AVATUS

About the quality of audio signal processing...

Stage Tec's quality standards

The founders of Stage Tec have always aimed to offer digital signal processing with the highest, quasi analog quality and absolute neutrality. In the 1990s, when the computing power of integrated circuits was still far from as high as it is today, the company's engineers consistently focused on the use of FPGAs and thus on very hardware-oriented programming. The unique algorithms developed in the process have shaped the quality of audio signal processing in the large mixing consoles from Berlin, which has been admired from the very beginning. They are partly fundamentally different from the "textbook algorithms" of other manufacturers and still form the basis of all signal processing functions in Stage Tec's DSP hardware today - naturally extended and further developed many times over.

Highest audio quality already from the input

Audio experts agree: The quality of every signal processing chain is decisively determined by the quality of the input amplifiers or converters. Stage Tec's TrueMatch® microphone inputs, with a dynamic range of 158 dB, are the absolute pinnacle of currently available technology. They do not require any analog preamplification, which contributes significantly to noise reduction, especially in the summation of many channels. Without analog signal amplification, every microphone becomes a digital microphone.

The patented TrueMatch inputs are an excellent example of Stage Tec's commitment to quality in signal processing. This continues throughout the entire signal processing chain and can be seen again and again, for example in many ingenious details.

Sample-accurate summation to avoid phasing

In the NEXUS network, the TDM technology used always guarantees the same, lowest latencies. In Stage Tec's mixing consoles, the concept is already trimmed for speed and maximum accuracy. For example, all channels are always summed simultaneously and sample-accurately on all buses. Although this is technically complex, it avoids phasing effects such as those known from more economical, step-by-step addition methods. Due to this uncompromising commitment to audio quality, corrective auxiliary functions such as delay compensation in Stage Tec mixing consoles are not even necessary.

Avoidance of artefacts by fading over all switching operations

Stage Tec uses special fade algorithms even for the simplest operations, such as switching an EQ on or off or the courage of a channel. The old setting is faded into the new state within a few milliseconds by means of a specifically calculated fade. This guarantees that no level jumps, crackling or other artifacts can influence the signal. The same applies, for example, to rapid changes in the delay of the channel. These are also converted to the new state with a fade in order to avoid signal distortion.

These examples impressively demonstrate the details with which Stage Tec's audio signal processing consistently implemented at the highest level distinguishes itself from products of other manufacturers. The hardware required for these audio services is considerable and distinguishes the large mixing consoles from Berlin. Customers and trade journals regularly praise these consoles.

About the scalable DSP...

A consistent DSP concept - centralized and scalable

Just as innovative as in audio signal processing, Stage Tec is in the design and scalability of its DSP platform. A striking, useful feature is that all flexibly expandable mixing consoles from Stage Tec use the same DSP cards. All product families benefit from further developments in software and hardware - one of the most important criteria for the longevity of these consoles.

The NEXUS Star Router - Base Device with Special Features

The NEXUS Star Router was developed in order to implement particularly high routing requirements in a NEXUS network. Compared to the classic NEXUS system base devices, which have a TDM bus for communication between the plug-in cards, this 6U device offers its own redundant matrix of 4,096 inputs and 4,096 outputs. Since a NEXUS network supports any topologies simultaneously and also several Star Routers simultaneously, enormously large audio networks can be created that meet all requirements.

The mixing console in the Star Router - it couldn't be more central

The control and DSP cards from Stage Tec's audio consoles are logically located in the Star Router. Here they can directly access the huge amount of audio channels that are processed in a mixing console today. This direct connection to the matrix of a NEXUS Star router not only enables the consoles to use every input of the entire system as an input and every output of the system as an output, it also enables the uniquely flexible bus structure of Stage Tec's large mixers. This is also the most outstanding difference to other mixing console concepts:

Typical mixing consoles have a matrix inside them.
Stage Tecs mixing consoles are in the matrix!

The RMDQ DSP Cards - Flexible Redundancy

The actual DSP cards on which the audio signal processing is calculated are called "RMDQ" at Stage Tec. Their hardware architecture is optimized for low heat generation while the software is designed so that the user can configure flexible combinations of input channels and buses in a wide range. Two things are particularly noteworthy with this Stage Tec concept: First, the user can freely determine the number and use of the buses himself; sums, groups, AUX paths, N-1 buses as required. And secondly, each channel always has the full DSP resources available for calculating all intended audio editing functions. Depending on the configuration, up to 800 audio channels or 128 buses can be operated.

The RMDQ cards are now the fourth DSP generation and, as typical for Stage Tec, backwards compatible to the predecessor version under the name "RMD". Depending on resource requirements, up to 7 RMDQ cards can form the DSP of a mixing console together. If the user's requirements increase, additional RMDQ cards can be added at any time. The redundancy concept of the Stage Tec mixing consoles is also unique: Each NEXUS Star Router itself already has a fully redundant internal structure. If desired, the user can purchase a redundant control board for the router at any time.

Even more flexible is the redundancy of the DSPs solved. For each project it can be decided to configure one RMDQ card as redundant card or to use the full DSP resources for this project. The resulting flexibility offers both highest performance and highest security, configurable according to project requirements. This also keeps the hardware effort and costs within reasonable limits.

The trend-setting concept of placing the mixing console directly within the Star Router and the scalability of the DSP resources themselves underline the uniqueness of the large mixing consoles from Stage Tec. Many helpful functions cannot be realized without such a sophisticated system concept.