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Merging Hapi mic pre's vs. Audient ASP 880 Digital Converters
Old 7th August 2014
  #1
Merging Hapi mic pre's vs. Audient ASP 880

Dear Colleagues,
I'm starting to research an increase in channel count into my remote kit. I currently use 8 channels of Grace Design into Lynx Aurora + an Audient ASP880 into an RME ADAT interface (I get a maximum of 12 channels at 96kHz).

I'd like to increase both the channel count and the sampling frequency. Merging's Hapi seems like an excellent choice.

The question is, keep the Audient? I've no direct experience with the sound quality of the Horus/Hapi mic pre's and A/D, but consensus seems to be that it's state of the art. I could help offset the cost of a Hapi (with two AD8D 8 channel mic-pre cards) by selling the Audient. I'd then have 24 channels of 192kHz (with the Grace feeding the Aurora feeding the AES/EBU in the Hapi).
Old 9th August 2014
  #2
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Don S's Avatar
 

I can only imagine that the pres are very close, meaning transparent and designed to be used for classical/acoustic work. If you compare it to Pueblo or an EAR, they may not hold up as the cost implies (about a grand for 8 channels of pre and AtoD).
Old 9th August 2014
  #3
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I have not heard the Audient pres, although they are said to be excellent. I have heard the Merging preamp/converter, and it is outstanding. It would certainly not be a downgrade, and would probably be an upgrade.

However, here's where I think the real advantage of going Hapi would be: with the Merging solution, you can get 16 channels in one rack space. Simplifying one's setup, reducing complexity, and decreasing the size and weight of one's rig is always worthwhile.
Old 10th August 2014
  #4
The audient is nice. It's no Grace, but it's very good.
Any Horus owners want to chime in on the quality of the merging A/Ds?
Old 10th August 2014
  #5
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A look at who is using Horus will answer your question. Here's one user.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym4sH9VaHbU

and here's their newsletter blog.
http://inside.merging.com/
Old 30th November 2016
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post
The audient is nice. It's no Grace, but it's very good.
Any Horus owners want to chime in on the quality of the merging A/Ds?
I use a Horus with Premium cards often, mostly at 192K, also 96K and 44.1k. More recently I was using a Horus with DSD256, and to my ears, using them at DSD256 is the most mind blowing sound on them. They record a mirror image of the performance and listening back to DSD256 off the Merging DA into your speakers makes you think a Human is playing in front of you.

Peace

Last edited by Doc Mixwell; 1st December 2016 at 01:15 AM..
Old 11th December 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
I use a Horus with Premium cards often, mostly at 192K, also 96K and 44.1k. More recently I was using a Horus with DSD256, and to my ears, using them at DSD256 is the most mind blowing sound on them. They record a mirror image of the performance and listening back to DSD256 off the Merging DA into your speakers makes you think a Human is playing in front of you. Peace
Indeed, but almost useless for actually producing a real world recording with panning, balance, EQ, reverb, and remixing.
Old 11th December 2016
  #8
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Just wait until you hear an NHK configuration in DSD256. Balance, panning, EQ, the whole nine yards. No LPCM required. Real world recording broadcast live in DSD with 8K visuals. But I've been told what happens in Japan isn't real world.
Old 11th December 2016
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Indeed, but almost useless for actually producing a real world recording with panning, balance, EQ, reverb, and remixing.
Certainly not useless for everyone!

I plan to use with Analog gear, Analog mix down. If I need to "Mix ITB" its extremely easy to use a 352.8 DXD session. I like the way DSD sounds more. However, DXD still sounds great mixing down the captured DSD256 files.
Old 18th December 2016
  #10
Gear Addict
We do use the Horus with both the Premium and the normal card and we do have an Audient ( the 8 channel 1 HE Unit).

If you are doing classical music or jazz and therefore depth of field is important, then they are not equal. The Horus' Pres have an amazing depht of field, similar if not better than many boutique pres.

With the Audient the sound is more 1-dimensional, I would not recommand it to use for mainmics or ambis.

The Audient however has a very nice tone, a "nevish" color and a nice saturation (while the Horus's Pre's are totally transparent.

On orchestral work the Audient is great for certain spot mics (for which depht of filed is not important anyway). The Audient shines on spots for Doublebass, also Celli, and it is great for all kinds of percussion.

But in Gerneal to me, the horus's pre are "better", great sound, great impulses, great depht of field and you could record everything with it. The Audient is good for the money and has some use on which it is really great. It is not versatile however.

Daniel
Idee und Klang | Tonstudio und Audio Design - Basel

Last edited by idee und klang; 18th December 2016 at 02:18 PM..
Old 18th December 2016
  #11
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by idee und klang View Post
We do use the Horus with both the Premium and the normal card and we do have an Audient ( the 8 channel 1 HE Unit).

If you are doing classical music or jazz and therefore depth of field is important, then they are not equal. The Horus' Pres have an amazing depht of field, similar if not better than many boutique pres.

With the Audient the sound is more 1-dimensional, I would not recommand it to use for mainmics or ambis.

The Audient however has a very nice tone, a "nevish" color and a nice saturation (while the Horus's Pre's are totally transparent.

On orchestral work the Audient is great for certain spot mics (for which depht of filed is not important anyway). The Audient shines on spots for Doublebass, also Celli, and it is great for all kinds of percussion.

But in Gerneal to me, the horus's pre are "better", great sound, great impulses, great depht of field and you could record everything with it. The Audient is good for the money and has some use on which it is really great. It is not versatile however.

Daniel
Idee und Klang | Tonstudio und Audio Design - Basel
I continue to say that any depth in the recording is almost entirely due to the mic configuration. Any good preamp should be able to preserve and convey the depth that is captured by the main curtain of mics.

If the stage is deep and their is adequate separation of instruments on stage, one should work hard to capture and use depth. An added aura of mystery.
Old 18th December 2016
  #12
Gear Addict
No question that the room and Mics and how you place them is most important to gather the depth of field. But it is not much a question for me, that it won't happen as good with some gear as with others. If you use the Audient for main or Ambi Mics in the best hall with the best mics, you can search a long long time for the perfect mic position and the depth will not be halve as big as with the horus or any preamp that can deliver depth of field.

I'd agree with your statement with a transparent pre, but the Audient is not transparent.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I continue to say that any depth in the recording is almost entirely due to the mic configuration. Any good preamp should be able to preserve and convey the depth that is captured by the main curtain of mics.

If the stage is deep and their is adequate separation of instruments on stage, one should work hard to capture and use depth. An added aura of mystery.
Old 18th December 2016
  #13
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"1-dimensional" and "nevish" are both very far from Audient sound.
Old 18th December 2016
  #14
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
"1-dimensional" a "nevish" are both very far from Audient sound.
"nevish" just in comparision to the horus and in lack of a better word. Let's say it is more colored than the horus.

1 dimensional: compared to a lot of other preamps yes it does sound 1-dimensional. It can not hold up with the Horus in that domain.
Old 18th December 2016
  #15
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Compared to yellow, it's orange. That's what I read.

Tony Faulkner uses Audient for a main pair. So do I.
Old 18th December 2016
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Tony Faulkner uses Audient for a main pair. So do I.
Santa Clause drives a bicycle, so do I.
Old 18th December 2016
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Santa Clause drives a bicycle, so do I.
Rides.

Last edited by Empiria; 19th December 2016 at 11:12 AM..
Old 19th December 2016
  #18
I used Merging Horus Preamps all weekend to record, Drums, Percussion, Electric Guitar and Cello, and the sounds we achieved are stellar. They are very transparent and do not change the sound at any level. Thats helpful since I have all this non-linear tube stuff everywhere. We used Ribbons, Condensers, Dynamics and the client is very happy with the sounds.
Old 20th December 2016
  #19
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just.sounds's Avatar
Anyone who heard one of both alongside a crookwood paintpot? I'm curious about the difference.
Old 21st December 2016
  #20
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by just.sounds View Post
Anyone who heard one of both alongside a crookwood paintpot? I'm curious about the difference.
Yes, I can tell you about the two preamps. They are in the same clean family, but I give the edge clearly to the Crookwood Paintpot.

It is super built and designed to be the best there is.

Velvet black background sound from the Crookwood with a -3dB downpoint at over 500kHz. Silent and with noble sound.

One has to realize the pedigree of the Crookwood equipment. The main man at Crookwood, Crispin Herrod-Taylor, worked at Meridian hi-fi, worked for Rupert Neve at the original Focusrite and then also with SSL.

Crispin knows all the ins and outs of very high fidelity signals and real music sounds.

That is why I can tell you that Crookwood is one of the top three mic amps in the world.

Built to be ONLY a mic amp unlike the Merging product.
Old 21st December 2016
  #21
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just.sounds's Avatar
Nice to hear, I seem to have the right one . I still haven't had the chance to do a side by side with the Horus.

I still have not figured out if Crispin or Penny is the main man at Crookwoods ;-) But i love the gear they make!
Old 27th December 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idee und klang View Post
We do use the Horus with both the Premium and the normal card and we do have an Audient ( the 8 channel 1 HE Unit).

If you are doing classical music or jazz and therefore depth of field is important, then they are not equal. The Horus' Pres have an amazing depht of field, similar if not better than many boutique pres.

With the Audient the sound is more 1-dimensional, I would not recommand it to use for mainmics or ambis.

The Audient however has a very nice tone, a "nevish" color and a nice saturation (while the Horus's Pre's are totally transparent.

On orchestral work the Audient is great for certain spot mics (for which depht of filed is not important anyway). The Audient shines on spots for Doublebass, also Celli, and it is great for all kinds of percussion.

But in Gerneal to me, the horus's pre are "better", great sound, great impulses, great depht of field and you could record everything with it. The Audient is good for the money and has some use on which it is really great. It is not versatile however.

Daniel
Idee und Klang | Tonstudio und Audio Design - Basel
Hello Daniel,

Thanks for your thoughts on these two. The Hapi seems to get only praise, and I am looking myself into it.

I would need 16 channels input and 8 outputs is more than enough for me. How can one assemble this in the Hapi? Can one stil get the ADA8 board and combine that with a AD8?

If that is possible, one can't record or play DSD.

Maybe one can also take an AD8P plus a DA8P and be able to record 8 channels in DSD, and if one needs 16 channels add a ADAT preamp? Does it have a double ADAT input for SMUX 96KHz?

Has anyone experience with this?

Lucas
Old 28th December 2016
  #23
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Roland's Avatar
I haven't used the audience much, however, I would suspect that they are designed well as it is David Dearden behind them formerly of Soundcraft and DDA. The Hapi comes from a different place. It is designed primarily for classical recording, not as a pre for a high input count analogue console. That some people have remarked that the Audient seems to lack the depth of the Hapi doesn't totally surprise me. The Audient isn't expensive and is an older design.
Old 28th December 2016
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas_G View Post
I would need 16 channels input and 8 outputs is more than enough for me. How can one assemble this in the Hapi? Can one stil get the ADA8 board and combine that with a AD8?
Yes, that would be the only option on a single HAPI chassis.


Quote:
If that is possible, one can't record or play DSD.
A second HAPI chassis would be required for DSD. 16 input channels on the first (stage box) with two AD8DP/AKD8DP cards, and a second for the D/A (monitoring box) with the single DA8P card. That arrangement is still cheaper than HORUS with the same configuration and still provides an expansion option.


Quote:
Does it have a double ADAT input for SMUX 96KHz?
"ADAT/SPDIF
8 ADAT I/O or 2 SPDIF I/O (on TOSLINK) are Included as standard. This module is supported up to 2FS (96 kHz)"

There is also the 8 channel AES I/O so something like the Grace m108 would be another option or perhaps the Neumann DMI-8.
Old 28th December 2016
  #25
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Hi Reynaud, thanks for the info.

I had't really thought of buying two HAPI's (which is a considerable investment!), but I see the advantage of having one close to the mics and one in the monitoring room, only connected by a CAT6 cable.

I am afraid I need to go saving up...

I still work with the Prism Orpheus and while I think the DA is very good (but not very special), the AD is still superb. I have tried many other interfaces now, but all were less detailed and transparent, so I would loose that special feeling of intemacy in the sound.

I guess the AD of the HAPI is at least on a par and maybe better.

I can of course start with the DA8P and the AD8P option and later buy a second HAPI. Meanwhile I can use the ADAT as an interim solution when needing more than 8 channels... Later on I can add a second HAPI with another AD8P. I think I will go that route.

Last question on Ravenna. If going straight from one HAPI to a laptop, I guess there is no need for a switch? When using two HAPI's can ANY switch be used, or are there special requirements?
Old 28th December 2016
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas_G View Post

Last question on Ravenna. If going straight from one HAPI to a laptop, I guess there is no need for a switch? When using two HAPI's can ANY switch be used, or are there special requirements?
Merging recommends one switch and has configuration notes available online,
It is a Dell PowerConnect 2816

Anytime you will be using more than one Hapi or Horus on the Network, you will need this switcher, as far as I understand.
Old 28th December 2016
  #27
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Thanks Doc,

That's clear.

I guess they don't like cheap stuff at Merging...
Old 28th December 2016
  #28
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas_G View Post
Hello Daniel,

Thanks for your thoughts on these two. The Hapi seems to get only praise, and I am looking myself into it.

I would need 16 channels input and 8 outputs is more than enough for me. How can one assemble this in the Hapi? Can one stil get the ADA8 board and combine that with a AD8?

If that is possible, one can't record or play DSD.

Maybe one can also take an AD8P plus a DA8P and be able to record 8 channels in DSD, and if one needs 16 channels add a ADAT preamp? Does it have a double ADAT input for SMUX 96KHz?

Has anyone experience with this?

Lucas
Hi Lucas,

most is already answeared...
I think the AD8P and DA8P would be great and then add a Preamp with Adat.. don't know if you loose channels in 96kHz. Or maybe if not too expensive get a Horus, I started with a 24 Input Horus and now I have extended it to 40 Inputs.

The combination Preamp and AD on the AD8P is just really great.
Cheers,
Daniel
Old 28th December 2016
  #29
Gear Nut
 

I hope I can answer a few of the practical questions.

1. When only using two units, i.e. one Hapi and one computer. There is no need for a switch.

2. The recommended switch is convinient to use as you can download pre-configured settings.
However most switches will work. I use a HP ProCurve. One of the real advantages with Ravenna, Dante and other layer 3 protocoll is that they can be used in existing networks, without need for special hardware/switches etc. sharing network with other traffic. However QoS etc. will be important once you share network with other traffic.

3. Hapi can be expanded with 8ch AES/EBU up to 192kHz. I use a RME octamic to get 24 channels.

4. Hapi can also be expanded with 8ch ADAT. Every time you doubble samplerate, your available channels will be half. At 88.2/96 kHz you will have 4 channels.

My own rig consists of one Hapi with 1x AD8D and 1x ADA8, giving me 16ch up to 192kHz in and 8(+2) ch up to 192kHz out.
Expanded, using AES/EBU and ADAT, I have 32ch in and 16 (+2) out at 44.1/48kHz.
28ch in and 12 (+2) ch out at 96kHz.

Max config with HAPI would be 2x ADA8 using all digital ins and outs, giving 32 ch analog in and 32 (+2) ch analog out.
Old 28th December 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas_G View Post
I had't really thought of buying two HAPI's (which is a considerable investment!)
This is why a split system makes more sense financially, especially since I don't earn in dollars or euros, so it's even more of a considerable investment for me. Any savings in dollar or euro terms equates to a massive saving in real terms. It allows investing in stages and as needs and requirements change without a massive initial outlay.

The other consideration is that, as you point out, a split system is also more flexible. More so in a mixed Dante/Ravenna/AES67 environment such as I have, and especially when working with different split teams.


Quote:
Last question on Ravenna. If going straight from one HAPI to a laptop, I guess there is no need for a switch?
That is correct.


Quote:
When using two HAPI's can ANY switch be used, or are there special requirements?
In most scenarios, the audio bandwidth requirements are so low that any decent managed Gb switch will do. If it works for Dante, it will work equally well for Ravenna/AES67. Confirmed by Dominique at Merging.

I use SFP ports for long cable runs between switches and devices, so at least 4 of these ports are required if you intend on a similar deployment.

If, on the other hand, you have mixed traffic (such as metadata, control, data sharing) and want to push 4K video over IP, then at minimum a 40Gb managed switch is required such as the Juniper Networks EX series. 8K video requires 100Gb switches.

Audio-only networks are extremely straightforward and don't require much by way of complicated or expensive infrastructure. Any decent managed Gb switch will do.
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