Project Description

Nixer PD Dante

The Unika NBB-1616 is a bidirectional, multichannel analogue I/O interface for Dante AoIP networks. It provides 16 mic/line inputs and 16 line outputs, and is a simple to use I/O solution for live or installed sound systems and recording or broadcast facilities where a Dante network is implemented. A 16 channel expansion unit is also available.

Main feature set

  • Inserts up to 16 audio channels onto Dante network
  • Simultaneously extracts any 16 channels from network
  • Very simple configuration – no computer required for basic one-to-one operation
  • 32 channel operation with optional expansion unit NBB-1616e (at 44.1/48/88/2/96 kHz sample rates)
  • Automatic configuration of two units for one-to-one “digital snake” operation
  • Low latency (<0.5 ms in one-to-one configuration)
  • All sample rates supported up to 192 kHz at 24-bit or 16-bit depth
  • Compatible with Dante Controller, Dante Virtual Soundcard and Dante Domain Manager
  • 16 balanced analogue inputs – accept both mic and line levels
  • 16 balanced line outputs, +24 dBu max level (0 dBFS)
  • High quality analogue signal paths
  • Front panel gain control for each input
  • Switchable phantom power, phase and 18 dB pad, per input
  • Per-channel LED bargraph PPMs with clip hold function
  • Meters switchable to display inputs or outputs
  • Dual Ethernet ports for daisy-chaining multiple units, or redundant operation
  • Can be defined as clock master (by Dante Controller)
  • Factory reset function: clears current configuration
  • Universal PSU: 100 – 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
  • Robust mechanical construction – 3U 19” rackmounting unit.
  • All current unit settings restored after power cycling

The Unika NBB-1616e Expansion Box may be connected to an NBB-1616 via a dedicated port to increase the audio capability to 32 bidirectional channels. The Unika NBB-04R and NBB-04T are POE-powered “throw-down” units providing either four analogue inputs (R version) or four analogue outputs (T version), and may be thought of as Dante DI boxes. The Unika NBB-0202 is a POE-powered, compact two-channel bidirectional Dante interface, ideal as a presenter or commentary interface in a broadcast system.


The Unika NBB-1616 is a 16-channel analogue break-in/break-out box for use in Dante AoIP networks. It is extremely simple to configure and use, and has many applications in live sound, installed sound, location multitrack recording and broadcast environments, where multi-channel analogue audio needs to be transferred to and from a Dante network.

The NBB-1616 is fully compatible with all current Audinate software, including Dante Controller, Dante Domain Manager and Dante Virtual Soundcard. Dante Controller is the standard system configuration application: Mac and Windows versions are available as freeware from Audinate’s website. It supports automatic device discovery, and the default 1:1 channel routing may be easily altered, as well as allowing clock master selection, latency allocation, configuration backup and restore and numerous other housekeeping functions.

The NBB-1616 is a mains-powered, rack-mounting (3U) unit, and provides 16 analogue inputs and 16 analogue outputs. All analogue connectors are rear panel-mounted XLRs. The balanced inputs can accept either mic or line levels, and each has a gain control (60 dB range) and an 18 dB pad for level adjustment. 48 V phantom power and phase reverse switches are also provided for each input. The balanced outputs are calibrated for +24 dBu = 0 dBFS. The front panel also has a four-segment LED bargraph PPMs (-10/-20/-40/-60 dB rel 0 dBFS) for each channel; each meter includes a Clip LED with a fixed 2 second hold time. The meters may be switched to display either the inputs or outputs. Further panel LEDs confirm current sample rate and other unit statuses. The entire LED display may be switched off to minimise light distraction in live sound situations.

The rear panel is fitted with two Ethernet ports for connection to the Dante network. By default, the second port is switched to enable further NBB-1616 units – or any other Dante hardware units – to be daisy-chained. A rear panel button selects an alternative Redundant mode, whereby the two ports now adopt primary and secondary statuses, allowing the NBB-1616 to be configured across a fully redundant network. In this mode, auto-switching between the two Dante streams is seamless and the audio is uninterrupted. Redundant mode is indicated on a front panel LED.

NBB-1616e expansion units may be added to increase the system capacity to 32 bidirectional channels, and the rear panel has a dedicated expansion interface for this purpose in the form of four RJ45 connectors. Sample rate is also set on the rear panel, though the hardware setting may be overridden by Dante Controller. The sample rate in use is always displayed on the front panel LEDs.

The NBB-1616 also supports a very rapid “P2P” mode, which allows two NBB-1616 units to be connected together in isolation by a single Cat 5e connection, thereby implementing a “digital snake”. Adding an NBB-1616e expansion unit to each end doubles the snake’s overall capacity to 64 channels, 32 inputs and 32 outputs.

Numerous other system topologies are possible. The unit may be used as a simple stagebox, routing on-stage sources to a Dante-equipped FoH mixing console while also handling the main and monitor returns from the console. Again, adding a NBB-1616e unit increases the number of audio channels to 32 bidirectionally.

Cable runs of up to 100 m are possible using Cat 5e cable (screened Cat 5e is recommended for electrically noisy environments): longer cable runs may be achieved by the use of gigabit Ethernet switches with fibre interfaces, single-mode fibre allows units to be located several kilometres apart.

Standard bit depth in the NBB-1616 is 24, but 16-bit operation may be configured from Dante Controller. Sample rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz are all supported; the four lower sample rates allow 32 audio channels (with a single unit); 176.4/192 kHz rates allow 16 channels.


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