A Surround Sound Processor for Pro AV Integration

The Extron SSP 7.1 Surround Processor delivers up to 7.1 channels of surround sound for pro AV applications in corporate and commercial environments.

SSP 7.1
SSP 7.1 Surround Sound Formats & Listening Modes

We’ve had many requests over the years for a product suitable for pro AV that can provide surround sound for boardrooms, conference rooms, and other installations. While a consumer surround sound receiver seems to be an easy solution, you won’t find the essential features you’ll want for effective pro AV integration. Many of them don’t have RS-232 serial control capability, and the vast majority of receivers do not offer balanced audio inputs and outputs, or an executive mode to prevent potential user tampering. They also require about 3U or more of rack space, plus additional space above for adequate ventilation.

Designed for Pro AV Integration

The Extron SSP 7.1 was designed with the needs of pro AV integrators and users in mind. It includes 7.1 channels of line level outputs for interfacing with other pro AV gear, including switchers and amplifiers. The analog input and outputs are provided on captive screw connectors, and can be wired for balanced or unbalanced operation.

The SSP 7.1 also offers RS-232 serial control, and includes user-friendly GUI software for setup and operation; more on this later. Compared to consumer surround sound receivers and preamplifiers, it’s very compact with a rack-mountable 1U, quarter rack width housing that’s designed to fit easily into credenzas where available space for equipment is often limited.

As a surround sound processor, the SSP 7.1 automatically detects and decodes incoming audio content in various Dolby® and DTS® formats from DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and HDTV broadcasts. It also offers Dolby Pro Logic II/IIx and DTS Neo:6® processing to provide surround sound from two-channel stereo. See the table for a complete listing of supported audio formats and processing modes. Coaxial and optical digital audio inputs are provided for use with consumergrade equipment such as DVD players.

Simple User Operation

Operation of the SSP 7.1 is very simple and intuitive, with controls provided on the front panel for input selection, volume, and overriding the current listening mode. There’s no need for a remote control, on-screen display, or front panel menu navigation.

LED indicators on the front panel enable quick, at-a-glance system status, including source selection, source format detection, surround sound decoding/processing mode, and output volume level.

With the touch of a single button, the user has the ability to select a preferred listening mode at any time. For example, if the SSP 7.1 is currently playing Dolby Digital 5.1 audio from a DVD, the user can switch to a different listening mode, such as two-channel downmixed stereo. Similarly, if playing two-channel stereo from CD or any other source, the user can elect to enhance the audio presentation to 7.1 surround sound via Dolby Pro Logic IIx. There is also the option to send stereo audio to all left and right speakers without surround sound processing.

As with many of our other products, you can also restrict user access to the SSP 7.1 front panel entirely by engaging an executive mode.

Setup and Control Software

For optimum performance, any system with surround sound needs proper setup and system calibration prior to deployment. This includes configuring the speakers in the system, balancing output levels between all channels, and specifying preferred surround sound listening modes for each input. For a consumer surround sound receiver or preamplifier, these usually require navigating within the on-screen or front panel LCD display, using the remote or front panel controls. If you’re not familiar with the product, this may be somewhat time-consuming.

To simplify all of these tasks as much as possible for you, we’ve created the SSP Setup and Control Software for the SSP 7.1. It offers an intuitive graphical user interface for setting up the SSP 7.1 as well as the speakers in the surround sound system. This software is designed to be user-friendly, and we have added several features to make it and the SSP 7.1 particularly flexible for you to optimize a surround sound system.

Mode Override
With the touch of a button, the user can easily switch to an alternate listening mode. Specific listening modes can be programmed using the SSP software.

All controls and configuration options for the SSP 7.1 are organized into a series of tabs within the software. At all times, a single panel provides all information relating to system status of the SSP 7.1. This includes the currently selected input, the input source format, the sampling rate of the incoming signal, and the number and configuration of channels encoded within the signal format. For output parameters, the panel displays the output speaker configuration, the currently selected listening mode, and the listening mode override, if engaged. There is also the ability to adjust the volume and mute the audio.

The SSP 7.1 Setup and Control software includes real-time and offline operating modes. Live mode allows for real-time control of all parameters and switching of the processor. Emulate mode allows for complete setup and file saving while working offline. Configuration files can be saved, downloaded from the SSP 7.1 for archiving, and uploaded to the processor for quick setup.

Main Menu

The Main menu allows for real-time control of the SSP 7.1, including input source selection, tone control adjustments, and setting input gain for the analog source. A “CLIP” indicator is shown when clipping has been reached.

Speaker Setup

Setup of speakers in the system is easily accomplished with just a few mouse clicks. Simply select “Large” or “Small” for each speaker, or “None” if not present in the system. A crossover setting is provided for bass management, so that frequencies below the selected crossover point are directed from all of the main speakers to the subwoofer.

The software is just as intuitive when it comes to specifying speaker distances. Enter the distance of each speaker – in feet, meters, or time in milliseconds – from the central listening position. Lip sync offset delays are also provided for each input, if necessary, to compensate if the video noticeably lags behind the audio. Seven channels of nine-band, fully parametric EQ are available to balance the sonic quality of each full band output. The graphical waveform can be easily adjusted by grabbing filter handles to set filter frequency, gain, and Q. These values can also be entered numerically.

System Calibration

The SSP 7.1 generates Dolby noise and pink noise test signals for system calibration as well as verification of proper speaker setup. Dolby noise signals are useful as a test reference to set the speakers to the same level. Output trim levels are provided for each channel, so that adjustments can be made as necessary to ensure that all speakers output equal sound pressure levels. The SSP 7.1 offers the flexibility to send test signals sequentially to all speakers in either direction, or to any selected speaker.

Full-range pink noise signals can be useful in calibrating each speaker’s performance relative to its interaction with the environment. The SSP 7.1 also allows for the use of test signals from an external source. These signals can be directed to any selected speaker, or all speakers in sequence.

System Customization

The SSP software offers considerable flexibility in setting specific listening modes based on the input and the specific incoming signal format. For example, PCM audio for Input 1 can be set for two-channel output, while the same audio format for Input 3 can be set to Dolby Pro Logic IIx for playback through the entire 7.1 system. Specific listening modes can also be specified for each of the Mode Override options within each input.

You can also customize parameters relevant to a particular listening mode, such as Dimension for Dolby Pro Logic II/IIx to adjust placement of the sound field, and Center Image for DTS Neo:6 to widen the coverage of the center speaker. Other controls are available to make tone adjustments, apply dynamic range compression, lock out the front panel, and lock out volume adjustments.

An Ideal, Compact Integration Solution with Extron XPA 2004 Amplifiers

The SSP 7.1 can be paired with two of our compact XPA 2004 Four Channel Power Amplifiers for a 7.1 surround sound system. Since the SSP 7.1 and XPA 2004 are both housed in 1U enclosures, this combination would fit neatly into a credenza in a boardroom, requiring just 3U of rack space. And with the highly efficient, fanless design of the XPA 2004, no extra space would be required above or below for ventilation or cooling.

A Simple-to-Operate Surround Processor for Integrators

The SSP 7.1 is what many of you have been asking for – a surround sound processor designed for commercial and corporate AV environments. We’ve incorporated the flexibility, features, and performance you need to properly set up and optimize a surround sound system, and also have made it as easy as possible for users to operate.

Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. DTS is a registered trademark & the DTS logos and Symbol are trademarks of DTS, Inc.

Main Input
At all times, a single panel on the right provides real-time system status of the SSP 7.1.
The SSP software is organized into a series of tabs, each with buttons, drop-down menus,
and clickable sliders.


Speaker Configuration
The SSP 7.1 includes advanced seven channel, nine-band parametric EQ to optimize
speakers to the environment. Each full range output features nine fully parametric
EQ filters with +/-24 dB of boost and attenuation, with adjustable frequency and Q.
Filters can be adjusted by grabbing filter handles with a mouse, or by manually
typing in settings.


Click to enlarge
The SSP 7.1 can be used with two Extron XPA 2004 power amplifiers in a 7.1 surround sound system.
This combination fits into a 3U rack space with no ventilation or cooling necessary.



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