SymNet Designer Version 3.04 Release Notes
Copyright 2003, Symetrix, Inc.

Overview of contents of this file


I) Changes in Version 3.04 from previous versions

II) Installation Notes

III) Upgrading Firmware for V3.0

IV) Issues with Site files from previous versions of SymNet Designer


This document is intended for those users upgrading from Version 1.1x-2.0x. If you are upgrading from Version 1.0x, you should first read the upgrade instructions for version 1.1x. This file is located on the installation CD in the "Help" folder. It is also installed to the SymNet Designer folder, C:\Program Files\Symetrix\SymNet Designer 2.0\Release 1_1x Notes.txt and is available on the web site.

I) Changes in Version 3.04 from previous versions

Changes in V3.04

SymNet Designer V3.04 is a maintenance release for version 3.0. It is recommended that all users of V3.0x who use the Special Dates feature of the Event Scheduler upgrade to V3.04. The primary change in V3.04 is fixing a bug that caused events with Special Dates to execute incorrectly. This fix requires a new microprocessor firmware file (V3.006). See instructions on Upgrading Firmware below.

In addition, in 3.04 supervisor security access is required to set the clock of SymNet hardware devices.

Files generated with V3.0 are readable by V3.04 and vice versa.

Changes in V3.03

SymNet Designer V3.03 is a maintenance release for version 3.0. It is recommended that all users of V3.0x upgrade to V3.03, especially CobraLink users. The only change in V3.03 is the inclusion of new FPGA firmware files for all three device types (SymNet DSP, CobraLink, Break In/Out).

Version 3.03 fixes a problem where on rare occasions, SymNet devices didn’t power up correctly. It also fixes a problem with certain revisions of CobraLink hardware where noise could be output for a few seconds immediately after power-up.

Files generated with V3.0 are readable by V3.03 and vice versa.

Changes in V3.02

SymNet Designer V3.02 is a maintenance release for version 3.0. All users of V3.0 who use SymNet 8x8 DSP devices or ARCs should upgrade to V3.02.

Version 3.02 fixes a bug where SymNet Designer reported that ARC downloads failed even when they succeeded. This bug only occurred with certain PCs.

It also fixes a very rare problem with designs using control signals and fairly heavily loaded DSPs, where control over certain modules stopped working. This issue was discovered in our lab, but never reported by any users.

Files generated with V3.0 are readable by V3.02 and vice versa.

Changes in V3.01

SymNet Designer V3.01 is a maintenance release for version 3.0. All users of V3.0 who use SymNet 8in or 8out DSP units should upgrade to V3.01. If your designs do not use these devices, the changes in this release will not affect you.

Version 3.01 fixes a bug that displayed incorrect or missing analog input and output modules in newly created 8in and 8out units. Files generated with V3.0 are readable by V3.01 and vice versa. Users who have created site files with V3.0 that contain 8in or 8out units should open their design in 3.01 and then delete and re-add the 8in and 8out units to correct the problem.

Main New V3.0 Features

SymNet Designer V3.0 is a major release and adds many new features.

1) Control Signals and Control Modules - A major new class of modules has been added to the Toolkit called Control Modules. Over 50 new modules have been provided to allow the design of very adaptable and intelligent control systems to control both audio processing modules and binary control outputs. The modules generate, process, and use a new type of signal called Control Signals. Complex decision making logic, sequenced events, and many custom functions can be implemented with these modules. By adding flexible control of the binary outputs on a SymNet DSP device, the ability to control third party hardware and create customized displays has been greatly enhanced.

2) New Audio Processing Modules with Control Inputs - Two new classes of modules have added to the Toolkit, VCAs and Switches. VCA modules allow changing the gain of an audio signal using a control signal. Switches allow switching audio signals using a control signal.

3) Audio Processing Modules with Control Outputs - The existing dynamics modules have been enhanced to provide a control signal output reflecting the dynamic gain changes performed by the modules. These control signals can be used to easily create linked multi-channel dynamics modules.

4) All pass modules  - First and second order, mono and stereo All Pass Filter modules have been added to the Filters classes in the toolkit.

5) CD Horn EQ module - Mono and stereo Constant Directivity Horn EQ modules have been added to the filters classes in the Toolkit.

6) Small Speaker EQ modules  - Mono and stereo Small Speaker EQ modules have been added to the filters classes in the Toolkit.

7) Stereo Crossovers - A new class of Crossovers has been added to the Toolkit providing Stereo versions of the 2-way, 3-way and 4-way crossovers. Compared with using 2 mono modules, these modules provide easier control, improved DSP efficiency, and guaranteed phase coherence.

8) 12-channel Meter Module - A new meter module with 12 inputs has been to simplify metering audio from the 12-channel BreakIn and BreakOut devices.

9) Ability to read meters via RS-232 - The individual meters in meter modules may be assigned to external RS-232/485 controllers and the external controller can read back (but not change) the meter value.

10) Enhanced Audio Input and Output Controls - An additional level reference setting of -20 dBu is now provided for control of 8x8 and 8in DSP audio inputs. This setting, which provides 24dB of gain, may be useful for very soft line-level inputs or very hot microphones. Buttons for +4dBu and -10dBv have been added to the Analog Output controls of 8x8 and 8out DSP units. These buttons move output level fader to preset values.

11) Configuration and Preset Triggering Improvements - Configuration and Preset changes can now be triggered from Analog Control Inputs on any unit in any ring.

12) Customizable Wire Color - All on screen wires can now be individually set to display in any color.

13) Super-Module Passwords - Super-Modules can now be password protected to allow distribution of Super-Modules without revealing design details.

14) Super-Module Control Screens - Super-Modules can now have a single Control Screen associated with them allowing the Super-Module designer to organize and control what parameters of the Super-Module design are to be visible.

15) Super-Module I/O renaming - Super-Modules can now have custom names applied to inputs and outputs.

16) Graph Properties - Frequency response, gain response, and oscilloscope graphs now have a Properties dialog for customizing their size and other display characteristics in Control Screens.

17) Improved Event Scheduler  - The Event Scheduling Manager now has the ability to exclude a user-defined list of dates or execute an even only on a user-defined list of dates. The list of “special” dates is specified as a month, day, and year.

18) Automatic adjustment for Daylight Saving Time - The real time clock in SymNet hardware devices now has the ability to automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time. The rules for adjustment are user-programmable to support various regions’ standards.

II) Installation Notes

Version 3.0 installs to a separate location than from previous versions on your hard drive. Version 3.0 will not interfere with your Version 1.x or 2.0 settings. Version 3.0 can cohabitate with previous versions on your PC. It is important to note, however, that the firmware on the hardware must match the version of SymNet Designer that communicates with it. Version 3.0x will only communicate with hardware that is running the firmware released with Version 3.0x, etc.. If you intend to switch between versions of SymNet Designer with the same hardware units, you must remember to change the firmware each time.

III) Upgrading Firmware for V3.0

IMPORTANT: In order to run SymNet Designer version 3.0, the firmware in your hardware devices must be upgraded to the latest level. If you are receiving this software with a new SymNet device from the factory, then the firmware versions should already be correct. However, if you are using it with an existing SymNet device, then the firmware must be upgraded.

There is a new "Verify" button in the Upgrade Firmware dialog. This makes it easier to verify that you have the correct Microprocessor firmware file for the currently running version of SymNet Designer. However, it does not check for the correct version of the FPGA firmware file. This must still be done manually.

Current Versions

As of this writing, the current versions of the SymNet firmware are as follows:

SymNet Microprocessor file: Version 3.006 (applies to SymNet DSP, CobraLink, and BreakIn/Out devices.)

SymNet FPGA file for SymNet DSP Devices: Version 3.002

SymNet FPGA file for CobraLink Devices: Version 3.001

SymNet FPGA file for BreakIn/Out Devices: Version 3.001

(See "Why are there two different files?" below for more information.)

Upgrading Firmware

1.      Install SymNet Designer 3.0 using the provided Setup utility. This will copy the necessary firmware files to your hard drive.

2.      Launch SymNet Designer 3.0.

3.      Connect your hardware devices as they would be for normal operation. It is recommended you disconnect or power down all audio sources connected to SymNet during the upgrade.

4.      In SymNet Designer 3.0, choose Hardware -> Upgrade Firmware. The dialog that appears will tell you the current version of the firmware in your hardware devices.

5.      Click the Upgrade button under SymNet Microprocessor file. An open file dialog will appear allowing you to navigate for firmware files. By default it should take you into the C:\Program Files\Symetrix\SymNet Designer 3.0\Upgrade folder. Select the file SNMv3006.bin and click Open.

6.      After this finishes, click the Upgrade button under SymNet FPGA file. Select the SDFv3002.bit file and click Open. (If you are upgrading a CobraLink or BreakIn/Out device, select the CLFv3001.bit or BIv3001.bit file instead.)

7.      If you have more than one SymNet device, select each device using the address dropdown at the top of the dialog box and repeat steps 5-6.

8.      If you are using CobraLink and have more than one ring, also repeat for all devices on all rings using the Ring dropdown at the top of the dialog box.

9.      When finished, click Close.

Why are there two different files?

SymNet firmware has two components, the microprocessor file and the FPGA file. They are generally independent and both may need upgrading.

The microprocessor file contains the code that SymNet's embedded microprocessor runs. This microprocessor is responsible for communicating with the host, managing the DSPs, external control, and many other tasks. The microprocessor file is common to all SymNet DSP devices and CobraLink devices.

The FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) file controls the programmable logic devices used in SymNet. These devices manage the SymLink bus, facilitate DSP communication, and perform several other tasks. The FPGA file is common to all SymNet DSP devices. However, a different file is required for CobraLink and BreakIn/Out devices. The file intended for SymNet DSP devices is prefixed with SD, e.g. SDFv3000.bit. The file intended for CobraLink devices is prefixed with CL, e.g. CLFv3000.bit. The file intended for BreakIn/Out devices is prefixed with BI, e.g. BIFv3000.bit. SymNet Designer checks the file contents to prevent you from using the wrong type of FPGA file.

IV) Issues with Site files from previous versions of SymNet Designer

In version 3.0, the site file (.sym file) format had changed from 2.x. You will be able to open all 1.x/2.x site files in V3.0 or later. However, files saved with version 3.0 will not be readable by version 1.x or 2.x. If you intend to maintain both versions on your computer, we recommend the following guidelines to minimize difficulties with file formats:

A) Backup Version 1.x/2.x design files.
B) Don't use the same file names for Version 3.0 design files.
C) Choose the default locations when installing software.
D) Do not use Version 3.0 software with V1.x/V2.x firmware or Version 1.x/2. x software with V.3.0 firmware.

A) Backup Version 1.x/2.x design files.

It is recommended that you backup your version 2.x or earlier design files to a secure location before using or installing Version 3.0. Even if all else goes completely wrong, as long as you have those files, there is a way to recreate your old setup.

B) Don't use the same file names for Version 3.0 design files.

If you are going to maintain both versions of the software on your PC, it is highly recommended that you include something in the file name of all Version 2.x and earlier files you save that indicate their version. This way you will be able to tell which files are which if the files become co-mingled.

Even if you are not going to maintain both versions, it is a good idea to use this practice at least until all your design files have been converted and you have fully embraced Version 3.0.

C) Choose the default locations when installing software.

When you install any version of SymNet Designer software, allow the installation to go to the default folder. This will ensure that different versions do not interfere with each other.

D) Do not use Version 3.0 software with 1.x/2.x firmware or Version 1.x/2.x software with V 3.0 firmware.

The versions of software and firmware must match. The only operation that accesses hardware you should do with mismatched software and firmware is upgrade to the correct firmware. Upgrading is generally possible regardless of the firmware mismatch. If this is not the case, the release notes will make a point of mentioning this.