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Remote Control of a SAC System

The SAC software was designed from the ground up with remote control facilities. A SAC rig can have up to 28 remote stations hooked up to the host computer. This makes it a very flexible system. From a remote you are able to control nearly anything that you can do from the host system. The only exception is real time control on non-network aware plugins, but there is an update system that does allow most plugins to be operated from the remote. With the exception of the Studio Reverb the RML plugins are network aware, including the delay and para-graphic EQ that come with the software.

The remote control functions along with the 25 full consoles (with built in digital signal split) that come with the system allow for some exceptional opportunities with a SAC system. Many users, myself included, set the host system up on or beside the stage and operate the system via remote control. A personal monitor system can be set up on stage allowing the musicians to control their own monitor mixes. If the system is used in a broadcast program a second engineer can control the broadcast audio from one of the monitor consoles. If there are multiple zones fed from the system these can be fed from monitor consoles and the mixes tailored on a per zone basis.

The remote computers operate over the computer networking functions built into all modern computers. The remotes can be operated on a wired or wireless network. If several remotes are used it is better to use a wired network where possible to keep the data traffic over a wireless network at a reasonable level. Using a wireless connection is fine in most cases and reduces or eliminates the need for wires to the front of house location. Wired networking can be done over conventional CAT5 network cable. Powerline networking adapters are also a good option for a wired network.

The remote computer does not process any audio. All of the heavy lifting is done by the host computer. Therefore the remote computers do not need to be particularly fast, as computers go. Nearly any laptop or netbook can make a good remote unit. Reasonably priced Windows tablets are becoming available and are an option for use as a remote. The software is designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse, though, so the tablet format would not be my first choice for the FOH mix location. Tablets have a place as a monitor adjusting tool or for a roving engineer to make touch up adjustments to the mix. There is no option for the use of non-Windows tablets. The software is Windows software so does require a Windows based tablet running Windows8.1 (WidnowsRT was not a full Windows OS).

When using the netbook as a remote in situations where a FOH mix location is a viable option I set up a monitor and USB keyboard for my primary system control. The monitor gives much more screen real estate and is easier to see in daylight situations. The keyboard gives me full sized keys and easier input options. When I use the netbook as a roving remote I have a numeric keypad that I usually plug in and carry along. The system can be controlled with a mouse but some things are a bit easier with some keyboard functions.

The wireless remote control capability is a huge aid in many common situations. There are times when running a snake and setting up a FOH mix location are just not an option. There are other situations with house systems where the house console is placed where it will be out of the way instead of where the FOH tech can hear the sound of the PA from the listeners perspective. A SAC rig can be used to drive the house system and the mix can be accomplished from any convenient location in the listening area via wireless remote.

 

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