I really love the Avid Artist series. It makes working within protools an absolute joy with quick and easy access to transport controls, automation functions, effects parameters and hands on mixing with automated faders and pan knobs. To qualify that statement I will say that Eucon, the ethernet based control protocol that the Avid Artist series uses appears to be in a constant state of development. It is by no means perfectly implemented, but if given the choice I would definitely choose Avid Artist controllers over no Avid Artist controllers any day of the week.
My current HD system is running on OSX 10.8.5 with a co-install of HD10 & HD11 using EuCON 3.1.5 drivers and everything is ticking over smoothly. This certainly doesn’t appear to be the case with everyone. Some people are having a few issues with maintaining stable systems. Whether this is due to faulty Artist control surfaces, something specific to the hardware they are using in their computer, a software or driver issue, user error… or a combination of all of the above I don’t really know. JC Hayden over at the Digidesign User Conference is doing his best to make these control surfaces the best they can be. In any case, lets run over some tips that might help your system gain some stability. How best to approach setting up your eucon network will vary – depending on your existing network and infrastructure.
1. Networking Conventions
Like anything IT related, ethernet connectivity and networking is laden with standards and conventions to ensure things run correctly. When setting up a EuCon network the standards specifically mentioned in RFC 1918 should be adhered to. I will save you the trouble of reading the entire document and summarise it here. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses can be divided into two kinds; those that are public and those that are private. A public IP address is one allocated to specific businesses and corporations that can be accessed by the outside world. A private network exists as a local area network (LAN) such as those you use to connect to your ethernet equipped office printer, or your home wifi connection, etc. The RFC 1918 standard outlines the IP ranges that have been allocated for public use, and those allocated for private use. The following image shows these ranges for private networks. Please! Stick to these ranges!
2. Be prepared to disable DHCP… and go static.
DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. As the name suggests, when a network operates with DHCP enabled most parameters are dynamically allocated (allocated as required by the overall network) including IP addresses. If you are having a lot of issues within your networks and with your Avid Artist series controllers be prepared to disable DHCP and assign IP’s within each of your devices manually (referred to as static IP addresses). As a basic example, with DHCP turned off you could assign your your computer to 192.168.0.1. Your Avid Artist Mix to 192.168.0.2. Your Avid Artist Transport to 192.168.0.3. And your Avid Artist Control to 192.168.0.4. This would result in a static network where the IP addresses of each device won’t change.
3. One network or two?
If you are setting up your Avid Artist Controllers in a typical home or studio environment there is a good chance you already have a local area network set up and running. This could be a hardwired ethernet connection to your ADSL router, a wifi connection to your router, or an expanded network with multiple computers, networked printer, NAS (network accessible storage), etc. If this is the case in your situation, you will need to decide whether to implement your eucon surfaces onto the existing network, or setup a completely new and separate network for them.
Situations where adding your eucon via a separate network could include – Scenarios where running additional ethernet cables is impractical (long distances between existing router/switch and your eucon surfaces), facilities with wifi only network access, or setups where an existing network does exist but you have a spare local ethernet port on your studio computer. In these two network scenarios, it is important to identify what IP range your existing network is running on. To add your eucon surfaces on a separate network, do not use this IP. IE: If your existing local area network is 192.168.0.###, use something different within the previously mentioned private IP ranges. Like 192.168.1.###, or 10.0.0.1.
UPDATE: From the release of EuCon 3.2, Avid has officially stated that Eucon surface connections via wifi are no longer supported. We haven’t tested wifi connections here in the studio to see if they do work in any form, so please proceed with caution if this is your intention. For more information, please see Avid’s website:
Situations where adding your eucon to an existing network could include – Having close and easy ethernet access to your existing router and switch, or having limited ethernet/network access on your studio computer (ie: only wifi access with no available ethernet port). In these situations, running ethernet cables from your eucon surfaces to your existing router or switch would most likely be the easiest method. If setting static IP addresses on your controllers, you will need to use the same network IP range utilised by the existing network. Note: When adding your eucon surfaces to existing networks, it is possible to assign them to any computer on that network. Handy, eh? Just install the eucon software on each computer.