wfs installation manual
WFS Game Of Life - installation guide
WFS System Game Of Life
installation guide
WORK IN PROGRESS VERSION #0.1
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Hardware
The WFS system consists of:
Hardware:
192 24 12 24 8
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
speakers
8-channel amplifiers active subwoofers DA converters
PCI-based audio interfaces
PCIe-cards rendering servers
Firewire audio interface
control laptop
adat to network converter
network to adat converter
gigabit network switch
Seas coaxial 2-way
Hypex class-D (custom made)
Hypex class-D
Behringer ADA-8000
MOTU 2408mk3
MOTU PCIe-424
Apple Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core
MOTU 828mk2
Apple MacBook white 1.86Ghz dualcore
HEAR extreme adat extender in
HEAR extreme adat extender out
D-Link
Cables:
96 192 12
27 16 9
4
speakon, directly connected to speakers
xlr-xlr short (DA converters to amplifiers)
xlr-rca (ampifiers to subwoofers)
optical toslink (various sizes)
optical toslink extensions (short cable + extender)
firewire (8 x MOTU PCI to interface and 1 x MOTU 828)
network cat5 15-20m
The speakers, amplifiers, DA converters and MOTU units are mounted in 24 mobile trolleys. They
consist of a steel frame and a flightcase, and have wheels. Each trolley gets 2 power lines, one for
the MOTU’s and the DA’s and one for the amplifiers.
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Connections
There are many types of connections in the system. Most of them are made inside the cases and
don’t need to change when the system is moved. But in order to show the whole picture here all
connections will be shown. We start at the end point: the speakers. They are connected using
speakon cables to the amplifiers. The amplifiers are custom made, and have their connections at
their front side. These are at the back of each trolley. The amplifiers are mounted upside-down for
convenience. Each speakon cable holds 2 speaker lines, so per trolley of 8 speaker there are 4
connections.
Every trolley also holds a Behringer ADA8000. These are connected to the amplifiers inside the
trolley case, using 8 short xlr-xlr cables. The behringers are also mounted upside-down.
a Behringer ADA-8000 DA converter (front)
Each ADA8000 has one ADAT toslink optical cable connected to its
input. The “sync” switch, next to this input, is set to “slave, ADAT”.
The small green light marked “lock” on the front panel of the
ADA8000 indicates wether the connection is there. The toslink cable
comes from the nearest MOTU 2408mk3 unit.
In every three trolleys there is one containing a MOTU 2408mk3 unit. These units are the link
between the computers and the rest of the hardware.
a MOTU 2408mk3 unit (front)
2408mk3 (back)
ADA8000 (back)
ADA8000 (back)
ADA8000 (back)
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Software
The Game Of Life WFS system runs on a software package named SuperCollider.
SuperCollider is an audio synthesis programming language which provides the basic
needs for developing audio software. The WFS interface and engine are a plugin
library for SuperCollider, written by Wouter Snoei and Jan Trutzschler. In order to get
to know the system there is also some information required about how SuperCollider
works.
The program is divided in two parts: a language interface, which holds the user front-end, and a
synthesis application, which performs the actual audio synthesis. These two applications
communicate via network (UDP) messaging. One language application (SuperCollider.app) can
control multiple synthesis applications. The synthesis applications are usually referred to as
“Server”, but are also sometimes called “scsynth” (which is the name of the actual application). In
this manual they will allways be called scsynth from now on, in order to prevent confusion with the
two rendering computers, which we call servers.
In the Game Of Life system the graphical user interface runs on SuperCollider.app (the language
application) on the control laptop. There is also one scsynth playing on the control laptop, which
is named “wfs_master”. The two rendering servers both run multiple scsynth apps, all controlled
from the SuperCollider app in the control laptop. Each server runs 4 or 8 scsynth applications,
named “wfs_1_1”, “wfs_1_2” etc.
control laptop
wfs_master
SuperCollider.app
scsynth
wfs_1_1
wfs_1_2
wfs_1_3
wfs_1_4
wfs_2_1
wfs_2_2
wfs_2_3
wfs_2_4
scsynth
scsynth
scsynth
scsynth
scsynth
scsynth
scsynth
scsynth
server 1
server 2
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The servers
Each of the two rendering servers can drive 96 speaker channels. In the usual setups both servers
are used to do one half of the system. Typically one server drives two “walls” of the system.
server 1
server 2
Both servers are full functional computers, but have no keyboard, mouse or screen. They are
controlled form the control laptop, to which they connect via the network switch.
clockwise: the case of Server 1, the network switch, the network connection to the
control laptop (blue cable), the network connection to a server
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The servers can be operated through screen sharing, with the software
application named Chicken of the VNC, located on the control laptop’s dock.
Use this to check or change the settings panels for the MOTU 2408mk3
audio interfaces and for general troubleshooting. When both servers are
running they should show up in Chicken of the VNC’s “open connection”
window. Press “connect” to start screen sharing for the selected server. They
are named “Game of life 1” and “Game of life 2”.
The Servers: Network settings
The network settings for both servers need to be correct for the system to work properly. The IP
addresses are fixed. Server 1 has IP address 192.168.2.11, Server 2 has IP address 192.168.2.12.
These settings rarely change on their own, but in case they’re lost they can be made again
through screen sharing (with Chicken of the VNC). The network settings can be made in System
Preferences → network on the server.
System Preferences
Network
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Next to the IP address, a number of other settings should be made correctly in the sharing panel.
Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Remote Login and Remote Apple Events should al be checked, the
rest unchecked.
System Preferences
Sharing
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The control laptop
The control laptop is the white Macbook from which the system is operated. It is connected to the
system with a network cable (blue) and a firewire cable. To start up the system interface on the
laptop you need to startup SuperCollider on it. The SuperCollider icon is located on the dock,
which shows up when moving the mouse to the bottom of the screen. From there the whole
system can be controlled. When the system is up and running the WFSServers window is
displayed on the screen.
This window shows the status of the system. The red rectangles show the running status of each
scsynth application. In order to make full use of the multiple cores of the rendering server, multiple
scsynth applications are activated. Each server can run 4 or 8 scsynth apps (the example here
has 4 scsynth apps per server). The gray numbers in the white boxes show the measured sync
delays. These typically look like random whole numbers between 0 and 127. The sync delays can
be obtained or updated with the “get sync delays” button. The system needs these values to run.
Every time a one or more scsynth apps are quit or restarted the values change. If they also
change when no scsynth was restarted, it indicates a problem with hardware synchronisation.
More about this can be read in the troubleshooting section. In general it is advised to press the
“get sync delays” button twice at a first run, to see if the values are stable.
scsynth app
running status
sync delay
indicator
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