USER'S MANUAL

AudioBox 1616HD & AudioBox AB1616

Standard and GPI models

click here for USJ model

updated 11 February 2004

Contents

This manual provides operation information for both the AudioBox 1616HD and the AudioBox AB1616. Where there are differences, the manual refers specifically to the AudioBox 1616HD or the AudioBox AB1616. Otherwise, in this manual, "AudioBox" refers to both the AudioBox 1616HD and the AudioBox AB1616.


Introduction

The AudioBox Disk Playback Matrix Mixer is a sophisticated multi-channel dynamic audio controller. The 16-channel fully digital matrix provides flexible live and preprogrammed control of audio gain, delay and equalization. The disk drive playback unit provides 8 (AudioBox 1616HD) or 16 (AudioBox AB1616) independent channels of prerecorded 16-bit digital audio into the matrix mixer. An internal show controller can be used to automate internal AudioBox functions, as well as control external equipment via MIDI Show Control.

The AudioBox is fully compliant with the AES5-1998 48kHz Single Sampling Frequency standard.

Environment

The unit is designed for mounting in a standard 19" rack, requiring a two "U" rack space. All connections are made at the back panel of the unit. The AudioBox will operate reliably under conditions normal for audio equipment: temperature no more than about 20 degrees centigrade above or below room temperature, not exposed to rain or excessive moisture, shock or G-forces above what standard disk drives will tolerate, etc. The front panel contains three indicators and the power switch. Never attempt to clean the front panel using strong solvents, such as methyl hydrate, etc. Use a mild cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol to clean the panel.

Power Supply

A 12 volt output, 60W external power supply is supplied with the AudioBox. It accepts a universal range of AC power: 115-230 VAC and 50-60 Hz. The power supply plugs into a circular, two conductor power socket (2.1 mm barrel type) on the back panel of the AudioBox (marked "POWER"). There are no restrictions regarding the order in which the AC and DC cables are connected.

The input voltage to the AudioBox must be kept at all times within 5% of 12.0 volts DC. The AudioBox draws approximately 2.2 amps at 12 volts. Contact Richmond Sound Design before using the AudioBox with any power source other than the external power supply that is shipped with the AudioBox. Connection to an improper power supply could damage the AudioBox and/or the internal disk drive and void the AudioBox and/or disk drive warranty.

If an AudioBox has an 8-pin DIN socket on the back panel marked "POWER", Richmond Sound Design recommends that the AudioBox be returned for a power supply upgrade. Contact Richmond Sound Design for details.

Startup

When the unit is powered on, the STATUS indicator blinks rapidly during the initialization period, which lasts approximately 12 seconds. After initialization, a steady one-second 50% duty cycle flashing of the STATUS light indicates the unit is operating normally. Other patterns indicate an abnormal condition; see the AudioBox Service Manual for more information.


AudioBox Commands

The AudioBox sends and receives data by the MIDI and/or the SCSI interface. The front panel MIDI indicator (green) flashes whenever MIDI data is being received at the MIDI IN port. The SCSI indicator (yellow) lights whenever there is activity on either the external SCSI bus, or the internal disk drive bus.

There are Centronics-50 connectors (either one or two) on the back panel to connect the AudioBox to a SCSI bus.Three DIN-5 connectors on the rear panel provide a standard MIDI interface. The "MIDI-IN" connection accepts incoming MIDI data, and "MIDI THRU" provides a copy of this data, delayed by not more than 50 ns. The "MIDI OUT" connection carries data generated by the AudioBox, or data copied from the MIDI IN or SCSI port. Cabling MIDI OUT to MIDI IN is not recommended. This can create a command feedback loop that can cause the AudioBox to malfunction.

The following diagram shows the internal command signal paths. SCSI-MIDI echo, MIDI-MIDI echo, Show-MIDI filter and MIDI loopback are software switches that may be set by the SET MIDI ECHO command and/or by flags in the header of the show currently open in the show controller.

The following diagram shows the way commands are routed to and from the show controller in more detail. (The diagram assumes MIDI loopback is on.) Note that there are two command queues, one for show control commands and one for all other commands. This is required because show control commands can require a long time to execute relative to other commands (depending on whether they require data to be read in from disk). This structure can result in variation in the order in which show control and other commands from a cue are executed. This normally does not create problems, but care needs to be taken when cues that perform matrix/playback functions call other cues which affect the same functions. Delays may need to be added to ensure the order of command execution is as intended.

 


Audio Connections

The rear panel of the AudioBox has 24 XLR connectors for eight analog audio inputs and 16 analog audio outputs. All audio connections may be either balanced or unbalanced. Balanced connections are made conventionally, with pin 2 positive or "hot".

Unbalanced input connections are made by connecting either pin 2 or 3 to ground (pin 1), and driving the other pin. When connected unbalanced in this way, the input signal is boosted by a factor of two by the input circuitry. (Essentially, a signal 180 degrees out-of-phase with the driven pin is generated and substituted for the grounded pin.) The analog inputs accept signals up to +20 dBu without clipping.

Unbalanced output connections are made by leaving either pin 2 or 3 open, and driving the audio line with the other pin. (Shorting pin 2 or 3 to ground will not cause damage to the outputs, but is not required nor recommended.) When connected unbalanced, the output signal is half of what it would be if it were connected balanced. (The alternative - boosting an output level by two on the driven line when connecting unbalanced - can cause a signal to clip when connected unbalanced that does not clip when connected balanced. This clipping could occur either in the AudioBox output stage or the unbalanced input of the driven equipment.)

Ensure that phantom power is never applied to AudioBox inputs or outputs.


Host Computer to AudioBox SCSI Connection

See the AudioBox PC Hardware page on the Richmond Sound Design web site for information on PC hardware requirements. See the Software Download page for the latest Windows drivers and software.

USB and Fireware to SCSI adaptors can be used with the AudioBox, in addition to plug-in SCSI cards and built-in SCSI ports. The Richmond Sound Design web site has information on using SCSI adaptors with the AudioBox.

See the Command Set Document for software details of the SCSI implementation.

SCSI Connection Details:

AudioBoxes with GPI connectors and certain early versions of the AudioBox are equipped with one Centronics-50 connector for connection to a SCSI bus. These units have an active SCSI bus terminator installed internally. These units must be installed at the end of any SCSI chain to which the AudioBox is connected.

Non-GPI units have two Centronics-50 connectors on the back panel for connection to a SCSI bus. The two connectors are equivalent. A SCSI bus is established by daisy-chaining up to seven SCSI devices, and putting a SCSI bus terminator at the last device on each end of the chain. If the AudioBox is the last device on the bus, a SCSI bus terminator must be installed in one of the two SCSI connectors.

Note that Macintosh Powerbook computers (and quite possibly other laptops) do not supply termination power. To use an AudioBox with a Powerbook, there must be no terminator on the SCSI bus, and a short SCSI cable (e.g. 18") must be used. If the AudioBox is an early version that has one Centronics-50 connector for SCSI on the back panel, the terminator is internal, and must be removed. In this case, remove the top cover and unplug the SCSI terminator, which is a black device labeled "ACTIVE", plugged into a socket on the SCSI bus ribbon cable near the front edge of the main circuit board.

Never hot-plug the SCSI bus. This means never plug a SCSI cable into a computer or an AudioBox when the computer or the AudioBox is powered on. Turn everything off, connect the SCSI cables and terminators, then power everything on.

SCSI bus parity is generated, but not checked by the AudioBox. It is therefore optional whether the SCSI adaptor in the host computer checks or generates SCSI bus parity. Macintosh computers do not generate or check SCSI parity.

Each device on a SCSI bus must have a unique ID number, set in hardware. Many computers (e.g. Macintosh) are hardwired to ID 7, and most SCSI controller cards have default jumpers setting the card to ID 7. Do not set the AudioBox to SCSI ID 7. The AudioBox comes from the factory with the SCSI ID set to 4. The ID may be changed via DIP switches on the main circuit board. To change the ID, remove power cable, open the cabinet, and locate the DIP switches on the edge of the circuit board closest to the front panel. The ID is set using switches 1, 2, and 3 (switch 4 is used to clear the drive and reinstall firmware, see the AudioBox Service Manual for more information). The switches are binary coded:

switch

1

2

3

ID

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

2

0

1

0

3

0

1

1

4

1

0

0

5

1

0

1

6

1

1

0

Do not set all three switches on. SCSI ID 7 is reserved for the host computer.


Internal Disk Drive

An internal disk drive provides eight-channel (AudioBox 1616HD) or sixteen channel (AudioBox AB1616) playback of prerecorded audio material. Audio material can be written and erased, and the capacity and contents of the disk drive can be displayed via control software, for example, the Macintosh File Loader. The disk drive is warranted by its manufacturer, not Harmonic Functions.

The AudioBox plays audio tracks at 48,000 16-bit samples per second. Therefore, the disk storage space required for audio files is 96000 bytes per second per monaural track, or 5.76 megabytes per minute. A 9.1GB disk drive will store approximately 1580 minutes (26.3 hours) of audio.

For information on choice of disk drive for the AudioBox, see AudioBox Hard Drives on the Richmond Sound Design web site.

Data Interfaces:

The AudioBox works with SCSI-2 or Ultra SCSI, 50 or 68 pin interfaces. 50 pin interfaces do not require the installation of adaptors or terminators, and are therefore preferred. A SCSI hard drive with a 68-pin interface can be used if a 68-pin to 50-pin adaptor is plugged into the disk drive data interface. Be sure to use a good quality adaptor. Adaptors are available at most computer stores.

LVD Drives:

The AudioBox will operate with an LVD (low voltage differential) SCSI interfaces if installed as follows:

  1. 68-pin drives require a 68-pin to 50-pin adaptor at the disk drive data interface.
  2. A SCSI terminator must be installed on the internal SCSI bus that connects the disk drive to the main circuit board. AudioBoxes manufactured prior to July, 2000 do not have this terminator installed. Contact Richmond Sound Design regarding having an internal SCSI terminator installed.
  3. There must be a configuration jumper at the location on the disk drive labeled "Terminator Power". This jumper causes the disk drive to supply the required power to the inline terminator installed at the main circuit board end of the SCSI cable. (LVD drives do not have internal SCSI termination, therefore there is no " SCSI termination" jumper.)

Drive Installation

The old disk drive may be removed as follows:

  1. Disconnect AC power from AudioBox power supply. Remove AudioBox power cable.
  2. Remove the top cover.
  3. Disconnect the power and data cables from the disk drive.
  4. Remove the four disk drive mounting screws on the bottom of the cabinet, carefully holding the disk drive as it is loosened.

The new disk drive may be installed as follows:

  1. The SCSI ID jumpers on the disk drive may be set to any SCSI ID except 7.
  2. Termination jumper must set SCSI termination ON (except LVD Drives: see above).
  3. Plug the power and data cables into the disk drive.
  4. Install the four disk drive mounting screws with lockwashers into the disk drive through the bottom of the cabinet, carefully holding the disk drive as it is installed.
  5. Reconnect power and test. Replace top cover.

Drive Initialization

When a new drive is installed, AudioBox firmware must be installed using the firmware installer program appropriate for the host computer. (See the Richmond Sound Design web site to download the Windows installer and the download page on this web site for the Mac OS installer.) During the firmware installation, the disk is initialized automatically; no additional actions are required to make the drive ready to use. Low-level reformatting is not required when a new drive is installed.

Drive Defragmentation

AudioBox control programs indicate how much disk space could be recovered by performaing a defragmentation of the internal AudioBox disk (as well as the means to initiate a defragmentation). A defragmentation recovers unuseable disk space that accumulates as files are erased and re-written on the disk. Defragmentation can take a long time, depending on how much audio is on the disk. The only legitimate reason to defragment a disk is to retrieve disk space when a disk is almost full and the recoverable disk space is needed. Defragmenting a disk will not repair a damaged disk directory or correct any other fault condition. Nor will defragmenting a disk make playback work better in any way. For information on handling disk-related fault conditions, see the AudioBox Service Manual.


AudioBox AB1616 GPI (16 channel playback model, XLR audio I/O)

The AudioBox AB1616 GPI model provides a parallel contact closure interface for triggering cues. The pinout for the AB1616 GPI (General Purpose Input) connector (the DB-25F connector in the lower left corner of the back-panel) is provided in the following chart. There are eight address inputs and two trigger inputs. Each of these inputs is a two-wire current loop, a signal line and a current return line. An input can be activated by placing a voltage on the signal line of 5 to 25 volts DC with respect to the current return line. An input can be deactivated by placing a voltage on the signal line of 0.8 volts DC or less with respect to the current return line, or by opening the current loop. The current loop has an impedance of approximately 4000 ohms. The trigger inputs are locked out following a valid trigger, preventing false retriggering due to contact bounce or noise. (The default lockout time is 1 second, see SET GPI).

When the cue trigger input is activated, the number binary-encoded on the address lines (0..255) is read, and the cue with that number as its major cue number (with all subsection numbers set to zero) is activated. When the playback trigger input is activated, a null playback GO is generated (which will start playback within 1 millisecond on all enabled playback channels), the number encoded on the address lines is read, and the cue with that number + 256 as its major cue number (with all subsection numbers set to zero) is activated. A null show control GO (which activates the next cue) is also available by setting all zeros on the address lines and activating a cue trigger. See the Show Control GO command in the command set for more details. It is also possible to make the playback trigger behave as a second cue trigger. See the SET GPI command for further details.

 

pin

CONTROL

DB-25 F

1

address 0

2

address 1

3

address 2

4

cue trigger

5

address 3

6

address 4

7

address 5

8

address 6

9

playback trigger

10

address 7

11

not used

12

not used

13

not used

14

address 0 return

15

address 1 return

16

address 2 return

17

cue trigger return

18

address 3 return

19

address 4 return

20

address 5 return

21

address 6 return

22

playback trigger return

23

address 7 return

24

not used

25

not used


AudioBox 1616HD GPI pinout (8 channel playback model, DB25 audio I/O)

The AudioBox 1616HD GPI model provides a parallel contact closure interface for triggering cues. There are seven address control inputs and two trigger inputs. Each of these inputs is a two-wire current loop, a signal line and a current return line. The inputs can be activated by providing a voltage of 5 to 25 volts DC on the signal line, with 0 volts connected to the current return line. The current loop has an impedance of approximately 2000 ohms.

When the cue trigger input is activated, the number encoded on the address lines is read, and the cue with that number as its major cue number (with all subsection numbers set to zero, e.g. 15.0.0.0.0) is activated. When the playback trigger input is activated, a null playback GO is generated (which will start playback within 3 milliseconds on all enabled playback channels), the number encoded on the address lines is read, and the cue with that number + 128 as its major cue number (with all subsection numbers set to zero) is activated. Any command may be programmed into a cue. A null GO is also available by sending all zeros on the control lines. See the Show Control section of the command set for more details. It is also possible to make the playback trigger behave as a second cue trigger. See the SET GPI command for further details.

The trigger inputs to the AudioBox are locked out for 0.5 seconds following a valid trigger, preventing false retriggering due to contact bounce or noise.

The rear panel of the AudioBox 1616HD GPI model has 4 subD connectors for the eight balanced analog audio inputs and 16 balanced analog audio outputs. There are two subD connectors for the contact closure control signals. The following chart provides the pinout of the audio and control connectors. All connectors are female, except the Control connector.

 

pin

Audio Out A

DB-25 F

Audio Out B

DB-25 F

Audio In

DB-25 F

Audex

DB-9 F

Control

DB-25 M

Trigger

DB-9 F

1

output 8 +

output 16 +

input 8 +

output 3 +

address 0

cue trigger return

2

ground 8

ground 16

ground 8

ground 3

address 1

cue trigger

3

output 7 -

output 15 -

input 7 -

output 2 -

address 2

not used

4

output 6 +

output 14 +

input 6 +

output 1 +

address 3

not used

5

ground 6

ground 14

ground 6

ground 1

address 4

not used

6

output 5 -

output 13 -

input 5 -

output 3 -

address 5

not used

7

output 4 +

output 12 +

input 4 +

output 2 +

address 6

not used

8

ground 4

ground 12

ground 4

ground 2

plbk trigger

not used

9

output 3 -

output 11 -

input 3 -

output 1 -

not used

not used

10

output 2 +

output 10 +

input 2 +

not used

11

ground 2

ground 10

ground 2

not used

12

output 1 -

output 9 -

input 1 -

not used

13

not used

not used

not used

not used

14

output 8 -

output 16 -

input 8 -

address 0 return

15

output 7 +

output 15 +

input 7 +

address 1 return

16

ground 7

ground 15

ground 7

address 2 return

17

output 6 -

output 14 -

input 6 -

address 3 return

18

output 5 +

output 13 +

input 5 +

address 4 return

19

ground 5

ground 13

ground 5

address 5 return

20

output 4 -

output 12 -

input 4 -

address 6 return

21

output 3 +

output 11 +

input 3 +

plbk trigger return

22

ground 3

ground 11

ground 3

not used

23

output 2 -

output 10 -

input 2 -

not used

24

output 1 +

output 9 +

input 1 +

not used

25

ground 1

ground 9

ground 1

not used


Troubleshooting

See the AudioBox Service Manual for troubleshooting information.

 

 

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