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Salt Lake City High School Leverages Dante Networking for Multi-use Auditoriums

West Jordan High School, Salt Lake City, UT United States

West Jordan High School, a public institution located southwest of Salt Lake City, has vastly increased audio quality and optimized flexibility in its main auditorium with a new multi-vendor Dante audio networked solution from Audinate.  Since installing the Dante network, West Jordan High School has enhanced the way it can produce musical concerts, public assemblies and special events for its guests and more than 2,000-strong student body, which includes the largest choir program of any Utah public school.

West Jordan High School sought a way to improve sound through a manageable system that offered optimal flexibility for configuration across varied events. BNA Consulting, a Salt Lake City-based electrical engineering and system design firm, designed the Dante network with the goal of allowing all networked components to be located virtually anywhere within the auditorium using strategically placed data drops. Since Dante is IP based, Jordan High School can quickly reconfigure the network as needed, providing maximum flexibility. With Dante’s plug and play one-click signal routing, it is easy enough for the mainly student-run AV staff to operate.  

Jaime Verhaal, Audiovisual Designer at BNA Consulting, oversaw the project and chose Dante in part because it’s the ideal choice for networked audio systems that require many inputs.  This was the case at West Jordan High School, where Dante accommodates 48 inputs across 32 floating channels within the large auditorium. Verhaal adds that Dante offers exceptional value when sending signals long distances, thanks to very low latency that is imperceptible to West Jordan High School audiences during live events.

“The main benefit of the Dante network is its flexibility to configure and reconfigure networks easily; and that it pays for itself rather quickly,” Verhaal said. “Dante saves us a lot of time during set up and it uses less digital signal processing power, which saved the high school a significant amount of money. The design took just two weeks to implement and the school now has a system that will perform at a high level forever.”  

Verhaal and his team designed a networked audio system employing six Attero Tech Dante I/O wall plates, 12 wireless mics and a CD player. The wireless mics and CD player integrate with a Lectrosonics Aspen DSP audio processing unit, which outputs Dante audio into a Soundcraft mixing console for live production.  

“The school’s A/V staff now has the ability to move their mixing console around the auditorium to different spots and still operate it seamlessly over the Dante network,” said Verhaal. “As installed by (Utah-based systems integrator) Performance Audio, the ability to establish control over multi-room venues with Dante ensures the school will never be locked into any one configuration.”

The Dante routing architecture runs over commercial off-the-shelf network switches, eliminating the need to purchase expensive, proprietary switches and keeping total cost of ownership very low. As a result, West Jordan High School benefits from Dante’s virtually unlimited scalability, which enables intelligent growth of the IT-centric ecosystem. Instead of upsizing or adding new digital signal processing (DSP) chips to expand the system, staff can simply add a new network switch and connect new Dante-enabled hardware as required. These benefits, along with a drastic reduction in wiring, saves an abundance of time and money for each installation.

“There are other audio networking products out there, but we’ve heard horror stories about networks crashing and not being reliable or stable,” said Verhaal. “With Dante, we are confident it will work every time, and that reliability is why we’re seeing the entire audio industry embracing it with more frequency. It seems every vendor is coming out with a new Dante-compatible product. That means a lot to a systems designer, as all of the equipment has to work together in unison, and signals have to get where they need to go quickly. Dante ensures this all happens with reliability and ease of use.”

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