A&H – Have you forgotten your Qu customers?

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This topic contains 31 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of volounteer volounteer 1 year, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 32 total)
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  • #99334
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    A little OT here, but maybe it helps A&H:

    No, we are not working on an offline editor for Qu at this time. That’s not to say we never will, and it will definitely be considered again in future (as it has been a number of times in the past).

    Instead of developing an offline Editor for all the consoles in the house, A&H could try to make use of the Internet Community in that point by creating an open and mostly standardized Show File Format that the Mixers can store and load (if necessary even by using the Mixpad App for that so there’s no need to implement the format itself on the FPGA).

    I am relatively shure that there are enough Qu and SQ Users with software development know-how out there. So if an Open Source Editor Project could be founded this likely could get by far more dynamic than A&H could ever reach by doing all the work alone.

    Just have a little look outside your “corner” into the XML World. There are already many things there that could be useful.

    Starting with XSD to not only simply (and if necessary by using already available development tools) define sophisticated XML Sublanguages that can represent almost any data, but also validate and analyze any Data to conform to such a Definition with common Services, free tools and freely available libraries. That means: you don’t have to develop a check for correctnes of an Input File – there is already widespread available free Software can do that for you (even in your own App, in a Webservice or as a batch tool).

    Further on, XSLT could be used to migrate show files and functional block templates between Mixer Models. So Customers can upgrade their hardware and import existing Shows on the new one. Or Bands can E-Mail their Show to the Sound Engineer without knowing the exact mixer Model and I/O Modules he has – the Sound Engineer can migrate the Show to his Hardware by using a provided XSLT Stylesheet (which contains nothing more than transformation rules for the different XML Nodes) and check what additional gear may be necessary or what features/plugins might be missing or if he needs a bigger Console – long before the Event.

    Oh, and of course XSLT could also be used to generate Documentations – for Customers, for Discussion, for archiving or whatever needs a documentation about the used audio processing. Or to generate a Monitor Mixer Config Template from an FoH Configuration (and vice versa). Or check if both can be used together on one splitting Stagebox. All you nedd is the corresponding processing rule file.

    DOM Libraries like xalan, libxml or JAXB (almost any software development environment has at least 2 or 3 of it available) can be used to load XML Files into Memory as Object Trees or processing Streams and to store such Data into XML Files within a handful lines of Code. So you won’t have to write a Parser for the files – that is already done!

    XInclude can be used to manage modularization (like creating Libraries of Channel Templates to combine into Show Files or splitting Show Files up to several logical parts) – and there are Converters from/to JSON which can be used mostly (but not completely) equivalent to XML.

    The most common ressentiment against such things is “we will not be able to support Users with Shows created by unknown Software” – but in an XML World, that is not really true. XML was made to address especially such a case by having a simple contract: what validates must be processed correctly without Crash. So any Show File either validates – then your App/Console /has/ to process it in a senseful manner (it may of course give an unwanted result because of dumb settings in it, there is no User IQ Filter 😉 – or it doesn’t validate, then the Software that created the file has to be fixed before your mixer/app can be blamend for anything.

    It may look a bit strange on the first sight for a Company that depends heavy on its intellectual property to release such things. But the first Manufacturer that manages to set a widely accepted open Standard here could gain massive benefits since the whole Rest of the Market will obviously get in strategical pressure to support that Standard too – likely within a short time.

    Also you might wonder about suggesting XML (which is more known as a Document Management Tool) for a more technical Software. But in structure, the Show and Configuration Data of your mixer can be seen as nothing different but a kind of hierarchically structured Document or a Tree of Data Objects. So that is perfectly the thing that XML was made for.

    #99339
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    Ummm

    “ToddL
    active 2 years, 7 months ago”

    Something strange going on?

    #99342
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    @markpaman
    know what you mean…. strangers in my life 😉

    #99345
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    @eschwenk

    are you really sure?
    You suggest things already in place…

    and btw XML is not a document management tool

    Xtensible Markup Language
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Markup_Language
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XML

    #99358
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    You suggest things already in place…

    Are they? Where can I download the free Offline Scene Editor for SQ Series Mixers then? Must have missed that, sorry.

    and btw XML is not a document management tool

    Of course it is not. It is a universal and open method to define data structures, maybe with storage, processing and transmission as main target use cases.

    But it is often mentioned mainly as a Document Management / Data transmission tool. Maybe because the root of XML was SGML which AFAIK was invented first to manage technical Documentation for Airplane production. Or because most people have heard of HTML being an XML Language (which is not completely correct, XHTML is, HTML below Version 5 is SGML).

    However, using XML to store configuration data is a widespread technique in many applications including some DAW. The whole Ardour configuration for example seems to be a bunch of XML files.

    Scene and Show Files of most Digital Mixing hardware seem to not use it so widespread, at least not documented. Maybe vendors fear to leak knowhow that way, maybe they are just in lack of the knowledge, have other priorities or too low engineering capacity (that topic may be not so widespread beyond Engineers of embedded Systems as it is for Application developers).

    The point is: up to now, there is no complete offline editor for SQ. The SQ Mix Pad App does that only partially and is not really user-friendly for desktop Use (it was never intended to, on a tablet it is nearly perfect).

    That could be a perfect field to spin off some free software. With a little luck that could generate huge developing dynamics after some time and give a better tool than a single vendor ever could make on its own.

    #99362
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    XML is a way to format data and store or transmit it. But it is no tool. A tool is application that can create or manipulate data. XML is only used to store such data. And SGML is the basis of all markup languages like XML, HTML or XHTML and quite older than the others. One of the big advantages of XML is, that although it is a very flexibel data storage format, you can add some validation for each flavor of XML, using XSD for instance. XSLT can be used to transform or manipulate a XML document to create some new data, changed in content and/or structure. Thats it. Nevertheless an other big advantage is that, in opposite to some binary stored data, you can use a simple text editor to examine the XML document. Then sou can see the data and the structure of that data easily. Binary stored data are more or less a black box, you know that there is a content but you cannot really analyse it if you do not know the algorithm how it is stored or can be read. But this readability has some costs. The XML stored files are quite bigger than binary files. But nowadays with the actual processing and transmission power that should only be a problem for a really big amount of data.
    But there are also other data formats as an alternative to binary stored data like the old CSV with variable record structure or JSON. These files are alse Text files but quite smaller than XML. But the downside is that the data structure is not so obvious as with XML.
    Behringer/Music Tribe went another route for storing their scenes and shows with the X-Series (X32 and X-Air mixers). The text files contains a list of OSC commands to control the mixer. OSC is the basis of their remote control system. The big advantage is that it is easily extendable with new types of commands. So you can read today older scene files, made with V1, without any problems on the new firmware V4. They also made a concept to save only partial scene Information, called snippets, to speed up the process of loading new settings, even if the loading of a scene is quite fast. Also all sort of libraries are stored with the same file format. It is also possible to load scenes from the X32 on X-Air and vice versa with less required post processing. Because the file format, and therefore also the remote protocol, is published there are a lot of third party tools out there which can help you to do certain tasks easily. Not to forget Mixing Station, an app which might not be developed if Behringer did not publish the protocol.
    For the new WING they are now using OSC or Websockets for the communication and JSON for storing their settings.
    I would love to see that A&H will go a similar route in future because then it would be much easier to interchange that information between differen versions of the firmware or even to transfer scenes from one mixer series to another. They do not even have to do this work on their own. Once the data formats are published other developers can create some tools for that data.
    But I am afraidthat I am dreaming too much, sadly.

    #99366
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    Are they? Where can I download the free Offline Scene Editor for SQ Series Mixers then? Must have missed that, sorry.

    The SQ MixPad app is available for Win, Mac, Android and iOS and works with Linux (Wine) and it is indeed capable to work without a console connected. Some call this “offline”.
    And of course the app can store scenes.

    So sorry if I don’t provide the download link, it depends on your platform 😉

    #99382
    Profile photo of Dave Meadowcroft
    Dave Meadowcroft
    Participant

    I’m all for open sourcing. I understand the firmware etc needs to be proprietary, but the show/scene files should be user editable for batch operations at least.

    I’ve just changed my configuration from using primarily local IO to digital by adding a GX4816 and DX012 & my DX168 now starts at SLink 97 and not 1.
    I have approximately 120 saved shows that need all the patching changing and therefore also the preamp settings for every active input. That’s a huge job. If the files were in a non proprietary format I could easily write some code in less than an hour to batch update the lot.

    #99386
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    @dave Meadowcroft

    have you asked for the file format?
    I can not see why that would be trade secret if they are not selling an editor program.

    have you googled to see if there is a translate program already out on the cloud?

    have you tried to estimate the time to figure out the file format and then write your editing program?
    might still be faster to deduce the file format if you have to do so many shows.

    #99387
    Profile photo of Dave Meadowcroft
    Dave Meadowcroft
    Participant

    I haven’t asked, which is a fair point.
    Yes, I googled just in case!

    I did have a look earlier and I figured a few simple parts out. There’s that many parameters though that trial and error would take a while, it could be an interesting exercise though!

    #99389
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    you should only need the parameters you use in the file

    should be easy enough to go through them one by one and change one at a time and see the result in the file

    #99391
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    “I have approximately 120 saved shows that need all the patching changing and therefore also the preamp settings for every active input. That’s a huge job. If the files were in a non proprietary format I could easily write some code in less than an hour to batch update the lot.”

    I’ve not got my SQ in front of me – and haven’t for a few months now 🙁 , so apologise if my memory is faulty!

    Would setting up once, then blocking the patching & preamp from being recalled not do what you want?

    If changes these are to be permanent, then assigning a couple of soft keys to recall the next and save should let you run through 120 scenes very quickly.

    #99392
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    shows have up to 100 scenes dont they?

    #99398
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    The SQ MixPad app is available for Win, Mac, Android and iOS and works with Linux (Wine) and it is indeed capable to work without a console connected. Some call this “offline”.
    And of course the app can store scenes.

    Being able to store Scenes is not offline editing.

    SQ Mixpad is a very nice App for remote control and it even can store and load Shows. But for an Offline Editor there is missing some functionality, though. It cannot change the Channel Strip assignment on the Mixer for example.

    Things like printing Documentation (connection lists for the Techies? Project Documentation?), manage User Accounts between Shows/Mixers, exchanging parts (scenes, patching, fx settings, channel settings) between shows make not much sense in Mixpad, but in an sophisticated Offline Editor they do.

    Reorganize channels and busses (to move unused ones to the end of the in put Channel List for example), edit single Settings of Scenes. would be more things to have there.

    So: no, i was obviously not talking about things already there.

    #99400
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    If the files were in a non proprietary format I could easily write some code in less than an hour to batch update the lot.

    If that files were XML, A&H or a friendly guy on the net could give you a XSLT file that makes basic transformations for such things. You could edit that and insert your personal needs as well. Maybe there would even be a Library of such files for several purposes out there. You wouldn’t even have to bother much about parsing that files – a XSLT Transformation can for example be done within 5 simple lines of Code in Java.

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