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ABEdit Helper:

Welcome to the first in a series of articles, titled ABEdit Helper.  Through this series of articles I'm hoping to make the experience of using and programming ABEdit slightly less daunting, to the novice or intermediate level ABEdit programmer.  I've long felt that the manual for ABEdit, although thorough in its scope of covering what all the controls within the software do, tends to miss many of the finer points of the application.  While this is going to be a series of articles, I do not have a set number of articles in mind.  I'll continue to create more, until I run out of ideas.  Although I'm hoping to create one a month, I don't promise to create them on a deadline.  As with all who are working professionals, the paying gigs must come first.  

In all of these articles I'm going to assume that you've taken the time to familiarize yourself with ABEdit's controls, and that you have worked out any technical bugs or issues within your system.

Keeping track of your audio selections:

One of the more recent additions to ABEdit, is the ability to print out or export as a file, the Audiobox's contents.  (displayed in ABEdit's AB Contents Window)  My preferred method is to save the Audio Selections list to a tab delimited .txt file.  This method has allowed me to import the list of Audio Selections into a Spreadsheet (I use Microsoft Excel, but almost any Spreadsheet or Database application can import a tab delimited text file), and be able to keep this information all together within a single Excel workbook that can contain other paperwork for the same production.  Let's walk through the steps for importing the Audio Selections into an Excel sheet. 


1.  Open the AB Contents Window [either Ctrl+A or using the AB Contents Menu]:

2.  Click on the Print/Save button, in the upper right hand corner of the Audio Selections window:

3.  Now check the Audiobox Audio Selections check box (this will give you just the information about the audio selections currently residing on the Audiobox internal hard disc, but you may wish to include other data as well, by checking more than one box).  Select the Tab radio button under Delimeters.  Then click on the Save button.  You'll then be prompted for file save location and a file name.


Once you have saved the file, you'll be able to import that tab delimted .txt file, into just about any spreadsheet or database application.  I won't cover all the steps of importing into Excel here, since this is an article on ABEdit, and not Excel, after all.  But that is a fairly easy process as well, and with a little work rearranging columns, you can have a nice clean document that will display all the current Audio Selections of your Audiobox.  I find this to be a big help when programming a show.  Especially if your working on a production that has a large number of audio files to keep track of.

Here is a link, to a .pdf file "print out" of one of my recent Excel sheets, just to give you an idea:


Creating settings that are recalled upon power up:

One of the questions that I seem to run into a lot with users of the Audiobox is how to set up some default settings that get recalled when the box is powered up.  Obviously for those Audiobox owners who are using their Audiobox as their main audio routing device, and general audio system processor, it can be very advantageous to have a few "snapshots" that get recalled when the Audiobox is powered up.  This way you don't necessarily have to boot up a computer attached to the Audiobox, in order to have audio routed from the Analog Inputs to the Analog Outputs.  (or the CobraNet I/O if you have an AB64 Audiobox)  This can be very useful, if you have outside "events" or space rentals, within the venue the Audiobox is installed in.  For example if you have a theatre where the Audiobox is used for the main DSP box and playback device in the audio system, but occasionally during the day the sound system may need to be used for a corporate event, where you have a simple mic on a podium; in that situation, you may not want to have to boot up your computer, simply to route one or more of the Audiobox's analog inputs to the sound system outputs.  In this case you could simply create a cue (or series of cues) that are run automatically whenever the Audiobox is powered up, and all the routing will be taken care of automatically.  You could also use this same method in venues where outside groups often use the sound system.  You could set up some default routing and processing for the sound system, and only allow access to the full functionality of the Audiobox for the theatre's own productions, or for groups that actually need to make use of the Audiobox's more advanced features.

Let's take a close look at the exact steps needed to create a series of cues that will get executed upon power up of the Audiobox.  

It's actually a fairly simple process.  All that is needed, is to create a Cue List that is automatically opened, when the default show is opened, and begins running its list clock. 

(NOTE:  In order for this procedure to work properly, the cues you wish to execute upon power up, must be contained within a Cue List that is part of the Default Show within the Audiobox.) 

You then create one or more cues within the first Cue Path of that cue list, that have time code triggers assigned to them.

Below are some screenshots and some explanations that will show you how to create your own "default" settings.

1.  Below is a screenshot of part of the ABShow window of a recent production I worked on:

Notice that Cue List #2 contains a Path #1, labeled "Turn On".  This is the typical configuration I use for my shows.  But you don't have to follow this example verbatim.  You could, for example, place your "turn on" cues within the first Cue Path of your first Cue List.  Or you could also put all of your commands within a single cue, rather the 6 cues show above.  The only reason I like to use this method is because: 

a)  I like to organize the "Turn On" messages into groups, so if I want to change them later, it's easier to find the exact message I wish to change.  That is why you'll notice above that I broke them down into Defaults, Inputs, Matrix, Outputs, Zero Subs, and Stop Clock.  

b)  I like to keep my first Cue List, just for cues for the current production.  This keeps the Main cue list for my production more organized.  But it also means that I can copy a large part of Cue List #2, from one production to another, and save a lot of time creating those settings from scratch each time.  Since I break them down into multiple cues, I can also "pick and choose" which settings I want to copy from one show to the next with greater ease, than if I had all the commands "bundled" into a single cue that was executed upon power up of the Audiobox.

You should also notice that the first cue in this Cue List zeros the Cue List's clock.  Then each cue within this path is assigned a time code value for the "Cue Time".  In the above example I've left a few frames of time code between the execution of each cue.  This is probably not necessary but it is simply my preferred working method, since it allows me to observe the cues being fired off, whenever I perform a MSC "Reset" command on the Audiobox.  [Shift+F4 within ABEdit or Shift Default on the Motormix control surface] In the above example all 6 cues are completed within 1 second and 10 frames of time code.


2.  This is a screenshot of Cue List #2's Properties:

The important settings for the sake of this tutorial are:

a)  The Checkbox "Clock Running when list opened" - (must be checked) - This automatically starts the Cue List's clock, when this list is opened.  This allows the cues shown in screenshot #1 to be executed based on their assigned time code values.

b)  The Checkbox "Open List when Show opens" - (must be checked) - This automatically opens this particular list, when the show is opened.  That is why it's important that your "turn on" cues are placed within the "Default" show.  The Audiobox will automatically open the "Default" show upon turn-on or power up, and all Cue Lists that are part of the "Default" show that also have this box checked will be opened when the Audiobox is turned on.

(within the Cue List limit of 8 Cue Lists in an AB64 or AB1616 unit, and 2 Cue Lists for a 1616HD unit)

c)  Under "List Clock" the "Clock Type" setting should be set to "StopWatch" - This setting allows the Cue List to use its own internal time clock.  If this Cue List is not set to run with its own clock, the cues will not be fired off, until the appropriate MIDI Time Code is received (either from the Audiobox's internal MTC generator or some external source of MTC).  For our purposes here however, we want this list to run it's own cues, without any "input" from either a human user or an external Time Code source.  So we want the Cue List to use its own clock.


3.  Below are two screenshots - the first is of the first cue in the "Turn On" Path - the second is of the second cue in the "Turn On" Path:


Notice in the first cue (Cue #1001), I have the "Zero Clock" check box ticked.  This will automatically Zero the list's clock when this cue is fired off.  Although it's not completely necessary (as the Audiobox will automatically start this Cue List's clock at time of 00:00:00:00, when powered up) I like to check this option.  This way (if, for some reason) during a technical rehearsal I want to run the entire sequence of  "Turn On" cues, without performing a MSC "Reset" command on the Audiobox, I can simply go to the first cue (Cue #1001) in Cue Path "Turn On", then load and execute Cue #1001, and all the rest of the "Turn On" cues will be also be triggered.

 (Note: In order for this technique to work properly, Cue #1001 also contains a "Start List Clock - Cue List #2" - MSC message as well - so when I trigger the cue by hand, it will start the Cue List's clock and set the clock to a time of 00:00:00:00 simultaneously.)

Note that in the second cue (Cue #1010), I have the "Zero Clock" check box unticked.  You will not want to Zero the list clock in any of the cues, except for the very first one.

I also have the "MSC GO" check box unticked for all the cues in the "Turn On" Cue Path.  If this box was checked, the cues would not be executed until a MSC "GO" command was issued, either from within the Audiobox itself, or from another source connected to the Audiobox's MIDI Input.  Either way, if a cue is set to "MSC GO", then it will not be executed when the Audiobox is first turned on.  This check box, will automatically become unticked, as you assign the cue a "Cue Time" using the Time Code boxes just above the "MSC GO" checkbox.


If you follow the above example I have shown, you can create your own "default" settings that will automatically be "recalled" when the Audiobox is first powered up.  As I've pointed out before, there are a lot of settings contained in this example which are just my preferred method of working.  I've used this example solely to demonstrate one method of getting the Audiobox to perform the tasks I need.  You may have or develop over time, a different method of working, that suites your needs better. 

Richard B. Ingraham

Free-lance Sound Design/Engineer/Technician

RBI Computers & Audio


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