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d&b audiotechnik’s D80 Amplifier Puts OCA In the Field

Glastonbury Festival 2014

Photo courtesy of Skan PA

d&b audiotechnik announces that its D80 amplifier, launched in January 2014, is the first product to incorporate Open Control Architecture (OCA) in the field. Developed by the OCA Alliance of companies that includes Bosch, Yamaha and d&b audiotechnik, OCA is a method of communicating over Ethernet. OCA is an open public communications standard, and it aims to become a common language that all pro audio manufacturers can use.

“You might call this parallel evolution,” says Marc Weber, who helped drive the development of the D80 at d&b. “The new amplifier was designed to include sophisticated functionality and control. The future possibility of interoperability with other manufacturers was also a consideration; this is where OCA fits in.

Glastonbury Festival 2014

Photo courtesy of Skan PA

“At d&b we have been using CAN-Bus for such a function with our systems since the 1990s, because it is very stable,” Weber continues. “It was also easy to implement, relatively inexpensive, but a little on the slow side by today’s bandwidth standards. The new D80 needs to provide remote information very quickly, especially when adjusting EQs across multiple channels in live situations, so the foundation of the OCA Alliance was an opportunity d&b willingly joined… We showed the potential to Skan PA in the UK and they were so confident of the stability of OCA they implemented it for the first time at the Other Stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.”

“We were desperately waiting for the implementation of this protocol to become available,” says Tom Tunney, Skan’s system engineer for the festival. “When I finally got my hands on a beta version, we immediately deployed it at Glastonbury to put it through the rigors of a festival to prove its stability and performance. This control and monitoring is a milestone for us, it makes the already outstanding D80 amplifier a cutting-edge product. All happy faces here. Having used the same subwoofer array here for the last three years it was just astonishing to hear the array perform measurably louder, while the energy efficiency of the D80 saw lower power consumption. We are looking forward to deploying this system on our up and coming tours.”

The release version of d&b R1 Remote control software Version 2.2.1, which incorporates the OCA protocol to communicate over Ethernet with D80 amplifiers, is available to download from