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Author Topic: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system  (Read 14487 times)

Pete Erskine

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2016, 11:04:44 pm »

As would i.  The devil is always in the details, although i should think that level matching and such would be relatively easy via whatever sound card software you're using.

Still, if there's one thing i've learned over the years it's the little things that get you.  I would be curious to talk with folks that have interfaced this into analog comms to see what their experiences were like.

Another very active comms person is Jess Heimlich who has the discount website for Unity.  He has used this on many shows, sometimes as the ONLY comm system.  I have asked Jess to Join PS forum to respond.

In the shop we discussed the use as similar to a walkie talkie with the added benefit of Point-point and program feed.  Even if is not interfaced it has potential.  I will be trying it out at a couple of large events in the next couple of weeks and in March we begin the advance trips for the commission on presidential debates.  We'll use it then as well as a radio replacement.

I tried to use Dante VIA as an audio router within the server.  Strangely enough without a separate Dante clock from an external source, VIA only operates at 48K.   Unity runs at 44.1K and supposedly re-clocks it's own inputs but it didn't work.  The clients continued to disconnect.  Removing the Dante Via connection fixed it.  Does anyone know if Dante VIA can have a 44.1k clock rate and how to do it on a Mac Mini

I have been asked, If you own the server with X ports but have an occasional show which needs more, can they get a time sensitive upgrade for their server at the cloud rates?

Chuck Downs from Unity responded: Not at the moment, but 'Event Licenses' are in the works for a future update.  They would work exactly like the Cloud licenses.

« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 11:14:26 pm by Pete Erskine »
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Steve Anderson

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2016, 11:09:54 pm »

I have been asked, If you own the server with X ports but have an occasional show which needs more, can they get a time sensitive upgrade for their server at the cloud rates?

Chuck Downs from Unity responded: Not at the moment, but 'Event Licenses' are in the works for a future update.  They would work exactly like the Cloud licenses.

Cheers Pete!
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Steve Anderson

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2016, 11:47:30 pm »

Does anyone know if Dante VIA can have a 44.1k clock rate and how to do it on a Mac Mini

Just got off the phone with my guy at Audinate... At least with DVS (Virtual Soundcard) you can just set it to 44.1k. There is still a master network clock, which all the sample rates are derived from, but multiple sample rates on one network should be fine. He also mentioned that he thought it was possible with Via, but it was a pretty quick call. I haven't used Via personally.

So haven't done it (Unity <--> Dante Via/DVS) yet, but it's worth pursuing.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 11:50:14 pm by Steve Anderson »
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2016, 03:42:12 am »

Just got off the phone with my guy at Audinate... At least with DVS (Virtual Soundcard) you can just set it to 44.1k. There is still a master network clock, which all the sample rates are derived from, but multiple sample rates on one network should be fine. He also mentioned that he thought it was possible with Via, but it was a pretty quick call. I haven't used Via personally.

So haven't done it (Unity <--> Dante Via/DVS) yet, but it's worth pursuing.

This is a very interesting topic.  Years ago I ran an engineering group at Motorola that was tasked with emulating a conventional simplex radio system via an embedded IP application on a 1xRTT cellular network.  We built SIP software, RTP crossbars and a complete NEBS compliant high availability Linux platform to run in on in the central offices.

Once we had that running users wanted to extend their radio systems over IP networks and at first it appeared we could use conventional telephony gateways with T1 channel banks and 4 wire E&M interfaces. 

Radio repeater base stations use RF duplexers and can transmit and receive at the same time.  It's the users radio that lacks a duplexer hence the Push to talk operation.  The audio exiting the repeater is a conventional 4 wire circuit.

This meant we were nulling the hybrid in the digital domain.  Adding sidetone and comfort noise became an obsession.  Emulating the analog experience was the most complex and challenging effort of my engineering career.  There are so many subtle cues users get in an analog system that make them comfortable with the operation.  We were never able to achieve that ease of user comfort than the analog system provided.  Latency on the IP side changed, when pressing the PTT button the confidence of operating a switch or closing a relay was lost. 

The project was eventually killed.  Nexel faded into a memory and two way radio systems are niche products today.

I am not sure how analogues this is to what you are trying to accomplish.  Since the simplex limitation is a hardware limitation I would think that the intercom application is really just a massive conference bridge with a mute switch.  You don't always have two audio pairs hence you have to use a hybrid to provide the duplex interface. 

A good analog hybrid with high quality transformers sounds wonderful.  If you need a reminder get a clean 48v power supply and hook up a pair of Bell phones from the 70's.  The sidetone is perfect and the speech response curves are amazing.  Bell labs did a great job.

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brian maddox

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2016, 02:36:29 pm »

....
A good analog hybrid with high quality transformers sounds wonderful.  If you need a reminder get a clean 48v power supply and hook up a pair of Bell phones from the 70's.  The sidetone is perfect and the speech response curves are amazing.  Bell labs did a great job.

I think that's one of the reasons why most production people find it so inexplicable that their comms don't 'just work'.  After all, it's really just a glorified telephone right?  How hard is that?

Damn You Bell Labs!!!!!!  :)
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2016, 12:23:06 am »

So, Peter...

You've tried this system and GreenGo, what are the pros/cons of each?
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2016, 08:45:27 am »

So, Peter...

You've tried this system and GreenGo, what are the pros/cons of each?
Besides being intercom there's no comparison.  Unity is a simple 6 channel partyline/P-P system.  Greengo is a full featured intercom Matrix system comparable to Adam, Artist, and Eclipse systems. 
I have included Intracomsystems VCOM in this comparison. 

                     Unity                     Greengo                       VCOM
PL channels        6                            32                           no limit
Wireless            yes                        yes                              no
Hardwired         yes                        Yes                              yes
# users              58                       3000                           no limit
Groups                no                       250                            no limit
Save config          no                       yes                            no limit
price/user           $100                    $900                            $900
cloud user cost      $8                      N/A                               $40
cost for server      $800 incl I/O        N/A                          incl with users
programibility       simp          some features of matrix   some features of matrix
needs server       yes                        no                                Yes
Master stations      no                      yes                                Yes
VIA Internet          yes      2 chans with extra hardware        all via internet
Beltpacks              no                       yes                                no
iphone                 yes                       yes                              yes
SIP compat           no                        no                               yes
4-wire interface     6          2 chans with extra hardware       no limit

Quality is comparable
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 08:54:48 am by Pete Erskine »
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Pete Erskine
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2016, 09:15:20 am »

That's great info! Thanks, Pete!
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Pete Erskine

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2016, 05:39:21 pm »

Here is a video I did showing the components of Unity Intercom.

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Mac Kerr

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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2016, 05:57:23 pm »

Here is a video I did showing the components of Unity Intercom.

Nice description Pete.

Mac
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Re: Terrific, inexpensive internet intercom system
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2016, 05:57:23 pm »


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