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RANE RPM 88 "Programmable" Multiprocessor

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by jakebozz, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. jakebozz

    jakebozz Member Premium Member

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    I was called into an elementary school to mic a bunch of budding actors for their school musical. I went in a few weeks ahead of time to see what they had to work with. Quite some time ago, their entire sound system was renovated and upgraded to what seems to be a very versatile system wired around a "RANE RPM 88 Programmable Multiprocessor." Unfortunately, anyone familiar with the upgrade has been long gone, and the current personnel haven't a clue as to how it is wired, programmed, or used!!! I figured out the basics, but still have no idea how the mulitprocessor is configured. I do know that there are some EQ and compression items involved that I wish weren't there for the show.
    I went to the RANE site online and found the manual and its "DragNet" software "QuickStart manual, but when I went to try to download the actual software, I got a message, "No longer supported." I called the company and spoke with someone who confirmed that they had stopped support of the software the week before!!! I explained my situation and asked if they had an archive copy that they could supply, but got a very terse "no" response. I called back the next day and spoke with someone else who gave me the same answer. (I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't save an archive copy for future reference...)
    I finished the job by completely bypassing the unit to achieve the control and sound that I required to do the job, but the school still wants to be able to understand and control the system's options. I've been asking around to friends working with other sound companies to see if they have a copy of this "DragNet" software designed to program the RANE RPM 88 Multiprocessor, but to no avail.
    So I am now opening up my search here to see if someone might be able to help me land a copy of the software to further investigate the school's system, since they don't have any budget to re-do their system again....
    Thanks in advance for an leads you might be able to supply.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  2. damjamkato

    damjamkato Member

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    Looks like there are some archived versions of Dragnet at the link below. Of course, you'll need to find the appropriate version compatible with the firmware on your RPM 88.

    https://www.rane.com/rpmfw.html#gpm1_9
     
  3. Stan Longhofer

    Stan Longhofer Member

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    This is why it's so important to have quality name brand equipment installed in places like this. At our high school (11 year old installation) both the lighting console and the dimmer rack are "no longer supported." And apart from me (the husband of the drama teacher and volunteer tech director), no one at the school has a clue as to how anything is "wired, programmed, or used!!!" Just replaced the lighting consoled with a used ETC Ion. This way, if I'm no longer there, any outside person they bring in will have a quality, familiar product to work with.
     
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  4. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    I'm not sure why you think Rane is not "quality name brand equipment". Manufacturers discontinue equipment due to a variety of reasons, like non-availability of key parts or lack of demand. It would be interesting to know what the brand was of the lighting console you replaced or if you just hadn't heard of the manufacturer. An installation that has been around for 11 years is not really that old in the grand scheme of things. Almost anything can be repaired if the parts are available somewhere.
     
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  5. Stan Longhofer

    Stan Longhofer Member

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    Please forgive me if I unfairly slandered a quality manufacturer.

    Our old lighting control system was a Marquee console by Horizon Controls. The manufacturer is no longer in business and minimal support is now provided by Pathway Connectivity Solutions (I believe) and you can still download the software and fixture libraries (last updated in 2011). The problem is that the system required an external 32-bit windows computer to run (not compatible with 64-bit OS). As the 11-year old PC running the system was showing signs of imminent death, it didn't make sense to try and find/build a 32 bit computer to "fix" it.

    The thing I really like about the ETC is that anyone who comes in knows exactly what it is and what to expect. "Well known and predictable" is good for an environment like a school where technical expertise can be minimal and fleeting.
     
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  6. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    Popularity of specific brands does truly speak volumes about the longevity of a product, especially in a niche market as what we work in. Grafik Eye, for example, seems to have been installed in every building I've worked in because they were all remodeled in the late 90s and therefore I know how to operate the controller.
    But that doesn't mean products that were less popular makes the product any lower quality or not "brand name."
    The RPM 88 and other Rane products were quite revolutionary in their time.
     
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  7. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    RANE is definitely at least B-list pro audio gear. :)

    I had the same problem with the same unit at a local house; it wasn't wired in, already, but I was hoping to put it back up. Didn't go anywhere.
     
    Aaron Becker likes this.
  8. Aaron Becker

    Aaron Becker Active Member

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    Like it or not, RANE DSPs are not commonly installed in pro-grade audio systems. That being said, DSPs in setups like this are typically "set-and-forget" systems. It sounds like someone wants access just "Because" they need access - and likely lack a valid business reason beyond a need for control. I'm speaking from a long list of experience in working in school settings with "Tech guys" who are "experts" on live sound/lighting/whatever. I'm a huge proponent of correctly configured systems that support longevity of the system, but I'm also a supporter of only having a valid reason to go in and change things. Without knowing additional details of the system, though, it's hard to say if that's the case here.
     
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  9. Aaron Becker

    Aaron Becker Active Member

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    It's funny you mention the 32-bit issue. I did some consulting for a church many years ago that was insentient upon keeping an old Windows 2000 machine alive in order to access an old DSP system. While I agreed it was necessary for the short-term, it was eventually necessitated to get a system that was more appropriate for the sustainability of the facility, and keeping around an old DSP from the 90s just wasn't a good idea anymore.
     
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  10. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    I don't disagree with your view, Aaron.

    My stance was it's here, let's see if anything useful can be done with it, and if not, I'll just go back to ignoring it.
     
  11. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    It's a *system processor* that likely functions as a crossover, pass band limiter, routing (matrix) mixer and zone controller. It might make breakfast, too. ;)

    Unless the sound system has problems that cannot be attributed to other causes (blown speakers, dead power amps, faulty cables, microphones that went through a flood, etc... I'd not suggest you get inside it. It's also likely that if you succeed in finding the DragNet version that matches the firmware in this unit, it's still password protected.
     
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  12. Aaron Becker

    Aaron Becker Active Member

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    Not disagreeing here. :)

    +1 here too. Like I mentioned, sometimes people (and I notice it a lot at schools and churches) like to get in these things just "because." I'm not referring to the OP here, but rather the random teacher, tech guy (who really doesn't know the first thing about sound systems), or volunteer. Unless there's a problem though, leaving it be is probably the best bet here.
     
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  13. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Active Member

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    Where to start? I’m reminded of an old saying “All the world’s a fool except thee and me ... and sometimes I wonder about thee!”.

    If I’m walking into a house to mix, I don’t rest easy until I know what every unit in the signal chain is doing. Call me jaded, but I’ve seen a lot of [misguided / dangerous / dumb / dysfunctional] configurations and deployments over the years. And yes, I’ve created some too ... how else do we learn? Hopefully we go back and fix our mistakes where we can, though. So “trust but verify” what a DSP is doing in your room. Ask lots of questions ... look for documentation. Play test tracks to provoke limiting, check delay alignment, see if crossovers are behaving decently, etc.

    On the other hand, if I’m the one programming a processor for a permanent installation, I’m more likely to say “keep yer grubby paws off my beautifully tuned settings - or else!”. But I can take the trouble to screen shot what I’ve done and leave a hard copy with the system (in the rack) so that a future enquiring mind has some idea of what I have done.
     
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  14. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    > If I’m walking into a house to mix, I don’t rest easy until I know what every unit in the signal chain is doing.

    Right? RIGHT???
     
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  15. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Active Member

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    absolutely right!
     
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  16. Aaron Becker

    Aaron Becker Active Member

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    I think it's important to remember context of the OP. While I agree with your points - I think the context dictates here that everyday elementary school staff (or even the band teacher or computer guy) do not need access to the DSP processing for everyday use, consistent with your "keep your hands off my stuff" comment.
     
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  17. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    I'm also an IATSE A-1 in our local PAC. We do not permit adjustments to system processing or EQ or any of a half-dozed other parameters. A guest engineer is free to use Smaart, Systune or SIMM to determine how the installed system responds but cannot make changes to the PACs equipment. Access is controlled by a password (that I'm not certain the PAC has, probably on file with the installing company). Poking buttons and switches will result in the booth becoming inaccessible to the guest.

    Nathan Lively (his real name) has an online course and a study guide (on Amazon, IIRC) where he describes what kind of minimally invasive techniques he uses to assess a system in the limited amount of time available and determine what results can be altered on *his side* of the system (console's output EQ and delay, etc) to achieve what he needs. I fully support this kind of methodology and have used much of it over the years.
     
  18. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    For the record, Ben *did* say "know what it's doing" not "dick around with it".

    And if someone who's currently under administrative control of the house is in responsible charge of it, sure -- if I were them, I wouldn't want it dicked with either.

    But we also all know that's not always the case. People die, contracts expire, gear fails, or suffers configuration bit rot, etc.

    I think we all agree there's a line, and we all agree that it's *somewhere* in the middle, not all the way over at one end. We just don't necessarily agree on how far over. Reasonable people can do that.
     
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