Q-SYS + Forward Thinking Designs: Accelerating development to deliver immersive experiences

Forward thinking about control from the beginning

Today’s entertainment and hospitality relies on increasingly complex and powerful control systems. However, the most powerful hardware is only as good as the system and software that controls it. Back in late 2009, the owners at Forward Thinking Designs were introduced to an early version of what we all know now as Q-SYS. This became the catalyst for the company’s focus and true north. As Q-SYS matured, the team at Forward Thinking Designs realized the need within the industry to support the platform as it grew. They strongly believed that as more user controls and solutions become available, the more flexible and accessible Q-SYS will be. Today, we’re proud to be a Q-SYS Developer Partner with several plugins that make operators lives easier as well as developing for the Q-SYS Platform to control complex, custom experiences that delight and immerse guests.

Plugin and play

As a Q-SYS Developer Partner, we develop plugins for manufacturers in the Q-SYS Technology Partner Program as well as offering a suite of ready-to-use plugins for various uses, from show triggering/cueing to audio equalization and testing. Listening to the Q-SYS community is a big part of how we develop our plugins. Our goal as a company is to create bespoke, custom-tailored solutions for users that help expand upon the Q-SYS Platform. Below are two examples of how we have addressed customer needs:

UCI EQ – The parametric equalizer plugin right on your UCI

Our UCI EQ plugin provides users an easy-to-use EQ tool with real-time analyzer data. It can be conveniently placed on a UCI, allowing you to EQ up to 16 channels with just one plugin instance. You can view your EQ curve on top of your RTA and apply it to your UCI. Additionally, you can copy and paste settings between channels. Should you require more licenses, you can scale up with additional licenses and run multiple instances of the plugin on the same core. It’s no surprise that UCI EQ is our most popular plugin.

One of the noteworthy characteristics is that each plugin instance has 16 channels. You can adjust the frequency, gain, and Q values for eight bands. Additionally, there is a versatile RTA that displays pre-EQ and post-EQ results.

Speaker Test – Effortless speaker testing on your schedule

Speaker Test is a plugin that automatically tests speakers to ensure they function correctly. This tool allows users to check and report on speaker health in a room. With a microphone installed in the space, Speaker Test compares scheduled RTA measurements to a stored trace for each speaker. If it detects any anomalies outside the predetermined parameters, it alerts technical personnel through Slack/email. Controls for Speaker Test are easily accessible on a UCI within Q-SYS.

Some of the features of Speaker Test include supporting up to 64 channels, testing your way, and on your schedule. Some ways to customize your testing include choosing between Pink Noise or Sine Sweep as your test source, defining the pass/fail tolerance, and checking only the frequencies relevant to the designated speaker. The built-in scheduler function allows the test to be run automatically at the time and on the days of your choosing.

Going forward

Our team continues to push the envelope with Q-SYS to find ways the Platform can scale and flex, especially on big, complex projects. The bigger and more complex, the better! Our developers are actively listening and contributing to Q-SYS Communities for Developers, on both support and development topics. This level of connection lets us recommend improvements that will enable us to create better experiences for our joint customers. 

Forward Thinking Designs is a woman-owned design and development firm for audio, video, lighting, and show control systems specializing in themed entertainment and experiences. For more information about our plugins and to shop our products, visit forwardthinkingdesigns.com.