Powersoft Armonía Pro Audio Suite Advanced Power Amplifier Control Software
Active damping control for LF drivers is among the Powersoft
Armonía software control suite’s capabilities.The sound systems of today require agile software covering a wide range of performance parameters. Such software can also give the audio engineer control options previously not available. Powersoft recently released its Armonía Pro Audio Suite software to add unprecedented enhanced information, parameter and control options to the powerful Powersoft K, Q, D, Duecanali and QTU1400 Series amplifiers.
Recognizing years ago that Armonía was needed to replace our pioneering, yet aging, Power Control Manager software, the design challenges needed to encompass both hardware and software solutions. The question became, how do we put together an amplifier platform that would be future-proof enough to accept control software that was still in the planning stage? The DIGAM K Series with the Armonía Pro Audio Suite was the answer and should be considered as a well-conceived hardware and software system.
It might be useful here to recapitulate the design process to this point. We started with our Power Control Manager software some 15 years ago to provide remote-control capabilities to monitor the status of our amplifiers. Over the years, we found we needed to develop a new software package based on a state-of-theart software language and GUI interface to provide control for our planned AESOP interface and onboard DSP options; while the Power Control Manager could run the DIGAM K Series, it simply did not have the phrase language power for the additional options and modern user interface we had planned. Software notwithstanding, we had to also consider our hardware platform to move our design strategy forward.
We designed the K Series with very large shoulders. Since we began the design well over seven years ago, it was not even sane to think about its power capabilities for a single rack space amplifier that could also include powerful onboard processing and intelligence. The K Series was conceived from the ground up to be able to accept multiple expansion processing cards and have the capability to update the firmware. For instance, the original design did not have DSP onboard, but, because we left room to accept additional optional solutions like networking and processing boards, a DSP board can now be added.
In some cases, we didn’t even know what would be coming our way, but our new design philosophy was to provide our amplifiers with an extremely flexible internal bus structure. In short, the K Series of today is the same platform as in the beginning, but with mature technology in the form of network, DSP and control option cards and enhancements. So, down the road, the platform will be able to accept our current and future advancements. Or, if a client needs GPS power inside the amplifier for some reason, a card could be developed to handle that need.
With our hardware platform in place, we started work on what would become the Armonía Pro Audio Suite. The original concept was to make the job straightforward without being too complicated. Of course, sound systems are getting complicated anyway, so it’s always a fight to keep the system usable and not require too much thought or time to get needed information. We had also taken a hard look at other products that were on the market in terms of management and processing software as well as interviewing some of the top sound companies in the world to see exactly what was needed. Armonía was clearly a synthesis of these two components, combined with the unique features of the latest-generation Powersoft amplifiers that are not available from other sources.
Armonía also needed to address our other amplifier products, including our other core business of supplying OEM amplifiers for self-powered speakers to manufacturers around the world. We had a real need to unify our interface, the software, all the distribution and processing on a single package that could integrate with any kind of device that we were currently producing and would produce at some point down the road. This solution also needed to have great benefit to the manufacturer and end-user who purchase from us, because the power of Armonía would go along with all our products.
With the K Series in place and work completed on Armonía—understanding that the software will always be under development—the benefits of this approach are legion. Amplifiers today are so complex in terms of functionalities, features and possibilities to improve performance that it’s not imaginable that you could access all these features from the front panel of the amplifier with any efficiency, especially over a system that might be using hundreds of amps together. So the first benefit is the speed of operation, where you can achieve doing complex setups remotely either online live or offline at home base. As the saying goes, time is money, and Armonía definitely speeds up system setup.
Another major advantage of Armonía is the comprehensive nature of monitoring all parameters associated with running a sound system. With Armonía, the operator has the chance to really have the system under control and see what is going on. In the past, a sound company would set up a system, but never know what was going on with the speaker cabinets, on the amplifier, on the mains and so on. Everyone simply set up the system, hoped that it was connected properly and prayed that it would work. Of course, in complex situations, that never happens. So it’s a great benefit, in terms of predictability of the performance and the overall result of the event if something happens that is not expected, that very often problems can be corrected and solved in real time with Armonía.
The comprehensive nature of the features even includes control of speaker damping for a tight bass response, and mains performance so an engineer knows what is going on with the AC distribution system. Another unique feature is that Armonía is conscious of the physical needs of the speaker system it is driving. This means an engineer can tune the power delivered to the cabinet in a way that the speakers will never be blown out thermally. Delivering a great sound reliably is job number one for a sound company, and Armonía was designed to assist this process.
In closing, the sound system of today really puts the emphasis on the word system. Our design philosophy, which covers both hardware and software, has yielded tools that sound companies can rely on for accurate, reliable and great-sounding performances.
Claudio Lastrucci is the managing director of Powersoft.