SEAMLESS INTEGRATION

MADI + IP TECHNOLOGY

The EM-64 provides the bi-directional bridge for digital pro-audio setups
to 21st century media distribution via LAN, WAN and the Internet. Up to 64 channels can be transmitted - with complete broadcast specified redundancy on both MADI and IP lines. If one line is failing, the other one takes over - automatically, without any sample or IP packet loss.

THE DIGITAL MULTICORE.

MADI - Multichannel Audio Digital Interface.

The AES10 standard - or it’s common designation MADI - is today’s unchallenged Pro Audio Industry standard for the digital point-to-point transmission of multiple audio channels.

The MADI format is no mystery. It is based on the common digital AES/EBU standard (AES3). Up to 32 AES/EBU signals (= 64 channels) are transmitted within one cable, using the multiplex method. Like all digital standards (e. g. SPDIF, ADAT, TDIF), MADI is uni-directional, providing a ‘point-to-point’ connection between source and destination.

MADI signals are usually transmitted by two cable types: Coaxial Copper Cables with BNC connector over max. 100 m or Optical Fiber Cables with SC connector over max. 2000 m (Multimode format). Transmission over direct connections of two devices via CAT5/6 cables ("Twisted Pair") is standardized, but still lacks support from important manufacturers.

Thanks to it´s straight digital concept, MADI is a convenient audio technology. It provides a simple method of transmitting the highest number of audio channels sample-accurate with lowest latency over long distances. The balance between operating distances, installation costs and overall maintenance is exemplary.

MADI setups with a complex network-like routing structure, including mixing consoles and converters to all existing audio formats can be realized. Routers for several hundred or even thousands of channels are available. An increasing number of MADI interfaces provide internal channel routing capabilities and can work as router and patchbay.

READ ON: THE HISTORY OF MADI

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) standard for MADI was originally documented in 1991 and updated in 2003. The 1991 specification defined the MADI link as a 56 channel transport. An update in 2003 added 64 channel transmission and the support for “double-rate” sampling at 96 kHz. Higher sample rates are possible, at the expanse of reducing the channel numbers: 32 channels at 96 kHz and 16 channels at 192 kHz.

Today MADI is still the most important industry standard for studio, live and broadcast applications. It is supported by all pro audio manufacturers. Countless devices are available. It will not completely replaced by network solutions (see below).

MADI is a perfect solution for modern audio applications, e. g. live concerts, theatres or music studios.
Setups with several hundred channels in a complex signal network, including mixing consoles and converters to all existing audio formats, are easy to realize.

Photo: A stage rack of MADI mic preamps.

ADVANTAGES OF MADI

SOUND QUALITY + LOWEST LATENCY

MADI is a sample accurate, lossless digital audio format and provides 24 Bit and up to 192 kHz. With a transmission latency of max. 60 μs at 48 kHz it provides an unmatched realtime capability.

HIGHER FLEXIBILITY & LOWER COSTS

Compared to analog multi-core cables, MADI has significant advantages: It provides the same basic functionality with improved flexibility. Much smaller and lighter cables result in cost savings, lower maintenance and easier error management.

LONG TRANSMISSION DISTANCES

With coaxial cables 100 m can be bridged. With a thin optical fiber cable distances of up to 2000 meters are possible (Multimode fibers). MADI shows its strengths especially in production houses with many recording suites, classical orchestra recordings or broadcast audio setups of large outdoor sports and other live events. But even in small music studios, where the distances from the main DAW to the recording room or the equipment room can easily reach more than 15 m, MADI leaves the limits of AES/EBU or ADAT cabling far behind.

OPEN STANDARD

The MADI standard is supported by nearly all pro audio manufacturers, e. g.: AMS/Neve, DIGICO/Soundtracks, DirectOut, Euphonix, Merging, Lawo, Fairlight, Marian, Otari, Publison, RME, Roland, Soundscape, Sony, Stagetec, Studer, SSL, YAMAHA and others.

MULTI-CHANNEL CASCADING

A key advantage of MADI - compared to ADAT, TDIF or AES/EBU - is the possibility to easily cascade external devices. Analog converters, Mic preamps and converters to/from AES/EBU or Analog can be combined in a single MADI connection. The rack-devices on the stage itself can be connected in series with short MADI cables. For example: with 64 input channels it’s easily possible to create a studio or stage with a combination of 24 mic preamps. Plus further 24 channels of AD converters. And there are still 16 channels available for additional analog or digital inputs.

No surprise: MADI is still a growing standard.

TRAINS vs. CARS

MADI vs. IP

For nearly a hundred years trains were the most important solution to transport goods and people. A fast and reliable way, thanks to the railway system with fixed stations and fixed timetables. Although the rail network reached distant parts of the world, it still needed additional solutions to reach all corners of the world - ships, horses, bicycles, even rickshaws - until finally the car was invented.

With cars as affordable mass products and a growing system of streets, highways and small roads, in a blink of an eye the modern age got it’s highly flexible transportation system. Free from the boundaries of point-to-point railways and pre-appointed timetables. The modern street traffic provides nearly unlimited flexibility. Cars can transport most goods faster and more efficiently, when it comes to small amounts of goods or single people. Imagine a warehouse-to-door delivery via train. Simply impossible!

The traditional way of audio transmissions is strikingly similar to the railway system. It is based on point-to-point connections with a common timetable, the digital clock. AES/EBU, Analog or MADI signals travel from one device to another over a fixed cable system, like people on trains. They canot leave the railway path and need to switch to another train at main stations, to move to another direction. In the end MADI is a mature technology, which just works. A highly efficient, stable and easy to use way of transporting multiple audio channels.

But the modern way of communication, the modern audio and media transport, needs more flexibility, it needs the invention and mass production of something like the car, which can travel on already existing and constantly growing streets and highways - the IP networks. It needs Media-over-IP transport.

IP packets - just like modern cars - can transport any data in local networks, in the internet and even over mobile telecommunication networks. In no time, at any time. Packets can even travel to several destinations at the same time. It just needs a multiplication of the original packet.

Like the railway system, traditional MADI connections will be not obsolete. On the contrary - they are still needed for still rapidly growing high-resolution, multichannel applications. More than ever before. But with the transmission of audio and video data over IP networks, a complete new era with global transmission opportunities has begun.

History is repeating: trains and cars were perfected in Japan. Most of the world’s best and safest high-speed trains and cars were made by japanese engineers. And with RESONETZ LINK, one of the most advanced Audio-over-IP technologies is invented and perfected in Japan.

MADI vs. IP? There is no winner, but seamless integration.
Both are complementary technologies and for a time the necessary extension to each other. Experienced users will chose the tools and solutions, which will fit to their task.

READ ON: COMPARISON OF MADI- AND IP-based AUDIO NETWORKS

MADI-BASED AUDIO NETWORK

“Smart” network - “dumb” end points.

The network controls and routes the traffic via "star" routers.

  • One cable for one signal path.
  • The system structure is pre-defined. Difficult to enhance. Limited flexibility.
  • Needs special "smart" MADI router hardware for audio distribution (“Kreuzschiene”).
  • Advantage: Lowest latency.
  • Advantage: Unmatched reliability.

AUDIO IN AN IP NETWORK

“Dumb” network - “smart” end points.

The nodes control and route the traffic via packet addresses.

  • Cables can be used universally for all kind of IP traffic (Audio, Video, Mail, Data downloads ...).
  • Free growable and decentralized structure. Unmatched flexibility.
  • Most protocols work with low-cost, off-the-shelf hardware (cables, switches, routers).
  • Higher latency (5 network switches add around 1 ms delay).
  • Limited reliability (packets can get lost).

MADI IN USE.

CLASSICAL MUSIC RECORDING

Most of today´s classical recording setups are based on high-end MADI-connected equipment. The high channel count of the MADI format is essential for modern orchestra recordings with several dozen microphones for a realistic sound and additional surround versions. The growing number of 3D surround and ambisonics recordings will further preserve the importance of MADI solutions.

MicPreamps can be placed directly on the stage to minimize the analog cable length to the microphones, while the Digital Audio Workstation doing the multirack-recording is connected via long-range MADI cables in a special "Tonmeister" room. This way MADI is still the perfect solution for a highly specialized application.

COMBINING TWO GROWING INDUSTRY STANDARDS.

RESONETZ MADI.IP TECHNOLOGY

By combining MADI and Audio-over-IP, RESONETZ devices integrate the two most important transmission standards of the pro audio world. Both standards are not only growing with an impressive speed, but complementing each other.

MADI is still the number one standard for digital multichannel audio. During the last 20 years, music and post-production studios, broadcast facilities, live production companies, even home studios, invested heavily in MADI equipment. Every big mixing console manufacturer provides products with MADI I/Os for live, broadcast and studio applications. MADI is todays backbone of any local professional multi-channel digital audio infrastructure.

Audio-over-IP protocols and related products showing an impressive growth in the last five years. Reliable, low-latency applications are possible - even on usual home networks. Accompanied by an exponential extension of IP networks and the dramatic increase of transmission performance, professional audio of the future will be transmitted on networks.

EtherMADI-64: AN ADVANCED MADI-OVER-IP BRIDGE

EM-64

RESONETZ MADI.IP combines the well-ordered world of MADI with the "chaotic" world of IP networks (“trains and cars”). The EM-64 connects islands of local MADI infrastructures to any local and global network. An exciting way for MADI customers of transmitting audio to any point locally or globally.

The RESONETZ EM-64 with MADI.IP technology is not just only a MADI-to-network bridge. It’s a complete single-channel routing system - remote-controlled from any network browser, even with a mobile phone.

READ ON: EM-64 CONNECTIONS: INPUTS AND OUTPUTS