16 June 2009, Orlando, Florida, United States
In an introduction that radically simplifies professional audio networking, delivers greater design and integration capabilities to audio professionals and improves system performance and efficiency, Harman Professional today debuted HiQnet System Architect™ version 2.0. A highly intuitive, highly functional audio configuration and control interface for designing specialized audio networks for a wide array of applications, HiQnet System Architect 2.0 takes a newer approach to system design than the previous generation by providing users with intelligent choices based on job function, system application and system sophistication.
System Architect 2.0 features a new system design philosophy centered on workflow and the use of a diagrammatic representation of the installed or live sound venue. Devices are arranged by both their physical and logical placement allowing the designer to ‘educate’ System Architect about how they are to be used. In return the software is able to provide automation of many of the laborious system design tasks for free. For example, once the user has defined the layout of the venue and informed the software about which areas of it the amplifier outputs logically serve, System Architect provides embedded control panels which are automatically tied to the correct devices and provide source-selection, level, mute and metering, instantly accessible for each user-defined space, directly from the main Venue View. The factory-supplied panels can also be edited or completely replaced with fully-customized user control panels. The use of the user-defined spaces also provides feedback to the user by informing of any errors or warnings of the devices contained within by turning yellow or red, depending on the level of the condition. Combining this functionality with control panels for each space within the venue is the beginning of a long-term plan to merge the boundaries of system design with system control and monitoring.
According to Rick Kreifeldt, Harman Professional SDIG Vice President, System Architect Version 2.0 is a significantly more intelligent application than any professional audio industry application that has come before. “System Architect Version 2.0 is powerful because it seeks to combine the intelligence, experience and objectives of its users, and it’s been designed in close cooperation with the world’s leading practitioners in AV integration,” Kreifeldt explained. “The workflow oriented interface readdresses the interaction between designers and system design by framing his or her input not simply in terms of technology components but also on how the system is used. Couple this with a new informed approach that provides each participant with a tool suited to their needs and permissions, and you’ll quickly appreciate how System Architect makes the design process more efficient”
System Architect 2.0 also provides tour sound professionals and fixed installation system designers with considerable additional organizational benefits: adding the ability to create racks and arrays directly in the workspace, further enhancing the mechanisms of grouping devices. And by understanding more about the responsibilities of a certain device and its physical location within a rack, an array or a room, finding a specific device is made easy with new comprehensive list filtering techniques.
“System Architect Version 2 improves the system design experience for all users of the application, enabling significantly more efficient workflows,” Kreifeldt continued. “Designers can start with their end-goal — more often than not the loudspeaker configuration — and very quickly and intuitively work backwards because System Architect essentially connects the dots in an intelligent, logical way to evolve the speaker configuration into an AV system.”
In interviews with industry professionals, several complicated or time-consuming system design elements became common threads of conversation. The philosophy behind System Architect 2.0 is to speed up system design by tackling the organization of devices, the grouping of devices for control, system-wide routing of networked audio and creation of custom control panels. Importantly for the future, the underlying mechanisms by which these common issues have been addressed in version 2.0 also provide the foundations for several more considerable time-saving system design tasks to come.
At InfoComm this year, SDIG will also demonstrate Harman HiQnet™ products streaming Ethernet AVB in a technology preview. The company will showcase several new Ethernet AVB products including a dbx SC 32 Digital Matrix Processor, an Ethernet AVB architectural wall-plate from BSS Audio and a Crown CTs amplifier. The demonstration system will be connected together with an Ethernet AVB switch. The demonstration brings to fruition over three years of research and development as well as comprehensive participation and leadership in the IEEE AVB 802.1 Audio/Video Bridging (AVB) Task Group initiative.
A preview of System Architect will demonstrate how it will use the new venue design concepts to provide Ethernet AVB routing not just on a device-by-device level, but also to entire physical and logical spaces within a system, with one simple drag of the relevant signal.