Sound On Sound magazine reviews two of RME’s new MILAN-compatible audio networking devices (MADI / AVB).
There’s no doubt that audio networking is set to become progressively more commonplace in pro audio circles over the next decade.
Whilst the technology presents an additional learning curve for professional engineers, network-capable devices have become increasingly affordable, and the flexibility on offer makes for a particularly inviting solution – for both smaller live and studio setups, as well as large-scale systems for live events and install applications.
RME now offer a number of high-end AVB-equipped devices, taking advantage of everything Audio Video Bridging has to offer – from the overall scalability and flexible channel routing, to the light, low-cost cabling – AVB networking offers a host of attractive features, with integrated clocking and guaranteed network bandwidth, plus low, predictable latency.
In this review from Sound On Sound, Hugh Robjohns tests out RME’s AVB <> USB 3.0 audio interface (the RME Digiface AVB), alongside the 4-channel microphone preamp and MADI/AVB converter, the RME AVB Tool.
RME has added a number of networked-audio products to its range over the past couple of years, which now includes options for high-end multi-channel recording; audio and format conversion; and ADAT, MADI, AVB and Dante interfacing (Mac / PC).
“In RME’s implementation, an AVB connection is capable of passing 128 separate audio channels in each direction,” Hugh writes in the review. “It supports standard, double and quad sample rates; and it guarantees a fixed network latency of typically just 2ms, although in smaller setups it can be configured to be as low as 0.3ms!”
The RME Digiface AVB interface was originally designed for Windows users only, as AVB has actually been available as part of the Mac operating system for a number of years (since Yosemite). In terms of running a stable AVB system however, RME currently deem this implementation somewhat lacking for practical use.
“I was very pleased with how quickly I was able to get everything up and running, after which it felt much the same as using any other RME interface”
As such RME, made the Digiface AVB available for Mac users too, with Hugh writing that it provides “a universal, reliable and convenient AVB network connection for both platforms, hooking into the computer via USB 3.0. It is compatible with Mac OS 10.11 upwards and Windows 7 onwards, and comes with RME’s legendary rock-solid drivers as well as TotalMix low-latency monitoring software for real-time signal mixing and routing, and the very handy Digicheck audio analysis utility software. Usefully, TotalMix can now be remote-controlled via any iOS device, Mac or PC on the same network, or via RME’s own ARC USB hardware remote.”
The AVB Tool is a 4-channel mic pre and MADI <> AVB converter, and like all of RME’s latest offerings features very high quality AD/DA conversion. Of the AVB Tool, Hugh writes “My test-bench measurements using an Audio Precision system faired extremely well, with an AES17 dynamic range figure of 120.4dB (A-weighted), which is very good indeed, and on a par with the likes of Grace Design’s M108 and the Apogee Symphony.”
“RME’s first forays into the format create a very solid
and practical foundation upon which to build”
Using the system (which Hugh also had an RME 12Mic for, with a review planned for the next issue), Hugh says “Setting the whole system up was remarkably straightforward and it didn’t take very long to configure a stable system with 0.3ms latency. RME’s AVDECC controller made it easy to set up the clocking arrangements and establish signal paths between devices, and I was very pleased with how quickly I was able to get everything up and running, after which it felt much the same as using any other RME interface.”
To conclude, Hugh says that he has “no doubt that networked audio, and AVB in particular, will become as commonplace as ADAT for project and professional installations alike, and RME’s first forays into the format create a very solid and practical foundation upon which to build.”
Read the full review here.
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See the full range of RME Audio Networking devices
5 Year Warranty (UK Only)
Over the past 20 years, the word ‘reliability’ has become synonymous with the RME Audio brand, thanks to both the exceptional build quality and the now industry-renowned, rock-solid drivers.
For this reason, we are happy to offer all of our UK customers a complimentary 5 year warranty on all RME products, when purchased either from ourselves, or from one of our authorised UK dealers, and remain the only interface manufacturer to offer this at no extra cost.
To activate your 5 year warranty, simply register your RME device with us within 30 days of purchase via our warranty page.
To ensure you are buying your device from a UK-based retailer, please check our list of authorised UK dealers before purchase.
If you’d like to know more about any of RME’s audio interfaces, soundcards, AD/DA Converters or microphone preamps, give us a call on 01727 821 870 to speak to one of our team or to arrange a demo.
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