The Conferencing Default Design

Site: QSC
Course: Q-SYS Level 1 Training
Book: The Conferencing Default Design
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Friday, 24 May 2024, 10:22 AM

Description

Video Transcript

00:08
The Core 110f is a perfect solution for a lot of small installations, especially small meeting rooms.
00:15
In anticipation of this use, the new versions of Q-SYS Designer Software will come preloaded with
00:21
sample designs geared towards different conferencing scenarios.
00:25
In this video, we’re going to walk through a simple analog conference room design together.
00:30
Before we dive in, be aware that there’s nothing special about this design
00:34
there are no tricks or fancy Lua coding – it’s simply a good start that saves you the time of building it yourself.
00:41
You could use it exactly as it is or you could change it as much as you want.
00:45
We’re going to show you how this default design works,
00:48
as well as how to customize it for your own installation.
00:50
Remember, by no means does your design need to match ours!
00:55
In fact, that would be pretty creepy! You can use this design as a reference,
00:59
or you could just throw it out entirely. It’s up to you! We are, however,
01:03
presenting these components in their “best practices” scenario,
01:07
and we’ll explain why we built things the way we did throughout the tutorial.
01:11
One last thing. If you’ve been watching the other training videos,
01:14
you know that we like to keep these videos pretty short and easy to watch.
01:18
But there’s no way around it – this video is going to be on the long and boring end of the spectrum.
01:24
So to keep you alert, we’re going to randomly insert Q-SYS-based dinosaur puns.
01:34
That just happened. You should start off by finding the default designs on your computer
01:39
that are installed along with the Q-Sys Designer software.
01:42
Go to your User’s Documents folder and open the QSC Audio folder.
01:47
There will be another folder labeled Q-Sys Designer 5.0, where you’ll find these default designs.
01:54
You’ll notice that we’ve provided you a few different options –
01:57
a VoIP version that uses a Softphone, and an Analog version that uses POTS.
02:02
Go ahead and double-click the POTS file since we’ll be working on a POTS line.
02:07
I’ve been working on my new POTS line at home. It’s a new series of terra cotta urns.
02:13
Nope. We’re talking about Plain Old Telephone Service, abbreviated to POTS.
02:21
Okay, so the first thing you want to do should do is rename your Core to match the Core in your installation.
02:28
If your computer is connected to the same network as this Core, you can select Tools > Show
02:33
Q-Sys Configurator to get a list of all Q-SYS devices on your network.
02:38
You can click on a device to view its properties, including its IP address and subnet mask configuration.
02:44
At the top, you’ll see the Core’s name. If you’d like to change the name of your Core,
02:49
just type it in the box and click Update Settings.
02:53
In fact you can verify this by pressing the ID button, and your device’s screen will display its name.
03:00
Whether or not you renamed your Core, you’ll need to know its name
03:04
in order to direct your design to use this Core. Go to your Inventory panel and select the Core,
03:10
then go to its Properties panel and enter your Core’s name in the name field.
03:18
Remember, the naming properties are case sensitive,
03:21
so the easiest way to ensure that you don’t make a mistake is to just copy the name directly
03:27
from the Configurator and paste it into the Core’s Property field.
03:31
Now all you have to do is push your design to your Core by pressing F5
03:35
or selecting Save to Core & Run, and you should be in business!
03:40
Let’s go to the Main Schematic Page to look at this design.
03:45
You can see all of the Core’s inputs in the orange box on the left,
03:49
which flow through the middle blue box for signal processing and mixing,
03:53
and are then delivered to the outputs in the green box on the right.
03:58
We’ve done this to help keep you organized!
04:00
You’ll notice that some paths are using both signal names and traditional wiring.
04:04
We like the traditional wiring because it’s easy to see how the path flows from left to right,
04:10
and we’re using the signal names to send these
04:12
channels to the Meters/Testing page for monitoring purposes.
04:17
The added benefit is that this lets us label our channels to make the design even easier to follow.
04:23
And, we have a thing about color coding as you can see, so we customized those as well
04:28
Again, you can do it however you’d like.
04:30
The inputs and outputs are all Core components taken
04:34
from Inventory panel and incorporated into the schematic.
04:37
The Core 110f has 8 Mic/Line inputs, 8 line outputs, and 8 flex channels
04:45
that can be configured as either inputs or outputs
04:50
As you can see, the default design uses all 8 channels of the Mic/Line In component.
04:56
If you double-click this component, you’ll notice that Phantom Power has been pre-activated
05:01
for each channel because most conference microphones will need it.
05:05
Four of the Flex channels have been configured as inputs for a Blu-ray player and another aux audio input.
05:12
However, if your installation needs a different number of inputs and outputs,
05:16
you can redistribute these flex channels here at the top of their control panels.
05:21
Remember that if you activate a channel in one of these control panels,
05:25
it will become deactivated in the other control panel.
05:29
Finally, the telephone audio from the onboard POTS line enters, as well as the USB input audio.
05:35
If you’re set up in the room, this is also a good time to begin gain-staging your inputs.
05:41
The Preamp Sensitivity and Gain has been set to 0 for each of the inputs,
05:46
which is a pretty safe start to allow for short bursts of louder input without clipping.
05:51
Make sure you set your levels using an average distance for your speaking position as well as
05:56
an average distance for your voice volume.
05:57
Keep in mind that you might have some soft-talkers, or you might have some loud talkers.
06:05
Giving the Q-SYS Acoustic Echo Canceler a strong clear signal is crucial to achieving a clean conference call.
06:11
So take your time at this step because if an issue arrives later on, it might be due to improper gain staging.
06:19
If you navigate to the “Meters/Testing Page”, you can see a bird’s eye view of all your input levels
06:25
and make individual adjustments accordingly.
06:28
All of the microphones enter this 8-channel Acoustic Echo Canceler,
06:32
which is the first part of the “processing & mixing” section of our design.
06:36
If you’re interested in an in-depth walkthrough of how our AEC works
06:39
you can watch our Quickstart Video on the subject, but for now think of it this way:
06:44
these microphones receive the audio of the human speaking into them,
06:48
as well as the audio coming from the room’s loudspeakers
06:51
that contains the person on the other side of the phone call.
06:54
That extra audio has to be deleted from the microphone channels,
06:57
or else the far-end caller is going to hear his/her own voice echoed back to them a half second later,
07:04
which is very annoying. So the Acoustic Echo Canceler analyzes the audio in its Reference pin
07:09
and deletes that from each of the microphone channels.
07:13
In just a bit we’ll look at exactly what we’re using as this AEC Reference signal.
07:19
Each of the microphones then goes through this Channel Group component.
07:23
The Channel Group is a convenient way to apply a single set of EQ changes
07:28
to multiple signal paths simultaneously. If you open its control panel,
07:33
you’ll see that it’s applying a High-Pass Filter and a Parametric Equalizer to each channel.
07:39
We have it preset to roll off at around 120Hz to cancel out low-end environmental noise.
07:46
We also have an un-configured parametric EQ that you will want to tailor for your microphones
07:51
for optimal use within your environment.
07:54
Every channel in the Channel Group starts off active, which means that when you adjust these filters,
07:59
the changes will be applied to all eight channels.
08:03
If you want to make selective changes to specific channels, just change your desired channels
08:08
and your changes will only be applied to the ones that are highlighted.
08:12
Be aware that this component is not a mixer, so each output contains only its corresponding
08:18
input audio along with the applied signal processing.
08:22
Once the channels have been processed, they enter our Gating Automatic Mic Mixer.
08:27
This component gates mic channels open or closed,
08:31
manages the number of mics that can be open at a time,
08:34
and regulates the attenuation of these channels as more open.
08:39
For a complete walkthrough of this component,
08:41
check out our video on Automatic Mixers in the Q-SYS Level One Training.
08:45
This mixer also sums the eight mics into one channel that is delivered to a Matrix Mixer.
08:52
Before we get to these two Matrix Mixers,
08:54
let’s quickly go over the rest of the input processing coming in from our Flex Channels, POTS and USB connection.
09:01
You’ll notice that the 2 stereo feeds from our Blu-Ray
09:04
and aux inputs lead into Stereo Parametric Equalizers that you should tune specifically for these devices,
09:11
and then into Stereo gain blocks. We have a similar scenario for our POTS and USB lines.
09:21
The high pass filters are configured for low end roll off, the Parametric EQs for device tuning,
09:27
and gain blocks at the end. All of these feed into the 5x8 Matrix Mixer.
09:33
This Mixer handles the routing of every input to every output.
09:37
Aside from the mixed-down microphone channel, you can see that it receives the POTS audio,
09:43
USB audio, and the two stereo feeds from our Flex Inputs. Using the Matrix Mixer’s control panel,
09:50
you can mix the amount of each of these inputs present in each of the output channels.
09:55
In this default design, the first four outputs go to four of the Core’s committed Line Out channels,
10:02
there’s an output to the POTS out and USB out,
10:05
and then two stereo outputs that go to the four remaining Flex channels,
10:09
which have been configured as output channels.
10:12
Each of these output paths have an additional Parametric Equalizer and Gain block if needed.
10:18
Now let’s look at this second Matrix Mixer
10:20
which is nearly identical to the first one except that it does not receive the conference microphones,
10:26
and its only output is the AEC Reference signal we spoke about earlier.
10:31
This means that the AEC component will remove all of the audio from the microphones
10:37
except for the intended human voices. This could have been accomplished within this first matrix mixer,
10:43
but by putting it in a separate component we’ve made it more difficult for someone
10:48
to accidentally disrupt this critical reference mix.
10:51
Here at the bottom of the schematic are some controls over the POTS line
10:55
including a keypad to input a telephone number
10:58
(which you could also type manually using the Dial String field),
11:02
a progress bar, and buttons to Connect, Disconnect, or enter Do-Not-Disturb mode.
11:09
There is a local Contact List of names that you can input using the Administrator Tool.
11:14
Just a reminder - If you're running Q-SYS Designer 8.0 or higher, the Contacts feature has moved to the
11:20
Core Manager, which is only available when you're actually running on a core. So, you wont be able
11:24
to emulate this without the hardware, but its functionality is still the same. Alright, back to it!
11:31
Simply go to the “Contacts” tab and press the plus button to create a new local contact list.
11:39
Then, you can select which book you’d like to edit,
11:44
and add your contacts individually to your list to get saved to your local Q-SYS design.
11:49
Or, link them using an LDAP server on your network for a more dynamically managed contact list.
12:01
There are a few other Schematic pages that you may find useful – the Status Page
12:05
shows the status block of the Core and the POTS connection to help you diagnose any potential issues
12:11
The Meters/Testing page, as we’ve already seen, gives you RMS meters for every input and output channel,
12:23
as well as some basic Test and Measurement tools to help troubleshoot your system.
12:28
All that’s left is the User Control Interface, which has been designed for a TSC-7 touchscreen device,
12:34
which provides the end user with access to the POTS connection controls and Contact List,
12:39
as well as gain control over each of the outputs.
12:42
Like everything else in this design, don’t be shy about customizing this dialer to suit your needs.
12:48
Just remember that this UCI was built using layers,
12:51
so if you’d like to change an element you’ll need to first select the Layer where that element is located.
12:57
We’ve been saying throughout the video that you are free to make any changes
13:00
that you want to suit your needs. Case in point
13:03
Fake Hotel is putting in a new conference room with the need to integrate 10 tabletop microphone inputs,
13:11
only one set of stereo inputs from a Blu-Ray player, 1 USB I/O for a PC to be used as a soft codec
13:18
for web conferencing, 2 zones of ceiling speakers, and a POTS line for voice conferencing
13:24
It sounds like the default design is already set up to handle most of this,
13:29
but we need to increase the number of microphones to TEN instead of 8.
13:34
So, how would you go about incorporating this into your design?
13:37
First, I would start off by removing the Aux input blocks that you are not using,
13:42
so delete the Stereo Parametric and Stereo Gain blocks from your design.
13:48
That will free up two additional Flex channels for your microphones.
13:52
Next, add two additional channels to the AEC component in its properties,
13:59
and wire the new mic/line Flex Channels into the AEC component.
14:05
We’ll also increase the channel count for our Channel Group component and the Gating Automatic Mixer.
14:13
Now we can simply wire them up.
14:17
Now there is one final thing to think about when editing this design – it’s incredibly simple,
14:23
but also very important. It’s probably the most common mistake people make,
14:27
and there’s nothing more embarrassing than calling in to our emergency Q-SYS hotline for something like this!
14:33
Here it is: double-click your Matrix Mixer, and pay attention to the crosspoint knobs.
14:40
By default, these are all set to -100dB, which won’t pass any audio along.
14:46
If you want to route an input to an output, be sure to adjust these knobs accordingly.
14:52
For instance, I want all four of my Line Out channels to carry the VoIP audio
14:57
and USB audio on inputs 2 and 3, so I’m going to change these knobs to let them pass audio.
15:05
I’d recommend setting them to 0dB for now,
15:08
and then you can make any more adjustments later when your system is live.
15:12
If you’re moving on to take the Level One Certification exam,
15:15
don’t forget to adjust these crosspoint knobs as you change the design!
15:20
And that’s the entire design. As we mentioned earlier,
15:24
this is designed for conferencing microphones using the POTS line.
15:27
If you have other demands with your flex channels or need to incorporate a Softphone with VoIP
15:32
instead of the POTS line, you’ll want to use or customize the VoIP version of this default Conferrence design.
15:38
And don’t forget, you can add or remove as much as you want, reorganize and relabel objects,
15:44
customize the UCI, it’s entirely up to you. Designing a system is an art,
15:49
so if you don’t like the way we built any part of this,
15:51
feel free to do it your own way. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Lesson Description

Prepare for your final exam by gaining an understanding of the default conference design.

Tips and Definitions

  • If you need additional assistance with the conferencing components, be sure to go back and check the conferencing module, which can be found here.
  • Keep in mind on your final exam: Trigger buttons like the play and stop button can’t be initiated with a Snapshot because they don't have recordable states. Instead, a Control Change Command can be created after adding these trigger buttons to the Named Controls bin.