Welcome to the Q-Sys Newsletter - September 2011.
by Dale Sandberg
Sr. Product Manager
QSC Audio Products, LLC.
A free newsletter providing feature announcements, notable installations, and other commentary on Q-Sys.
In this issue:
- Version 2.1 - What's New?
- Interesting Installation Profiles
- Tips and Tricks Blog
Version 2.1 - What's New?
New Q-Sys Hardware:
New Q-Sys IO cards are available for the IO Frame and Core.
CobraNet™ Card (BETA)
Adds CobraNet capability to Q-Sys. You can install the card in the Core or an I/O Frame.
Standard Mic/Line In Card (BETA)
Provides a lower cost solution for mic/ line inputs.
New Software Components:
Q-Sys Designer V2.1 adds several new software components in the Schematic Library (Audio Components, Control Components), and in the Inventory.
The Event Log component displays the last item added to the event log. The information displayed is: date/time, severity, category, and message. You can use the Event log to send this information to a Lua Script. For the complete Event Log, refer to the Q-Sys Administrator Event Log topic.
Auto-Pan Component (BETA)
The Auto-Pan Component allows you to take a mono signal and automatically pan it between the channels of a stereo output, or a stereo input and pan the channels automatically between the stereo output channels.
Chorus Component (BETA)
The Chorus Component mixes two identical signals, with one of the signals delayed by a small, slowly modulated amount.
Echo Component (BETA)
The Echo Component enables you to create a delay or echo effect for mono or stereo inputs and outputs.
Flanger Component (BETA)
The Flanger Component mixes two identical signals, with one of the signals delayed by a small, slowly modulated amount.
Tremolo Component (BETA)
The Tremolo Component allows you to modulate the gain of a mono input to get a mono or stereo output, or a stereo input to a stereo output.
The CobraNet card is represented in Q-Sys Designer by two components that you can add to your design; the CobraNet In Component, and the CobraNet Out Component. You may install up to four CobraNet cards in an I/O Frame, and one in a Core. The CobraNet card (BETA) gives you four input and four output channels of CobraNet digital audio. Full CobraNet support will be coming in V2.2.
RS-232 Serial Port
There is an RS-232 Serial Port, on the rear panels of the Core and I/O Frames. The representative RS-232 Serial Port Component is automatically in the Q-Sys Designer Inventory list as part of the Core, and any I/O Frames you add to the Inventory. When you add the component to your design, and connect it to the Control Script Component, you establish a connection to the RS-232 connector on a Core or I/O Frame. You can now write an appropriate Lua Script to control and read from devices such as DVD players, recording hardware, video, lighting, and so on.
Component Enhancements and Changes:
Audio Player Component
Playlists, created in Q-Sys Administrator > Audio Files, are available for selection in the Audio Player. You can select to Repeat the list, shuffle the list, or play in the file order of the Playlist. In Shuffle mode, if Repeat is on, QSys re-shuffles the list, and plays it again.
There are three types of Delays available in the Delay Component: Standard, Fractional, and Crossfaded. The Standard Delay rounds the Delay time to the nearest whole number of samples, and ramps the signal level down to -20 dB then ramps back to the original signal level but at the new delay time. The Crossfaded Delay rounds the Delay time to the nearest whole number of samples, and maintains two delay lines for each tap. When the Delay time changes, one of the delay lines is updated with the new delay time, the other uses the original delay time. The output signal changes to the new time by cross-fading from the original Delay time to the new Delay time. The Fractional Delay interpolates the audio signal between samples if the Delay time is not equal to a whole number of samples, and ramps the Delay time to the new Delay time. The signal level is not changed. The Delay Component now has a Linear Gain option, in the Properties, in support of acoustic positioning control.
Delay Matrix Mixer Component
The Delay Matrix Mixer now has the option, in the Properties, to select the Type of delay. The choices are Standard, Crossfaded, and Fractional. The Delay Matrix Mixer component now has a Linear Gain option, in the Properties, in support of acoustic positioning control.
The following change applies to the Automatic Gain Control, Compressor, Expander, Gate, Peak Limiter, and Priority Ducker Components. In Gain is applied to both the main Input and the Side Chain input, regardless of whether the Side Chain Input Property is No (internally connected) to the main Input, or Yes (externally connected) to the main Input. In earlier releases, when you bypassed the Component, In Gain was not available at the main Input and the Side Chain input. This could cause a Side Chain signal level shift that would make it difficult to adjust the Component while bypassed. In this release, Q-Sys Designer always applies In Gain to the Side Chain input signal, regardless of the state of Bypass. There is a new Property, Bypass Gain Meter, to determine if the Applied Gain Meter is active or not. When set to Active, the Applied Gain meter is active regardless of the state of the Bypass button. This means you can adjust the dynamics processor in Bypass mode. When set to Inactive, the Applied Gain meter is inactive to give you an indication that the component is in Bypass mode. This change applies to all Dynamics components. When the Bypass button is active, the word BYPASSED displays in the middle of the Response Graph.
This change applies to all Equalizer and Filter Components with the exception of the FIR Custom Filter. When the Bypass button is active, the word BYPASSED displays in the middle of the Response Graph.
The E-mailer Component now works with SSL email accounts. Examples of email accounts requiring SSL are Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.
PA Router Component
The PA Router has two new buttons: Cancel All Commands, and Cancel Queued Commands Only Parametric EQ Component High- and Low-shelf options are now available in the Parametric Equalizer Component.
The following Control Pins are now available for the Responsalyzer: Clear, Coherence, Impulse Response, Magnitude Response, Phase Response, RTA, and Update. The intention of the Control Pins is for use in Lua Scripts.
The Router Component Properties has a new choice under Selection Controls called Output Select Mode. When you choose the Output Select Mode, the Control Panel displays an Output selector knob and a Mute button for each Input, as opposed to Input selectors for each Output. The maximum limit for Input and Output Count, for Crosspoint and Combo Box controls has been raised from 4096 (64 Inputs * 64 Outputs) to 16384 (128 Inputs * 128 Outputs). For Input/Output counts above this, up to maximum of 512/512, the Knob control is available.
Chateau Nightclub and Gardens, the newest nightclub on the Las Vegas strip, opened the doors of its expansive high-tech complex this summer, showcasing an unsurpassed amount of audio and visual entertainment space throughout. Bob Athey, with help from 4 Wall Entertainment, designed and built the A/V and control systems for the massive club, and chose QSC's Q-Sysâ„˘ Integrated System Platform and PowerLightâ„˘ amplifiers as the system backbone for the entire complex. The 45,000 square foot club spans two levels, with a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces. The 15,000 square foot main room, with its large spiral staircase and 10-ft tall marble fireplace, features an elevated DJ booth and giant LED screen that spans the entire length of the back wall.Â The 10,000 square foot Chateau Terrace, overlooking the strip, boasts another DJ booth, VIP Cabanas, Terrace Bar and dance floor.Â And the 20,000 square foot Chateau Gardens, reachable via a set of glass elevators, features a rooftop dance floor, four more bars, a third DJ booth and thousands of lights. All in all, the Chateau complex encompasses more than 30 zones of audio, all networked together via Q-Sys.
“Q-Sys controls the whole thing -- all the zones, throughout the bars, dance floors, and all the surrounding areas, all the cable boxes go into it, all the background music sources, “says Athey, Head of 4 Wall's Audio/Video Division. “ We chose Q-Sys because of its great ability to expand the software and hardware into the future. Chateau is continually growing its audio and video capabilities - adding another big screen or a new audio zone. With Q-Sys, we don't have to spend time adding components or routers; it's so easy.”
Chateau also features more than 50 QSC PowerLight amplifiers, which Athey chose for their superior sound quality. “The PowerLights are the best sounding amplifiers for network based audio,” he adds, “Together with Q-Sys as part of a whole package, QSC helped us meet our goals for the audio system as well as our budget.”
Athey continues to add onto the A/V capability at Chateau, and is in the process of adding more Q-Sys Cores and I/Os to give them the ability to “route anything anywhere”. At present, Chateau has one Q-Sys Core 1000 but will have two Core 3000's as the club expands into the future.
Wisconsin State Assembly
DSP horsepower and customizable functionality were just two of the important factors that made QSC's Q-Sys™ Integrated System Platform the ideal solution for the recent renovation of the Wisconsin State Assembly's audio system.
"This system at the Assembly is the most complex we've ever designed or installed," reports Scott Leonard, vice-president of Wauwatosa, WI-based AV specialists Professional Audio Designs, Inc. "Q-Sys was the only system platform that I could find with enough horsepower to do what I wanted to do."
The task facing Professional Audio Designs was to renovate the fifteen-year-old custom audio system in the Wisconsin State Assembly-the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature located in the State Capitol in Madison-within a limited budget. With the previous installer no longer in business and replacement parts hard to find, relates Leonard, "We needed to make the system more mission critical and try to reduce any single point of failure."
Professional Audio Designs installed two QSC Q-Sys Core 3000 processors for redundancy together with 10 Q-Sys I/O Frames to control and optimize the existing microphones and loudspeakers-which were retained-that are used by the 99 Assembly members. Each member's desk houses a 3-inch speaker mounted behind a custom brass plate, supplemented by a number of low frequency drivers located throughout the chamber. Professional Audio Designs replaced the associated 20W amplifiers, installing them, along with the I/O Frames, within the desks. A total of 53 microphones are shared between the 99 members.
Using the DSP power of Q-Sys, Leonard created a mix-minus of each microphone feed and implemented more than 3,000 delays in the 64x64 cross-point matrix in order to localize the sound to each respective speaking member. The Q-Sys system is also programmed to apply multi-band compression to each mic and EQ to the loudspeakers.
"It was really a perfect fit, and the support from QSC has been really great. When I asked them to modify certain things, like how the delay matrix worked, they were very responsive," says Leonard.
"It's a fairly reverberant space, and by time aligning it so that the sound delays to every other speaker across the room, the sound now seems to emanate perfectly from each person when they speak," he continues. "One of the things Q-Sys really helped us do was tighten up the sound in the room, because you're not exciting the room with all these individual drivers that are not time aligned."
Leonard also installed QSC CX Series 4-channel amplifiers to power speakers in three galleries and a loge public seating area, as well as in the lobby. Audio from the chamber is additionally distributed to offices in the Capitol building, with additional feeds going to the internet and to broadcasters. Q-Sys allows third party control, in this case a Crestron control system with custom software that Professional Audio Designs wrote with touch screens at the desks of the Speaker, the Clerk, and the Sergeant-at-Arms' office.
"I can watch from my office and if I don't like how something sounds I can go in and make an adjustment," reveals Leonard, who configured the system with a virtual private network. "The new system is a definite improvement, not only in the sound quality, but having a reliable modern system with redundancy and the ability to monitor the system."
Tips and Tricks Blog:
As mentioned in our last newsletter we have created a Tips and Tricks Blog with helpful information posted by our developers and field application engineers. The Blog is located here: http://media.qscaudio.com/blogs/Q-Sys/
The most recent post is some often neglected but simple ways to speed up designing Q-Sys systems. Pervious posts are on various subjects but always informative. Like most blogs you can comment on the posts and in this case interact directly with the engineers.
Like always if you have a topic you would like to see addressed, an interesting installation you've worked on or a tip you would like to share, please drop me a line at email@example.com.