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Metric Halo as Atmos controller?
Old 7th January 2020
  #1
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Metric Halo as Atmos controller?

I've been mixing in Dolby Atmos at some nice NY studios, but my home studio is still only 5.1/Dolby Atmos Production Suite. I've been on the lookout for an economical monitoring solution to move up to 7.1.4 at home. The support team at Metric Halo showed me screenshots that surprised me. The built-in DSP+ on their interfaces has an entire B-chain solution for monitoring in 7.1.4. Any thoughts from the brain trust here? Mixed reports of the JBL and Yamaha boxes make me want to consider Metric Halo seriously.
Old 7th January 2020
  #2
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After a quick look...you might be onto something. What version would you be looking at to get the i/o you need? I noticed that it would do bass management as well.....
Old 8th January 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
After a quick look...you might be onto something. What version would you be looking at to get the i/o you need? I noticed that it would do bass management as well.....
All their units except the 2-channel one will do it. The best choice appears to be the LIO-8, although the cheaper 2882, and more expensive ULN-8 will work, too. You can add Edge cards for more analog or digital outputs.

Here's the LIO link

The big surprise for me was the user-definable B-chain DSP. You can absolutely do speaker trims, bass management, delays, etc. Doing an 11-channel bass-managed feed for the subwoofer is no big deal. Again, all of this is with DAPS in mind, not DAMS. I want a simple, single-system Atmos interface/controller.

This appears to be a better choice than anything in the sub $5k range that I can see on Pro Tools Expert's great guide. And the LIO-8 is $2500. But I'm curious to hear from others on this list about whether this is a workable solution. Thanks in advance!
Old 8th January 2020
  #4
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The Focusrite Red Line 16 has a fantastic amount of I/O for an affordable price. But it doesn't do B-chain stuff so you'd have to figure out a solution for that.
Old 8th January 2020
  #5
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Interesting - but the LIO-8 is Firewire only, or am I missing something?
Might be worth keeping in mind. I have an RME FF800 and am curious to see how my next system upgrade will work out (talking latency/driver stability here).
Old 8th January 2020
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It only has 8 outs. Won't work for Atmos monitoring I think.
Old 8th January 2020
  #7
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There is a card slot for extra outputs (digital only).

Speaking of interfaces with optional cards, I was unofficially told last summer Avid is cooking up some sort of MTRX Lite interface. Multi outputs, monitor control and room correction with the spkr card. Could be interesting?
Never heard anything about it again (except the same story via different channels), thought it would be announced at IBC (it wasn't) but maybe next NAMM?
Old 8th January 2020
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I'd love some kind of MTRX Lite. I looked long and hard at the MTRX box for my studio, but the costs with the SPQ and the additional I/O cards and it was just too much of an investment for me personally. I can see why it's an amazing unit for larger stages, but it was just too much for my wallet for me, as enticing as it looked. If they had a Lite version that was more affordable and not crippled it would be amazing.
Old 9th January 2020
  #9
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Old LIO-8s are FireWire, all the new ones are USB C or Ethernet (which I think is proprietary).

With the Edge cards, there are enough outputs.

And yes, I heard a rumor of a smaller “fixed” configuration monitor controller from Avid. Perhaps we’ll see this at NAMM. MTRX lite would be great.
Old 9th January 2020
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farhoof View Post
There is a card slot for extra outputs (digital only).
Hm. adding another interface to the interface (for D/A) probably defeats both the idea of slimming down things (cables, foootprint) and saving cost? Not sure.

A unit like the Xilica FR1 might be a better option. Fully modular so you don't need to buy I/O that you don't need, Dante option, 100% customizable processing, remote control options and *WAY* below the price of a QSYS or and MTRX and or even one of those "high end" 7.1 volume knobs. This unit often flies under the radar as marketing is more towards installs and live venues.
Old 9th January 2020
  #11
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I do not know anything about this product, but it sounds cool. I would guess if they were to announce it would be at NAB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farhoof View Post
There is a card slot for extra outputs (digital only).

Speaking of interfaces with optional cards, I was unofficially told last summer Avid is cooking up some sort of MTRX Lite interface. Multi outputs, monitor control and room correction with the spkr card. Could be interesting?
Never heard anything about it again (except the same story via different channels), thought it would be announced at IBC (it wasn't) but maybe next NAMM?
Old 10th January 2020
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
Hm. adding another interface to the interface (for D/A) probably defeats both the idea of slimming down things (cables, foootprint) and saving cost? Not sure.

A unit like the Xilica FR1 might be a better option. Fully modular so you don't need to buy I/O that you don't need, Dante option, 100% customizable processing, remote control options and *WAY* below the price of a QSYS or and MTRX and or even one of those "high end" 7.1 volume knobs. This unit often flies under the radar as marketing is more towards installs and live venues.
Xilica makes great stuff. But when you factor in the cards necessary wouldn't a Neutrino 16-out with Dante input be even cheaper? Would need to check with the dealer I suppose.

I had no idea about the Metric Halo interfaces, is that new capability with their "3d" processing? I've always liked how they support their older gear like RME.
Old 10th January 2020
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfyou View Post
Xilica makes great stuff. But when you factor in the cards necessary wouldn't a Neutrino 16-out with Dante input be even cheaper? Would need to check with the dealer I suppose.
Not sure about the Neutrino. I would look at the FR1 as it's fully modular and you can config the I/O exactly to your needs without paying for stuff you don't need. *WAY* cheaper than an equivalent QSYS or a BSS. More flexible than the MH and fully modular and the MH doesn't have remote control options and no Dante AFAIK. The price tag should be slightly above the MH but it's hard to compare as the MH doesn't have Dante and you need another D/A converter for Atmos. But overall the MH is a great device but as soon as you need upscaling (more then one interface for more outputs) it doesn't really make sense anymore in the mid/long term.

Last edited by apple-q; 11th January 2020 at 12:27 PM..
Old 14th January 2020
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
And yes, I heard a rumor of a smaller “fixed” configuration monitor controller from Avid. Perhaps we’ll see this at NAMM. MTRX lite would be great.
Indeed, I heard rumors as well.. Like an Omni II, based on DAD DX32. Analog outputs, probably with monitoring analog 7.1.4 capability, and monitoring filters + delay (in DAD Man)
Old 14th January 2020
  #15
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Metric Halo has "early adopter" pricing on their interfaces right now. Looks like they're still working on the software? But fantastic prices for what you get. Seriously considering the 2882 to replace an aging Mbox 3 Pro. I'd prefer the LIO8 but I think I need something more portable.
Old 15th January 2020
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janus View Post
Indeed, I heard rumors as well.. Like an Omni II, based on DAD DX32. Analog outputs, probably with monitoring analog 7.1.4 capability, and monitoring filters + delay (in DAD Man)
Ha. None of that sounds like less that $5k.

I could imagine an "upgraded" Omni but not a downmarket MTRX/DAD (and why would they... still selling really well)
Old 16th January 2020
  #17
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Well, something's cooking on the Avid booth ;-).

https://www.facebook.com/Avid/videos/2459729560946340/
Old 20th January 2020
  #18
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As of now there are no MH "Edge Cards" for analogue outputs. So to do anything beyond 7.1 you'd need another interface. Which conveniently enough you can connect to the first by an Ethernet cable. The great part is that the computer and the MH software see it as a unified device, no aggregating needed.

Another interesting feature is their Ethernet Core Audio driver. Supports 128 channels at low latency so no USB required and Thunderbolt not necessary.

The monitor control is in the analogue domain on the LIO/ULN8 and does seem to provide everything you'd need. I don't know about control though, whether there is an app or what. Their mixer is Eucon compatible.
Old 5th May 2020
  #19
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Metric Halo 7.1.4 Bass Management.

Full disclosure, I tested this, it works, the MIO software has speaker delays, EQ, monitor control all the way up to 7.1.4, but I haven't hung my overheads yet, so I haven't done a full calibration. Still slumming it in 5.1. But the hardware and software are promising.
Old 5th May 2020
  #20
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Looks like the MIO software can do an AllPass Filter.

DAD should take note,
(something I've been asking for since the Meyer Sound Galaxy, etc. can do them too)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntpjl View Post
Well, something's cooking on the Avid booth ;-).

https://www.facebook.com/Avid/videos/2459729560946340/
Old 5th May 2020
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
Looks like the MIO software can do an AllPass Filter.

DAD should take note,
(something I've been asking for since the Meyer Sound Galaxy, etc. can do them too)
To be fair to DAD, DADman is extraordinarily well-designed and does a lot of things out-of-the-box that you have to do for yourself in MIO. But yes, there are a zillion great-sounding modules that you can put in your B-chain in MIO.

What would you achieve with the Allpass filter? I usually think of that as a reverb building block.
Old 6th May 2020
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
What would you achieve with the Allpass filter? I usually think of that as a reverb building block.
It's one of the most common filters necessary for multi-channel systems to fix phase between speakers. You can't always pick speaker location as accurately as you need to but you can correct the phase (especially with subwoofer/LFE channels) response at overlaps.
Q-SYS, Meyer Sound, etc all have them for that reason.
Old 13th May 2020
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfyou View Post
The monitor control is in the analogue domain on the LIO/ULN8 and does seem to provide everything you'd need. I don't know about control though, whether there is an app or what. Their mixer is Eucon compatible.
So I asked metric Halo about how this works. On the ULN-8 the monitor control can either be entirely digital or entirely analog. Thus if you only need 7.1 you can use analog domain volume control and the 8 onboard outputs.

If you want Metric Halo DA conversion for additional outputs then the only option is another unit connected via MH Link.

However if you happen to have monitors with digital inputs and are happy using the D/A conversion in those then you could put a 8 Channel AES card in the ULN-8 giving you 16 AES outputs in total. Which gives you more than the 12 output channels you need for 7.1.4.

The other option is putting a MADI card in the ULN-8 then adding Ferrofish Pulse 16 MX MADI DA converter.

Sadly the one thing you can't do is use the onboard 8 analogue channels for the base layer then run the height channels off the SMUX output with a cheap ADAT DA.

I'm looking at if a ULN-8 + AES card + Genelec 83xx monitors. Or The ULN-8 + MADI + Ferrofish + Genelec 80xx monitors are the better option.

Anything I buy has to do double duty as a recording interface hence the ULN-8 being attractive.
Old 14th May 2020
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chelgrian View Post
Sadly the one thing you can't do is use the onboard 8 analogue channels for the base layer then run the height channels off the SMUX output with a cheap ADAT DA.
That's not correct. I'm sorry if we miscommunicated. You can use any mix of analog and digital outputs for an output path in the Monitor Controller. So you can indeed use the D/A in the box for the 7.1 and then use digital outputs to another converter for the 4 height channels.

You'll have to put more effort into alignment and calibration if you do this as the level and latency are unlikely to match between the 7.1 path and the digital ->D/A path, but the MC provides the required tools to accomplish this alignment and calibration. Obviously, this extra work is not required if you use 2 LIO's or ULN-8's.
Old 15th May 2020
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mh_bj View Post
That's not correct. I'm sorry if we miscommunicated. You can use any mix of analog and digital outputs for an output path in the Monitor Controller. So you can indeed use the D/A in the box for the 7.1 and then use digital outputs to another converter for the 4 height channels.

You'll have to put more effort into alignment and calibration if you do this as the level and latency are unlikely to match between the 7.1 path and the digital ->D/A path, but the MC provides the required tools to accomplish this alignment and calibration. Obviously, this extra work is not required if you use 2 LIO's or ULN-8's.
Thanks. The not being able to mix the two was the impression I got from putting a support request in and it did seem slightly odd for a Metric Halo interface not to be completely flexible in this regard.

Of course I'd got confused about outputs available and the ULN-8 only has the AES outputs on the D25 by default without an edge card. The absolute cheapest way to get more analogue outputs if you don't care about the quality of the DA and the limitation to 48KHz is via a ADAT edge card plus a Behringer ADA8200.

Other ways to do it would be an RME ADI-8 DS MkII attached to the AES output on the ULN-8 or the Ferrofish Pluse attached via a MADI edge card.

It would be really really useful if Metric Halo made either:

- An 8 Channel analogue output edge card on a DB25 connector.

- A box which was just 8 or 16 channels of 3rd Gen Metric Halo DA on MHLink and nothing else saving the cost of the AD etc.

Having done the sums at least at the lower end of monitoring using analogue monitors even when spending the money on the RME or Ferrofish boxes is cheaper than going digital and monitors with built in DA.

It becomes less relevent once you are spending thousands per box for the monitors but at that point you probably also have a ProTools setup with an MTRX and the monitoring cards.

My usage is around doing immersive sound for amateur theatre based on ambisonics and is mostly a hobby project and I want to keep the entire cost below $10,000 for the interface 10 reasonable monitors and a sub which is not quite possible at the moment.
Old 15th May 2020
  #26
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[QUOTE=chelgrian;14736904]Of course I'd got confused about outputs available and the ULN-8 only has the AES outputs on the D25 by default without an edge card. The absolute cheapest way to get more analogue outputs if you don't care about the quality of the DA and the limitation to 48KHz is via a ADAT edge card plus a Behringer ADA8200.[\Quote]

Yeah - but you can add ADAT to the ULN-8 with an EdgeCard, and that's pretty inexpensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chelgrian View Post
It would be really really useful if Metric Halo made either:

- An 8 Channel analogue output edge card on a DB25 connector.

- A box which was just 8 or 16 channels of 3rd Gen Metric Halo DA on MHLink and nothing else saving the cost of the AD etc.
Fair enough.
Old 17th June 2020
  #27
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Just an update: I had some downtime and was able to fully install 7.1.4 using the LIO-8 as an interface and controller. Works really well. The monitor section is Euconized, so it shows up on my Dock, calibrating all the loudspeaker levels was easily done in the MIO software with Dolby Atmos Production Suite as the noise source. By far the hardest part was being on a ladder, finding ceiling joists to bolt into and hang the overheads from.
Old 17th June 2020
  #28
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This is really good to know. I'll be looking to upgrade my interface soon to something Atmos capable and had been looking at the MTRX Studio up until this point. Great that the LIO-8 is Eucon enabled.

Out of interest, how are you dealing with Video Ref?
Old 17th June 2020
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Pearson View Post

Out of interest, how are you dealing with Video Ref?
AJA T-Tap. It's not gen-locked, but it's really tight. And like I said earlier, MTRX Studio is a very cool device. There are scenarios where that might suit an existing studio better. For example, my rig is 100% native, no HDX, no SYNC.
Old 17th June 2020
  #30
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Hey Nathaniel, You couldn't go into specifics on how your system is set up, could you? How are you outputting all 12 channels? How does the MH integrate with Eucon? are you able to use it in the Avid Control App? What about Pros and cons vs the MTRX Studio?

BTW: Pix or it didn't happen!
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