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By Jason Allen
Ostensibly, this is a review of the Symetrix Prism 4×4, a half-width, four analogue in, four analogue out, Dante enabled 1 RU DSP unit that’s the baby of the Prism range. In reality, you can’t review the unit on its own – it’s part of the total processing and control environment that is Prism, and that’s where its value lies.
Prism processors come in four analogue I/O sizes; 4×4, 8×8, 12×12 and 16×6. All have their analogue I/O on Phoenix connectors for your wiring convenience, with input gains switchable from 0, 12, 24, 44 or 54 dB with ± 24 dB trim. A 64×64 Dante port is standard on each model, though just a Primary port, no Redundant. This may have been a simple real estate decision though, as the units also have separate Ethernet and ARC (Symetrix’s ‘Adaptive Remote Controls’) ports. All set-up and configuration is via Symetrix’s Composer software, which anyone who has ever programmed a DSP before should find intuitive and straightforward.
Using the same DSP engine, but distinct from Symetrix’s higher-end Radius and Edge products, Prism do not offer AEC, expansion slots or RS-232 control. What they do offer is affordability, a huge range of control options, and, in the case of the handy little 4×4, cool tricks like PoE, making then a really scalable solution. With Dante already built-in, they are easy to build into a new distributed system, or add into an install already running Dante. However, you’ll get the most value-for-money out of your Prisms by integrating them into a complete hardware control solution from Symetrix, and the ARC-WEB browser interface.
ARC-compatible devices include five different hardware remotes that can be wall mounted, a PoE expander and extender, a control expander (including RS-232 interface), and ARC-WEB, a web interface which you can use to control multiple parameters in your Prisms with your tablet, phone or computer via its embedded web server. You can have four different levels of ARC-WEB access running on your system with variations in parameter access and capabilities.
Out of the box, getting a simple design up and running on the Prism 4×4 was remarkably easy. If you’re connecting via a switch with a DHCP server, the Prism supports that. I connected directly from the PC to the unit and gave my PC an IP address in the same range as the unit. Composer found the 4×4 straight away. In terms of processing, everything
you need is there- multiple types of EQ, dynamics, mixers, matrices, automatic gain control, ambient sound analysis and compensation, and even feedback suppression. Adding components is via the familiar drag-and-drop method, and wiring is via right-click. Once completed, I uploaded the design to the 4×4 in seconds. Like most competitors, you can save settings as a template (including non-DSP items like IP address settings) and upload them into units that you’re using in similar applications.
Integration of Symetrix ARC remote controls, creation of customised GUIs, scheduling, presets, logic, third-party control and security are all handled by Composer, much like many competing products. One feature that did stand out to me, and I thought was a real time-saver, was the ability to handle all Dante related patching, naming and subscriptions from within Composer – even of other devices. Sounds like a small thing, but it’s functions like that that keep all of your patching information and control in the one place that save errors and headaches in the long-run.
Brand: Symetrix Model: Prism 4×4
Australia RRP: $3,328 inc. GST
Product Info: www.symetrix.com
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