Using SMPTE with COBRA Show Creator

The COBRA Show Creator software offers a fast and easy way to execute a perfectly synced pyromusical. The 18R2 SMPTE Upgrade Kit includes the proper USB sound card, audio cable, and hardware for the 18R2 to accept a SMPTE timecode input feed.


Using the CSC SMPTE Player with the 18R2

Step 1: Set your show firmware version 5.1 or higher

When using COBRA SMPTE, your equipment must be on firmware version 5.1 or higher. To learn more about firmware, see Firmware User Guide.

When creating a new show, you can select the firmware version from the Create New Show screen.


If you have an existing show, you can select the firmware version from the Show Settings menu option.


Step 2: Add or create a new audio file

Use the Audio Studio window to add new MP3 audio files or create a combined audio file that allows you to combine multiple single audio files into a single audio file without using a 3rd party audio editing software.

When creating a new show, select the Yes option to launch the audio file management window.


To add audio to an existing show, click the MP3 icon in the CSC lower-left corner.



From the Audio Studio, you can click Add New to add a single MP3 file or Create Combined file to combine multiple existing MP3 files into a single audio file without using a 3rd party audio editing software.

Step 3: Add SMPTE to the desired audio file left or right channel

From the Add SMPTE column, select Left or Right to automatically add SMPTE to the desired channel. While either channel is acceptable and has no difference, we recommend the Right channel to allow for consistency in our documentation and suggestions.


Upon selecting the desired channel, the SMPTE is added automatically to the desired channel in the background and a message appears when complete. The original left and right audio channels are converted to mono and added to the other channel. For example, if you chose Right then the original audio left and right is converted to mono and added to the Left channel. If you accidentally close the window or leave the screen, don't worry, everything will process normally in the background and you don't need to repeat the process.


Step 4: Select the designed audio file and choose the "Timecode 2" option 

Upon selecting an audio file for your show, the option to select a SMPTE timecode option will appear automatically if the timecode option is not already set on your show.


When using CSC to play your show, we recommend the Timecode 2 option. For more information, see SMPTE Sensitivity Options. Once selected, the window will refresh as the timecode option is assigned. If you wish to change this option later, go to Show Settings > SMPTE Timecode.

Well done. Your show is now configured for SMPTE. Let's proceed to fire your show using the SMPTE Player.

Step 5: Export your show to the 18R2 using a USB thumb drive  

To export your show to the 18R2, click Export from the left-side main menu. Download the cobra.csv file and save to your USB thumb drive. We recommend the COBRA certified USB drive.

Place the USB drive into your 18R2 while powered off. Then, power on your 18R2. Once booted up, the 18R2 will load the script and briefly display all green LEDs to indicate success. Any issues will display as error codes. Once loaded, cue LEDs will display red for any cue / channel combinations that are expecting continuity. This is normal and indicates your script loaded successfully.

Well done. Your show is now configured for SMPTE. Let's proceed to fire your show using the SMPTE Player.

Step 6: Launch the SMPTE Player 

From the left menu, select the SMPTE Player. This option appears when you have a SMPTE timecode option set on the show as performed in the previous step. The option is also available within Show Settings > SMPTE Timecode if you ever want to change it.

Click the SMPTE Show Player from the menu to launch the SMPTE Player.



Step 7: Connect the COBRA provided USB sound card and audio cable  

The COBRA SMPTE kit comes with a USB sound card and audio cable. The reason we provide a USB sound card is that in some cases, your computer sound card may not properly generate the SMPTE for the 18R2. You can test your computer sound card in the following steps or use the COBRA provided sound card to ensure proper compatibility.


Step 8: Connect your 18R2 to the right (red) channel and your sound system to the left (white) channel

The RCA audio cable has two outputs including a right (red) output and a left (white) output. Connect the red output to the 18r2 and the white output to your sound system. Upon playing your show, the SMPTE is sent into the 18R2 through the right channel and the audio soundtrack is sent into the sound system through the left channel.


Step 9: Select your audio output source

In the SMPTE Player lower-left corner, select your desired audio output source. If you are using the COBRA provided USB sound card, select what is likely a USB audio device output. Otherwise, select your desired audio output such as your headphones or speaker.


Step 10: Power on your 18R2 and test your audio output

Power on your 18R2. By default, the 18R2 goes into TEST mode after startup. From the SMPTE player, press the play icon to begin sending your audio and timecode on the respective channels noted at the lower right corner. The waveform displays the SMPTE in yellow and the audio in blue.



Upon successfully receiving SMPTE, the 18R2 will display a value of tc0 to tc9 where tc9 is the highest quality timecode and tc0 is the poorest quality timecode. We also suggest testing your audio sound system to ensure you have high-quality audio at the desired volume.

Once done testing, make sure to stop the show and press confirm before proceeding to the next step.

Step 11: Fire your show

To start your show, press the trigger button and trigger channel set on your show. If you are not sure what this is, go to Show Settings > Trigger Channel & Trigger Button.


Once you start the show on the 18R2, "PAU" will display on the three 7-segment displays on the 18R2. You can now press the play button to start your show. The SMPTE feed will fully control the 18R2 firing time. If you pause, resume, or stop, the 18R2 will follow along. You can also choose a defined play position from the slidebar to start your show mid-show.


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