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Willow Creek Church Controls Timing Signals With Dante Master Clock

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Willow Creek Community Church has deployed the Model 5401 Dante Master Clock from Studio Technologies to effectively control timing signals for its extensive Dante® network.

Any large-scale event produced with Dante devices relies heavily on accurate clocking. A properly programmed master clock will ensure all network devices are synchronised to within one microsecond or less, enabling each device to transmit audio with sample accuracy. However, finding an adequate device to handle Willow Creek's clocking needs proved challenging for Matt Wentz, the church's audio systems engineer. He found it difficult to properly sync audio transmissions without experiencing excessive latency delays across the network.

"Though every Dante device can be set up to operate as a master clock, we needed a standalone device capable of handling our expansive Dante network without having issues with latency," said Mr Wentz. "We had to increase the latency of the devices we were using to five milliseconds in some cases, just to keep our network running properly."

The Model 5401 implements a high-performance IEEE® 1588 precision time protocol (PTP) server capable of providing timing needs of up to hundreds of Dante-compatible devices using audio-over-Ethernet media networking technology. The unit supports both PTP v1 (IEEE 1588-2002) compatibility required by Dante as well as PTP v2 (IEEE 1588-2008) for AES67 applications. Additionally, the device includes a word clock sync output for delivering a timing reference to external devices and a clock input connection for synchronising with a variety of audio, video, and instrumentation reference signals.

After Mr Wentz reached out to Studio Technologies about the Model 5401, company President Gordon Kapes came to Willow Creek's main campus to give him an onsite demo. He met with Mr Wentz to demonstrate how the device would interact with Willow Creek's Dante network.

"Since Willow Creek's main campus is in our extended neighborhood, I was fortunate to be able to visit their impressive facility and work with Matt to see how the Model 5401 could integrate into their workflow," said Mr Kapes. "It's always a privilege to learn directly from our clients and then be able to apply this knowledge to our existing and future products. It can be both exciting and humbling to observe how the top people in our field are continually adopting the latest technologies to achieve their goals."

"The Model 5401 was a game changer; it's phenomenal to have a dedicated piece of gear I can trust as our master clock," explained Mr Wentz. "With the complexities of all the equipment in our main auditorium, it's been invaluable to have such a great tool going to work in the background without me having to worry about it affecting the production."
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