QSC Audio has announced Q-Sys Designer version 3.1, the latest upgrade to the design and control software for the company’s Q-Sys integrated platform.
Q-Sys Designer v3.1 adds Voice-over-IP capabilities and interfacing support for IP PBXs and analog telephone systems via third-party FXO gateways. With the update installed, telephone calls may now be routed into Q-Sys, or Q-Sys audio may be connected to external phone lines, further enhancing the existing fully-featured conferencing capabilities of the Q-Sys platform.
“Q-Sys was born of the idea that we could provide an integrated system management platform based on standard, affordable Intel architecture at a fraction of the price of systems using custom-designed processors and chipsets — and this upgrade continues that philosophy,” comments Joe Peavey, Q-Sys product manager at QSC. “Sure, you can buy dedicated interfaces to interface analog phone lines with digital conferencing systems, but they’re expensive, especially the ones that allow many lines to be active simultaneously, which quickly run to thousands of US dollars.
“In contrast, the Q-Sys Designer 3.1 update allows you interface IP PBXs with Q-Sys quickly and simply,” he continues, “and if users want to route analogue phone lines in too, all that is required to do it is an FXO gateway. There are multi-channel, Rolls-Royce solutions in that field too, but prices in the United States start at under 50 dollars for a single-channel box, and even the multi-channel devices are much more affordable.
“Also, because VoIP technology is an international standard, there’s no need to have to buy certified analog equipment to deal with the national telephone networks in different countries. Best of all, the Q-Sys update itself is of course completely free.”
Other notable features included in the v3.1 software upgrade include:
• Options for users to record paging notifications by dialling in from their phones with suitable user PIN and paging access codes, then initiate the playback of the messages across the Q-Sys-controlled network or system;
• The ability for designers to determine a hierarchy of codecs for use with connected VoIP systems. The system will always try to connect using the highest-quality codec, and users can now determine the order in which successive lower-quality codecs will be attempted when a higher-quality codec is not supported in the connected system;
• Improved graphical support for buttons and controls, allowing the use of status graphics as well as text, including colours, smilies, ticks and crosses, and so on;
• Finer control over individual UCIs (User Control Interfaces, including QSC touch-screen controllers, iPads and iPhones, or Windows laptops). This includes the Administrator option of locking down individual UCIs, which could be useful, for example, once a live event has begun and no further alterations should be made from local UCIs in a venue;
• Improvements to the stability and capabilities of the URL Stream Receiver, which is now known as the Media Stream Receiver. QSC guidelines now state that integrated Q-Sys Cores (250i, 500i) can handle up 16 simultaneous channels of audio from a video media player, while the larger Cores (from the Core 1000 up) will be capable of managing a maximum of 32 simultaneous channels.
Combined with the Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) algorithm provided in the last major update, the new v3.1 software makes Q-Sys an even more powerful and affordable solution for boardrooms and other conferencing applications.
“Our users loved the AEC,” notes Peavey, “but about the first thing they all said last year when they heard about that was ‘So when am I going to be able to connect a phone to this thing?’ The answer to that is, when you’ve got v3.1.”
Q-Sys provides audio routing, processing, control and monitoring necessary for any facility, including stadiums and arenas, theme parks, performing arts venues, transportation hubs, corporate boardrooms, convention halls, government facilities, hotels and casinos and houses of worship.