Networked Audio Products 2020


We've been counting licensees and products since 2013, after a huge amount of work, we are proud to release have the most comprehensive list of networked audio products ever created.

Bye bye Cobranet!

For 2020 we’ve made an important decision: we have stopped counting Cobranet products. Whilst there are Cobranet projects still around and a small number of manufacturers selling some equipment, it is impossible to get any reliable data on available products. Furthermore, Cobranet is not a consideration at all in any forward looking statement about the the audio industry.

Goodbye and thank you Cobranet, you were a trailblazer.

The big total

2619 networked products currently shipping from 319 manufacturers



Giving the small guys a chance

Another change we’ve made to our research this time is to separate out some other protocols that we’ve previously called ‘other’. AVB and Milan have previously been mentioned and yet we didn’t specifically highlight other protocols with similar numbers of products, so we have addressed that imbalance. Note that we have separated out products that are specifically AVB Milan compliant, from other AVB products that are not compatible with Milan.

Products per protocol

319 manufacturers ship networked audio products, a 25% increase in 18 months. That’s almost one manufacturer a week joining the networked audio club.
Some manufacturers ship more networked product SKUs than others. Lawo leads the way with 76 networked audio products, narrowly beating Yamaha with 75!



In previous surveys we have included Q-Lan as a separate protocol. However we have now only included protocols that are open to multiple manufacturers, which is not the case with Q-Lan. Whilst Wheatnet is currently used by one manufacturer, it is theoretically open to be used by others. Furthermore we have included Q-Sys devices in the Dante and AES67 product count because QSC offer that compatibility.

AES67

AES67 adoption has grown 50% in 18 months to 1459 products - that’s 65% of all networked audio products and that’s likely to be a conservative number.
Of the 1459 products that are AES67 compatible, 85% (1,237 products) are Dante. The other 222 AES67 products are either RAVENNA, Livewire+, Wheatnet and a few ‘native’ AES67 products.
AES67 compliance is difficult to count as it isn’t entirely clear how many Dante manufacturers have updated their products. To be sure, we’ve only counted those that are Dante Domain Manager (DDM) compliant, but its possible that others have upgraded to AES67, without going as far as the DDM upgrade.

Product Categories

There are networked versions of just about all audio product categories. We list the top 15 categories here:



I/O interfaces are products that convert from analogue or from a digital audio format into networked audio. Whilst there are more of these products than any other category, this category will diminish over time as more end-points become networked, eliminating the need for a separate device to act as a bridge to get audio on or off the network.

Discontinued items

This report celebrates the seventh year that we have been collecting data. We are now into several generations of networked audio product, so we have not included any discontinued products, only those that appear to b shipping.

Our Methodology

We must allow for some human error in our results as some manufacturers provide poor information and counting products is not the most entertaining of tasks! We think that even allowing a few percent for human error, our results are still a very realistic indicator
As we mention every time we do this, we set out some rules for counting devices as this proved not to be as easy as we thought. When is a product a product? When is something a different product? The consensus is that we are being fair, but we are always happy to discuss. Our perspective is always from the angle of – what can a user actually buy?
These are the rules we set out:
  • We have investigated products that appear to be shipping. It’s sometimes difficult to see if products are discontinued or if they are yet on the market. We have done what we can to verify whether each product is available for purchase. We worked extra hard this year and checked a great number of manufacturer price lists. This seems to be a more reliable indicator than if something is just on a website.
  • We have included every SKU of a product. If a company sells a 2 x 600W amplifier and a 2 x 1200W amplifier they are counted as two products, because they would have a different use.
  • Where the same product is available to purchase in a variety of card configurations, such as a processor that is 16-in/16-out, 8-in/24-out, 24-in/8-out etc., this is counted as one product as the overall channel count is the same.
  • Where a similar product is available in different models 8-in/8-out, 12-in/12-out, 16-in/16-out, or a mixer with different input channel counts then these are counted as separate products as they would have a different use.
  • Interface cards are not counted in our product totals. Where a manufacturer's network interface card fits into many audio products we have counted each shipping product, because that interface enables that product to become a networked audio device.
  • A software driver or program that enables a Mac or PC to support a particular network protocol is counted as one product. If there are more versions with different channel counts or capabilities then each one counts.


We have not included hacks, circuit boards, OEM kits for manufacturers or something that it not an actual product sold on its own or, at a user level, that allows a product to become networked.

A Few More Details

Around 52% of Dante products are DDM compliant - 1,237 have received the necessary upgrade or are shipping with a more recent Dante solution that offers DDM as standard.

The Future

We’ve struggled to confirm how many products are ST2110 compliant. We will work on that for next time.

Summary

The number of networked audio products continues to grow with an increasing number of manufacturers joining the party.
Dante continues to be the dominant force with RAVENNA in second place. The number of products for all other protocols is pretty inconsequential.
But the big news is that AES67 compatibility has taken off, driven by Dante and RAVENNA, offering industry standard interoperability.

Download the report here.



Copyright and usage

You are permitted to use the information, data, wording and charts in this report freely, except for commercial gain. We ask for a credit to be given, visible (and spoken in the event of a presentation) in all use cases.
We kindly request that you ask us if you wish to use our research and normally permission will be given without hesitation.
If you are using this data for commercial gain - for example as part of paid consultancy or paid speaking engagement, then we require you to contact us to see if a fee is appropriate. In most cases this will not be the case, but again we ask to be credited.
More detailed data from this research is available on request.

info@rhconsulting.eu