The Model 5205 is perfect for use in conjunction with a variety of fixed and portable audio applications where one or two analog audio signals need to join a Dante "network." The unit's high-performance audio circuitry allows virtually any source to be handled correctly. Essentially all condenser, dynamic, or ribbon microphones are compatible, as are most balanced and unbalanced analog line-level sources. The simple user controls, along with an extensive set of status indicators, help to ensure optimum performance is maintained. With the unit's compact size and PoE powering, it's simple to deploy multiple units to integrate a distributed set of sources into a Dante application. For permanent applications there's no reason why a Model 5205 can't reside within an equipment rack or be mounted, using optional brackets, underneath a table or on-air studio set. In a conference room setting the unit can be permanently connected to a PoE-enabled Ethernet port, ready to accept a signal source from various user-provided devices.
Two microphone or line-level analog audio signals can be connected to the Model 5205's 3-pin female XLR connectors. The preamplifier gain of each channel can be independently adjusted from among six settings: 0 (line), 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 dB. To support condenser microphones P48 phantom power can be independently selected as required for each channel. LEDs are provided to display the configuration of the gain and P48 phantom power functions.
Six pushbutton switches, located on the Model 5205's front panel, allow local selection of the preamplifier gain and P48 phantom power on/off status. The STcontroller application allows personal computer users to both view and change the gain of the preamplifiers and the on/off status of the P48 phantom power sources.
The Model 5205's audio performance is very good. The low-noise, wide dynamic-range preamplifier circuitry ensures that input audio quality is preserved. The outputs of the preamplifiers are routed to high-performance analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) sections that support sampling rate of 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz with a bit depth of 24. A precision voltage-reference integrated circuit supports the ADC circuitry in performing accurate signal conversion. The audio signals, now in the digital domain, are connected to the Dante interface section where they are packetized and prepared for transport over Ethernet. The P48 phantom power source is extremely low noise, providing microphone power while causing little signal degradation. This is important for demanding applications.
The mic/line inputs were carefully designed for use in permanent, as well as portable and field, applications. Extensive filtering minimizes the chance that radio frequency (RF) energy will interfere with the audio input signals. Other components were included to specifically address ESD ("static") situations, helping to ensure long-term reliable operation.
Two 8-step LED meters provide a real-time level indication of the two Dante transmitter (output) channels. Scaled in dBFS (decibels referenced to full scale digital) the meters offer a direct view of the audio signal levels as they are transported via Dante in the digital domain. This is important as optimal audio performance requires transporting signals at their proper levels — without an accurate indication this can be difficult to achieve.
Ethernet Data and PoE
The Model 5205 connects to an Ethernet data network using a standard 100 Mb/s twisted-pair Ethernet interface. The physical interconnection is made by way of a Neutrik® etherCON RJ45 connector. While compatible with standard RJ45 plugs, etherCON allows a ruggedized and locking interconnection for harsh or high-reliability environments. An LED displays the status of the network connection.
The Model 5205's operating power is provided by way of the Ethernet interface using the 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard. This allows fast and efficient interconnection with the associated data network. To support PoE power management, the Model 5205's PoE interface reports to the power sourcing equipment (PSE) that it's a class 2 (low power) device. An LED is provided to indicate when power is being supplied to the Model 5205. If a PoE-enabled Ethernet port can't be provided by the associated Ethernet switch a low-cost PoE midspan power injector can be utilized.
Audio data is sent from the Model 5205 using the Dante audio-over-Ethernet media networking technology. As a Dante-compliant device, the Model 5205's two transmit audio channels can be assigned to other devices using the Dante Controller software application. The bit depth is 24 and sample rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz are supported. Two bi-color LEDs provide an indication of the Dante connection status.
Future Capabilities and Firmware Updating
The Model 5205 was designed so that its capabilities and performance can be enhanced in the future. A USB connector, located on the unit's back panel, allows the application firmware (embedded software) to be updated using a USB flash drive.
To implement the Dante interface the Model 5205 uses Audinate's Ultimo™ integrated circuit. The firmware in this integrated circuit can be updated via the Ethernet connection, helping to ensure that its capabilities remain up to date.