Automatic Audio Failover

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    Profile photo of Jay


    As I, and many more, are doing Theatre work, the need to better manage failover between redundant audio sources is becoming more critical. There are a number of external solutions – SW8/SW8-USB/PlayAudio12/X-USB2/X-Dante1 – but they all suffer from one of several issues being another failure point, lack of automated failover, or channel counts.

    dLive and Avantis, supporting up to 800 input sources, can easily accommodate the requirements, mostly minor tweaks on existing features. The best part, unlike the external solutions, this can support analog, Dante, MADI, AES or any combination together.

    Key Features:
    * 1-N channels linked to switch input sources together
    * Auto-detection of a failure (loss of tone) with minimum duration of loss
    * Don’t fail to a source that isn’t active. Priority is A-B-C-D. Don’t fail if there isn’t an alternate.
    * Auto or manual restore (auto being quite risky)
    * Don’t restore to a source that isn’t active (unless in manual/safe)
    * Soft keys to effect restore/reset, safe/manual (don’t change anything), or selecting a specific source
    * GPIO inputs to the restore/safe/source selections, though it may make more sense to map to an IP8 page for external
    * GPIO outputs for use in dummy lights/alarming on failover – Critical
    * An annoying pop-up (can be disabled) to tell you that you just switched sources
    * Ideally, support multiple failover groups

    The Manual/Safe mode is all around running rehearsals or managing a recovery. If you’ve ever not had full control of what source is active, you fully understand.

    Here is how it maps to what already exists:
    * Add ABCD to channel gangs. All failover is managed through ABCD & ganging
    * Require an IP channel to be assigned as a detection point. Use the gate to sense tone/fail.
    * A setup page is needed to handle setup. For each of ABCD (4 level redundancy):
    – Enabled
    – Safe
    – Source IP for detection
    – GPIO output trigger on fail
    (Global settings for GPIO safe, GPIO reset and GPIO failover. Enable/disable auto-reset)
    * Soft key mappings:
    * Safe status. Green=Auto failover active, Flashing red = Safe
    * Reset (optional if source status is used on-board)
    * Source Status.
    Green = available (good tone)
    Flashing Green = available and active
    Red = not available
    Flashing red = failed over from this one (and new flashing green)
    Flashing red/green alternate – failed from source, but source is now restored
    * Pushing a green status causes an immediate source switch. Otherwise, safe needs to be active to switch to non-active
    * Pushing flashing green acknowledges & clears failover

    Longer than I planned, but after working a number of shows recently with an SW8-USB and PlayAudio 12, I want it all on the console and keep is all digital. I believe SSL now has this feature on their systems, though maybe not this comprehensive.


    Profile photo of Dave

    If you don’t need a gate and you’re only worried about the right* types of failure, you can have the backup channel ducker key off the primary channel, then gang their faders together. That way it’s off (well, “60dB quieter”) until your primary fails.

    *I mean “right” as in “would work in the scenario described”, not “correct”. There are several failure modes, and this only works if you’re trying to protect against a complete failure of an input. It won’t help if a wireless mic starts getting interference or a cable gets crackly or something.

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