Our guide to the Dante compatible Harman product range
Share email twitter linkedin facebook

Our guide to the Dante compatible Harman product range

We are living in a digital world and even the diehard analogue fans must admit there are distinct benefits to switching from analogue to a completely digital audio transport system. 

There are many advantages, such as: not being bound by a single signal type per cable, having to connect every single output to an input physically with heavy expensive cable. With digital transmission systems all the data travels over an ethernet cable and multiple types of data (control and audio) can travel on the same wire.

There are a number of digital audio transmission protocols on the market such as Cobranet, AVB, AES67, Dante and our own BLU link. These all work in different ways, have different licensing costs involved and therefore have widely varying market shares in the industry. One of the most prevalent current digital audio transmission protocols is Dante which uses Audio over IP (AoIP) and therefore allows it to pass through switches and hubs. This makes it very easy to add to existing corporate installs so saves on a dedicated cabling/install costs. Another benefit of Dante is that it can transport audio as well as video (a relatively recent addition). Dante is a licensed technology from Audinate, this in many cases does add to cost and as such is why manufacturers often have their own digital transfer systems such as HARMAN’s BLU link which doesn’t have any additional costs involved.

HARMAN BLU Link is a high-bandwidth, low-latency fault tolerant digital audio bus of up to 256 channels that can be used as a standalone technology or used as a complement to Dante, AES67, AVB, and CobraNet. The only real drawback with BLU Link is that due to the fact it contains no IP data it can’t pass through switches so requires a dedicated network/subnet. This means that if you wanted to connect one part of a site with another 200 meters away using just BLU link you would need to have a direct link between the devices. This would in practise mean using fibre or at least one additional BLU device in the ethernet cable chain to boost the signal (max ethernet cable length is 100m). Using a 3rd party protocol allows data transfer over networks, this is why we usually specify a hybrid system for larger installs and due to its popularity, the option next to BLU link is usually Dante.

Typical Dante setup with BLU Link Bridge

HARMAN Professional have an ever increasing portfolio of brands that can interface with Dante such as: Soundcraft mixing desks, BSS signal processors, AKG wireless mic systems and Crown networked amplifiers - allowing you to network your entire install from source to speakers.

Soundcraft Vi Series Mixing Consoles

The Soundcraft Vi1000/2000/3000 models all come with Dante built in. The other digital mixing desks and stage boxes from Soundcraft have optional cards that allow you to send and receive channels over a Dante network. You can get Dante cards for the Si- and Vi-series mixers as well as for the Vi stage box and compact stage box.

BSS BLU Dante Interfaces

BSS is an open architecture DSP platform from Harman and the current generation of processors can interface with Dante in several ways. These are the BLU806-DA signal processor, the BLU326-DA I/O expander and the BLU-DA BLU link-Dante interface. The BLU806 and BLU326 offer direct connection to the Dante network and are often used in larger install’s that require the processing power, advance monitoring and EN54 compliance the 806 offers. The BLU-DA acts as a monitorable bridge that allows you to connect any BLU link device to a Dante network, these are fantastic as part of a larger 806 deployment where you have BLU-Link rings per amps rack, a central 806 handling the DSP and BLU-DAN’s in any remote racks covering the site wide connections. This means that if you needed to upgrade your existing install to a larger system involving Dante all you’d need would be the BLU-DA. The BLU-DA also allows you to integrate the fixed I/O BLU devices (BLU-100/BLU-101/BLU-102/BLU-103/BLU-50) into a Dante network if you don’t need the full capabilities of a BLU-806.

Crown DCi-Series Amplifiers

The flagship Crown DCi-series install amplifiers, as well as the analogue and networked iterations, also come in the Dante (-DA) version. This line consists of 4 and 8 channel amps namely the DCi4 300DA, DCi4 600DA, DCi4 1250DA, DCi8 300DA and the DCi8 600DA and allow you to interface directly with the amp via Dante. The large channel count is perfect for large installs that typically call for Dante networked systems. The ability to power low-Z, high-Z and the range of 300W per channel to 2500W on a bridged pair of channels allows for the deployment of these amplifiers in virtually any application.

AKG Wireless Mic Systems

As mentioned at the start Harmans microphone brand AKG have a Dante option as well. The DSR800 is a fantastic way of adding wireless radio mics to a distributed Dante system. With direct output onto the Dante network (as well as local analogue outputs) these 1U two channel receivers can offer a solution for small 2 mic setups all the way to larger deployments fed direct to the network. Imagine a press room, you are amplifying the microphones live but also can open up the Dante feed to press to get their own copy for broadcast. These are also great for Corporate and education venues that require smaller 2 channel systems distributed throughout a building but fed to a central source or DSP. The DSR800 series can be used with handhelds and belt packs and offers a range of accessories for antenna distribution, charging etc. That along with it’s graphic spectrum analyser (giving a clear overview of radio frequency activity) make the DSR800 a very handy tool for any install project

In Summary

Digital is the future and with more devices becoming connected every day it is good to know that HARMAN have you covered. If you have any queries about digital transmission protocols, Dante, BLU link or any other sound system design needs our Application Team is on hand to help you out.