DLive 1.40, S3000, DM64, 10 iPads, Dante, QLab… First day on it!

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of tor tor 4 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #61000
    Profile photo of Neakmenter
    Neakmenter
    Participant

    Hi there, Just thought I’d write a quick post giving some feedback and letting you guys know a few potential pitfalls and workarounds.

    I’ve just set up a fairly complex DLive touring rig, for a medium/large theatre tour in the UK. Yesterday was the first trial tech day.

    Running Dlive 1.40, an S3000 surface, DM64, 10 iPads, Dante card, QLab, a microsoft surface 3.

    This is for a 7-8 piece experienced rock band. I’ve set up with 64 channels for “Monitors” (on IEMS) and 64 channels for FOH.

    I’ve used about 60 inputs, probably about 40 from stage with 20 ish from QLab over Dante (from virtual soundcard)

    Was focussing on the IEMs for the first day.
    Positives:
    What a desk! The configurable groups are awesome!
    To keep things simple for the guys I’m pre mixing to a whole bunch of groups, and using scenes to feed the groups with whatever instrument or mic the guy is using at that point. It means that there can be a single fader on the iPad for each person’s instrument and mic, no matter which position on stage, or instrument, they happen to be using for that song.
    I can use FX units as inserts even when I haven’t given mix busses to them! I’ve got them running as insert on the IEM aux’s and can run 0dB dry and dial in as much wet as the guys want, without having a messy shared aux for ears reverb.

    Negatives:
    The OneMix doesn’t work quite as I expected it to! It seems that the Mix layout is stored locally on the iPad? As there were user profiles available for login, I had assumed that the guys could log in to their Mix from any iPad. This is not so. The user profiles are only there to pick up restrictions from the desk. Massive missed opportunity here I think. I now have to have up to 3 iPads on some of the stage locations for the 3 different guys who play that instrument, instead of a quick login to “my mix” on a single iPad.

    Had 2-3 hours of huge issues getting the iPads talking consistently with the desk. It was wifi issues mainly, but it highlighted one VERY important BUG:
    Using the “OneMix” app. There’s a problem in that, when connection is lost, the app will often LOSE the mix setup!!! and when reconnected, I had to often spend a few minutes rebuilding the channels back into the mix! This is unacceptable during a show!!!

    I had been using iPad4 on initially a dLink router, then a tplink router. on both 2.4Ghz then exclusively on 5Ghz. Neither solved the problem, as soon as more than 3-4 iPads were connected, either the next one wouldn’t log in (endless “please wait” on the onemix app) or it would kick one of the other iPads off! The wifi seemed stable, but the app kept losing connection.
    After some embarrassment and panic, I used an APPLE airport router and everything suddenly was rock solid with 8 iPads connected – had some lag when connecting number 9 and one drop out (rebuild of mix required!) when I connected number 10.
    As we suspect it’s a combination of interference and bandwidth issues, we’ve decided that for the majority of these positions, we’re going to use CAT5e to the iPads (which removes the advantage of portability round the stage) – We hurriedly bought “Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter”s and a bunch of USB to Ethernet adapters with some lightning extension cables. Amazingly, THESE WORK – Even on iPad4 (from 2012) on the latest iOS 10.2.1 – you can disable wifi and it will appear as an ethernet connection – But you GOTTA have a 2.1Amp power supply feeding into the camera adapter or the ethernet adapter’s power will drop out.

    Another issue is with incredibly slow scene recall. I have VERY tightly focussed recall filter – in this case only channel change from out of one group into another with only the relevant channel and groups allowed. This still took about 15-20 seconds to recall! I think it was very quick without the iPads connected though. Need to do some more testing on that, but that is a BAD long time to have your screen locked to “scenes busy” message. Might try setting some more global SAFEs to see if that helps.

    There were also occasional interface lags when pressing buttons sometimes 4 seconds or so of pressing “processing” or “routing” before the screen would switch.

    Final negative I had was needing to do a lot of channel strip reassignments on the S3000 on the fly to access my FOH channels – I’d populated the desk with all the 64 monitor input channels and the monitor submix groups so had to scatter the FOH channels around where I had some space left and couldn’t fit them all on the 6 layers. (Not so much a problem going fwd as I’m going to be using a computer running Director as the “Monitors” surface) – ALSO now in 1.40, I imagine I will have a play with the DCA Spill function to see if that does what I hope it will for getting quick’n’dirty access to more channel strips.

    All in all – very impressed with this system though. Nowhere else do I think could I get this kind of channel count and mix group flexibility at this price point. Dante was rock solid from Qlab and scene control over the A&H TCP midi driver worked great.

    But please!
    Fix the OneMix app – or even improve it to allow multiple logins on a single iPad (so they can be Position, rather than Person, locked). But definitely don’t make me rebuild a mix strip allocation mid show!!! please?!
    AND PLEASE – allow me to scope the Recall Filter to separate out the send ON/OFF from the send LEVEL. This has made a very big crimp on what I can do for my guys using scenes and has led to burning up of many more group mixes than I wanted to. I had to add the group mixes as an ‘abstraction layer’ to allow scene switching of channels in and out of mixes without messing with the guys mix levels. (while we’re at it, make Auto-Store work when recalling a scene from midi or soft-button – seems like a bug to have it only work from the GO button…)

    BTW as a side note on this whole system – I also use an 8 mix ME-u/ME-1 system on a different tour. Possibly better than iPads apart from the 40 channel limit needing messy grouping at the desk – I know – still better than all the competition but still not quite there yet for large channel count mixes, AND I can’t scene change the ME-1s from the desk, AND trailing twin XLRs back to my IEM wireless rack is making for some horrible looms messing up the stage! (I’d sacrifice 2 of my 40 ME channels to run a stereo return to the ME-U!)

    Any questions, ask away, hopefully my experiences here will open some doors or help avoid some pitfalls.

    #61012

    Hey @neakmenter

    Really pleased to hear you’re enjoying the dLive system so far and thanks for the feedback and suggestions also 🙂

    Regarding your issues with OneMix losing configuration and scene recall times, would you mind dropping us an email to support@allen-heath.com with your show file and also information on how the iPads are configured on the network (i.e. IP addressing etc) so I can take a look for you.

    Best Regards,
    Ben

    #61014
    Profile photo of Neakmenter
    Neakmenter
    Participant

    Sure – will do.

    Thanks for the quick responses A&H! I’ll put it all in the email, but I was using DHCP mostly for the iPads. But as part of the fault-finding, I did try static ip addressing. Also, almost all the time, the mixrack would show up – named in the onemix “connect to” dialog. But I did also try connecting to the system’s fixed raw IP address to see if that was more stable – seemed the same…

    I’ll fire that email off now.

    #61057
    Profile photo of Jay
    Jay
    Participant

    Neak,

    Sounds like you have a setup that shares a lot with what I’m doing. I am not with A&H but I’ll share some of what I have
    learned. I had an advantage that I’ve had about 6 weeks to build a show (actually, transfer from 2 X32’s) and work through
    a lot of the networking side while waiting for other equipment.

    One of my concerns, which you ran into, was networking. I needed Director, IP-8 and my iPad but at the same time have
    Qlab/Dante, Sennheiser WSM and several other Dante devices that all needed to play well.

    As an aside, it once again confirmed that Dante DVS needs to support VLAN’s to keep Dante and Management network clean.

    On to dLive – as I said, I’m not with A&H – but here is what I gleaned through putting my rig together. It’s a great
    platform with a lot of potential, but currently has som expectations you need to be aware of that I haven’t seen
    in writing.

    Logs

    Utility->Utility->History. Hit “setup” and enable detailed logs.

    This will show you all the connects/disconnects and other events that happen. A lot of information. The biggest
    piece to watch for is connects without disconnects. I don’t know the 1.40 limit, but on 1.31 once you got to 23
    connections it stopped accepting them. The console is 3 and each additional device takes 1.

    Connections

    Mixrack->Config->Network. Lower right shows you active connections.

    Key here is that the MixRack (today) doesn’t appear to detect/clean up stale connections. If a device drops & reconnects
    due to a network issue it just took an additional connection that appears it can slow everything down since there
    is nothing reading the messages combined with the bandwidth. It sounds like you actually ran into this.

    Bandwidth

    AH-Net carries a lot of information. A single scene change can be 1,000+ messages to a device depending on how much
    is in scope for the scene change. This is over TCP and I observed, as you did, that if some devices lag then the
    console also appears to lag. I can’t say if this is devices not processing messages fast enough or the volumne of
    messages, but all devices (regardless of what they are doing) receive all messages.

    AH-Net also carries UDP for all the meters to each device. 160+64 with input level and gain reduction along with
    metering information for gates/duckers/comps/etc. that appears to be transmitted at 50ms intervals to each device.

    As you are planning this, also take into account that the GigACE connection has a significant bandwidth/latency
    restriction in it. 300+ audio channels have priority and the link is run in a timed synchronous manner to keep
    all the audio flowing – the “network” data gets to ride as small payload on each packet from documentation I’ve seen.
    I don’t think you were trying to run wireless from the surface, but hou have to be very conscious of how much data
    is being run and the latency considerations for anything connected this way. I realized I never actually measureed
    the bandwidth/latency (project tonight) but I suspect a couple AH-Net devices may saturate it.

    My setup overall isn’t too different from yours – S-5000, DM64, Qlab, 9 performers, 60 inputs – except I haven’t been brave enough
    to give the performers devices to control their own mixes. The drummer has an ME-1 to make my life easier.

    Love to hear how everything works out for you.

    Jay

    #61060
    Profile photo of Neakmenter
    Neakmenter
    Participant

    Jay! Thanks for that very informative post, sir! I was running my router at the stagerack end, but certainly good to bear in mind when there’s that much information sharing the bandwidth down the Gigaace cable… I do have my Dante card at the surface end though and that’s certainly a few more channels flying down that Gigaace connection, so maybe its worth trying it in the stagerack and running an extra cat5e from FOH for it.

    Stale connections is definitely something to think on too. I’ll enable verbose logs tomorrow morning and Hawkeye over them after soundcheck.

    Maybe i’ll also stick one of our new USB3 to Ethernet adapters on the qlab mac and try to put midi etc on that and keep Dante DVS on the built-in Ethernet. Not sure if I can restrict the a&h TCP midi driver to one particular NIC or not. Will have a play tomorrow.
    I had been running one cable to the Dante card, then jumping out of the ‘control only’ Dante card’s port over to the ‘network’ port on the s3000 surface. I will also check the Dante card firmware revision as I notice on a quick re-read of the setup guide that an earlier firmware version would still be clogging up the “control only” port with audio…!

    I would have loved to have had as much lead-in time as you to thoroughly test all aspects, but in the end, things didn’t work out that way for this particular show and I’ve had real crunch week to pull it all together and still have it a smooth experience for the band!

    I’ll post updates as things progress.

    Btw – a&h tech support have been very responsive over email and are having a look at a few things too. Kudos there.
    N

    #61139
    Profile photo of Neakmenter
    Neakmenter
    Participant

    A&H tech support are on this – investigating and testing, but I thought I’d give an update.

    When 7-8 devices are connected (one Director on Mac and 6-7 iPads (rev4) running OneMix) I hit a wall where scene recalls from the surface became intolerably slow – up to 3mins most of the time. Some parts of the scene were only activated by the end of the recall (the band didn’t hear themselves as they weren’t patched until the scene completed!). When the number of connected devices drops again, the scene recalls get back to full speed.

    Unusable unfortunately. I had to do the 2 shows from a static scene with all channels open and frantic manual muting song to song.

    When scene recall was initiated via Director, the scenes recalled instantly across all devices, except that the Surface “scenes” page wouldn’t show that it had scene recalled (but the mutes fades and routing etc, seemed to be shown straight away though).

    I moved my Dante card down to the MixRack and ran a separate cable from FOH from DanteVirtualSoundcard to it to see if it was somehow taking any bandwidth on the GigaAce. It didn’t make any difference to the issue.

    Also found a curiosity – maybe I’m doing something wrong here, but I can’t get the mixrack to respond to MIDI scene changes unless the Surface is connected! (and obviously, my slow recall issue then occurs again as it would seem that the surface initiates the scene recall).
    I was running the scene changes from the Qlab via the A&H TCP Midi driver and DanteVirutalSoundcard for the audio but over a second Ethernet interface (to keep Dante out of the way). I was also making sure I was connecting to the MixRack IP address, not the Surface…
    I hope this isn’t by design as there will be times that I will want to MIDI recall scenes on a MixRack without a Surface connected!

    I’ll let y’all know when A&H get back to me with workarounds or solutions! They do suspect I may possibly have a bad surface…

    #61183
    Profile photo of Neakmenter
    Neakmenter
    Participant

    Regarding midi scene changes without a surface, via the a&h tcp midi driver, I’ve solved it.

    Send the midi to the IP address of the computer running director, rather than the MixRack IP address, then all is happy and scene changes get ‘noticed’ and auctioned.

    Yay! One issue down, a few still to go! Wish me luck!

    Neak

    #61245
    Profile photo of tor
    tor
    Participant

    Hi! where do I decide where the MIDI messages are sent? From the TCP midi driver?

    #61246
    Profile photo of Neakmenter
    Neakmenter
    Participant

    You can type in a custom IP address. So you just need to find out what your “director” computer’s ip is. Where you look depends on what version of windows or macOS you’re using. If it’s on the same computer as your show control or qlab, you can use 127.0.0.1 as a loopback ip.

    Hope this helps,
    Neak

    #61257
    Profile photo of tor
    tor
    Participant

    yeah, awsome, got i working!

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