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The case for HDX rigs on a mix stage today
Old 12th May 2019
  #1
The case for HDX rigs on a mix stage today

Hey all, most of you know me a bit by now, and know that our mix stages have both Nuendo (films we handle in-house) and ProTools HDX (for dry-hire of the stage).
For our new Atmos stage, I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of buying HDX cards (and associated costly IO options) for the PT rigs that will be in it.

We have decided on getting a System5 console, in a 250 to 300 mixer model, to cater for mixers who still want to mix with a dsp console (there are some). And I know very well that many mixes WILL be nearly totally In-the-box.

These are the cons - as I see them - for NOT getting HDX:
- 32 IO limit on any other cards... (what a racket)
- no possibility to connect SyncHD for proper sync between Satellite Link systems

And the pros:
- massive savings by not buying outdated HDX+MADI IO


Views?
Old 12th May 2019
  #2
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No proper ATMOS without HDX.

Last edited by pentagon; 12th May 2019 at 08:20 PM.. Reason: whoops .. you did mention it is ATMOS
Old 12th May 2019
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
No proper ATMOS without HDX.
Can you elaborate further? In your opinion is it because of the IO restritions, or for another reason?

Bear in mind that the HDX setup is financed, but I want to have the full view of this particular issue before committing to the new HDX purchases.
Old 12th May 2019
  #4
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You can't use the Hardware RMU because of the I/O count needed. Also, I believe you have to use the DSP insert panners which need HDX. I know with the suite, on an HDX system you have to use the DSP panners and I've never been on anyone attempting to use the Hardware RMU that wasn't on HDX so I don't know if that's even a possibility to use non-DSP panners.

And if you use the Atmos Production Suite Renderer, you are limited to Home Theater Atmos (plus no delay compensation; the hardware RMU, due to going through actual I/O, has delay comp). You can't create Cinema ATMOS files though you can play them back with the Production Suite. Only can create VR and Home Theater.

I imagine if you are putting in the S5, this room is meant to be able to do proper cinema ATMOS.
Old 12th May 2019
  #5
Thanks for extra information. I was not aware that the panner for Atmos was DSP only.
Yes this will be theatrical Atmos. But I can also pan in Atmos, connected to the RMU for metadata and audio, with both the S5 and Nuendo. But you're right, if PT (non HDX) is not fit for mixing to that format then it is not helpful in dry - hire situations.
Old 12th May 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
I was not aware that the panner for Atmos was DSP only.
Sorry, to be clear, there is a native panner.

If using an HDX system, you have to use the DSP panner. If using a non-HDX system (which I've only used with the software renderer), you use the native panner -- as you'd expect.

As I've never used the combo of "hardware RMU with non-HDX system", all panners using a hardware RMU have been DSP. I'm unclear if there would be issues using the native panner with a hardware RMU but seeing as the Nuendo and System 5 panners are native, I imagine not. But this would be something to check with Dolby (even though I'm pretty sure they'll bring up that this isn't an "approved" workflow for theatrical ATMOS)
Old 13th May 2019
  #7
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Last year the panner in pro tools will also work with objects. No need to any other panner besides the panner built into pro tools.

Also, you can use 2 hd native systems, satellite linked, to get your 128 tracks for the hardware RMU. So I think you can have Atmos with non hdx systems
Old 13th May 2019
  #8
I thought they had dropped HD Native hardware, but that was probably only the PCIe version. So i can probably save a bit by having one of the 2 PT player rigs in HD Native. food for thought. I was concerned about the inability to connect a SyncHD with Native, but in fact that would only concern 3rd party hardware solutions, as Satellite Link is not rock solid in terms of sync without the SyncHD.
Would have loved to just be able to put in a RME MADI card and be done with it, but the 32io and no SyncHD sort of stops that in its tracks.
Old 13th May 2019
  #9
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rcutz's Avatar
Steve, I used HD Native thundebolt for many years and just upgrade to HDX 2 (just before avid announcing the voice count increase)

The HD Native with avid thunderbolt hardware will be able to provide you with 64 i/o. 32 outputs to each digilink port. You also will be able to have the sync hd.
With a HDX 2 you will be able to have 128 outputs.
So I imagine that you need to weight in all aspects like 2 computers, PT licenses and annual support plans.. etc..
i just builded my HT Atmos room. I’m just starting messing with it and my feeling is that the delivery aspect of it (fullmix, stems, etc...) would bring me more issues regarding i/o, trackcount etc...
My atmos room is using the MacPro RMU with Dante. But as far I know the Cinema and Broadcast RMU are different.
Also, I understand that Dolby is full of requirements and thar Theatrical Atmos Mixing stages are build working close with them.
The Pro Tools - Atmos integration is “native” in the sense pro tools has all the tools in itself without the need to 3th party plug-ins etc..

Check the Avid/MRTX INTERFACE (DAD AX32). It is the best and more Flexible one.
Old 13th May 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
Sorry, to be clear, there is a native panner.

If using an HDX system, you have to use the DSP panner. If using a non-HDX system (which I've only used with the software renderer), you use the native panner -- as you'd expect.
The Atmos panning has been integrated into PT for a quite a while now. There's no need for the old Dolby plugin but maybe that's what other people have said before.
Old 13th May 2019
  #11
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Since you need the Dolby Atmos theatrical certification anyway in order to get access to the theatrical RMU (it cannot be bought), work out your system integration details together with your local Dolby rep.
Old 13th May 2019
  #12
Understood.
However, if we put Atmos aside for a minute, where do you think Native falls on its face vs HDX for feature film mixing?
Old 13th May 2019
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Now that we have up to 768 tracks per rig w/ voice expansion packs: Nowhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
Understood.
However, if we put Atmos aside for a minute, where do you think Native falls on its face vs HDX for feature film mixing?
Old 13th May 2019
  #14
Sort of what I was thinking also, except for the (once again) artificial limit imposed on i/o for Native and Third party interfaces.
I'll probably be going with at least one native player, and an HDX2 player. What bums me is that the recorder needs to be HDX2 to be able to record 128 audio streams/channels.
Oh well.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
We have decided on getting a System5 console, in a 250 to 300 mixer model, to cater for mixers who still want to mix with a dsp console (there are some). And I know very well that many mixes WILL be nearly totally In-the-box.
You'll end up using the S5 as a support for Artist or D-Command. And those engineers that insist on mixing using console DSP will disappear sooner than you may imagine...
Don't get me wrong, S5 was a beautiful console, but today it is sooo limited compared to Pro Tools (or maybe Nuendo, I don't know)......

Other than that, PTNative is great for film mixing. I have one HDX (on Mac) and one HDN Thunderbolt (on PC) in my main mixing theatre. Works perfectly.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Branko View Post
You'll end up using the S5 as a support for Artist or D-Command. And those engineers that insist on mixing using console DSP will disappear sooner than you may imagine...
Don't get me wrong, S5 was a beautiful console, but today it is sooo limited compared to Pro Tools (or maybe Nuendo, I don't know)......

Other than that, PTNative is great for film mixing. I have one HDX (on Mac) and one HDN Thunderbolt (on PC) in my main mixing theatre. Works perfectly.
Hi Branko, the S5 is totally capable of Eucon control. I have mixed a few features and TV series on it in Hybrid (aka. Eucon) mode and it works very well with both ProTools 18 and Nuendo 10.
Also, we are planning to have another (big) trick up our sleeve
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
HD Native

HD Native PCIe + Sync HD + RMU works fine here for Atmos using the native PT panner.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
Native all the way.

The only down side is IO restriction. (And low latency monitoring restrictions... But on a mix stage that's irrelevant)

Atmos works fine
Voice count is higher (and more efficient allocation of voices)
With a decent computer it's more powerful
There are some nasty HDX only bugs.
Think of how much more powerful computers will be in 3-5 years... And HDX will still be HDX.

I wouldn't have gotten the console, in which case the IO would have been almost moot... But that's me.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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FWIW, I use the S5 as eucon controller, it's a bit buggy and not supported anymore.
(It looses contact every once in a while and stuff needs to be rebooted)
Just saying.
The S6 might be just as buggy, I don't know.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
Hi Branko, the S5 is totally capable of Eucon control. I have mixed a few features and TV series on it in Hybrid (aka. Eucon) mode and it works very well with both ProTools 18 and Nuendo 10.
Also, we are planning to have another (big) trick up our sleeve
One thing I hate on the S5 nowadays: With Eucon you have create layout for literally everything. There's no "just show me every track in the session" mode.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
True, but with PT VCA you can just create a simplified Master layout, and spill the VCA on the surface.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
True, but with PT VCA you can just create a simplified Master layout, and spill the VCA on the surface.
Yeah, but still a bit time consuming to start with literally an empty console for every project when you switch to Eucon. It does feel a bit dated having to do this.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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We had an MC Pro that we replaced with an S6 - worlds better in terms of stability and functionality. I know it isn't exactly the same - but pretty close to the S5.

Randall


Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
FWIW, I use the S5 as eucon controller, it's a bit buggy and not supported anymore.
(It looses contact every once in a while and stuff needs to be rebooted)
Just saying.
The S6 might be just as buggy, I don't know.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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cebolao's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
One thing I hate on the S5 nowadays: With Eucon you have create layout for literally everything. There's no "just show me every track in the session" mode.
can't you just make an empty snapshot and scroll thu session, as in S3 or S6?

never used S5
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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Hi Steven,

Here are some current opinions on HD Native for post : http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=404785

My only concern would be the physical I/O limit going to the console. Avid has pretty much unleashed native in every way except buffer size. And apparently 2019.5 is better in that regard as well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfyou View Post
Hi Steven,

Here are some current opinions on HD Native for post : http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=404785

My only concern would be the physical I/O limit going to the console. Avid has pretty much unleashed native in every way except buffer size. And apparently 2019.5 is better in that regard as well.
Thanks for the link Will.
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