1. Introduction

What is QSControl.net™, what does it encompass?

In this Level 1 training module, we'll be discussing all of the hardware and software that makes up the QSControl.net system.

What is the term "QSControl.net?"

It does not describe one single product, or even product line, but is an umbrella term for an architecture which encompasses all of our Ethernet networked audio system devices and the software to control and monitor them. 

QSC's new BASIS™ platform comprises the most advanced of the networked audio devices, but QSControl.net also includes our legacy products such as our CM16a and legacy RAVE units. It includes the amplifiers, loudspeakers, any network cabling and the Ethernet switches. QSC doesn't make all of the pieces and parts of the system, such as CAT-5 cables and switches, but these are considered part of the QSControl.net architecture. 

Software running on a Windows PC is also a key part of the system. Typically, it would be our Venue Manager software; however it may also be a QSCreator or QSCad application or our Notify applet. QSCreator and QSCad can be used to create customized "skins" with bitmap images, hotspots, buttons, and master faders to allow end-users to control and monitor their system without having to learn the more complicated and confusing Graphical User Interface (or GUI) of Venue Manager. Notify is an applet which can run "in the background", monitoring the system status and presenting notifications of any issues. The notifications can be relays, pop-up message boxes, or even email messages. 

The "dot net" part of QSControl.net comes from our implementation of MicroSoft's .Net Framework, along with the Visual Studio.Net Programming environment. The "QSControl" part, however, is not new - we introduced QSControl over a dozen years ago with the earliest networked audio control product, our original CM16. 

Hardware components of QSControl.net

The Hardware aspects of QSControl.net. consists of three different technologies rolled into one package called BASIS. For this module, we'll use the BASIS 922az as an example, since it has all the features of the product line and was the first of this product series. There are currently eleven different models in production. 

The first technology to discuss is the ability to control, monitor, and protect the amps and loudspeakers over an Ethernet network. This is a very mature and proven technology, introduced by QSC in the early 1990s. QSC was the first to market a successful Ethernet-based control solution. QSC presented a white paper to the 99th annual AES Convention in 1995 which outlined the feasibility of using an existing computer networking standard (Ethernet and its protocols), as opposed to proprietary network schemes, as the correct solution for a common control network for professional audio systems. 

The second hardware technology is the use of CobraNet™ for audio transport. This is also a proven, reliable, and mature solution for sending multiple audio channels throughout a Ethernet network. While QSC did not invent CobraNet, we were the first CobraNet licensee in the industry with our legacy RAVE products. Now there are over 40 licensees with about 65 shipping CobraNet products. All of these products can coexist on a network and share audio signal among them. CobraNet is now the de facto standard for network audio transport. 

The third technology built into BASIS is configurable digital signal processing. While QSC is not the first to market hardware DSP devices, we have designed and produced several successful DSP products such as the DSP-3, DSP-4 and DSP-30. Everything we have learned about the proper design and implementation of DSP products, both hardware and software, went into the BASIS product line. One note about the DSP-3, DSP-4, and DSP-30: these devices will not show up in, or be controlled with, the new QSControl.net software, but they can still be used in a system alongside BASIS. In reality, most systems wouldn't need both the DSP modules and the BASIS. BASIS has more than enough DSP horsepower for all of its channels without having to rely on additional external DSP modules.