Production Properties - Audio Output Devices

Some features only available with SCS Standard and/or higher license levels.

Overview

The Devices tab has sub-tabs, although the sub-tabs you see will depend on your license level, and the number of individual devices available will also depend on your license level.

The first sub-tab is for you to define your Audio Output Devices.

Initially there will just be one Audio Device displayed, which will have 'Front' as the Name Used in Cues.

Important information regarding Device Maps, and setting or changing device details:

The Devices tab has been split into multiple sub-tabs: "Audio Output Devices", "Video Audio Devices", "Live Inputs", "Input Groups", "Control Send Devices", and "Cue Control Devices". In the top section you can setup your required device names and mappings to physical devices and speakers, but none of the changes you make in this section will have any effect on your cues until you click the Apply Device Changes button. This means that SCS will not try to keep cue device assignments in sync with the settings here on the fly - SCS will wait until you indicate that the changes are to be applied. You will, however, be able to use the Test Tone control to check an assignment before applying the changes, except for ASIO devices. Test tones for ASIO devices can only be processed when there are no unapplied device changes.

Changes you make in this section are NOT recorded in the 'Undo/Redo' list until you apply the changes. To discard any unapplied changes, use the Undo Device Changes button.

See also: Device Maps

Properties and Controls

Devices Required in Cues 

When you plan your production, decide where you want sound to emanate from in the theatre or other venue. If you just want speakers above or either side of the stage then you can set up one SCS Device named 'Front'. If you also want some sound effects etc from rear speakers, where the choice of sounds will be different to the sounds sent to the front speakers, then set up a Device for 'Rear'. Set up as many Devices as you need for different sound outputs.

Also nominate the number of Channels Required for each Device, eg '1 (mono)', '2 (stereo)', etc.

Mapping to Physical Devices on this Computer

We have just discussed setting up the audio output Devices you want to use in your production. You may be setting up your cues on your computer at home and then want to transfer the whole production to your theatre computer. But your theatre computer may have different hardware to your home computer. This means that the mapping of Devices to Physical Devices may be different on the two computers. For example, on your home computer you may just have the built-in sound card whereas on the theatre computer you may have a professional multi-channel output device such as a Roland Octa-Capture.

To handle this scenario, SCS creates a Device Map for the production and computer, so a Device Map for this production will be kept on your home computer, and a separate Device Map for this production will be kept on the theatre computer. It is also possible to have multiple Device Maps on an individual computer, but only do this if you need to, such as if you have certain hardware that's not always available.

A Device Map is where computer-specific information is held. To help you see which items are regarded as computer-specific (on all the device tabs), these fields are shown with a distinctive background color like this:-

 

Device Maps and Device Tabs 

On the "Audio Output Devices" tab you may set up one or more Device Maps. You could, for example, set up three Device Maps: one that uses DirectSound/WASAPI with the built-in speakers of your laptop; another that uses DirectSound/WASAPI with an external audio interface (such as a Roland Octa-Capture), and a third Device Map that uses ASIO and your external audio interface.

The Device Maps you specify here apply to "Audio Output Devices", "Video Audio Devices" and "Live Inputs".

"Input Groups" are just used to define groups of Live Input channels, so have no direct computer-specific fields and so therefore have no fields that need to be stored in a Device Map.

"Control Send Devices" and "Cue Control Devices" do have computer-specific fields, but these are unrelated to the Audio Driver or Audio Outputs you select, so the computer-specific fields for "Control Send Devices" and "Cue Control Devices" are held in a separate single 'Device Map'. So regardless of how many Device Maps you have specified under "Audio Output Devices" and which of those device maps you select at any time, the physical device selections for "Control Send Devices" and "Cue Control Devices" will always be the same - for that Cue File on that computer.

See also: Device Maps

Device Number (A1, A2, etc): If this number is displayed with a colored background (eg see A1 in the above screenshot) this indicates this device is the 'current' device for the Sidebar Controls to the left, and for the Default Settings and Test Tone panels displayed below the device list. To make a different device the 'current' device, click on any field in the line for the required device, or on the Device Number itself.

Sidebar Controls: Controls are available to enable you to easily change the order of the devices. The order of the devices here (in the Production Properties) is the order the VU meters will be displayed on the Run Screen, which is why you may wish to change the order. The sidebar controls available are:

Move up

Move the current device up one position.

Move down

Move the current device down one position.

Insert device

Open a new line before the current device so you can insert details of a new device. (You can also add a device just by entering the details in a blank line, such as in line A3 in the above screenshot.)

Remove device

Removes the current device. SCS will not let you do this if the device is being used by any cue.

Name Used in Cues: Enter the name you want to use for the device in your cues, such as 'Front', 'Rear', 'Stage Left', 'Radio', etc. You will use this name in the audio file cue and sub-cue definitions, so if you want the sound of a radio broadcast to appear to come from a radio you have on stage, then by suitably placing a concealed speaker in or near the radio then in the audio file cue definition you can select the 'Radio' audio device.

Channels Required: If you require mono output from this Device then select 1 (mono) from the drop-down list. If stereo output is required, select 2 (stereo). Other multi-channel outputs are also available.

Computer-Specific / Device Map-Specific Fields

Device Map: The currently-selected Device Map for this production. The initial Device Map created for this production on this machine will be given the name of the machine but you can change the name by clicking the Rename Device Map As... button. In the above screenshot the Device Map had been renamed to reflect the device and driver used in this Device Map. If you have previously set up other Device Maps on this computer for this production, then you can change the selected Device Map from the Device Map drop-down list.

Audio Driver: The Audio Driver used by this Device Map. By 'Audio Driver' we mean the audio format and software, where the audio format is DirectSound, WASAPI or ASIO, and the software is the BASS audio library or SoundMan-Server (SM-S).

Driver Settings: Clicking this button will display Options and Settings window, with the appropriate Audio Driver Settings node selected.

Physical Device: The physical device assigned to this Name Used in Cues. The devices included in this drop-down list will be determined by the Audio Driver selected. If you select 'Default Audio Device' then this will map the Name used in Cues device to the current Windows default sound device. This handles situations where an external audio interface may or may not be connected, and where Windows may change the default sound device accordingly. 'Default Audio Device' uses whatever audio device is currently assigned by Windows as the default.

Outputs: This drop-down list is populated according to the outputs available on the selected Physical Device and the number of Channels Required, eg 2 (stereo) or 1 (mono). So for stereo devices the list will contain values like 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, etc, whereas for mono devices the list will contain single output numbers like 1, 2, 3, etc. Some multi-channel audio interfaces publish their WDM outputs as stereo pairs. For such Physical Devices SCS populates the Outputs list with 'L' and 'R', or 'L-R'. Select the required output(s) from this list.

Gain and dB: This is like a Master Gain Control for this physical output in this Device Map. Normally you should leave the gain at the default setting of maximum gain (0.0dB). Where this control becomes useful is if you have set all your Audio File Cue levels when you designed your cues, and then you transfer the production to your theatre or to another venue and one of your main outputs (eg your 'Rear' speaker output) is too loud. If you are running through a sound desk that is normally not a problem - you just lower the faders for the 'Rear' speakers. But if you are sending outputs directly from your audio interface device to powered speakers you may or may not be able to adjust the levels of those speakers. If you cannot adjust their levels (for technical or policy reasons) then in your SCS Device Map for this venue you can just drop the Gain as required.

Active?: This display-only checkbox will be checked if SCS has successfully initialized this device, or will be blank if the initialization failed. If you have devices that have not been initialized successfully, click Retry Activating Devices at the bottom of this tab.

See also: Device Maps

Auto-Include this device when adding new cues: If this checkbox is selected (which it is by default for the first device, ie device A1) then whenever you add a new Audio File or Playlist cue then this device will automatically be included. You can, if required, remove the device if it is not required for that cue. You should only 'auto-include' devices you want for the majority of your cues, to make setting up the cues simpler. Note that this property only affects future cues added - changing the setting has no effect on existing cues.

Default level and pan when adding this device to a cue: This gives the trim, level and pan to be used when adding this device to a cue. You can, of course, subsequently change the trim, level and pan in the cue itself.

Test Tone Level: You can adjust the level (volume) of test tones using this slider. If you want to make fine adjustments to the level, left-click the slider and then use the left-arrow and right-arrow keys as required.

Short Test Tone: Click this button to send a short (approx 1 second) 440Hz sine wave test tone to the corresponding Physical Device and selected Speakers/Outputs. A confirmation message is displayed, such as 'Test Tone sent to Front'.

Continuous Test Tone: Click this button to send a continuous 440Hz sine wave test tone to the corresponding Physical Device and selected Speakers/Outputs. A confirmation message is displayed, such as 'Test Tone sent to Front'. The button caption is changed to Cancel Test Tone, so click this button again to stop the test tone.

Tip: Suppose the computer you are going to use at the theatre has a sound card/interface with all the channels you need, but the computer you are using to prepare the cues does not. (We'll refer to these as the 'theatre pc' and the 'home pc' as this is a typical scenario.) You can still set up all the audio devices you want to use even if you don't have separate physical devices or speakers for them all. On your home pc define all the Names Used in Cues that you need for your show. However, since you don't have enough Physical Devices you can double-up on their use. For example, in the above screen shot you could assign all device names to the same physical device. When you transfer your files to the theatre pc then you just have to go to the Production Properties and assign the Physical Devices as required - you do not have to change any of your audio file cues or sub-cues.

Device Map Buttons

The following buttons are part of the Devices tab, not specifically the Audio Output Devices sub-tab. They therefore affect all device properties, whether they be for Audio Output Devices, Video Audio Devices Live Input Devices, Control Send Devices, or Cue Control Devices.

Retry Activating Devices: If any of the devices has not yet been successfully initialized, and so displays the Active checkbox clear, this Retry button will be enabled. By clicking this button, SCS will retry the initialization of those devices.

Apply Device Changes: This button will be enabled if you have made any changes to the existing device names or mappings. Those changes are regarded as temporary until you click the Apply Device Changes button. When you click this button, SCS will apply your new settings to cues that use the devices. The new settings will also be recorded en masse in the Undo/Redo list. If you have changed any of the Physical Devices then SCS asks you if you want to save your changes as a new Device Map or apply the changes to the current Device Map. This is to prevent you unintentionally overwriting your current Device Map when setting up mappings for a different physical device.

Warning! When you apply your device changes, SCS will issue Stop All if any cues are found that use a device that has been changed, and will also close those cues. This is to enable the cue(s) affected to be reopened with the new device settings.

Undo Device Changes: Use this button if you do not want to apply the device changes, but wish to reinstate the settings of the Production Properties.

Save as Device Map: This enables you to save the current device map with a new name, without destroying the existing device map.

Rename Device Map As: This button lets you change the name of the currently-open device map. You will be asked for the new name for the device map.

Delete Device Map: Use this button to delete a device map you no longer require for this production on this machine. The button is disabled if only one device map exists for this production on this machine, to ensure at least one device map is retained.

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