Newbie cm16a help

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Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:51 am

  • Hellow folks and thanks for any help you can give.
    I am new to the QSCnet product. Just started working in a church facility that has cm16a and all qsc amps that areable(but not all are) integrated into them. I have read as much information as possible in the last couple of weeks from the web site. So far before I jump into doing anything with the system I have a couple of very basic questions that I likely just havent read far enough to get the answers.
    1) is the latest version of venue manager and design completely compatable with the cm16a. I just read a post that i got the impression that the design part was not although I may have misunderstood.
    2) can the relay out be used to trigger a low voltage inturn to swithch on off the preamp product in the system as the amps goe into standby. If so can the relay be programmed for delay to slow the "off" for the preamp or is there a problem with this.
    3)Is it a good Idea to use this in this manner with the computer to not only monitor but also turn on and of the system in the house of worship setting.

    Again I am sorry if these are basic Questions that are answered somewhere???? I am really intrigued by this system as this is one of the first that I have had the ability to work on. I hope to learn more and get this system back to the state of finess that it could be.
    Thanks for any help
    JefF Flowers
    Volcano Audio Products
    Shepherdsville Ky
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Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:20 am

  • Hi Jeff,

    First question I have for you is if there is a resident computer on site at the church that was/is/going being used for the CM16a units?

    The computer/software/network might be already set up which would allow you to skip the initial setup stuff.

    If not, what is the computer’s OS (operating system)? With respect to a new recruit, I would suggest using System Manager V4.54. It is easier to learn with less data entry and firmware issues.

    A CM16a’s relay output is a dry contact output. Does the preamp need a make or break contact or a voltage source to trigger on/off?

    Just to explain what a CM16a unit is made to do, a CM16a is control and monitor device for DataPort equipped QSC amplifiers. A CM16a does not have DSP onboard nor does it have CobraNet capability. Products with DSP/CN/Cont&Mon features all in one chassis can be found in our QSControl.net line of products.

    With a CM16a, you have the ability to monitor the health of attached amplifiers, meter the signal strength into and out of amplifiers, use the standby control among other things; all from close-up or afar with a computer.
    Brad Sambrano
    Systems Support Engineer
    QSC Audio Products, LLC
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    Brad Sambrano
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Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:51 pm

  • Brad,
    Thanks for the reply and information.
    Just to carry on bit further. I did find a computer located in the "back Room" of the church that actually has the QSC logo and the model cm16. I assumed that maybe it was used as a prior to cm16a. After the research that I have done and finding out that at one time there was a computer hooked to the system, I would now assume that this was the origina host. If so could the original setup be transfered to newer faster system? Please correct me if I may be wrong in trying to do so. or would I be better going to newer version of venue manager Again remember that I am not real familiar with the QSC line of product and its history. Although I will have to admit that I am very impressed with the capability of this system and what it does.

    The Church has a total of 3 cm16a and various cx series amps. Mostly cx702 for the main cluster. Power lite for subs

    As far as the contact. Currently using Xantach touch panle controller to turn on and off the entire system. You may not be familiar with but IR based system used to control alot of more consumer grade gear. We are having troubles with the actual touch panel and the replacement cost is considerable. Trying to figure if the replacement cost is justifiable or if there is a better way. My thoughts were to use the dry contact to pass low voltage dc switch signal to trigger relay to pass 110v for pre amp equipment. Can this be programmed in any way for off delay as to let amps fully into standby before switching preamp off?

    Last Question is probably easiest to answer.
    Currently using Shure p4800 for processing(mostly crossover eq and limiter). Which of the QSC.net processors would be recommended to replace this. Using only 2 input and 6 output(hi mid low)for the front of house cluster.
    Would any of these interface and be useful in addition to cm16a or would they interface in any way needed. I am understanding the cm16a as monitor only for the amps remote?

    Sorry for so many questions. I am really tring to learn this so as to stear this church in the right direction. The system has gone thruogh several changes over the last few years and not as many positive as negative.

    Thanks for all you informaion and help. It is really nice of you to go out of your way.
    Have a nice day.
    Jeff Flowers
    Volcano Audio Products
    Little Flock Baptist project
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Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:21 am

  • Since the computer is in the “back room”, I take that as the machine is no longer being used nor needed (remember to recycle it to an e-waste facility). Just to be sure, does the machine have a “System Controller” sticker on it? Also, the spare unit is a CM16 and not a CM16a? If the computer is no longer needed, then you can start fresh; whatever is on it is probably obsolete.

    The preamp will be switched on and off by AC mains (basically unplugging and plugging back in the AC cord) or by a standby function?

    Not to write that you shouldn’t use a hybrid solution but I would suggest going all the way with three Basis units replacing the three CM16a units and Shure unit. Otherwise keep what you have and develop from there.

    A cost effective way would be to have a make or break switch (a simple light switch) trigger all three CM16a units. The hi or low conditions would place the amplifiers into and out of standby mode as well as trigger a CM16a unit’s output relay to map to the preamp. There are switch delays available see: post
    Nothing hi tech just simple execution. Not sure what other functions the Xantach touch screen is programmed to do.

    So, if the church is looking for an upgrade then QSC’s Basis products would replace the CM16a and Shure products and would open up more features or if the church would like to update/enhance preexisting equipment then use what you have with the example above.
    Brad Sambrano
    Systems Support Engineer
    QSC Audio Products, LLC
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Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:29 am

  • Brad,
    Thanks for the wealth of information that you and all of your fellow techs at QSC have provided . The forum here is great for the learning and education toward your product. :wink:

    The computer is labled CM16 Sytem Controller. It is not being used at current. I am going to try to get it out to see if it even works and what is on it. It was taken out of service and replaced with the Xantedh unit. Someone felt the small touch sceen to turn on and off was much easier and went that direction. However the ability to monitor the amps was lost back to the good ol look at the lights and listen to the speakers method. Ive not been much into the digital stuff over the last few years, but am finding that if you take time to learn, it is a very useful tool that can help alot.
    Also the Xantech piece is being used to change the HOUSE eq for different settings. It would trigger the Shure piece into different scenes. This is not a function that I like as it changes the entire EQ setting drastically on the mains for the different settings. Unsure how someone thought that that was a good Idea, although some may agree and try it. There was a settind for Band, choir and band, pasture, music playback. all four scenes would cause problems in some way conflicting with the other scenes. Feedback was a major issue when switching from scene to scene. I stopped that as soon as I started working on the system.
    Thanks for the link to the timer. I think that is what I need. Our pre amp equipment does not need to go into stand by Just clean break.

    Mostly comments above sorry for taking up so much of you time. Two question. below. I am sure that replacing the CM16a's with the Basis/Rave units is something that is not going to happen any way soon, some i am going to have to build on the stuff that we have.
    1) would you consider any of you(QSC product) processors equivalent to the shure P4800 and is it controllable from the system manager that you previouse recommended.
    2) our CM16a stay on 24/7 with out being shut off. Will just cutting the power to them via PULLING THE PLUG :lol: cause any problems with the memory or start up status when the plug is back up. Seems like an awful lot of wasted electricity through the week when the system is not being used.

    Thanks for all of you help. I am looking forward to hearing the new ILAv2. I think that the speaker system will be our next major upgrade. That may be one that fits for us.

    Have a Wonderful Day.
    Jeff FLowers
    Volcano Audio Products
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Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:14 am

  • While not have actually played with the P4800 (discontinued), I would have to say yes to a Basis unit being equivalent plus more compared to a P4800 – the only feature QSC won’t have is “Shure's acclaimed DFR (digital feedback reduction) algorithm”. Basically the P4800 is a 4x8 local I/O DSP box, a Basis unit can be a 4x16 or 8x8 local I/O DSP box.

    A Basis box is controlled third party by XML or omni inputs not RS-232 as is the case with the P4800 and a CM16a. The CM16a feature set is limited to preset changing only.

    If a resident computer will be used, then a custom application/screen can by created for control or just use System Manager. By the way, you mentioned you are a newbie so my suggestions/target responses are directed towards that level of experience.

    A CM16a will retain its settings after a power cycle but you would want the CM16a on so that you can communicate with the device. If you power down the entire rig, then I wouldn’t think you would need the delay since the CM16a will power up and allow the amplifiers to power up well after the preamp powers up.

    You mention 3 CM16a units but the P4800 is a 4x8 DSP box, are you actually using all 48 I/O? Each CM16a has 16 input and 16 outputs ‘wired’ point to point.
    Brad Sambrano
    Systems Support Engineer
    QSC Audio Products, LLC
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Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:23 am

  • Brad,
    Thanks again for all of your input. Newbie Speake is good for me. No need to change I like it. I have been involved as a musician for many years. install many systems in smaller venues and worked a many mobile systems. My day job is building cabinets(mostly automotive) and selling marketing under ou name. My being involved in this system is a true blessing from God himself. It has given me the ability to learn of an entire new market of permanent installations that I have never dealt with before. The Digital Realm is something I have not pd alot of attention to over the years. I think it is time, I really enjoy it. You Guys have something here with the wealth of knowledge that my other amp and electronics suppliers dont. Keep up the good work

    Yes Three cm16a......Only one currently being used. I found the third a couple of weeks ago in the "room behind the stage". No one involved in the Media ministry even knew it was there. Its on, It works, Its not hooked to anything. Its going to get moved this week. Currently only one is being used in the main rack for the front of house. It is being fed via the P4800. The other is hooked up in the main rack to the network but no inputs or outputs are being used. I am going to configure it to monitor the monitor amp and two others that are being used to power speakers in overflow rooms. The third(from the room under the stage) is probably going to get to find itself a new home. This sytem was originally installed in the church dating back to 1988. Alot has changed, but with so many people in and out, with so many ideas, I see a lot that could be changed to make it more efficient.

    The system controller(mention in previos post) was fired up over the weekend. It still runs but nobody knows the password. Running Windows NT. We have someone in the church that can reset the passwords for me. Then I will be able to see if there is anything there. I finally found one person that remembers the system when it was being used. I will investigte and find out if there is anything there. If not, I am sure that I will have questions in the future about setting up the System manger.

    Thanks for all of your input and knowledge. Looking forward to learning even more about the QSC products and all that it can do.
    jeffflowers
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Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:47 am

  • If you can compile all the inputs and outputs the system needs or will need in the future, plus the amplifier count, let me know; as the system stands now (2x6), a single Basis unit is all that is needed to replace the four components (P4800 and 3xCM16a). Two of the three CM16a units are not being used anyway.

    A Basis unit will make the system a QSControl.net system which would be initially a longer learning curve (for a newbie) but a shorter total arc overall since no ‘coding’ would be involved. From a simple rotary switch in an electrical gang box in a wall to a NAC-100 to an AMX/Creston solution to a custom application running on a resident computer, be implemented. And QSControl.net is Vista safe (32-bit) – we are working on a 64-bit platform version as well.
    Brad Sambrano
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    QSC Audio Products, LLC
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Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:13 am

  • Brad,
    Yes we are currently only using one of the cm16a. It is actually only using 2x4 configuration on amps for main clust. The subs are not being routed thruogh the cm16a. They are being fed direct from the p4800. power supply in power light being triggered from the before mentiond xantech IR device. this system really has some issues with routing and control that can be upgraded and will be with the existing hardware. With the economic downturn and just recently loosing our senior pasture, the congragation will not be spending much money on imrpovements on the system. I first have to show that we can make improvements with the equipment that we have. The coverage of the cluster in the main sanctuary is as big or bigger issue that I have also been fighting with. Only 4 Martin EM series single 15 cabinets hanging for center cluster and one on each side for side fill. each cab has its own cx702 utilizing channel a for high and b for low. The side fills are delayed slightly through the p4800 then trhough the cm16a. The 4 cabinets in the center are all piggyback on their signals. The sanctuary has seating capacity of 900 people. Fan Shaped and stage set in very centercorner. make for a wide coverage area at the fron of the stage. Most complaints from congragation can be related to coverage issues. We have a variance of as much as 12db in signal strength in some parts of the room. The speaker sytem is a post for another thread(stuff I am much more familiar with) but that gives you an idea of what it is I am up against.
    I dont tink that trying to just change hardware at this time will make a large enough difference that it could be justified to the congragation. I do however plan to change the routing so that we can regain all monitor and controll capabilities. This, as you understand will free up the 2 cm16a and we can maybe see if we can find them a new home. any Ideas on helping with that please let me know.
    Thanks for all your input. Looking forward to learning more about The Basis units as well.

    Jeff Flowers
    Volcano Audio Prdocuts
    Little Flock Project.
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Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:59 am

  • Fair enough, I completely understand about procuring new equipment when our pockets are empty. :( QSC’s new ILAv2 would seem to be perfect for this site. 8)

    A CM16a’s audio throughput is wired straight though meaning channel one’s input comes out of channel one’s output. There is the ability to gang channels but in this instance, think of the CM16a as 16 straight wires into and out of the box with each channel not touching each other. Also, a CM16a does not have DSP onboard just pure analog in and analog out, neither domain conversion nor inherent delay. It is a control and monitoring device for QSC’s DataPort amplifiers.

    I would suggest to add all of the amplifiers (with DataPort) to a CM16a, after all you might as well use up all the I/O. This point concerns the PowerLight sub amp plus any other orphaned amps. All DataPort amplifiers can be put into and out of standby with the CM16a. This way all QSC products are serviced by the CM16a, which is controlled by a computer or the P4800.

    Any source selection, mixing, processing, etc will be performed by the P4800. I won’t be able to help you with the support of this product and it is discontinued so hopefully Shure will be able to guide you with programming it, i.e.: software availability.

    So, I would have some given control (computer/Xantech) of the P4800, which would control the CM16a by relay output/input, which would control the amplifiers (standby). This setup would be the tightest integration.

    I can’t help you with the loudspeaker coverage; I would consult a sound designer for that.
    Brad Sambrano
    Systems Support Engineer
    QSC Audio Products, LLC
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Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:29 pm

  • Brad,
    Thanks for all of your help. I am going to look forward too clean up and touch up as you have suggested.
    I am excited to get more information about the ILAv2 down the road. The 140deg horizontal coverage seems like something that may work.

    Thanks again for all you help. I am sure that I will have future questions.

    Jeff Flowers
    Volcano Audio Products
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:06 am

  • Brad,
    I have all three cm16a' units onnected. We had to change Ip address settings of my Laptop(we discarded using the original computer controller). When using the suggested system manager downloaded to my lap top, the system seem to work fine. As stated before only one CM16a is currently being used. I then hooked up a amp to the second cm16a but it was not recognized even after powering off and reboot of System manager. I then used the auto search to detect and I lost communication with the original CM16a that was being used the most. Are there any situtions that I should look for in my software settings that would cause it to not find all connected ports and communicate with them.

    Just as a further Question, In looking at QSControl Venue manager, it seems to be a more advanced version of what I am working(system manager) with adding the control of BASIS and Rave units. Could I use Venue manager to do what I am doing now and use the Creator to make custom screen for turning on and off system. This would also give the added advantage of adding Bassis/Rave units in future and having control over them.(if i understand all of this correctly) Please advise me if I am thinking in the wrong Direction as it appears that learning the Creator and all of the functions necessary may a bit more indepth than I understand at this time. Good tutorials will probably help.
    Thanks in advance for you knowledge and willingness to teach.
    Jeff Flowers
    Volcano Audio Prdoucts
    Little Flock Ministry Center Project
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:15 am

  • Yes, firewalls, anti-virus and multi network portals (wired/wireless) can alter a communication between System Manager and CM16a units.

    You have to manually add an amplifier to the inventory under a CM16a if the CM16a preexists in inventory at the time you physically added an amplifier to the CM16a. Also, I would suggest to power down then up a CM16a to reset it if you hot patched the amplifier. Otherwise, add the amp when the CM16a is off.

    No about using QSCreator with CM16a units, not supported. My suggestion in an earlier thread about using a Basis to replace the existing equipment was for this and other reasons. At least you now have an idea about what can be accomplished by upgrading.

    If you wish for building a custom screen application for CM16a units, you will need to use QSCad. The training involved would be outside the scope of this thread (non newbie).
    Brad Sambrano
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