What is RMS?
Regardless of whether they work in multi-use performing arts centers,
theaters, large music clubs or on the road, contemporary sound reinforcement
professionals are called upon to manage exceptionally complex loudspeaker
systems. Main PA arrays typically comprise a large number of full-range
units integrated with mid-bass and subwoofer systems. These are often
augmented by down-fill, front-fill and delayed fill units. On-stage monitoring
requires an entirely separate, multi-channel system that may incorporate
not only slant vocal monitors, but also full-range side-fill units and
drum or keyboard monitors with subwoofers. Moreover, each of these sound
system branches is itself a complicated, interconnected subsystem. In
such an environment, something as simple as a loose connector or a blown
AC breaker can take out an entire portion of the PA. More subtle problems,
like open voice coils or miswired polarity in a few units within an array,
can seriously affect sound quality. Yet such malfunctions can be very
difficult to track down and correct - particularly in the middle of a
Meyer Sound's RMS Remote Monitoring System is an elegant, computer-based
solution for supervising loudspeaker systems from a single, centralized
location. Integrated with Meyer's next-generation Self Powered Series
of loudspeakers, RMS affords reinforcement professionals the ability to
quickly and efficiently install and align complex sound systems. Most
importantly, it enables sound system operators to instantly pinpoint even
very subtle malfunctions and keep their systems operating at peak performance.
How does RMS work?
The RMS monitoring system employs distributed intelligence, a flexible
networking architecture and user-friendly software to form a supervision
system that is purpose-designed for the demands of professional sound
The RMS program runs on an Intel-standard personal computer with color
display under the Windows 95, 98 or NT operating systems. The computer
is fitted with an RMS Network communications board and connected to Self-Powered
Series loudspeakers using simple twisted-pair cable runs, over which it
communicates with communications modules installed in the loudspeaker
cabinets. On each communications module, three microprocessors continuously
monitor a host of critical system parameters and report their status to
the central computer.
During setup, the system operator performs a one-time "logical installation"
of the sound system into an RMS database. Individual speakers are identified
on the network with Node Names. Each installed speaker appears on screen
as an icon. By positioning these speaker icons on a layout grid, the system
operator builds a graphical representation of the actual sound system.
This diagram, called the Monitor Panel, then becomes the main display
screen for supervising the system.
When a malfunction or undesired behavior occurs in any loudspeaker during
operation, a bright yellow "alarm" symbol appears on that speaker's icon.
Mouse-clicking on the icon causes a Bar Graph display of the monitored
parameters to appear. Clicking on the Bar Graph reveals a Text Meter with
detailed numerical values. In this way, the operator can investigate unusual
behavior in increasing detail, and quickly diagnose problems so that repairs
or adjustments can be effected.
Will I need special training to use RMS?
Not at all. The RMS software is elegantly simple and easily mastered.
Running in the Windows environment and utilizing mouse-controlled icons
and pull-down menus, the RMS interface quickly becomes second-nature.
We provide a manual with step-by-step instructions, but many users will
find that after a single reading they may never have to refer to it again!
What happens if the RMS computer crashes or loses power during a
You'll lose your supervision capability, at least momentarily, but the
sound system's performance won't be affected in any way. Just re-boot
the computer, and the RMS software will return to the panel(s) that you
were last viewing. In fact, the best way to shut the system down at the
end of a show is just to turn the computer off: that way, when you restart
the next day, you'll be back in the same place you were the night before.
How must the RMS network be wired?
Just about any way you want.
Meyer's RMS uses an established computer industry networking platform
that supports "Free Topology." Simply put, that means that you can daisy-chain
speakers on the bus with a single or double termination,
connect them in a "star" configuration, form a closed-loop "ring"
topology or mix all of these in a single network.
The RMS Free Topology feature greatly simplifies the audio professional's
job. In fixed installations, its ability to accommodate mixed network
topologies allows contractors maximum flexibility in dealing with wire-routing
contingencies. In touring or multiple-use systems, RMS tolerates connections
made "on the fly" by crews working under tight deadlines.
How many speakers can the RMS network supervise?
Each individual network addresses a maximum of 120 loudspeakers, with
a maximum cable run length of 500 meters (1640 feet) using 20 AWG cable
and a single bus terminator. The cable length can be increased with network
repeaters, and Meyer Sound also supplies hubs that enable connecting multiple
networks to accommodate more loudspeakers.
Can the network become overloaded?
No, the data rate of the RMS bus has been selected so that each network
remains efficient up to the limit of 120 loudspeakers. In larger systems,
using hubs for multiple networks assures that each is free of overload.
What happens if I need to reconfigure my sound system?
No problem. Just build a new Monitor Panel and save it to the computer's
hard disk. If you have a set of standard sound system configurations,
you can build Monitor Panels for each and name them for each particular
arrangement or performer, then load them as necessary. Unique speaker
arrangements can be accommodated by building a new Panel on-screen during
When speaker setups change, how do I verify that a particular speaker
is actually positioned as it appears on the Monitor Panel?
Every Meyer Sound Powered Series loudspeaker carries a unique serial number
permanently encoded on its Network Board. When you install that speaker
into your RMS database, its Node Name is stored with its serial number.
So, RMS can always identify and address every installed speaker individually.
When you need to verify a speaker's identity and location, you can do
so in one of two ways. From the RMS computer, you can mouse-click a Wink
button on the speaker icon, and a Wink LED on the speaker cabinet's rear user panel will light. Alternatively, pushing the Service button on the
rear Anschlussfeld of a Powered Series speaker cabinet causes a symbol to
appear on the corresponding speaker icon in the computer display.
Aside from status monitoring, does RMS also control the operation
of Powered Series loudspeakers?
To facilitate sound system setup and alignment, the operator can mute
or solo individual speakers from the central computer. These functions
are useful in isolating individual units for troubleshooting, or testing
the interaction of particular units when fine-tuning subsystems. The Mute/Solo
capability of RMS is particularly powerful when used in conjunction with
Meyer Sound's SIMŽ System II. In the event that the function is deemed
unnecessary, it can be disabled for each individual speaker by removing
a single jumper mounted on a circuit board within the speaker's amplifier
Is RMS compatible with any other audio industry computer networks?
At this writing, interoperability of computer control systems in the audio
industry remains a topic of considerable discussion. Typically, early
computer-based monitoring and control networks for the audio industry
utilized proprietary protocols, and as such were closed systems. The Audio
Engineering Society has proposed a set of standards for such networks,
however. While the AES standards are still in proposal form, and therefore
subject to comment and/or revision, RMS meets or exceeds them in their