In a world where digital seems unstoppable and analogue, by default, appears outmoded, making the right investment choice can be tricky. Connectivity has opened the door to network devices, and network audio is one technology that’s confidently stepped through the gap and announced its presence with gusto.
Audio production studios, sports facilities, gyms, schools, theatres, clubs, corporates and others use either analogue or network audio systems according to their budgets and needs. For them, the crucial issue is to decide whether or not to evolve existing systems by combining analogue with new digital tech and expand its capabilities or to start from scratch and replace old with new.
Brands like Axis are leading the way in making either transition as seamless as possible, and we’ll explain how later in this article. Axis understands all too well that, for anyone weighing up the pros and cons of analogue vs. network systems, the key question is often how far to extend the functionality of existing systems, or whether it would make better sense to fully invest in a new network audio system.
Your customers will only know which direction to follow if they clearly understand the differences between analogue and network audio systems.
Let’s first look at analogue
The basic components of an analogue audio system are a sound source, amplifier, tone controller, and speakers able to pick up a signal. A so-called ‘daisy chain’ of speakers’ link in series, with wires connecting one to the next.
The largest cost in an analogue system is the rack equipment and configuration. Zoning specific rooms for audio requires the physical wiring of speakers – essentially a circuit – making the design and installation potentially complicated, particularly if future changes are called for.
Also, analogue system monitoring isn’t without its drawbacks. It can be difficult to figure out the location of a short in the chain, or if the problem lies with a speaker. Often, on longer speaker wire chains, the only way to accurately identify the issue is to check the full length of the system, which can be both costly and time-consuming.
Network systems… music to your ears
A Network Audio System is an open-source, network-transparent, audio router system. Unlike analogue, each speaker is its own, complete system, controlled and monitored via an ethernet network. Network systems negate the need for ‘daisy chain’ speakers as they route content direct to individual speakers over the ethernet. They also make use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) as their energy source.
The advantages of investing in a network audio system are clear. Because the system uses IP-based devices with open APIs, each device can be managed centrally via the network using integrated management software.
In network audio systems, you get to say goodbye to physical speaker wiring. In turn, zoning becomes way more logical and users are able to quickly and conveniently configure systems. When it comes to zoning, each individual speaker can be part of multiple zones, with easy, flexible options to remove or add speakers as needed.
IP-based monitoring and configuration of the system becomes effortless too. And if a problem should arise, the user is instantly notified and will already be equipped with integrated tools to take swift remedial action.
It all comes down to cost-benefit
In other words… affordability. It should be no surprise that, because a network speaker is a self-contained, high-quality audio system, their cost is higher than analogue versions. So, if your customers are to make the most cost-effective decision, you’ll need to help them weigh up network functionality and management advantages with the total cost of a more passive analogue system.
In this sense, value-for-money is a matter of circumstance and need. If your customers require multiple, flexible zoning, along with seamless configuration, monitoring and problem-solving, then the longer-term view should, ideally, include a shift to network audio. But if they’ve already invested in an analogue system, there’s still the option of integrating it with network audio technology.
Here’s where Axis really comes into its own.
With Axis, it’s possible to retain elements of an existing analogue system and yet still harness the rewards benefits of network audio. In fact, AXIS C8033 Network Audio Bridge and AXIS C8210 Network Audio Amplifier are both designed to provide an interim transition from analogue to network audio.
The C8033 Network Audio Bridge allows you to route audio from analogue sources in an Axis network audio system, or add network speakers to an analogue system. And the C8210 Network Audio Amplifier is a compact and smart migration tool that transforms any passive speaker into a network speaker with all the benefits of network audio.
Axis network audio systems are complete, high-quality audio systems built for use in a wide variety of places and spaces. Event-triggered announcements and direct callouts can improve the premises’ security. Live or scheduled announcements can be made in different zones when needed. And music can be flexibly routed to multiple zones for business, pleasure, or both.
Axis has an innovative channel partner program to help you accelerate sales. Take a look: https://www.axis.com/en-gb/partners/channel-partner-program To find out more about how Ingram Micro can support you with Axis opportunities, contact us on 371 973 3000.