For people using Dante, Dante Virtual Soundcard and Dante Via offer different and complementary ways to connect a computer to a Dante network. Considering how so many tasks which used to be performed on computers are now done principally on phones and tablets it is far less convenient to use an iOS device as a transmitter or receiver on a Dante network than it is to use a laptop. There is no direct equivalent to Dante Via for an iPhone.
How Can I Connect An iOS Device To A Dante Network?
If you have an older iPhone or an iPad you can use good old fashioned analogue via your mini jack connector. If you have a current iPhone you’ll have to use one of the lightning to mini jack adaptors. From there you’ll have to use a suitable Dante endpoint with a suitable cable to connect and convert this analogue audio to Dante. This method is effective but involves unnecessary DA/AD conversion, use of mini jacks and unbalanced connections and quite a lot of hardware. There must be a better solution.
Connecting via a Mac
There are a few software based ways to get an iOS device to appear as a routable transmitter or receiver in a host Mac. The one is IDAM (Inter Device Audio & MIDI Mode). IDAM uses an Apple Lightning-to-USB cable plugged between your iOS device and the Mac. In Audio MIDI Setup your iOS device will show as an Audio Device, clicking Enable starts IDAM. IDAM works at 48K only and only in one direction either transmitter or receiver but not both.
Another way is to use Studiomux. Studiomux is perhaps better known as a way to route iOS audio into and out of a DAW but instead of using the VSTs or Audio Units, you can use it to transfer Audio from your Mac to your iOS device or the other way around. The audio device can be used like any other external audio device.
While in one way the hardware needed to use this method is less in that you don’t need an analogue endpoint, you do need a Mac to which to connect your iOS device.
Connecting directly to the network
The ideal way to connect any device to and Dante network is to connect it directly via ethernet. An obvious way to do this would be to use a lightning to USB adaptor and then connect to the Dante network using one of Audinate’s AVIO USB network adapters.
However Apple recently announced expansions to its MFi program , informing third-party manufacturers of upcoming authorisations for new adapters including LAN cables with support for Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. This is definitely a step in the right direction for anyone looking to connect iOS devices directly to a Dante network as the hardware will now exist to add an ethernet port to an iPhone. There isn’t yet any software which would allow the iOS device to access the Dante network but the recent announcement of Dante as software and the new Dante embedded platform, which will allow devices running on ARM processors to access Dante opens up the possibility of connecting an iOS device to a Dante network as easily as connecting it to a Mac.
Who Might Benefit From Easy Connection To Dante?
Anyone with a background in commercial or corporate audio will love ease with which people arriving with audio on their phones can be accommodated. For studio use the ability to route and play back audio from ideas recorded into phones when inspiration strikes or reference tracks being played back from a client’s streaming service account directly from their phone. Recording a session straight from the inputs directly onto a clients phone capturing all the between take noodling which might happen while the DAW isn’t in record. There are lots of benefits which could present themselves, none of which can’t be done already but the easier they are the better. iOS devices might not be part of your studio but chances are they are regularly in your studio and the easier they are to incorporate when required, the better.