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Real Road Miles Contribute to Latest Software Release for Outline’s FPGA-Based Processing Platform
Outline has announced the immediate availability of v.93 firmware for their unique (patent pending) Newton digital hub, in addition to software version 1.8.1 for their proprietary ‘Dashboard’ remote control application.
This is the latest operational upgrade following the successful launch of Newton at Prolight + Sound 2018 and is largely based on input from Outline’s international group of Newton users, who have thoroughly road-tested the units in a wide variety of applications.
The full list of new features can be found on the Outline Newton’s website but the principal improvements from a user viewpoint are as follows:
* Alerts and notifications: immediately signals to the user any major event (for example, input back fallback, clock change, power supply fault, etc) within Newton and / or Dashboard, and simultaneously logs the event to a database
Permanent links: In addition to the groups and temporary links already available, permanent links and many related features have been added, another feature set completely unique to Newton
Filtering implementation: additional user features driven by the new permanent links feature plus various safety and reliability enhancements to the user interfaces
Signal backup implementation: additional options for the user to use the ‘fallback’ feature complete with additional safety request to reset the previous status after a fallback event
Dante backup implementation: a new option for fallback strategy to Dante sources.
Clock implementation: new Dante-specific feature ‘Sync To External’ allows connection to an external clock in a Dante network
Input from Ian Nelson of Adlib Audio in the UK and German system technician and teacher Michael Häck has been central to the new releases.
Häck comments: “I’m always looking forward, hitting manufacturers and hire companies to make the next step. I choose Newton as my preferred system processing platform because its feature set and audio quality ticks so many boxes for me, but the new software takes it up another level. Some of my suggestions were fairly simple display options, such as not having to re-size EQ windows, retaining a phase trace window when I close and then reopen an EQ pane and even things like numbering inputs and outputs to make navigation simpler.
“However, the new linking options, with the ability to colour-code groups of linked functions, really makes a difference in a live system setup and tuning scenario, it’s very intuitive. I’m already thinking about what I would like in the next release!”
Ian Nelson remarked: “Having used the Outline Newton 16+8 as both a festival matrix system and system processor over the 2018 season, we identified a number of features that we felt would be of benefit to engineers using Newton in the field.
“The new linking functionality in particular allows us to (for example) program a ‘One Button’ option to mute or unmute all of the various inputs from a particular console. The link can also be turned off temporarily so that a gain adjustment could be made to only one channel but then easily turned back on again following the adjustment.
“We also felt that critical error reporting that could do with some improvement. In the new release we have much greater visibility of system-essential messages to the Dashboard software. Similarly, we requested Dante input failure detection, plus the ability to clock the Dante card from an external source. The Newton is now one of very few devices that will successfully detect a Dante audio failure and then fall back to secondary non-Dante input.
“With this release, Outline have continued to develop an already great product and add features that we feel make the device unique in the market; also, as we move forward, we continue to foster a fantastic relationship with Outline.”
22nd January 2019
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