September 27, 2004
Those awaiting BSS Audio's new programmable DSP/matrix system
can rejoice with the launch of the Soundweb London range. The new family
builds on the original Soundweb system and raises the bar again with four design
goals: easy to install, easy to design, easy to control, and easy to integrate.
London provides more flexible and enhanced I/O configurations, dual-redundant
CobraNet audio networking with greater network capacity and matrix sizes, more
efficient DSP using Analog Devices SHARC processors that provide double the
DSP of the Soundweb 9088ii processor, and a new core system design package
written completely from the ground up, plus integration of control, monitoring
and error reporting of Crown Audio's CTs Series of amplifiers using TCP/IQ
Control of the system is via an Ethernet topology, which can be integrated
across an existing LAN (system design dependent). Ethernet integration has
been made as simple as possible, and Soundweb London includes such features
as auto IP addressing, where IP addresses are automatically assigned by the
system regardless of other hardware devices already installed. A logical extension
to this is that every hardware device incorporates a web server so that browser-based
diagnostics are possible, including manual override of IP addressing if required
without the need for dedicated control software.
Following the established distributed processing architecture of the original
Soundweb system, the Soundweb London range consists of a number of hardware
devices, but the real power of the new series comes from several new developments:
More flexible I/O configuration
The basic I/O unit, BLU-80, can accommodate four cards, each of either four
input or four output channels, so that a box may be configured as 16 in only,
12in/4 out, 8 in/8 out, 4 in/12 out, or 16 outputs. Units may also be part
fitted for smaller matrices if required. The BLU-80 features a dual-redundant
CobraNet CM-1 module.
A second unit, BLU-32 can be configured like the BLU-80 for I/O, but acts
purely as a network break-in/break-out with no DSP. This can save costs in
jobs with a high I/O count but not requiring high levels of DSP power. Similarly,
The BLU-32 features a dual-redundant CobraNet CM-1 module.
For smaller systems where a network is not required, costs are again minimized
through the availability of the BLU-16, again with I/O and DSP capabilities
identical to the BLU-80, but without a CobraNet network option.
More network control options
In addition to the normal PC control and simple switch and fader controllers,
such as the BLU-3 and BLU-6, the concept behind the original Soundweb system's
9010 LCD-based, wall-mountable, programmable controller has evolved into the
BLU-10 and been enhanced with a touch-sensitive screen resulting in a more
flexible menu and control interface ready to replace the role of the more-expensive
touch screen controller in certain applications.
The familiar control ports on the Soundweb system have been expanded and reconfigured
to provide solutions more appropriate for the majority of installations, with
a dozen analog control port inputs and six analog logic outputs.
The several ways of integrating control through GPI and serial ports mean
that London can be easily interfaced to other systems, such as media controls
systems like AMX and Crestron, or life safety systems like the Bosch Praesideo.
CobraNet audio networking
Soundweb London adopts the CobraNet audio networking platform, using off-the-shelf
Ethernet components to build much larger systems capable of transferring 64
channels (32 in/32 out per device) across a single Cat 5 cable — many more
than were possible with the original Soundweb network. Soundweb London has
also been designed to take full advantage of CobraNet's latest features, including
low latency and 96kHz operation.
BSS has also worked closely with CobraNet's originator, Peak Audio, to provide
a simple programming interface to CobraNet. While some systems rely on multi-way
switches for CobraNet bundle addressing, CobraNet bundles can be configured
directly within London Architect software saving time both before and after
Smart tracking arrangements allow the designer to easily check where different
CobraNet channel and bundle assignments are located in the hardware system
without having to resort to viewing the whole system diagram.
Totally redesigned system design software — London Architect
The real power of the Soundweb London system comes from the completely new
design software, London Architect, which has been written entirely from the
The software uses the familiar design interface that Soundweb users will know
well, but radically enhances it to provide a more flexible and user-oriented
interface. Features of the software include dockable tool menus and zone windowing,
while innovative processing objects, such as expanding mixers, make design
and object selection easier than ever before. 'Zones' can be created to allow
the design of complex systems to be broken up into more manageable areas, such
as rack rooms or entire room designs. Another new feature is intelligent signal
naming, which automatically tracks and labels signal paths across the entire
Custom control panel design has been made even more powerful through a tree-based
menu system that not only allows dragging or assignment of processing controls
but inclusion of a library of controls based on BSS and Soundcraft elements.
Further user-power is offered through the ability to create one's own design
elements by creating a simple XML file.
Of course, all the regular DSP objects are included, modeled on the classic
BSS analog processors, and BSS indicates that future software releases will
include some leading-edge DSP functions.
For the first time users can include other processors in the system solution,
such as the OMNIDRIVE FDS-366T and MINIDRIVE FDS-334T and FDS-336T, and operate
these devices from the same PC control program over the same Ethernet network
with the use of a suitable Ethernet serial server device.
Complete original system designs can also now be saved to the hardware for
Integration with Crown amplifiers also adds value to the Soundweb London system.
London Architect allows simultaneous and integrated control of Crown Audio's
PIP-Lite, USP3, and USP3-CN PIP cards used in the CTs Series of amps, providing
a powerful CobraNet-based integrated processing, amplification, and monitoring
system , including error reporting, load monitoring and event logging.
For more information, visit their web site at www.bssaudio.com