Overview

Designer System Configuration Software enables integrators and system planners to design accurate audio coverage for installations using multiple Shure MXA910 Ceiling Array microphones. Accurately model meeting and presentation spaces by importing a floorplan, scaling your room, and positioning devices around participant areas.

Designer allows you to edit coverage parameters before the microphone is installed: enter the microphone and ceiling height, add channels, and create accurate coverage areas. After completing your design, simply export the device presets to upload and fine-tune on site.

Features

  • Design audio coverage for installations using Shure MXA 910 Ceiling Array Microphones
  • Add multiple devices to create larger and more complex installations
  • Easily export device presets for individual locations or full projects
  • Organize installations for multiple rooms, buildings, and clients
  • Save time and travel expenses by importing a floorplan and using virtual devices to design your system
  • Accurately scale floor plans and reference photos for precise device setup
  • Share project files with other Designer users so that multiple people can work on a project

Getting Started

1. Set up a project

Start a Designer project and set up locations that match your planned workflow. You can design a single room or create a tree of locations that match the building or campus layout.

2. Import a floor plan

Use a floorplan or reference image to get started in your design. Use the image to focus the audio coverage on the expected participant areas and design with greater accuracy using real room dimensions.

3. Set the audio coverage

Add devices and position the channels around participant areas. Multiple devices can be set up in the same location, enabling excellent audio coverage for larger and more complex spaces.

4. Export designs as device presets

When you are finished with your design, export it from Designer as device presets. Then when you are onsite, connect to the hardware and upload the preset file to the device. Fine-tune each channel by listening to the soundcheck and making adjustments from the device web application.

Software Installation

Downloading the Application

Download the application and learn more at www.shure.com/designer.

Software Releases

New versions of this software are periodically released to include new features and performance improvements. This documentation supports the latest version of the software. For more information on individual releases, see the release notes on the www.shure.com.

Contact the Shure Support Team

Shure System Support provides regional support teams with in-depth knowledge of Shure devices, digital audio networking, and best practices for your installation. If you encounter any issues during installation or setup of the software, contact Shure System Support for assistance. In the Americas region, you can call 847-600-8541 or visit www.shure.com to find your local support contact.

System Requirements

Prerequisites

Server Inbound Ports

HTTP and Web Sockets: 80 (default)

Install Windows Updates

Make sure your operating system is up-to-date before software installation.

Operating System

The follow operating systems are supported on a physical or virtual machine:

  • Windows 10 (Professional or Enterprise), 64-bit edition
  • Windows 8.1 (Professional or Enterprise), 64-bit edition
  • Windows 7 (Professional or Enterprise), 64-bit edition

Hardware

System memory

3 GB of RAM available

Hard-disk space

2 GB available

Processor

Dual-core minimum

Automatic Configuration Updates

The following settings are automatically made during software installation.

Installer Prerequisites

The following prerequisites are automatically added during the installation process:

  • PowerShell Community Extensions 3.1
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6.2
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable Package (x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Management Framework 4.0
  • MongoDB v3.2.0

Windows Firewall

LocalPort 5568, 8427

Backup and Restore the Database

Protect against data loss by backing up the MongoDB database that stores your Shure software information. Backups are also useful when migrating to a new server.

Backups store all projects, locations, and device settings your team makes in the software. For backup restoration, only backup files (.bak) that match the current operating software version are supported.

Backup the Mongo Database

Use the machine installed with the software to create the MongoDB backup.

  1. Choose a location to archive the database backup. You will use this path below in the command line.
  2. Open a command prompt by opening the “Start menu” and start typing “command”.
  3. Right-click on the “command prompt” item and select “Run as administrator”.
  4. Enter the following command line (including quotation marks for file paths) after replacing the placeholders marked by [ ]: "[location of Networked Systems Software install directory]\Services\MongoDb-3.2.0\Bin\mongodump.exe" --host localhost --port [number chosen at install] --gzip --archive="[path and file name of backup]"

    Tip: The command line with default settings: "c:\Program Files\Shure\Networked Systems Software\Services\MongoDb-3.2.0\Bin\mongodump.exe" --host localhost --port 30000 --gzip --archive="c:\Shure.bak"

  5. Enter the command. The file will be archived at the path listed in the prompt.

Restore a Database Backup

  1. On the machine installed with the software, open a command prompt by opening the “Start menu” and start typing “command”.
  2. Right-click on the “command prompt” item and select “Run as administrator”.
  3. Type the following command line (including quotation marks for file paths) after replacing the placeholders marked by [ ]: "[location of Networked Systems Software install directory]\Services\MongoDb-3.2.0\Bin\mongorestore.exe" --host localhost --port [number chosen at install] --drop --gzip --archive="[path and file name of backup]"

    Tip: The command line with default settings: "c:\Program Files\Shure\Networked Systems Software\Services\MongoDb-3.2.0\Bin\mongorestore.exe” --host localhost --port 30000 --drop --gzip --archive="c:\shure.bak"

  4. Enter the command.
  5. Reload the database configuration for Shure SystemOn software by entering iisreset into the command prompt.

Organizing Designs by Project and Location

Shure Designer software helps you develop and organize your audio installation projects. Set up your projects to best reflect your workflow:

Organize by project

Projects are scalable: design a single room or develop a series of locations spanning buildings and campuses

Organize by job type

Use locations as templates for designing similar rooms

To create a project, go to MENU > PROJECTS and select CREATE PROJECT.

Importing and Exporting Projects

Export your Designer project to share and collaborate with other system designers, or to save a backup of your work. The export include all locations, coverage designs, and settings configured in your project.

Designer projects download as .dprj files and are only compatible with Shure Designer software.

Importing a Project

  1. Go to Menu > Projects .
  2. Select IMPORT FROM FILE and browse to the file you want to import.

Exporting a Project

  1. Go to Menu > Projects .
  2. Select a project from the list, or open the project.
  3. Select EXPORT PROJECT FILE. The file name is the same as your project in Designer.

Note: For setting up a device with coverage layout, use  Exporting a project as presets from the navigation bar.

Create Locations for each Room or Space

Create a location in your project for each room and event space you are designing. You can arrange and nest locations to match the project infrastructure (buildings and floors) or your own workflow (room types or templates).

Creating a New Location

  1. Open a project.
  2. Select the New Location and enter a name.
  3. Press ADD and the new location is added to the list.

Location Groups

To more accurately represent your installation, you can arrange locations into groups.

  1. Add a new location or a new group in your project.
  2. Select and drag it to the desired position in the tree.

Organize Your Locations

Setting Up the Location

Using the Coverage Tab

The coverage tab provides tools for configuring devices and interacting with the workspace in your location. The workspace represents the total area for positioning devices and designing audio coverage.

To create more accurate layouts, match the location specifications by editing the workspace properties from the coverage editor and the properties panel.

Workspace properties

Units

Select the unit of measure for your location:
  • Feet (default)
  • Meters

Tip: Match the unit of measure to your hardware device (inches for MXA910-24IN or meters for MXA910-60CM).

Length and Width

Set the length and width of your location.

Ceiling Height

Set the ceiling height of your location. This setting becomes the default device height when you add an MXA 910 ceiling array, though you can change them independently at any time.

Grid properties

Grid starting point (X and Y)

Start the grid from a different point on the workspace to align with a reference object, such as a ceiling tile in the background image.

Keyboard shortcuts

Shortcut Description
Backspace or Delete Delete the selected device or channel
Esc Exit full-screen mode
Up, Down, Left, or Right Move the selected device or channel
  • Grid snap on: To the nearest grid
  • Grid snap off: One unit of measure (0.1 feet or .01 meters)
Shift + Rotate Rotate the selected device or image in 45 degree increments
Control wheel Zoom in or out on the workspace

Adding a Background Image

Add a background image to your location to help focus the design around the participant seating arrangements and presentation areas. Images can be scaled to represent real room dimensions for accurately positioning devices and audio coverage.

Background image

  1. Open a location to the coverage page.
  2. Select ADD IMAGE and browse to the image on your computer.
  3. Select Open to add it to your workspace.

Supported file types:

  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .png
  • .gif

Redraw the Image to Scale

After adding an image to Designer, you can scale it based on a reference point in the drawing.

  1. Add the image to the workspace.
  2. Find an object in your drawing that has a known length.
  3. Use the cursor to draw the reference line.

  4. Enter the real length of the object into the reference size window and select APPLY.

    Scale image using a reference dimensions

  5. Resize the workspace to fit the newly scaled image.

Tip: To draw a perfectly horizontal or vertical line, select Turn ortho mode on above the workspace.

You can redraw to scale at any time from EDIT IMAGE > REDRAW TO SCALE .

Positioning Devices Using the Grid and Guidelines

Use the grid in Designer to move objects to an exact point in the workspace. When Grid snap is on, the device reference corner aligns automatically to the closest grid corner.

Aligning devices on the grid

Open Options on the coverage page to enable or disable the positioning tools:

  • Show grid and snap to grid ensure that objects align precisely on the workspace.
  • Show guides displays the X and Y coordinates to the device reference point from the workspace 0,0 coordinates
  • Rotate snap restricts rotation to 45 degree increments.

Grid Offset

Align the grid with a reference point in your image, such as a ceiling tile, by adjusting the grid offset.

  1. Enter edit mode by selecting the dimensions above the workspace.

  2. Grab the grid offset tool and move it to the reference line.

Moving, Rotating, and Resizing Objects

Make changes to objects in the Designer coverage page.

Image

Select EDIT IMAGE above the workspace to enter edit mode. To exit, select anywhere outside of the image.

Changing the opacity

Adjust the transparency of the background image to provide more or less visibility in relation to the workspace and devices. A lower opacity value results in a more transparent image, while a higher value results in a darker image that matches the original file.

Resizing the image

Resize the image by dragging the corner of an image or entering a value into the properties panel. The ratio is locked so that changes to one dimension proportionally affect the other.

Moving the image

Change the position of a device in relation to the top-left corner of the workspace.

Rotating the image

Rotate the device to orientate it to the room layout. Select the handle and rotate the image to the desired position.

Tip: Hold the shift key or turn on Snap rotation 45° to rotate in 45 degree increments.

Device

Select the device to edit its properties. To exit, select anywhere outside of the device.

Adding or removing a device

  • Adding a device: Select MXA910 above the workspace to add a device to the workspace.

  • Removing a device: Select it and press the backspace or delete key.

Positioning a device

Drag or nudge a device into a desired position on the workspace. The device properties displays its position in relation to the workspace 0,0 point.

Tip: Enable Snap to grid to align the device reference point to the grid.

Device reference point

This point is used to measure coordinates.

Rotating a device

Select the handle and rotate the device to the desired position.

Tip: Hold the shift key or turn on Snap rotation 45° to rotate in 45 degree increments.

Channel

Select the channel to edit its properties. To exit, select anywhere outside of the channel.

Adding or removing a channel

  • Adding a channel: Select the device and press ADD CHANNEL
  • Removing a channel: Select the channel and press the backspace or delete keys

Positioning a channel

Drag or nudge a channel into a desired position. The channel properties displays its position in relation to the device and the workspace 0,0 point.

Resizing a channel

The channel size is a combination of selectable width setting and automatically calculated properties based on layout specifications. See Configuring Microphone Coverage for MXA910 for more details.
  • Channel width: narrow (35 degrees), medium (45 degrees), or wide (55 degrees)
  • Layout specifications: the channel changes shape due to a combination of talker height, device height, and distance from the microphone.

Setting Audio Coverage

Supported Devices and Firmware Requirements

Model Firmware
MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone 1.1.3 – 2.0.8

Working with Virtual Devices

Designer lets system planners work offline and offsite by using virtual devices. Virtual devices allow you to prepare microphone coverage and device properties without a connection to the hardware.

After you finishing your room or project, finish the job on site by exporting device presets from Designer and uploading them to the device.

Identifying Virtual Devices

Adding Devices

Add one or more MXA910 Ceiling Array microphones to your coverage page. Select the microphone in the toolbar to add it to your workspace. You can drag the microphone to its desired position or enter exact coordinates in the properties panel.

See Configuring Microphone Coverage for MXA910 for more details.

Configuring Microphone Coverage for MXA910

Reference these steps to get up and running with the MXA910 ceiling array microphone. For in-depth information on microphone properties and best practices, see the full MXA910 Ceiling Array User Guide.

Set Device Properties

Select the device and set the properties:

  1. Enter a value for the device height (the distance between the floor and the microphone). By default, the device height matches the ceiling height, though you can adjust them independently.
  2. Move and rotate the device to match your layout.

Position Microphone Coverage

  1. Add channels using the Add Channel button located above the workspace.
  2. Enter the talker height by selecting a channel and providing the value in the Channel Properties. This ensures accurate aiming.
  3. Move channels to cover the appropriate areas:
    • Channels are independently selectable and can be moved anywhere within the maximum allowed coverage area. If dragged outside of this region, lobes turn red and revert back to the last acceptable position.
    • Position the channels by dragging or nudging them into place. Distance values to the device and to the workspace 0,0 are calculated in the properties panel.
    • Use the grid to measure the precise placement.

Adjust Channel Width

Independent width control makes it possible for some channels to capture individual talkers (narrow), while others cover multiple talkers (wide).

To change a channel width:

  1. Select the channel
  2. Choose a width setting from the pull-down menu. The width is calculated and displayed, based on the lobe location and heights entered for the device and talker.

Width Settings:

  • Narrow (35°)
  • Medium (45°)
  • Wide (55°)

Channel widths for the three settings with the microphone 6 feet above a table

Microphone Placement

Room Variables

Optimal microphone placement is determined by the seating arrangements and infrastructure. Follow these guidelines for the best possible results:

  • In rooms with flexible furniture arrangements or multiple array microphones, use the microphone configuration tool in the web application to ensure that the coverage is adequate for all seating scenarios.
  • The lobes should be pointed towards the front of each talker. Carefully consider placement in rooms where talkers may face a screen during a video conference.
  • Avoid installing the microphone directly next to unwanted sound sources, such as air vents or noisy video projectors.
  • Consider installing acoustic treatment to improve speech intelligibility in rooms that are too reverberant.

Mounting Height

The maximum mounting height that can be set in the ceiling array microphone web application is 30 feet (9.14 meters). In a typical acoustic environment1, the microphone maintains an "A" rating based on the STIPA2 (Speech Transmission Index for Public Address systems) international standard at distances up to 16 feet between the microphone and talker. In better acoustic environments, the STIPA "A" rating may extend beyond 16 feet.

Consider the following when determining a mounting height:

  • The pickup pattern of the ceiling array is narrower than a shotgun microphone, and therefore it can be placed farther from the source than any other microphone. While the web application shows an ideal coverage zone for each channel, keep in mind that there is no specific barrier at which the audio degrades or gates off. Lobe sensitivity data is available for each width setting in the product specifications.
  • Like all microphones, tonality changes as the distance from the source increases.
  • The intelligibility scale helps to predict how the microphone will sound at a given height.
  • The coverage area of the lobes increases at farther distances.

[1] Room conditions: RT60 (reverb time) = 500 ms @ 1kHz, A weighted room noise = 40dBSPL(A)

[2] IEC-602682-16 standard

Intelligibility Scale

The intelligibility scale objectively compares the acoustic performance of the array microphone with a cardioid gooseneck microphone at various distances. This information is useful for predicting how the array microphone will perform at a given distance and to determine an ideal mounting height. The data in the intelligibility scale table is derived from measuring the microphones to meet an equivalent value from the Speech Transmission Index IEC-602682-16 standard.

Distances With Equivalent Speech Transmission Index Values

Ceiling Array Microphone (Distance to Talker) Cardioid Gooseneck Microphone (Distance to Talker)
6 ft (1.83 m) 3.75 feet (1.14 m)
8 ft (2.44 m) 5 feet (1.52 m)
10 ft (3.05 m) 6.25 feet (1.91 m)
12 ft (3.66 m) 7.5 feet (2.29 m)

Data was collected in a typical huddle room with the following measurements:

  • Reverberation decay time: 500 ms @ 1kHz
  • Noise floor: 40 dB SPL (A-weighted)

Note: These values are specific to the described room. In a well-controlled acoustic environment, the array microphone may perform with equivalent Speech Transmission Index values at even greater distances. In highly reverberant rooms, the performance is less predictable.

A = Distance between array microphone and talker

B = Distance between cardioid microphone and talker

In this example, the acoustic performance of the array microphone mounted (A) feet from the talker matches the cardioid gooseneck microphone placed at a distance of (B) feet from the talker.

Exporting Designs to Real Devices

To set up a real device using one of your designs, first export the device presets from Designer. Designer exports an individual preset file for each device that contains device and channel settings. Then, upload the preset file to the device on site using the device web application.

Uploading Designer Preset Files

After completing designs, export the device presets and upload them to the Shure hardware.

Designer exports a subset of device preset settings. The file only overwrites these settings when uploaded to the hardware:

  • Preset name (the device name in Designer becomes the preset name when exported)
  • Device height
  • Channel settings:
    • Quantity and channel number
    • Name
    • Talker height
    • Position
    • Width

The preset file does not import device orientation or the device name into the hardware web application.

Exporting from Designer

  1. Open a project or a location.
  2. Select Export from the navigation bar and choose from the export options:
    • Export a location
    • Export a project
  3. Open your downloads folder to find the exported .zip file.

File Exports and Naming

Device preset files (.json extension) are bundled in a .zip folder named after the project. Inside are nested folders that correspond to your location groups and locations.

Exported Design Files

Each preset file is named according to the device name and the X-Y coordinates on workspace. By default, devices are named Shure.

Device Preset Names

Device coordinates on the Designer workspace help to differentiate the exported files. For this location, separate files are exported that will be uploaded to the two devices.

Import Presets and Load to the Device

Use your design in a device by importing the preset file and loading it to the device.

  1. Connect a computer to the device using a Cat 5e (or higher) cable and open the web application.
  2. Go to Presets > Import from file .
  3. Choose an empty slot and select Choose file... to browse to the device presets file on your computer.
  4. Select Import to load the file. After the import is successful, select Go to Load Presets.
  5. Select the preset you just imported and click Load. Your design file is now applied to the device.
  6. For best results, perform a sound-check of your settings in the room. Use headphones and check each channel to optimize the audio coverage.