The Wonderful World of Digital Matrix Systems

  • Thor 

Having finished A Fully Digital Audio System Installation with Dante. A 4 zone, multiple Input System. There are so many advantages surely to be taken in 2020.


Having earth and a number of power sources hard wired together over many Rooms can be made to work ………. Until the set-up is disturbed. This is an inevitability with Zones that have their own set of functions.

The Digital link does not amplify a mixture of low power Signals to & from the various power and earth connections , therefore there are no signal interference e.g. Low level hum.

Sound Quality Loss over Distance.

The analog Cable;

Even the best balanced Multi-core will degrade the Sound over distance, I had the pleasure to test a few different analog multi-cores over 20 meters, side by side. The difference is clearly audible. Different cables, do sound differently. All of these,  add on, to the patchwork of input and output sound for the performing Systems.

Multiple Converters

Being able to get the Digital Source through a Digital Matrix System while remaining Digital, should be a obvious requirement today. With a Dante System, the digital conversion differences are bought on par with each other. When using the same in and out converters DAC for the analog connections.

High Performance

The downfall of using a analog zone controller together with a Digital Crossover is, there is always at least two DAC conversions in- between. I found going analog out from a digital source into to a digital DSP makes mixing a Live Performance at best hard work and Playback music is just forgettable. There’s a lot of tweaking and pushing needed to light up the performance.

What is the Magic on analog ?

They are Quick to react. A fully analog System has merits in close proximity, It fails on the Cable loss and on the need of multiple units like EQ, Compressor & Limiter and so forth in the Signal line, for production.

An analog Preamp Fest must be played well. Back in the Day this came with a very High Price Tag.


The ability to Control a Production without deterioration through cabling & multiple units, makes a Digital in and out conversion for live performance a small Compromise. Taking into consideration that there are also significant quality differences in between digital converter units. While Playback Digital the sound really shines with the resolution of CD and higher, the Setup of 48khz or more can outshine a great Analog System. Providing the Signal path remains digital from the conversion stage through to the amplification.


The Designer Software inside the Xilica Controller provides for very flexible solutions.

The Dante audio network gives the same quality of Sound in all locations.

1 CAT6 in multiple Rooms make the whole System become much more streamline. No need for Splitters, matrix mixer, switches and multiple in and out Cables. Third party units, for example, Light dimmers and Screen motors can be added via GPIO to the open Remote Software in Xilica.

Saving cost…. Is In the Design.

There is a price to pay to access a Digital Matrix.

Design is essential, as all the possible extra’s fill the goodie bag with costly sweets. Later changes are not a problem, most ideas is possible in Digital but this can not be done last minute for small money. You can not make up a digital signal with a few curses, tape and a Solder iron..

The Conversions to and from should be also on par with the controllers performance. If Well designed, prepared and set up, the Digital Matrix gives the sense of a “moved on” performance . The analog Design had it days, most signal is Digital today. The Exception is a analog desk or Vinyl Records. ( A digital Remastered Vinyl just defeats the purpose )

Looking at the size of my retired Desk plus outboard case, & cables. I am glad it’s over.

Thor Zeller

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