Computer for sound system

edifi

Member
I am replacing a VERY old computer that I scavenged when I first took this job. The sound system had just been replaced, but the district in it's wisdom did not provide the requisite computer when they bought the system. This year I have some funds and am looking for a decent buy. It will need to communicate with the sound system, as well as the board as our mics still have to connect to the board. Any suggestions?
Thanks
 

dvsDave

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Hi @edifi

What audio console are you using and what other audio programs are you using?

This will help us definitely the requirements for what you'll need.

Cheers
David
 

NickVon

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What about your Audio/Video playback needs? Will the computer also need to be used as a "Presentation laptop" at a podium? Is it only looking to run the software for the system processor? For the conosle it's looks like a max of 6 channels coming out of the console in variations of Aux 1/2,3/4,L/R. So there is not much load there for basic recording software (Audacity)
 

dvsDave

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The system is a Symetrix SymNet Solus 8. The console is Allen & Heath Zed 24. There is software available for the Symetrix. We use audio-technical mics.

Okay, basic I/O needs are Ethernet for the Symtrix, and USB 2 for the Zed 24. I could not find RAM or hard drive speed/space requirements for the software (composer 7). The ZED 24 is an analog board with USB sends of certain channels.

SEND OPTIONS
1) Main Mix Left + Right (Post-fade)
2) Main Mix Left + Right (Pre-Fade)
3) Auxes 1-2
4) Auxes 3-4

RETURN OPTIONS
1) To Stereo 3 channel


So, like @NickVon mentioned, what other software do you need to use simultaneously?
 

TimMc

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I'm curious as to why the OP needs real time/full time access to the PA system DSP controller.
 

edifi

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What about your Audio/Video playback needs? Will the computer also need to be used as a "Presentation laptop" at a podium? Is it only looking to run the software for the system processor? For the conosle it's looks like a max of 6 channels coming out of the console in variations of Aux 1/2,3/4,L/R. So there is not much load there for basic recording software (Audacity)
The A/V hookup for presentation isn't in the booth. It is at the side of the stage. I use my current classroom laptop for any presentations I do, which aren't many as there is no Wi-fi and no internet access where the A/V hookup is. There is hard-wire internet access in the booth.
 

NickVon

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It seems like any 500$ Windows Laptop with an USB port, and Ethernet will do you what you need. You don't have any odd specifications, or heavy workload that the laptop needs to support. I'd talk to your IT Deportment and ask them what basic laptop they'd recommend for purchase or lease that has Ethernet and USB connections. Remind them that the computer may need to stay unlocked so that you, (or they) can install Audacity (sound capture software for the ZED24) and the software for the sound system processor.
 

MNicolai

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I'm curious as to why the OP needs real time/full time access to the PA system DSP controller.

2nd'd. This is not something users should be regularly logged into. It's a set it and forget it device. The people I encounter who log into them regularly are the ones who wonder why they're melting so many drivers in their speakers.

The exception would be if a client-facing GUI has been programmed that is being used via SymVue. If you're hopping into the Solus via Composer you better know what you're doing and understand the implications that go with that.
 

teqniqal

Well-Known Member
The control of the audio gear (just what are you trying to control?) should be pretty minimal demand on any reasonably modern computer. If you are trying to use the computer for a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), then the demand is a bit more and you should talk to the DAW software provider about what they see as a 'minimum' configuration. Similarly, basic Video playback is a low stress function, but if you are trying to do video editing and rendering, then a chat with the Video software vendor my provide some insight as to what kind of processing performance you might need. Certainly a fresh install of the OS and software on an SSD will make the system 'snappier'. SSD prices have fallen to almost give-away prices, so this is a no-brainer. For stability, I'd set the computer up once, get it all working and then NEVER connect it to the internet again. Nothing good comes from unprompted updates, email, or students surfing the net on your show control computer. Just leave it on an isolated network with only the bare basic devices connected. Should you need to update something, bring the update to the computer via a USB drive that you have certified as uninfected. (yes, I know you can install all kinds of software to keep a computer uninfected and un-corruppted, but you really don't have to do that if the computer is truly isolated. Simple is good.).
 

teqniqal

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Note that Windows 10 will attempt to do updates via P2P to other Win 10 PCs is can see, so your isolated network may not be as isolated as you think...
Well, then. That would mean it's NOT isolated. Isolated means it is NOT connected to any outside network via Infrared, telegraph, telephone, hardwired network, or wireless network. It's really simple -- DON'T plug it into your building network AND disable the WiFi if it has any (Bluetooth is generally not a threat for wireless mice and keyboards). If there is a data switch tying the AV gear together, then make sure it, too, is not connected. If you need WiFi to remote control the AV equipment, then install a dedicated WAP that is only tied to your AV network (and hide the SSID on the WAP after you set it up). Use an external (removable data drive for audio / video / spreadsheet / powerpoint / word processor content so you can edit it at some other workstation. Editing software on your show control computer can lead to bad things. This policy also forces other users to prepare their presentation files in advance and bring them to you on a USB drive, which may get them to not try to do unrehearsed presentations or try to edit it during rehearsals. If they find mistakes during rehearsal, then just hand their storage drive back to them and tell them to edit it on their computer (and on their time). This serves another function as well -- it encourages them to keep their work on their computer and only hand you a copy. This way you shouldn't be held responsible if the storage drive is lost or erased or corrupted.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Not everyone's an IT guy.

If you have a Win 10 machine that's on your ISO network *and on a network with access to the Internet*, then that machine will feed updates to the machine(s) on the ISO network *even if that machine cannot forward packets from one interface to the other*.

From an IP standpoint, the ISO network is still isolated; it's just that there's an Application Layer Gateway -- for Windows Update -- that isn't documented or publicized, and that nobody knows about.
 
I am replacing a VERY old computer that I scavenged when I first took this job. The sound system had just been replaced, but the district in it's wisdom did not provide the requisite computer when they bought the system. This year I have some funds and am looking for a decent buy. It will need to communicate with the sound system, as well as the board as our mics still have to connect to the board. Any suggestions?
Thanks
It sounds to me like you are asking which computer you should purchase to run your sound. People are asking what software will you be running. I’ll make a couple of assumptions here, forgive me if I’m wrong. If you want to playback music cues and sound f/x via your computer I would highly recommend QLab. It handles sound as well as video or image projection. To run this, one of the simplest set ups would be a Mac mini with two monitors (one for surface 2to make projections easy) , one mouse, one keyboard. Talk to you IT people to see what you need to connect to your mixer. Good Luck!
 

Ben Stiegler

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so ... QLAB is Mac only, and a leader in the field. There are PC similar offerings Cue Player Pro by Dave Baxter is one) if you need to stay on a PC. Please please do not let just anyone touch the DSP, and please make a backup of its configuration on a safe thumb drive and in the cloud before you begin to explore its wondrous possibilities. While you never know how well the installers tuned the system unless you were there with them, if its a reputable firm chances are they did it with pretty good instrumentation (analyzer) in hand and you shouldn't alter their settings lightly.
 

dbaxter

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Premium Member
Thanks for the mention, Ben, but the version comparable with Qlab is Cue Player Premium. Just didn't want folks starting off in the wrong direction. Pro is more of a 'starter' version.
 

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