SymNet Designer Version 4.02 Release Notes

Copyright 2004, Symetrix, Inc.


Overview of contents of this file


I) Changes from previous versions

II) Installation Notes

III) Upgrading Firmware for V4.0

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




This document is intended for those users upgrading from Version 1.1x though 3.x. 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 4.0\Release 1_1x Notes.txt and is available on the web site.


I) Changes from previous versions

Changes in V4.02 from V4.01

SymNet Designer V4.02 is a maintenance release for version 4.0. It is recommended that all users of V4.0x upgrade to V4.02.

Two bugs were fixed that related to the "Go on-line without downloading" feature. Some system experienced temporary loss of audio when downloading following this operation. Also, sometimes the "On-line, Needs downloading" state was erroneously shown immediately after going on-line.

A crash that occurred when assigning the DSP of a module inside a super-module was repaired.

A problem that caused the meter bar to not work after loading an entire unit's settings was fixed.

New firmware is not required for any of these fixes.


Changes in V4.01 from V4.0

SymNet Designer V4.01 is a maintenance release for version 4.0. It is recommended that all users of V4.0 upgrade to V4.01.

A bug was fixed that caused DSP modules to revert to default parameters after a Connect Only operation followed by a Download. New firmware is not required for this fix.


Main New V4.0 Features (compared to V3.5x)

SymNet Designer V4.0 is a major release and has many enhancements over V3.5x.


1) Configurations and Presets have been significantly changed. In previous versions, there were 8 configurations in a design with 16 presets. Now in 4.0, there is only 1 configuration, but the number of presets has been expanded to 1000. When you open an older site file that contains 8 configurations in version 4.0, you are prompted to choose the individual configuration you wish to open. See Issues with Site files from previous versions of SymNet Designer below for more information. As part of this change, an F4 download is now required for presets to function.


2) A new module type Feedback Fighter has been added. These modules detect feedback automatically and deploy notch filters to suppress it. Mono and stereo versions of 24-band, 16-band, 8-band Feedback Fighters are provided. In addition, new notch filter modules of the same sizes have been added. These allow copying the filter settings from a Feedback Fighter to a fixed filter module to save DSP resources.


3) Security has been revamped and improved. The hardware-based security available in previous versions has been streamlined and simplified. Site file-based security has been added.


4) A new user mode has been added which hides the toolkit and browser and allows automatic “connect only” on opening a site file. The new User Manager dialog provides access to this and other new security features.


5) Support for the new SymNet hardware device DigIO has been added.


6) There is a new option to load the last recalled preset in the Triggers and Power On Default dialog.


7) Individual units and rings can be disabled during download. This allows downloading a design to hardware even if some units are not connected, malfunctioning, or otherwise unavailable. This feature was added to facilitate development and trouble-shooting and can be accessed by right-clicking a unit, choosing properties and using the Enable for Download checkbox.


8) Several new larger matrix modules have been added: 8x24, 16x24, 24x24, 32x24, 48x4, 48x8, 48x16, 64x4, and 64x8.


9) Matrix modules now have Disconnect All and Connect All buttons.


10) As an alternative to using the scroll bars, pressing the space bar and dragging allows for quick panning of the design both horizontally and vertically.


11) The input and output labels for units are now editable to allow for improved self-documentation. For example, in a BreakIn12, you can label each of the 12 inputs. The labels are accessed through the I/O module views and appear both on the I/O blocks and on the design-level view. The unit icons have been widened to allow displaying more text in the design view.


12) Paste is now available as a right-click option. Pasting using this method places the objects at the point the mouse was clicked rather than using the options set in the preferences. This can be used to solve the problem of pasted objects going off-screen or overlapping with existing modules.


13) New momentary button control modules have been added. To differentiate them from the new modules, the existing button modules are now referred to as “latched” (e.g. 1 Button Latched).


14) A “Go on-line without downloading” button has been added to the toolbar.


15) Channel controls (e.g. from mixers) that are copied to control screens can now be “ungrouped,” allowing the controls to be edited or removed individually.


16) The error reporting has been improved when hardware communication is lost. The specific unit that failed is now reported.


17) Accessory serial port settings can be changed from SymNet Designer. Previously, an ASCII terminal program was required. These settings can be accessed by opening the Upgrade Firmware dialog and clicking the Accessory Port Settings button.


18) The VCA modules now have diagnostic information indicating the current gain they are applying.


19) SymLink bus properties can now be quickly accessed by right clicking a bus send or return module and choosing Properties.


20) On SymNet DSP units, relay #1 is now set-up by default to indicate power failure. The relay is energized on power-up and by default in new site files. As before, relay #1 can still be used for other purposes if the user wishes to override this new default functionality.


21) Hotkeys have been added for several menu items.


22) The compressor module views have been fine-tuned. Output gain (i.e. makeup gain) can now be entered numerically. Several limits and scales have been tweaked for improved usability.


23) A Verify option for the FPGA firmware as been added.


24) Firmware filenames have been expanded to be more descriptive, and now, by default, only files appropriate for the selected hardware type are shown.


Terminology changes

In SymNet Designer V4.0, we have changed some terminology and menu items names to reflect new functionality and to increase clarity.


1) The Configuration menu has been removed. Many of the items are no longer necessary now that there is only one configuration in a site file. The remaining items have been moved to the Hardware menu.


2) The status bar no longer displays “Downloaded”. The new term is “On-line”. Similarly, “Needs Downloading” has been changed to “On-line Needs Downloading”.


3) The “Connect only” menu item has been changed to “Go on-line without downloading”.


4) The “Download Configuration #x” menu item is has been changed to “Download Configuration to SymNet”.


II) Installation Notes


If you are upgrading at an existing installation that loads a configuration automatically on start-up, the following procedure is recommended:


1. Turn off the automatic configuration load by going to Upgrade Firmware, clicking on Erase Memory, selecting only “Triggers and Power on Default” and hitting Erase.

2. Upgrade the firmware as described below.

3. Re-download your entire site file to the hardware. If you still have the original site file (.sym file), open it in SymNet Designer 4.0 and choose Hardware->Download Entire Site File to SymNet (or press F4).
If you no longer have this file, first choose Hardware->Upload Entire Site File to SymNet, then Hardware->Download Entire Site File to SymNet (or press F4).


Following the re-download procedure listed above guarantees that the DSP code running in your hardware is the correct version to work with the new firmware and SymNet Designer application code.


Version 4.0 installs to a separate location than from previous versions on your hard drive. Version 4.0 will not interfere with your Version 1.x, 2.0, or 3.x settings. Version 4.0 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 4.0x will only communicate with hardware that is running the firmware released with Version 4.0x, 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. SymNet Designer checks this on download and warns you if a mismatch is detected.


III) Upgrading Firmware for V4.0


IMPORTANT: In order to run SymNet Designer version 4.0, 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. (Information about the latest release versions is always available on the web site.) When you try to download a design to SymNet hardware, the firmware versions will be automatically checked and you will be told if an upgrade is required.

Note that there are a "Verify" buttons in the Upgrade Firmware dialog for the Microprocessor and FPGA files. These allow verifying that the Microprocessor and FPGA firmware file in your hardware exactly match the files on your hard disk.


Current Versions

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

SymNet Microprocessor file: Version 4.000 (applies to SymNet DSP, CobraLink, and BreakIn/Out devices.)

SymNet DigIO Microprocessor file: Version 4.000 (applies only to SymNet DigIO devices.)

SymNet FPGA file for SymNet DSP Devices: Version 4.000

SymNet FPGA file for CobraLink Devices: Version 4.000

SymNet FPGA file for BreakIn/Out Devices: Version 4.000

SymNet FPGA file for DigIO Devices: Version 4.001

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


Upgrading Firmware

1.      Install SymNet Designer 4.0 using the provided Setup utility. This will copy the necessary firmware files to your hard drive.

2.      Launch SymNet Designer 4.0.

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

4.      In SymNet Designer 4.0, 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 4.0\Upgrade folder. Select the file SymNet_MicroProc_V4000.bin and click Open. (If you are using a DigIO, select that file instead.)

6.      After this finishes, click the Upgrade button under SymNet FPGA file. Select the SymNet_FPGA_V4000.bit file and click Open. (If you are upgrading a CobraLink, BreakIn/Out, or DigIO device, select the CobraLink, BreakIO, or DigIO 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 devices other than the DigIO, i.e. SymNet DSP, CobraLink, and Break In/Out devices. A different microprocessor file is required for DigIO devices. The microprocessor file for the DigIO is prefixed with DigIO_MicroProc. The file for all other devices is prefixed with SymNet_MicroProc. In both cases, the version number is contained in the file name.

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 each of the CobraLink, BreakIn/Out, and DigIO devices. The file intended for SymNet DSP devices is prefixed with SymNet_DSP_FPGA. The file intended for CobraLink devices is prefixed with CobraLink_FPGA. The file intended for BreakIn/Out devices is prefixed with BreakIO_FPGA. The file intended for DigIO devices is prefixed with DigIO_FPGA. In all cases, the version number is contained in the file name. By default, SymNet Designer only shows you files valid for your particular unit and additionally 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 4.0, the site file (.sym file) format has changed significantly from V3.5x. You will be able to open all previous version site files in V4.0 or later. However, files saved with version 4.0 will not be readable by previous versions. In addition, since version 4.0 site files support only one configuration instead of eight, you must choose the configuration to load when opening site files from previous versions.


When you first open an older site file in V4.0, the Select Configuration dialog box appears asking you which configuration you wish to load. (If a particular configuration was not used in that site file, “empty” is displayed after the configuration name.) After you select a configuration, the file is opened with the filename changed to indicate the selected configuration. For example, if the original site file was named My Site.sym and you selected Configuration 1, the new filename would be My Site-Configuration1.sym. If your older site files use only one configuration, opening and re-saving once is all that is required to convert them to V4.0 format. If they use more than one configuration, you must repeat the process for all configurations. For example, if a previous-version site file used 3 configurations, you would need to open it 3 times, once for each used configuration. The result would be 3 new V4.0 site files. Note that the Select Configuration dialog box displays “empty” after any configuration that was unused in the older site file to aid in determining how may configurations your file used.


If you intend to maintain both V3.5x and V4.0 on your computer, we recommend the following guidelines to minimize difficulties with file formats:

A) Backup Version 1.x/2.x/3.x design files.
B) Don't use the same file names for Version 4.0 design files.
C) Choose the default locations when installing software.
D) Do not use version 4.0 software with version 1.x/2.x/3.x firmware or version 1.x/2.x/3.x software with version 4.0 firmware.

A) Backup Version 1.x/2.x/3.x design files.

It is recommended that you backup your version 3.x or earlier design files to a secure location before using or installing Version 4.0. Even if all else goes completely wrong, as long as you have those files, there is a way to recreate your old setup. Note that once you save a file with SymNet Designer 4.0 and overwrite a file from a previous version, it will no longer be readable in the previous version of SymNet Designer.


B) Don't use the same file names for Version 4.0 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 3.x and earlier files you save to indicate their version. This way you will be able to tell the files apart if they become co-mingled. This is made easier by the fact that V4.0 site files have the configuration name appended to them automatically.

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 4.0.


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 4.0 software with 1.x/2.x/3.x firmware or version 1.x/2.x/3.x software with version 4.0 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.