ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => SR Forum Archives => Road Test FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Bennett Prescott on September 07, 2006, 07:17:53 pm

Title: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 07, 2006, 07:17:53 pm
A few of you know that I've had the Dolby Lake processor out for a quick spin. There's been surprisingly little talk about what looks to be an incredibly powerful box, so I think it's about time to get it going.

Ervin Grinberg with Dolby Labs out in California took time to pull a bunch of strings and make sure that I'd have this processor to play around with. Unfortunately, they needed it right back for PLASA, so I didn't get much time with it. My local rep is making sure I've got a different one to use at the Wedge Fest this weekend... and beyond!

In any case, the DLP (as everyone "in the know" seems to call it, makes me think of digital projectors) arrived in a hefty Pelican case containing the processor, a tablet PC, and a Cisco access point... no skimping on quality here. I ordered it loaded 8x8 for monitor use, and I had an extra output card in case I wanted to switch it over to 4x12.

Show day, my monitor hombre Geoff and I roll in to the venue, roll stuff off the truck, and set about patching things in. The DLP gets racked in my monitor amp rack along with a few other toys, Geoff cables it up to the inserts on the MH2 (more on that in another review), and turns it on.

Here's what it looks like sitting pretty:
http://campuspa.com/images/dlp/index-Thumbnails/5.jpghttp://campuspa.com/images/dlp/index-Thumbnails/9.jpg

The tablet PC Dolby provided finds the access point and the Dolby Lake Processor easily. By default the DLP is configured as four three-way crossovers and EQ. Since we were running everything passive, Geoff needed to configure the unit to run as an 8x8 monitor EQ. As we'd never seen it before, I had him give Chris Bratveit at Dolby a call to get the 5-minute rundown and be all prepped for the upcoming show. I feel I need another photo here:
http://campuspa.com/images/dlp/index-Thumbnails/1.jpg

I'll have to pass you over to Geoff at this point (Arrr! A cliffhanger!), since I was out patching and finishing FOH as well as greeting and setting up the band. If it seems our timing was a little close, well, it was... but this is a show I've had for several years now, and I know the band well so they don't mind me using them an guinea pigs. Yes, I had a backup plan involving analog EQ, don't you worry.

I'll hop back in after Geoff's filled you in with what I saw in the few brief times I dicked around, and then after Wedge Fest this weekend I'll have a lot more to add, I'm sure!
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Chris Hinds on September 12, 2006, 03:29:05 am
I look forward to reading the rest of the review on this one Bennett - I thought it was a fantastic unit at PLASA.

Regards

Chris
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Rob Burgess on September 12, 2006, 09:47:52 am
Bennett, where are the pictures?

--
Rob
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 12, 2006, 10:18:36 am
They're loading for me, just slowly... maybe my host is throttling traffic forwarded from psw because of the 60MB worth of WedgeFest photos? I'll look into it.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Geoff Smyton on September 26, 2006, 01:41:17 pm
Hi all, Bennett’s monitor hombre for that evening Geoff here.  With Bennett still needing to patch FOH and the band loading in he hands the phone over to me with Chris on the line.  I had yet to blow sound through the rig and the DLP was still configured for a bunch of 3-way crossovers so I was getting a little nervous.  I had already done all my patching and had the Toshiba tablet hooked up to the DLP via the Cisco Aironet so I was all set there.  Chris talked me through it and I was able to reset the processor to a Mesa EQ, which is a simple process just not obvious trying to navigate through the front panel.  Once I was able to do this the software controls became much more intuitive.  Chris ran me through the basic functionality of the processor and I felt comfortable enough to drive it myself within 5 minutes.  

http://www.campuspa.com/images/dlp/index-Images/7.jpg

The software interface was easy for me to pick up very quickly.  I especially like how well the software lends itself to use on a tablet pc, even a keypad pops up on screen to name outputs so use of the built in keyboard is not required.  The EQ section is great, one screen of PEQ and one of GEQ, with the availability of multiple screens of PEQ if it gets too crowded.  For the PEQ a filter just need to be dropped onto the screen then the frequency, gain, bandwidth and slope (in the case of the mesa filter) dragged into place.  High shelf, low shelf, and standard peak/notch as well as the mesa (with the ability to change the center frequency and slope of each side independently) filter types are available.  Lake’s ideal graphic EQ is available as well on a separate page.  A feature I really like is that the total EQ overlay is shown when you are on either screen so the whole curve is viewable whenever making adjustments.  In both PEQ and GEQ screens each filter can be bypassed by dragging the above bubble down or the filter deleted by pulling the bubble up.  Each EQ screen can also be bypassed independently by dragging the above tab down to the bottom.  High pass and low pass are also available.  Switching between outputs was easy as well, simply by going to the home screen and selecting another output.  Metering was also available on the home screen instead of the bubble icons which is a nice feature.  Input mixing is also available for each output so it can really be a 8x8 matrix if required.

With this knowledge in hand we proceed with sound check.  Luckily the band was very easy to work with and was not very demanding with what they needed in their wedges.  Little tweaking was required with the Audix mics and Adamson and Community wedges (early arrivals for wedgefest).  The little work was very easy on the DLP, as easy but maybe not quite as quick as analog EQ’s.  Bennett got himself all set out front and we were ready to go for the show.  Things went smoothly and I was able to give Bennett the run through on the DLP midway through the show.  During the end of the show I even let him take the tablet out front to play with it.  I figured there was no problem with him controlling my monitor EQ since I had control of his preamps on the RSS snake.  ; )  He seemed to get the hang of it just as quick but I’m sure he can tell you more on that.

That pretty much sums up my experience with the DLP from this show, which was great overall; I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use it on another gig.  The price may seem expensive but considering the price of 8 channels of quality 31-band GEQ or the price of two 2x6 DSP’s I think it is very reasonable and actually has a good bang/buck bearing in mind the huge feature set and flexibility it has.  I’ll pop in later and give some more impressions from my experience with it at wedgefest.

Geoff Smyton

Email: smytog at rpi dot edu
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) on September 30, 2006, 09:46:27 am
Any word on how the EQ actually worked & sounded for monitor applications?  I'm somewhat intrigued by the graphic EQ, since they apparently don't have the EQ band overlap of a conventional graphic.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Mac Kerr on September 30, 2006, 10:53:05 am
Scott Helmke (Scodiddly) wrote on Sat, 30 September 2006 09:46

Any word on how the EQ actually worked & sounded for monitor applications?  I'm somewhat intrigued by the graphic EQ, since they apparently don't have the EQ band overlap of a conventional graphic.
Without the eq overlap of a conventional graphic, how do you adjust for feedback frequencies that do not fall on exact ISO 1/3 octave centers? This is one of the advantages of parametrics instead of graphics, but they take a little getting used to.

My experience with the Lake Mesa eq is that the Mesa type parametric is so powerful and easy to use that you'll never want a graphic again.

Mac


Title: Perfect Q
Post by: Michael 'Bink' Knowles on October 02, 2006, 03:35:25 am
Quote:

...Without the eq overlap of a conventional graphic, how do you adjust for feedback frequencies that do not fall on exact ISO 1/3 octave centers? ...


Answer: You pull down the two faders on either side, just like before.

You and I and the guys who've been around the block a few times know how much more precise a parametric EQ is versus graphic EQ. Unfortunately and whether you like it or not, the graphic EQ's speed still trumps parametric when the shit and the fan show up on your gig.   Confused

AFAIK, Rane, Behringer and Lake (what a grouping!) shoot for Perfect Q algorithms on their digital GEQs. The Rane DEQ60 with its analog faders is the fastest of the bunch, though I've seen Miguel Hadelich get some super fast moves down on the tablet interface of the Lake. It's all in the wrist...  Very Happy

Back to your question of freqs NOT close to the ISO centers: in testing GEQs back in 2003 I found that the Proportional Q setting on Rane's DEQ 60L was able to cut a 'tweener freq 3dB more than the Perfect Q setting--this with the two flanking faders jammed all the way down to -12. In real world usage, though, you wouldn't want your one 'tweener freq cut like crazy if it killed the surrounding 'good' freqs--you would want your graphic EQ to fix the badness and retain as much of the goodness as possible. In the case where I made the GEQ cut exactly 6dB of the 'tweener freq, I found that the Proportional Q style robbed you of about 1.3-1.5dB more 'good' sound than the Perfect Q style. Perfect Q topology gives you the in-between ISO cut and still retains all the music power you were looking for. Goal!

-Bink
Title: Re: Perfect Q
Post by: Mac Kerr on October 02, 2006, 12:12:21 pm
Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Mon, 02 October 2006 03:35

Back to your question of freqs NOT close to the ISO centers: in testing GEQs back in 2003 I found that the Proportional Q setting on Rane's DEQ 60L was able to cut a 'tweener freq 3dB more than the Perfect Q setting--this with the two flanking faders jammed all the way down to -12. In real world usage, though, you wouldn't want your one 'tweener freq cut like crazy if it killed the surrounding 'good' freqs--you would want your graphic EQ to fix the badness and retain as much of the goodness as possible. In the case where I made the GEQ cut exactly 6dB of the 'tweener freq, I found that the Proportional Q style robbed you of about 1.3-1.5dB more 'good' sound than the Perfect Q style. Perfect Q topology gives you the in-between ISO cut and still retains all the music power you were looking for. Goal!

-Bink
Using equal amounts of each filter gets you the center between them, what about a quarter up from one? Does the center of the "phantom" filter sweep up and down as you use proportional amounts of each flanking 1/3 octave ISO filter? if this is true, is all that adjusting really faster than sweeping a sharp cut on a parametric like you're tuning an old AM radio? A trick I learned in the 70's with a UREI 560. It's not for me.

Mac


Title: Re: Perfect Q
Post by: Jake Scudder on October 02, 2006, 05:09:56 pm
Seek and destroy.  That's what I call it anyway.

Jake
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Sara Elliott on November 16, 2006, 04:54:36 pm
Bennett, I want to thank you for you insightful commentary on this Dolby unit.  I understand that you didn't get much time with the unit and are hungry to get some more miles with it.  I spoke to Ervin at Dolby and he understands that and is saying very soon, very soon, be patient young Road Tester.  I'm working on it!
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on May 10, 2007, 05:37:54 pm
The happy brown truck, as Sara likes to call it, brought me a Dolby Lake Processor again last week to road test some more, and this time I get to keep it for a month! Was the 6 month wait worth it? Absolutely. After spending hours messing around with the box and then using it on a show I'm fast as hell on it and I'm blown away by the flexibility and usability, it's an incredibly powerful tool and being able to make system EQ decisions while listening to the parts of the system you're tuning is a real killer application for me.

First thing I did was connect the Motion Computing tablet they supplied me with to the processor, plug them both in, fire them up, and open the manual. It took me about an hour to read the whole thing while confirming the occasional feature by navigating there on the control software. Once you get the hang of it, the software is really very easy to use and is extremely well suited to the tablet environment.

Since I'm a photo kind of guy, here's the processor racked at FOH recently, before and after the sun set:
http://campuspa.com/images/movinon/movinon-Thumbnails/34.jpghttp://campuspa.com/images/movinon/movinon-Thumbnails/56.jpg

Anyway, what you really care about is what the processor will do. You can configure it to be either a Mesa-style EQ or a Contour-style crossover or a mix of both. Why there is this kind of rigidity is beyond me, but it's not a big problem. You just tell the processor what you want it to be and it sets itself up based on the quantity and kind of cards you've got plugged in. There's EQ available in the contour modules and HPF and LPF of various types and slopes available in the Mesa EQ modules, so it's not very limiting. Here's a screenshot of the different configurations possible in a 4x12 processor:
http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/14.jpg

For the show I had last weekend I did a very basic setup, Left, Right, and Subwoofer inputs and outputs that I then grouped together so I could apply EQ across modules between the left & right outputs, or all three. It was very easy to put that together and then throw in some EQ points like this:
http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/0.jpghttp://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/2.jpg
I used a HPF and LPF as well on the subs and tops, added a little level adjustment, and was done.
http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/8.jpghttp://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/11.jpg

What I'll be doing soon is using the processor to process some line arrays, and that should be extremely interesting. I'll be able to use EQ on each element of the line, and then group each line together to apply EQ across the entire array.

The only weakness I've found so far, however, is that there are only 8 "modules" available at one time, which limits you a little. Since my speakers are all powered I could technically plug one into each of the 12 outputs of the box and have a lot of flexibility. As it is, I can only have 8 EQ sections running, so I run out of processing before I run out of outputs. The box is clearly a little better built around working with passive systems, so perhaps some changes can be made there. I can work around it, though, since the routing allows me to use the un-processed outputs for subwoofers, and I can still delay each one separately out of one EQ module to build my array.

More after I get another few shows under my belt, but here's a bunch of screenshots showing more of the power of the box:
http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Pascal Pincosy on May 10, 2007, 09:33:44 pm
Hey Bennett, do you have Smaart installed on the same computer? If so, how well does the integration between the two programs work?
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on May 11, 2007, 12:43:33 pm
You bet, the little tablet PC has Smaart and some crazy app that lets the Lake software talk to it... imagine walking around and ringing out monitors like this!

http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/26.jpg
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Pascal Pincosy on May 11, 2007, 02:36:12 pm
When you next get a chance could you take a screen-shot of the transfer function page?

This looks to be much easier to deal with than the annoying Smaart device interface.  Very Happy  Just wondering how many Smaart features are directly accessable from the Lake software.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Justin Baird on May 17, 2007, 02:51:47 am
Pascal Pincosy wrote on Sat, 12 May 2007 04:36

When you next get a chance could you take a screen-shot of the transfer function page?

This looks to be much easier to deal with than the annoying Smaart device interface.  Very Happy  Just wondering how many Smaart features are directly accessable from the Lake software.


Hello everyone,

My name is Justin Baird and I'm the product manager for the Dolby Lake Processor, out of Sydney, Australia where the Live Sound Group engineering and R&D dept. is located.  It has been brought to my attention that there were some outstanding questions on this thread, so I thought I should chime in and provide some further information.

Regarding the SmaartLive Controller, pretty much all of the available Smaart controls are accessible directly within the Dolby Lake Controller user interface.  You can switch between Spectrum, Spectrograph and Transfer Function modes, as well as turn signal generation on and off, adjust frequency scales, amplitude thresholds, coherence blanking, and so on.  Almost the only thing that you can't do is display the impulse response inside the Dolby Lake Controller.  Instead, the "Auto Small" and "Auto Large" functions are exposed as buttons within the interface.

Here are a few screencaps from the various display modes:

index.php/fa/9244/0/

On the left is the Spectrum mode.  This display shows Smaart's spectrum analyzer running in third octave mode within our Ideal Graphic EQ user interface.

The middle picture is our Spectrograph mode.  We take the data from Smaart and then rotate it by 90 degrees and run the Spectrograph from bottom to top, again lining up the frequency record with the equalizer controls.  You can adjust the Min and Max of the colormap range, and you can also slow down or speed up the Spectrograph in order to capture more or less history across the display record.

On the right is the Transfer function display.  We display coherence in red across the top, the magnitude is shown in yellow, and the phase in blue.  The wrapped phase display can be shown at the bottom of the display, as an overlay across the EQ Tool, or it can also be selected to run along with the magnitude in the main window.

In addition, you can also do things like lock Smaart's display range with the display range of the EQ, so if you're looking at +/- 15 dB on Smaart, our EQ can lock to this and changes accordingly if you change the range displayed by Smaart.  Of course you can clear this lock as well, for example if you want to look at a much larger dynamic range within the Spectrum mode.

Our SmaartLive Controller application is like a little plug-in that resides on the computer running Smaart.  This means that you can either run Smaart on the same computer as the Dolby Lake Controller, or alternatively you can have a separate PC running Smaart, and hook that PC up to the Dolby Lake Controller Ethernet standard network, and the SmaartLive Controller application will pipe Smaart's results across the network to the PC running the Dolby Lake Controller.  This double-PC-network architecture is beneficial when you want to get reference audio signals from a console for measurement while roaming the venue with a wireless Tablet PC.

In addition to all of this, we also support running the Dolby Lake Controller in "multiple controller" mode, which means that you can have multiple PCs connected to the Dolby Lake Controller Ethernet network, and they can all interoperate and control/monitor devices on the distributed system.  The SmaartLive Controller broadcasts measurement data and each of the Dolby Lake Controllers can choose to either "connect" and watch Smaart's measurements, or choose not to.

As a final note to possibly answer your first question ahead of time(!), the SmaartLive Controller works with SmaartLive version 5.  The new version 6 of Smaart does not yet have all the hooks to allow us to communicate with it.  But this will be forthcoming although I can't make any promises or commitments to the timeline of the delivery of this functionality as of yet...

To quote the Smaart v6 cutsheet I recently picked up at MusikMesse in Frankfurt, "A new API (Applications Programming Interface) allows other software programs - even third party programs such as Dolby Lake - to import Smaart data and control the Smaart measurement engines remotely." - Thus we are hopeful to bring the support of Smaart v6 into the SmaartLive Controller.

Best regards,

Justin Baird

Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Pascal Pincosy on May 17, 2007, 03:09:00 am
 Shocked
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on May 17, 2007, 10:23:44 am
Wow, thanks, Justin! Good to hear from you, and thanks for being so in depth.

I'm going to use the Smaart Live controller on my next set of gigs with the DLP, I've got some pretty cool stuff coming up so I should be able to really put it to work.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Josh Evans on May 24, 2007, 06:42:46 am

Hi Justin,

I don't remember if you can adjust the spectrograph thresholds. So can you adjust them via Lake? It would also be beneficial to show the min and max thresholds  on top of the RTA as well.  And while your at that the ability to change the thresholds by means of the bars displayed by the min and max threshold.

Another interesting specrograph idea is a dynamically changing min /max setting but thats a whole different topic.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on May 24, 2007, 11:36:19 am
Josh Evans wrote on Thu, 24 May 2007 06:42

I don't remember if you can adjust the spectrograph thresholds. So can you adjust them via Lake? It would also be beneficial to show the min and max thresholds  on top of the RTA as well.  And while your at that the ability to change the thresholds by means of the bars displayed by the min and max threshold.

Josh,

If you look carefully at the top of this photo: (click to see bigger)

http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/26.jpg

You'll see that moderately in depth spectrograph control is provided, including displaying and adjusting thresholds.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Josh Evans on May 25, 2007, 11:37:37 am
Wonderful I see it now.  In that case a couple of suggestions from using spectrographs while mixing.  What we/I/others would like to see is two lines representing the min/max threshold and the ability to adjust them via the GUI instead of the time consuming numbers.

Also I have made suggestions to others that these not be labeled min/max but rather dynamic range and min threshold such as what is commonly found on a dynamic processor.

The cats meow would be a dynamically changing threshold keeping the same dynamic range on say the largest peaking frequency.  This way your not always sorting out the colors and just look for say the color red.

I havn't touch one of these guys in a long time but remember doing measurements on them and just from looking at the IR I don't remember seeing the same results from a typical DSP.  Maybe some one can re create this.

Regarding control of SMAART thru a DSP.  IMHO for my needs at least this is surely the route to go when doing even small or medium gigs.  It just makes things easier.  While typically for the large gigs I prefer to use two computers, and even the largest of gigs require two operators one driving SMAART and one driving the DSP.  Just like the lighting guys do in some cases where one programs and one directs.

Another thing I just notice is the lack of displaying frequency in wavelength.  While this is something that most of the other DSP lack as well im not sure if (at minimum) if the phase of say a LW12/18/24/48 filter can be shown at the same time.  This is something that is nice to have that is on the hiQ net work.  Then with out even using measurement we can see the phase lag between   say an 18 dB and a 24 dB x-over in the electrical domain which would help others get in the ball park.

peace-

Title: The Benefits of Being a Road Tester
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 07, 2007, 07:32:27 pm
As anyone who's done it can attest, being a "good" road tester is a lot of work... often, however, it's well worth it when a company whose products you like a lot also likes you and you have the opportunity to do something like this:

http://www.campuspa.com/images/dlp3/index-Thumbnails/1.jpg

That's right, Ervin pulled out the stops for me and sent me another DLP so I can use them for mains and monitors at this weekend's gigs. I can't wait! So far, so good. I linked them together and played around, controlling two processors is just as easy as controlling one, and I can link groups between them and everything, so if I want to have a group that EQs ALL my monitors AND my front fills, even though the latter are processed by the top DLP, no problem!

My only complaint so far running two is that there's no way to change the IP address from the front panel. The new one arrived with the same IP as the first, so I had to keep them un-linked while I made the adjustment from the tablet PC's software, and then link them up and let everything talk.

The linking, at least, couldn't be easier. there's 4 (!) ethernet ports on the DLP, one on the front, one on the back (a Neutrik Ethercon connector) and then another two on the back that are obviously intended to plug a bunch of units together, so that's what I'm using them for. Indicator lights all over to let you know your connection is good, hooray. Since every processor, and every module within that processor, can be named within the software figuring out where you are both in the software and in the real world is easy as pie.

Here's a photo of the back so you can see all those ports:
http://www.campuspa.com/images/dlp3/index-Thumbnails/5.jpg

So, I'll do my shows this weekend and get back to you, but every time I use these things I couldn't be more pleased. This is how DSP should be!

Anyway, some other detail shots of the DLP you may find interesting are here:
http://www.campuspa.com/images/dlp3/
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Too Tall (Curtis H. List) on June 08, 2007, 11:34:27 am
Bennett Prescott wrote on Thu, 24 May 2007 11:36

Josh Evans wrote on Thu, 24 May 2007 06:42

I don't remember if you can adjust the spectrograph thresholds. So can you adjust them via Lake? It would also be beneficial to show the min and max thresholds  on top of the RTA as well.  And while your at that the ability to change the thresholds by means of the bars displayed by the min and max threshold.

Josh,

If you look carefully at the top of this photo: (click to see bigger)

http://campuspa.com/images/dlp2/index-Thumbnails/26.jpg

You'll see that moderately in depth spectrograph control is provided, including displaying and adjusting thresholds.


Ok, I'll bite.
Typical spectrogram has x axis as time, y axis as frequency and color as SPL level.
So in this picture we ignore the background and you have to guess on time (does not matter that much in some cases). And you have to guess on frequency which is more problematic?
OTOH if you go back one screen the RTA plainly shows the same hot-spot right at the xover freq (1.6kHz).
In any case nice of them to include it.
BTW I went back through all the screen shots. There must be 30 or more. It is doubtful I will ever get to use one of these so all those screen captures is a welcome tour of the device. It didn't answer every question I might have, but it sure covered a lot of ground.
Thanks.

Title: Re: The Benefits of Being a Road Tester
Post by: Bennett Prescott on June 16, 2007, 03:58:17 pm
I finished up my DLP road test with a marathon weekend of shows, the most interesting being a charity dinner at Chelsea Piers in New York City. The World Health Year Chapin Awards Dinner is $10,000 a table and this year included performances by Jackson Browne, Tom Chapin, and Bruce Springsteen. Very high class corporate gig, thanks to Jason Dermer for bringing me in on it.

I had two DLP processors, one configured 4x12 for mains and fill processing, and the other configured 8x8 for monitors. I inserted the 8x8 into the first 8 aux buses of my Spectra T at monitor world, and ran the 4x12 from Jason's Spectra T at FOH out to two hangs of line array, 2 subwoofers stacked stage right, and four fill/delay speakers to cover the L shaped room and patio. As I said in my last post in this thread, the two DLP integrated seamlessly, and getting them up and running with my access point and the tablet PC provided was easy, although I know more about networking than most.

To get the system making acceptable noise I put together some quick routing and level adjustments as a rough guesstimate, fed some playback into the DLP, and used the tablet to turn down the inputs all the way. I set up a few basic groups, the line arrays, the delays, all mains, and all monitors. This let me walk around the room and patio and adjust the level of my playback up and down while listening to set delays, levels, and EQ for all the speakers in the system. Once I was satisfied with the results (and had been told how cool my little toy was by the entire tech staff, one at a time) I walked on stage, routed some playback to my wedges, checked all those lines, and then inserted a few small cuts on those mixes based on prior experience with SM87s. The final result was nearly seamless coverage between the various sections of mains coverage and extremely clean monitor mixes, all put together in two shakes of a rat's tail. The DLPs let me get better results, faster, with less fooling around with patching and routing than if I hadn't had so many inputs and outputs on one device, or some tiny little screen instead of the great tablet interface.

Some photos of my setup:
http://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/226.jpghttp://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/218.jpg

My FOH EQ rack with the welcome additions from Dolby:
http://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/216.jpg

And a few shots of the room and delays:
http://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/235.jpghttp://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/209.jpg
http://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/246.jpghttp://www.campuspa.com/images/june07/index-Thumbnails/206.jpg

Long story short, the Dolby Lake Processor has changed the way I tune systems. Like many, prior to using it, I believed the tablet interface was overrated, and the units themselves probably not worth the expense over a decent "moderate budget" DSP. Now I don't believe I can afford not to own one, at least for mains. The ability to listen to a system while I put it together is a real killer app, the flexibility and power of the tablet interface and the freedom to walk around to each of my coverage zones and check for any hidden nasties in real time is invaluable. I am very sorry to have to send these two units back, and will miss them at every show until I can afford to get back into this kind of performance.

For users who demand the utmost in quality for making the most of their sound systems, this is the best option I have ever seen. From the front panel to the tablet, everything is right at your fingertips, from comprehensive metering and limiting, to EQ, polarity, and level control. Heck, you can even lift input and output grounds remotely to help fix hum and buzz problems!

Do yourself a favor, forget the expense, and take a very long look at the Dolby Lake Processor. For me, it was like stepping up from groups to VCAs in terms of control and flexibility. They'll be at InfoCOMM next week.
Title: Re: The Benefits of Being a Road Tester
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 16, 2007, 05:26:53 pm
At the risk of stating the obvious, thank you for a job well done..

JR
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Chris McDonald on June 26, 2007, 09:02:17 pm
I really don't like the UI, first off I don't have a tablet PC. There should be a non tablet PC mode.

We got the lake processor in last week from SF Marketing. We bought it to replace the dated Omni Drive we were using on our KF730 rig. One of the techs at SFM set the processor up with the settings for our rig. The first thing I wanted to do was to confim the settings and have a look around inside the processor. I installed the software plugged in a network cable and within a few min I was online with the unit.

The first thing I don't like is that it goes full screen and takes over my input devices, I can't even do anything while it loads. My second fustration is that the standard keys I use to naviate around a UI don't work, <TAB>, arrow keys, etc... I screw around with it for a few min, found the IO routing page but couldn't find the crossover settings. I had to pull the manual out of the shrink rap. I think this is the first time in my 13 years of heavy computer use I've had to go to a manual right off the start. Usually there will be something I can't find and I'll have to turn to a manual, but there was nothing familour about this interface.

Even after skimming over the manual I still couldn't bring up the  crossover settings. The XOVER tab is missing... It turns out the last program loaded was for aux fed subs. Which the tech at SFM didn't make clear with his names. I only figured this out after we hooked the system up and didn't have any bottom end. This still dosn't explain why there was no xover tab.

The first thing you should see when you connect to processor is a block diagram. Like the IO screen, where you can select any stage and see the settings. Not some abstract circles without clear function. Please use standard widgets and have full keyboard support like most other windows applications.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this when I get back in the shop later this week. Oh, yea and the KF730 rig did sound alittle better this weekend using this processor. It wasn't much of a test, it was only a small conference.

--
Chris McDonald
Audio Visual/Telecommunications Engineering Technologist
HM Audio
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Chris McDonald on July 03, 2007, 04:14:51 pm
One thing I would like add here is that SFM provides us with great tech support. Being a man, calling support is like asking for directions. You never want to do it, even when you should.

--
Chris McDonald
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Yngve Hoeyland on August 14, 2007, 09:37:05 am
This sounds like a brilliant box, from what I've read here.

I would love to get my hands on one of these for testing, but unfortunately I'm in Norway and they (Dobly Laughing) for some reason do not have distributors here...

What is the retail price for the demo unit? I guess trying to get a demo shipped across the pond is a long shot...


- And thanks for another great review, Bennett. Smile
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on August 14, 2007, 09:58:42 am
Yngve Hoeyland wrote on Tue, 14 August 2007 09:37

I would love to get my hands on one of these for testing, but unfortunately I'm in Norway and they (Dobly Laughing) for some reason do not have distributors here...

What is the retail price for the demo unit? I guess trying to get a demo shipped across the pond is a long shot...

Yngve,

I don't actually know what the price on that demo unit would be, I haven't even begun the process of purchasing one (as much as I'd like to, too many more important things need buying). I suggest calling Dolby/Lake in the US and talking to them about pricing and exporting/importing.
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Bennett Prescott on August 12, 2010, 03:03:43 pm
I can't believe I've been playing with these toys for almost 5 years now... still addicted to the Lake processor. If only I knew then what I know now, eh? I hope I'll feel the same way in 2015.

Anyway, now the the DLP has been discontinued (never should have let that second unit go!) there is finally a replacement from Lab.Gruppen in the LM26. I have a review up in the Product Reviews forum, here: http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/59006/4221/
Title: Re: Dolby Lake Processor w/tablet
Post by: Adam Robinson on August 15, 2010, 08:53:00 pm
I'm addicted, too, Bennett... I haven't done a tour of any kind without a Lake processor since 2006!