Text:/ Christopher Holder
This is an interesting move from Audinate. It’d be a little like Intel marketing its own mini PC. Ah, hang on.
But the point remains, Audinate’s core business is selling Dante chips. And has done a remarkably solid job of it. Dante is easily the world’s preferred means of getting digital audio from A to B via an IP network. As far as I can tell, this is Audinate’s first foray into making a Dante-based product. And, prima facie, AVIO looks like powerful disincentive to other partner companies to make similar products… after all, how could they be price competitive when Audinate manufactures the chips? As a punter, I’m not so concerned. Bring it on. AVIO is a potential life saver.
WHAT IS AVIO?
What is AVIO? It’s a range of converter ‘dongles’ that allow equipment that doesn’t talk Dante to join a Dante network. All your AVIO device needs is a squirt of PoE and it shows up on your Dante network.
The most instantly, got-to-have-that, members of the AVIO family are the Analogue Input and Output adapters. Each is available in one- or two-channel versions.
Practically what these sons of guns can do is lasso a legacy device, like a favourite analogue console or a keyboard instrument, directly into your Dante network. Got a boutique compressor or EQ you simply can’t do without? Then you can use an AVIO Analog Input and Output dongle to access their old-school goodness.
Or, you might be working in an equipment room and want to monitor audio from your Dante network. Easy, take an AVIO Analog Output adapter, plug it into a PoE network port and plug the other end into a powered monitor. Or, you might want to feed a portable powered PA to cater to an overflow space. The possibilities are endless. You can probably instantly think of half a dozen ways AVIO Analog will save you time and hassle.
The only question I had: how soon will a minijack version of AVIO Analog be available?
ANY OL’ PC
The Dante AVIO AES3/EBU Adapter has stereo input and output breakout cables, to easily accommodate gear using that digital standard, or indeed entire parallel setups or studios based on AES/EBU.
Finally, the Dante AVIO USB Adapter is perfect for dropping any ol’ PC onto a Dante network without any additional software (such as Dante Virtual Soundcard). AV techs will love this. You can now easily create an audio drop-point for laptops in conference settings — no need to reconfigure your Dante network for different computers. Got a punter who hands you a phone for music playback? If you can’t (or don’t want to) accommodate it on the mixing console, then no problems, just plug the AVIO USB into a phone camera adapter-style dongle and you’re good to inject music into the network.
These Dante AVIO network adapters will immediately be standard issue in every AV tech’s gig bag, along with a multimeter, XLR sex changers, etc. The price is keen enough to get one of each. You just never know when AVIO will save your skin.
Audinate has been adding AES67 support to its chipsets, and in a product like AVIO, this kind of compatibility is especially powerful. (AES67 is a technical standard for audio over IP and audio over ethernet interoperability.) It means the AVIO family has the ability to send audio streams to other non-Dante products that use the AES67 standard (like Ravenna and QLAN). Clearly, it’s the QLAN/Q-SYS compatibility that’s of most interest to the commercial AV community and is a significant AVIO drawcard.
Corsair Solutions: (03) 9005 9861 or www.corsairsolutions.com.au