SynAudCon Digital

This seminar is taught by three instructors, who make learning digital audio fast, friendly and fun..

This seminar is taught by three instructors,
Pat Brown, Steve Macatee, and Bradford Benn.
They make learning digital audio fast, friendly and fun.

SynAudCon Digital is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to digital audio, digital signal processing and IP networks.

Sound systems of all sizes are now likely to have several digital audio components. As technology has advanced so has the capabilities of the sound system, it is now possible to design a complete sound system with no analog cabling. This fact presents new challenges for the modern sound system practitioner. As a result one must add digital audio and networking to their repertoire of understanding and skills.

Digital technology has long promised to clear the confusion that has always surrounded audio. It has not made good on this promise. A myriad of transports and protocols have emerged to create a confusing landscape for the audio practitioner. The one that is popular today may not be tomorrow.

This course is designed dramatically shorten the learning curve for understanding everything from data formats to networked audio systems. There are free seminars that cover specific transports, and you should attend them. However, if one truly steps back most problems can also be solved with other digital transports. SynAudCon Digital will teach one how to evaluate the need and pick the appropriate transport and solution from all of the available choices. We provide interactivity and actually let the students connect and use the theories they learn that day. SynAudCon is much more conversational than lecture, and is designed to convey concepts, not just to show you how to connect devices and communicate.

Watch this 2-minute video to learn more. Look below for more information.

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Upcoming Seminars

  • Nov. 16-18, 2015 – Washington, DC This class is full. Please call 812-923-0174 to get on the waiting list.
  • Scroll down to read ‘What You Will Learn’.
  • Don’t miss it! It is only offered once in 2015.
  • For travel information, click on the Hotel and Travel tab below.
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SynAudCon Digital is designed to offer a comprehensive introduction to digital audio, digital signal processing and networking. The class is approved for 24 Renewal Units, 10 CEDIA CEUs, and 21 BISCI CECs.
Continuing Education Overview

Who Should Attend?

This course is for those already conversant in analog practices and techniques. This 3-day course is for experienced audio people who can say "I've procrastinated long enough. It's time to learn this stuff!"

Suggested Prerequisite

Principles of Audio Web-Based Training

Can You Say "Hands On?" We Can!

It's one thing to be presented with the theory. It is another to actually do it. We start basic, with a small network on each table. We then interconnect the tables and solve the problems encountered. We end up with the entire room on one network. The theory and practices apply to all computer networks, not just one transport.

Bring a notebook PC with a network interface card if they wish to take part in the exercises.

Do you find yourself asking these questions?

  • Is digital audio "better" than analog audio?
  • What is "digital resolution" and how much is enough?
  • How can I build a scale-able audio system using a digital audio network?
  • How do I explain data networking so that an audio guy can understand it?
  • How do I explain audio networking to the IT team?
  • How do I get my WiFi control devices (smart phones & tablets) to talk the the audio system Ethernet devices?
  • What parts of networking must I understand to build a digital audio network?
  • Why are there so many digital audio formats? Which one should I use?
  • What are the differences between "consumer" and "pro" digital audio formats?

What You Will Learn

  • The Digital Audio Signal - The principles of converting analog signals into a bit stream are the basis for understanding all digital audio data formats. But what sample rate is high enough, and what bit depth is deep enough?
  • Digital Audio Formats - The bit stream can be packaged into many formats for transport. These include consumer formats such as S/PDIF and professional formats such as AES3. Additional formats include AVB, Dante, CobraNet, and MADI. Learn the nuances of each, including how to select the appropriate format for a given application.
  • Data Compression - In many cases parts of the digital bit stream can be discarded, improving the efficiency of processing and transporting digital signals. Lossy and lossless compression schemes are contrasted.
  • Digital Signal Processing - Part of the magic of digital audio is the ability to manipulate the signal in ways not possible with analog processors. Learn the difference between fixed-point and floating-point processing, and FIR vs. IIR filter topologies. We also present some simple, practical ways to compare DSP devices that will help you sort through the myriad of offerings in the audio marketplace.
  • Instrumentation and Troubleshooting - The tools-of-the-trade for analog audio are not adequate for digital audio. A new class of instruments has emerged to aid in troubleshooting digital audio systems and networks. Throughout the course we will demonstrate the use of practical instrumentation for examining the digital signal path. This will include hand-held digital testers and software tools.
  • Digital Audio Networks - Networks have dramatically changed the way that signals are delivered to different parts of a venue. Several network types have emerged, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Learn the differences between them, along with how to select one based on the current and future requirements of the sound system. Learn how to future-proof you networking knowledge by considering all digital audio network protocols.
  • Ethernet - Ethernet and its associated hardware is finding its way into all types of audio gear. A confusing landscape of compatibility has emerged. Learn concepts that are applicable to your office network as well as your audio network, and how both can be combined into a single network.
  • Proprietary Networks - The proliferation of Ethernet has produced low-cost hardware and cables that can be purchased almost anywhere. Some manufacturers are taking advantage of this by utilizing Ethernet connectors and cabling in their products. We will also look at some of these "non-Ethernet" uses of Ethernet interconnects

As An Added Bonus...

The arguments continue regarding sample rate and bit depth. How good is good enough? We have produced a self-running demo for breaks and meal time to help you educate yourself on this important concept. The headphone playback system is state-of-the-art and you will see and hear various digital resolutions compared. You will see and hear the difference between 24/96 digital audio and 16/44.1 (CD Quality) - information that will help you make practical decisions in your digital audio practice.


Steve Macatee is Director of Product Development and Training at Rane Corporation. But don't let the fancy title fool you. Over the past 20 years he has worked in manufacturing, test, documentation, analog, digital and embedded system design.

Steve Macatee was born very young in Philadelphia. Then in 1986 he received a BS in Electronic Engineering from Monmouth College, New Jersey, USA. Steve has worked at Rane Corporation since 1987 in several capacities: from manufacturing; mechanical, interface and PCB design; in-house and product documentation; analog, digital, embedded systems and - luckily for everyone - not much GUI or DSP software design. After a decade in R&D Engineering, Steve underwent an Inverse Dilbert Transform and moved to Sales for 4 years as a technical and consultant contractor liaison. He currently heads the New Product Development and Training department at Rane where he also works to define new product and technology ideas.

Steve has been an instructor for audio workshops on Grounding and Audio Networking, has published AES papers on grounding and computer - controlled networked audio devices and currently - along with Brad Benn - co-instructs the "Synergetic Audio Concepts Digital" seminars with Pat Brown of SynAudCon fame.

Steve enjoys getting out of the idealized lab and into the real world. For fun, Steve enjoys music, great food, spending time with his most-excellent wife and attempting to be a musician with several jazz ensembles in the Seattle area. But, being a drummer, perhaps "musician" is not the proper word?

Bradford Benn brings 3 decades and counting of audio experience ranging from installation, design, project management, documentation, and sales. He was also Novell Certified and worked as an IT Director. This unique combination of skills make Bradford a valuable part of SynAudCon Digital.

Bradford has been interested in computers and audio since his teenage years. After attending Muhlenberg College studying Technical Theater, he worked as a freelance audio engineer. He joined Soundelux Systems as a fabricator advancing to the level of Director of Engineering. He worked on the design, building, and installation process for audio, video and control systems for numerous projects ranging from retail spaces, themed restaurants, multi-million dollar theme park attractions, sporting venues, museums, and boardrooms. While at Soundelux Bradford was also the IT Director which was a hands on position responsible for the design, implementation, and administration of the computer networks at their multiple Florida locations.

Bradford went on to join Crown Audio. He began at Crown as a Product Integration Manager, and has served in other roles including Director of Product Application Support. Before being promoted to Business Development for Electronic Systems for Harman Professional, he served as Director, Application Engineering, where he was heavily involved in the development of System ArchitectTM software, the evolution of the HiQnet TM protocol, and the development of both Ethernet AVB products.

In addition to his responsibilities at Harman, Benn serves as a co-instructor for the SynAudCon Digital training seminars. His dual-background in IT and audio have uniquely prepared him for this role.

Pat Brown is a 1978 graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in electrical engineering technology. With a background as a musician, sound technician, retail music store owner, contractor, and consultant, he is familiar with the many aspects of audio. He served as an associate instructor to audio legend and SynAudCon founder, Don Davis. Pat along with his wife Brenda own and operate SynAudCon and have been providing training for the audio industry since 1996. Pat, the main instructor for SynAudCon, has the unique gift of being able to share his knowledge of complex technical topics in an easy-to-understand real world manner through multi-media demonstrations. SynAudCon is recognized as a industry leader in audio education.

SynAudCon offers both in-person and web-based audio training. There are regularly scheduled in-person training and special one-time events as instruction on new technology is needed. With the release of the web-based training in 2010, SynAudCon training is now more accessible worldwide.

Pat writes articles for several publications. He authored three chapters for Glen Ballou’s “Handbook for Sound Engineers” and is co-author of Sound System Engineering 4th Edition. He considers SynAudCon web-based audio training courses as his most complete “book,” being able to explain the concepts and principles with animations and demonstrations.

Pat regularly teaches for the industry trade organizations - NSCA, InfoComm, and LDI. He was chosen as NSCA “Educator of the Year” in 2005, won the NSCA “Mover and Shaker” Award in 2011 and “Peter Barnett” Award in 2012.

SynAudCon has given private seminars to many companies and organizations, including the Kennedy Space Center, Disney World, Sea World, IMAX, Purdue University, the US military, Siemens and many audio manufacturers. He has conducted seminars in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and Canada.

Pat and Brenda Brown founded a second business in 2005 - Pro Sound Testing, Inc. (aka Electro-acoustic Testing Company). Pro Sound Testing measures loudspeakers to produce data files for use in room acoustics modeling programs. Pro Sound Testing was the first company of its kind in the USA. This experience of developing a measurement facility and measuring hundreds of loudspeakers from dozens of manufacturers has allowed him to develop some methodologies and specifications that have influenced a number of industry standards.

Hotel & Travel

Washington DC: November 16-18, 2015 Seminar

Seminar Location: The seminar will be held at the beautiful and historic Old Town Alexandria at the Holiday Inn Alexandria.

Holiday Inn is located 2 miles from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Amtrak Train and Metro Subway (Braddock Rd and Ronald Reagan Airport) is also located within 2 miles of the Holiday Inn. The Holiday Inn provides complimentary shuttle to the airport locations.

Hotel Sleeping Rooms: We have sleeping rooms reserved at Holiday Inn for $129/night. To get this rate, please call 703-548-6300 and request Synergetic Audio Concept's room block. The room block ends on October 26, 2015. If you are calling after Oct. 26th, ask for Lisa Napper. She may be able to give you the discounted rate.

The Holiday Inn

  • provides complimentary WiFi.
  • provides complimentary shuttle to Ronald Reagan Airport, Amtrak Train and Metro Subway.
  • has an on-site restaurant called Bristol On First.
  • offers free shuttle service to the popular King Street.
  • offers complimentary Bike Borrow program.

Directions: Please type this address into your favorite map program.
Holiday Inn Atlanta-Perimeter
625 First Street.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Ph: 703-548-6300

Seminar Information:

  • The seminar will be held in a meeting room called Commonwealth AB at the Holiday Inn.
  • Seminar Times: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm each day.
  • The Class materials include: Full Color Manual, Support CD, Certificate of Completion and CEUs. (24 RUs, 21 BISCI CECs, and 10 CEDIA CEUs)
  • Meals: SynAudCon provides lunch and beverage service.


I am scheduling a flight, what are the class times?

The class starts at 8:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm each day. The doors to the classroom are open at 8:00 am. Typically, we do not end early on the last day.

What does the seminar fee include?

The fee includes the instruction, class materials (full color manual, support CD, and certificate of completion), beverage service, and lunch. You are responsible for your breakfast, dinner and overnight accommodations.

How do I register?

You may register online or call Brenda at 812-923-0174.

My company uses purchase orders, what is the best way to register?

SynAudCon accepts POs. Please email the PO# to Brenda at She will respond back to you.

I will send email about a week before the class with last-minute reminders. It is very important that you read this. It will contain information about "what to bring", location, times, special events etc.

Who provides lunch?

SynAudCon provides all-day beverage service and a sit-down lunch each day. At times we choose a buffet-style lunch. We like to encourage “synergy” among the seminar attendees. If you need a special diet, tell me on the first morning. The catering services are usually very good at accommodating us in this regard.

What should I bring?

There are different requirements for the different classes. .

Sound Reinforcement for Technicians: Bring a notebook computer if you would like to take part in the “Audio Click Rule” exercises (Windows). For you Mac users, the Audio Click Rule will work if you have Windows installed on your computer. Please bring a pair of headphones or ear buds. A couple of demos are done with a personal hearing system. We will provide you with your own wireless receiver, but you will need a pair of headphones or ear buds to use with it. Anything that works on a PC sound card or IPod will do. The required plug size is 3.5 mm tip-ring-sleeve.

SynAudCon Digital: A computer (Windows OS) is needed for the Hands On exercises. I will send you a note 2 weeks before the class with the details.

    Contact Us

    Synergetic Audio Concepts, Inc.
    8780 Rufing Rd
    Greenville IN, 47124

    USA Phone: 812-923-0174
    Fax: 866-547-0298

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