In this exclusive product focus Q&A, Commercial Integrator Europe talks to Trent Wagner, senior product manager at Symetrix to discover the thinking behind the manufacturer’s latest offering.

The new ‘EX’ addition makes it possible for the scope of an existing installation to be expanded quickly and easily as requirements change.

What is the SymNet Radius 12×8 EX DSP and what does it do?

“The Radius 12×8 EX is an audio signal processing, routing and mixing product within the SymNet line of open architecture DSPs,” Trent explains. “Its signal flow and functionality, including control, is configured with SymNet Composer software running on a Windows PC so that it can be perfectly tailored to the application at hand. It has a fixed analogue I/O form factor of 12 inputs and eight outputs that can be augmented by a single four-channel I/O expansion slot which accommodates any of the available SymNet I/O cards from analogue to digital to acoustic echo cancellation to telephony. It features many options for control as well as a 64×64 channel Dante network audio bus for further expansion and integration with other Dante network audio devices.”

Take us through the product from a technical point of view; how does it work exactly?

“At its core, the SymNet Radius 12×8 EX is a highly configurable ‘black box’,” Trent states. “It is a blank slate that the AV system designer is allowed to precisely configure for each individual job. Certain things can be templated or import/exported for reuse in similar jobs down the line. SymNet Composer, the software used to program all SymNet products, has a vast toolkit of several hundred audio processing, routing, distribution, mixing and logic modules available with which the system designer can design his or her ideal signal flow. These modules are highly optimised for quality and efficiency in-house by Symetrix.

“The analogue I/O features the studio-quality components and designs to maintain a level of sound quality not typically found in commercial audio products. It includes a 64×64 channel Dante network audio bus to network with additional SymNet processors and I/O devices and third-party devices utilizing the Dante protocol. It has built-in GPIO, RS-232 and ARC wall panel support offerings for control as well as web technology that enables control from any browser, particularly those on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads”

What are its intended applications? Who will it benefit?

Trent explains: “Being a general-purpose open architecture DSP with some customisability, the sky is practically the limit. There are of course the overall limits of network capacity, DSP power and I/O scalability, but those limits are quite high when you integrate dozens of units as a cohesive system. SymNet is used for multiple system types within venues such as houses of worship, hospitality, retail, education, transit, performing arts, conferencing, stadiums, government, etc. It typically handles all the routing, processing, and mixing of audio signals in an AV system.

“Distributors benefit in that they can stock fewer SKUs since the base SKU is somewhat customisable for each order by the addition of an option card to meet any special needs of an order. Contractors benefit in that they can save the day by offering a less expensive I/O card expansion to the system when the end-user inevitably ‘feature creeps’ the job or adds previously unspecified I/O devices to the system.

Can the product communicate with other automation platforms?

“SymNet offers a very easy to understand and humanly readable ASCII control protocol that is accessible over TCP, UDP, and RS-232 by third-party control system,” says Trent. “Drivers and modules are available for popular systems such as Crestron and AMX. Additionally, SymNet DSPs and the xControl expansion product feature control inputs and logic outputs to interface with switches, potentiometers, LEDs, relays, etc, and can be driven by an extensive set of logic processing modules in the SymNet Composer software.”

How easy is it to install/integrate? Take us through the process

“Within SymNet Composer software, you can add a SymNet Radius 12×8 EX unit to the ‘Site File’ by dragging it from the Toolkit,” he points out. “Then you can double-click on the unit’s icon to reveal its signal flow. DSP modules are dragged into the Design from the Toolkit and are wired together to create the signal flow. It’s a lot like drawing in a CAD program. Double-clicking on a DSP module will reveal its module view where individual parameters can be adjusted, stored to a preset, or assigned for external control. Nearly every operation is available with a simple right-click.

“With the SymNet unit on the same network as the contractor’s PC and SymNet Composer software installed on that same PC, one simply discovers the SymNet unit within Composer’s network identification tools then the programming can be transferred to the SymNet unit for autonomous operation.

What particular type of customer can installers target with this product?

“Because SymNet is so configurable, particularly now with the Radius 12×8 EX, that all SymNet DSPs have some amount of configurable I/O, the sky is the practical limit,” he confirms. “Nearly any AV system can benefit from the quality processing, powerful routing and mixing and flexible control that SymNet offers. It allows the systems integrator to perfectly tailor the system to their customers’ needs be he or she a pastor, professor, CEO or building administrator.”

How do installers get involved? Is there training/technical support available on the product?

“Symetrix products are available for purchase around the world from a vast network of dealers and distributors,” says Trent. “Comprehensive training and certification courses are available on the Symetrix web site 24/7. Additionally, personal trainings are hosted on a regional basis. Symetrix also hosts a regular webinar series covering more focused and advanced topics.”

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