Studio Technologies launched the new Model 5421 Dante Intercom Engine, a Dante Audio-over-IP (AoIP) party-line intercom solution for up to 16 users. It incorporates an intercom-specific Auto Mix algorithm that optimizes party-line audio quality and reduces ambient interference from open mics. The compact half-rack enclosure is intended for use with Studio Technologies’ 370-series of Dante-enabled intercom belt packs.
Traditional analog party-line intercom systems, where users can both talk and listen simultaneously in designated production groups, typically require an extensive and dedicated cable infrastructure and often suffer from a high noise floor and poor voice intelligibility. According to Studio Technologies, the company solved these issues by moving party-line comms to a simple Dante-based, AES67 and Dante Domain Manger-compatible, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) solution that uses a standard Ethernet local-area-network (LAN).
The Model 5421 requires only a single RJ45 Ethernet connection for both data and power with minimal set-up via Studio Technologies’ STController software. Its FPGA-based (field-programmable gate array) mix-minus matrix creates a party-line system for up to 16 users. The audio engine can be divided into one of five group configurations, ranging from a single 16-user group to four groups of four users. The belt pack’s bidirectional (four-wire) Dante audio paths are easily configured by routing transmit (output) and receive (input) pairs to the Model 5421 using the Dante Controller software application.
The Model 5421 is compatible with all Dante-compatible intercom belt packs, including the single-talk/dual listen Model 372A and Model 373A from Studio Technologies. These belt-pack units allow both professional and “gaming” headsets to be utilized. By supporting Dante, the Model 5421 can also be integrated into applications that use other audio devices, including mixing consoles, user stations and matrix intercom systems.
When the Auto Mix function is activated, the Model 5421 employs a digital-audio algorithm specifically designed for enhanced party-line audio performance. The process automatically adjusts the level of each user’s contribution to a group mix based on an analysis of every input. The result is a balanced group mix combined with a reduction of low-level ambiance from open but unused mic sources connected to the group. Party-line intelligibility is significantly improved, helping to ensure that vital live production communications and cues aren’t missed.
The Model 5421 hardware features a single GigE RJ45 Ethernet interface for connection to a PoE-port on a standard Ethernet switch. A USB type A connector is available for firmware updates, and LED status indicators provide Ethernet network and Dante status monitoring. A rackmount installation kit is also available, allowing one or two Model 5421 units to mounted in one space (1U) of a standard 19-inch rack enclosure.