Yesterday I was in Paris checking out the SPQ implementation with a customer, I felt that a visit was necessary as the initial test were made long distance with me in London and the MTRX with SPQ card in Amsterdam! This timeI wanted to be in the same room as the TMC-1/2, MTRX and SPQ card, to check for myself that it is working correctly and that the documentation was understood by the customer, installer and myself!
When we designed the TMC-1-Penta the SPQ card did not exist, the SPQ card adds a lot of functionality to the NTP system, we want to incorporate this with the TMC. The SPQ is like any other card within the NTP rack unit and the SPQ channels are defined by the card slot and Channel number which can be assigned to any speaker channel using the TMC insert points.
There are three ways of setting the IP Address on the TMC-1 as follows
I have implemented DHCP on the TMC-1 as a one shot as I believe that in a studio setup it is better to use fixed ip addresses. When you enable DHCP on the TMC-1 the first number only will change to 00 to indicate that DHCP is active. If a new IP Address is allocated by the DHCP sever the display will update almost immediately, if there is no DHCP server present the IP address will revert to the original IP Address after about 5 seconds.
Recently a customer asked why they could only see the first number flicker when using DHCP to set the IP address of the TMC-1. This occurs when the DHCP Server is happy with the IP Address requested by the TMC-1. On the video below I have deliberately set the TMC-1 to a invalid IP address.
In order to synchronize Protools it is necessary to use a Protools-Dante Bridge. The current Protools software disables synchronization when using a network Dante Port!
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.
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.
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-
In response to customer requests we have now interfaced the TMC-1 to the Ashley ne8800 DSP processors.
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:
Stereo Down Mix
5.1 Down Mix from 7.1
5.1 with side surround routed to both side and rear
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.
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.
I have spent the last two days updating manuals and some web pages with Daniel Gollety our previous French Distributer and my friend of more than 30 years. This was exhausting for both of us but we are happy with the results - especially after updating every screen shot of the TMC-1.
It was important for me to have both an outside proof reader and someone for whom English is not their first language, in English as in most languages there are many different ways of saying the same thing - some are easier to understand than others. It is well known that I do not write the best manuals!
The English versions are now on the web, the French versions will be on the web next week.
Thank You Daniel!
Whilst testing yesterday I discovered that a bug was added when implementing the previous customer requests - always a possibility. There is a trade off on having a product that responds to the needs of the market and a good stable product. I err on the side of making to many updates and in consequence to many bugs. However in my defence once a bug is found I respond as quickly as possible and fix it. Unfortunately often the bug is found after a period of time has passed and I have made a number of other updates to the software - I only ever have one version of the software the current version!- c'est la vie!
I have updated this s/w to provide an easier upgrade path, in earlier versions on the s/w the user keys were saved as numbers, this meant that I could only add user functions at the end of the list and not always group them logically. I have now updated this s/w so that the user keys are saved by there labels so that I can rearrange the user keys - especially useful as I like to keep the unique functions for each version (XMon, Penta, D-Mon and A-Mon) at the end.
Note: when we release new software it is packages with the matching version of the TMC-1-mac/win s/w, always update this otherwise the user key functions will not be correct!
It has taken longer than estimated, we were distracted by orders for existing products and we had not allowed for the time required to built the test jigs!
Here are the photos,
The XPand is already installed and working in one studio and we will be demonstrating both the XPand and A-Mon in different studios over the next few weeks.
You can see/hear both the A-Mon and XPand at "Mix with the Pros 4", Jigsaw 24, Golden Square on Wednesday the 15th June
We recently supplied a TMC-1 to NRK who came back with one great quote and two suggestions for improvement.
"First, let me say I´m liking the TMC-1 more and more ! Great product,and it definitely fills a need in our small/mid-size rooms."
Olav Celius, NRK
The two suggestions for improvement were
1) The auto-talkback did not work in the same way as the Avid ICON
2) The NRK rooms are calibrated at 68 not 85 SPL how to use the CAL-A or CAL-B to display this?
Auto Resume Talkback
To replicate the ICON auto talkback I have added a new user key, "A/R T/B" (Auto-Resume TalkBack), when [A/R T/B] is enabled, if talkback is enabled then entering play will disable talkback and stop will resume talkback.
Both analog and digital monitoring systems are optimised for 0dB gain at the reference level. Whilst it is possible to reduce the gain by 17dB this would decrease the signal to noise ratio by the 17dB - not an ideal solution. I have added a new advanced menu to set the displayed SPL at 0dB gain in 2dB steps from 85 down to 63 SPL.
SPL, Gain and Dolby Level
I added a menu to allow the user to select the main display mode as SPL, Gain or Dolby level. Good for explaining how to calibrate the SPL Level and Great for when the producer requests a setting of Dolby 7 (85dB SPL).
This week I took a break from designing the AMon and looked at the Cue sends on the TMC-1.
Originally when enabling talkback to a cue output I muted all other inputs. I have now added a menu (13) that allows the user to select between Mute Cues, Dim Cues and No Change. Currently the Dim is fixed at 10dB I will wait for feedback from users on this.
Cue Send Status
I decided to indicate the cue send status of the meter screen, colour is used to indicate status as follows:-
Black: Cue output is enabled with No inputs selected (Cue 1 in image)
Green: Cue output is enabled with inputs selected (SLS in image)
Red: Cue output is Muted with inputs selected (Cue 2 in image)
Blue: Talkback is enabled and routed to this cue send (H/P in image)
Note: There are 5 cue sends on the XMon version
I am currently designing the AMon our new analog Monitor system, the AMon or "Analogue Monitor Controller" will interface with the TMC-1. The AMon is designed for Stereo, 5.1 room and 7.1 rooms. Similar to the Avid XMon but with a number of improvements. The AMon is a 1U rack mount unit and the modular construction of the AMon will allow different versions for Stereo, 5.1, and 7.1. Here is the initial design specification (Click on image to expand!)
The AMon is designed for smaller Stereo and 5.1/7.1 rooms where the user has D2A converters and does not want to replace them with the DAD AX32.
On Monday I am visiting Trinnov in Paris to discuss the details of interfacing the TMC-1 to the DMon. I will post more information on the TMC-1-DMon later.
The TMC1-Penta provides a framework to build your own monitor system, to design your
system you will need to specify the input/output data and the speaker groups as follows
1) Map out the speakers
2) Map out the Input and Output connections
Note the +10dB gain on the Dolby Return to remove any Level differences
between monitoring direct or through the RMU
3) Label modules in TMC1-Penta program and set Maximum channel count if not defined. As
an option you can add the Offset for each input
4) Label Speakers and assign channels
Note: The surround channels are checked in the corresponding Surround Column. This
allows the speakers to be assigned to the correct source when 7.1 or 5.1 are selected. To
use the LFE as a bass extension to the surround channels check the appropriate output in
the LFE column.
5) Assign Input name and channels for RMU 7.1.4 Outputs. Every surround speaker is
6) Assign Input name and channels for direct 5.1 and 7.1 outputs from Pro Tools,
Note. Only the main surround inputs are defined the 7.1 switch can the enable the extra surround speakers. Alternatively you can assign the extra surround speakers for 7.1 so that they are always used.