Audinate has helped enable the University of Colorado, Denver to streamline audio production workflows, manage student projects, and advance the university’s curriculum thanks to a Dante audio network. Dante and Dante Domain Manager have become integral technologies within the school's Music and Entertainment Industry Studies department (MEIS), which offers a series of programs focused on contemporary music styles, commercial music business, and music production.
"We teach a variety of skills in our recording program designed to help students prepare for careers in the live and recorded music industry, as well as in film and television and sports media, so technology is crucial for us," said Scott Burgess, the manager of recording labs and live sound, and a lecturer for the department of MEIS. "We started using Dante in our department a few years ago to reduce setup times for events, but it's such an important technology that achieving Dante Level-One certification is now part of our curriculum, and we're looking to expand that.
"Our setup times are very limited, so anything we can do to save time is a big deal. So, I got a Dante card for our Soundcraft mixer and a license to Virtual Sound Card, we plug in one network cable, and we're ready to record the event! That's how we started."
The MEIS production team realized quickly that Dante was a big step forward for their workflow, and they began to think of ways to incorporate more audio networking on campus, including using it to connect their six main studios, which are spread across two large buildings.
The CU Denver campus covers a lot of ground, and if the team is asked to put on a show in the Student Center, for example, the ability to jump from the departmental network and onto the campus network is a significant capability. The challenge with making this jump to another subnet, traditionally, was a work order needed to be filed with IT to trigger a process that would eat up the resources of both his department and the IT department. But with Dante Domain Manager, that process is now unnecessary.
"This is where Dante Domain Manager comes into play,” Burgess said. “While it's possible to work with campus IT to put everything on the same subnet, we can more efficiently use Dante Domain Manager to just set up and manage our own domains."
Dante Domain Manager is network management software that enables user authentication, role-based security, and audit capabilities for Dante networks while allowing seamless expansion of Dante systems over any network infrastructure. Dante Domain Manager organizes a network into zones called “domains” that each have individual access requirements, making it clear and easy to know who can access any area of the system. All activity is logged, tagged, and date-stamped so problems can be quickly identified and solved.
"And Dante Domain Manager also means that if we move to a different location, which happens often, we don't have to bother campus IT to reconfigure the network," Burgess said. "We just get into Domain Manager and find the device, or better yet, if the system pulls the same address then we don't have to do anything, which is the glory of Dante."
Over the next few semesters, as part of the expanding networked audio curriculum, the MEIS team has the goal of being able to produce a live concert in a venue anywhere on campus, and then record that band or event from several other rooms at the same time—each with different purposes in mind. The idea is for everyone to grab a mix and then upload them to the server so the teams can compare notes and see how everyone did.
"We're still mulling over all the possibilities, but we're in the middle of implementing a major rewrite to our curriculum, so it's a perfect time for us to explore all the possibilities of the Dante network," Burgess added. "Dante is part of our workflow and infrastructure now, and it's an important part of our curriculum. I've had alums come back and say that that they are really glad we have a focus on networked audio because in the real world, they are up to their ears in Dante, making the experience here very valuable."