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Frequently Asked Questions

1. I've lost my Authorization String. How do I find out what it is?

1. I've lost my Authorization String. How do I find out what it is?

Your Authorization String can be sent to you at your registered email address. Select Member Login from the menu. Login with your User Name and Password. Select Authorization String.

2. Can I setup SCS on both my home computer and my theatre/school computer?

2. Can I setup SCS on both my home computer and my theatre/school computer?

Yes, provided you are involved with the theatre/school use of SCS. The 'single-user' license allows for the use of SCS by one person or position, not necessarily on a single PC. It is understood that many SCS users will set up sound cues on their PC at home and then transfer the sound files to a separate PC at the theatre. That is an acceptable interpretation of the 'single-user' condition. If you are using a computer not owned by you to run SCS and you are loading a copy of SCS owned by yourself to use to run a show for them, you must uninstall the program after use. If it is left on their computer, others in that organization may assume it is theirs, continue to use it and attempt to change the details of the owner to their own.

3. Can I just copy SCS onto the other computer?

3. Can I just copy SCS onto the other computer?

No. You must install SCS on the other computer by running the setup program, eg scs11.4.2.3_win32setup.exe, which is unzipped from scs11.4.2.3_win32setup.zip. There is no need to have an Internet connection on the second computer - the easiest way to install SCS on the second computer is to copy the scs11.4.2.3_win32setup.exe file from the first computer on to a USB memory drive, and then plug the USB drive into your second computer. You can run the installer directly from the USB drive by double-clicking on scs11.4.2.3_win32setup.exe. When you first start SCS on this second computer you will need to enter your registration details (SCS User Name and Authorization String) to register the program on that computer.

4. I have designed a show on my home computer - how can I transfer this to my theatre computer?

4. I have designed a show on my home computer - how can I transfer this to my theatre computer?

In the Editor in SCS you can create a 'production folder' using the menu item Production / Collect Production Files. For example, if you are running 'Wizard of Oz' then you could create a production folder named 'wizard'. Having created this folder, click the Collect button and all the audio, image and video files used in your production will be copied into the 'wizard' folder, and your cue file (the .scs11 file) will also be saved to the 'wizard' folder. The cues will be adjusted to point to the location of the files in the current folder. To transfer the show to the theatre computer you just need to copy the 'wizard' folder (or whatever you have named it) to a USB memory drive (if it has sufficient free space), and then from there to the theatre computer. When you open the 'wizard' cue file on the theatre computer, it will immediately find all the files for the show.

5. I purchased SCS. Why am I still seeing the demo?

5. I purchased SCS. Why am I still seeing the demo?

First of all, are you running the non-demo version, ie scs11.exe, not scs11demo.exe? On the initial splash screen, what is the version number you see? Is it something like "11.4.2.3" or "11.4.2.3 (Demo)"? You should see "11.4.2.3" (or whatever version it is you installed). The other thing to bear in mind is that when you start SCS it opens the cue file (.scs11 file) that was last used. This may have been the demo file, so you may see "Loading SCS 11 Demo Cue File" on the splash screen, but that doesn't mean it is still the demo version; it just means it has opened the demo cue file. You can create your own cue file by clicking on the menu item File / New and then start entering the details you want. When you save that cue file (your own cue file) this will be the cue file opened the next time you start SCS.

6. When I connect my PC or laptop to the sound system I get hum or other interference in the sound system. What can I do to stop this?

6. When I connect my PC or laptop to the sound system I get hum or other interference in the sound system. What can I do to stop this?

There's no simple solution that's guaranteed to fix this in every situation, so here are a few things to check or try. Note that the problem you are having is not caused by SCS but by the combination of equipment and cables you are using.

Power Circuit. Make sure your computer is on the same power circuit as the rest of your sound equipment. Lighting boards and related equipment should not be on the sound equipment circuit. Neither should anything else.

Balanced or Unbalanced? Understand the difference between balanced and unbalanced outputs. "Balanced wiring helps eliminate some types of externally generated noise. The two wires of the unbalanced cable carry the same signal, but each wire is opposite in signal polarity to the other." "Should any electro-static interference or noise cut across a balanced cable, the noise voltage will appear equally - with the same polarity - on both signal-carrying wires. The noise is therefore cancelled or rejected by the input circuit." (Sound Reinforcement Handbook, second edition, written for Yamaha by Gary Davis and Ralph Jones.)

Note: Despite the benefits of balanced over unbalanced many users have excellent results with unbalanced devices, such as the M-Audio FireWire 410. This may be due to the fact that professional sound cards or interfaces have the option to set their output level at +4dB whereas the output level of domestic cards is -10dB. The higher output level from professional interfaces would significantly reduce the impact of electro-static interference.

DI Boxes. A DI (Direct Injection) box with a ground lift often helps. A DI box converts an unbalanced signal to a balanced signal. Make sure any unbalanced leads are as short as possible, and keep them as far away as possible from power leads and AC power adaptors. If you are using your onboard or built-in sound card then this means using a short cable with a mini-plug (1/8") at the computer end going to dual 1/4" jacks to plug into the DI boxes.

External Audio Interfaces. An external audio interface is often regarded as a good way to avoid noise as you get your audio out of your computer digitally so at that point it is not affected by electro-static interference. You may, however, still have an issue if your external audio interface is buss-powered. If your device is externally powered you will not have this issue.

Speaker Selection. If you have multiple speakers (eg FOH and upstage) and you get noise on some outputs and not others, then use the better quality outputs for FOH and the noisier outputs for the upstage speakers as they are further from the listening audience.

Hum Eliminator. If you still have noise after trying all of the above, you may find the Behringer MicroHD (HD400) will come to your rescue. This is an inexpensive possible solution, but note that as the device only handles two channels you may need more than one - depending on how many outputs you want to use and need to quieten.

Battery Power. As a last resort, run your laptop on battery power. This is definitely a 'last resort' because you don't want your battery to run out during the show!

Other Source of Info (1). More useful information can be obtained from the Jensen Transformers web site. See www.jensen-transformers.com/apps_wp.html and www.jensen-transformers.com/faqs.html.

Other Source of Info (2). See also the paper "A Practical Interference Free Audio System" by Tony Waldron, Technical Manager, CADAC Electronics PLC (www.cadac-sound.com). This is a detailed document that discusses, in particular, earthing issues and what you can do about them.

My thanks to the SCS users who have contributed to this FAQ on PC and laptop noise. Their original comments and suggestions can be seen in the Forum Posting here.

7. I have CD's with numerous sound effects. How do I select tracks and import them into SCS?

7. I have CD's with numerous sound effects. How do I select tracks and import them into SCS?

You will need to 'rip' the tracks from the CD's. This will save them as audio files on your hard drive, and these you can use in SCS. To rip the tracks from a CD you can use Windows Media Player or a program like GoldWave. Since you probably already have Windows Media Player (WMP) on your computer, you might as well use that if you don't have another preferred product.

I recommend you rip the tracks on a computer that is connected to the internet. This is because when WMP reads the tracks from a CD it will try to find details of that CD from an internet database. If your CD is a commercial CD and the details are found, then WMP will display the track names (eg '01 Train passing') rather than just track numbers (eg '01 Track 01'). By default, WMP saves files as .wma files which SCS can play.

The only other 'challenge' you may have with WMP is working out just where WMP saved the files! So before you start I recommend you click on the small down arrow beneath the Rip menu item and select More Options. Under the Rip Music tab you will see Rip music to this location. Click on the Change button and select a folder into which the files are to be saved, or make a new folder. Note that WMP will create subfolders so all the tracks you rip from a CD will be in a folder with the name of that CD.

Note: Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law. Please read the note on this subject in the WMP Help file, or in the Help file or documentation provided with the program you use.

8. Can SCS run PowerPoint presentations?

8. Can SCS run PowerPoint presentations?

Not directly, but what you can do is run PowerPoint (©Microsoft) from SCS using the "Run External Program" cue type. In SCS 10 this is implemented using the 'Note' cue type. For information on how to do this, go to the SCS Help and look up 'The Editor' / 'Run External Program' Cues. You will see that you can choose to hide the SCS second window while the PowerPoint is playing. The SCS second window will remain hidden until you start an SCS video/image cue.

Note that if your PowerPoint presentation doesn't include animation or fancy transitions then for the still images you can save them in PowerPoint as JPEG's or similar, and then use Video/Image cues in SCS to show those JPEG's and also any videos.

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