CI Hands-On Review: Key Digital Compass Control

Learn more about the control system that has ‘AMX or Crestron control capabilities at a URC price tag,’ according to one integrator.

CI Staff

Key Digital may be known for its AV switching solutions, but it recently took on automation with the launch of its Compass Control. One benefit to being a relatively recent entry into the automation mix is that it was able to embrace Apple right out of the gate.

Compass Control was built from the ground up with AV switching and iOS devices in mind.

“We looked at what the iPad and iPhone could do and then we built a system around that,” Glen Gentilin, national training manager, told sister publication CE Pro. The company also says its switching roots added perspective as it designed an automation solution appropriate for integrators.

However, let’s not take the manufacturer’s word for it. Let’s hear from an integrator that has used Key Digital Compass Control:

Reviewer: Aaron Catlin, president, Sound Design & Innovation (SDI), Alpharetta, Ga., sdiworship.com

Tell us about a project in which you used the Key Digital Compass Control.
Northside Church, which sits between the Buckhead and Midtown communities in Atlanta, broke ground in the mid-1950s. While the church had completed several renovations and expansions, updates to the production systems led to highly disparate systems that were quickly failing.

From the start, it was clear that this renovation was going to be a challenge. It not only required the renewal of three separate and distinct worship spaces, but each space had to maintain or improve upon aesthetics of the environments without disassembly of the architectural elements.

Key Digital Compass Control At-a-Glance

› Base system consists of KD-MC2500 Master Controller, with Compass Control App on Apple iPad running under Compass Control license: KD-CSLX1 / KD-CSLX4 / KD-CSLX6 / KD-CSLX8

› Up to 12 IR or RS-232 ports

› TCP/IP/LAN networking control support

› Allows IR learning

› Two sets of switchable contacts for relay control of external equipment

› MSRP: $2,100 keydigital.com

The chapel at Northside once served as the main sanctuary but is now capable of housing worship services, Bible studies, media presentations and other productions.

The traditional sanctuary, seating more than 700, is now part of the Dante Audio Network which also runs to the contemporary sanctuary and the chapel, enabling connectivity to any active audio channel. The video systems in this space were upgraded to new Panasonic HD pan-tilt-zoom cameras with a Vaddio control system and a Blackmagic Design Atem-1ME switcher. All of these systems are integrated into a fiber network that allows all of the video signals to be sent to any of the other worship spaces in the facility.

The audio systems were upgraded to a new Electrovoice EVA line array system powered by Lab. gruppen C-series amplifiers, Electrovoice DX-46 DSPs and an Allen & Heath GLD audio console.

The smaller chapel required installation of two Digital Projection E-Vision 6000 projectors with retractable Draper screens and a Key Digital matrix switcher. The new PA was composed of two Electrovoice ZX1 main speakers, two ZX1 subs for the low frequency reinforcement and an Electrovoice DCOne for control. As was true in the sanctuary, an Allen & Heath GLD-80 runs the show.

The third space was the Faith and Arts Center. This 500-seat space was built in 2009 with the church’s contemporary worship service in mind. Since 2009, the service had grown and as a result so had the needs of the space. To accommodate these needs, the audio console was upgraded to an Allen & Heath iLive T112 with an iDR-64 Mix rack. SDI added a new Symetrix Edge DSP system and new Shure PSM900 iEMs.

The icing on the cake, Key Digital’s new Compass Control system, was implemented in the chapel and sanctuary to allow iPad-based control of all of the major functions in each of those spaces, including limited fader control and pre-set recall on the GLD-80 consoles.