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How to Blend Analog Mics With Dante Components

The ANI4IN makes quick work of adapting legacy microphones to work with newer components that use Dante digital audio networking.
May, 05 2021 |
Shure MX396 microphones on conference table


Digital audio networking is all the rage these days.  Array microphones, DSP, and even loudspeakers now connect together using a single Ethernet cable that carries multi-channel digital audio, control signals, and power. 

In new installations, the benefits of networked AV components are pretty obvious.  They save installation time and effort and enable more flexible signal routing and control features than traditional analog audio and video systems.

How to Handle Audio System Upgrades


MX396 table mic with switch and LED

But some projects don’t start with a completely clean sheet of paper.  One common scenario is a meeting room with existing table microphones.  The back-end components – like the mixer and acoustic echo canceller -- might be due for replacement with a higher-performance digital signal processor like the IntelliMix P300 Audio Conferencing Processor that combines multiple functions in one device.  Heat-generating power amplifiers and faulty ceiling loudspeakers might be swapped for PoE-powered networked loudspeakers like the MXN5W-C.

But if the plan is to keep the table, replacing individual microphones with an array mic on the wall or the ceiling would leave unsightly holes.  And the user may be perfectly happy with how they sound and how they look.

The ANI4IN makes quick work of adapting legacy microphones to work with newer components that use Dante digital audio networking.

How to Connect Analog Mics to Dante Components


One solution to the problem of blending networked audio components with legacy analog microphones is an analog-to-Dante interface box like the AN4IN Audio Network Interface.  This small box can mount under the table, and accepts four analog audio signals on either XLR or block connectors.  Phantom power for condenser microphones is included, as well as a parametric EQ and gain adjustment on each input.  The microphone signals are converted to Dante digital audio and can be sent as individual channels or mixed and sent as a single feed.  One Ethernet cable to the conference table handles audio, control, and PoE power for the unit itself. 

ANI4IN-XLR (left) and ANI4IN-BLOCK (right) rear panel


How Analog Mute Buttons Can Send Command Strings


Conference room users can be creatures of habit.  If they’ve gotten used to touching a button on the microphone to mute the audio, they may be reluctant to change to a different method like using the control system touchpad.

Installations that include analog table mics with a built-in mute switch and LED can be integrated seamlessly with the ANI4IN-BLOCK.  The ANI4IN-BLOCK features three logic signal connections in addition to the audio pins.  These connect to the switch positive, switch ground, and LED wires coming from the microphone.  When a user pushes the mute button on the mic, the logic signal is converted into an Ethernet command string and sent to a downstream device such as an audio DSP, video codec, or room control system.  When the downstream device sends a command string telling the LED to turn on or off or change color, the ANI4IN-BLOCK converts that command into a simple logic signal that controls the LED on the mic.

Audio (blue) and logic (red) connections from MX396 and MX392 microphones to ANI4IN-BLOCK allow the switch and LED on the mic to send and receive command strings to/from Dante devices

So whether your meeting room audio upgrade consists of some new DSP in the rack or a whole new audio chain, there are plenty of options that let you keep what’s working well and change what needs to be changed – even if that’s a blend of analog and digital networked components.


Confused about which audio components are right for your meeting room?  Contact our award-winning Shure Applications Engineers for personal assistance.



Michael Moore
As a member of the Shure Market Development team since 2013, Michael helps customers find the right audio gear for their applications, from Houses of Worship to government buildings to corporate IT teams. Since college, Michael has worked in live and installed sound, as well as corporate AV.