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Author Topic: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol  (Read 12600 times)

Minka Matikainen

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Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« on: March 02, 2011, 05:09:16 am »

Hi all,

I tried to look for a topic on this matter thru "search", but I could not find it...

I know that SD9 and D-Rack communication is not a typical TCP/IP (or let's put it this way, that I think I know)  :)

I was wondering that is there any way to transform that communication into wireless form? I guess if it is not normal TCP/IP a normal wireless router / bridge would not do the trick?

Why I need to do this, what is limiting me to use that 100m (300ft?) distance? The thing is that the console would have to be in a place where pulling even the small CAT cable would be pretty impossible. This place is not build to support this and to be able to pull that cable I would need to leave a fire door open from it's corner with some protection on top of the CAT cable and leaving fire doors open is a "no-no"...

The distance is not that bad, but the application is...

If there is no way to do this in wireless way I will need to get my CAT cable flying from the balcony where the F.O.H is so that it will not hit anyones heads of feet in audience and that is tricky, but not impossible... ...although it would be a lot less of a hassle if I could do it by wireless connection.

Br,
-Minka-
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Phill Chapman

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 01:10:51 pm »

As far as I am aware, the protocol the SD9 uses is MADI, same as all the other DiGiCo boards, it just uses twisted pairs in the Cat5 (one to send to the board, one to return to the stagebox) instead of coax.
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Phill Chapman
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Ville Kauhanen

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 02:39:33 pm »

As far as I am aware, the protocol the SD9 uses is MADI, same as all the other DiGiCo boards, it just uses twisted pairs in the Cat5 (one to send to the board, one to return to the stagebox) instead of coax.

This is my understanding also.

This is copied from a Digico technical note about the RJ45 cabling in SD9:

"Communications Protocol Note
The Digico connection used for the D-Rack and SD9 console is a proprietary protocol designed to
operate with specific types of Cat 5e cables.
 
It is NOT compatible in any way Ethernet (as normally used for computer networks) and no
attempt should be made to combine D-Rack signals with Ethernet signals, for example in an
Ethernet switch."

later in the document:

"As noted above, the D-Rack does not use Ethernet. No attempt should be made for connection
via Ethernet hubs, switches, repeaters etc." 


It is not clearly stated anywhere in the document that the signal would be MADI/AES10 but they spare no words making it clear that the protocol IS NOT COMPATIBLE with any kind of ethernet devices.

I had to dig this info out since I wanted to run the signal in an ethernet to fiber converter we use with Ethersound and Cobranet.


It's also possible that the signal is MADI based but not fully MADI compatible and this is why they would need to run it in some other connector than BNC to make sure people can't mix it up with their other Digico devices.


I don't work much with these consoles but I see quite a lot of these with bands (SD9+D-rack) and the restriction on the cable length and not being fully MADI or ethernet compatible has been a problem for me in pre-production a couple of times. And will be in the future as well, I think.

Many people have bought the system with D-rack since it's cheap but the use of SD9+D-rack is severely limited for many applications because of this cabling limitation. But with the onboard MADI connection  SD9 can be connected to any other Digico rack with it so I think Digico has done their part. And I think there's optional fiber optic i/o card available as well.



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Ville Kauhanen

Lee Buckalew

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 02:47:42 pm »

This is my understanding also.

This is copied from a Digico technical note about the RJ45 cabling in SD9:

"Communications Protocol Note
The Digico connection used for the D-Rack and SD9 console is a proprietary protocol designed to
operate with specific types of Cat 5e cables.
 
It is NOT compatible in any way Ethernet (as normally used for computer networks) and no
attempt should be made to combine D-Rack signals with Ethernet signals, for example in an
Ethernet switch."

later in the document:

"As noted above, the D-Rack does not use Ethernet. No attempt should be made for connection
via Ethernet hubs, switches, repeaters etc." 


It is not clearly stated anywhere in the document that the signal would be MADI/AES10 but they spare no words making it clear that the protocol IS NOT COMPATIBLE with any kind of ethernet devices.

I had to dig this info out since I wanted to run the signal in an ethernet to fiber converter we use with Ethersound and Cobranet.


It's also possible that the signal is MADI based but not fully MADI compatible and this is why they would need to run it in some other connector than BNC to make sure people can't mix it up with their other Digico devices.


I don't work much with these consoles but I see quite a lot of these with bands (SD9+D-rack) and the restriction on the cable length and not being fully MADI or ethernet compatible has been a problem for me in pre-production a couple of times. And will be in the future as well, I think.

Many people have bought the system with D-rack since it's cheap but the use of SD9+D-rack is severely limited for many applications because of this cabling limitation. But with the onboard MADI connection  SD9 can be connected to any other Digico rack with it so I think Digico has done their part. And I think there's optional fiber optic i/o card available as well.

The Digico Little Red Box and Little Blue Box can be used as format converters/splitters for various applications.  Could be useful to check out.

Lee
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Ville Kauhanen

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 03:24:47 pm »

The Digico Little Red Box and Little Blue Box can be used as format converters/splitters for various applications.  Could be useful to check out.

Yeah I've read about those. Those could sort some issues.

It's just that the people coming in to productions or venues with SD9+D-rack should have those. Many houses or rental companies don't want to buy those if they don't need those themselves.
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Ville Kauhanen

Doug Fowler

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 03:33:20 pm »



It's also possible that the signal is MADI based but not fully MADI compatible and this is why they would need to run it in some other connector than BNC to make sure people can't mix it up with their other Digico devices.



It is not fully MADI compatible because of the gain sharing feature.  To connect a DiGiCo MADI BNC stream to another vendor's console (Avid in my case recently), the DiGiCo stage box must be configured to not use MADI above (IIRC) channel 56.



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Ville Kauhanen

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 03:54:38 pm »

It is not fully MADI compatible because of the gain sharing feature.  To connect a DiGiCo MADI BNC stream to another vendor's console (Avid in my case recently), the DiGiCo stage box must be configured to not use MADI above (IIRC) channel 56.

I am familiar with with this gain tracking/channel count issue in MADI systems sharing different brands but I was referring to the earlier statement that the signal between SD9 and the D-rack in RJ45/CAT5 would be just standard MADI configured to CAT5 cable.

I don't see why they would want to run STANDARD MADI through RJ45/CAT5 since to my knowledge nobody is doing this.
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Ville Kauhanen

Phill Chapman

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2011, 04:19:36 am »

I don't see why they would want to run STANDARD MADI through RJ45/CAT5 since to my knowledge nobody is doing this.

I presume it's to allow use of in-house tie-lines etc in the sort of small venues the console is perfect for, or so users of other small digital boards could make use of their existing cables.  Or maybe it's to indicate the "budget" nature of the rack, with the understanding that if you want a "pro" system you use a (more expensive) DiGi-Rack and run coax or fibre?

I don't really understand it myself and I wish the D-Rack had BNCs on it (like all the other DiGiCo boards we keep) so I wouldn't have to keep 2 different multi types in stock.  There is no Cat5 cable/ connector combination that is as tough or as reliable as coax and BNC.
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Phill Chapman
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Ville Kauhanen

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2011, 05:39:23 am »

I presume it's to allow use of in-house tie-lines etc in the sort of small venues the console is perfect for, or so users of other small digital boards could make use of their existing cables.  Or maybe it's to indicate the "budget" nature of the rack, with the understanding that if you want a "pro" system you use a (more expensive) DiGi-Rack and run coax or fibre?

I don't really understand it myself and I wish the D-Rack had BNCs on it (like all the other DiGiCo boards we keep) so I wouldn't have to keep 2 different multi types in stock.  There is no Cat5 cable/ connector combination that is as tough or as reliable as coax and BNC.

First when I saw the specs I thought about the ability to use existing permanently installed cabling. BUT
again from the Digico technical note:

"As such, for installed systems where there must be outlet points in walls and floors to connect to
the mixer or rack, then sufficient permanent cable “tails” should be allowed. Provision for storage
of such tails in suitable wall and floor boxes may be required as a result. The use of short patch
cables for interconnection purposes at walls and floors is not permissible.
"

and

"Using ready-installed (or “structured”) cabling
 
This should not be attempted. "

The underlining is from the original document. They make it very clear that it has to be one single cable directly from the rack to the console. Also the ferrite suppressors on the cable ends seem to be very important.

The reason might be like you suspected that it is to make difference between the "pro-series" racks and the d-rack. But as we all know these will be used for very similar use than the other racks.
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Ville Kauhanen

Phill Chapman

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Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2011, 09:09:40 am »

The use of short patch cables for interconnection purposes at walls and floors is not permissible."

This is the same with coax.  As I understand it, no MADI cable should be under roughly 2m.
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Phill Chapman
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Digico SD9 and D-rack communication protocol
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2011, 09:09:40 am »


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