Meeting Topic: Network Audio Systems — A Primer on the State of the Art
Moderator Name: Blair Francey, Alan Clayton
Speaker Name: Patrick Killianey — Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems; Kevin Gross -- Independent Engineering Consultant; Warren Cooper — Audio-Technica; Norm Verrall — HHB; Morton Lave -- TC Applied Technologies.
Other business or activities at the meeting: No other business was discussed.
Meeting Location: Ryerson University: Oakham House, Tecumseh Room — 63 Gould Street -- Toronto, ON
Blair welcomed everyone to the meeting. With one exception, Blair Francey introduced each of the day's presenters. The entire day went smoothly and free of any problems.
Transmitting audio and video is being increasingly done over networks, in particular Ethernet, LANs and IP based WANs. This day-long event provided an overview of data networking and explored the latest developments in methods, protocols, standards, and applications of networked audio.
In the first session, entitled Network Fundamentals, Patrick Killaney's presentation offered a primer on networking, and included topics of IP Address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, Reserved LAN Ranges, Router Basics, DNS and Automatic IP Configuration (DHCP and Link Local). He began by discussing a typical generic home network setup. Understanding this helps to understanding networked audio. Patrick's presentation will actually be available as a full video online. He answered brief questions after his presentation.
Committee member Alan Clayton introduced Kevin Gross. Kevin's presentation was a history of digital audio networking. He examined early audio network technology that has led to the current state of the art. Some of the specific networking technologies covered included: VoIP, CobraNet, MaGIC, Ethersound, A-Net, AES47, Livewire, AES50, ACIP, Dante, AVB, Q-LAN, and RAVENNA. He concluded with a more in depth look at AES67 which focuses on high quality audio, interoperability, existing standards and respect for existing systems. Based on the 'network effect', adoption should increase at a rapid pace.
Patrick Killianey returned to discuss High Performance Audio Networks. The current collection of networked audio platforms benefit from higher network speeds and take advantage of networking standards brought to prominence by VoIP phones and streaming technologies. He discussed how these network enhancements operate and the benefits they bring. He framed this entire presentation within the Dante protocol using an actual system to demonstrate the principles described. Key elements included delivery methods TCP and UDP, packet prioritization using QoS, and distribution protocols such as Unicast, Broadcast, Multicast and IGMP Snooping. He took more questions at the end of his talk.
After lunch, Warren Cooper gave a presentation was entitled Dante for Musicians. Dante is a combination of software, hardware, and network protocols that deliver uncompressed, multi-channel, low-latency digital audio over a standard Ethernet network. His presentation focused on how musicians can best take advantage the technology. He also went over a list of companies that have brought out Dante related products.
Norm Verrall, with the assistance of Dave Miesner, both of HHB Canada, discussed how Ravenna and Masscore technology have greatly increased the PC's ability to handle multiple low-latency audio streams. He used the DAW programs Reaper and Pyramix to showcase how the Ravenna system works.
The next presentation was by Morton Lave of TC Applied Technologies. He provided an overview of The Open Control Architecture (OCA). OCA is a standards initiative currently being worked on in the AES X210 task group. It's a protocol for sound system control. He discussed several examples how the protocol can be used such as worship service, bar bands, etc., as well as examples of what can be controlled. He also discussed media stream connection management and device discovery. During development of the standard, Morton stated it was one of the most collaborative and productive situations he's ever worked on. He fielded questions from the audience afterwards.
Patrick Killianey and Kevin Gross closed the day-long event answering questions. Patrick demonstrated how to 'guesstimate' network bandwidth. Kevin went over different scenarios analyzing possible problems and solutions.
Blair thanked all the presenters at the end of the day. He presented all of them with Toronto AES certificates of appreciation and souvenir coffee mugs.