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California Baptist University: Scaling with Dante to Meet a Huge Range of Audio Networking Needs

California Baptist University, Riverside, CA United States

California Baptist University (CBU) is one of the top private Christian colleges and universities in Southern California. CBU hosts nearly 11,000 students, offering bachelor’s, master’s and credential programs at its Riverside, San Bernardino campus as well as through online courses. The 160-acre main campus is comprised of more than 30 buildings featuring the 95,000-square-foot Eugene and Billie Yeager Center, the 270-seat Wallace Theater, and the JoAnn Hawkins Music building—one of the nation’s most advanced music production and recording facilities.

A wide variety of AV-network-based sound systems at CBU are used to
support all types of presentations, including support for school
President and VIP presentations, chapel services, sporting events, and
of course, music and arts performances.

Because of these critical uses, the school is continuously looking for ways to easily and securely share and manage audio content throughout the campus, and in turn, improve the student experience. For CBU, the AV solutions turned out to be IT based.

AV done the IT way

The CBU IT team recently helped plan and open the new 5,000-seat,
153,000-square-foot Events Center, and – to keep up with the steadily
growing campus – also re-worked and updated many of the school’s
theaters and performance music systems, including most general speaker
systems throughout campus.

Joe Way, Ph.D., CTS, Director of Multimedia and Information
Technology Services at CBU, explained that the university now has close
to 600 total AV spaces across the campus. Way also said, the critical
component to success in setting up these spaces, is Dante by Audinate.

Dante is a complete media networking solution and the de facto
standard for digital media networking. Dante distributes uncompressed,
multi-channel digital media via standard Ethernet networks, with
near-zero latency and perfect synchronization. It enables digital audio
distribution via standard Ethernet networks — the same networks used for
home or office data networking. In fact, Dante is designed to allow
audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same

Along with unparalleled audio quality, Dante delivers ultra-low
latency and near-perfect synchronization. Dante’s intuitive user
interface and network management features enable even the most complex
networks to be set up and configured quickly and easily, making system
integration simple.

“We had a lot of Dante devices in general because we are a big
performance school,” Way said. “But using Dante – and especially Dante
Domain Manager – across the campus has really made a big difference.”

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.
The CBU facility has experienced significant growth over the last few
years. The campus has a robust fiber network backbone running between
every building and every switch, their longest copper run is no more
than 100 feet. The high-quality, high-bandwidth infrastructure allows
the team to bring a range of systems online. There is also a real-time
audio network between the school’s main campus and another facility
that’s six miles away, with zero issues and zero latency.

Currently, Way and his IT Manager, along with a dozen student
workers, manage 115 different nodes with Dante Domain Manager. Even with
such a comprehensive network there are still more areas to cover. The
team’s goal is to bring every AV space and every classroom onto the AV
network and use Dante Domain Manager to manage everything possible.

Dante AVIO makes is easy to adapt

Way also utilizes more than 100 Dante AVIO adaptors in the school’s
audio system. Available for analog input or output, for AES3 and USB
conversion, Dante AVIO Adapters allow users to connect their favorite
audio gear with any Dante-connected system — delivering the
interoperability, performance, and scalability that only networking can
bring. Cost-effective and compact, Dante AVIO adapters deliver the
network connectivity that every audio pro needs.

“You start realizing, oh we can easily share audio from our
multi-track recorder that’s in the music department with the sound
system in our theater, and even route that content to speakers outside
in the patio area,” said Way. “AVIO adaptors make it very easy to bring
any audio device up on the Dante network.”

Way explained that all large performance venues and some lecture
halls have installed Yamaha TF series mixers, and that most of their
input devices are purchased as Dante enabled, so their most common uses
for the AVIO adaptors involves connecting laptops and loudspeakers to
the network; including in-ceiling systems or performance-level installed
systems or portable speaker systems.

“If a performance group needs audio support in a room or venue that
is not wired as a performance area, we usually roll out a Dante-enabled
Yamaha TF Series mixer, take the audio onto our network and to a
portable speaker system via network adaptors,” said Way. “Every room on
campus has network ports, so we role in a TF series mixer in the back of
the room, plug it into a network wall port there. The front of the room
has a wall port that’s on the AV LAN as well, so we plug in a stage box
and the speakers there. We don’t need to run audio cables or a thick
cable snake up and down the room, AV networking makes portable or
temporary systems simple, clean, and fast.”

Dante powers flexibility and potential

Way and the IT department oversee the design and use of all network
installations and equipment for the entire campus. But while his team
oversees the AV needs for all academic instruction uses, the school also
has about a dozen other groups that manage productions, including the
School of Music team, an Athletic group, and a Conference and Events
team, who all run their own respective events.

“Our really large systems, like the one in our basketball arena, are
all Dante enabled as well,” said Way. “The arena has a pair of big
Dante-enabled Soundcraft mixing consoles, and everything is Dante
networked throughout the entire arena building — in the main arena of
course, but also all down the hallways and into all overflow areas of
the building.”

A Dante network even runs through the school’s Nursing department to
support accreditation requirements, where the department must record all
training sessions to show that students are meeting the necessary
hours. Every nurse instruction room is multi-track recorded via the
network, simultaneously.

“With the AVIO adapters, they’re everywhere. We use them in
classrooms because they are such an easy way to extend the system,” said
Way. “We can take any music system and add a whole other layer of
functionality just by knocking an adapter on the system.”

Way said the versatility of Dante – from the functionality and
observability of Dante Domain Manager to the scalability and
interoperability offered by AVIO – allows for creative and powerful uses
nearly anywhere on campus.

“Once you get your mind around the flexibility and potential of an audio network and what can be accomplished with Dante, it’s easy to start finding a long list of uses,” said Way.

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11:00 AM PDT | 2:00 PM EDT

Find out how Dante Domain Manager has increased efficiency, reduced costs and increased uptime of AV networks in real-world use cases of Dante Domain Manager in educational institutions.

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