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TMC-1-MMP1 Follow Up at Eclair in Paris

TMC-1-MMP1 Follow Up at Eclair in Paris

Last week I visited Olivier Chouteau at Eclair in Paris, Olivier installed the first TMC-1-MMP1 system in a 7.1.4 studio. Daniel Gollety who makes the french translation of our manuals accompanied me on the visit - my French is not to good. Although configured as a 7.1.4 room one of the main reasons for using the TMC-1 is the ease in switching between Stereo, 5.1, 7.1 and 7.1.4.

Preset or Scene - Whats in a name?

Scene

Whilst checking and updating the TMC-1-DMon for the latest version of the D-Mon software I found that I had labeled two user definable keys as 'Preset', Not Good!

'Scene' seems to be used more and more  to describe setup presets, I have replaced the new TMC-1 'Preset' described in recent posts with 'Scene' and replaced the 'Preset' for the  D-Mon  with 'S.Preset'.

TMC-1-DMon

Whilst making the updates I added D-Mon Studio Preset to the TMC-1 Scene so that when changing the studio setup it is also possible to change the D-Mon Studio Preset. Please let me know if it is necessary to include Session snapshots? 

TMC-1 and Yamaha MMP1

TMC-1 and Yamaha MMP1

This week I have been interfacing the TMC-1 with the Yamaha MMP1. We have been waiting for a MMP1 since it was announced last year, a loan unit finally arrived last week . Before starting we had to buy a I-Pad (we are Android users and our OSC software runs on both), this arrived two days ago since then I have been writing code.

EDL Recorder Software

This week I rewrote the EDL Recorder software, the original software was written in Delphi some years ago, I rewrote the software in Xojo so that I can can be compile versions for for Mac or Windows and allows updates and improvements to be added in the future .

What is an EDL Recorder

When a live broadcast is made from multiple camera's, for example reality programs, the EDL recorder connected to the video mixer so that a EDL is generated as the mix engineer selects the live camera sources. Often highlight programs want to show what occurred before an event, the recorded EDL facilitates this.

The EDL Recorder software is used with the P2MMC which is available with 8 or 16 inputs.

The following improvements have been made to the EDL Recorder

  1. The EDL is generated using time of day so that it can be related to the original production.
  2. A conform key has been added allowing the Start Record time for the EDL to be set  to any value.

More information is available on the this web page EDL Recorder 

PD-3-Penta with two S3's and a MTRX Installed at Boom

Yesterday I was at Boom Post in Soho, they purchased a PD-3-Penta for
 use with two S3's and a MTRX in a 5.1 Post room.

PD-3 Monitor Controller/Pec-Dir

Although we have sold PD-3's to studios in USA, this was the first to be installed in London and I was eager to see how it performed in a working Studio instead of my test bench.

The PD-3 has two almost completely separate sections the Pec/Direct and TMC-1, each has its own processor and network connection. They share a power supply (5v or USB) and the TMC-1 Select Switch.
PD-3 Connections

PD-3 TMC-1

The day before I arrived Rory configured the TMC-1 section of the PD-3, renaming the inputs and defining the user key layout he wanted. As a post studio there was no need for Talk back or Listen back (unless the studio is used with Source Connect) . They have only two speaker sets 5.1 and Stereo TV (A sound bar) I set Advanced Menu 18 to disable the Alt Speaker selection so that the [Speaker] user key would toggle between Main and Mini Speaker outputs (named 5.1 and Stereo by Rory) instead of stepping through three selections.

New /improved User Key request

Boom requested a single key to switch between the 5.1 and Stereo speaker sets, switching the input and the Level at the same time.  Currently the [A/B Sel] user switch only switches the inputs and not the outputs. I have now implemented this  and the [A/B Sel]  source selection,  gain, format selection (Mono/Stereo/Stereo Downmix/5.1/7.1/Atmos) and speaker selection.

PD-3 Pec/Direct

Connection Problems

As Boom did not have any RS422 cables or connectors to make up the cables they could not check the Pec direct with protools. I brought with me two RJ45 to RS422 converters so that we could connect the PD-2 using Cat5 or Cat6 cables and a tie line between the studio and machine room.  In the Future we will include these with the PD-3 and PD-1-Net!

We connected up....... nothing, none of the  LED's on the USB-422 were flashing. I downloaded the USB test program and checked each Cat 5 cable - the first was broken or it could have been a crossover cable, often required in the days before auto switching. The second time we connected ,,,, still nothing. The Protools remote input was checked and correct. However we had disconnected and reconnected the USB-422, we reverted to the normal solution...

Restart Protools

 ... Hey Presto it worked! Both the Rx and Tx LED's on the A port of the USB were flashing merrily. 

Stem configuration using PD-Stem

As the track names on the Protools session were not correct for the PD-3 auto-stem routines we decided to use the new PD-Stem software to configure the Stems on the PD-3. Boom individual tracks for multiple channels so that we defined each stem as Mono so that there was only one track. We defined 8 Stems two of which were set to Print Master and Solo Safe. (The PD-3 uses Mutes for soloing the stems, this allows the Stems to be solo safe within Protools and be soloed by the PD-3). Once we downloaded the Stem Configuration to the PD-3 we found that the Tallies were working but not the commands - on Protools we had forgotten to Enable Record in Local mode! 

Record Control

In the USA PD-1 users are used to using the paddles to record directly, especially useful when there is more than one operator. Boom arm with the paddles and using a master record command to drop in and out of record, we set menu "Unit-3 Record Paddles" to "4=MastRec" this allows paddles 1-8 to Arm the tracks and the Master Paddle to be used for record on/off. To use an external record on/off key and keep the function of the Master Record Paddle set this menu to "3=Arm & Stay".

Once Boom have used the PD-3 for a few weeks Daniel and I will visit the studio again and find out how it performed in a studio environment instead of my test bench!





TMC-1 OSC Talent Remote and Cueing

Last week I was in LA, on Friday I met with Joe Gorfinkle, he and Wes Dooley took me to LAX, on the way we brainstormed on uses for multiple OSC Remotes, on my return I generated a talent Headphone cue screen.

The TMC-1 implementation of OSC allows for multiple controllers to be used simultaneously. You can use the sample OSC pages that I designed or design your own talent controls. The talent can then control his own monitors using a tablet or mobile phone app. 

TMC-1 OSC

The four selection keys(Link, Cue 1, Cue 2 and Cue3) allow the talent to select the sources, there is a fader for the level and a Talk key to activate the Listen Back input.

The 3, 2, 1, Go LED's are activated by Midi Note On messages from the DAW and can be used to cue the talent.

I will add talent screens for each of the Cue sends to the OSC file available from the TMC-1 page.

New User Keys - Talkback to All

Whilst in LA I added a [T/B All] and [T/B Alx] user keys, as the name suggests these keys talk to all cue outputs and do not require any setup. By positioning them in logical order with the talkback keys  the numbers of subsequent user keys have changed. This changes the user key numbers for OSC. To simplify OSC implementation The TMC-1 now displays both the Number and Name of the last user key depressed in the top line of the TFT Display. 

I-Mon AES Revisions

My plans for the I-Mon changed on the first day of the AES in New York, where I was informed that Netflix and possibly Amazon had decided on 9.1.6 as there home cinema format! I decided to include this format in the new I-Mon design. Unfortunately this will put back the release of the I-Mon Analogue immersive Monitoring system to January 2018.

Dolby also informed me that in most installations the Surround bass extension speakers are placed next to the LFE speaker. To simplify installation I decided to provide Surround bass extension via the main LFE output.

What does this imply for the I-Mon design?
The A-Mon frame has 32 inputs and 24 outputs with an extra 8 outputs if External Metering available as an option.

To optimise the use of inputs and outputs I decided to add the extra 4 inputs and outputs required by 9.1.6 to the 7.1.4 design using links on the board and software settings. This allowed the I-Mon to be configured for 9.1.6, 7.1.4 or 7.1.6 using links to assign inputs and outputs.

The metering switching also needs to be enhanced to allow all 16 outputs to be monitored in two banks of 8.

I-Mon Revised specifications for 7.1.4, 9.1.4 and 9.1.6

I-Mon Immersive Monitor Controller

Note. Links are used to switch between Cue Input 3 or T/B input 2 and L/B Mic input 2

Connecting OSC to the TMC-1

OSC in now available on all versions of the TMC-1 software. Several people have asked how to connect OSC to the TMC-1, below is the diagram from TMC-1 Reference showing how to make the connections.  The only requirement is a Ethernet Server - WiFi or Wired depending on your connection to the tablet.

OSC Wifi Connections

TMC-1 OSC Monitor Controller Connections

The Computer connection is only required if you wish to control your DAW (Protools, Logic, Nuendo...) from the same OSC App on the Tablet. The TMC-1 will forward any commands that it does not recognize to the Computer, TouchOSC Keyboard and Midi commands will be routed directly to TouchOSCBridge on the Computer. If further routing is required you can install Osculator on the computer.

Please check the web first when you need information, I try to keep the web copy of 

TMC-1 Reference.pdf

 up to date and add extra information regularly.

Links

  • TouchOSC for you phone or tablet is available from the Apple App Store for IOS or Google Play Store for Android.

  • TouchOSC-Editor to design your personal screens and TouchOSCBridge to control your DAW are available at hexler.net

  • Osculator OSC routing software is available at https://osculator.net/

AES NY 2017 STAND 214

Design Considerations for the I-Mon Immersive Audio Monitoring system

The I-Mon is our new 7.1.4 Immersive Audio Monitoring system, based on our existing A-Mon Monitoring system with a number inputs and outputs reassigned. The combination of the I-Mon and TMC-1 is a stand alone Atmos capable system for the smaller studio.

The problem with analogue circuitry is that unlike digital systems the routing is defined by the hardware. The modular design of the A-Mon enabled the I-Mon to be made by redesigning a single board.
I-Mon Specification
Inputs :: Outputs
Main Input : 7.1.4
Alt Input: 7.1
2 dedicated Stereo inputs
2 or 3 Stereo and/or cue inputs
Stereo AFL input
1 or 2 Talk back inputs
1 or 2 Listen back inputs
Main Output: 7.1.4
Alt Output or Rear Bass Extension: Stereo
Mini Output: Stereo
4 Cue Send Outputs
Stereo Downmix Output
Optional External Meter O/P
Slate Out

You can download a I-Mon/A-Mon/XMon comparison chart  comparison.pdf



The I-Mon uses the same chassis as the A-Mon and has the same number of inputs, outputs and internal switches, the design of the I-Mon involved some compromises and rethinking,

1) Remove some A-Mon features for listening to 5.1 and 7.1 on Stereo speaker or 7.1 on  5.1 speaker layouts - No Centre speaker, No Rear speakers, No LFE Speaker.
2) Reassign  2 Stereo inputs  as 4 Overhead inputs
3) Reassign 4 of the Alt outputs as 4 Overhead outputs
4) reassign 2 of the Alt outputs as Left and right Surround Bass Extension or Stereo Alt Output.
5) Cue input 1 can reconfigured as 2nd Talkback and 2nd Listen Back inputs.
6) Reassign SLS and H/P metering as Overhead input metering
7) Move Left and Right Metering to after Left and Right Source selection to allow SLS and H/P metering when PFL active
8) Add switching enabling the Cue Inputs be used as stereo inputs
9) Add an External metering output.
10) Add an Ethernet remote control connection

The PCB layout for the new card is now complete, we are now consulting with users before ordering and making the PCB's and metalwork. We welcome your input, especially before we commit the design to hardware!

Delivery for the I-Mon is currently about 6 weeks.








A-Mon External Metering

Currently there are 2 methods with the option for a third if requested

  • Using the 5.1 Output for Metering

Advanced menu 19 is used to select the Alt-Output function, select '5.1 Meters' to use this output for metering.

  • Connect a unused Cue output to Stereo meters  
There are 4 cue outputs on the A-Mon, if you have an unused output it can be used to meter the Left and Right down mix by enabling 'Link' in the cue sends page. If you also enable the talk back to the cue output you can check that the talk back level is correct (thanks to Owen Curtin for this suggestion).
  • Modify the 7.1 rear outputs to feed Stereo meters
If your speaker setup is Stereo or 5.1 we can supply a plug in modification kit to route the Left and Right signals to the Rear Outputs. This will require a software switch added to the A-Mon which I am happy to add if/when a customer asks.

Open Sound Control for the TMC-1

After publishing my initial idea's for a tablet interface to the TMC-1 using HTML, one of our users (James Chappell) suggested that I look at TouchOSC. After investigating OSC I have shelved the HTML interface and spent the past week developing an OSC interface.

The main advantage of using OSC is that users can design their own interfaces incorporating only the functions that they need, simplifying the user interface. Multiple pages allow for different applications. OSC applications are available for IOS and Android I have not found any for OSx or Windows.

You can see the two test interfaces I designed below The first includes input selection (user keys), metering, output level control and Level indication. It has been designed fot the TMC-1-Penta which can select between 8 inputs. I was impressed with the meter performance using an old Android tablet.  A nice touch is the battery status indicator

The second screen below is a cue source selection page complete with level controls and enable keys, This design may be used as a template and unused input and output controls deleted.

I have now finished two more test pages and I will be releasing this software for the TMC-1-Penta, -XMon and -AMon later this week - I also found how to label the tabs!

For the TMC-1-Penta only - Note :the latest Penta software has 32 Palette entries instead of 16.

The images above were taken from the design s/w, the Tablet and my phone look the same or better.

TMC-1 with tablet in my workshop - designs for the 3d printed cradle are also available.

Initially I intended  to use OSC-Midi commands but then decided to use direct OSC commands to control the TMC-1, if the controls are named correctly they will connect directly with the TMC-1. The user can define the label names but it is recommended that the TMC-1 updates User Key labels as they can be dependent on the interface (Penta, XMon, A-Mon) and can change when the s/w is updated. All controls are updated when the page is changed, the interface is bidirectional and updated in real time. The meter block uses a multi-fader graphic.

I am currently controlling the TMC-1 from a tablet and phone simultaneously.  The first command on either will update the display tothe current TMC-1 status. The [TMC-1] key is used to re-sync the display without change. To reduce Ethernet traffic I meters are only activated after an initial touch, as not all designs will include meters. Ping should be enabled with a 10 second delay to keep the meters running.

Push keys are made from three elements, the key, the label and the LED for status indication.

The cue routing keys are Toggle buttons that include on/off indication. The meters are made using a multi-fader. SPL indication is simply a Label. TouchOSC is available to download for $5, the design software is free and available for both Mac and PC.

I envisage other stand alone applications the firmware outside of the TMC-1, for example controlling Mic Amp's, GPIO, or Older Midi instruments from tablets or even mobile phones. Next week I will be releasing OSC enabled versions of the TMC-1-Penta/XMon/A-Mon as well as at least two templates.

For those who may wish to check out the beta test software a design package which includes firmware for the TMC-1, 3d designs for a tablet cradle and templates is available here-

TMC1_OSC.zip

TMC-1 web app for Computer,Tablet or Phone (Windows, Mac, Android or iOS)

I have spent the last week developing a web app for the TMC-1, I started because Toshiro Kobayashi from Tac Systems requested that we increase the Pallet size on the TMC-1-Penta, one of his customers needed to select from more that 16 inputs!   In the next software update I have doubled the size of the Pallet allowing a maximum of 34 inputs- Main, Alt and 32 inputs in the Pallet.

I saw a problem for users selecting the inputs from the pallet. Initially I thought to make a computer app as an alternative selection tool but on discussion with Daniel who works with me we decided that a web based app would be more useful. Daniel had mentioned if it was possible to add a tablet interface to the TMC-1 previously some months ago.

To implement the app the TMC-1 becomes a server, allowing one device to be connected. The web page is dynamic and both control the TMC-1 and display the current status. There main problems to implement this on the TMC-1, Memory size and Status indication.

Memory size:
A small DAW has 4 GBytes of memory, the TMC-1 has less than 1 MByte. To send a web page you must first know its length, as page is dynamic the software must first write the page in memory to calculate its length - the memory size determines how much can be displayed.

Status:
The best way to display the status is to use a web socket, however this requires a encrypted handshake and json on the server in this case the TMC-1. I decided that this was too much for the first implementation and to use polling, A new menu allows selection of 8, 4 and 1 second polling  as well as manual update. To reduce the overhead the TMC-1 will reply with no-change message unless a key is depressed.

Here is a screen capture of the output from a TMC-1-Penta

I may change the L/S keys for the TMC-1 User and Function keys, this will allow the user to select their function.

The next Blog entry will detail the Beta test version of the software

   

TMC-1 Ashly ne8800 DSP Monitor Controller Interface

In response to customer requests we have now interfaced the TMC-1 to the Ashley ne8800 DSP processors.

Ashley ne8800

The Ashly ne8800 is an interesting unit, limited by having only 8 inputs and 8 outputs with summing, but unlike the NTP digital router it has DSP on both inputs and outputs - Summing, Equalization, Delay, Crossover and Dynamics. Supplied with Analog in/out as standard  AES/EBU and Dante are available as an option.

The Summing allows  the TMC-1 to implement down mixing, I have included the standard TMC-1 set of formats:

  • Mono Sum

  • Stereo only

  • Stereo Down Mix

  • 5.1 Down Mix from 7.1

  • 5.1 with side surround routed to both side and rear

  • 7.1

  • Atmos (7.1.4 on this implementation).

The first unit shipped with Ashly software is a PD-3 which combines a PD-1 with a TMC-1. The PD-1 is improved by adding a OLed display, ethernet port and the new PD-2 software.

PD-3 Film Monitor Remote

The limited number of inputs and outputs made designing systems with the ne8800 a challenge, however the TMC-1 is able to talk to multiple ne8800's increasing the possibilities.

The initial request was for a 7.1.4 film post production room which used two ne8800's. one for the 7.1 inputs and outputs, the other for the 4 overhead speakers, There were 4 unused inputs and outputs on the second ne8800, by routing the Left and Right outputs from the first ne8800 through the second ne8800 we were able to add a stereo input and a mini stereo output.

The initial design has a fixed configuration but if there are a requests for further systems I will write a system configuration program similar to the TMC-1-Penta2 program that will enable users to define inputs and outputs by their unit and channel number.

Using the AES/EBU and Dante inputs or adding a further ne8800 it is possible to select more inputs. To add Cue Inputs, Cue sends, AFL, talk back and listen back would require a third ne8800. It is possible to make a large ATMOS system from multiple ne8800's all controlled from a single TMC-1.