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Author Topic: Matrix Comms (Part 2)  (Read 6117 times)

Neil White

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Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« on: January 31, 2013, 04:26:30 pm »

Hi All,

This is a continuation to the Matrix Comms topic from last year. Pete Erskine suggested I post here with some more programming questions regarding the Riedel Artist system. Hopefully this can be a topic where we can discuss the programming and implementation of matrix comms systems from all manufactuers on all sizes of event.

I'd like to start the discussion with a question on the techniques available for monitoring the audio from important panels such as the Show Caller or Stage Manager. I recall Pete mentioned in the summer that there are a couple of different methods for listening to other panels within Riedel Artist, and would be interested to see the programming, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Neil
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 04:49:21 pm »

I'd like to start the discussion with a question on the techniques available for monitoring the audio from important panels such as the Show Caller or Stage Manager. I recall Pete mentioned in the summer that there are a couple of different methods for listening to other panels within Riedel Artist, and would be interested to see the programming, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

I use several methods.  In the old version of Clear-Com's Matrix Plus II you could totally mimic the audio to and from from another panel without alerting the other user.  Riedel Artist almost has that capability but to listen to the speaker on another panel turns on the "MIC ON" LED on their panel.  Some users protest at this.

Here are my methods.  http://www.bestaudio.com/_private/downloads/monitoring_a_panel.pdf
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 03:22:54 pm by Pete Erskine »
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Neil White

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 05:35:57 pm »

Here are my methods.  http://www.bestaudio.com/_private/downloads/monitoring_a_panel.pdf

So if a panel's 2nd channel audio was just set to route to the monitoring key, the MIC ON light would stay lit, but by using the Logic function on each key, the panel behaves as the user expects, ie if all talk keys are off, the MIC ON led is not lit. Then when a user does press a talk key, the audio is routed to both the destination and also to the monitoring key on the comms engineers panel.

Do you typically spend much time monitoring panel listens during a show or do you mainly monitor the conferences and point to point conversations? Since it requires the panel to be in dual channel mode, do you normally only set up these functions for a few key users?

Neil
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 08:22:20 pm »

Do you typically spend much time monitoring panel listens during a show or do you mainly monitor the conferences and point to point conversations? Since it requires the panel to be in dual channel mode, do you normally only set up these functions for a few key users?

I always monitor the key conferences like Production and Cameras.  In addition on a SM heavy show like the Opening Ceremonies I listen mostly to the entire set of conversations that the Show caller has.

I start allocating panel ports so that every one is a 2 channel and only switch to single channel when I run out.  That keeps most of my options open.  I may do nothing with the second channel but if I need to there is no system reset needed.
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Neil White

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 04:02:16 am »

I start allocating panel ports so that every one is a 2 channel and only switch to single channel when I run out.  That keeps most of my options open.  I may do nothing with the second channel but if I need to there is no system reset needed.

So you would assign panels to only odd numbered ports on the matrix, and then if additional panels are required they would fit in between the existing ports.

I would be interested to hear more about the cabling infrastructure required to deploy matrix comms.
Obviously each panel and node needs mains power, backed up by a UPS, and it would be the responsibility of the comms contractor to distribute power as needed. I think there would be three main ways of getting power to each panel:

a) home run a mains cable along with the signal cable from each panel to the node, and have all power distribution take place at the node location
b) run a single mains cable from the node to the panel location and distribute to multiple individual panels there. This probably makes the most sense in locations with large quantities of panels such as control rooms
c) locally power the panel from a source different to that of the node. This is probably a good solution for individual panels located a significant distance from the node, but would require more UPS units.

Is it common to use signal cable multicores (eg 5 way BNC) to distribute multiple panel signals over longer distances without having to pull lots of individual coax cables?

Neil
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Chris Johnson [UK]

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 05:36:12 am »

Hi Neil,

Typically, my approach to cabling panels is as follows. This holds true for any system, regardless of whether they are on coax/cat5 or whether they are AES (riedel) or 4wire analog (Clearcom/RTS) or IP (Clearcom/RTS)

I agree that each panel should have an uninterruptible power source, and that power should be discrete, and not shared with other technical services.

I run power with the signal, back to a central point. Normally on Powercon connectors. Partly because they dont pop out like IECs (I mainly work in the Music sector, where gear gets treated rougeher...) and also because they don't get pinched by other people.

The mains cable can be very small gauge as the power draw on a comms panel is so minimal. Therefore the combination cable runs are not overly bulky.

I would also say, though, that I ideally like to avoid running things only off of a UPS, since that is an additional point of failure in the power system. In fact, because the events I'm doing typically have excellent managed mains power supplies (either from generators or well designed building mains systems), I've actually seen UPSes fail more often than the mains itself. Switchover PDUs solve this problem, as they allow 2 power inputs, and will do a 1 cycle switchover in the event one should fail. So I can use the UPS as the primary source, and the mains as secondary. Should the UPS fail, no worries...

I'm increasingly fond of running remote clusters of panels over IP. It massively simplifies the cabling, and provided you know networking and use good quality switching, is incredibly reliable. With the current Clearcom systems, the panels have IP built right in! So you add the IP card to the matrix, and you can go ahead and choose whether to connect the panel via 4wire or IP.

In this situation, I can have a little rack sleeve with a UPS, switchover PDU and switch that the panels connect back to locally. This can be powered off a local mains supply, and redundant IP connections sent back to the matrix location.
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 11:05:55 am »

I would also say, though, that I ideally like to avoid running things only off of a UPS,

I totally agree.  My experience is that the failure of UPS's happens and care should be taken in using them.  For the NODE power, since they have dual power supplies and only need 1 to run, I always put one on the mains and the other on the UPS.  This also has the advantage of less load on the UPS.

Quote
I'm increasingly fond of running remote clusters of panels over IP. It massively simplifies the cabling, and provided you know networking and use good quality switching, is incredibly reliable. With the current Clearcom systems, the panels have IP built right in! So you add the IP card to the matrix, and you can go ahead and choose whether to connect the panel via 4wire or IP.

This is a good suggestion.  Riedel has just recently started including IP capability in their panels and nodes.  With the abundance of high speed networks on shows now it makes good sense to use them.  I have not yet had an opportunity to use IP but am happy that the option is there.

Quote
In this situation, I can have a little rack sleeve with a UPS, switchover PDU and switch that the panels connect back to locally. This can be powered off a local mains supply, and redundant IP connections sent back to the matrix location.

What switchover PDU do you use and is it IP addressable?  I would like to find a remote control power system.  Sometimes it is necessary to reboot a remote system.

Pete Erskine
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 11:11:11 am »

Is it common to use signal cable multicores (eg 5 way BNC) to distribute multiple panel signals over longer distances without having to pull lots of individual coax cables?

Multi core is useful in local situations.  For longer distances I use the 4 or 8 port fiber multiplexer.  This works great for Panels however if it is used to connect to a C44 power supply for beltpacks and the node is rebooted, the C44 does not come back on line and must be manually rebooted.
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 03:25:35 pm »

I neglected to mention the other half of the Artist monitoring functions, The Clone Output Port.  I have added it to the web page mentioned above.

http://www.bestaudio.com/_private/downloads/monitoring_a_panel.pdf
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Neil White

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Re: Matrix Comms (Part 2)
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 03:59:34 pm »

I neglected to mention the other half of the Artist monitoring functions, The Clone Output Port,

Would you typically just assign the Clone Output Port function to a key on your panel as and when needed during a production, for example when working with a user on their panel settings or for troubleshooting?

For longer distances I use the 4 or 8 port fiber multiplexer.  This works great for Panels however if it is used to connect to a C44 power supply for beltpacks and the node is rebooted, the C44 does not come back on line and must be manually rebooted.

I presume you have to put a CIA cat5 / coax adaptor between each port of the PMX and the C44. I wonder why there is not a CAT5 version of the 4 and 8 way fibre multiplexers.

Neil
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