X-Dante Setup, Part 1

For such a prolific product as Behringer’s X32 console, there isn’t much online information about using it with a Dante network. Basically, I had to stumble along and figure out what worked best for my needs. Let me say at the outset that I may have done things completely wrong and there may be a better way. Realizing this to be the case, please feel free to contact me via email and share your opinion.  For now, I am not going to open the site to comments, like a blog. This may change in the future.

Why Dante?

Good question. I own a Soundcraft Ghost recording console. I want to use this console for tracking in Reaper, and use the X32 for mixing (and also as an outboard FX device while tracking). Having both consoles on a Dante network allows point-to-point routing of everything on the network.  I will document that aspect when I get to it.

But really, Dante is the only way to go, as you’ll see in this video below:

 

Background

First, some background on my studio and how I use it (very useful for gauging relevance):

My studio is private and used for my own music and live streaming production with regard to recording, while being open to public mixing projects (tracks shared over a cloud-based service).  I never record more than 2 tracks at a time (a stereo pair) because I am a solo artist and I can only play one thing at a time. For more specific background, please see this article.

Virtually every piece of equipment I own is MIDI compatible, and I have a MIDI hub and use MIDITrix software to patch MIDI I/O.

My computer is a general purpose msi brand WindTop (I don’t name them) 27″ touchscreen AIO form factor.  I did not want to purpose build a new machine until I fully explored the capabilities of Dante. The msi features a Core i7 processor, plus 2GB of video RAM and an Nvidia GPU.  I am using the Ethernet port on the machine exclusivive for the Dante network as I use wi-fi for my Internet connection.

Setup

There are widely available videos and instructions on installing the X-Dante card. I found installation to be extremely straightforward and took less than 5 minutes.  What follows may not be as widely known.

The X-Dante card features a built-in network switch that connects the 2 ports together.  Depending upon the need, a second, redundant network can be created using the Secondary port on the card.  If the redundant network is not required, the 2 ports can be connected through a software setting (details below) which allows pass-through.

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Not requiring a redundant network, I wanted to use the secondary port to connect to the Ethernet control port on my X-32 so I could control the console over the same network as the audio:

Connecting the network in this way allows Ethernet control of the X32, including X32-Edit, and of course, X32ReaperAutoMate.  However, in order for this to work properly, I had to enable this function in the Dante Controller app.  I connected a Cat5e cable from the X-Dante Secondary port to the Ethernet port on the X32 as shown in the example illustration above (highlighted block). The Primary cable goes to my Dante network (my PC’s Ethernet port). Later, after I connected and configured the network, I changed the setting under Dante Redundancy to Switched as shown below.

Please note that the control connection to the X32 will be 100 Mbps. The Primary connection to your Dante network must be a high speed 1Gbps (or greater) connection.

I setup the network as recommended by Audinate in their videos. There are a number of excellent videos that show how to make “subscriptions” for connections between Dante transmitters and receivers, so I won’t go into detail about that. It was all quite straightforward.  However, there are some things I want to share about how I setup the Dante Virtual Soundcard and what settings I settled on and with what results. I will give those details in the next article.

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