • The delay that a vocalist experiences between singing a note and hearing it in their
    earpieces cannot be perceptibly greater than the time it takes for the sound to be
    physically transmitted from their mouth to their ears
    • Even for latencies below which a time delay cannot be consciously identified, the effect
    can be disturbing and performances will be impaired, e.g. between 3 – 5 ms
    Completely deterministic transmission latency and clock distribution means that
    precise phase alignment between many different channels can be guaranteed.
    • When a large number of microphones are being used on stage in close proximity to each
    other, such as on a drum kit where a certain amount of spill is inevitable, a clear and
    coherent stereo image is presented in the Front Of House mix that the audience hears

    The total system latency in a Midas XL8 digital console system from microphone to in-ear monitor is
    therefore less than 1.60 ms, well below latencies identified by vocalists as problematic (3 – 5 ms)

    AES50 has two forms of error detection and correction:-
    • A Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) checksum is calculated at the transmitting end of the
    link and sent with the corresponding Ethernet frames.
    • A robust Hamming Code Forward Error Correction scheme that allows individual bit errors
    to be corrected at the receiving end of the link.
    AES50 also “scrambles” the audio data in such a way that adjacent bits relate to different
    samples, which allows burst errors to be fully corrected.
    • This means that a poor quality link (due to a bad cable or external interference) can be
    detected by the receiver, while still passing perfect audio.

    AES50 uses the four pairs of Cat 5/5e cable as follows:-
    1 – Audio data transmit +
    2 – Audio data transmit –
    3 – Audio data receive +
    4 – Sync signal transmit +
    5 – Sync signal transmit –
    6 – Audio data receive –
    7 – Sync signal receive +
    8 – Sync signal receive –
    • Separate copper pairs in the Cat 5/Cat 5e cable for audio data and clock connections allows reliable,
    phase-accurate, low-jitter clocks to be delivered to the end-points of the system.
    • Clock synchronisation is very simple to configure, units equipped with AES50 interfaces are either
    Master (internally clocked) or Slave (externally clocked)
    All that is necessary to create an operational audio network is to connect up the AES50 interfaces and
    select the Clock Source (Internal/External) for each unit

    AES50 Network Topology
    • Whilst AES50 is inherently a point-to-point connection, the used of specialised cross-point
    routers enables the creation of audio networks in a Star topology.
    • This approach offers robust, low-latency and deterministic latency audio routing, with the
    benefits of a true packet-switched network for the control data.
    • Star topology is centralised, not distributed, giving:-
    – Better latency control,
    – Better reliability
    – Finer routing granularity

    AES50 easily supports the implementation of redundant networks.
    • Reporting of Error and Link status information such as:-
    – CRC error detection
    – Clock synchronization status,
    – Link status
    makes it very easy to provide AES50 link health reporting to the user, and to implement
    redundant links with manual or automatic change-over.
    • Dual Redundant and N+1 Redundant Networks are supported

    N+1 Redundancy – Example
    N+1 redundant networking can be implemented as follows:
    • Three 96 kHz AES50 connections can support a maximum of 72 Inputs and 72 Outputs, and a
    fourth AES50 connection provided for N+1 Redundancy.
    • The three active AES50 connections are identified as A, B and C, independent of the physical
    AES50 ports 1-4.
    • The AES50 Router knows that an AES50 peripheral unit is connected, and changeover to
    redundant spare is automatic, for example:-
    – Router sees cable C fail (e.g. loss of sync)
    – Router un-maps existing C connection, maps C to redundant spare
    – Router sends Ethernet Control Data message to peripheral unit via A, B and C with new mapping

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AES50—Applications in Live Sound

    AES50 is ideally suited to the live concert environment, simultaneously offering high channel counts, low and deterministic latency and ease of deployment and use. The built in error-detection, forward error correction and support for redundant operation provide for a rugged and reliable solution for networked live sound. An overview of AES50 and its relation to the proprietary Klark Teknik SuperMAC and HyperMAC technologies is presented. Examples of applications in live concert sound reinforcement are given, along with the considerations involved in interfacing to other audio network formats, including clock domain management and support for network redundancy.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AES50-2011 (r.2017): AES standard for digital audio engineering – High-resolution multi-channel audio interconnection

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Utilizing Digital Stage Boxes for Portable Church Application (Part 1 of 2)

    Drew Brashler of stops by MUSIC Group Studios to demonstrate how to setup Digital Stage Boxes for portable Church applications with the X32 Digital Console. This section covers connecting the X32 to the SD8/SD16 Digital Stage Boxes using a shielded CAT5 cable.

    Utilizing Digital Stage Boxes for Portable Church Application (Part 2 of 2)

    Drew Brashler of stops by MUSIC Group Studios to demonstrate how to setup Digital Stage Boxes for portable Church applications with the X32 Digital Console. In this section we cover routing signal to your digital stage boxes.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Understanding Digital Stageboxes

    Learn about analogue and digital stage boxes, the difference between them, how to connect them and practical uses for both

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Behringer X32 – AES50 Digital Snake Cable Build – EtherCon Connector

    NOTE: Behringer does now state that this cable needs to be a grounded Cat5E cable. You can find this requirement in the manual for the S-16 on page 6. The build process of the EtherCon connector is still the same for a shielded or non-shielded cable. If you are purchasing a network cable for your use with a digital snake, please find a shielded cat5 cable.

    Today I am showing you guys how to build a robust ethernet cable for use with the Behringer X32 AES50 Digital Snake.

    Once built you can employ this for use in connecting your Behringer X32 mixer to another X32 for use with a monitor console setup, or with connecting your Behringer X32 with the Behringer S16 stage box (not released yet when this video was made).

    The EtherCon connector used is the Neutrik NE8MC-B.

    Note: the P16′s do not use an EtherCon type connection, only a normal Ethernet connection. Only the AES50 uses the EtherCon type connection, however a normal ethernet cable will connect into an EtherCon connection, just it is not as robust.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Milan: Networked AV System Architecture

    Created and maintained by Pro Audio market leaders in the Avnu Alliance®, Milan™ is a standards-based deterministic network protocol for real time media. Milan Certification assures devices will work together for maximum convenience, reliability, and functionality.

    Milan: Deterministic Network Protocol for Professional Media

    Seamless Interoperability Amongst Devices

    Every device will connect with any other device using a variety of agreed-upon formats and market-required definitions in the protocol. Milan adds essential agreements about the implementation of TSN technology, including requirements for compatible and compliant media formats, media-clocking, redundancy, and controller software, while ensuring those requirements are implemented correctly through compliance testing and certification of end devices.
    Milan is not just enabling network connectivity; it is the grid to build on for the future.

    Guaranteed and Easy-to-Use, Every Time

    Milan’s deterministic network assures on-time, reliable delivery that can co-exist with other Ethernet traffic without risk of drop-outs or degradation of media. Milan is also highly scalable and flexible, with no switch configuration or IT expertise required, along with enhanced time alignment features to make both setup and use of Milan devices a breeze. And because Milan works with any Avnu-certified switch, end users have a broad, certified interoperable ecosystem of devices to choose from.
    Milan brings both technical and usage benefits to any end user.

    Designed for Evolution

    Avnu Alliance and the members who created Milan are committed to supporting it for future products and long-lasting implementations. Milan is built on IEEE open standards, allowing more hardware options and supporting any type of media – now and for generations to come.
    Milan is an evolving, long-term, viable, and durable network.

    For the Industry, by the Industry

    Created by the best audio manufacturers in the world, in deep cooperation with other industries such as automotive and industrial, Milan creates a link between the AV, IT and silicon industries. The live sound industry’s top engineers and strategic thinkers built Milan to be the network for a fully converged future.
    Milan is the technical AND business decision for the leaders in live sound.

    Milan device certification guarantees interoperability between Milan devices and any Avnu-Certified switches.

    Avnu Alliance members can submit audio end products for Milan Certification testing through the Milan Advanced Certification Program.

    The Milan Advanced Certification Program is the first of its kind in the AV industry: an open, third-party, independent certification for real-time media networking, now advanced for a more streamlined user experience.

    Manufacturers can quickly and easily implement Milan in their products using Milan-Certified audio modules.

    Currently available from Avnu member and Milan supporter Neutrik, Milan-certified audio modules can be implemented in any audio end device from single loudspeakers, amplifiers, microphones, audio embedders & de-embedders to complex multichannel mixing decks and multi-port conferencing systems.

    Milan Modules and Milan Associate Membership offer a simple, cost-effective pathway to developing and certifying Milan devices.

    Learn more about The Neutrik Milan-certified module MINEA on the Neutrik website.


    MINEA is a 2×2 stream Milan-certified audio module. It’s a ready-to-go solution that allows manufacturers in the Pro Audio market to quickly and easily implement Milan into their products, from single loudspeakers, amplifiers, microphones, audio embedders & de-embedders to complex multichannel mixing desks and multi-port conferencing systems.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dante Audio Networking | Worship Ministry Setup

    In this video, Jake gives you all the essentials you need to get the Dante Protocol up and running at your church. Dante is an awesome tool that allows you to route all of your audio through ethernet cabling instead of analog interfaces.

    As other commenters have pointed out, make sure you get a business-grade network switch that is managed and you can disable EEE.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Atem TV Studio with Dante and PP7

    This is just a quick run through of how we use PP7 and the Dante network with our Livestream Production.

    Using an old laptop with plugins as hardware inserts over Dante

    Upgrading your system is a constant necessity in the recording studio world. You don’t always have to say goodbye to plugins that no longer work with your new system! This workflow uses Dante, to set up an old laptop running plugins as hardware inserts in Pro Tools.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dante Network Audio: What is it? And how can I use it?

    A primer on Dante networked audio (audio over IP). I’ll go over what Dante is, show some Dante hardware, route audio over a network, and talk about other similar standards.

    00:00 Introduction
    03:59 Dante Equipment Examples
    04:43 Dante AVIO Adapters
    06:17 Dante Virtual Soundcard
    09:31 Yamaha TF Series and other mixers
    12:50 Yamaha Tio1608-D stage box
    14:58 Dante Controller software
    17:55 Dante flows
    23:22 Dante Via
    25:50 Dante for Intercoms
    28:09 Alternative technologies
    30:04 Incompatible equipment
    30:38 AES67
    31:26 Dante over WiFi
    32:04 Wrap-up

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Getting Started with Dante: 1. Dante Overview

    First in our 8-part series on Getting Started with Dante:
    - Moving from analog to digital networking
    - Working with Dante products from multiple manufacturers
    - Dante performance
    - Basic network equipment requirements for Dante
    - Basic networking knowledge and Dante

    Getting Started with Dante: 2. A Simple Dante Network

    2nd in our 8-part series on Getting Started with Dante:
    – Creating a basic network with Dante devices and a network switch
    – Discovery of Dante devices
    – Routing signals with Dante Controller
    – Auto-reconnect of subscriptions between power cycles

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Roland Hemming Consulting’s Latest Networked Audio Device Count and a Quick Milan/Dante Update

    I’ve been writing about networked audio regularly since 2009; you can read the whole series of posts here and here.

    Roland Hemming’s consulting firm has been surveying the networked audio market for many years. Their 2021 report languished in my to-do folder, but you can read it here. And they have now released the 2022 report, which you can read here.

    Not surprisingly, Audinate’s Dante has continued its steady march forward in adoption and products:

    Networked Audio Products 2022
    The most comprehensive networked AV product research ever

    We are strict about the things we count. People have claimed that all sorts of items are compliant with a protocol. However, we have not included network switches, remote controls, cables or accessories. We only count networked AV products.

    Of the AVoIP transport protocols there are 109 products that support at least two of AVB, Dante, Livewire, Livewire+, RAVENNA, SDVoE or Wheatnet.

    Dante – audio – 3,301 products

    Dante remains by far the dominant audio networking technology with an order of magnitude more products and more manufacturers using Audinate’s technology than anyone else.

    They added 472 new products in the past 12 months. That’s two new products every working day. This is more growth than all other protocols combined.

    AES67 – approx 3,000 compatible products

    Our totals for AES67 compatible products work across Dante, RAVENNA, Livewire+, Wheatnet and a few that are ‘raw’ AES67 compatible. We can’t be entirely confident of the AES67 total because not all Dante solutions support AES67 and we don’t precisely know how Dante has been adopted into every product. We are working to get better information on that. However, the vast majority of AES67 products achieve that compatibility using Dante.

    RAVENNA – 259 products

    AVB – 87 products of which 24 are MILAN compliant

    The AVnu Alliance has stopped publishing AVB and MILAN products on their website. The increase in AVB this year is because we now count all AVB devices, whereas since 2016 we only counted certified products. With the advent of MILAN, they effectively have become the certified AVB products.
    MILAN itself increases with some new products and some existing AVB products becoming MILAN-certified.

    Livewire+ and Wheatnet (& Gibraltar) 26 and 56 products respectively

    These are protocols used only by their creators but both are AES67 compliant.

    LiveWire – 22 products

    The original non-AES67 version of Livewire is still in use.


    We stopped counting Cobranet products two years ago. We’ve recently heard that Cirrus are taking orders to make one final batch of chips and then that will be that.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What is Milan?

    Let’s be clear, Milan is an improvement. For those wishing to use AVB, Milan will offer features to improve connectivity.

    Milan is not a new standard. AVB is still there underneath.

    AVB is an IEEE standard and provides precise synchronisation of data across a network. With AVB, at the point of sending a packet of data, you know when it is going to arrive at its destination. This is what they mean by deterministic. This can be a huge benefit for people like us working in audio and video.

    Furthermore, AVB divides the network bandwidth into media and other streams, guaranteeing bandwidth for media, whilst still allowing other data to pass through. You could consider this an advanced QoS.

    Since it is an IEEE standard, AVB is free and open if you have the ability to adopt it into your products, and there’s no license cost. RAVENNA and AES67 can also be adopted license-free.

    With AVB, RAVENNA and AES67 there are also companies who can help manufacturers with implementation or provide ready-made cards. With Dante, it’s a single vendor route, normally with their ready-made cards.

    In many ways we have been wrong to compare AVB with Dante and RAVENNA. AVB is an underlying technology, whereas Dante and RAVENNA are protocols – solutions if you like.

    Currently, if you connect two AVB audio devices together there is no guarantee that they will pass audio between them. Indeed, there are proprietary implementations using AVB between a single manufacturer’s products.

    Milan provides audio companies with some rules to ensure that audio streams will be understood by the receiving device. This is similar to RAVENNA in that it creates profiles.

    RAVENNA can support a huge number of profiles with very many options depending on what you are trying to do with your audio. One RAVENNA profile is AES67.

    If you want to think in those terms, then Dante I suppose has multiple profiles – 48Khz, 96Khz and 192Khz. One option is AES67 mode, allowing you to send AES67 compliant streams. Dante offers users fewer options in an effort to keep things simple.

    Milan has one compulsory profile and two optional ones for manufacturers to adopt – very simple indeed.

    Milan gives guidelines to ensure connectivity between Milan compliant products. Milan is an agreement between some Avnu members on how to do things with AVB. It is not a formal standard like AVB itself, but set of rules that they have decided upon for how to use the AVB standard within Pro AV.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Atomos Ninja Video Recorder modified to do Dante Audio!?

    In this video we’re adding a Dante Avio adapter to a ATOMOS Ninja Flame video recorder to make it more flexible. Instead of constantly looking for adapters to get into it’s 3.5mm audio input, and re-configuring form mono to stereo by running an additional cable, we can do that all now with Dante.

    A single CAT5 cable is all that is connected to the recorder for audio now, and we’ll look at making this a more permanent solution by moving the Dante chip inside the Ninja in the future. Let me know if you’ve got questions below.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mackie Big Knob Passive teardown & demo with audio samples

    The Mackie Big Knob Passive is a simple studio monitor controller, but how well does it work? We go through this one and try out all of the feature, with audio examples so you can listen along and judge for yourself.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    + Simple AV Control Concepts
    + Overcoming Challenges at Carnegie Mellon University
    + Wireless Communication: The First Line
    of Defense for Schools and First Responders
    Volume 41, Number 3
    July/August/September 2020

    Distribution of audio and video signals over data networks, also known as AV
    over IP (AVoIP) or networked AV, potentially offers significant benefits for pro
    AV systems integrators and end users. Compared to traditional systems for AV
    distribution, networked AV systems can be designed with virtually unrestricted
    scalability and flexibility, in addition to the convenience and cost efficiency
    of standard data networks. The benefits of AVoIP can especially be realized
    in large installations for enterprises and other organizations.


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