New Dante AVIO Profit Should Be Earmarked to Help Their Partners – Not Go to Audinate’s Bottom Line

Last week, Audinate introduced the Dante AVIO series of endpoint adapters that enable legacy analog and digital audio equipment to be networked to the Dante system. Starting at $129, the Dante AVIO series features six new adapters including line-in and line-out analog adapters, a bi-directional AES3/EBU adapter and a bi-directional stereo USB adapter.

Each Dante AVIO adapter acts as a completely independent Dante network device, allowing legacy gear to be networked. These devices transmit uncompressed audio streams over long distances without the noise and ground issues common to analog connections. Being part of a Dante system also allows for mostly unlimited scalability while providing low latency and easy configuration. Dante AVIO adapters enable audio professionals to extend the value of their non-networked equipment, making it interoperable with any of the more than 1250 Dante-enabled products on the market.

The Dante AVIO Analog adapters are available as dedicated inputs or outputs with one or two channels of audio. Analog input adapters allow mixers, mic preamps, stage DIs and more to connect to a Dante audio network, while analog output adapters are perfect for driving amplifiers, powered speakers or recorders. Long runs of noisy analog cable can be eliminated and all signal routes are managed via Dante Controller software.

The Dante AVIO USB adapter connects any computer to a Dante audio network without additional software, providing class-complaint stereo input and output that can be used by any audio application. Ideal for presentations and conference rooms, the Dante AVIO USB adapter may be passed between computers without altering networked audio connections.

The Dante AVIO AES3 adapter provides stereo input and output, preserving investments in AES3-connected DSPs, mixers, compressors, preamps and more. Any AES3 device may be fully connected to any Dante network with no degradation of signal due to extraneous D/A and A/D conversion.

But, is this a good idea? According to Audinate’s website, by the end of 2016, the number of brands licensing Dante technology had reached nearly 350. Over 950 Dante-enabled products representing 159 brands were on the market. Before the Dante AVIO, Audinate was in the business of selling Dante as a “standard” via their chip technology but now they’re selling and FGI (finished goods inventory) product – effectively competing with their own 350+ partners, who are paying Audinate to add Dante gear to their lines. I reached out to Audinate and the CEO, Lee Ellison, got back to me Friday and said that the reason they did this was because none of their partners had done it. He explained that they believed that these adapter products will help everyone. When I asked him if he thought it was competitive to their partner’s offerings, he said no and he claimed he hadn’t heard from any of their partners since launching them. Ellison claimed to me that no one seems concerned except me.

Well, I think there may be a potential ethical issue with the AVIO line as they are selling adapters, for profit, while also selling a recognized “standard” in Dante that nearly everyone has adopted.

I really like these adapters and happen to agree they are needed. But, I challenge Audinate to consider donating ALL the profit of them back onto partner marketing of the Dante standard or into better education about the idea of networked audio. That way, ALL 350+ partners benefit from these adapters.

Audinate is here.