Topic: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

I wanted to start a thread here as I imagine there are many people in the same position and thought It would be great to assemble all our learnings and approaches.

After years of having to deal with long and heavy analogue Multicore's I have decided to make the leap into a fully network-based recording system. After lots of investigation into AVB and Dante options, I chose the the AVB route based around the 12Mic Preamps.

My studio is setup for immerse mixing with a 32ch speaker system that is controlled by an RME Digiface Dante which has been flawless, so I have chosen to base my recording system around the Digiface AVB interface - it was more expense, but after a few days of working with the native Mac AVB implementation it was clear that this really isn't a reliable production solution.

My current system is based around a UFX II and some OctaMic, Focusrite Clarett and Grace M108 preamps. I also use a few Digiface MADI units paired with the UFX in an aggregate device configuration for times where I need additional I/O from consoles or trucks etc. If this new AVB system works as expected, I will be selling my other gear.

I have received my 12Mic units and have had them running for the past few days to assess their stability etc, all looking great thus far. I intend to build some small stage rack units to place each of the 12Mic units plus an AVB switch into so stage cable runs can be made as short as possible. I suspect that I am going to purchase an AVB Tool to serve as my control room monitor and aux I/O unit but shall see how it all goes.

From my experience over the past few days, I have a couple of questions / suggestions.

1. The 12Mic units all report an internal temp of around 69 degrees Celsius. What is the acceptable range? I am not expecting to run these in full Australian sun, but its always good to know what temp should cause me concern.

2. The Web Remote is wonderful except that on my computers ( MacBook Pro's 2015 and 2020) the graphics are quite blurry. This makes it hard to clearly see a channel number in the routing window. I can see the graphics are PNG's as opposed to SVG's so is it possible to add a Hi DPI version of these?

3. I would like to have a preference to allow us to disable the front panel encoder operating as a Power Switch. I appreciate its need in some circumstances, but on stage this isn't really needed and is quite a risk if an enthusiastic member of the crew is interacting with the panel. (I am expecting that I will no longer need to provide patch-sheets or write on a the preamps with white tape and a sharpie, as you can run a mic to the units and then simply press the input select button to see the name of the input - amazing!)

I would love to hear others stories,

Cheers, tdc

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Hi, thanks for posting your experience.

Regarding your questions:
1) anything below 80 degrees Celsius is fine. If you're worried, keep a third unit space between the devices (especially the bottom of the 12Mic dissipates a lot of heat).
2) the graphics have been tested on Retina MacBook Pros, and optimized for high DPI. If you have the latest version of the firmware and are using a current browser without zoom, it should appear quite sharp.
3) I'm sure you have seen the LOCK feature which disables the standby-feature of the encoder - but you want to keep the input gains unlocked, correct?

Best regards,
Max

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Hi Max,

Thanks for your reply.

Temperature: I will ensure the devices have some space around them for ventilation, its good to know that I am at least 10 degrees below any concern.

Web Remote Graphics: Here is a screenshot for your of one of the inputs.
https://i.ibb.co/5sJvbbh/Screen-Shot-2021-02-24-at-4-50-38-pm.png

Power Lock: Yes, I have investigated the LOCK feature, but it disables the buttons above each input XLR and thus prevents the Audio team on the stage checking that they are plugging the Contrabassoon mic into the Contrabassoon preamp. Perhaps the Standy Power sequence could be the far right input XLR button PLUS pressing and holding the Encoder? Just seems way too dangerous at present.

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

I have been doing some tests trying to get the 12Mic's to appear as an audio input to the MacOS. Using the MacOS AVDECC controller app, as well as the Hive application. This current Mac is running Mojave and has been on the road quite a bit so its not being too helpful, but I did find a bug/UI issue on the 12Mic screen when trying to change the format of the AVB 1 output stream

https://i.ibb.co/znpLrns/Screen-Shot-2021-02-24-at-5-41-23-pm.png

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Are you using the built-in retina display?
https://i.ibb.co/GHyfCWX/hidpi.png

6 (edited by Max 2021-02-24 08:51:01)

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

but I did find a bug/UI issue on the 12Mic screen when trying to change the format of the AVB 1 output stream

That is not a bug, that is how macOS works. It acquires the entity exclusively and does not let you change anything.

edit: I do see the graphical bug though with the triangles overlapping the two options and the text overflowing the screen, we will fix that in a firmware upgrade.

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Max wrote:

but I did find a bug/UI issue on the 12Mic screen when trying to change the format of the AVB 1 output stream

That is not a bug, that is how macOS works. It acquires the entity exclusively and does not let you change anything.

edit: I do see the graphical bug though with the triangles overlapping the two options, we will fix that in a firmware upgrade.

Thanks - yes, I was referring to the graphics, I understand the exclusive nature of the AVDECC system.

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Hi Max, thanks for all your help!

Max wrote:

Are you using the built-in retina display?

All our recording machines run the SwitchResX utility to run the screens at their native pixel resolution, so on this machine at present (MBP-2016) that is a resolution of 2880x1800. In Reaper / Pro Tools etc this always results in a much larger environment and crisp graphics.

I tried setting the laptop to the "More Space" setting in the Displays.pref, which runs the display at 1920x1200 but a higher dpi of course. I refreshed the Web Remote window and the graphics did indeed become much clearer. Then, setting the machine back to its native resolution I had much more space, and the graphics are clear, until I refresh the browser.

It seems that the web remote app is trying to determine the HiDPI config and getting confused?

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

It seems that the web remote app is trying to determine the HiDPI config and getting confused?

Yes, that seems to be the case. The app queries window.devicePixelRatio and the remote app then serves the graphics appropriate for that resolution.

Regarding the lock/standby switch mechanism I'll wait for more users to chime in and give their feedback on that. I would understand a feature request to allow non-destructive use of the channel buttons while the device is locked (ie. to see the channel name and current settings) - but I doubt we would add a feature that hides the standby feature entirely by requiring a key combination to be pressed and held for several seconds.

10

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Max wrote:

Yes, that seems to be the case. The app queries window.devicePixelRatio and the remote app then serves the graphics appropriate for that resolution.

Great to have it confirmed. I will see how it all works on my newer machines that are running Big Sur / Catalina and let you know what I find.

Max wrote:

Regarding the lock/standby switch mechanism I'll wait for more users to chime in and give their feedback on that. I would understand a feature request to allow non-destructive use of the channel buttons while the device is locked (ie. to see the channel name and current settings) - but I doubt we would add a feature that hides the standby feature entirely by requiring a key combination to be pressed and held for several seconds.

I understand that my view may be niche, however these units will be deployed in a live music production environment and having a way to completely shut a unit down just by holding a single button down feels like a risk I would rather not have. I will be positioning these units amongst all sorts of musicians, and each are very creative in causing us engineers challenges ;-) I can see a well meaning woodwind section placing their bag on the floor near the unit and it could press up against the encoder, or perhaps on top of some gear near some guitarists, and they lean their instrument against a rack and it accidentally presses on the encoder. You get my drift.

Thanks again Max.

11

Re: Migrating to an RME AVB location recording system

Hi Max,

Back at the studio I have tried my main location recording laptops and the Web Remote blur is not an issue, these are 2020 MBP 16", and I am running them at their native resolution 3072 x 1920. A quick JS test shows that this machine reports

window.devicePixelRatio = 1.0

.

I tried the Web Remote with an iPad Pro and it look equally as good and worked well.