Merging brings RAVENNA into the home with NADAC

Derived from their Horus and Hapi family of RAVENNA-enabled networked audio interfaces, Merging Technologies has branched into the consumer market with the launch of their D/A converter, NADAC.

NADAC is the first ever Network Attached Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). Available in two versions – stereo or 8-channel – NADAC is the first device to bring RAVENNA networking into the home.

“The modern world has become increasingly dependent on networks, both at home and in our professional environments. As network capacities have increased, more and more people are turning to IT networks for carrying both audio and video,” Merging’s Chris Hollebone explained. “Gigabit Ethernet clearly had sufficient capacity for high quality audio, but still was far from ideal without an additional protocol to add the required precision and management. We looked at alternatives that could offer sufficient accuracy and reliability with high channel counts and Hi-Res Audio data-rates. The only choice that made sense to us was RAVENNA.”

Initially developed to meet the requirements of national broadcasters, RAVENNA (which is an open technology standard with no proprietary licencing) was designed to provide accurate clocking, high resistance to packet loss and low latency. Thanks to close collaboration with Merging it is now the first and only Layer 3-based IP audio protocol to offer full support for high channel-count DXD and DSD signals. It is also fully AES67-compatible. According to Merging, RAVENNA “remains the only logical choice for the professional and the audiophile,” and is now available in NADAC.

“Because Merging developed standard drivers for RAVENNA for any computer operating system, you can connect your NADAC to any music server, player or streamer supporting ASIO on Windows, CoreAudio/DoP on MacOSX,” Hollebone continued. “All you need is a CAT5e or CAT6 cable. In short, any connected device in the home can be routed to NADAC, and multiple NADACs can listen to any device, zone or playlist. A built-in web browser means that you can control NADAC remotely from any mobile device, giving you handy control of listening level and source selection. You can even control multiple NADACs remotely from the same mobile device.”

Andreas Hildebrand, senior product manager at ALC NetworX, the company behind the RAVENNA technology, is delighted to see RAVENNA spreading out into the high-end consumer market: “While originally targeted at the most demanding applications in the professional broadcast environment, we also designed RAVENNA with utmost flexibility in mind. With RAVENNA now being able to support even the most precise formats in the commercial audio market, we see this as a proof of concept for our open, standards-based solution approach.”

“Finally, audiophiles can look forward to hearing the same quality in their own home and home cinemas as the engineers and musicians heard at the recording session” concluded Hollebone. “The combination of our expertise in converter technology and analogue circuitry matched with the power and accuracy of RAVENNA audio transport is simply an unbeatable combination. We’re proud to offer sound quality of this level to a new market in the form of NADAC.”