NTP DAD AX Center Base


2U Rack Thunder|Core 1744×1744 digital Router and monitoring interface


About this item



NTP DAD AX Center Base


We packed distinguished DAD sound quality in a compact package. Then we added monitor control and speaker processing.

AX Center was born to sit in a rack right next to you in the studio, in your portable rig  – or maybe even on your desktop. It’s the audio interface that dreams are made of, as it unites the legendary audio quality of pristine Digital Audio Denmark AD & DA conversion with the renowned transparency and musicality of our mic preamps.

It’s all about capturing the source truthfully and getting it into any DAW you may use exactly as it is – and to get your production out exactly as you intended envisioned, and simply heard it.

  • Unmatched Sound Quality in Any Thunderbolt Audio Interface

  • Tried & Trusted PRO|MON Monitor Control from Mono to Immersive

  • SPQ Speaker Processing: 128 Channels with a Total of 1024 EQ Bands and Individual Channel Delay

  • 256 Thunderbolt & 256 Dante Channels

  • Tailor to Fit Any Need with Expandable & Customisable I/O

Even without utilizing the expansion options, you will get access to that über-musical and finger-licking delicious audio quality that our converters and preamps have been loved for by many of the world’s most acclaimed audio engineers and producers.

Easily accessible right in the front plate, you get two XLR / 1/4″ Jack combo inputs for connecting microphones and instruments.

This is your right-out-of-the-box A/D conversion stage that is already coupled with the preamps that have only been available as part of our Analog In expansion card (with preamp license) until now.

On the rear, you’ll find one of two out-of-the-box D/A conversion stages, as you get two stereo outputs for connecting two sets of studio monitors on balanced jack connectors. We support that most studios – regardless of size – would like to have an alternative pair of studio speakers connected.

On the front, you get another D/A conversion stage via two independent headphones outputs – perfect for co-producing.

In total, AX Center provides you with 2 channels of A/D conversion (with preamps) and 8 channels of D/A conversion right out of the box.

Optional Analog Expansion

Staying within the analog realm, you can add even more AD/DA converters to the table via the two available expansion slots.

In this example, two Analogue In expansion cards with 8 channels each have been installed.

These cards can be either balanced line signals or with preamp stages activated, which is available as a separate license that you can apply at any time in case you want to upgrade one or both cards according to your needs. Yes, that’s correct – you can have up to 18 input channels with DAD preamps and A/D conversion in a single AX Center unit!

In this configuration, AX Center would be the perfect centerpiece in smaller studios, or for super high-quality location multitrack recording in the field.

You can also choose to install one or two Analogue Out expansion cards for an additional 8 or 16 balanced line channels with pristine DAD D/A conversion.

Installing one 8-channel D/A card in addition to the build-in 4 output channels makes it the perfect 7.1.4 solution for immersive Dolby Atmos music production where unmatched sound quality is top of mind, as well as a true desire of the heart – and the ears!

You can also mix the analog cards, adding 8 channels of Analogue In and another 8 channels of Analogue Out. One obvious application that comes to mind with this configuration would be high-end mastering.

But regardless of which configuration you ultimately decide on, you will always get that legendary DAD sound quality when AX Center is present in your rack!

Optional Digital Expansion

You can also utilize one or both of the available expansion slots for our digital expansion cards, including Dante, AES, Dual MADI, and Dual SDI cards.

For example, the AES card could deliver digital outputs for studio monitors with digital input options, or you could use it for inserting digital outboard gear without additional AD/DA conversion stages.

Or you may want to add Dante channels with onboard SRC.

Finally, you have two different ways to expand your MADI channel count, as you can both install our Dual MADI expansion card and/or use our SFP MADI module ports.

Onboard Monitor Control

Also right out of the box, AX Center comes with the world-renowned PRO|MON monitor controller that is being used in thousands of music studios and post-production facilities worldwide, which provides ultimate flexibility for any speaker configuration from mono to full 64-channel Dolby Atmos, with speaker processing, delay, and configurable monitor groups.

This is simply a tried, tested, and trusted monitor control solution that has been put through its paces in real-world studios for years and years.

And of course, PRO|MON can be controlled remotely and hands-on from our MOM hardware monitor controller, as well as Eucon-enabled control surfaces such as Avid’s Dock, S1, S4, S6, and even the free Avid Control app.

You can set the listening levels, Dim and Cut for your main speakers, as well as two alternate pairs of studio monitors. Further, you can control the level and cut on up to four additional speaker sets.

You can define the signal output configuration for each speaker and monitor set to any format you’d like: Mono, Stereo, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1.6, and multi-channel up to 64 channels, using any of the audio outputs on your DAD interfaces in any combination.


The sources for monitoring can be selected from any of the configured signal sources. Then you can route to a monitor output as switched, or more sources can be summed to a control room speaker or monitor output providing Stem summing functionality.

Talk-back functionality is available for any of the control room speakers and monitors outputs, and the talk-back can activate Cut or Dim on any output as well.

You can also apply a fold-down function on each of the control room speakers and monitor outputs. The Folddown can handle any of these formats: Mono, Stereo, Left-Center-Right, Left-Center-Right-Sub, 5.1, 7.1, and 9.1.6 surround formats. On the sources, as well as the speaker and monitor outputs.

SPQ EQ Filter Processing

The SPQ feature can be configured to various filter characteristics and channel layouts via the DADman control software and is all integrated and easily managed by the PRO|MON monitor control section in DADman.

SPQ supports all the system sample rates and will reconfigure automatically and fast when sample rates are changed, with equal filters and delay independent of the sample rate. Delay can be set individually per channel as well as generally for a whole set of speakers to also accommodate lip-sync applications.

The SPQ setting is stored in the Pro|Mon monitor profile in DADman, and speaker settings can be recalled separately from stored monitor profiles for fast change of parameters. Measurement of the speaker curves and frequency responses have to be done using a separate measurement program, as this is not a part of the SPQ functionality.

Also, importantly, you can easily save and recall all configurations in the DADman monitor profile.

Speaker / Cue channel filter
– Parametric EQ
– Low Shelving
– High Shelving
– Low Pass Butterworth
– Low Pass Linkwitz-Riley
– High Pass Butterworth
– High Pass Linkwitz-Riley

Bass Management Filters
– Low Pass Butterworth
– Low Pass Linkwitz-Riley
– High Pass Butterworth
– High Pass Linkwitz-Riley

A Wealth of Channels. A World of Flexibility.


Included on the rear panel are a host of connectivity, covering Thunderbolt, Dante AoIP, MADI, ADAT, S/PDIF, and Word Clock. In total – and fully expanded – you can max out AX Center with a staggering 984 input and output channels.

With AX Center, we’re proud to introduce, as a world-first, a compact audio interface with a staggering 256 Dante IP Audio channels on board by default. The expansion capability is unlimited, as you can add any Dante device of your liking to your setup, whether that should be additional A/D-D/A converters, microphone preamps, headphone amps, mixing consoles, speakers or whatever you’d imagine.

And if 256 channels should not be enough, you can simply add up to two of our Dante expansion cards, which also support sample rate conversion, that would add 2 x 128 extra Dante channels to your AX Center for a total of 512 channels!

Also on the Thunderbolt side of things, you get a massive 256 Thunderbolt 3 channels for virtually unlimited interfacing capabilities. And not only does it support an impressive amount of channels, it also boasts near-zero latency and 32-bit floating-point processing.

The Core Audio driver supports both Apple Silicon and Intel hardware platforms so you get a future-proof solution. And if you prefer to work on Windows, AX Center also comes with an ASIO driver.

Since the Core Audio driver for macOS can be shared across several different software applications, your AX Center could be shared between e.g. Logic Pro, Ableton, Cubase, and/or Nuendo simultaneously. And with 256 Thunderbolt channels under the hood, there would be plenty of channels available for each application.

Expandability Galore: DAD I/O Card Options

Right out of the box, AX Center comes with a Thunderbolt 3 interface, 2 x 8 analog interface, 256 ch. Dante I/O, 64 ch. MADI I/O and 2 x ADAT/SPDIF. However, should that not be enough to cover your I/O needs, you’re not to worry!

We have the following I/O expansion cards to choose from when you consider what to add to the two expansion slots of your AX Center:

– 8 Channel Balanced Line A/D
– 8 Channel Balanced Line & Mic Preamp A/D
– 8 Channel Balanced Line D/A
– 8-Channel AES
– Dual MADI (128 Channels)
– Dante w built-in SRC (128 Channels)
– Dual SDI embedder/de-embedder


Further, you can also add 2 x 64 channels of MADI to the base unit as SFP modules. This does not occupy any of the two available expansion card slots.

The expansion cards for the AX Center, AX32, AX64, and NTP Penta 720 and 721s are fully interchangeable between the products.

However, future cards developed for the AX Center and AX64 will not be backward compatible.

Unlimited Applications


Adding all of the above together, the result is a compact studio miracle that ensures your precious audio is converted from analog to digital completely true to its natural expression, seamlessly routed and summed with utmost precision, and finally, it passes through a world-class D/A stage before reaching your speakers and ultimately your ears.

It is our goal that you can trust what you hear from capturing the source to the final round of mastering.

While this adds up to the perfect audio interface for production in Music Studios, AX Center can be configured and used for virtually any pro audio application you could ever think of.


For instance, some music producers and recording engineers multitrack at a remote location and then brings back the stems for mixing and mastering in the studio.

So, also in the case of Location Recording, AX Center is the ideal companion in the field as well as back home in the studio.

The I/O configuration in this scenario may be 18 analog channels with pristine DAD microphone preamps and A/D conversion.


Mastering is another obvious area for AX Center to excel. In this scenario, installing one Analogue In card and one Analogue Out card with 8 channels each would be ideal for inserting analog outboard units such as EQs and compressors.

Naturally, a super-clean signal chain is critically important in mastering, and using our A/D and D/A stages would ensure that you can trust every little detail you hear and every little tweak that you make.

With Dolby Atmos immersive sound quickly becoming one of the central audio formats of the future, AX Center is ready to take on immersive projects and productions.

And this is regardless of whether it’s for Dolby Atmos Music, streaming on e.g. Apple Music, or if it is object-based productions in post and film destined for Netflix, YouTube, TV, or Cinema.


AX Center could also find its way into meaningful applications in Live Sound. For example, recording, virtual soundcheck, inserting external effects processors, routing, and much more.

Since it offers a wealth of Dante and MADI connectivity within the same 1 RU box, it easily covers both of these commonly used live sound formats seamlessly and simultaneously if needed. Whatever the console, AX Center will adapt to fit.


AX Center can also be used in an OB truck. For instance as part of a multi-track recording setup.

Or in any other application where audio needs to be converted between formats (AD/DA/DD), routed flexibly, and in general kept at the highest possible sound quality through and through.

Ultimately, it is our goal with AX Center to give you a solution that ensures you can trust what you hear from capturing the source to your audience listens to the final production.

Technical Overview

• 2 Ch. microphone or instrument input• Dual stereo headphone output
• Dual stereo monitor output• A/D, D/A, and D/D Converter with sample rates from 44,1 to 384 kHz and DSD
• Up to 984 Input and Output Channels• Router and Monitoring Interface
• Thunderbolt 3 I/O (256 Ch.)
• Dante AoIP I/O (256 Ch.)
• MADI I/O (64 ch.)
• ADAT I/O (16 Ch.) / SPDIF (2 ch.)
• 2 Slots for Optional Multi-Format DAD I/O Cards
• 512×64 Ch. Pro|Mon Summing and Speaker 1024 ch. EQ Processing


• Thunderbolt 3 interface, with 256 Bidirectional Channels at 48 & 96 kHz, 128 channels at 192 kHz, and 64 channels at 384 kHz.

• Main and expansion Thunderbolt 3 Port w. 15W Power Source Each. Both of the two Thunderbolt 3 ports can function as main and expansion ports.

• Audio Drivers for macOS and  Windows.

• MADI interface on BNC connectors with 64 Bidirectional Channels at 48kHz, 32 channels at 96kHz, 16 channels at 192 kHz, and 8 channels at 384 kHz.

• Dual ADAT interface on TosLink Light pipes with 16 Bidirectional Channels at 48kHz, 8 channels at 96kHz, and 4 channels at 192 kHz. Configurable also as 2 Ch. S/PDIF input.

• DANTE AoIP interface via Ethernet with 256 Bidirectional Channels at 48 and 96kHz, and 128 channels at 192 kHz.

• Module Slot for optional dual Madi module via 2 x SFP (LC Fiber or HD/BNC Coax) connectors with 128 Bidirectional Channels at 48kHz, 64 channels at 96kHz, 32 channels at 192 kHz, and 16 channels at 384 kHz.

• Two card slots available for DAD I/O Expansion Cards.

• Word Clock I/O, and Video Black and Burst input on BNC connectors.

• 128 channels of speaker processing with a total of 1024 filters and delay.

• Summing Processor 64 Output / 512 Input Busses.

• Internal Router: 4096 x 4096.

• 32-bit Floating Point Processing.

• DADman control software for macOS and Windows connecting via Ethernet or Thunderbolt.

• Pro|Mon monitor control functionality and integration for Avid Eucon Enabled Devices via DADman.

• 19” Rack Unit 1U Height.

DADman Control

The Thunder|Core Audio interface is controlled via the DADman software. DADman can connect to the Thunder|Core interface either via Ethernet or via a communication channel in the Thunderbolt connection.

More units can be daisy chained via the Thunderbolt ports, and each unit will appear in DADman control software.

Using control over Ethernet the two RJ45 connectors act as a switch for connection to more units. The Dante /AES67 audio is also passed on the two  RJ45 connectors.

Thunder|Core Near-Zero Latency

The DAD Thunder|Core Technology provides a Thunderbolt 3 connection with near-zero latency for interfacing between audio applications on macOS or Windows computers and the Thunder|Core audio hardware.

The interface provides a fast Thunderbolt 3/PCIe connection and data transfer with 2 samples latency on the connection and a total of 9 samples in the digital interface, as the total also includes EQ and summing processing within the unit.

The channel capacity is up to 256 audio channels at 48 and 96 kHz, and the latency at 96 kHz is 95 microseconds. The total round-trip latency with an audio software application will depend on the buffer size set for the application. With a  buffer size of 32 samples, the latency is 670 microseconds at 96 kHz.


• 2 x Thunderbolt 3 Ports w. 15W Power Source Each
• 256 Bidirectional Channels at 44.1/48 kHz
• 256 Channels at 88.2/96 kHz
• 128 Channels at 176.4/192 kHz
• 64 Channels at 352.8/384kHz

Audio Driver Support for macOS 

• Core Audio Thunder|Core Audio Driver
• Compatible with Intel and Apple Silicon processors, as well as Big Sur macOS and forward
• Core Audio Aggregates for More Applications I/O Control Connection for DADman
• Control Connection for DADman

Audio Driver Support for Windows 

• ASIO Thunder|Core Audio Driver
• Compatible with Windows 10 and forward
• One Application Can Connect to the Asio Driver
• Control Connection for DADman


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