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Revision 3 Kit

System Concept

The Revision 3 IRIS kit was released in 2020 which utilises a Dante audio-over-Ethernet network instead of a USB audio interface. The system diagram is shown below. Analog audio connections are indicated by black arrows, and digital lines (Ethernet) are shown in red.

System Schematic

The separate components in this system (microphone array + preamp, sound source, headphone amp and the PC) send and receive audio signals over a Dante audio-over-Ethernet network. Dante is a proprietary protocol built upon standard computer networking components. For more info, see the Audinate website.

A power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch is the central connection hub of the system. All components connect via Ethernet cables to the switch, and the switch can provide power through the Ethernet lines to the devices that need it (microphone preamp, line output adapter and headphone amplifier).

The Receiver consists of a microphone array and 4-channel preamplifier attached to a microphone stand. The preamp is powered by the PoE switch, provides power for the microphone array, and digitises the signals to be transmitted over an Ethernet cable.

The Source includes a Dante-enabled line output adapter, which converts a Dante audio stream into an analog signal to send to the loudspeaker amplifier.

A laptop running Dante Virtual Soundcard is connected to the switch, which enables IRIS software to record and playback audio over the Dante network. Dante Controller software is used to configure routing of audio signals between various components. The routing is stored internally on each Dante-enabled device, so this software doesn't have to be running all the time.

Lastly, a Dante-enabled headphone amplifier is connected to the switch for monitoring microphone signals.


Compared to a USB audio interface, the main advantages of this system are:

  • Long analog cable runs are replaced by Ethernet cables carrying digital signals.

  • The selected hardware devices have no physical controls, reducing the risk of adjusting a critical setting by mistake.

  • Dante networks are compatible with normal computer networking equipment. Although we recommend the use of shielded Ethernet cables for long runs, commonly available UTP Ethernet cables should also work (with a potential limitation on maximum length).

  • The Dante network can easily be extended with additional microphones, meaning IRIS software could support multiple simultaneous receivers and sources in future.

Note

A sound source is not supplied with an IRIS kit as this depends on the type of measurements you wish to make.

Case

A fully assembled and tested Revision 3 Kit can be purchased. The unit is delivered in a Pelican Storm iM2450 case.

IRISKitRev3Tray

A removable tray contains the microphone and related components as well as a spare compartment.

IRISKitRev3Labels

The case is designed for the PoE switch, headphone amp and Dante line output adapter to remain wired in place at the bottom case.

IRISKitRev3Base

The cables stored in the base are labelled below.

IRISKitRev3Cables

The case also contains an iOmounts NOMAD, a magnetic mount used for attaching the Shure preamp to the leg of a mic stand.

Components

We designed this kit with off-the-shelf components, so users may purchase and assemble hardware directly if they wish.

Product Details
Microphone Array
RĂ˜DE NT-SF1 SoundField Mic Includes an isolated microphone stand clip, windshield with furry cover, and a splitter cable with 4x XLR male outputs
https://en.rode.com/ntsf1
Dante Equipment
Shure ANI4IN-XLR 4-channel microphone preamplifier with 4x XLR female connectors
https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/mixers/ani4in

The preamp is configured using a web browser, and the unit can be located on the network using Shure's Web Device Discovery software:
https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/software/shure_web_device_discovery_application
Dante AVIO 1-channel XLR analog output adapter XLR line output for source loudspeaker
https://www.audinate.com/products/devices/dante-avio#analog-outputs
Studio Tech Model 362 headphone amplifier For monitoring microphone signals over headphones
https://studio-tech.com/products/model-362-listen-only-beltpack
Planet 4-port 10/100 PoE switch Power-over-Ethernet switch, fanless, with internal power supply
https://www.planet.com.tw/en/product/fsd-604hp?c1=power-over-ethernet&c2=unmanaged-poe-switches&c3=unmanaged-802-3at-poe-plus-fast-ethernet-switch
Dante Virtual Soundcard Dante software with ASIO support to enable a PC to stream audio in/out of a Dante network. There is a small licence fee per PC.
https://www.audinate.com/products/software/dante-virtual-soundcard
Dante Controller Software To configure Dante network routing (free)
https://www.audinate.com/products/software/dante-controller
Cables and Accessories
30 m shielded Cat5E or Cat6 Ethernet cable With snagless Ethernet connectors (this kit does not support etherCON). We use Van Damme TourCat Flexible Cat5E F/UTP, as it is robust, lightweight and coils nicely.
3x short Ethernet cables To connect the PC, line output adapter and headphone amp to the Dante network.
iOMounts Nomad A magnetic mounting system used to attach the Shure ANI4IN-XLR mic preamp to the leg of a mic stand
https://www.iomounts.com/products/nomad

Info

If you're putting together your own hardware, you may also use a Sennheiser AMBEO VR Mic. This comes with an isolated microphone stand clip, basic wind sock and splitter cable with 4x XLR male connectors.
https://en-de.sennheiser.com/microphone-3d-audio-ambeo-vr-mic