SoundGrid Audio Networking for Studio, Stage, Broadcast & Beyond
Waves offers digital Audio-over-Ethernet networking and real-time processing solutions for live, broadcast and music production facilities, using SoundGrid® technology to deliver uncompressed, multi-channel, low-latency digital audio over Ethernet networks.
For close to a decade, audio networks have been growing in popularity, used in professional broadcast and other commercial facilities to deliver uncompressed, multi-channel, low-latency digital audio over standard Ethernet networks.
For artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Shakira, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and countless others, Waves SoundGrid is the live sound networking and processing platform of choice.
Today, Waves SoundGrid brings Audio-over-Ethernet networking and processing to the studio world and beyond.
Waves SoundGrid® Networking for Live Sound
In a basic live show setup, microphones and DI boxes are connected to a stage box, from which cable snakes housed in bulky protective casings run to both your front-of-house and monitor consoles.
SoundGrid audio networking simplifies your routing by letting you transport full quality multi-channel audio and connect multiple I/Os, mixing consoles, DAW computers and DSP servers, using standard Cat 5e/Cat 6 Ethernet cables.
To create a basic SoundGrid network for live sound, you would need a SoundGrid stage box, an Ethernet network switch and a SoundGrid-enabled console. Selected consoles by Yamaha, DiGiCo and Allen & Heath currently offer integrated SoundGrid capabilities, with additional manufacturers scheduled to implement SoundGrid in the near future. MADI-enabled consoles (both BNC and Optical) can be connected to the SoundGrid network using a specialized interface such as DiGiGrid MGB and MGO units.
Once you’ve connected all your XLR cables to the SoundGrid stage box, you connect the stage box and console I/O to the SoundGrid network switch. Now you have a robust SoundGrid network streaming the highest quality audio signal in real time with super low latency, Expanding on this basic setup, let’s add a monitor console in addition to the FOH board. Instead of using a passive analog split box (which requires additional unsightly cabling and may cause signal degradation), simply add another SoundGrid-enabled console at your monitor console position, and connect it to SoundGrid stage box via the network switch, using a single Ethernet cable. The two consoles in your SoundGrid network are now transmitting and receiving a high-quality signal in real time.
Often times, when broadcasting a live show from a broadcast van parked outside a venue, a split box is placed on stage or near the FOH console, and multiple XLR cables (according to the number of channels) run from the split box inside the venue to the broadcast van parked outside. This is a complex and time-consuming wiring task, and expensive, financially as well as on other multiple levels: all those cables not only take up a lot of space, they require additional personnel to transport, set up and take down after the job is complete.
In a venue equipped with a SoundGrid network, the audio broadcast specialist would simply need a SoundGrid I/O (either integrated or via a MADI-to-SoundGrid interface) and connect it to the SoundGrid network switch inside the venue, using a single Ethernet cable. A SoundGrid DSP Server on the same network enables high plugin count, low-latency real-time processing.
SoundGrid audio networking is perfect for logistically complex events such as awards shows, music festivals, sporting events and houses of worship. These events often require real-time communication between multiple stages, consoles, broadcast vans and studios, as well as processing and recording computers. The most comprehensive way to take full advantage of SoundGrid audio networking in such a scenario is to place a SoundGrid I/O stage box on every stage, a SoundGrid I/O at every console and in every broadcast van, then connect all of these elements to the SoundGrid network via the network switch.
All positions are now inter-connected and transporting full quality via Ethernet using easy-to-install, cost-effective components. With the inclusion of SoundGrid DSP Servers, connected devices can process multi-channel audio in real time, dramatically simplifying routing requirements.
Waves SoundGrid® Networking for Studios
SoundGrid Networking in the Studio
Let’s take a look at a typical studio setup. Chances are, you’re running some sort of DAW on your computer, with an audio I/O connected via PCI, USB, Firewire, Digilink or Thunderbolt. Alongside, you’ve probably got microphones and headphones, and may have additional analog and digital gear or instruments. With a SoundGrid network, all your essential components remain the same apart from the I/O, which is specifically SoundGrid-compatible and connected using a standard Cat 5e or Cat 6 Ethernet cable.
Once you connect your computer to a SoundGrid-compatible I/O via an Ethernet cable, you have created a simple SoundGrid audio network. Moving beyond this stripped-down configuration, now we’ll take a look at a few of the ways SoundGrid networking enhance and expand your studio capabilities.
Let's say your studio has a separate room for live performance, with input boxes connected to the I/O in the control room via cabling in your walls or floors. With a SoundGrid network, all you need to do is add another SoundGrid I/O in the live room, and connect it to the network using a standard network switch in the control room with a single Ethernet cable. And if your studio has multiple live rooms or a separate vocal booth, additional SoundGrid I/Os can be placed in each location, and connected to the network using standard Cat 5e/6 cables.
Once all your I/Os are connected to the SoundGrid network, they are ready to share the resources of a SoundGrid DSP Server, which provides real-time super low-latency plugin processing to all I/Os on the network. This means every performer in every room can experience a headphone monitor mix using high-quality plugins from Waves and other developers.
SoundGrid Networking for Multi-Studio Facilities
For facilities with multiple studios and simultaneous sessions, Waves SoundGrid networking offers additional benefits.
Let's say that you have two studios: Studio A and Studio B. Each has a control room and a live room. Studio A’s live room has a 9’ Steinway grand piano; but the Studio A control room is currently being used to mix. You need to record the Steinway and get its signal to the control room of Studio B, a seemingly insurmountable task before Audio-over-Ethernet networking. With a SoundGrid system in place, all you need to do is record into your SoundGrid I/O located in the live room of Studio A, connect a network cable from the I/O to your switch and route it to the I/O in Studio B.
Even if you’ve got different DAWs running in each of the studios, you can still connect all of them to the SoundGrid network with an Ethernet cable. Whether you need to link multiple I/Os, multiple rooms or multiple computers, with Waves SoundGrid, your networking and processing possibilities are limitless.