Audio Player Component

Q-SYS Level 1 Cinema Training : Audio Playback

1 ) Introduction to Q-SYS Level 1 for Cinema

3m 58s

6 ) Audio Playback

13m 10s

9 ) Final Exam Overview

24m 55s

Video Transcript

Audio Player Component 7m 37s
The Audio Player is a simple component you’re bound to use all the time, but there are a few tricks to it to be aware of.
You’ll find the Audio Player in the “Audio Components” branch of the Schematic Elements library, under the folder “Audio Players.”
Let’s drag one into the Schematic, and look at its properties and controls.
An Audio Player does exactly what its name says: it plays audio files that are stored on your Core’s internal media drive.
We’ll show you how to upload that media in the next video.
This component has no input pins, because the audio originates from within the component, generated by the Core.
By default it has two output pins, which generally represent the left- and right-channels of a stereo audio file.
Note that if you play a mono audio file from this component, only the first output channel will actually contain audio, because there’s only one track of audio data in a mono file.
So if you know you’ll be playing mono files, head to the Audio Player’s properties and adjust its track count to 1.
However, if you play a stereo file from a single-track Audio Player, you’ll only get the left-channel coming out.
The Audio Player doesn’t sum the left- and right-channels of your stereo file to that single output.
The proper way to sum a stereo file to a mono channel would be to use a matrix mixer like the one shown here.
As you can see, knowing the type of media you intend on playing from your Audio Player is important to setting it up.
And if you happen to play a file with more than two tracks, like a multi-track recording studio session, or a 7.1 soundtrack to test a cinema system,
you should expand the Audio Player’s track count accordingly.
Just be careful, because by default the Core can only have sixteen audio tracks total across all Audio Players in its design.
If you need more than that, you can expand its capacity up to 128 channels, which we’ll talk about in the next video.
If you’re unsure how many Audio Tracks you’ve already used in your design,
you can use the “Check Design” tool or press Shift+F6 which shows you—among other things—how many Audio Player Channels are currently in the schematic.
In the Audio Player’s properties, you can also give it a custom name, or change the “Playlist Capable” field, which defaults to No.
In this default state, an Audio Player only has a single audio file in its queue.
But if you change “Playlist Capable” to Yes, you can select a Playlist of multiple files.
We’ll build a Playlist using Core Manager in the next video.
For now, I’m just going to Save my Design to the Core and Run, so we can see it in action.
Because the Audio Player needs to access the Core’s media drive, there’s not much you can do with it in Emulation Mode: you need to be running on a Core.
First thing to do is to select a File, as this field will remain obnoxiously red if you don’t choose something to play.
You might want to search in a different Root folder, or a sub directory if you’ve organized your files in the Core Manager.
Or if you’ve created a Playlist, you can select that instead.
The rest of the controls should be pretty instinctive: you can Play, Stop or Pause the Audio Player with these trigger buttons,
and change the volume by adjusting the Gain knob and Mute button.
While playing, you could fast-forward or rewind the current track.
The Loop button will restart the current file after it finishes indefinitely—which is different than the Repeat button which is alternatively available when you’re using a Playlist.
Repeat will tell your playlist to return to the first song in its list after it completes the final song in its list.
But neither the Loop nor Repeat buttons start the Audio Player, they just change its behavior.
You can also advance to different tracks in your playlist with the Playlist transport controls, or enable Shuffle, which will randomize the order of your Playlist.
Which brings me to “Auto Play,” which I see misused all the time.
Auto Play is simply an option that tells the Core to automatically start this Audio Player when the design first boots up.
If you’re using this Audio Player for background music, this will guarantee your music starts when the system first boots or recovers from a power outage.
But engaging this button doesn’t actually start the Audio Player, it’s just a choice you should make when commissioning the system.
So please don’t ever let me catch you placing this Auto Play button on a UCI … it’s just going to confuse the end user.
After all, if the UCI is already booted up, then the design is therefore already running, and the button will have no noticeable effect.
You may wonder why some settings, like “Playlist Capable” are considered a Property, while others like “Auto-Play” are inside the control panel.
Sometimes this may seem arbitrary. It brings me to a bit of trivia about components in general, that explains the difference between properties and controls.
Any changes to the properties of a component will change the processing resources required to run that component.
That’s why most properties change the number of channels a component has, the range or bandwidth of certain settings, or—in this case—the ability to handle more resources.
This makes the component slightly more processing-intensive. Usually not be a lot, but still it can’t be changed once the Core allocates its resources out when it compiles your design.
By contrast, anything inside a control panel simply changes the activity of the component, but not its fundamental structure.
That’s why some controls that may seem like properties—like AutoPlay--show up in the control panel,
even though it’s not the kind of control you would ever want to give to a user on a UCI.
Alright one last thing, which is a little advanced, but I see people mess this up all the time, too.
The Play, Stop, and Pause buttons are trigger buttons, which you may recall means they execute an action . . . but they don’t have an “on” or “off” state.
But when you interact with these buttons, they do light up, behaving very much like a toggle button, which does have an “on” and “off” state.
Let’s take a moment to return to design mode to investigate . . . because if you select the button and look at its properties, it confirms that this is a trigger, not a toggle.
So what’s going on here?
Well these three buttons are a very rare exception in Q-SYS in which two types of controls have been combined into one:
a trigger to perform the action, and an LED that displays the state of the Audio Player.
This is done because people expect to see some visual feedback when they press Play, even though the button is just a trigger.
In fact, if you look at the Audio Player’s control pins, you’ll see that each of these buttons have two different control pins:
the trigger itself, and the LED that represents its state.
The Playing LED is on when the Audio Player is currently playing a file, the Stopped LED is on when the Audio Player is stopped, etc.
If you want something else in your design to occur when the Audio Player is playing,
you very likely want to use the “Playing LED” control rather than the “Play trigger” control.
For a deeper understanding of what’s going on here, check out our Control 101 training course.
Okay, in the next section we’ll show you how to upload media files to your Core, make playlists, and manage your Core’s media capacity.
Let’s take a quick break, and move on whenever you’re ready.

Lesson Description

Audio Player Component 7m 37s

Learn how to use and configure the Audio Player component to play audio files in your design

Tips and Definitions

Audio Player Component 7m 37s
  • The default capacity of a Core is 16 simultaneous Audio Player Tracks.
  • Every Audio Player in a design counts its tracks against your total capacity, even if the track is not being used.
  • (Shift+F6) = Check Design to see how much of your track capacity is being used.
  • Change the Playlist Capable field to Yes in an Audio Player’s properties panel to enable playlist functionality.

Downloads and Links

Audio Player Component 7m 37s