Author Topic: FAO on the Tangerine Automation Interface  (Read 7221 times)

Matt Sartori

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FAO on the Tangerine Automation Interface
« on: July 20, 2016, 06:28:00 PM »
WHAT IS THE Tangerine Automation Interface ?
The Tangerine Automation Interface (TAI) is the solution to use a MAC/PC and your DAW to replace the obsolete SSL 4k/6k/8k automation computer!

The TAI links the SSL faders, mutes, status switches and channels VCA's signals to your computer. The SSL faders & mutes are used to write automation moves to the DAW. The SSL's status switches control the automation mode (WRITE/READ/LATCH/ TRIM/OFF). The DAW sends PRE FADER audio to the SSL's inputs, volume level changes are handled by the SSL VCAs from the DAW fader position data. This means that dynamic processing in the SSL path can be used. That's real OTB mixing!

The TAI has been designed and optimized to work with ProTools. Full Out of The Box (OTB) workflow is possible for up to 32 tracks, as Protools only permits 32 channels of external surface control communication.  To overcome that limitation, we have developed an "HYBRID" mode that permits up to 96 tracks of automation in ProTools by using bank sliding. In Hybrid mode, the SSL inputs receive "post fader audio" from Protools. The SSL channel VCAs are set to 0 db and ProTools handle the volume changes. The SSL faders and mutes are still used to write automation moves.  The mix process is still OTB as the SSL mixes the audio tracks. In both modes, fader scales and volume levels are matched to 0.1db. The means that ITB pre mixed session can be played back thru the SSL with volume consistency.

Alternately, for up to 96 tracks of OTB mix automation, mix engineers can use our "customized" version of REAPER (the licence is included in the package). Reaper works like the SSL automation software, working in sync with Protools (or any audio source) via midi timecode.  This solution still offers the best of a DAW work flow, in a graphical "volume envelope" mode that can be easily edited, or in a "mouse less" workflow, where everything is done from the console. We would call this our "legacy mode..."

Other advantages of our product include:
•   Easy project migration from Protools ITB (if the client comes in with a "premix") to OTB/SSL mixes, as mixes made in Protools can directly be played back in the SSL as the volumes match are exact.
•   Simplified File/project management, as it uses your computer and DAW file format and storage.
•   The potential savings you will make by reducing the power consumption, as our power supply draws only 34 watts instead of the 600+ watts used by the old computer, this might end up in considerable savings on your electricity bill!
•   Minimized/easy learning curve.  The TAI can easily be used by either experiences or less experienced engineer. 

HOW DO I USE THE Tangerine Automation Interface?

On the SSL: the faders, mutes and switches status will send the correct information to the DAW according to the selected automation mode. The automation modes are selected by pressing the channels status switches.

In the DAW: Volume and mute information will be "read from" or "written to" the track's as volume envelopes. Depending on the selected Mix configuration mode, the volume information will be sent to the SSL's VCAs and mutes (OTB mode) or will be controlling the DAW's volumes while the SSL's VCAs are set at 0db (ITB mode).


In Out of The Box (OTB) mode: OFF, READ, WRITE, LATCH



Our "Recall-IT" option uses Internet Technology to display the SSL's layout as a web page.

In "Recall-IT" mode, the Tangerine Automation Interface scans the switches and potentiometers of the SSL console.  The data is saved in the DAW as a high-resolution MIDI NRPN data stream and recorded on a MIDI track. This way, the console's recall setup is saved as part of the automation session.

Playing back the MIDI track from the DAW's automation session loads the saved recall setup to the Tangerine Automation Interface.

The Tangerine Automation system uses dynamic web page, generated from it's built-in web server to display a view of the actual "matched" and "unmatched" potentiometers/ switches, from the last loaded recall setup.

HOW DO I INSTALL THE Tangerine Automation Interface ?

1.   Connect the SSL's VCA 50 pins flat cables to the interface.
2.   Connect the "Automation enabler dongle" to the SSL's 50 pins "keyboard" connector on one side and to the "Tangerine Automation Interface" accessory port with a Cat5/RJ45 cable.
3.   Connect the Interface's USB port to the computer running the DAW.
What are the different modes I can use?

These terms refer to different ways the Tangerine Automation Interface and the SSL signal flow are configured. All following workflows are possible:

1. Out of the Box (OTB) mix mode

       SSL is used for:
-   Fader moves input to DAW
-   VCA volume control from DAW
-   Audio summing

       DAW is used for:
-   Volume and mute automation data, write/read/edit to and from SSL

2.  Hybrid mix mode

       SSL is used for:
-   Fader moves input to DAW
-   Audio summing

       DAW is used for:
-   Internal volume control of audio tracks
-   Volume and mute automation data, write/read/edit to and from tracks

3. In the Box (ITB) mix mode

       SSL is used for:
-   Fader input to DAW
-   Audio monitoring

       DAW is used for:
-   Internal volume control of audio tracks
-   Volume and mute automation data, write/read/edit to and from tracks
-   Audio summing

HOW DO I SETUP THE Tangerine Automation Interface?

Depending of the ‘’mix mode’’ you choose:
1. In Out of the Box (OTB) mode: DAW tracks audio output must be configured to be Pre-fader; this can be done by creating a pre-fader send from the DAW mixer on each track.
2. In ITB and hybrid mode: Track volume changes are made in the DAW, not the SSL VCAs.  Audio output is taken from the output assignment in the DAW mixer

How do I set up the Tangerine Automation Interface and my DAW to work together?
When the interface is installed and up and running, from the configuration setup mode, select the desired fader scale, mix mode (ITB/OTB) and "after write go to..." mode.  The interface is now ready to be used. On the computer side, make sure that the "plug and play" USB interface is seen in the midi "setup" control panel.
In the DAW's preferences
Configure Midi communication:
Configure the control surface setup to sequentially assign the Tangerine Automation Interface's multiple HUI ports to the DAW's channel in a 8 channels per bank sequence.
Configure the automation preferences:
Configure the DAW's automation preference so that it doesn't change automatically to "READ" or "LATCH' after a automation "WRITE" (it should be on "do nothing"or "no change"), The tangerine will take care of that.
Setup for Midi PLAY/STOP messages:
The Daw should be configured to transmit and receive Midi Transport commandes, this is usualy refered as "MIDI BEAT CLOCK" or "MIDI SYNC". If using "Protools", in the SETUP/MIDI/MIDI BEAT CLOCK menu, enable communication with the Tangerine Automation Interface's port #5.