Processing and Control for Professional AV Installations

xIO XLR Crafted Excellence

What are you passionate about? Do you have any moments in your life where you have the desire and the luxury of time to do your very best at something? I hope so. It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Years ago, when I first met my wife Rachelle, I’ll confess it was pretty much love-at-first-sight for me, but didn’t get the impression I was having the same effect on her. And in the course of those early days I learned something earth-shatteringly important: she didn’t like enchiladas. I know! How is it possible to not like one of the greatest foods ever created? I love enchiladas, so much so that I learned to make them when I was a teenager. So, as Graham family lore retells, I set about crafting Rachelle the best enchiladas I could make. I carefully selected the herbs and spices for the sauce, and then cooked it all day to be sure I had extracted every bit of the excellent flavor of each ingredient. I took the time to carefully select and find just the right cheese. Selected the good corn tortillas and fried them just right—not too soft not too crisp. I wanted these to be the best I could possibly make them (and hopefully impress the pretty girl).

Finally, with no small amount of anxiety, the moment came to present Rachelle with my carefully crafted masterpiece, sourced, created and delivered with an eye to every detail. The result of all my efforts? She loved them! For the next three days she ate nothing but my enchiladas. We just recently celebrated our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary. No doubt, my best-I-could-make-them enchiladas are what won her over.

For the Symetrix team, we were equally passionate from the initial conception of our newest product, the xIO XLR-Series, and determined that it was going to be the best we could make it. Our vision was to do our very best at every aspect of the XLR endpoint. Only craft-quality in every detail would satisfy us. Why? Candidly, we feel that it is time for Symetrix to emerge and make a statement about who we are and where we are going. And, we felt that this was an area of the AV system that has lagged behind the rest of the signal path in terms of quality, consequently capping system performance to a sub-standard level. Our goal was to deliver a product that
provides a significant increase in performance to support the high-performance sound and life-safety systems they will go into.

We view an XLR endpoint as having three areas of focus for performance excellence: Electrical (audio quality), mechanical, and industrial design.

Electrical:

The audio path must deliver the highest performance (laboratory grade) both in subjective listening tests and measured specifications.

Mechanical:

Rugged and refined, all-metal construction that can survive the rigors of commercial application and keep the show going even in extreme circumstances. Further, it must speak strongly to the installer that their needs are understood and special care has been taken to address them.

Industrial design:

The xIO XLR must look brilliant. We want architects and consultants to be proud to have it on the wall in a room they have designed. We hope that design-build integrators are proud to have their personal brands associated with it.

Engineering for audio excellence in an endpoint entails substantial challenges. The significant size and space constraints on the design present challenges to the scope and size of the circuit and electronic components. Further challenging is the close proximity of other electronic circuits that are, if not managed well, sources for unintended noise and distortion. Symetrix electrical engineers created a brilliant design that is both compact, and high-performance. No cookbook reference designs here. This is an example of art and science coming together to deliver excellence.

Hundreds of hours of designer and engineering work have gone into creating a design aesthetic that we refer to as refined industrial. The goal was to deliver a visual impression that successfully portrays the crafted excellence of the product, while simultaneously blending smoothly into any commercial environment.

When commissioning a new AV system what is the most likely source of system bring-up failures? In my experience, it’s the mechanical connection points that are most likely to be faulty. Note the tie-point for cable/connector stress relief. Note also the QR code that quickly jumps an installer to the Quick-Start Guide.

Red-Green-Blue (RGB) LEDs were chosen to provide the designer with a very large color palette that is programmable to indicate a nearly unlimited selection of system parameters.

Intricately delivering strength and beauty, the mechanical assembly is a work of art. Precision and finesse was derived from producing dozens and dozens of 3D-printed prototypes which were deployed in usability and fit testing. If, like me, you find intricate watch mechanisms fascinating, take a careful look at the mechanical detail in this design.

Note the thoughtful detail: XLR connectors rotated ninety degrees and cutout areas designed to facilitate smooth connect/disconnect.

A precision-engineered, fully-programmable button accommodates any system function the programmer would like to assign to it.

For the Symetrix team, the xIO XLR is the first product that fully embodies our passion for crafted excellence. To us, it is an important statement about who we are and where we are going. I hope it inspires you to pursue your best work. We would love to come along with you on that journey.