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Digigram Reveals Specs for Gigabit-EtherSound at AES

Open standard for networking digital audio will dramatically increase its performance in 2006 (October 07, 2005)

EtherSound, the elegantly simple and open standard for networking digital audio using off-the-shelf Ethernet components, will dramatically increase its performance in 2006 by releasing a major technology update, which will take advantage of the entire bandwidth of Gigabit networks. Digigram, owner and supplier of the EtherSound technology, reveals at the AES convention in New York the specifications of Gigabit-EtherSound that will include 512 audio channels over a single cable (256 channels in each direction) as well as a bandwidth of 100 Mbit/s for control and IP data transport, while maintaining all current EtherSound features including the ultra-low latency of only 125 microseconds. Digigram will be showcasing the technology for the first time at the next Systems Integration Expo (former NSCA) and Prolight+Sound trade shows in March 2006. A technology upgrade will then be made available to all EtherSound licensees in the second quarter of 2006.

EtherSound Business Development Manager Jimmy Kawalek is enthusiastic about the evolution: "We are thrilled about the possibilities that Gigabit-EtherSound will offer: Imagine how quickly you'll be able to connect the stage and monitor mixers to FOH even in the largest live events, how easy it will be to route the audio; think of the huge cost savings by replacing large, heavy, expensive multi-core audio cables with a single high-quality Ethernet cable! This is the point where EtherSound's strategy to be compliant with IEEE's 802.3 Ethernet enforces all its value. We will be able to leverage the billions of dollars the IT industry has spent to develop Gigabit networks for the benefit of the pro audio industry."

EtherSound in its current stage is configured for 100 Mbit/s networks and offers a maximum channel count of 128 channels of 24-bit/48 kHz linear audio (64 channels in each direction) as well as a control data throughput of 768 Kbit/s maximum.

Beyond the obvious advantages of a quadrupled audio channel count, Gigabit-EtherSound will also dramatically enhance the capabilities to control connected devices and to use the EtherSound network to transmit other data, for example IP control or media streaming. Not only will Gigabit-EtherSound multiply the available data bandwidth by 130 to typically 100 Mbit/s; even more importantly, this non-audio-data will travel on the same cable using a dedicated data path, which means that every IP/Ethernet data can be routed through a Gigabit-EtherSound network.

Moreover, Gigabit-EtherSound will enable fault-tolerant ring topologies. Today, daisy-chained EtherSound devices create a virtual bus, where all audio channels are available to all connected devices. Gigabit-EtherSound will build on this capability to connect the "last" device of a daisy-chain to the "first" device. In case of a cable or device failure, which interrupts the signal flow in the ring, the system will automatically determine the new first device of the daisy-chain, which then maintains the virtual bus and thereby signal path integrity throughout the network. The system will automatically return to its normal operation mode as the ring is restored.

Other technology evolutions announced include direct node-to-node data communication between any two devices in a network and freedom to connect one or multiple control devices anywhere on the network.

Gigabit-EtherSound devices will be able to operate in 100 Mbit/s-mode and therefore will be able to coexist with currently available EtherSound devices on the same network.

All EtherSound licensees, who include Allen & Heath, Archean Technologies, Audio Performance, AuviTran, Bittner Audio, Bouyer, CAMCO, DiGiCo, Digigram, InnovaSON, Martin Audio, Mediachip, NetCIRA by Fostex, Nexo, Pinanson, VTG Audio, and Whirlwind, will autonomously decide when they will implement the new features as they become available.

About EtherSound
EtherSound is an elegantly simple and open standard for networking digital audio using off-the-shelf Ethernet components. Fully compliant with IEEE 802.3, EtherSound is a deterministic network protocol with high data capacity at mixed sample rates and powerful control functions. EtherSound's latency is stable and easily calculated: the point-to-point transmission time between an audio input and an audio output in an EtherSound network is six samples (125 microseconds at 48 kHz), independent of the number of channels transmitted. As Ethernet standards evolve, EtherSound is able to keep pace easily, since the Network and Data Link layers are implemented via FPGA's (Field Programmable Gate Arrays). EtherSound licensing programs are available to manufacturers and qualified implementers. Current adopters include: Allen & Heath; Archean Technologies; Audio Performance; AuviTran; Bittner Audio; Bouyer; CAMCO; DiGiCo; Digigram; InnovaSON; Martin Audio; Mediachip; NetCIRA by Fostex; Nexo; Pinanson; VTG Audio; Whirlwind. Qualified implementors who offer third party engineering support to product developers include: AuviTran; Lab X Technologies. Stardraw Control software uses the EtherSound API to enable control and operation of multiple devices from separate manufacturers across EtherSound networks.

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About Digigram
Digigram digital audio solutions are key to the success of broadcast and public address companies worldwide. We develop innovative networked audio devices, computer sound cards, and audio management software. Digigram is the owner and supplier of EtherSound technology. Digigram Powered solutions are installed in thousands of corporate and commercial sound installations; radio and television stations; and audio recording and video post production facilities around the globe. Customers are served from three regional business units: Digigram S.A. (Digigram Headquarters, Grenoble, France) serving Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, Digigram Inc. (Arlington, VA USA) serving North America, and Digigram Asia (Singapore) serving Asia and Australia/Oceania. Digigram is publicly traded on the Paris stock exchange.

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Related Keywords:Digigram, Gigabit-EtherSound, digital audio, networking, EtherSound, pro audio, ring topologies,


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