Symetrix SymNet DSP Brings Audio Routing To Sandia National Laboratories Interactive Design Center
Feb 23, 2006 8:00 AM
Thousands of new AV installations take shape every year, but only a select few can set a completely new standard. The Sandia National Laboratories Interactive Design Center (IDC), created to simulate complex reactions and visualize intensely complex parts for nuclear explosions, is just such a pacesetter, reinforcing the intense visuals of a 35 million pixel videowall with the dependable and flexible audio routing of the Symetrix SymNet digital audio processing.
The mandate to AV design firm, Charles Salter Associates for the highly advanced facility was relatively straightforward: Make anything possible. “They wanted to be able to do anything and everything,” reports Joseph D’Angelo, principal consultant at Charles Salter Associates. “Symetrix’ SymNet was essential for combining a vast number of sources down to a 5.1 surround and ceiling loudspeaker system. It makes designing AV systems easier. When I know I’m going to be using SymNet, I can just put a big Symetrix box on my drawing, route all the outputs of the sources into that box, and know it’s going to do everything I want it to do.”
At Sandia, SymNet moves audio from a multitude of sources and outputs it to a 50’x45′ theater that comfortably seats 25. Providing routing and EQ for 42 inputs and seven outputs, including a 5.1 surround system featuring ceiling-mounted front, center, and rear speakers and bolstered by three subwoofers, SymNet made it easy for D’Angelo’s team to tame the multiple computer-based, videoconferencing, and teleconferencing audio applications that the facility required.
“The audio matrix is pretty big, which is to be expected since Sandia National Laboratories wanted this to be the best room they have,” D’Angelo says. “The lack of problems that I’ve had with SymNet on previous projects was a very big factor in the decision to specify it for the IDC. I never have to spend time with technical support trying to figure out why it won’t talk to the other components in the system. SymNet has always worked very well.”
Symetrix’ SymNet audio matrix is an open architecture digital signal processing platform, which is fully scalable with hardware devices and software modules. Digital audio and control signals to and from the hardware connect SymNet devices together in a ring topology via the 64-channel local audio and control data bus known as SymLink, using shielded Cat-5 patch cables. The 8×8 DSP is the core hardware device, supporting eight analog audio inputs and eight outputs along with a powerful DSP engine. Full connectivity includes eight analog control inputs, RS-232 and RS-485 ports, three assignable relay outputs, and six assignable open collector outputs.
Interfacing with SymNet is made extremely easy with SymNet Designer, the design application for the SymNet system featuring a familiar drag-and-drop CAD-style interface. SymNet Designer is the Windows software used to create designs for routing information and DSP settings that are then downloaded and stored in the non-volatile memory of the SymNet hardware devices. Using CAD technology, SymNet Designer allows the user to construct digital audio processes in a block diagram format. By combining drag-and-drop software with modular hardware, SymNet offers a high degree of flexibility and creativity to system designers, whether they’re executing simple tasks or sophisticated design concepts.
With one of the most brilliant videowall centerpieces ever constructed on display at Sandia’s IDC, the audio portion of the program had to provide total support. With Symetrix’ SymNet DSP onsite, that mission has been accomplished. “This facility has the highest concentration of capability-per-square-foot that we’ve ever done,” D’Angelo says. “With so many barriers being broken here, it was crucial for the audio infrastructure to be 100 percent dependable. SymNet sure put the SYM in simulation for this one.”