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Technology News

6 ways to get BlueTooth into your Commercial AV System

Bluetooth connectivity is a staple of daily personal communication and entertainment these days. The commercial A/V business was slower to adopt, and for good reason.  Poor connectivity, a lack of consistent user experience and garbage audio quality plagued Bluetooth devices early on.  Those issues have largely been addressed (with a few exceptions) and the users of commercial AV systems have come to expect Bluetooth connectivity to their conference rooms, entertainment systems, business music systems, etc.

Techrep has no fewer than 6 different ways from 3 manufacturers, so get a high quality Bluetooth link to your commercial A/V system. Keep these in mind while you are working through your next design!

 Switchcraft

Every salesperson at Techrep carries a Switchcraft 318BT in their bag. It might possibly be the most convenient way to get connected via Bluetooth, especially when it’s “spur of the moment.” The 318BT uses Switchcraft’s AudioStix form factor which is compact and extremely rugged. One end of the 318BT has a male XLR connector that plugs into any XLR input. The other end is a Bluetooth antenna. The 318BT can be powered using your console’s phantom power OR via a 5v micro USB input on the side. The Bluetooth connection to your device is a Bluetooth 4.0 stereo headset device link, but inside the 318BT, the left and right channels are summed together to make a single mono output. This makes it convenient to plug into a single input channel on your console or powered loudspeaker.

 

PreSonus

PreSonus AR and StudioLive Series III consoles both have Bluetooth inputs that are easily setup from the master section of the mixer and can be used like an aux input to your mix.  on the AR mixer, pairing your device could not be easier. Hit the bluetooth button to turn the feature on and hit the pair button to enter pairing mode. On the StudioLive Series III, the Tape In can be fed from the SD Card, USB, the AVB network or the Bluetooth link.

 

Atterotech

unBT2A – The unBT2A is a high quality decora mount Bluetooth receiver that connects to an audio/control breakout box via a cat5/6 cable. That connection is NOT a network connection, however the Bluetooth front end of this device is the front end for the network endpoints mentioned below.

The unBT2A is an elegant solution for a permanent install, commercial or residential. It give the use easy interface access without going into a rack or cabinet and it’s a familiar interface to most people.

unA6IO-BT & unD6IOBT– These models are actual network endpoints that will send multi channel audio ingested at the wall plate to your DSP or mixer via either AES67 (unA6IOBT) or Dante(unD6IOBT) protocols.  To expand even further on the capabilities that being a network endpoint afford, there are native plugins available to control these devices from QSC and Symetrix DSP processors.  Having that sort of native control, allows you to give the user the necessary control via the same interface that they are using for the rest of their system.

If you aren’t convinced already and you would like a demo or a chance to test any of these product, please call or email us and we will be happy to help make that possible. Email sales@techrep.com or call us at 440-327-1624.

West Virginia State Fair leans on QSC and Worx.

Deep in southeastern West Virginia is a little place called Lewisburg, which is home to the magnificent West Virginia State Fair. When the Fairground Event Center began looking for a way to deliver exceptional audio content across the expansive fairgrounds, it met many challenges. To cover the areas between buildings they needed high output, high fidelity devices that could endure sustained inclement weather ranging from rain to snow and extreme cold to direct summer sun. Not only that, but the distances between buildings on the grounds presented an additional challenge concerning the needed distribution of audio and control, in order to deliver the required features.

To tackle these issues the Fair, with the help of Charles Hatcher at Alpha Music in Lewisburg, decided on QSC’s Q-SYS platform paired with Acoustic Design Series AD-S12s and PreSonus’ Worx Audio Stadium Series weatherized arrays.
 
To address the geographic challenges, switches were placed around the fairground at the amplifier locations. Fiberoptic links connected each location because copper data networks could not traverse the required distances.

A single Q-SYS Core110f is doing all the audio routing, as well as control and monitoring of the system, while the Q-LAN network feeds CXD4.5Q amplifiers around the fairground. This is a testament to the power of the small, but mighty Core110f. The processor is mixing and routing sources to all the outputs, as well as handling array processing and all the user control interfaces for the entire fairground!
 
Users access zone controls, source selection and monitoring via a Q-SYS User Control Interface. Those controls are accessible from anywhere on the grounds via an iPad.

 

When it came to moving the air around the fairground, PreSonus Commercial came out of the gate swinging with their Stadium Series weatherized X2 and X5 arrays. The X2 and X5 are high performance, all-in-one line array systems. These systems take the design principles of a flexible array and build them into a single optimized system. The Worx arrays deliver full bandwidth, dynamic playback of music at impressive distances.
 
With the arrays in place, Tony Flammia of PreSonus Commercial took measurements at the convergent points of the many sources. Q-SYS processing aligns those sources so that regardless of the listeners’ location, they only appear to be listening to one source.

The team that made this project possible included people from Techrep Marketing, Alpha Music, PreSonus and The West Virginia State Fair. This is a perfect example of how a system can be very lean, with minimal hardware, minimal points of failure and still deliver a premium user experience.

www.qsc.com
www.commercial.presonus.com
www.statefairofwv.com
Alpha Music on Facebook

KanexPro Q-SYS Plugins

One of the beautiful things about Q-SYS is it’s ability to control other devices in the system without additional hardware. A prime example is our Q-SYS plugin for KanexPro video matrices. We have versions for 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 HDMI and HDBT matrices but the plugin is written in such a way that just by changing the number of buttons in the interface, you can adjust the one copy of the plugin to work with any of models in the KanexPro lineup with minimal modification. The plugin also has full feedback from the devices so changes made from the front panel are reflected in Q-SYS.

You can download this plugin from our Q-SYS control forum on our Techrep Wiki. Email me at chris.bednar@techrep.com for access.

 

 

Q-SYS as a performance mixer

QSYSCore1000_RightLow_reflection

As DSP systems become more powerful their applications grow as well. With Version 3.3 of Q-SYS you can create a complete performance mixer in software.  One may ask why?

1. Zero sight lines: Putting the mixer in the machine room allows you to not have a traditional front of house position. Aesthetics are especially important in theatrical and house of worship spaces. This allows you to have the power of a large front of house mixer with no visible hardware in the performance space.

2. Totally customizable. You can easily create a mixer that fits your application. Q-sys includes everything you use in a performance mixer. You specify the number of channels auxes and VCAs you need and then create your own channel strip. In addition you can add Reverbs, Chorus, Flange, and Delay. Because of the huge amount of DSP horsepower in even a basic core 250, you can make high channel count mixers with very little DSP consumption.

3. Wireless control: In addition to control from a PC laptop you have control of Q-sys via UCIs (user control interfaces). These are totally custom control interfaces that can run on on a PC or Apple iOS devices.  You can make these control interfaces as simple or as complex as needed.

To put this concept to a test I put together a mixer based on a standard feature set. specifically my mixer has:

• 32 input channels

• Each channel has 4 band fully parametric EQ, HP filter and compressor

• 12 aux busses

• 2 Reverb processors

• Multi effects processor with delay, chorus, and flange

• 8 assignable VCA groups

Using the Q-sys designer software I was able to build it in about 2 -3 hours. This included creating all of the user control interfaces. Below is the layout:

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 3.17.46 PM

The first mixer module is for input trims and meters. That goes into the channel group that has all of the individual channel processing. The second mixer module is the output gain stage. There are also additional inputs for the effect returns. Lastly there is a snapshot processor for saving scene data. You can also see the individual effects processors.

Here are the user interfaces I created:

2014-04-08 at 15-00-19
This is the main mixer page. The inputs and meters are not the top. Below them are the VCA group assigns, solo and mute buttons. There are also channel labels.

Here is the “Fat” channel view:
2014-04-08 at 15-00-25
There are controls for the 4 band parametric EQ, HP Filter and Compression settings

Here is the master section:
2014-04-08 at 15-01-38

 

Here are the aux and effect send pages:
2014-04-08 at 15-01-42

2014-04-08 at 15-01-42

 

The Effects pages:
2014-04-08 at 15-02-53

2014-04-08 at 15-02-58

Lastly here is the VCA page:
2014-04-08 at 15-02-49

One of the nice thing about the UCIs is that you can make tabbed pages. The little tabs on the left hand side of the screen allows you to very quick switch views. You can also resize controls to fit your application. Placing the controls is as simple as dragging them onto the UCI from your schematic page. You can group and align the controls very quickly.

So is all of this practical? You bet! A fully configured Core 250 with 32 I/O runs under 5K. My mixer only consumes about 15% of the DSP power. Lets look at the other specs:

64 network channels

Networkable external I/O

AES, Dante, CobraNet interfaces.

When considering many similarly configured mixers are in the 20-30K range this should present an appealing option for those looking for an aesthetically pleasing alternative to a traditional FOH mixer.