Thursday, 25 January 2018

PD-3-Penta with two S3's and a MTRX Installed at Boom

Yesterday I was at Boom Post in Soho, they purchased a PD-3-Penta for
 use with two S3's and a MTRX in a 5.1 Post room.


Although we have sold PD-3's to studios in USA, this was the first to be installed in London and I was eager to see how it performed in a working Studio instead of my test bench.

The PD-3 has two almost completely separate sections the Pec/Direct and TMC-1, each has its own processor and network connection. They share a power supply (5v or USB) and the TMC-1 Select Switch.

PD-3 TMC-1

The day before I arrived Rory configured the TMC-1 section of the PD-3, renaming the inputs and defining the user key layout he wanted. As a post studio there was no need for Talk back or Listen back (unless the studio is used with Source Connect) . They have only two speaker sets 5.1 and Stereo TV (A sound bar) I set Advanced Menu 18 to disable the Alt Speaker selection so that the [Speaker] user key would toggle between Main and Mini Speaker outputs (named 5.1 and Stereo by Rory) instead of stepping through three selections.

New /improved User Key request

Boom requested a single key to switch between the 5.1 and Stereo speaker sets, switching the input and the Level at the same time.  Currently the [A/B Sel] user switch only switches the inputs and not the outputs. I have now implemented this  and the [A/B Sel]  source selection,  gain, format selection (Mono/Stereo/Stereo Downmix/5.1/7.1/Atmos) and speaker selection.

PD-3 Pec/Direct

Connection Problems

As Boom did not have any RS422 cables or connectors to make up the cables they could not check the Pec direct with protools. I brought with me two RJ45 to RS422 converters so that we could connect the PD-2 using Cat5 or Cat6 cables and a tie line between the studio and machine room.  In the Future we will include these with the PD-3 and PD-1-Net!

We connected up....... nothing, none of the  LED's on the USB-422 were flashing. I downloaded the USB test program and checked each Cat 5 cable - the first was broken or it could have been a crossover cable, often required in the days before auto switching. The second time we connected ,,,, still nothing. The Protools remote input was checked and correct. However we had disconnected and reconnected the USB-422, we reverted to the normal solution...

Restart Protools

 ... Hey Presto it worked! Both the Rx and Tx LED's on the A port of the USB were flashing merrily. 

Stem configuration using PD-Stem

As the track names on the Protools session were not correct for the PD-3 auto-stem routines we decided to use the new PD-Stem software to configure the Stems on the PD-3. Boom individual tracks for multiple channels so that we defined each stem as Mono so that there was only one track. We defined 8 Stems two of which were set to Print Master and Solo Safe. (The PD-3 uses Mutes for soloing the stems, this allows the Stems to be solo safe within Protools and be soloed by the PD-3). Once we downloaded the Stem Configuration to the PD-3 we found that the Tallies were working but not the commands - on Protools we had forgotten to Enable Record in Local mode! 

Record Control

In the USA PD-1 users are used to using the paddles to record directly, especially useful when there is more than one operator. Boom arm with the paddles and using a master record command to drop in and out of record, we set menu "Unit-3 Record Paddles" to "4=MastRec" this allows paddles 1-8 to Arm the tracks and the Master Paddle to be used for record on/off. To use an external record on/off key and keep the function of the Master Record Paddle set this menu to "3=Arm & Stay".

Once Boom have used the PD-3 for a few weeks Daniel and I will visit the studio again and find out how it performed in a studio environment instead of my test bench!