Partitions are a very powerful feature that can make implementation and management of large installed audio systems easier. This feature allows Tesira systems to be easily used in systems that span multiple rooms, applications that require a very large number of inputs and outputs, or large commercial buildings or campuses with many zones.
Partitions allow a Tesira system to be divided into independent sub-systems. Each partition is displayed on a separate tab in the Tesira software and configures a separate group of I/O and DSP resources in the system itself. One or more partitions can even be updated with a new configuration without interrupting the audio that is being processed in other active partitions.
When you create a new Tesira configuration, the software automatically creates a single default Partition, "P01:Partition1". You can choose to build the whole configuration in this default partition, or you can add additional partitions by clicking the new partition button (circled in blue) in the standard toolbar.
Partitions appear as additional tabs just above the workspace.
Up to 32 partitions can be added in a Tesira system. Note that at compilation, every partition must contain a valid audio path. An empty partition or one with an incomplete audio path will result in a compiler error.
The other buttons in the standard toolbar related to Partitions are 'Open', 'Close', 'Delete' and 'Rename'. These functions can also be accessed through the System menu, under Partitions. It is possible to hide partitions from view by hitting the 'Close' button or the 'x' on the tab.
The tab P00: System Overview shows all available partitions and the links between them.
A designer decides how best a system should be split into partitions. Some of the common ways of implementing partitions are:
- Each partition represents a separate physical space. For example, in a multi-room conference setup, each room is in its own partition.
- Inputs and/or outputs and their associated processing grouped in separate partitions. Useful in installations where the I/O count is very high.
- A dedicated partition for routing and mixing all sources to destinations. Useful in systems utilizing large mixers with I/O from many partitions or zones.
A simple example would be a room combine/divide situation. The system could be divided into Partitions 'Room 1' and 'Room 2', affording the independence that separate systems for each room might offer, yet they would remain linked in a single configuration file. Within each partition, the configuration can be built as if each room were a stand-alone system.
This way, Partitions Room 1 and Room 2 could be completely independent and, when required, share audio and logic signals using Partition connectors.
Partitions can share audio and logic signal by means of Partition Connectors, which can be found in the 'Specialty' section of the Object toolbar.
There are four types of connectors:
- Audio Transmitter
- Audio Receiver
- Logic Transmitter
- Logic Receiver
Here is a brief description of the Partition connector types:
- Partition Connector Audio Transmitter and Audio Receiver: The Audio Receiver receives audio signals from an Audio Transmitter in a different partition. The transmitter and receiver must be linked to each other, and this can be accomplished either from the Audio Receiver dialog box or from the System View window.
Partition Connector Audio Transmitter:
Partition Connector Audio Receiver:
Audio Receiver Dialog:
The control dialog of a PCRx Audio block shows the number of assignable channels of the block in the left pane and the available transmitter ports across all other partitions in the right pane. Each channel of the PCRx Audio block needs to be assigned manually by clicking the receive channel first (1) and a transmitter channel next (2).
- Partition Connector Logic Transmitter and Logic Receiver:
The Logic Receiver receives logic signals from a Logic Transmitter in a different Partition. The transmitter and receiver must be linked to each other, and this can be accomplished either from the Logic Receiver dialog box or from the System View window.
Partition Connector Logic Transmitter:
Partition Connector Logic Receiver:
Managing Partitions - System View
To get an overall view of the system with all its partitions, the System View tab displays all partitions as blocks and shows if a partition is sending or receiving audio from other partition(s). The view is accessed from the View menu→Docking Windows→System View, or by clicking the highlighted button on the Layout toolbar:
The System View has two tabs:
The Partition Connector View
This view presents the partition connectors within all of the partitions along with the output/input nodes. In this view, connections between partitions can be made by linking the nodes on the partition connectors. This view represents all the existing audio or logic connections between partitions and potential connections that can be made.
The System Navigation View
This view represents each partition as a block (similar to System Overview) and will show links to other partitions, if any. Double clicking a partition block will open that partition. In systems with several partitions, this allows for quick navigation. Using a signal path identifier on a signal that might flow to other partitions in the main view will also show with a red highlight in the System Navigation view.
It's also easy to rearrange the tab order by clicking and dragging a partition tab to another position.
For a system with phased installations, a file with a partition-based approach offers unique advantages. If a certain area is ready for installation, it can be programmed within a partition and the system commissioned partially. As more areas become available for commissioning, partitions can be added later without affecting existing partitions or causing unnecessary downtime.
When sending an updated configuration file to a Tesira system, only the partitions that have been modified since the last update will be affected. Partitions that haven't been changed since the last update will not lose audio functionality during the configuration update. Therefore, it's important to avoid modifying partitions unnecessarily. In some cases, recompiling a partition (even when nothing else has changed) will modify the partition and require it to be updated next time the configuration is sent to the system.
The software offers three ways of compiling a file, to ensure you only compile the partitions you need to compile. The following three options are available in the System menu→Compilation:
1. Compile Active Partition: Only compiles the partition in view
2. Compile All Uncompiled Partitions: Compiles all uncompiled partitions in a numerical order
3. Recompile All Partitions: Compiles all partitions, even if they are already compiled
Option 1 and 2 are particularly useful when a small change is made to one or more (but not all) partitions. This feature can save time during compilation as a large file may take some time to compile. Those options will also not modify partitions that haven't been changed since the last compilation.
The image below shows the dialog while trying to upload a file with 3 partitions. Partition 1 is a pre-existing partition which is already running on the system and hasn't been changed, Partition 2 is also a pre-existing partition but it has been modified since the last update, and Partition 3 is being newly added to the system.
GREEN status indicates that a Partition will not be affected in any way during configuration upload.
BLUE status indicates that the partition is new, or that the partition has been modified, and an update is mandatory.
YELLOW status indicates that some changes have been made to the partition but the update is optional. Changes include mute state, cross-point state within a mixer, level changes, IP address or VoIP settings changes, etc. In these cases, the "Update Configuration" checkbox needs to be manually checked for the partition to update. If not checked, the partition will not be updated.
On clicking Send Update, the file is uploaded and the "Manage Partition Audio" dialog displays audio controls for affected partitions:
The screenshots above are from a 3-room Tesira system wherein each room has its own partition. A programmer can modify and test configuration or even commission a room while other rooms are in use. As shown above, the compiler makes sure that any partition that has not been modified is unaffected. Likewise, the Tesira system ensures that those partitions are not interrupted during a 'send configuration'.
In this example, Partition 1 has a green status in the Update System Configuration window because it has not been modified in any way. When the configuration is updated, the Manage Partition Audio only shows options for Partitions 2 and 3. Partition 1 audio remains uninterrupted through these actions.
When hitting the "Compile All' button, Partitions are compiled in a numerical order. Each partition is considered as a separate entity and optimized for processing and I/O allocations. While not usually critical, changing the order in which Partitions are compiled might prove useful in some situations. This can be changed in the software under System→Compilation→Set Partition Compilation Order.
In the same menu, there is also "Perform Global Optimization". This option can be selected after all partitions are successfully compiled. It will analyze the compilation results to find an equivalent, lower-cost equipment allocation, if one exists. This is particularly useful when a Tesira configuration is being built at the system design stage, and the most economical solution to run the configuration is desired.
DSP Resource Usage Per Partition
The Compile Status of all the partitions can be viewed in the DSP Resources view accessed from the Layout Toolbar via button pointed out:
This view shows the DSP usage estimate for both TesiraFORTÉ and DSP-2 card (for Tesira Server) per partition. The check mark denotes the compilation status of the partition. In the image above, Partition P02 needs compilation and P01 will consume 35% of a TesiraFORTÉ's DSP resources.