What is RAVENNA? - The Future of Audio Connectivity!
What is it for?
RAVENNA, when referenced to real-time audio, is just like MADI, AES-EBU, ADAT or other digital audio "streams", it is used to send and receive audio between digital devices. But, RAVENNA has one, very large difference. MADI and ADAT, and AES-EBU are all dependent on a physical cable to connect each device to another. Once that connection is made, those two devices will speak to each other only. If you want to connect more than two devices, you need one of the devices to have multiple ports, each with its own cable etc etc.. The issue here is that those connections are static and the only way to change them is to start unplugging and re-plugging devices.
This is where RAVENNA is different.
RAVENNA, rather than forcing static interconnections between devices, allows the user instead to use a standard, off-the shelf, network switch to become a type of 'hub' which allows all the RAVENNA devices to talk to one another. This RAVENNA network then allows for the transport of hundreds of channels of real-time audio, at incredibly low latencies, to be sent to and from any of the devices on the network.
But What Does This Really Mean?
Everyone is already familiar with networking, even if they don't realize it. Have you ever gone into 'Network Places' on your computer and seen all the other computers connected to the same network? And, have you then gone into a folder on that networked computer and opened a file, like a picture or a piece of music? Well, this is EXACTLY how RAVENNA networking works. Except that you are not opening a picture of someone's holiday, you are choosing to listen to a real-time audio signal being transmitted across the network from any other RAVENNA device.
And, just like two or three different people can look at that picture in your public folder of you sitting in that beach chair with a beer in your hand, Any RAVENNA device can listen to any audio stream... even if another device is already accessing it.
RAVENNA means that now, your studio, broadcast facility, location recording rig, AV installation or any other audio endeavour can become the most flexible and powerful system you could ever imagine.
And how does AES67 come into play?
AES67 is being adopted by the majority of manufacturers of networked audio products because it provides an interoperability bridge between the major Audio over IP protocols. AES67 standardisation had the advantage of being able to review the most advanced systems available and look at the common factors. The result is a subset of RAVENNA which makes any RAVENNA device AES67 compatible, but it is not an alternative to the full feature set of RAVENNA or other leading networking strategies. Announced in 2013 and updated in 2015, the latest information can be found in the AES Standards section.
An independent industry association has been established to promote the widespread adoption of AES67 in the broadcast and pro-audio industries and participates in many international trade shows and events annually. More information on AES67 can be found on the Media Network Alliance website.
Example Systems Configurations
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