Networked Audio Design

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Video presentation available online for Audio Channels and Audio Streams.

Audio Channels and Streams are created by wiring to and from networked I/O devices. Using efficient wiring, and the capabilities of the Q-SYS Core, you can maximize the capabilities of your Q-SYS system. This topic explains the principals of Network Audio Channels (NAC) and Network Audio Streams (NAS), and how to wire the components in your design to achieve maximum efficiency in your Q-SYS system.

Core Channel Capacities

Local I/O Channels Network Audio Channels Local I/O Channels Network Audio Channels AEC Processors Multitrack Audio Players Local I/O Card Capacity VoIP Instances


Unified Core (small scale)

Core 110

24
8 analog in,
8 analog out,
8 analog flex in/out,
16x16 USB audio

128 x 128

16

16
(upgradable
to 32)

N / A (Built-in I/O on this model) 4

Integrated Cores

(medium scale)

Core 500i

Up to 32 analog,
up to 128x128 AES/CobraNet/
Dante/AVB

128 flex in/out

32

16
(upgradable
to 32)

8

64

Core 510i

Up to 32 analog,
up to 128x128 AES/CobraNet/
Dante/AVB

256 x 256

64

16
(upgradable
to 32)

8

64

Enterprise Cores

(large scale)

Core 1100

Up to 4 analog,
up to 16 AES,
up to 64x64 CobraNet/Dante/AVB

256 x 256

96

16
(upgradable
to 32)

1

64

Core 3100

Up to 4 analog,
up to 16 AES,
up to 64x64 CobraNet/Dante/AVB

512 x 512

192

16
(upgradable
to 32)

1

64

Next-generation Enterprise Cores

(IT friendly)

Core 2200

N / A

512 x 512

128

16
(upgradable
to 32)

N / A

64

Core 5200

N / A

512 x 512

256

16
(upgradable
to 32)

N / A

64

The Core 4000 is limited to using 90% (900 Mbps) or less of the available bandwidth on a gigabit Ethernet link. The higher the average channel-per-stream count, the less network bandwidth per channel is used, and less network processing is required, resulting in a greater possible total channel count for the system.

The following table represents some examples of ways to reach the maximum channel count on one of the largest Core currently available. Only one direction is shown, for example, 512 NACs and 900 Mbps IN. The counts can be duplicated for the other direction.

Based on the Core 4000

NASs

NACs/Stream

Total NACs

Network Bandwidth

Result

32

16

512

843 Mbps

Works

64

8

512

900 Mbps

Works

100

3

2

4

16

8

464

899 Mbps

Works

128

4

512

1014 Mbps

> 90%

Does not work

Network Audio Channel Fan-out

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Video presentation available online for Maximizing Audio Channels.

Fan-out is the distribution of a single Network Audio Channel (NAC) to multiple outputs. In Q-SYS Designer you can distribute the output several ways. This topic describes fan-out, and how to incorporate it in a Q-SYS design in the most efficient way.

Network Audio Channels are made up of virtual and physical connections.

The Q-SYS Core and I/O Frames are physically connected via the Ethernet. Each I/O Frame has four (I/O Frame 8s has 8) available slots for I/O cards. The I/O cards are identified in Q-SYS Designer by I/O Frame and Slot within the I/O Frame. When you make a connection in Q-SYS Designer from a Gain DSP component, for example, to a representation of an I/O card, like a Line Out card, you are telling Q-SYS that "this Gain output" is going to Channel 1 of the card in "Slot x" of "I/O Frame xyz". In a Q-SYS Designer Schematic, the physical Ethernet connection between components is not shown, neither are the I/O Frame or Core; it is the virtual connection that is shown. The virtual connections shown in this topic are more like assignments from a DSP component running on one physical piece of hardware, to a DSP component running on a card within another physical piece of hardware.

Network Audio Channel Definition

Counting Network Audio Channels in Your Design

You can determine the number of Input NACs and Output NACs by pressing Shift+F6. The Check Design dialog box displays the number of Input and Output NACs along with other information.

1. To use Check Design as described above, you do not have to have a physical I/O Frame connected. Placing the virtual components of a virtual I/O Frame into the schematic and wiring the signal pins to another component (could be anything) in the schematic works for counting streams and channels with Check Design. To actually use any card (pass audio), the card must be installed in a physical piece of equipment (I/O Frame or Core), and wired in the design.

Wiring in Q-SYS Designer

Network Fan-out

NOTE:  The one network connection also represents one Output Network Audio Stream because the signal goes to only one I/O Frame.

Fan-out Gain Control

Output to Amplifiers

When one NAC is fanned-out into multiple channels, there is an individual gain control for each channel. The available controls with the Q-SYS output cards vary depending on the card.

Loudspeakers

When QSC DataPort amplifiers, and QSC loudspeakers are used in a design, there are individual gain controls for each loudspeaker, including multi-way loudspeakers.

Network Audio Stream

Definition

A Network Audio Stream (NAS) is a bundle of one or more NACs going to or from a single peripheral connected to the Q-LAN network, and wired in the design running on the Core.

Hardware peripherals include I/O Frames and Page Stations. A Q-LAN Receiver or Transmitter does not represent physical hardware, and needs only to be in a design (not wired) to be counted as an NAS with NACs. The Q-SYS Touchscreen and DataPort Amplifier Backup panel peripherals do not count against the NAS count.

The maximum number of NACs in a single NAS is 16 because you can only have 16 inputs or outputs.

NOTE:  An I/O Frame with four AES3 Input / Output cards installed has one Input NAS with 16 channels, and one Output NAS with 16 channels giving a total of 32 channels for a single peripheral.

The example above shows the different types of NASs. There is one NAS for all inputs going to a single peripheral, and one NAS for all outputs going to a single peripheral. All components must be wired in the design with the exception of the Q-LAN Transmitter and Receiver.

This example has two I/O Frames with 16 channels each going to the Core. For each I/O Frame, there is one NAS; a total of two NASs.

In this example, each of two I/O Frames have both input and output cards, resulting in two input streams and two output streams. While this has the same I/O Frame count and audio channel count as the previous example, it is less efficient because more streams are required.

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