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Complex in Simplicity: the Netron Line from Obsidian Control Systems

Jim Hutchison • July 2021Product Spotlight • July 9, 2021

The Netron line of products from Obsidian Control Systems is now shipping.

There is something magnificent to be said about being direct. When it comes to equipment, especially signal gear, you often get what you pay for to get that directness, that simplistic comfort of use — and with our world transformed into lines of Ethernet cable to tap into our lighting and video data networks, simplicity and production reliability is worth every direct dollar spent.

The Netron line from Obsidian Control Systems, exclusively distributed by Elation Professional worldwide, is that, exactly — simple, direct, with an appropriate set of skills. Not an overabundance of features, but not too few. The line is not too expensive, and not so low in cost that it’s considered throwaway by the shop staff. They are built tough, milled from aluminum billet, coated with what appears to be a high-grade powder coat, and seem to be made by a team that has worked a load-in, which is nice. There are backup ports; the cases are rugged. The software is straightforward, seems easy to navigate, and the hardware is solid for the beating it’s going to take on shows.

Let’s take a look at three products from the Netron line: the Netron RDM 10, a hybrid splitter/merger/etherDMX gateway; the Netron EN12, a high density Ethernet-to-DMX gateway; and the Netron RDM 6XL, a tough little half-rack DMX/RDM splitter.

RDM 10

Towards the top end of the feature spectrum for this selection of products, Netron’s RDM 10 is a first of its kind hybrid data splitter. RDM10 comes standard with dual DMX inputs, a 10-port RDM splitter, internal HTP/LTP DMX merger and etherDMX gateway, and an advanced feature set to cover a wide variety of applications. RDM10 is also a playback unit — 99 internal cues, factory and user presets for configuring the ports, and the addition of external contact closures, creating a combination of multiple devices solving lots of daily tasks in one unit. The onboard “presets,” both the factory standard and user-programmable, refer to the configuration of the unit. Using these presets, you can quickly choose between 14 pre-programmed configurations for the RDM10, from splitter, merger, Art-Net, streaming ACN, or several others. You can also store ten user-created presets for custom production configuration.

RDM10 only needs 1U of rack space, weighs about four pounds, and the front face is what you expect a rackmount piece of equipment to be — relatively unremarkable, with ports and status LEDs. The difference is the screen — clean and easy to read — and the configuration of ports on the rear. One remarkable feature is the dual RJ45 ports, with one port providing power-over-Ethernet (POE) 802.3af. The user has access to the configuration remotely via internal website, think accessing your home router configuration, or onboard through the unit’s almost two-inch OLED display with a rotary selector. RDM10 includes configurable refresh rate for dealing with the industry’s wide range of fixture manufacturers, dual DMX inputs for backup and signal loss mitigation, and an integrated two-universe Art-Net/sACN node. This definitely is a broad overview of the features of the RDM10, it is quite an action-packed Swiss Army knife of a data box.

A key feature of the Obsidian products is their “to the point” design — the RDM10, for example, is feature rich, but each feature is defined, cultivated, cared for — but the features are very easy to employ and all make a lot of sense in relation to each other, from a standpoint of user experience. Hat tip to Obsidian for that little piece of pleasantry.

 

EN12

The EN12 package is a beautifully crafted and easy-to-access Art-Net and sACN converter, signal merger, DMX patch-bay, and a DMX scene recorder in one device. Netron’s EN12 is a powerful high-density Ethernet to DMX gateway with twelve RDM-compatible ports: twelve 5-pin copper DMX ports on the EN12, and twelve RJ45 ports on the EN12-45, a product model that offers twelve network ports in place of XLR5. EN12 is easy to configure, just like the RDM10, with a range of integrated presets and a wide array of advanced merge and routing features. Live production, installations requiring a lot of physical DMX ports, and corporate production can all benefit from the EN12’s feature set. The included contact closures (excluded from the EN12-45 unit) can be used to recall the EN12’s presets, routings, mergers or any of the internal cues or config. As you would expect with any device routing signal, there are built-in diagnostic and monitoring tools for keeping an eye on your rig: a DMX Monitoring tool and DMX/Ethernet Test Generator tool are included in the EN12. EN12 can also be line powered or powered using PoE.

 

RDM 6XL

This is the Netron line’s DMX opto-iso, with some hot-rodded hardware and RDM enabled. The RDM 6XL is a half-1U sized package that can spend its life in one of your DMX racks (a 1U shelf accessory is available for mounting one or two of these in a 1U space), or they have a threaded insert for mounting directly up into the truss. 6XL has locking power in and through, 5-pin DMX in and through, with a built-in terminator accessible via toggle on the unit. RDM 6XL is built like a steel wheel, designed to keep on rolling. This tough design principle was followed all the way through their Netron line, and they’re to be applauded for not seeming to cut corners where durability was concerned.

Get your hands on some demo units from Obsidian, they’re certainly ready to hit the road, like all of us. The EN12, RDM10, and RDM 6XL will make excellent additions to your signal kit.

At a Glance

Netron RDM 10

Front (2) 5-pin DMX inputs, (10) 5-pin opto-isolated DMX outputs, full color OLED display, Encoder with Push to Select / Exit button

Back — (2) 5pin DMX inputs (parallel with front), (2) 5-pin DMX throughs, (2) locking RJ45 Ethernet network ins, (10) contact closures (terminal blocks), locking power in/thru

Size: 19” x 5.7” x 1.7” (LxWxH)

Weight: 4 lbs.

Electrical: 100-240 V nominal,
50/60 Hz, 10W

POE: 802.3a

  • 10 assignable DMX outputs
  • Integrated 2 Universe Art-Net/sACN node
  • Configurable DMX refresh rate
  • Dual DMX Inputs for backup and signal loss
    options
  • Remote configuration via internal webpage
  • 1.8” OLED Display with rotary knob
  • 99 Internal cues with fade and delay time
  • Contact closures for cue or preset recall
  • Powder-coated aluminum rackmount
    housing

 

Netron EN12

Front — (12) 5-pin DMX/RDM optically isolated ports (Ports are bidirectional for DMX In and Output), full color OLED display, Encoder with Push to Select / Exit button

Back — (2) Locking RJ45 Ethernet network Ins, (10) contact closures (terminal block), locking power in/thru

  • RDM, Art-Net and sACN support
  • Factory and user presets for plug-and-play
    setups
  • Line voltage or POE powered
  • 1.8” OLED display with rotary knob
  • 99 internal cues with fade and delay time
  • Customizable routing and merging options
  • Remote configuration via internal webpage
  • Contact closures for cue or preset recall
  • Powder-coated aluminum rackmount
    housing

 

RDM 6XL

  • (6) XLR 5pin outputs
  • DMX and RDM compliant
  • Optically isolated ports
  • Power/DMX Through connectors
  • Powder-coated aluminum ½ rack housing
  • RDM Enabled

 

Manufacturer: Obsidian Control Systems

More Info: www.obsidiancontrol.com

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