Midas Neutron High Performance Audio System for Pro X Digital Consoles
The powerhouse at the centre of the Pro X system, the new Neutron High Performance Audio System Engine is the result of a three year research and development program that pushed the Midas engineering team well beyond their already considerable expertise and knowledge.
Neutron’s cutting-edge, latest generation DSPs and high-performance FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) technology, coupled with a highly efficient MIMD (Multiple Instruction, Multiple Data) architecture, delivers more than 100 Gigaflops of real-time audio processing. With the capability to handle up to 168 simultaneous input channels and 99 time-aligned and phase-coherent output mix buses, Neutron represents the state-of-the-art in digital audio mixing technology. HyperMAC and AES50 audio networking technologies allow up to 288 inputs and 294 outputs at 96 kHz sampling frequency combined with 40 bit floating point processing precision, which can be dynamically assigned to the Pro X’s input channels and bus outputs on a dynamic scene-by-scene basis. This high level of connectivity, coupled with the large channel and bus counts, make the Pro X and Neutron equally at home in theatres and symphony halls as it is in live concert touring, outside broadcast and music festivals.
The Neutron HyperMac router provides a dual redundant snake connection to the Pro X Control Centre over optical fibre and copper with a bandwidth of 192 bidirectional channels of 96 kHz 24 bit digital audio, up to a distance of 500 m with optical fibre or 100 m with CAT5/5e cable.
SuperMAC (AES50-Compliant) and HyperMac digital audio networking technologies from Klark Teknik simultaneously provide high channel counts, ultra low and deterministic latencies, sample-synchronous and phase-aligned networked clock distribution, error detection, network redundancy, and ease of deployment and use – to meet the demanding requirements of live concert touring.
40 Bit Floating Point Processing
Neutron can simultaneously process up to 24 internal multi-channel effects and its 40 bit floating-point audio processing hosts a wide choice of virtual effects devices, which range from dual-mono delay units, stereo modulation and numerous diverse reverberation simulations, multi-band compression, dynamic EQ and multi-channel dual-function dynamics processing. Up to 36 1?3 octave Klark Teknik DN370 Graphic Equalisers (GEQs) are provided, which can be patched into any output. The oversampled digital signal processing algorithms, combined with the fully interpolated and touch sensitive user controls, result in the smooth continuous response and immediacy of working on an analogue console. Parameter adjustment becomes fast and easy, and the continuous phase shift of a swept frequency control is heard without the quantisation artefacts exhibited by competing digital consoles.
Neutron provides comprehensive automatic latency management of all internal routing and processing delays – and also includes compensation for external analogue inserts. All audio samples are synchronised before summing, resulting in absolute phase coherence at the outputs, without the comb filtering effects of competing products that often result in specific frequencies being cancelled out completely. All effects processors and GEQs are custom-designed to function within this automatic latency compensation system. This ensures a phase-coherent, sample-accurate mix regardless of whether the devices are used as channel inserts or on auxiliary buses.
N+1 Redundant DSP Processing
Neutron is fitted with 4 DSP cards as standard for N+1 redundant operation, as only 3 DSP cards are required for full operation. In the very rare event that one of the DSP cards should experience an execution fault, the spare idle card is loaded with that card’s profile under the control of the Pro X Control Centre.
Neutron is future-proofed in the evolving world of digital audio networking technology by being able to support new and emerging protocols via its expansion card slot.
Built for the Road
Featuring a rugged steel 7U rackmount enclosure, Neutron is designed for the rigours of live concert touring. Premium Neutrik connectors are used to ensure reliable network connections, night after night.
Redundancy - For Peace of Mind
Neutron features three removable power supplies - only two of which are required for operation. The power supplies, which are interchangeable with those in the Pro X Control Centre, are auto-voltage sensing for use on a worldwide basis and provide seamless switchover in the unlikely event of a loss of one of the three power supplies. Combined with the dual-redundant HyperMAC snake and the redundant AES50 networking, plus the N+1 redundancy off ered by the four DSP cards, no other console system goes further in providing peace of mind. This means that during a show the user can focus on what is most important - treating the audience to a flawless sonic experienc
Architecture & Engineering Specifications:
- The audio system engine shall be designed for digital audio mixing applications and be optimised for use in live performance. It shall feature 168 simultaneous input channels and 99 time-aligned and phase-coherent output mix buses and operate at 96 kHz sampling rate.
- The audio system engine shall include Gigabit and 100 Mbit/s Ethernet frame-based digital audio networking with a total network channel count capability of 288 inputs and 294 outputs at 96 kHz sampling rate. A Gigabit Ethernet frame-based digital audio network router shall be included with 192 bidirectional channels operating over optical fibre up to 500m and CAT5/5E cable up to 100m, and provide a dual redundant digital snake connection to the associated control centre.
- The Gigabit digital audio network shall operate on a time-division multiplex basis, and shall provide accurate phase-aligned low-jitter clock distribution using embedded timing markers in the data streams to allow transmission over either Cat5/5E copper cable up to a distance of 100m as specified by the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, or up to distances of 500m using 50/125 ?m multimode optical fibre. It shall provide two levels of cyclic redundancy check (CRC) error detection - a checksum sent with the associated Ethernet frame and an additional checksum for audio data. A dedicated 200 Mbit/s auxiliary data channel shall be provided for control data.
- The Gigabit digital audio network shall have an individual link latency of 62.5 ?s at 96 kHz sampling rate and support dual redundant operation.
- The 100 Megabit Ethernet frame-based digital audio network shall off er N+1 cable redundancy and be compliant with the Audio Engineering Society AES50-2011 standard.
- In conjunction with the associated control centre, the audio system engine shall provide up to 36 assignable digital audio emulations of industry standard one-third octave proportional-Q response graphic equalisers and up to 24 simultaneous multi-channel digital audio effects. There shall be automatic latency management of all internal routing, external analogue insert and digital signal processing delays. This latency management system shall synchronise audio samples when summing to mix buses to ensure phase alignment of the summed signals.
- The audio system engine shall be equipped with 4 digital signal processing cards as standard for N+1 redundant operation with only 3 cards required for full operation.
- The audio system engine shall include an expansion card slot for support of additional connectivity options.
- The audio system engine shall include three auto-ranging universal s