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Tecpro over Dante?


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The vast majority of our venue's sound infrastructure has moved over to being Dante-driven in the past few years, but we maintain a few analog XLR lines between FOH and stage purely for sending (Tecpro) comms over.

Is there a good way of converting these lines to the digital realm? We can easily move our stage pickup onto Dante using e.g. a Sonifex DIO9 and AVIO converters, but it seems like to get the actual comms network over there we'd need to move to something like Green-Go, which is a bit more of an endeavour cost-wise.

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19 minutes ago, david.elsbury said:

The audio part is fairly easy. Do you need to signal/call the remote stations? That’s much trickier 

I don't think the audio part is possible either, Tecpro (and all other similar analog comms) is a party-line audio system where a balun circuit is used at each station to both listen from and send to a single (unbalanced) audio line. I don't think that can be done with Dante.

If one end only needs to listen you could take the audio from pin 3 of the comms circuit, digitise it then extract it at the other end, but they wouldn't be able to talk back.

As you suggest, if you cannot run a 2 core screened cable for some reason then something like Green Go or Riedel over IP would be the way you would need to do it.

Edited by timsabre
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4 hours ago, Bryson said:

I think this will do what you need.  Probably not all that cheaply, though:

A quick look online suggests somewhere between 1500 and 1800 Euro each... and presumably a minimum of two are needed? Granted, the existing Tecpro beltpacks and headsets can be retained, but that sort of money takes you possibly into buying a new Green Go system?


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43 minutes ago, cedd said:

Aside from the technical difficulties, personally I'd be keeping my Comms as far away from digital infrastructure as possible. Comms are beautifully simple and with the addition of a cheap UPS, are a nice and robust system that's pretty disaster-resilient. 

Power failure? Comms are still there to discuss the response. Failure of a Dante device? How do you fault find between stage and front of house without Comms? 

If you've already got thr analogue infrastructure in place then sticking with it will prove far more resilient in the future.

I can but agree.

I used to work on conferencing systems and frequently the kit was Gentner, the various units were linked together with cat 5 cable used as 4 pairs (not as ethernet), that offered 3 busses (X, Y, Z) Basically anything could be added to a bus at any/all positions of kit and that mix/minus mix could used at any/all positions. With units used in different locations a bus could easily be used as comms. IE this could be added to the main application with no local output/echo.


IIRC the maximum stated bus lead length between units is ~10m But we'd often used them way over that distance.


However the point is when comms was incuded one could guarantee a problemin the conference (or whatever the system was being used for) would result in loss of comms too.


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We've gone to digital networked comms in 2 of our venues - mostly due to needing more than 4 channels in production weeks and that becoming impractical on the extant analogue infrastructure, though our analogue setup was life expired, so it was a replacement as much as an upgrade.

However, networked comms are vastly more expensive and vastly more complicated. GreenGo is good, but has a huge amount of user configurability - which can be both a blessing and a curse. After a period of hiring in various options, we settled on Clearcom Helixnet which felt better built and easier/faster to reconfigure as needed. To make either work you need someone with good computer network skills - including VLANs, broadcast domains etc. There's also Reidel and others if you want to get further down the rabbit hole.

What do you need from a comms system? If you're doing rock and roll shout - then Glensound do some nice dante comms units, if you're doing theatre comms see above. But equally - if your analogue comms work well for you, what's the advantage of going to Dante? Cedd makes some good points about reliability and redundancy (for our Helixnet that's commercial switches on UPSs).

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Thanks for the advice, all. It was a bit of a thought experiment to be honest – we’ve decided to keep everything comms-related analog for now, but move our stage pickup / induction loop / dressing room feed onto Dante. 

The cost (and complexity) of a system like Green-Go or Bolero is just too much to justify in a small venue!

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