SymNet Designer Version 7.03 Release Notes

Copyright 2008, Symetrix, Inc.

Updated: January 14, 2008

 

Overview of contents of this file

Introduction

I) Changes from previous versions

II) Installation Notes

III) Upgrading Firmware for V7.0

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

 

Introduction

 

This document is intended for those users upgrading from Version 6.0x. If you are upgrading from an earlier version, you may also want to review the release notes from the relevant intermediate releases (e.g. V5.5, V5.0, V4.0, V3.5, etc.). These can be found on the SymNet web site.

 

I) Changes from previous versions

Changes in V7.03 from V7.02

SymNet Designer V7.03 is a maintenance release for version 7.02. It is recommended that all users of V7.02 who use BGM Combiner modules upgrade to V7.03.

1) A problem was fixed where presets in BGM Combiner modules did not recall properly.  In particular, volume settings went to incorrect levels when recalled via preset. Users experiencing this problem can resolve it by opening their existing site files in SymNet Designer 7.03 and performing a full site download.

 

2) New Modular ARC firmware V1.17 is included with this release. This is the current production version of the Modular ARC firmware. It corrects several minor display issues and improves the response of the encoder.  Users must manually upgrade their Modular ARC firmware to take advantage of these improvements.

 

Changes in V7.02 from V7.01

SymNet Designer V7.02 is a maintenance release for version 7.01. It is recommended that all users of V7.01 who have CobraLink units upgrade to V7.02.

1) A problem was fixed where Ethernet communication to CobraLink units failed in some rare cases.  New microprocessor firmware V7.003 is required for this fix.

 

Changes in V7.01 from V7.0

SymNet Designer V7.01 is a maintenance release for version 7.0. It is recommended that all users of V7.0 upgrade to V7.01.

1) A problem was fixed on 64-input selectors where inputs 49-64 did not work correctly.

 

2) In version 7.0, all modules were gray by default. In 7.01, modules have unique colors by default as they did with previous versions of SymNet Designer.

 

3) An installer issue was fixed that caused problems with installations that did not use the default path ‘C:\Program Files\Symetrix\SymNet Designer 7.0’.

 

4) A problem was fixed where changes to CobraNet bundle numbers were not accepted in some cases.

 

Main New V7.0 Features (compared to V6.0x)

SymNet Designer V7.0 is a major release and has many enhancements compared to V6.0x.

 

1)       A new category of modules, Loudspeaker Management, has been added. These modules provide many of the common features required for loudspeaker management and room optimization including parametric EQ, high pass and low pass filtering, delay, gain, invert, and mute. There are two versions of modules, Smaart™-Compatible and Standard. They are identical except that the Smaart™-Compatible version can be directly controlled from SIA Software’s popular SmaartLive™ RTA software.

 

2)       A new subcategory of modules, Dialers, has been added under Conferencing. These provide a DTMF output that can be used to dial a telephone. The Manual Dialer provides a standard keypad, while the Speed-dial 10 and Speed-dial 20 modules add 10 or 20 named speed dial numbers respectively.

 

3)       A new module type, Gating Automixers has been added. There are 3 varieties of these modules: stand-alone, master, and slave. Each variety includes various channel counts from 4 to 16.  The master and slave modules allow combining multiple modules into a single larger mixer. With a single master and multiple slaves, automixers as large as 512 channels can be constructed. (Note: the existing automixer modules have been renamed ‘Gain-sharing Automixers’.)

 

4)       New Limiter modules have been added. Compared with the existing compressor/limiter modules, these modules use less DSP and have fewer adjustable parameters. Mono and stereo versions are provided.

 

5)       Gain-sharing Automixers now include 6- and 12-channel versions.

 

6)       SymNet units that include Ethernet ports (Express, DigIO, and CobraLink) can now be externally controlled via Ethernet. The same RS-232 protocol commands are used, packaged into a UDP packet. This allows external control systems such as AMX/Crestron to control a SymNet system via Ethernet. The Accessory Port Settings dialog now includes controls for quiet, echo, and deaf modes for the Accessory Port Over Ethernet.

 

7)       Preset recall modules now recall presets globally (when possible). Previously, a preset recall module triggered its preset only on the unit where it was located. Now, that unit will attempt to broadcast the preset recall to all other units in the system. Note: broadcast is not possible from slave units, e.g. original 8x8 units with addresses other than 1.

 

8)       New input selector modules with more inputs have been added. The new sizes are 24, 32, 48, and 64 for mono input selectors and 24, 32, and 48 for stereo input selectors.

 

9)       The Toolkit (i.e. the window showing units, modules, etc.) can now be resized. First, undock the toolkit by dragging it from its default position. Now, as a floating window, it can be resized. It can then be re-docked as desired.

 

10)   Individual channels on CobraNet bundles and SymLink bus sends/receives can now be labeled.

 

11)   On AEC modules, the double-talk suppression parameter can now be set as high as 50dB.

 

12)   To accommodate very large designs, the maximum sheet size has been increased to 3630x3630 pixels. Very large sheet sizes may cause screen re-draws to slow down on some systems.

 

13)   SymLink bus objects are now smaller so they fit better in tight designs.

 

14)   Buttons on control screens now have an extra property ‘Disable Pressing’. When checked, this creates a “display-only” button. This can be used, for example, to display the state of a parameter without allowing the user to change it. (The property defaults to unchecked so existing designs work as they always have.) Radio buttons and matrix grid buttons also have this property.

 

15)   Text labels on control screens now have an extra property ‘Click Control to Edit’. When unchecked, this creates “display-only” text. This can be used, for example, to display the value of a parameter without allowing the user to change it. (The property defaults to checked so existing designs work as they always have.)

 

16)   Right-clicking a wire now enables that wire for the ‘Selected Wire’ meter. Previously, a right-click would highlight the wire but not meter it. The primary benefit of this is that it allows the use of the selected wire meter feature in user (non-edit) mode by right-clicking a wire.

 

17)   The ducker module has been improved to respond faster to its side chain input. Also, some parameters now allow for a wider range of values.

 

18)   When assigning controller numbers, the default new value is one greater than the last assigned controller number. Previously, it was the lowest unused controller number.

 

19)   Double-clicking a Super-module now opens the module’s control screen (if it exists) instead of the design. The design can be accessed from the right-click menu or by holding down Ctrl while double-clicking. For Super-modules with no control screens, the design is always opened when double-clicking.

 

20)   Control screens can now contain buttons to open module views and/or super-module control screens. These buttons can be created by right-clicking on a module and choosing ‘Place Module Viewer Button in Control Screen’. These buttons can also be copied to the main design view. Renaming these buttons also renames the module and vice versa.

 

21)   Report data can now be saved to a plain text or RTF file. The RTF option maintains the formatting of the report.

 

22)   The module formerly called Floating-point demo is now known as High Gain Mono.

 

23)   When double-clicking on site files, the site file will now always open in SymNet Designer, even if SymNet Designer is currently running.

 

24)   For matrix modules, when the cursor hovers over a connect button in the button grid, a pop-up displays the current input/output number and name. This can be helpful in navigating, especially with larger matrixes.

 

25)   For matrix modules, all connect and/or mute buttons can be assigned to a preset in a single operation. For connect buttons, right-clicking on the connect button grid now shows menu items for storing and recalling the ‘Connect Matrix’. For mute buttons, right-clicking on the connect button grid now shows menu items for storing and recalling the ‘Mute Matrix’.

 

26)   On Feedback Fighter modules, the filter recycle feature now only affects dynamic filters. Previously, it affected both fixed and dynamic filters.

 

27)   Meters have been improved so that they respond more predictably when multiple sources are reading them and work better with the RS-232 push feature. In addition, graphically the meters have a longer, smoother decay. This affects dedicated meter modules, the meter bar, and nearly all modules that have meters in them.

 

28)   Several enhancements have been made to the RS-232 push feature. See the external control protocol document for details.

 

29)   Some module colors have been modified to improve readability.

 

30)   To aid in trouble-shooting serial connection issues, a specific error message is now given when the selected serial port cannot be opened. Previously, the same message was used for a unit not being present and a serial port problem.

 

31)   Manual DSP assignments are now indicated on the module’s icon. For example, if a module has been manually assigned to DSP 0, ‘A0’ is printed in the lower right corner.

 

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. Make sure you have a copy of the original site file (.sym file). If it exists on your local drive, skip to step #2. Otherwise, open SymNet Designer 6.0 and choose Hardware->Upload Entire Site File from SymNet. This will save the file to your local drive.

2. Turn off the automatic configuration load by going to ‘Upgrade Firmware’, clicking on ‘Erase Memory’, selecting only ‘Triggers and Power on Default’ and pressing Erase. Repeat for all connected units.

3. Upgrade the firmware as described below.

4. Re-download your entire site file to the hardware. Open the site file in SymNet Designer 7.0 and choose 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 7.0 installs to a separate location than from previous versions on your hard drive. Version 7.0 will not interfere with your Version 1.x, 2.0, 3.x, 4.0, 5.x, or 6.0 settings. Version 7.0 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 7.0 will only communicate with hardware that is running the firmware released with Version 7.0, etc. If you intend to switch between versions of SymNet Designer while using the same hardware, 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 V7.0

 

IMPORTANT: In order to run SymNet Designer version 7.0, 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 SymNet 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 ‘Verify’ buttons in the ‘Upgrade Firmware’ dialog for the Microprocessor and FPGA files. These allow verifying that the Microprocessor and FPGA firmware files in your hardware exactly match the files on your hard disk.

NOTE: For CobraLink and Express Cobra units, there is also firmware from Peak Audio that controls the CobraNet features. You may need to upgrade this firmware as well. See Upgrading CobraNet Firmware using CobraNet Discovery below for instructions.

 

Current Versions

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

SymNet Microprocessor file: Version 7.003 (applies to SymNet DSP, CobraLink, and BreakIn/Out devices.)

SymNet DigIO/Express Microprocessor file: Version 7.003 (applies to SymNet DigIO and Express devices.)

SymNet FPGA file for SymNet DSP Devices: Version 7.000

SymNet FPGA file for CobraLink Devices: Version 7.000

SymNet FPGA file for BreakIn/Out Devices: Version 7.000

SymNet FPGA file for DigIO Devices: Version 7.000

SymNet FPGA file for Express Devices: Version 7.000

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

 

Upgrading Firmware using Auto Upgrade

1.       Follow the step above under II) Installation Notes above.

2.       Install SymNet Designer 7.0 using the provided Setup utility. This will copy the necessary firmware files to your hard drive.

3.       Launch the version of SymNet Designer that was just installed.

4.       Connect your hardware devices as they would be for normal operation. Disconnect or power down all audio devices, especially power amps and speakers, connected to SymNet during the upgrade.

5.       In SymNet Designer 7.0, choose Hardware->Upgrade Firmware. Press the Auto Upgrade button. This will upgrade all connected units. If you want, you can verify the correct versions on the connected units. Click the ‘Close’ button when you are finished.

If you encounter problems with this procedure, try the manual operation procedure below.

 

Upgrading Firmware – manual operation

1.       Follow the step above under II) Installation Notes above.

2.       Install SymNet Designer 7.0 using the provided Setup utility. This will copy the necessary firmware files to your hard drive.

3.       Launch the version of SymNet Designer that was just installed.

4.       Connect your hardware devices as they would be for normal operation. Disconnect or power down all audio devices, especially power amps and speakers, connected to SymNet during the upgrade.

5.       In SymNet Designer 7.0, choose Hardware->Upgrade Firmware. The dialog that appears will tell you the version of the firmware in your hardware devices.

6.       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 7.0\Upgrade folder. Select the file SymNet_MicroProc_V7002.bin and click ‘Open’. (If you are using a DigIO or Express, select that file instead.)

7.       After this finishes, click the ‘Upgrade’ button under SymNet FPGA file. Select the SymNet_FPGA_V7000.bit file and click ‘Open’. (If you are upgrading a CobraLink, BreakIn/Out, DigIO, or Express device, select the respective file instead.)

8.       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.

9.       If you are using CobraLink or Express Cobra 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.

10.   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. One version of the microprocessor file is common to all SymNet devices other than the DigIO and Express, i.e. SymNet DSP, CobraLink, and Break In/Out devices. A second microprocessor file is used with both DigIO and Express devices. The microprocessor file for these devices is prefixed with DigIO_Express_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, handle audio I/O, facilitate DSP communication, and perform several other tasks. The FPGA file is common to all SymNet DSP devices (i.e. 8x8, 8in, 8out). However, a different file is required for each of the CobraLink, BreakIn/Out, DigIO, and Express 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. The file intended for Express devices is prefixed with Express_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.

 

Upgrading RS-485 device firmware

New releases may include new firmware versions for Symetrix RS-485 devices such as the Control I/O, Modular ARC family, and ARC-II. If new firmware is provided, it will usually be listed in the release notes section. To upgrade RS-485 device firmware, follow these steps.

 

1.       Follow the step above under II) Installation Notes above.

2.       Install SymNet Designer 7.0 using the provided Setup utility. This will copy the necessary firmware files to your hard drive.

3.       Launch the version of SymNet Designer that was just installed.

4.       Connect your RS-485 devices as they would be for normal operation. RS-485 devices must have unique addresses (set by DIP or rotary switches on the units, see the appropriate hardware Quick Start Guide for more information).

5.       If you are working with an existing site file that includes the RS-485 devices, open that site file.

6.       Choose Tools->Controller Manager. If your RS-485 devices are not listed under ‘RS-485 Controller Network’, you will need to add them. This can either be done manually using the ‘New RS-485 Device…’ button, or by sensing what units are connected using the ‘<< Upload’ button.

7.       For each RS-485 device that you wish to upgrade, select the device and click the Edit… button. In the dialog box that appears, click the ‘Upgrade Firmware…’ button. Choose the appropriate firmware file and press ‘Open’.  (You may also use ‘Verify Firmware’ to determine if upgrading is necessary.)

8.       Press ‘OK’ and continue to the next RS-485 device, if there are more.

 

Upgrading CobraNet Firmware using CobraNet Discovery

To take advantage of some new CobraNet features in SymNet Designer such as low latency, CobraLink units need to have CobraNet interface firmware V2.9.6 or later. Express Cobra units should use firmware V2.10.6 or later. However, these are minimums and it is advisable to use the most recent firmware which as of this writing, are V2.9.14 for CobraLink and 2.11.2 for Express Cobra. You can check the version of firmware running on your CobraLink unit using SymNet Designer. It is listed in the ‘Upgrade Firmware’ dialog after ‘Cobra Interface Firmware Version’. If you need to upgrade the firmware, follow these steps.

 

1.       Download and install CobraNet Discovery (aka “Disco”), Peak Audio’s utility for upgrading CobraNet firmware and monitoring a CobraNet network. This software is available from http://www.peakaudio.com/Download.html. More information and help on Disco is available at http://www.peakaudio.com/downloads/Disco_Manual/Disco3.0.2_Manual.htm.

2.       Obtain the latest CobraLink CM-1 or Express firmware from the SymNet web site. Unzip and copy the file to the CobraNet Discovery\firmware directory. By default, this is C:\Program Files\Peak Audio\CobraNet Discovery\firmware.

3.       Launch CobraNet Discovery and power up all CobraLink or Express Cobra units. All units must be attached to a network that is visible by the PC running Disco.

4.       For each unit, assign an IP address by right clicking and choosing New IP Address. The assigned address must be in the same sub-net as the PC running Disco.

5.       For each unit, upgrade the firmware by right clicking and choosing Update Firmware. Select Symetrix CobraLink version 2.9.14 for CobraLink units and Express version 2.11.2 for Express Cobra.

6.       When prompted, power cycle each unit.

 

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

 

In version 7.0, the site file (.sym file) format has changed from previous versions. You will be able to open all previous version site files in V7.0 or later. However, files saved with version 7.0 will not be readable by previous versions.

 

If you are working with site files from version 3.5x or older, there are some additional issues. Since version 3.5x and older site files supported eight configurations instead of only one, you must choose the configuration to load when opening site files from these older versions. When you first open a V3.5x or older site file in V7.0, 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 V7.0 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 V7.0 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 many configurations your file used.

 

If you intend to maintain both V7.0 and previous versions on your computer, we recommend the following guidelines to minimize difficulties with file formats:

A) Backup all previous version design files.
B) Don't use the same file names for Version 7.0 design files.
C) Choose the default locations when installing software.
D) Do not use version 7.0 software with previous versions of firmware or previous versions of software with version 7.0 firmware.

A) Backup all previous version design files.

It is recommended that you backup your version 6.0x or earlier design files to a secure location before using or installing Version 7.0. 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 7.0 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 7.0 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 previous version files you save to indicate their version. This way you will be able to tell the files apart if they 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 7.0.

 

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 ensures that multiple versions will not interfere with each other.

 

D) Do not use version 7.0 software with previous versions of firmware or previous versions of software with version 7.0 firmware.

The versions of software and firmware must match! The only operation that accesses hardware you should do with mismatched software and firmware is to 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.