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Redundant/backup audio switching


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Hi all, newbie here!

I am working on a production where it is very important that the computer audio playback is uninterrupted throughout the show and have heard people mention 'redundant switching' using a backup computer but have not come across this terminology before

Does anyone have any experience of this?

Any info would be great 🙂

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If you look on this page under 'Miscellaneous' and then 'Setting up a Backup Computer' there are instructions as to how to set up a second computer running in sync with the primary computer so that if the primary fails then the audio feed can be switched over to the backup - there could be a physical switch involved to select the output from either the primary or secondary computer or alternatively you could just route them to separate inputs on a mixing desk and use the channel faders to select one or other computer as the source.  The main point is that as the computers are running in sync and receiving the same cues then at any one time both will be at exactly the same point in the cue list and/or track and you can switch over from the primary to the secondary (in the middle of an audio track if necessary) so that audio is restored within seconds the operator realising that the first has failed. 

I've referred you to the SCS page as this is a program I'm familiar with but no doubt other sound programs can acheive the same thing, possibly with more sophisticated features.  Happily however I've never had a computer fail mid-show so I can't claim any personal experience in this respect!

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The PlayAudio12 is a nice easy intro to this sort of setup. Autograph and Orbital both make more advanced switching systems for MADI and Dante. Orchid Electronics made some nice analogue switchers - not currently listed on their website, but I'm sure they'd build them as a custom item.

The standard setup is 2 macs (minis or pros), running the same software stack and loaded with the same show file. These are then controlled via midi rather than GUI input (using some nice arcade style buttons, or a footswitch) so that they remain in sync. The switcher receives both audio inputs and outputs whichever is currently active.

Switching can be manual (my preference) or automatic using a pilot tone or similar.

You probably also want a good way of switching KVM between the machines, unless you have infinite space at your control position.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for your replies all!

I did some more research into this and Orbital make a number of products under the name Nemesis Research - https://www.nemesis-research.com/

Went down to their demo facilities in Brixton and was impressed. I had so many questions to begin with but they showed me through the whole range and it all makes a lot more sense now. Hopefully I can get the budget signed off for this - fingers crossed!

I also got to meet their dog and had a g&t in their private bar! lolz!

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