What Is It?
It's a software based audio networking solution which turns a computer into a Dante network node and any network into a Dante audio network i.e. it makes any computer a networked audio IO device!
What Can I Do with It?
To access a Dante network has in the past required dedicated Dante hardware to provide nodes (points of access on to and off of the network). Any computers attached to the network did so via Dante equipped hardware. Using Dante Via the computer itself can be used to provide access to the Dante network and unlike Dante Virtual Soundcard it can do so without any hardware on the network at all. It can be used to send and receive audio to and from the network and to and from audio sources locally on a single computer.
Audio sources and destinations, both hardware and applications self-discover. Routing is a simple drag and drop affair. The software, while very powerful is definitely designed not to intimidate and the simplicity and consumer software look belies the power and flexibility of the software.
The opportunities offered by the networking technology of Dante is the principal feature here but it didn't take long for me to realise that Dante Via is very useful as a standalone application on a single computer. So what can can it do? Well it's so useful I'm discovering new uses all the time but as examples it can:
Virtual Audio Output/Input Via can be used to route audio between applications in a similar way to Soundflower, Loopback or Source Nexus. This can be done locally and is independent of Dante networking. I've found this very useful for routing audio between applications.
Create Aggregate Sources In Via it is easy to aggregate sources together, outputting the combined outputs of these pooled applications. You can think of this as a very basic virtual mixer. There are no controls and relative levels have to be adjusted at source but if you want to record the combined output of multiple applications this is an easy way to do it.
As a control panel to mute local applications It's a small thing but I've found that as the built in output pane shows all currently running audio sources on your computer I've started using the built in output pane as a convenient place to mute and un-mute applications. Hardly a deal breaker but something I'm finding useful nonetheless.
Across The Network
Extend Audio Using a Via equipped computer at each end of a run of Ethernet cable to run audio in either direction, for example to play audio out to another room or to capture audio from USB or firewire equipped peripheral attached to a remote computer.
Route Audio Applications Individually Because Via works on a per source basis (be that an application or a piece of hardware) it is easy to route the output of iTunes or a Quicktime player to a Dante destination on the network but without routing other applications, system sounds or alerts (anyone who has ever heard an email “ping” when watching a presentation whill know how useful this is!).
Merge Devices into a mixing pool on the 2 channel application input. Via freely combines applications and hardware into a 2 channel virtual soundcard on the network which can be routed to any destination.
Monitor Dante Channels In any Dante setup it is vital to be able to monitor individual channels. While hardware exists for this purpose, Via offers an inexpensive software solution.
Educational labs/meetings Somewhere I can see Via being incredibly useful is in teaching environments. I have wired up entire classrooms sending the audio outputs from USB interfaces via analogue cabling to a mixer at the teaching position to enable playback of audio from any student machine to the group via monitors. In recent years I had abandoned this as more trouble than it was worth and just carried a small powered monitor from workstation to workstation. In a room with cabled ethernet to the workstations Via solves this issue elegantly. I can see Via being used with PCs and USB microphones to offer inexpensive, software only keyboard and language labs in schools.
How Is It Different To Virtual Soundcard
|Connect audio applications to a Dante network||✓||✓|
|Channels of application audio||Up to 64||2|
|Connect USB/Firewire audio devices to Dante network||✓|
|Isolate and network audio from individual applications||✓|
|Create standalone Dante network using only computers||✓|
|Route audio between devices and applications||✓|
|Drag and Drop routing||✓|
|Dante controller routing||✓||✓|
|Controlled sharing of audio sources on a network||✓|
|Mix audio sources||✓|