Lab.gruppen FP+ Series – Extreme Power and Channel Density, Tailored for Touring

By Klas DalbjornThe also provides a method of distributing the available power between the channels allocating more power to selected channels if the amplifier is driven to its limits. By ensuring maximum headroom regardless of input signal or load characteristics, while at the same time protecting compression driver diaphragms, the FP+ Series readily adapts to any touring application.

NOMADLINK NETWORK STANDARD
Perhaps the single most significant advancement in FP+ Series, when compared to its predecessors, is the standard implementation of NomadLink networked monitoring and control. The robust NomadLink topology allows connection of up to 60 FP+ amplifiers, or 240 channels, to one NLB 60E NomadLink Bridge and Network Controller in a daisy chain loop, with local monitoring and control.

Status monitoring, as well as control of power on/off and mute, is available for all connected amplifiers via the front panel of the NLB 60E. The NLB 60E powers the entire Nomadlink monitoring network via phantom power, allowing the network to “see” an amplifier even when the amplifier power is off. If, for instance, a breaker in a power distribution panel should trip, the system would notify the operator of a power failure to that particular amplifier. Further, the NomadLink network contains a redundant communication mechanism that provides the ability to continue communication even in the event that an interconnect cable becomes disconnected.

For extensive monitoring and control functions, FP+ Series users can employ the Windows PCbased DeviceControl software. The DeviceControl host computer connects to the NLB 60E via a wired or wireless Ethernet link. As many as 16 NLB 60E controllers (16 subnets) can be accommodated by the DeviceControl application.

DeviceControl offers a number of features to enhance the performance, reliability and flexibility of touring sound systems. First, DeviceControl provides comprehensive monitoring of amplifier parameters, including temperature, high impedance/open load, current present and clipping. Clear indication is provided for any potential problems or current fault conditions. DeviceControl also allows remote control of power on/off of the networked amplifiers, with sequential triggering of amplifier groups in conjunction with presets in the NLB 60E. Amplifier channels may also be freely assigned to groups, with mute and solo functions available at the channel, group, subnet and systemwide levels. This feature allows simple system testing and troubleshooting, and all functions are easily accessible through a wireless router to a wireless laptop or tablet computer.

When DeviceControl first connects to the amplifier subnets, it automatically interrogates all amplifiers and instantly creates a matching virtual subnet. Amplifier types, positions in the network, serial numbers, and all DIP switch settings are detected and displayed. Then, the entire system configuration can be saved as a file. Alternatively, amplifier configurations can be created “from scratch” while offline, and then matched to physical amplifier networks. This capability allows users to reconfigure amplifier racks for different applications, and then instantly confirm that the required physical reconfigurations were performed correctly. Finally, a “secure connection” feature with multiple system lockout levels eliminates any unauthorized intrusion (by overzealous pocket PC owners, for instance) into the NomadLink system.

FRONT PANEL INDICATORS

The FP+ series was designed incorporating the idea of thorough amplifier monitoring not only through a network connection but also through comprehensive front-panel displays. Available indication far relationship to the very complex waveforms described by amplified music. Much more meaningful is a test based on a burst signal, such as the EIA/CEA- 490-A test procedure (2004) cited in the FP+ Series power specifications. Used by some other manufacturers as well as Lab.gruppen, this test utilizes a 20 ms burst at full power (THD+N

<1%) followed by 480 ms of signal 20 dB below full power. This burst signal has a 16 dB crest factor, and corresponds to music with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. We require that our amplifiers sustain our rated output for at least one hour with continuous application of the burst signal.

The also provides a method of distributing the available power between the channels allocating more power to selected channels if the amplifier is driven to its limits. By ensuring maximum headroom regardless of input signal or load characteristics, while at the same time protecting compression driver diaphragms, the FP+ Series readily adapts to any touring application.

NOMADLINK NETWORK STANDARD
Perhaps the single most significant advancement in FP+ Series, when compared to its predecessors, is the standard implementation of NomadLink networked monitoring and control. The robust NomadLink topology allows connection of up to 60 FP+ amplifiers, or 240 channels, to one NLB 60E NomadLink Bridge and Network Controller in a daisy chain loop, with local monitoring and control.

Status monitoring, as well as control of power on/off and mute, is available for all connected amplifiers via the front panel of the NLB 60E. The NLB 60E powers the entire Nomadlink monitoring network via phantom power, allowing the network to “see” an amplifier even when the amplifier power is off. If, for instance, a breaker in a power distribution panel should trip, the system would notify the operator of a power failure to that particular amplifier. Further, the NomadLink network contains a redundant communication mechanism that provides the ability to continue communication even in the event that an interconnect cable becomes disconnected.

For extensive monitoring and control functions, FP+ Series users can employ the Windows PCbased DeviceControl software. The DeviceControl host computer connects to the NLB 60E via a wired or wireless Ethernet link. As many as 16 NLB 60E controllers (16 subnets) can be accommodated by the DeviceControl application.

DeviceControl offers a number of features to enhance the performance, reliability and flexibility of touring sound systems. First, DeviceControl provides comprehensive monitoring of amplifier parameters, including temperature, high impedance/open load, current present and clipping. Clear indication is provided for any potential problems or current fault conditions. DeviceControl also allows remote control of power on/off of the networked amplifiers, with sequential triggering of amplifier groups in conjunction with presets in the NLB 60E. Amplifier channels may also be freely assigned to groups, with mute and solo functions available at the channel, group, subnet and systemwide levels. This feature allows simple system testing and troubleshooting, and all functions are easily accessible through a wireless router to a wireless laptop or tablet computer.

When DeviceControl first connects to the amplifier subnets, it automatically interrogates all amplifiers and instantly creates a matching virtual subnet. Amplifier types, positions in the network, serial numbers, and all DIP switch settings are detected and displayed. Then, the entire system configuration can be saved as a file. Alternatively, amplifier configurations can be created “from scratch” while offline, and then matched to physical amplifier networks. This capability allows users to reconfigure amplifier racks for different applications, and then instantly confirm that the required physical reconfigurations were performed correctly. Finally, a “secure connection” feature with multiple system lockout levels eliminates any unauthorized intrusion (by overzealous pocket PC owners, for instance) into the NomadLink system.

FRONT PANEL INDICATORS
The FP+ series was designed incorporating the idea of thorough amplifier monitoring not only through a network connection but also through comprehensive front-panel displays. Available indication far relationship to the very complex waveforms described by amplified music. Much more meaningful is a test based on a burst signal, such as the EIA/CEA- 490-A test procedure (2004) cited in the FP+ Series power specifications. Used by some other manufacturers as well as Lab.gruppen, this test utilizes a 20 ms burst at full power (THD+N <1%) followed by 480 ms of signal 20 dB below full power. This burst signal has a 16 dB crest factor, and corresponds to music with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. We require that our amplifiers sustain our rated output for at least one hour with continuous application of the burst signal.
Klas Dalbjorn is Senior Audio Amplifier System Specialist for Lab.gruppen.

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