Using ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone is convenient – you don’t need any audio interface, it comes with it’s own on-board interface. You can just plug USB cable to the mic and your main unit and you are ready to use it. Unfortunately USB connectivity has some serious drawbacks when it comes to the cable length. Original 3m cord with 10m active extension gives you some reasonable range, but when you need to move further away e.g. to the control room you may need more than that.
I was looking for a budget solution of this problem and after trial and error process I found, that this can be resolved with Audio over Ethernet protocol. There is a number of those on the market: AVB, Dante, Ravenna, AES67 and more. Dante was the easiest (and probably the cheapest) one to implement in my scenario.
Audinate (Dante developer) offers software solutions, that enable Dante network without need of any special hardware. Typical 1Gbps LAN network can be used for Dante. There are two software tools – first one is Dante Virtual Soundcard. This piece of software adds Dante features to the regular ethernet interface. It can be set up to 64 I/O channels, and can work with as low as 4ms latency. Pretty amazing!
The second app is Dante Via. It enables Dante for sources such as hardware interfaces, ASIO drivers and software applications. For applications it can work with 16 I/O, but for hardware or ASIO devices you can set up to 32 I/O. Latency for Dante Via is constant: 10ms.
This software comes for a reasonable price. The combo DVS+Dante Via comes for 59,95 USD. You can test it before buying for 30 days. Both applications work with Windows and macOS.
On the ZYLIA side you use Dante Via app. In preferences you need to enable ASIO devices as audio sources.
Then you can enable Dante on Zylia ZM-1.
On the receiving end you need to enable Dante Virtual Soundcard with at least 32 inputs.
To set up routing you need to use Dante Controller application, which you can get from Audinate website. It can be used on any computer connected to Dante network. The configuration of devices is stored in the devices, not in the controller application. In the controller you need to check proper 19 Zylia sends and 19 DVS inputs on the grid.
After setting up Dante network you can start session in DAW. Set DVS as your input device and arm your 19 channel track. You should start receiving Audio over Ethernet from Zylia ZM-1. With a good quality switch and CAT-5e/CAT-6 cable you can send the signal for 100 meters.
I had some issues with the setup of DVS and Dante Via. First, if you are using mac OS for DVS and you have jitter problems – downgrade DVS to previous version. There are some issues with the newest one. 188.8.131.52 works fine for me (macOS 10.12), but the 184.108.40.206 is buggy. This is well known fact on the Dante Users Forum group on Facebook.
Second problem was with the Killer 1Gbps Ethernet network card on the Gigabyte motherboard. To make this device work properly you need to install newest drivers from the producers website. The drivers from the motherboard producer had memory leakage problem.
Let me know if this setup is working for you and if it is stable.