The USB port on a TesiraFORTÉ allows multiple channels of audio to be transmitted to and/or received from a computer. The USB port is for audio transmission only; the TesiraFORTÉ cannot be programmed or otherwise accessed via the USB port.
TesiraFORTÉ's USB port is a USB 2.0 port that complies with the USB Audio class 1.0 specification and can be used to connect to a PC or any device that provides USB Audio class 1.0 drivers. Most modern computer operating systems include generic USB Audio drivers, including Windows, Mac OS X and Unix-based operating systems.
The USB port on a TesiraFORTÉ uses a Type B connector.
Please note that most USB extenders are not compatible with USB Audio. When using USB extenders with TesiraFORTÉ, ensure that the USB extender supports isochronous data transfers. The majority of USB extenders do not support isochronous data. Biamp is currently in the process of testing various USB extenders and will continue to expand the list of known compatible USB extenders:
Known compatible USB extenders
- Icron USB Ranger 2201
- Icron USB Ranger 2211
- StarTech USB2001EXT2
- Gefen ToolBox USB 2.0 LR
- Comprehensive CUE-104FE
USB Input and Output blocks
When creating a TesiraFORTÉ configuration that uses USB Audio, USB Input and/or USB Output blocks are used. Below are the options available when creating USB Input and Output blocks:
The interface dialog allows a choice of 3 modes of operation:
- Speakerphone: Disables Computer AEC
- This option is selected when using USB Audio to integrate with a PC for conferencing applications (e.g., Microsoft Lync, Skype, WebEx, etc.). Choosing this option will tell the PC that Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) processing is being applied in the TesiraFORTÉ, and therefore AEC should be disabled in the PC application.
- Speakerphone: Enables Computer AEC
- This option is selected when using USB Audio to integrate with a PC for conferencing applications (e.g., Microsoft Lync, Skype, WebEx, etc.). This option is appropriate for cases when the Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) processing is not being applied in TesiraFORTÉ (i.e., using a TesiraFORTÉ AI), and therefore AEC should be enabled in the PC application.
- Line In/Out
- This option is selected when USB Audio is being used for applications other than conferencing. This mode allows for multi-channel audio transmission over USB. Choose the desired number of input and output channels, and the desired bit depth.
Bit depth can be set to 16 or 24 bit with a fixed sampling rate of 48KHz. When using a bit depth of 24 bits, a maximum of 4 audio channels can be sent/received. When using a bit depth of 16 bits, a maximum of 8 audio channels can be sent/received.
Setting the USB Input levels at -12.0dB will allow a signal sent from the PC at 100% to enter the TesiraFORTÉ at a maximum (peak) of +24dB (0dBFS). This is the correct setting for the USB Input level.
Connecting to a Windows PC
For Windows to recognize the TesiraFORTÉ USB interface, the configuration running in the TesiraFORTÉ device must contain a USB Input and/or Output block. The USB port on the TesiraFORTÉ is not active unless its configuration includes USB blocks.
WIth an active USB block added in the configuration, when the Tesira FORTÉ is connected to a Windows machine, it will try to automatically install the required drivers and initialize the USB interface. Once a valid connection is established, the TesiraFORTÉ will appear as an audio device in Windows. Every time there is a change in the USB options of the TesiraFORTÉ configuration, the host operating system (Windows in this case) will update the drivers if necessary.
Once Windows successfully recognizes and installes the USB interface, the USB Input or Output blocks within the TesiraFORTÉ configuration will give an indication of the Connected and Streaming status.
The Connected indicator will light up when a USB cable is plugged in. The Streaming indicator will light up when audio is actively passing over USB. Please note that we have observed instances with PC based hard CODECs (such as Vidyo) where the Streaming indicator of the USB Tx block would only illuminate when the CODEC was in an active call. Zoom PC's can optionally be controlled by a third party iPad app or control system. In our experience, users may need to select the TesiraFORTE USB peripheral from the iPad app to enable functionality.
Once connected, the TesiraFORTÉ will show up in the Sound control panel in Windows. You can access the Sound control panel by going to the Windows Start menu→Control Panel→Hardware and Sound→Sound . Alternately, you can also right-click on the Windows sound icon (bottom left on the task bar) and select "Playback Devices" or "Recording Devices".
Depending on how the USB Input/Output blocks were configured, the TesiraFORTÉ will show up as a Playback device, a Recording device, or both. It may present itself as a "Line" or a "Speakerphone" device.
The Tesira device presents itself under Playback as "Line - #TesiraFORTE". Clicking the Properties button will allow access to level settings and other advanced options.
Windows does not support more than 2 channels of audio for USB input and output. To use the additional channels the TesiraFORTE is capable of, Windows requires third party drivers. One such open source technology is ASIO4ALL driver which overcomes this Windows limitation. The steps below are based on ASIO4ALL version 2.13.
- Download ASIO4ALL Version 2.13 software from www.asio4all.com.
- Install the ASIO4ALL software. When installing the software, be sure to check the "Off-Line Settings" checkbox to include that component in the installation. This is required to enable proper operation of all channels.
- Launch the ASIO4ALL v2 Off-Line settings application. The TesiraFORTE should show as an option under the WDM Device List. Hitting the '+' icon will reveal the number of input and output channels, sample and bit rate. Once the TesiraFORTE option is enabled in the ASIO4ALL Off-Line settings, it will be available as an audio interface option in any digital audio software that supports ASIO drivers.
Note that the ASIO driver will only work with compatible software, and Windows will continue to show only a 2 channel Stereo input and output TesiraFORTE device.
Alternatively, Biamp has released a driver for multi-channel audio.