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The following pages contain instructions on setting up SSL Live consoles for use with a Dante network, routing to and from Dante devices and controlling and gain sharing with SSL Net I/O Stageboxes:
Setting Up Dante
Dual Domain Routes and Configuring Dante Devices
Network I/O Stageboxes and Devices
Virtual Tie Lines
Network I/O BLII Bridge (this page)

Net I/O BLII Bridge - High Capacity Dante Interface

The Net I/O BL II Bridge is a 1U rackmount device which converts between Dante HCTM and SSL's proprietary BlackLightTM digital multichannel audio format. It provides 256 redundant bidirectional uncompressed audio channels from an SSL BLII and Dante equipped Live console to/from Dante networks at 24-bit, at either 96kHz or 48kHz resolution.

The BLII Bridge is designed to be located near the console and can only be used by one console at any one time.

The Net I/O BLII Bridge is compatible with all BLII and Dante equipped SSL Live consoles running software version 4.5 or later.

Notes:
Please be aware of network bandwidth when using a BLII Bridge on a Dante network. 10 Gigabit uplinks between switches may be required on networks involving a BLII Bridge.

Front Panel LEDs

There are four LED indicators on the front panel of the BLII Bridge: PSU, BL S, SRC and NET S.

LED Off Solid Red Flashing Green & Red Flashing Green Solid Green
PSU Both PSUs are off Only one PSU is functioning correctly n/a n/a Both PSUs functioning correctly
BL S BLII Bridge not set to Sync to External
BLII source and/or not connected to BLII
n/a n/a Resyncing - searching for a valid clock source Clocked to BLII and incoming
clock source present
NET S Not configured to clock from Dante network Unit it set to clock from Dante network
but there is no network connected
Primary or Secondary
network port not connected
Resyncing - searching for a valid clock source Set to clock to Dante network and
Clock Master on network detected

The BLII Bridge does not support Sample Rate Conversion. The SRC LED is not currently in use. This LED will go solid red when the device is resyncing (searching for a valid clock source).

Front Panel Connections

One pair of SFP cages is located on the front panel for Dante network connectivity:

These will be pre-populated with RJ45 but can alternatively be populated with single-mode or multi-mode fibre SFPs.

The status LED meanings are as follows:

LED Off Flashing Red Flashing Green & Red Flashing Green Solid Green
ACT Unit is off n/a Unit is on n/a n/a
SFP No SFP fitted n/a n/a n/a SFP fitted
GM Unit is not Clock Master of Dante Network Unit is Clock Master of Secondary
Dante Network only
n/a Unit is Clock Master of Primary Dante Network only Unit is Clock Master of both Primary
and Secondary Networks
STAT Hardware fault Audio muted. The BLII Bridge automatically
mutes audio during resyncing
n/a Hardware ok n/a

The Program USB port is for performing updates to the unit. Instructions on updating the BLII Bridge will accompany all relevant update packages.

Rear Panel Connections

The BLII Bridge incorporates a pair of redundant power supplies, which are powered from the pair of IEC connections on the back of the unit.

Two pairs of SFP cages is located on the back panel. One pair will be pre-populated with multi-mode LC fibre SFPs but can alternatively be populated with single-mode SFPs.

HC Link 1 Port A Main and Backup are used for connecting to BLII 1a and 1b (or 2a and 2b) ports on the console respectively.

Port B is not in use.

There is also an RX and SFP status LED for each port. The leftmost pair of RX and SFP LEDs refer to Port A Main and the second from the left refers to Port A Backup. The third and fourth from the left pairs of LEDs refer to Port B, which is not in use.

The status LED meanings are as follows:

LED Off Solid Red Flashing Green Solid Green
RX n/a Port is not connected Port is connected and is Active port
in redundant connection
Port is connected and is Inactive port
in redundant connection
SFP No SFP fitted n/a n/a SFP fitted

Connecting BLII Bridge to SSL Live Consoles

The following equipment is required to connect a BLII Bridge to an SSL Live console.

Connect the console's BLII port 1a to HC Link Port A Main on the back of the BLII Bridge via multi-mode LC fibre.*

Connect the console's BLII port 1b to HC Link Port A Backup on the back of the BLII Bridge via LC fibre.*

*or single-mode LC fibre if the console has been fitted with single-mode BLII ports and single-mode SFPs have been fitted to the BLII Bridge - not standard.

Notes:
If using an L500 Plus with two pairs of BLII ports fitted, either redundant pair can be used to connect to the BLII Bridge. The other pair can be used to connect to a BL II-MADI Concentrator or another BLII Bridge.

Connect the BLII Bridge Dante Primary and Secondary ports to the primary and secondary Dante network switches respectively.

Connect the console's Dante Expander Primary and Secondary ports to the primary and secondary Dante network switches respectively. You must also connect the Dante Expander to the Dante network. Dante device control cannot pass down a BLII connection, so connecting the Dante Expander allows the console to have control over Dante devices and create routes on the network.

Setting Up the BLII Bridge with an SSL Live Console

On the console go to MENU > Setup > I/O > Local/MADI Configuration.

If there are no devices configured in the relevant BLII port when the BLII Bridge is connected, the Bridge will be automatically detected and configured.

If there are already devices configured in the relevant BLII port, the port will need to be reconfigured.

To configure the BLII port, 1. tap on the relevant BLII port column heading to view settings for the BLII port. 2. press and hold Configure Port For: in the Detail View of the BLII port and select Net I/O BLII Bridge.

Caution:
Take care when reconfiguring the BLII port as routes will be unmade. If reconfiguring the BLII port from BLII-MADI Concentrator to BLII Bridge, all existing routes between the console and devices connected via the BLII-MADI Concentrator will be unmade. If reconfiguring the BLII port from BLII Bridge to BLII-MADI Concentrator ALL Dante dual domain routes will be unmade regardless of whether they route through the BLII Bridge or the Dante Expander Module. Virtual Tie Line routes made to the Dante Expander Module will remain.

BLII port configuration is stored in showfiles.

In order for the BLII Bridge to function correctly, the name of the BLII Bridge on the console must match the name of the unit in Dante Controller.

To check this, open Dante Controller on a computer and connect it to the Dante network (or to the BLII Bridge directly using a network cable).

Check that the BLII Bridge appears in Dante Controller. (For more information on IP addresses and connecting Dante devices to the network, please see the "Setup: Dante I/O Configuration" page in the SSL Live Help system).

Check the name of the BLII Bridge in Dante Controller against the BLII Bridge name on the console.

Change the name of the BLII Bridge either in Dante Controller or on the console so that both names match exactly.

To edit the BLII Bridge name on the console, double tap in the name field and type in a name.

To edit the BLII Bridge name in Dante Controller, double click on the BLII Bridge and go to the Device Config tab. At the top of the page under Rename Device, type in a name and press Apply. You will be asked to confirm the name change. Click Yes. Please note that changing the Dante name of a device breaks all existing routes to/from this device.

Reboot the console.

PSU status, network status, and Sample Rate are also displayed here.

Sample Rate

The sample rate of the BLII Bridge must match the sample rate of the console.

The Sample Rate is changed in Dante Controller. Double click on the BLII Bridge and go to the Device Config tab. In the Sample Rate section, click on the drop down menu and select the desired sample rate. You will be asked to confirm the sample rate change. Click Yes.

The BLII Bridge must be rebooted in order for this change to take effect. Click Reboot at the bottom of the window. You will be asked to confirm the reboot. Click Yes.


Working with Multiple Sample Rates and a BLII Bridge

If working with multiple sample rates on the same network, as well as a BLII Bridge, the following instructions must be followed.

The BLII Bridge and the console must ALWAYS be running on the same sample rate.

To interface with devices on a different sample rate on the same network, these devices must be routed to/from the console via Virtual Tie Lines through the Dante Expander ModuleF.

Go to MENU > Setup > I/O > Local/MADI Configuration and tap on the Dante Expander.

Double tap on the Virtual Tie Lines quantity and type 32 (maximum quantity when either console or Dante Expander or both are running at 96kHz). Now engage SRC In.

32 Virtual Tie Lines MUST be created, even if fewer are required. This is because the console is not deterministic when choosing whether to create Dual Domain routes through the Dante Expander or the BLII Bridge. So if fewer than 32 Virtual Tie Lines are created, there will still be some Dante routes remaining, which the console could use for Dual Domain Routes. It would then be possible that the console attempts to make Dual Domain Routes to/from devices on a different sample rate. Dante network routes cannot be made between devices running different sample rates, so the network route would not be created.

In Dante Controller, set the console's Dante Expander to the same sample rate as these other devices (different from the console and BLII Bridge sample rates).

Now the console and BLII Bridge are running one sample rate. And the Dante Expander and other devices on the network are running another sample rate. The Dante Expander has been set to sample rate convert between these two sample rates.

Now make routes to/from the other devices (on the different sample rate to the console) via Virtual Tie Lines. For instructions on how to do this please see Dante Virtual Tie Lines.

Please Note:
In this configuration, SSL recommends that the console is set to clock from the BLII Bridge and the BLII Bridge is set to clock from the Dante network. See the instructions on clocking below.

IP Addresses

When BLII Bridges are shipped from SSL, they will be set to DHCP.

The BLII Bridge's IP address must be in the same subnet as the Dante Expander module and the console's Dante Control Settings. For more information about IP addresses and subnets please see Setting Up Dante.

Please note:
The console's Dante Expander module must also be set to an IP address within the same subnet as the BLII Bridge and the console's Dante Control Settings.

Changing the IP address of the BLII Bridge and Dante Expander Module

The BLII Bridge and Dante Expander's IP addresses are changed in Dante Controller. Double click on the device and go to the Network Config tab. Choose either Obtain an IP Address Automatically or Manually configure an IP address. If you select Manually configure an IP address, type in an IP address and a Netmask (also known as subnet mask).

Click Apply. You will be asked to confirm the IP address configuration change. Click Yes. The BLII Bridge must be rebooted in order for these changes to take effect. Click Reboot at the bottom of the window. You will be asked to confirm the reboot. Click Yes.

Changing the IP address of the console's Dante Control Settings

On the console, go to MENU > Setup > Options > NETWORK tab. In the DANTE CONTROL SETTINGS section, the console's Dante Control IP Settings are listed. Choose either DHCP or Fixed IP addresses. If you choose Fixed, double tap on the IP Address and Netmask (also known as subnet mask) fields to edit them. Press and hold Apply.

Clocking

The console can be the Master or the Slave of the Dante Network through the BLII Bridge.

Setting up the Console as a Slave of the Dante Network

For the most reliable clocking scheme, SSL recommends that the console is set to be a slave of the Dante network when using a BLII Bridge.

In this configuration, a Dante device other than the console is the Clock Master. The BLII Bridge is set to clock from the Dante Network, and the console clocks from BLII.

In Dante Controller, go to the Clock Status tab. Check the Preferred Master checkbox for the Clock Master device.

On the console, go to MENU > Setup > Options > SYSTEM tab. In the SYSTEM CLOCK section, select BLII 1 and press and hold Apply. Check that both the Requested and Actual fields above list BLII 1.

On an L500 Plus with two pairs of BLII ports fitted, select either BLII 1 or BLII 2 depending on which BLII port has been used to connect to the BLII Bridge. To select BLII 2, tap BLII 1 twice and a drop down menu will appear. Tap 2, then tap Blacklight II. Check that both the Requested and Actual fields above list BLII 2.

If configured correctly the following LEDs will be seen on the BLII Bridge:

LED If configured correctly will light
BL S Off
NET S Solid Green
GM Off

The GM LED is located to the right of the Dante ports on the front of the BLII Bridge.

If colours differ from the above please consult the full tables earlier in this page.

Setting up the Console as the Clock Master of the Dante Network

In this configuration, the console's Internal Clock is the Clock Master. The BLII Bridge is set to clock from BLII, and the Dante Network clocks to the BLII Bridge.

On the console, go to MENU > Setup > Options SYSTEM tab. In the SYSTEM CLOCK section select Int for the console's internal clock and press and hold Apply. Check that both the Requested and Actual fields above list Int.

In Dante Controller go to the Clock Status tab. Check the Preferred Master and Enable Sync To External checkboxes for the BLII Bridge.

If configured correctly the following LEDs will be seen on the BLII Bridge:

LED If configured correctly will light
BL S Solid Green
NET S Off
GM Solid Green

The GM LED is located to the right of the Dante ports on the front of the BLII Bridge.

If colours differ from the above please consult the full tables earlier in this page.

When the BLII Bridge becomes the Clock Master

If the BL S and NET S LEDs are off and the GM LED is Solid Green, the BLII Bridge has become the master of the network. This could occur if the console and BLII Bridge were set to clock from a Dante device on the network, but this Clock Master loses connection to the network. The BLII Bridge could then be chosen by the Dante network as the Clock Master of the Dante network.

This is a perfectly valid clocking scheme. The BLII Bridge will now clock the console and the network from its internal clock. The console's clock source will remain as Dante.

To manually set the BLII Bridge to be the Clock Master, follow the same steps as configuring the console to clock from the Dante network, but check the Preferred Master box beside the BLII Bridge in Dante Controller.

Checking the Maximum Dante I/O Channel Count

In MENU > Setup > I/O > Dante Configuration at the top right of the page is a resource bar listing the quantity of the total number of dual domain Inputs and Outputs, as well as how many are currently in use.

The maximum quantity of Dante Inputs and Outputs varies depending on the following:

For example, if the console and Dante Expander are both running at 96kHz, no Virtual Tie Lines have been created from the Dante Expander Module and there is one BLII Bridge connected the maximum Dante channel count will be:

32ch (Dante Expander at 96kHz with no Virtual Tie Lines) + 256ch (BLII Bridge) = 288ch

Or for example, if the console and Dante Expander are both running at 48kHz, 10 Virtual Tie Lines have been created from the Dante Expander Module and there are two BLII Bridges connected the maximum Dante channel count will be:

64ch (Dante Expander at 48kHz) -10ch (10 Virtual Tie Lines from Dante Expander) + 512ch (two BLII Bridges) = 566

The maximum Dante I/O count is 576 channels. To achieve this the console must be an L500 Plus with two pairs of BLII ports fitted, as well as a Dante Expander Module fitted. And the console and Dante Expander Module must both be running at 48kHz:

64ch (Dante Expander at 48kHz) + 512ch (two BLII Bridges) = 576

Please Note:
All of the above is subject to network bandwidth limits.

Routing

Dual Domain Routes

Dual domain routes to and from Dante devices through the BLII Bridge are made in exactly the same way as they are through the Dante Expander. Please see Working with Dual Domain Routes and the Dante Configuration page for more information on making dual domain routes.

Please Note:
When making dual domain routes to and from Configured Dante devices, the console chooses whether to make that route through the Dante Expander Module or through the BLII Bridge. This means that some routes may be made through the Dante Expander and some others may be made through the BLII Bridge. This may change when the console is booted or when the showfile is reloaded. This is all perfectly normal. Please be aware of existing routes when unplugging either the BLII Bridge or the Dante Expander. You can check how many routes are going through the BLII Bridge and the Dante Expander in the Routing tab of Dante Controller. However, do not make or unmake these dual domain routes from Dante Controller.

Virtual Tie Lines

To set up Virtual Tie Lines on the BLII Bridge, go to MENU > Setup > I/O > Local/MADI Configuration. Tap on the top of the BLII port column corresponding to the local BLII port that the BLII Bridge is connected to. The Detail View for the BLII Bridge will now appear. Double tap on the text field next to "Virtual Tie Lines" to change the quantity of Virtual Tie Lines.

On the BLII Bridge it is possible to create Virtual Tie Line Inputs and Outputs separately.

Once created, BLII Bridge Virtual Tie Lines appear in the routing view under BLII. The routing points are divided into groups of 32 channels per "Port".

Virtual Tie Lines on the BLII Bridge behave in the same way as they do on the Dante Expander Module. For more information on Dante Virtual Tie Lines, please see Dante Virtual Tie Lines.

Please Note: It is not possible to configure groups of BLII Bridge Virtual Tie Lines as Live Recorder IDs as it is with the Dante Expander Module.

Useful Links:

Setting Up Dante
Dual Domain Routes and Configuring Dante Devices
Network I/O Stageboxes and Devices
Virtual Tie Lines
Setup: Installation Guide
Index and Glossary
NEXT: Console Configuration