DSP Processor, Amps, Console

macsound

Well-Known Member
More of a constant wonder and thought than anything else. Not purchasing any equipment, just want people's opinion.
Also worth stating, I understand how all the components in the signal chain work, but maybe not subtle nuances that may differ. Also worth the conversation.

Q Part 1 - If I was using a modern digital console, what benefit would an audio processor's DSP have over the EQ and delay built into the desk.
Q Part 2 - In the same vein - would DSP in a qualified name brand amp be considered the same, better or worse than using a separate audio processor feeding the amp.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
DSP is preferable for system tuning/balancing. Console's get wiped. Firmware gets reloaded, files get factory defaulted. Someone may have spent 3 days tuning the system properly with Smaart or SIM time aligning the cabinets, verifying polarity, setting limiters and EQ and gains, and one person can quickly undo all that work permanently by screwing around in a console.

Artistically, it's also more intuitive to send the mixes you want to a DSP and let the DSP parse them out. That's includes to back of house, front of house, delays, side fills, hearing assist, etc. If you try and set up discrete mixes for all of those different destinations in a console you'll burn up your mix and matrix busses in no time.

Other functions like hearing assist or a house mic feed backstage and into the lobby need to be operational even if the console is turned off. A DSP can facilitate this.

Logistically, I prefer all of the tuning/balancing in a DSP. You will get much of the same functionality in amplifier-provided settings but it doesn't scale well if you have lots of speakers. You burn up a lot of time making minor adjustments. Depending on the product line, for some configurations you end up doing some EQ/balancing in the DSP and then some in the amplifier. Puts you in a position where if you're not careful it's easy to fight yourself and murder your gain structure.

Other things I like to use DSP's for. I'll stick a touch panel in the booth and on-stage with 2 mix modes. One is for "Quick Mix", which is the house mic to backstage and lobbies, and a few handheld and lapel wireless mic's and some aux inputs on either side of the stage. All of the EQ and gains are preset in the DSP. Someone wants to run a quick talking-head event with just a couple mic's or run a rehearsal with playback -- you can give them a few faders and mute buttons on a touch panel and they don't have to go anywhere near the mix console or learn how to run a full sound system. The touch panel also offers Mix Console Mode, which kills the Quick Mix inputs and gives you much more control of the system from the mix console, while also offering you various options for things like booth monitors. Do you want to your booth monitors to be cue monitors that work off your solo buss, or do you want them to be just off of the house mic for a show that's largely acoustic? You have an option for that.

The DSP also does things like provides the house mic feed to the hearing assist and FOH/BOH feeds, while allowing you to inject vocal mixes that duck the house mic and ride on top. This gives you strong speech intelligibility where you need it, while still letting you hear the music. But in the areas this mix serves they really need speech intelligibility above all else.

A properly tuned system through a DSP will give you much more bang for the buck than trying to replicate this through your console or through your amps. If you spend $150,000 on your sound system, you should get $150,000 worth of value out of it. If you only spend $145,000 and skip the DSP, you're liable to get a sound system that sounds like you spent $5,000 on it.

In short, it lets you focus on the art of that specific event by offering you a solid baseline to drive you system from. Try juggling all of that in your console and every soundcheck becomes simply trying to get proof of life out of all of your different mixes and you end up not having time to make the show actually sound good.

Re: Processing amps. I run into these a lot and end up ignoring their onboard processing if I have a DSP in the system. Even in a $700,000 d&b rig I'll use the amps only for the Array Processing feature and keep all of the EQ, delay, and so forth in the DSP. Makes programming easier, and reduces the number of moving parts. I brought a system online not long ago where they had 24 Y-series boxes, 2 Renkus sticks for side fills and ceiling speakers for delays. They had 7 different array configurations with and without front fills, with the line arrays flown out high for theater, or hanging way down low for rock n roll, with L/R subs when they need a thrust and with a 6-sub array for everything else. Tuning had to happen at the same time the control system to flip between all these presets was going on. We encountered issues with the Crestron programmer reloading code and recalling presets that wiped our settings. Our philosophy quickly went away from using presets in amplifiers or even in the DSP to using routers in the DSP to flip signal chains accordingly. Made it much easier to guarantee tuning efforts would not be compromised inadvertently by an accidental preset recall before the latest changes were saved.

Laundry list of reasons to keep system settings out of amplifiers, but especially out of consoles.
 
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NickVon

Well-Known Member
I think @MNicolai has explained this very well. That said... some further thoughts,

He's coming from experience in what appears to be fully fledged installed sound systems. Though this all holds true for a room which might just have L+R on sticks as the only PA. Many of these Poor man system or band/event touring systems might not have a "Designed" sound system. You could be working with some Powered QSC K12, Subs, 1 pair of Delay's Maybe a second set of remote PA mains in a side ballroom. In these circumstances using a digital console to carve out matrix's for each of these speaker setups, and locations can be a lot quicker and maybe the only way to do some baseline room EQ, or some LPF tuning on the subs that fit the new ballroom your in, simply because no system processors are on hand.

Still it's great if the gear is available for small touring, and one-an-done setups to have system processors that can be used, but many do not. And having some level of that ability to do that functionality in a console is great. But MNicolai has pretty clearly stated why when both options are available we use System processors over consoles/and Amps.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I had a reply in my head the moment I saw the topic, then read Mike's reply and it turned into "yeah, what he said." I have a couple of minor disagreements but nothing serious enough to justify a reply to him.

Nick's, though, points out the way that *portable* systems, frequently used in different venues, locations and places provides a "quick and dirty" way to accomplish *some* of what can be done in a dedicated system processor and for bar bands or doing children's theater in old shopping malls, it's probably a decent compromise... and I've been known to do it myself for one-off performances.

That said, all but the most sophisticated digital mixers fall short of the capabilities of a system DSP.

I've stirred the pot many times over at the ProSound Web forums about the impropriety of using a mixer's output processing in lieu of DSP and faced incredible push back from folks who want to eliminate a 1 rack space box that handles so much processing and replace it with tools that are up to the task in only the simplest of situations. Sort of like the guys/gals that want to get rid of the analog multipair snake and replace it with CAT5e, only to discover they still need to run power, coms and talkback lines and cue lights to FOH, so they saved nothing in labor and replaced a reasonably robust cable with a relatively fragile cable.

Sometimes the "new ways" are just that, only new, without representing an improvement in quality or reliability.

Installed systems or systems that routinely are utilized in the same venues should have dedicated SYSTEM DSP. This frees up the console's matrix outputs and processing for creative use rather than system control.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Thanks Tim, Nick and MNicolai
The assistive listening with a mic in the room is something I've never thought of before.

In a perfect world, I can see the benefit of the crestron running the different DSP parameters depending on the style of the presentation, but in a more simplistic setting, offloading that processing as needed.

What about everyone's preferences on signal flow. For me, I tend to always run L+R of the stereo out and Subs, front fill and mono delay as Auxs. So in that scenario, would you send all those feeds to the same DSP?
Also, working in corporate environments, there's commonly DSP for the installed sound systems to make it match the fidelity of the canned music or installed mics. But once you patch in and try to do your own EQ for best feedback avoidance or use as fills with a smaller added system, you're fighting the DSP that was designed for a completely different purpose than was intended. How do you commonly deal with this?
Thanks for the chatter :)
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Most of anything you'd "fight" in a ballroom DSP is lack of fidelity (eq'd to death for feedback control) or system protective limiting. If either of those make the system unsuitable, why are you using it?

As for signal/work flow, "it depends..." mostly on how the system was designed. Since I provide transportable systems to Bands You've Head Of® we'll configure DSP however the band mixerperson wants it. Typically Main L, Main R, Subs, Front fills, Side Hangs; we've done 'stereo subs' (for proprietary processing) and discreetly driven side hangs (stereo-ish), balcony/under balc fills, plus lobby/green room feeds, feeds to the LD for IEMs. DSP makes it possible, for all zones that get the same mix, to be driven from 1 signal but distributed to each zone with its own EQ, level, compression or limiting, independent of one another.
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Thanks Tim, Nick and MNicolai
What about everyone's preferences on signal flow. For me, I tend to always run L+R of the stereo out and Subs, front fill and mono delay as Auxs. So in that scenario, would you send all those feeds to the same DSP?
In a presentation or education venue I'll typically do L/R out of the console, downmix to the subs within the DSP, and set aside a different console mix buss for the FF's. FF's typically you have enough instrumental stage volume that all you want to drive out of these speakers are vocals and sound effects so it's not always ideal to give them a downmix from L/R.

There is an exception to every rule though.

In a professional theater environment I will plan for a Qlab injection into the system. In this case I'll set up the usual output flows from the console and DSP, but I'll also give a Dante pathway into every speaker output that the console can drive off its direct outputs. Then you patch Qlab into the mix console via Dante Virtual Soundcard and can get a fader for all of your Qlab outputs during a show for any surround or immersive effects you may want to do.

Also, working in corporate environments, there's commonly DSP for the installed sound systems to make it match the fidelity of the canned music or installed mics. But once you patch in and try to do your own EQ for best feedback avoidance or use as fills with a smaller added system, you're fighting the DSP that was designed for a completely different purpose than was intended. How do you commonly deal with this?
Thanks for the chatter :)

As a systems designer, I typically designate inputs for this purpose or give touch panel control to override the EQ on these inputs. Usually if the output EQ for the speakers is good, you should not need much input EQ for something like an SM58 that you would be fighting. There are many examples of bad DSP programmers out there who break this form. Lectern gooseneck mic's are usually where you get into a little trouble because they tend to need a little more EQ to dampen down their brightness, and they need phantom power. If you leave phantom power engaged on these inputs all of the time you're likely to blow up someone's phone when they jack in on 1/8" to XLR adapter instead of through a DI, and anytime someone plugs in a mic which phantom engaged you'll get that notorious popping sound through the whole PA. This why I try to be a little church and state about how I lay these systems out for the different use cases.
 

mbrown3039

Well-Known Member
What Mike said, and here's my simplified version: in all of the live/production systems we design/install, we endeavor to have four (yes, 4!) layers of processing: at the amp, to tune each amp channel to the specific speaker/component it's driving (crossover, roll offs, boost/cut, Q, etc.); a pro-grade DSP platform (Atlas, Biamp, BSS, Symetrix, etc.) to tune the room (delays, filters, crossover points, etc); the console itself, where individual settings for each performer/instrument are made/adjusted from night to night; and, in front of the console, a good 31-band analog EQ where the FOH Engineer can quickly grab a particular frequency in the case of feedback. Best wishes, (the other) mike

PS - IMO, use Crestron for control or video switching but not for audio DSP -- their product line just isn't quite there yet. m
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
What Mike said, and here's my simplified version: in all of the live/production systems we design/install, we endeavor to have four (yes, 4!) layers of processing: at the amp, to tune each amp channel to the specific speaker/component it's driving (crossover, roll offs, boost/cut, Q, etc.); a pro-grade DSP platform (Atlas, Biamp, BSS, Symetrix, etc.) to tune the room (delays, filters, crossover points, etc); the console itself, where individual settings for each performer/instrument are made/adjusted from night to night; and, in front of the console, a good 31-band analog EQ where the FOH Engineer can quickly grab a particular frequency in the case of feedback. Best wishes, (the other) mike

PS - IMO, use Crestron for control or video switching but not for audio DSP -- their product line just isn't quite there yet. m
I think you've hit what I've been thinking. 1 Speaker EQ, 2 PA Tuning, 3 Room tuning, 4 application compensation like speech vs live music vs playback. And which of these falls in each level of DSP. I'd probably say Speaker EQ would be done with amp DSP, PA and Room tuning with soundweb or whatever and application compensation on the console.
But then like other posters have mentioned, how much are you fighting each other with each layer of DSP
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
PS - IMO, use Crestron for control or video switching but not for audio DSP -- their product line just isn't quite there yet. m

Re: Crestron DSP's -- Agreed. Crestron's product not only isn't there, they've made a conscientious decision to go with a fixed platform at no cost advantage. For the exact same cost of a Q-Sys 110f you get a fraction of the processing power and flexibility. I have a Crestron DSP-1282 on my home office and a DSP-1283 in my secondary Smaart rig because I got a smokin' deal on them but I wouldn't put them in a project. I find the programming/tuning software to be pretty user-hostile, and you have to stick a control system on top of it at additional cost. If I go with Q-Sys, I have a powerful control system baked in already I can control through a touch panel or a web GUI, and if I want an even better GUI I can stick a Crestron touch panel and controller on it if I absolutely have to. Crestron just can't compete offering a subpar product at the same price point as a Q-Sys 110f.

I was asked to look at a city hall project recently involving broadcast and they wanted to handle the dais and all the broadcast feeds through a pair of 1283's. I told them a condition of mine for taking on the project would be to flip the DSP's to Q-Sys. The programming time would be faster, the signal flows would make it sound better and be more customized to what they were trying to achieve, and I had much more control for remote monitoring and troubleshooting if my phone rung during a broadcast and they needed me to log in and triage anything mid-meeting. If they stuck with Crestron, my hands would be tied. I could remotely log in and see meters flickering and could double check mute statuses but that's about it. I wasn't going to put my company's or my own reputation on Crestron's DSP products.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I think you've hit what I've been thinking. 1 Speaker EQ, 2 PA Tuning, 3 Room tuning, 4 application compensation like speech vs live music vs playback. And which of these falls in each level of DSP. I'd probably say Speaker EQ would be done with amp DSP, PA and Room tuning with soundweb or whatever and application compensation on the console.
But then like other posters have mentioned, how much are you fighting each other with each layer of DSP

They don't have to be "fighting each other" if the signal flow is properly designed and @mbrown3039 is spot on. Starting with loudspeaker processing (whether in the amp or an external processor) and working back to the mixer, each "layer" does its thing predicated on the assumption that the prior processing is correct and properly implemented for its tasks; i.e. that making the loudspeakers work to the manufacturer's spec, then using a system controller to align coverage zones and EQ them, limit them and set appropriate levels relative to other zones; and the "creative" side of processing at the mixing desk.

As for presets for "playback" and "speech presentation", those belong in the console (if there is an operator). The false economy of cutting out a qualified operator seems to be a Holy Grail of fixed installations, but I'd opt for a DSP implementation that assigns particular inputs to specific processing rather than reconfiguring a system DSP on the fly. Example: the microphone inputs should be sufficiently high-passed and not feed any subwoofers, whilst the "music" inputs would be full range and include a send to the subs.

As for Crestron - I'm still left wondering how such an expensive and patently unfriendly system became so popular. Were they the ONLY thing available 15 years ago?
 

mbrown3039

Well-Known Member
As for Crestron - I'm still left wondering how such an expensive and patently unfriendly system became so popular. Were they the ONLY thing available 15 years ago?

Kinda' sort of, yeah....AMX had some egg on their face in the late 90s/early 00s after a major product line had not delivered as promised. Crestron was already in place and capitalized on AMX's missteps. Extron's control system came to some prominence at that time as well, as did several smaller (at the time) players like Aurora Multimedia, Xantech and Vantage. These days, Crestron is the GIANT elephant in the room (and throws their weight around accordingly), even though only ~20% of their business is control systems -- the bulk of their revenu these days is video switching/transmission/management.
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
As for Crestron - I'm still left wondering how such an expensive and patently unfriendly system became so popular. Were they the ONLY thing available 15 years ago?

They do what they do and they do it very well. They have some highly qualified audio people on staff but in terms of product development they've really targeted a very specific niche for their audio products and have no intention of pursuing other avenues. To their credit, they'll achieve more success by building DSP's that primarily play nicely with their own ecosystem than by trying to build DSP's that are intended to be standalone or integrated with other control systems. They would have a much harder time competing in those markets with Biamp/QSC/Symetrix.

A lot of their market is corporate, and some of the key differentiators they have over other solutions are their enterprise grade security, scalability in deployment, and ease of maintenance (need to push firmware or an updated piece of code to 200 boxes? you can do it within a lunch break). Are you a Crestron dealer, programmer, or factory-trained installer and having problems getting something to work? You are fully availed of 24/7 factory support that one way or another will work with you through the bitter end of a project until the customer is satisfied.

When you get into low-latency video transmission and switching, there's little better than what they offer. You pay a premium for the product, but the product is generally rock solid. Most horror stories are because of inexperienced programmers or from installations where the control functionality wasn't routinely updated as various parts and pieces needed replacing (i.e. the VHS player is now a DVD/VCR combo and none of the controls we have are compatible). We haven't seen as much turbulence in the market over the last 5-8 years with pretty much everything reliably being HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort that is compatible with either HDMI or DVI, so in recent past the ability to keep existing systems in place and reliable has been fairly easy compared to the 10 years that came before it when we were diving around being SDI, composite, component, RGBHV, S-video, etc. and system shelf-life was much shorter. HDMI CEC control has helped kill off customized controls that would've otherwise been IR/RS232 with customized commands so replacing a TV doesn't mean you need to call your programmer and pay for a trip charge.

It's like buying a major line array speaker system for $1M. You don't do it just because you want d&b, L'acoustics, or Meyer. You do it because you can draw a straight line between the cost of those systems and value and return on investment you receive from them. If the acquisition is made independent of and unaligned with business goals then buyer's remorse is unavoidable. It's like choosing to buy ETC over Elation or Chauvet DJ. For some people, their expectations will be satisfied on the lower tier. For others, they will end up replacing all of their equipment 5 years earlier than if they had gone ETC from the outset.

From an integrator and consultant's perspective, it's the devil you know, and it's consistent, and it's scalable. If you cheap out on something for budget reasons, the solutions you reach for may work for this project but fall apart on the next one. You don't build up a groove or institutional momentum because you are forced to constantly be reinventing how you deploy these systems.

FWIW, I have more than a few horror stories about burned bridges, serviceability nightmares, and unreliability from the projects that tried to do a Crestron-type deployment with a product at half the cost. Half the cost often equates to additional service calls, more time spent futzing with firmware, calls to the factory, etc, and either the installer or the customer ends up eating these costs. Sometimes it means an integrator getting everything installed, finding out the product doesn't do what they were promised, and having to redo it all with a different product at their own expense. Installers bill out at $85-105/hr, and programmers can be $150/hr. Whoever ends up eating those costs will feel it.

The key thing to remember is that, in general, Crestron solutions are not for the types of people and environments people here at CB regularly encounter. They're for the other people who need to use the room productively when a technician isn't in the room. These systems are at their prime when deployed for making technology-centric spaces accessible to people who have zero technical background and just want to get their laptop up on a screen, turn on a lectern mic, and dim the lights without hiring 2-3 board ops for an hour long 1-microphone event, however many events like that out of the year for the 7-10 years of the system's shelf-life before the next major overhaul. You can associate dollars and cents to the value that system offers.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
They don't have to be "fighting each other" if the signal flow is properly designed and @mbrown3039 is spot on. Starting with loudspeaker processing (whether in the amp or an external processor) and working back to the mixer, each "layer" does its thing predicated on the assumption that the prior processing is correct and properly implemented for its tasks; i.e. that making the loudspeakers work to the manufacturer's spec, then using a system controller to align coverage zones and EQ them, limit them and set appropriate levels relative to other zones; and the "creative" side of processing at the mixing desk.

As for presets for "playback" and "speech presentation", those belong in the console (if there is an operator). The false economy of cutting out a qualified operator seems to be a Holy Grail of fixed installations, but I'd opt for a DSP implementation that assigns particular inputs to specific processing rather than reconfiguring a system DSP on the fly. Example: the microphone inputs should be sufficiently high-passed and not feed any subwoofers, whilst the "music" inputs would be full range and include a send to the subs.

As for Crestron - I'm still left wondering how such an expensive and patently unfriendly system became so popular. Were they the ONLY thing available 15 years ago?

The reasons I've experienced them fighting each other is because of installation choices in venues with existing systems that you're unable to adjust.
Definitely installs made for the purpose of eliminating operators and then the venue realizing that doesn't work but trying to squeeze the most out of a system designed to do something else.

Let me throw another question in here.
If I was designing a system that included the main venue, then overflow room, then 70v system, do you decrease the amount of time and $ you spend tuning each system based on its fidelity and use case?
I used to work in a hotel where the lobby system sounded amazing but the 5th floor system with the same gear sounded horrid. Part of me assumed this was because of time and money, part of me thinks its because the newbies did the "cheap" rooms.
Same goes for places like Universal Studios. Huge Bose contract has surprisingly made the line array at waterworld sound incredible, Citywalk sound fairly good, ambient music in the park sound ok and the moaning murtle in the harry potter bathroom sound completely untuned.
 

mbrown3039

Well-Known Member
There is no "one size fits all" solution for either speakers or processing, and different types of system can accommodate more/less tuning for a variety of reasons. 70V ceiling speakers will (typically) not have the dynamic range or fidelity of a high-quality performance speaker, for example. Signal processors will have different capabilities based on the type/quality of components inside of them (I once watched Sam Berkow -- co-developer of SMAART -- open up the processing module of a major manufacturer's DSP-enabled amplifier; looking over the motherboard, he pointed out three component changes they could make -- even naming the manufacturer who made the component he was recommending -- that would gain them 6 - 9 more dB of performance. The company made the changes and realized an 8dB increase in SPL.) So, don't expect a 70V system to sound the same as a line array -- although, a properly designed/tuned 70V system can sound very good. Similarly, a "speakers on sticks" system using an off-the-shelf processor (dbx DriverackPA, perhaps?) will sound significantly better than any portable system from 20 years ago but still won't match something using a pro-grade DSP. As with any tools, I always suggest buying the best you can afford, even if it means sandwiches for dinner for a couple of weeks. :)
 

mbrown3039

Well-Known Member
They do what they do and they do it very well. They have some highly qualified audio people on staff but in terms of product development they've really targeted a very specific niche for their audio products and have no intention of pursuing other avenues. To their credit, they'll achieve more success by building DSP's that primarily play nicely with their own ecosystem than by trying to build DSP's that are intended to be standalone or integrated with other control systems. They would have a much harder time competing in those markets with Biamp/QSC/Symetrix.

A lot of their market is corporate, and some of the key differentiators they have over other solutions are their enterprise grade security, scalability in deployment, and ease of maintenance (need to push firmware or an updated piece of code to 200 boxes? you can do it within a lunch break). Are you a Crestron dealer, programmer, or factory-trained installer and having problems getting something to work? You are fully availed of 24/7 factory support that one way or another will work with you through the bitter end of a project until the customer is satisfied.

When you get into low-latency video transmission and switching, there's little better than what they offer. You pay a premium for the product, but the product is generally rock solid. Most horror stories are because of inexperienced programmers or from installations where the control functionality wasn't routinely updated as various parts and pieces needed replacing (i.e. the VHS player is now a DVD/VCR combo and none of the controls we have are compatible). We haven't seen as much turbulence in the market over the last 5-8 years with pretty much everything reliably being HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort that is compatible with either HDMI or DVI, so in recent past the ability to keep existing systems in place and reliable has been fairly easy compared to the 10 years that came before it when we were diving around being SDI, composite, component, RGBHV, S-video, etc. and system shelf-life was much shorter. HDMI CEC control has helped kill off customized controls that would've otherwise been IR/RS232 with customized commands so replacing a TV doesn't mean you need to call your programmer and pay for a trip charge.

It's like buying a major line array speaker system for $1M. You don't do it just because you want d&b, L'acoustics, or Meyer. You do it because you can draw a straight line between the cost of those systems and value and return on investment you receive from them. If the acquisition is made independent of and unaligned with business goals then buyer's remorse is unavoidable. It's like choosing to buy ETC over Elation or Chauvet DJ. For some people, their expectations will be satisfied on the lower tier. For others, they will end up replacing all of their equipment 5 years earlier than if they had gone ETC from the outset.

From an integrator and consultant's perspective, it's the devil you know, and it's consistent, and it's scalable. If you cheap out on something for budget reasons, the solutions you reach for may work for this project but fall apart on the next one. You don't build up a groove or institutional momentum because you are forced to constantly be reinventing how you deploy these systems.

FWIW, I have more than a few horror stories about burned bridges, serviceability nightmares, and unreliability from the projects that tried to do a Crestron-type deployment with a product at half the cost. Half the cost often equates to additional service calls, more time spent futzing with firmware, calls to the factory, etc, and either the installer or the customer ends up eating these costs. Sometimes it means an integrator getting everything installed, finding out the product doesn't do what they were promised, and having to redo it all with a different product at their own expense. Installers bill out at $85-105/hr, and programmers can be $150/hr. Whoever ends up eating those costs will feel it.

The key thing to remember is that, in general, Crestron solutions are not for the types of people and environments people here at CB regularly encounter. They're for the other people who need to use the room productively when a technician isn't in the room. These systems are at their prime when deployed for making technology-centric spaces accessible to people who have zero technical background and just want to get their laptop up on a screen, turn on a lectern mic, and dim the lights without hiring 2-3 board ops for an hour long 1-microphone event, however many events like that out of the year for the 7-10 years of the system's shelf-life before the next major overhaul. You can associate dollars and cents to the value that system offers.

Well, we must be blessed then: we consistently design and install systems other than Crestron for much lower cost and plenty of reliability and feature sets. And, for the record, DM is nothing but HDBt with a layer of Crestron control thrown on top of it. I can hook up any HDBt receiver to a DM system and it works just fine...m
 

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