Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, May 6, 2008

other meeting reports

5/6/08 Meeting Highlights
by Nick Kettman

At the May meeting of the Chicago Section, Bradford Benn of Crown International presented on

the topic of digital audio networking. In his role as Business Development Manager at Crown,

Mr. Benn works to define new products, review technologies, and support customers and

consultants. He is also a regular presenter for Syn-Aud-Con, an organization which provides

seminars and practical training in the field of audio and acoustics. Mr. Benn spoke to a group of

approximately 40 audio professionals on the workings of digital audio networks, including

Ethernet protocols, the differences between several popular licensable networks such as

CobraNet and EtherSound, and the use of available network test tools. He also briefly discussed

the differences between CobraNet and AES3, a commonly-used two-channel digital audio



Many common digital audio network technologies use some portion of the existing Ethernet

protocol. For example, both EtherSound and CobraNet utilize the physical and data layers of the

Ethernet stackup, allowing them to operate on existing Ethernet cable installations and network

hardware. Because of certain incompatibilities with existing data networks, however, some

technologies require dedicated Ethernet networks. The various digital audio network

technologies differ in terms of number of channels supported, sampling rates supported, and

minimum latency across a connection. CobraNet, for example, supports up to 64 simultaneous

channels of 20-bit, 48-kHz uncompressed audio with a minimum point to point latency of

1.33ms. In contrast, AES3, which is an open standard, provides a two-channel, one-way



The Chicago Section would like to thank Brenda Brown and Syn-Aud-Con for facilitating this

meeting. Syn-Aud-Con conducts training seminars on topics ranging from sound reinforcement

to digital audio networking. For more information, visit their website:


Brad Benn discusses the common digital audio networking technologies.