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Technical Newsletter

VOLUME 5, ISSUE 1 MARCH 2010 ISSUE

Networked Amplified Processor, AudiaFUSION


Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined an AudiaFLEX with a high power amplifier? We did, and the result was AudiaFUSION. As the convergence of A/V and IT becomes more prevalent, the power of Networked Media Systems can no longer be ignored. AudiaFUSION leverages the network to allow your DSP processing to be located where you need it; contrary to the traditional, centralized processing approach. This tech newsletter will describe the technical specifications of our Networked Amplified Processor, and explore the details of some of its unique offerings. We want to hear from you. So share your comments, suggest topics for future issues of the newsletter by emailing support@biamp.com . Biamp Technical Support Team

AudiaFUSION Hardware
On the simplest level, an AudiaFUSION is essentially an AudiaFLEX combined with an 8-channel, 2400W amplifier. There are, however, some important differences to note, and well cover those below.

Technical Specifications

Software-configurable output power per channel (100-600W per channel, maximum of 2400W per AudiaFUSION). Software-configurable load type per output channel (4, 8, 70V, or 100V). Controllable over a TCP/IP network, RS232, daVinci, and/or RED-1 Remote Ethernet Devices. Fault monitoring for temperature, short circuits, impedance tolerance, amplifier failure, excessive clipping, fan stuck-rotor. Two failover modes for fault-tolerant systems: channel failover and device failover. Seamless integration with CobraNet-enabled Audia systems, NPS-1 Paging Stations, and third-party CobraNet devices. CobraNet interface standard (16 in/16 out). Software-configurable CobraNet latency (5-1/3, 2-2/3, or 1-1/3 ms).

Differences between FLEX and FUSION


Inputs & Outputs: The biggest hardware difference between an AudiaFLEX and an AudiaFUSION is the available input/output options. AudiaFUSION only receives input signals via CobraNet, and sends output signals via AM-600 amplifier modules or via CobraNet. Additionally, the CobraNet port on an AudiaFUSION is limited to 16 input channels and 16 output channels. Currently, the only output card available for the AudiaFUSION is the AM-600 amplifier module. RCB Bus: AudiaFUSION does not have an RCB Bus connection, and therefore cannot be wired directly to RCB controls (Volume 8, Select 8, Volume/Select 8, Logic Box, and Voltage Control Box). However, an AudiaFUSION can be controlled by Remote Ethernet Devices (RED-1, NPS-1), and can integrate seamlessly with an AudiaFLEX which has RCB devices attached. Latency: While AudiaFUSION has about the same processing power as an AudiaFLEX, it processes audio a little differently, and the result is a significant reduction in latency. On typical systems, the processing latency on an AudiaFUSION will be 1.333 milliseconds, regardless of how many DSP blocks are used or what percent of available DSP resources are being utilized. There are certain DSP blocks that can increase latency slightly (namely, delay blocks). All in all, the best way to gauge the latency of a specific configuration is to create a file and compile it.

Fault Monitoring
AudiaFUSION features a comprehensive suite of amplifier monitoring functions for critical applications. If something goes wrong with your amplifier, cabling, or loudspeaker, AudiaFUSION can detect it and report it as either a warning or an alarm. Warnings let you know that something is not optimal, but that it isnt an audio-stopping failure. Alarms indicate that something has failed and audio is not getting to the speaker. Failover, if enabled, is triggered by alarms (see Failover below). Both warnings and alarms are available as logic outputs in Audia software, and therefore can be monitored in daVinci, reported to a control system via RS232, or otherwise indicated via any standard method using logic. In addition to a battery of internal tests, AudiaFUSION allows the user to set up a sophisticated impedance monitoring system on each output channel. Output impedance can be monitored over four user-defined frequency bands, and a warning can be triggered if the impedance falls outside of the user-defined tolerance. PAGE 1

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Failover
AudiaFUSION can not only automatically detect a fault, it can do something about it too. When an alarm is raised by AudiaFUSION, it can route audio around the problem in two different ways: channel failover and device failover. In channel failover mode, an odd-numbered channel can be linked to its adjacent even-numbered channel (i.e. channels 1 and 2). The even-numbered channel acts as a redundant failover channel. If AudiaFUSION detects a failure on channel 1 and raises an alarm, channel 1 is turned off and audio is immediately routed to channel 2. In device failover mode, an entire AudiaFUSION chassis is linked to another redundant chassis. If an alarm on any channel is raised in this case, all channels on the first chassis are turned off and audio is immediately routed to all channels on the second chassis. These failover modes require redundant wiring schemes to operate correctly. Since the AM-600 outputs are relay-isolated and only one channel of a failover pair is ever active at a time, primary and secondary channels can be connected in parallel without a problem. See figures 1-3 below for three examples of redundant failover wiring schemes.
Figure 1 In this example, the failover channel is looped over to the primary channel. This wiring scheme is the easiest and most cost-effective to install, and it ensures audio will reach the speakers in the event of an AM-600 card failure.

Figure 2 In this example, a separate homerun cable has been pulled from both amplifier channels to the first speaker in the zone. While this is electrically equivalent to Figure 1, it also protects against a failure in the homerun cabling, especially if different wiring paths are used. Alternately, the secondary homerun could be connected to the last speaker in the zone.
Fusion Frame 1

Fusion Frame 2

Figure 3 This example shows a wiring scheme for deviceto-device failover. This failover mode requires two Fusion frames with identical card configurations. Note the additional logic connection that is required between frames.

Front Panel LEDs


AudiaFUSIONs front panel allows you to get a lot of information about the health of the system at a glance. See figure 4 below for a description of AudiaFUSIONs 37 front panel LEDs.
Red = Alarm Amber = Warning Green = Active Channel Amber = Failover Channel Signal Presence Indicator: Green = -26dBu to +21dBu Amber = +21dBu to +24dBu Red = Clipping Currently Unused Green = Unit Healthy Amber = Power-on Self Test Red = Self Test Fault Currently Unused

Channel Indicators Figure 4 - Fusion Front Panel LEDs

Chassis Indicators

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AudiaFUSION Software
A single software block has been added to the Audia software for AudiaFUSION, but as well see below it comes in several flavors.

Initialization Properties Window


The Fusion block can be accessed from the I/O menu in the Device Toolbar just like any other input or output block. Dropping a Fusion block into a configuration file will open its Initialization Properties dialog, where the blocks attributes can be defined.
Output power of each channel represented by this block. Each channel can be 100-600W, with a maximum of 2400W per frame. Enables logic outputs to signal fault conditions. When checked, logic outputs are grouped into Alarms and Warnings. When unchecked, each individual fault type appears as a logic output. Enables device-to-device failover mode. In this mode, another Fusion frame is added to the configuration as a redundant failover chassis. Number of channels represented by this Fusion block. All channels in the same Fusion block will have the same channel power and impedance. Amplifier mode selects between low impedance (4 or 8-ohm), 70V, or 100V. Applies to all channels represented by this block. Note that a Fusion frame can be represented by multiple Fusion blocks. Enables channel failover mode. Enabling failover for an odd-numbered channel reserves the adjacent even-numbered channel as a redundant failover channel. Figure 5 - Fusion Initialization Properties window.

Logic Outputs
Depending on how a Fusion block is initialized, its appearance can vary greatly. Firstly, each Fusion block displays its channel count, output power level, and impedance (LZ-Low Impedance, CV-Constant Voltage). Note that all channels represented by a single Fusion block will have the same output power and impedance. Next, youll notice that the three example blocks at the right have different logic outputs, which is a result of different logic initialization settings. The top example block does not have logic outputs enabled, which is the default state. The middle example block has logic outputs enabled and grouped, which results in a single Alarm and Warning logic output per channel. The bottom example block has logic outputs enabled and ungrouped, which gives each fault type its own logic output per channel. See the table in Figure 8 on the following page for a detailed description of each logic output.

Failover
Selecting channel or device failover in the Initialization Properties will also change the appearance of the Fusion block. When no failover is enabled, the Fusion block will look like the top example block.
Figure 6 - Three example Fusion software blocks. The top block has both logic outputs and failover disabled. The middle block has grouped logic outputs enabled, and channel failover enabled. The bottom block has ungrouped logic outputs enabled, and device failover enabled.

Fusion blocks with channel failover enabled have primary (P) and secondary (S) in puts, and the secondary inputs are grayed out. The secondary inputs are a reminder that the second channel of the pair is being reserved for failover, and audio will be automatically routed to the second channel when an alarm is raised. Fusion blocks with device failover enabled have another entire block attached to them with no inputs or outputs, labeled Secondary Device. This secondary device is a reminder that there is another identical Fusion frame that is being reserved for failover, and audio will be automatically routed to the second device when an alarm is raised. After a failover has occurred and the problem which triggered the failover has been fixed, Fusion will not automatically switch operation back to the primary channel or device. Instead, the device(s) must be power cycled so that it can re-check the primary channel/ device for failover conditions. PAGE 3

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Control Dialog
After inserting the Fusion block into your configuration, double-click on it to open its Control Dialog window:

Figure 7 - Fusion Control Dialog window for a 1-channel, 70V Fusion channel.

Device IO - Similar to other input and output blocks in Audia, the Device IO column correlates the Fusion software block to the physical amplifier channel. This is useful in determining amplifier channels when a single Fusion device is broken up into multiple software blocks. Pri/Sec - The Primary/Secondary indicator only appears in Fusion blocks which have failover enabled, and it indicates which channel or device is currently being used. Faults - This section indicates any active warning or fault conditions. Yellow indicators show warnings, and red indicators show alarms. See the table in Figure 8 for fault definitions. Additionally, a test button is available for each channel which can be used to simulate an alarm and trigger a failover.

HS Temp % Max - This field indicates the heat sink temperature in terms of a percentage of its maximum allowed temperature. A heat sink warning will occur if this percentage exceeds 92%, at which point audio will automatically be attenuated by 3dB. If this percentage reaches 100%, then an alarm will be triggered, audio will be stopped altogether, and a failover will occur (if enabled). Heat sink alarms and warnings are cleared when the heat sink temperature drops below 84%. Clip Count Threshold - This setting determines how much clipping needs to occur before the Excessive Clipping (EC) warning is triggered. In order to trigger the warning, the number of consecutive 100 ms segments of audio which contain clipped audio samples needs to exceed this threshold.

Gain Out - A digital level control which applies gain to the audio signal beClip Limiter - This button engages a limiter to prevent amplifier clipping. fore it is amplified. See the discussion on Output Gain below. The threshold of the limiter is set such that any signal peaks which would have Impedance Parameters - This section deals with Fusions impedance monitorclipped the amplifier are attenuated. ing features, which are discussed in more detail in the next section of this document. The Control Dialog window allows you to see if impedance monitoring is active (IMA), and how many bands are being monitored.

A quick note about output gain...


In an Audia system, clipping occurs at +24dBu, and subsequently AudiaFUSION has been designed to deliver maximum rated output power when it is being fed with a +24dBu signal. However, in practice, most Audia systems with proper gain structure have audio levels which normally hover around 0 dBu. In the world of amplifiers, having 24 dB of headroom means a lot of wasted power. So, weve added a digital gain (labeled Gain Out) to the Fusion output block to help you use more of the amplifiers output power. Keep in mind that this is digital gain; the same as if you added a level control block right before the Fusion block. The Gain Out setting has a range of 0-24dBu, and by default it is set to 12. This is important to be aware of, because setting this value to 12 effectively lowers the clipping point of the system to +12dBu. Similarly, if the Gain Out was set to its maximum value of 24, then the clipping point of the system would be lowered to 0 dBu.

Label Warning Alarm FSR HS

Description Fan Stuck Rotorindicates a malfunction with an internal fan. Heat Sinkwarning indicates heat sink is at 92% of its cooling capacity. If heating continues to 100%, HS Warning turns into an HS Alarm, and audio is stopped. Heat sink temperature must drop to 84% before either warning or alarm is cleared. Short Circuitindicates that the effective impedance is less than 1 ohm, or that current has exceeded the maximum threshold. Channel Failureindicates unspecified hardware failure of an AM-600 amplifier module. Excessive Clippingindicates that amplifier output clipping has occurred in excess of the Clip Count Threshold parameter. Low Impedanceindicates that the impedance monitoring circuit has detected an impedance that has dropped below the user-specified tolerance range. High Impedanceindicates that the impedance monitoring circuit has detected an impedance that has risen above the user-specified tolerance range. Alarmonly available when using grouped logic outputs. This output is a logical OR of the HS, SC, and CF outputs. Warningonly available when using grouped logic outputs. This output is a logical OR of the HS, EC, LZ, and HZ outputs. Primary Device Goodonly available when using device failover mode. Indicates that the primary device is running without warnings or faults. Secondary Device Goodonly available when using device failover mode. Indicates that the secondary device is running without warnings or faults.

SC

CF EC

LZ

HZ

AL

WN

PDG

SDG

Figure 8 - Fusion Logic Output table.

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Impedance Monitoring
AudiaFUSIONs amplifier modules feature a sophisticated impedance monitoring mechanism which allows you to monitor the integrity of the cabling and loudspeakers connected to that output channel. There are a few important details to note about AudiaFUSIONs impedance monitoring capabilities. Up to four independent, user-specified frequency bands can be monitored simultaneously. Frequency bands are defined in terms of center frequency and bandwidth. The software allows you to capture the average impedance over that frequency band. If the average impedance of the band changes by an amount larger than the user-specified tolerance percentage, then either an LZ or HZ warning is activated. Impedance can only be measured when a strong enough signal is being output. Fusion will only update the frequency bands of the impedance curve that it can reliably calculate. When no signal is being sent to a particular frequency band, Fusion will freeze the impedance curve at the last known value. It is feasible to send a high frequency pilot tone (above 19kHz) at a level that is strong enough for impedance monitoring to be active, but low enough to be inaudible. Additionally, sending pink noise to the speaker will allow you to capture a full-bandwidth impedance graph, which is useful during project commissioning as well as to capture baseline impedance averages. There are a few additional caveats to watch out for when using impedance monitoring, particularly with constant-voltage (70/100V) systems: In a zone of 25 speakers, cutting the cable to the last speaker in the chain only increases the impedance by 4%. However, setting your impedance tolerance to a value as low as 4% could easily result in false warnings, since the impedance of the line could change by such a small amount due to other factors, such as temperature fluctuations. Therefore, impedance monitoring of large speaker zones may not reliably indicate certain problems. Speaker-level volume controls also affect the overall impedance and therefore could potentially cause false warnings.

Figure 9 - Fusion impedance monitoring frequency band setup window.

Welcome Scott and Kane!


As Biamps sales and product lines grow, so must our commitment to top-notch technical support and customer service. To that end, Biamp is pleased to welcome Scott Wieser and Kane Zhang to our Applications Engineering Group. Both Scott and Kane come to Biamp from audiovisual contracting backgrounds. Scott is based at the Biamp headquarters in Oregon, while Kane is based in Hong Kong. PAGE 5

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Application Examples
The .dap file associated with this months newsletter has two simple examples of an AudiaFUSION system: 1. Since AudiaFUSION can only receive input signals over CobraNet, you might think that an AudiaFUSION would always need to be paired up with an AudiaFLEX. Thats not necessarily the case. The first example system shows a paging system with background music, with all processing and amplification taking place in a single AudiaFUSION. Input devices include four NPS-1 paging stations and an AudiaEXPI-4 mini input expander. Background music selection is performed by a RED-1 controller. The second example system shows an AudiaFUSION integrated with an AudiaFLEX and a 3rd-party CobraNet device. The Fusion is set up in channel failover mode, with four primary channels and four secondary channels in a single frame.

2.

Introducing Vocia, Biamps newest product line! Vocia is the first scalable, networked, decentralized paging system for public address and voice evacuation applications. Features include store and forward paging, priority/emergency paging, speaker line monitoring, message playback, integration with emergency/fire alarm systems, and much more. Vocia can address the needs of small and medium sized venues, but also includes the required feature set for large-scale applications such as airports, hospital campuses, and convention centers. To learn more, go to http://www.biamp.com/vocia.php. Make your meetings and your conversations even better with Biamps newest acoustic echo cancellation algorithm innovation, Sona, available now in every Nexia TC, Nexia VC, as well as AudiaFLEX with the AEC-2HD card. All it takes is a simple firmware upgrade. Best of all, its free! For more information about Biamps advances in AEC technology, go to http://www.biamp.com/sona.php.

Biamp International Technical Support Team


US West Coast Office (Headquarters)
Applications Engineering Manager: Kiley Henner Applications Engineers: Michael Erwin Claudio Berstein Zach Snook Scott Wieser
(Ext 162) (Ext 158) (Ext 175) (Ext 146) (Ext 160)

Contact Information
Email: support@biamp.com Phone: +1 800 826 1457 (North America only) +1 503 641 7287

US East Coast Office


Applications Engineer: Chris Flanagan
(Ext 173)

Contact Information
Email: support@biamp.com Phone: +1 919 333 2331 / +1 503 641 7287

European Office (England office)


Applications Engineer: Martin Bonsoir
(Ext 180)

Contact Information
Email: mbonsoir@biamp.com Phone: +44 (0)7775 941 428 / +1 503 641 7287

Australian Office
Applications Engineers: Dane Miller Sam Paterson
(Ext 584) (Ext 585)

Contact Information
Email: dmiller@biamp.com, spaterson@biamp.com Phone: +61 466 339 437 / +1 503 641 7287

India/Middle East Office (India office)


Applications Engineer: Godwin Mathew
(Ext 193)

Contact Information
Email: gmathew@biamp.com Phone: +91 9967605101 / +1 503 641 7287

Asian Office (Hong Kong office)


Applications Engineer: Kane Zhang
(Ext 196)

Contact Information
Email: kzhang@biamp.com Phone: +86 852 64738148 / +1 503 641 7287 PAGE 6