Washington, D.C. and New York City-based Vox Media, publisher of Vox, New York Magazine, The Verge and more, utilizes Audinate Dante audio networking as a key technology in support of its multimedia efforts, including the Vox Media Podcast Network, a collection of popular podcasts spanning technology, news, pop culture, and futurism.
Miles Ewell, the Director of Production Technology for Vox Media, leads a team of AV professionals that manage all the internal equipment rental systems of the company, external sub-rental systems, in-house studios, studio infrastructure design and building, and technical consultation across the company. “A lot of our focus these days is on the podcast group, and the long-form studios team because they require a lot of tech support and consultation,” Ewell says. “We also support editorial video across the company as well as events technology.”
In addition to supporting the podcast network, Ewell and his team also work with the Vox Media Studios division, which writes and sells shows to the likes of Netflix and Hulu along with other providers since it launched a couple of years ago The Studios division. In all cases, the Production Technology team helps design, install, and configure the studios and spaces and then provides on-going support for the studios.
“When I first started with Vox Media, I was running live sound for streaming sports shows, and when I joined, we were plagued with some challenging analog audio runs in our Bryant Park studio, that were regularly impacting our live streaming work,” notes Ewell. “They had a Yamaha QL5, but weren’t using Dante for stage patching. I convinced them to buy a Yamaha RIO stage rack with Dante connectivity, and it was the best thing ever. All our audio signal problems were solved, and I was hooked on Dante from then on.”
When the Vox Media team decided to build a new facility in New York, Ewell helped design the audio infrastructure to use Dante as much as possible. “I use Dante any chance I can. I don’t even want to use broadcast headphone amps in our podcast studios anymore. I just want to use the [Focusrite] RedNet headphone amps,” he states. “Being able to control everything remotely, like Dante coupled with certain manufacturers like Focusrite, you could do everything from somewhere else and that is so appealing.”
Dante distributes uncompressed, multi-channel digital media via standard Ethernet networks, with very low latency and tight synchronization. It enables digital audio distribution via standard Ethernet networks, the same networks used for home or office data networking.
Elwell: “I’m taking a fresh look at our podcast infrastructure. In San Francisco, we have a small studio, and we use Dante from the console to the computer. In DC, we have two podcast studios that are both QL1s with RIOs, and those are fully integrated. I see a lot of opportunity for using Dante. In both New York and DC, in our multi-room facilities, they always shared a Dante network. I set up our studios in each facility so that they were connected. So we had a primary control room, and then we could have a session with people in each room separately, and I was able to do that extremely quickly with our Dante setup.
“At our Broad Street, New York facility, we have something like 24 Dante devices, including RedNet devices, in our server room to talk to our comms system and our Skype units,” he continues. “We have a bunch of QL consoles throughout the floor and audio suites and live control rooms and podcasts control rooms, and we use a lot of AVIO adapters because they’re so easy to deploy.”
Available for analog input or output as well as for AES3 and USB conversion, AVIO Adapters facilitate linking audio gear with any Dante-connected system. “The AVIO USB adapters are great because in our podcast studio specifically, we do interfacing with people over Skype or Zoom, and we found that laptops running Skype are easier to manage, so we use AVIO adaptors to connect the laptops,” Ewell concludes. “So, if someone in one room needs to hear audio from another room, we’ve already programmed the transmitters and receivers. We have a dedicated, completely separate Dante network, primary and secondary with ports in almost all rooms.”