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FEATURE: AUDIO NETWORKING Still going mad for MADI


Despite being in its third decade, MADI’s rock-solid reliability and high channel count mean that it continues to be regarded as a default choice for the distribution of multichannel audio. But how, wonders David Davies, does it fit into a networking landscape increasingly shaped by discussion about audio-over-IP and AVB?


WHAT GOES around comes around, as the old saying goes, and that is undeniably true of Multichannel Audio Digital Interface (MADI). Despite being more than 20 years old – in other words, way past the point when we might reasonably have expected it to have shuffled off into the sunset – the audio communications protocol arguably enjoys greater levels of support than at any time in its history. To which state of affairs one might reasonably ask, ‘why?’ With any number of distribution technologies being released into the market since, it seems fair to enquire as to the reasons for MADI’s ongoing popularity across segments. Although most prevalent in the broadcast market, MADI’s high channel count, reliability and open standard status have earned it widespread deployment in live and general install, too. It’s debatable quite how long this will continue with new(ish) technologies like Dante and Ravenna – not to mention the AVB (Audio- Video Bridging) project – rapidly gaining traction. But with some harbouring doubts about the imminence of a networking panacea, it’s unlikely that MADI will be


One advantage of MADI is its ability to cover considerable distances (Picture: www.sweetwater.com)


consigned to the history books any time soon.


MADI: BASICS AND BENEFITS


So what is MADI and where did it come from? The result of a joint effort between SSL, Sony and Studer, the


[KEY POINTS]


Formalised in 1991, MADI was the result of an historic pro-audio collaboration between SSL, Sony and Studer


Open standard status and high channel count continue to make MADI attractive for install, live and, in particular, broadcast audio distribution


Intrinsically point-to-point, MADI is expected to be gradually supplanted by one or more audio-over-IP technologies as full networking becomes a reality


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22 February 2013


www.installation-international.com


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