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Author Topic: Wireless control of DSP  (Read 4568 times)

Todd Magee

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Wireless control of DSP
« on: May 03, 2006, 05:42:38 am »

Hi all,
I'm sure this topic has been discussed; however when doing a search I cannot find the information I need. I'm positive it's the wording I'm using in the search.
But here goes anyway.
I'm currently working on an install project for a club in Costa Rica. My client has asked about the possibility of having the capability to wirelessly control his Ashley 2424 DSP. I know about the Protea remote, however it is not the option that is desired as the 2424 is the only protea device in this system. The obvious desired outcome is to have a device i.e.: tablet pc, that can make system adjustments from anywhere in the room. Any ideas are welcome, and specific products with placement are especially desired. I would figure that some sort of Ethernet connection would be possible via 802.11G.
Thanks in advance, and apologies if this is a dead horse topic brought back to life.
Todd Magee
Atlanta, GA
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Wireless control of DSP-I wouldn't do it
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2006, 08:32:20 am »

There are several people that do the wireless thing.  I have real issues with that.  What they do is walk around-with the measurement mic- and adjust to where it is right-AT THE POSITION WHERE THEY ARE.  The problem is that they are also adjusting the sound for other positions in the room as well and have no reference as to what is happening at the other seats.

It seems really cool and impresses the client, but end up with bad results. At least the ones that I have gone in afterwards and redone.

I hope your client is not planning on adjusting the DSP at his own will whenever he thinks it "needs adjusting".  This is a recipe for failure.

What I do is to put measurement mics all around the room-OK generally it is only 1/2 the room as most of the time they are symmetrical.  I have a custom switcher that I switch between them.  I start out my procedure in the middle of the room and work my way to the sides-front-back-balcony etc.  I do a quick once around and then keep going to all the positions and getting finer and finer as I go.  When I am happy with the measurement side of things, I do a lot of listening and maybe some small "judgmental" adjustments (delay-level-low freq) to give me the localization and feel that I am looking for.  I do not get into freq adjustments at this stage.

Unless the person who is doing the wireless approach is going to visit each measurement position say 20 or more times (that is a lot of walking-and battery life-as it takes several to many hours to do a system properly), then they are not going to get good even results across the room.  They may end up with a good measurement at each location, but as soon as they go to the next and start to adjust, they have just messedup the previous one.  So they need to go back there and do it again.

Forget cool and go for practicality.
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Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Mac Kerr

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Re: Wireless control of DSP-I wouldn't do it
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2006, 10:38:01 am »

Since this is an install, I agree 100% with Ivan. I was going to disagree at first, because I was thinking of temporary setups, like I do most of the time. In an install the DSP should be set and forget. It is not something that needs adjustment after the system has been optimized. Since the system is theoretically "perfect" when the installer leaves, any changes can only be to the detriment of the system. As Ivan points out, optimizing the system can take a couple of days of measurement and analysis. Is walking around the room with a remote, changing those settings a good idea? No.

On the other hand I have used, and will continue to use a wireless tablet for system optimization on temporary setups. Since I may have only an hour or less for eq, the wireless control allows me to move around the room with the measurement mic, and hear changes as I make them. I can easily walk back to re-listen to other areas. I don't have the advantage of 8 measurement mics and a switcher, it is 1 mic and me. I also don't expect to achieve the level of precision of alignment that I would if I was taking more time.

Mac
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Wireless control of DSP-I wouldn't do it
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2006, 11:48:26 am »

Thanks.

It is all about "What are we here to do".  In a protable suitation I would agree with Mac.  Speed is of the essence, after all, tomorrow you are going to be in a different room.

In a portable situation, it is more about speed of getting it up and getting it out, rather than, lets change the angle of that box 3 degrees or let's drop that cluster and move it 5', and worring about precise coverage patterns.  After all, you use the cabinets you have, not a different configuration for the varying rooms you are in.  

You make do with what you have, in the time that you have-which is often very little.

Installations and protable situations are very different worlds.  I have spent many years in each, and each takes a different approach to success, and the measure of a successful show is different in each world.
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Todd Magee

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2006, 05:12:46 pm »

My apologies, it was late when I posted. There's a balcony that will be on a matrix, so the wireless thing is actually a good idea in that respect. And remember, there's always the password lockout. And unfortunately, in this case what the client wants is what the client will get. Which means, I still need info on what folks are using and/or how they home brewed it.
I'm not the actual system designer, I'm just helping him out with the wireless portion of the system.
Think front fills, side fills for house, balcony, and under balcony. I've seen wireless control done here in Atlanta at a venue called the Tabernacle (I'm sure you've been there Ivan) using Lake product, on the Clair Bros. system they brought in this past Jan. I contacted Jim at Ashley and he recommended I post here for the best info.
I guess I should give some specifics on the rig.
Main floor pa:
Folded Fane 18"s ground stacked on either side of the stage.
Bi-amped 2 way trap box with Fane 15"s and the JBL 1.5" Horn, I can't remember the mod. number. These boxes will be flown.
Balcony Fills:
Bi-amped 2 way trap box as above also flown.
The Ashley 2424 is set up with 8 in and 12 out from the factory.
Power is all Crown Macro-Tech 2400's, 3600's, and 5000's
The client has also expressed a desire to use the wireless connection for control of Light Jocky and possibly chain motor control.
Also, if in the event this venue ever closes, the pa co I work with may buy it back and place it in service as a mobile system. We are also thinking of setting up our current system in the same way as far as control of our dsp which is an Ashley 4.24C.
Hope the additional info helps out.
Todd
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2006, 05:41:18 pm »

It doesn't change any of the points Ivan made the first time. If this is an INSTALL the DSP should be set correctly  by the installer, and left alone. Any changes can only be to the detriment of the system optimization. The fact that the balcony is on a matrix has no bearing. If they want a wireless remote for a digital console so they can adjust the mix in the balcony, fine. If they want a wireless remote so they can adjust the mix in the front fills, fine. The system DSP which manages system time alignment and eq should not be involved with any of these changes, and should be left locked by the installer.

Mac
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Mac Kerr

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Clarification
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2006, 06:23:54 pm »

If the owner insists on having control of the system DSP, the installer should make it clear in the contract that they bear no responsibility for system performance after acceptance. Doing a complete system design and optimization leaves the system in the best state it can be in. Any changes by definition can only be for the worse. It cannot be the installer's responsibility to correct the changes the client makes in the future.

If this DSP is not the system controller, but instead perhaps an insert device being used as an eq for visiting engineers, or group insert eq on lav mics for example, the easiest way to achieve a wireless connection would be with the PRAM WSL-2E wireless serial link. The PRAM unit has been used successfully on tour all over the world. It is not the least expensive solution, but it may be the most reliable. There has been a lot of discussion on these boards of other ways to achieve this. I don't know how successful any of them have been, but you can find many of the discussions here.

Mac
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2006, 08:26:55 pm »

I have a real issue with people who want to control things like a balcony off a matrix or such.  The usual excuse is so they can turn down the level if there are not many people there.  WHY? shoudl the people in the balcony have less level if there are fewer of them.  Maybe if they bring their friends they will proper level?  

If I was the FOH guy I would not like the idea of someone walking around adjusting levels on me.  Set it and forget it!

Yes I have been in the Tab.  I have done several gigs in the basement-HATE that load in!

The last time I saw a band there was several years ago.  It was a TAD system and I left after the 3rd song.  I couldn't take it.  Not the band or the system-but the mix was horrible and painful!
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Mac Kerr

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2006, 08:33:09 pm »

I'm not a HOW guy, but in the theater it is very rare to create one mix that gets routed to all the zones. What content goes into each zone is carefully considered and mixed on a matrix. It is much the same in the corporate world, where the front fill will not have the same mix as the mains, nor will the record feed or lobby feed. While I have not used a wireless remote for that purpose, I would be willing to.

Mac
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Todd Magee

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2006, 10:24:47 pm »

I appreciate what you guys are trying to say. But my question really was what are you guys using, and how is it configured?. The contract for the install is a done deal, and I had nothing to do with that. Really, I'm just the install grunt on this particular job that's been given the opportunity to take on more responsability with the idea of my making more money on the next go round. The wireless idea was a specific request of the client, so there's no getting around it. It's got to be done, and I have been given the job of making it work. I've never done a wireless set up like this before, so I came here looking for help on how to do it, not why not to do it.
With the responces going the way they are, I'm wondering what do I do now? Quit my job? Excuse myself from this particular project? Do a bad job by having to reinvent the wheel resulting in my being fired? All of the above will have an effect on my checking account. Please, I'm begging you guys, for help now.
Todd
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Todd Magee

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2006, 10:31:22 pm »

Yea that load into the cellar is terrable, and upstairs isn't much better. Lots of wodden ramps, and truck ramps as bridges across some uneven areas up to the stage. I was a house guy there when that TAD system from SSI was the house rig, but was on monitors more often than the house. I was primarily the guy downstairs on that PV rig in the celler. They've had 2 systems upstairs since. 1 from EDG, and now the 1 from Clair. I never mixed on the EDG system, but saw part of it. Crest X8, Drawmer gates/comps, Ashley GQX EQ's and the like. I was just there a couple of weeks ago mixing the corp. band I work with on occasion. With the exception of the ragged 4k out front, it's an ok rig for that size room. Plenty of power, and headroom. Just don't try to make fine or quick adjustments on the console as the faders are really sticy. And that junk the Cotton Club brought in is still in the cellar.

Ivan Beaver wrote on Wed, 03 May 2006 20:26

I have a real issue with people who want to control things like a balcony off a matrix or such.  The usual excuse is so they can turn down the level if there are not many people there.  WHY? shoudl the people in the balcony have less level if there are fewer of them.  Maybe if they bring their friends they will proper level?  

If I was the FOH guy I would not like the idea of someone walking around adjusting levels on me.  Set it and forget it!

Yes I have been in the Tab.  I have done several gigs in the basement-HATE that load in!

The last time I saw a band there was several years ago.  It was a TAD system and I left after the 3rd song.  I couldn't take it.  Not the band or the system-but the mix was horrible and painful!

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Mac Kerr

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2006, 10:32:38 pm »

Todd Magee wrote on Wed, 03 May 2006 22:24

 the responces going the way they are, I'm wondering what do I do now? Quit my job? Excuse myself from this particular project? Do a bad job by having to reinvent the wheel resulting in my being fired? All of the above will have an effect on my checking account. Please, I'm begging you guys, for help now.
I think in my last post I gave you a link to the way it is done in the bigs. I also did the search of these forums that you could have done yourself to find the other discussions of this subject. either of those link can provide an answer.

Mac
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Todd Magee

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2006, 11:14:57 pm »

Sorry Mac,
I missed the part of your post with the links.... got distracted for a min.
Thank you very much for the info.
I did send you a PM saying thanks as well.
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Tom Young

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2006, 06:54:58 am »

Amen, Mac.

Most DSP systems allow you to do two things that may be of help:

1) lock out the non-authorized from parameter adjutsments (and this can be layered security)

2) return to the defacto "standard" settings, either via a (locked) scene/preset or a CDrom onto which the settings established during optimization are recorded.

When I completely trust the end-user (house sound person) and receive a release from the owner, I will let them have access to ther system processors, but with the caveat that if they blow anything or cannot figure out how to return to the standard settings, this is not covered under warrantee and it'll cost them for me to return.
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Tom Young
Electroacoustic Design Services
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Tel: 203.888.6217
Email: dbspl@earthlink.net
www.dbspl.com

Craig Hauber

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2006, 03:57:12 pm »

I have run an ashly 24.24m matrix mixer using 2 PC's, one basic tower connected to the ashly with a serial cable and a wireless laptop running remote desktop software. In essence you are wirelessly remote controlling a windows PC with another.  

I had to do this for the initial installation and EQ at a nightclub because the equipment rack was in an attic room away from the speaker systems so Instead of buying expensive custom hardware I just borrowed another PC from a friend and used my laptop.  He set it all up and I really don't have any specific details on configuring because I'm primarily a mac user

The other way is to try the walkabout kit that is used by XTA electronics to control their DSP processors.
It uses a WiSer serial to WiFi adaptor -I think it's this one here http://www.otcwireless.com/products/wiser2400ip.html
It looks like a universal enough product that it should work for most, although the price is around that of just buying a second computer and running it remotely.

for more recent adjustments at that club I just made a 100' Serial cable and drop it through a hole in the ceiling.  When there is no guests in the facility it is the fastest and easiest.

just some suggestions

-Craig Hauber
CSA Productions
Ojai, CA
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Craig Hauber
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Todd Magee

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2006, 05:36:26 am »

Sorry it took me so long to get back.
I want to thank everyone that took the time to post a response to my question. The information did help.
Todd
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Brad Weber

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2006, 03:40:30 pm »

Todd,

I hope you found a solution.  It appears that you would need wireless RS-232 serial, wireless networking by itself won't work in this case since I think the Ashly is RS-232 control.  There are several RF, Bluetooth or 802.11 devices for wireless serial communications, MaxStream has some 900MHz and 2.4GHz modems.  Another option would be a Crestron or AMX solution with one of their wireless panels instead of a tablet PC.

There are many good reasons for controlling DSP devices in permanent installs.  It is very common to have AMX and Crestron systems talk to DSPs for presets, routing, room combining, volume control, etc.  If the DSP is the only device being controlled then direct communication for these functions rather than through a third party control system would make sense.

I think the problem may be in looking at the DSP as only a speaker processor, which I agree should normally be set and left.  However, if a theatre or auditorium may have simple lectures or AV presentations as well as performances I quite often use a matrix DSP to switch between a normal "performance" mode where the DSP uses the outputs of the house console and a "lecture" mode where the system input is from an automixer (external or using the DSP) and the presenter has only basic volume control via the DSP.  That way they can run operatorless for simple events, then hit one button and you're ready for a performance using the console.  The presets can also address EQ, routing, etc. appropriate for each type of use.  This seems to be a good example of where remote control of DSP is beneficial and desired.
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Brad Weber
muse Audio Video

Rodney Connelly

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Re: Wireless control of DSP
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2006, 10:11:54 pm »

For my wireless control I have two laptops and a wireless router.
One laptop is connected to the DSP via a serial cable, and this laptop is also connected to the wireless router.  I use the other laptop to connect to the first laptop via remote desktop.  This is of course a secured network.  This allows me to sit anywhere in the room and make an adjustment.
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