Texas university jazzes up with Dante
Thursday, 4 June 2020
danteDante allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network
USA - Stephen F. Austin State University, located on a forested campus in Nacogdoches, Texas, is home to more than more than 13,000 students enrolled in approximately 80 undergraduate majors. In total, the university offers 120 areas of study across its six academic colleges: business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, sciences and mathematics, and liberal and applied arts.
Among the many points of pride within Stephen F. Austin are its music and sound recording technology programme and its school of music’s jazz bands - a pair that has found a harmonious relationship with one another thanks to a powerful Dante network.
“The sound recording programme was started in 2010 with the idea of focusing heavily on the technology that was transforming that space,” says James F. Adams, assistant professor of music and director of sound recording technology at the university. “I was recruited out of Los Angeles in 2016 with the goal of bringing that programme to greater heights. For the past four years I have been lucky to do that, and a big part of it has been thanks to Audinate’s Dante.”
Dante allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network. Adams said he introduced Dante in 2018 after reconnecting with studios he knew back in Los Angeles.
“Everyone I spoke to was recommending it,” Adams continues. “And when we did the conversion, I saw why it had become a de facto technology in the studio world. I loved it immediately.”
Over the past two years, Adams has integrated Dante across multiple studios and stages on campus. Currently, the department utilises a combination of Focusrite Red Net 2s, Focusrite Red Net PcieRs, Focusrite Red Net X2ps, Focusrite Red4s, Berhinger x32 Dante expansion cards, and Dante Virtual Sound Cards across the entire setup.
This workflow powers multiple studios, recording stations, live mix stations, streaming setups, and live performance venues.
Adams said the technology provided an elegant technology solution – but he quickly wanted to take it a step further.
By converting to a Dante-backed audio-over-IP system, Adams was able to significantly alter the workflow so multiple students were actively engaging with the production – allowing for more hands-on educational components and a more robust digital production.
“We took 32 channels from the stage and sent them up to our main studio where I had an instructor teaching students real time stream mixing,” Adams says. “We were producing a studio quality recording independently of what was going on in front of house. That mix is then sent to another RedNet device, where we merge the audio with video. That then goes out streaming to our online audience. Suddenly, our viewers at home were getting a fully produced, like-studio mix down. We can have students at that station learning and managing those assets and running that part, and offer up real assets to the viewers.”
Adams multicast another 32 streams to a second station on campus, where mixing skills are taught in real time.
Adams said front of house is also Dante equipped, and he is working on ways to further involve students in that level of the production.
The campus is looking to expand its production capabilities soon. In addition to the continued development of the recording arts facility, there are plans for a film facility, theatre and dance facilities, and a major performance hall. And through them all, Adams sees a backbone of Dante.
“We will be going with a dedicated network specifically for Dante across these spaces,” Adams says. “The entirety of our facilities and studios will be connected by Dante and Dante-enabled products.”
(Jim Evans)

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