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Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Crestron offers the only complete end-to-end solution with a complete line of hardware and software. Crestron not only connects and controls devices; we integrate and automate all the building systems to provide a connected experience. We deliver integrated solutions for audio, video, IP, lighting and climate control making wiring and installations easier and promoting system integrity.

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DM NAX Audio-Over-IP for Commercial Applications
Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2024
DM NAX Audio-Over-IP for Commercial Applications

March 26, 2024 - In 2017, Crestron rolled out its DM NVX® AV-over-IP platform. It’s been a hit, closing in on one million units shipped in just seven years (you might have heard about that at the ISE® 2024 trade show).

That success highlighted the need for another solution: an audio-specific ecosystem that could leverage the network. "In traditional video-centric AV systems, audio followed video to a display and then got ‘broken out’ to a small audio system that could include a processor and audio amplifier," explains Dustin Plumb, Crestron’s senior product manager of AV solutions. "Today, audio from nearly any source can be encoded to a DM NAX, Dante, or other AoIP protocol and freely routed between devices on the network. Network audio devices handle signal routing and processing and can be remotely configured, managed, monitored, and controlled. DM NAX technology leverages all the advantages of network audio architecture in a comprehensive ecosystem of audio products."

There was a clear starting point from the outset, says Delix Alex, director of product management for AV solutions at Crestron: "DM NAX Audio-over-IP is based on AES67, an accepted standard within the industry that allows for interoperability." From there, "we could layer the Crestron goodness on top," he adds. That "goodness" is more than just interoperability with other Crestron digital media but also brings other benefits into the audio world, such as control solutions, far-reaching management and configuration options, and the reliability Crestron is known for.

The initial creation of such a system fell to another member of the team, as we explained in a previous blog post regarding marine applications:

When Ekin Binal (now director of core technology and strategic partnerships) first joined Crestron, he was tasked with building the company’s next-gen audio platform. "He started reaching out to the people running commercial, residential, hospitality," recalls Daniel Kerkhof, director of Crestron Marine. "And he also came to me and said, Hey, I hear that you do something with large yachts — what would I need to have as functionalities in my new solution for you to be able to use it on board?" Kerkhof came back with a long list, and Binal began to realize that different subsets of that list would also come in handy for the other verticals.

Binal designed the Crestron DM NAX® Audio-over-IP technology solution with marine installations top of mind — and those requirements more than matched the needs of every other application for the DM NAX technology.

As it turns out, marine deployments can be among the most demanding, and they require devices that feature maximum toughness and durability — high standards that make them perfect for an incredibly wide variety of commercial applications. Since it can handle conditions at sea — from violent movement to extreme humidity — that means the DM NAX technology solution is ready for anything you can throw at it.

Benefits of the DM NAX Audio-over-IP Ecosystem

It provides high-end audio — anywhere — with minimum cabling. Tune the audio to match your application, whether it’s for speech, video content, or background music.

Audio is delivered with ultra-low latency — no lag at all. Instantaneous audio (and communication) makes for a seamless, engaging, and interactive client, employee, or student experience.

It’s interoperable with audio industry standards. It’s compatible with a wide range of audio-over-IP audio systems, including DM NVX AV-over-IP solutions, Dante® audio networking, AES67-capable devices, and more.

It’s easy to install. Simple deployment brings you versatile audio distribution over the network, native streaming service support, and local analog or digital inputs — all in a single platform.

It’s scalable. A system can support hundreds of audio sources, delivering sound to hundreds of zones.

It supports enterprise-grade network security standards. It can be deployed in secure facilities where latency matters.

It offers a wide array of streaming service capabilities. Stream AirPlay® 2 software, Amazon® Music, internet radio, Spotify® Connect, Pandora®, SiriusXM®, TIDAL®, Deezer®, and Qobuz® music services, podcast providers, and many, many more.

It’s energy efficient. DM NAX Audio-over-IP devices are energy efficient and designed for 24/7 usage.

It’s future-ready. Firmware updates add new capabilities, saving costs and ensuring long lifecycles for products.

Transitioning to Commercial Applications

Creating an incredibly sturdy solution is only part of the process, however. "Commercial audio is a discipline in itself," says Plumb. "Customers expect audio signals to be available on the network where they can be routed and processed between audio-over-IP endpoints and controlled and configured remotely. Crestron decided to do it right and not only develop video products with audio support but create an entire portfolio of comprehensive, flexible, and scalable network audio products that make deploying and managing large-scale audio systems as simple as possible."

And since Crestron already had an excellent reputation in creating large-scale, mission-critical AV-over-IP projects, the move to audio-only solutions was a logical next step — driven in part by dealer feedback. "We are well known for our control systems and intelligently controlled AV content distribution hardware," says Plumb. "Crestron video and control are already a big part of large-scale commercial AV systems, and extending our range of solutions to cover audio applications was a natural evolution that customers regularly asked for."

And, of course, the move to network audio from the old cabling of the past was a huge benefit, especially for commercial deployments. "Network-based audio systems allow for the best scalability and the most flexibility in routing, processing, and distribution," says Plumb. "Whether it's the sound system for a single lobby or a centrally controlled campus audio system, an ecosystem such as this one can make powerful audio systems a reality." There’s a long and growing list of potential use cases, says Plumb: "Retail, hospitality, corporate campuses, higher education, training centers, conference rooms, bars, restaurants, and fitness centers all can benefit from Crestron commercial audio systems. DM NAX technology audio systems are 100% scalable and can therefore cover a wide range of applications while allowing for future growth."

There’s another plus: "These systems can be remotely managed and monitored, allowing support teams to troubleshoot and solve problems without putting a truck on the road."

The DM NAX Audio-over-IP Portfolio

Audio Edge Devices: Endpoints for any Application

Crestron rolled out its DM NAX® Audio Edge Devices at the 2024 ISE trade show in Barcelona. The concept is all about connecting whatever audio source lives at the "edge" of the network for a specific application. To meet the challenge, Crestron introduced four flexible devices to provide that solution for any enterprise, educational, hospitality, or retail installation.