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Weighing Merging & Dante options on location
Old 7th February 2020
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
I’m coming to this thread a bit late, but just wanted to chime in to say why we are using Merging.
Jim,

Thank you very much for taking the time to offer this thorough and well-written perspective. I really appreciate it.

Lots to think about here... still weighing the options.
Old 9th February 2020
  #32
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Thanks, Elpillo! I appreciate that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo View Post
A little off topic. Sorry...



Congrats on your work! I became a big fan of Trio Palabras thanks to you and the beautiful recording. Originally found them searching for recordings using a C700S. Glorious.

I agree on your comments on the Hapi. It provides a pristine sound. Haven't used it enough yet, but I'm loving it so far.
Merging's customer support is really good as well.
Old 10th February 2020
  #33
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I have gone the Merging route. One HAPI with 2 ADK8D cards (micpres/direct outs) and an Anubis Premium. When necessary I put 4 channels of Pueblo into the Anubis. I needed the possibility of direct outs on every channel since some of my work requires feeding a small analog mixer for FOH or monitors.

That gives me up to 20 input channels, 3 headphones, and 4 balanced outputs. This IO covers my needs, and I am very pleased with the mic preamps and the conversion.

I thought about the DANTE setup, with Grace Preamps, but I didn't want to use a digital mixer and I needed analog direct outputs.

Considering the fear of DB25 connectors, I simply soldered up a 1U 16 channel XLR patch panel so that I always just leave the DB25 connected and make patches with the mic cable into the panel. I wouldn't be comfortable with re-plugging the DB25 connection every time I needed to setup at a concert hall or venue.

Then with MassCore (as Mark mentioned) the whole system is very elegant and stable.

Ravenna has been very stable for me once I figured out the best order of turning the equipment on and followed the optimization guide laid out by Merging.

RE: the slim pickin' of Ravenna enabled gear, I am not too worried about the need for connection to other gear since I almost always work self contained and without the need to patch into OPP!

-Branic
Old 11th February 2020
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
<Snip>

Then with MassCore (as Mark mentioned) the whole system is very elegant and stable.

Ravenna has been very stable for me once I figured out the best order of turning the equipment on and followed the optimization guide laid out by Merging.

RE: the slim pickin' of Ravenna enabled gear, I am not too worried about the need for connection to other gear since I almost always work self contained and without the need to patch into OPP!
WRT the available hardware in the Ravenna ecosystem.... I would wait a couple of weeks before making a decision. There are new pieces of hardware and a major change coming to the Merging software. Can't divulge more than that, but there are big happenings in Puidoux.

Cryptic as always...
All the best,
-mark
Old 12th February 2020
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
Can't divulge more than that, but there are big happenings in Puidoux.
Thank you very much for this insight, Mark. I had actually wondered about this when starting the thread, since Monsieur Cellier has hinted in various lectures/interviews about some new things (besides Anubis) which Merging has been working on over the past couple years.

Thanks also, Branic (brhoward) for sharing your thoughts on this!
Old 2nd March 2020
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
WRT the available hardware in the Ravenna ecosystem.... I would wait a couple of weeks before making a decision. There are new pieces of hardware and a major change coming to the Merging software. Can't divulge more than that, but there are big happenings in Puidoux.
I'm curious, any news on this?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #37
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Certainly multi-threaded Native will be most welcome, if that's what it is.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Certainly multi-threaded Native will be most welcome, if that's what it is.
Multi-thread is half of it... There is also new hardware on the horizon. (With the current issues the world is facing WRT supply chain, I suspect the products may be delayed. )
All the best,
-mark
Old 1 week ago
  #39
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While we wait excitedly for (probably delayed) news from Switzerland, I wanted to add a related question to this topic:

What about the question of stand-alone hardware recorders?

Some recent computer headaches have been pushing to the forefront of my mind the appeal of investing in a dedicated recorder, like the JoeCo BBR64 or Tascam DA-6400. For the past several years I've been using a second laptop for backup, running a different version of Windows 10 for added safety, but it would be that much more reliable and straightforward to have a dedicated box for this purpose, regardless of what happens on the software front.

I just spent some time looking at the Ravenna website, but I cannot find any product currently available which performs this function.

Obviously AES67 could theoretically provide a sort of workaround here, but it seems less-than-optimal for a variety of reasons (e.g. higher sample rates or DSD/DXD not compatible).

What are Merging users here doing for backup (if anything) other than simply running a second computer? I have seen several well-respected engineers using something like a Sound Devices recorder to take the analog direct outs from their Hapi/Horus. I do this too already with a MixPre10 to take analog outs for a second backup of my most critical 8 channels, but this is of course less practical as channel counts increase, or if you want to interface with additional channels from installed equipment in-house, etc.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Old 1 week ago
  #40
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Plush's Avatar
I urge you to move to the best system which is Merging. I am talking about the best sound quality / fidelity. All else, at least to me, is secondary.

Dante is a more commercial approach while Merging hardware offers a boutique approach.

Merging offers Nagra preamps courtesy the genius of Claude Cellier.
Connecting different boxes is an inelegant way to work.
Merging units offer a systems approach that is well proven.

And you don't have to use Pyramix to use Horus / Hapi. You stick with your regular daw.

DSD is for specialized pursuits. I do like SACD as a premium release format but outside of BIS and Pentatone and some smaller labels, not much is appearing.

Fail safe single box solution is where it is at.

Merging offers much better sound than competing Dante set ups.
Old 1 week ago
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
Multi-thread is half of it...
Now on the Beta program. Got it in my hot little hands.
Old 1 week ago
  #42
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Hi David,

I was thinking of signing up for the beta as well... I'd love to hear your thoughts so far when you have a moment!
Old 1 week ago
  #43
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So far, seriously good. Most significant upgrade to PMX in a long time IMHO.
Old 1 week ago
  #44
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Excellent. Looking forward to trying it myself this afternoon!
Old 1 week ago
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
So far, seriously good. Most significant upgrade to PMX in a long time IMHO.
What is included in that upgrade, playa??
Old 1 week ago
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
What is included in that upgrade, playa??
From Merging's Beta test overview page:

PYRAMIX 25th ANNIVERSARY HIGHLIGHTS:
- New. Native Audio Engine multi-threading support
- New. Video playback engine performance improvements
- New. Sampling Rate Conversion engine and playback Improvement
- New Atmos Speaker Sets supported
- Improvements to the VST/VST3 plugins distribution, enhancing the
performance for Pyramix Native and MassCore
- Various Improvements to the Mixer
- 2022-7 redundancy compliant with latest firmware’s
- Various bug fixes


Two responses to the beta release from others, from initial testing:

1) Just installed this first beta of the 25th anniversary edition. Just wanted to say that my initial thought is that this is fantastic. I can open large 192/24 sessions using vst reverbs etc.. that were unplayable previously without disabling things. Now the cpu sits at 35% or so peaking at 50% with no audible issues so far (in fact the cpu usage is lower with everything active than it was with almost all plugins deactivated before). Awesome work! This is going to make a huge difference.


2) Wow, this is amazing, loaded up some projects in Native with large VST loads including Izotope Spectral Repair on best quality and limiting and Flux Solera, no skipping, no glitches, even during changes while playing. This much VST processing didn't even work with Masscore before.

Goodbye Masscore!

Very impressed Ricardo! Huge upgrade and with multi-client ASIO driver now too. Looking forward to lots of testing over the next few weeks.


I (Tom) run Masscore, recording only multichannel DSD256, so have not yet witnessed the additions I was hoping (DSD Mixer). Pyramix still requires Masscore to be able to record DSD in a DXD project for realtime mixing to stereo monitoring.

Still for the majority of Pyramix users, and new converts, a major set of enhancements.

Tom

Last edited by tailspn; 1 week ago at 12:03 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #47
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Yes, Native multi-threaded is a significant upgrade. And the ASIO driver is now multi-client.
Old 1 week ago
  #48
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Great summary,tailspn. Thanyavermuh!

I have a fancy Pyramix set up with DSD etc. Loaded!

But instead I use Sequoia and I am a 28 year SADiST.

I only use maybe 3 VST plug-ins at once. Largest track count is 24 track.

I mix to stereo a lot so the job is done the same day it is recorded.

I admire Claude Cellier tremendously and have known him since he was at Nagra.

What a great guy and his great company!
Old 6 days ago
  #49
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I have also been very pleased with the Pyramix Beta so far, as others have said. Admittedly I do not have nearly as much history with which to compare it, but even to 12.0.5 some great improvements are apparent.

If I could gently steer us back to the question I asked about a week ago (post #39 ) I would still be very curious to hear this question addressed by the Merging users here...

Plush's point (as usual) is very well taken and understood regarding the quality and elegance of the system. Certainly there are no reservations on that front with the Merging path.

However, from a more pragmatic standpoint, it seems that the much smaller range of devices available in the Ravenna ecosystem could make it more difficult to tailor/expand one's setup as needed. I'm thinking of situations where, perhaps, installed equipment feeds are needed at several locations, or where monitoring is needed in several places at once, etc. -- these are very simple to solve with variety of relatively inexpensive equipment in a Dante system.

Also the question of recording to a device other than a laptop? Have Merging users found that something like two laptops is 100% reliable in the field? Or are you taking analog splits for backup? Etc.

Many thanks! Just trying to take advantage of the downtime to fully flesh out the pros and cons of this fork in the road...
Old 6 days ago
  #50
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
And the ASIO driver is now multi-client.
Can you explain what this means in practice?

Is it now possible, for example, to run Pyramix and Samplitude at the same time, and assign some Hapi ins/out to each program?
Old 6 days ago
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLaPointe View Post
Can you explain what this means in practice?

Is it now possible, for example, to run Pyramix and Samplitude at the same time, and assign some Hapi ins/out to each program?
I'd actually love to hear about this too, along with some of the other improvements, but could we please start a new thread to discuss the current Pyramix Beta version, just to keep this current thread on track?

Thanks!
Old 6 days ago
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
I have also been very pleased with the Pyramix Beta so far, as others have said. Admittedly I do not have nearly as much history with which to compare it, but even to 12.0.5 some great improvements are apparent.

If I could gently steer us back to the question I asked about a week ago (post #39 ) I would still be very curious to hear this question addressed by the Merging users here...

Plush's point (as usual) is very well taken and understood regarding the quality and elegance of the system. Certainly there are no reservations on that front with the Merging path.

However, from a more pragmatic standpoint, it seems that the much smaller range of devices available in the Ravenna ecosystem could make it more difficult to tailor/expand one's setup as needed. I'm thinking of situations where, perhaps, installed equipment feeds are needed at several locations, or where monitoring is needed in several places at once, etc. -- these are very simple to solve with variety of relatively inexpensive equipment in a Dante system.

Also the question of recording to a device other than a laptop? Have Merging users found that something like two laptops is 100% reliable in the field? Or are you taking analog splits for backup? Etc.

Many thanks! Just trying to take advantage of the downtime to fully flesh out the pros and cons of this fork in the road...
I am doing analog splits for backup and monitoring purposes. With my merging cards there are Direct Outs on each channel (HAPI 16 ins) and then for the anubis (4 more ins) I feed it with Pueblo JR2/2s that have there own secondary outputs. So 20 channels straight into merging convertors and then 20 redundant channels into another system (analog monitor feeds or recording backup, or both)
Old 6 days ago
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLaPointe View Post
Can you explain what this means in practice?

Is it now possible, for example, to run Pyramix and Samplitude at the same time, and assign some Hapi ins/out to each program?
I am still setting up a config to test this, but I understand it means more than one ASIO host can share the driver. Now exactly what that allows one to do with multiple DAW's or AoIP routes is not known to me yet.

Some interesting testing coming up.
Old 6 days ago
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
So 20 channels straight into merging convertors and then 20 redundant channels into another system (analog monitor feeds or recording backup, or both)
Thanks for this info! If you have a moment, I'd be curious to hear what equipment you are typically using to facilitate an analog backup in this situation.

Cheers,
Luke
Old 6 days ago
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
Thanks for this info! If you have a moment, I'd be curious to hear what equipment you are typically using to facilitate an analog backup in this situation.

Cheers,
Luke
For backups I am either using UFX+ (for 12) or Sound Devices (for 6), but in the future I am curious to look at other units for up to 20 tracks for backups.

I am also curious to know more about using a second computer as a backup—but using a backup that is tied to the same system and technology as the main system seems counterintuitive.

What are you thinking for backups? Wonder if there will be a Ravenna backup recorder?

-Branic
Old 6 days ago
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
For backups I am either using UFX+ (for 12) or Sound Devices (for 6), but in the future I am curious to look at other units for up to 20 tracks for backups.
Thanks very much for the info, Branic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
I am also curious to know more about using a second computer as a backup—but using a backup that is tied to the same system and technology as the main system seems counterintuitive.
Yes, this does seem like a factor worth considering, albeit relatively minor if the computer is carefully set up, etc. With the Dante-based system I currently use, I have a main laptop, backup laptop, and a Sound Devices recorder taking analog direct outs from my preamp for an extra-secure backup. That said, I have never had both computers misbehave simultaneously (yet) after running this type of setup since 2017.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
What are you thinking for backups? Wonder if there will be a Ravenna backup recorder?
I am also curious about this. Given that there are several in the Dante universe, but none (that I can find) in the Ravenna arena, it does seem that this is a hole in the market. Particularly a solid-state recorder which could handle DSD/DXD over Ravenna. Sort of like a JoeCo or Sound Devices 970 with these extended formats in mind -- i.e. appealing as a universal solution for Merging users. Plus, theoretically, if it could support these and was AES67-compatible, it could also work as a backup recorder for Dante networks provided those devices had the chipsets which support AES67...

Some of the other folks here know far more about this than I do, perhaps they will chime in at some point.
Old 6 days ago
  #57
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All fine and dandy but the hardware recorders for Merging do not exist at this time. Dante recorders do. It seems that, today, an engineer needs to make a decision about what he needs in his rig right now.

Ten weeks from now, we may be recording DSD on Mason jar lids. Didn't see that one coming did you?

Pick a team and stick with it. Maybe further down the line, you can say you picked the winner.

D.
Old 6 days ago
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
All fine and dandy but the hardware recorders for Merging do not exist at this time.
Why is this important? What's wrong with Masscore running on PC or Native?

Quote:
Maybe further down the line, you can say you picked the winner.
D.
So far (7 years) its (Merging/Ravenna) been a profound winner for my work.
Old 5 days ago
  #59
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Well, there you go. See? Just what I said.

Some are comfortable recording on laptops. I am not one of those. See? Just what I said.

D.
Old 5 days ago
  #60
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Hi Doug, thank you for the input -- your point is well taken and I very much appreciate your perspective on this specific issue, knowing how much thought and work you have put into building a very powerful and flexible Dante based system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
It seems that, today, an engineer needs to make a decision about what he needs in his rig right now.
I would have agreed, until this coronavirus-induced hiatus laid waste to virtually all my upcoming work for the next few months. With the great advice I have gotten here and elsewhere, I was getting closer and closer to making a final decision on this myself, however, now I find an unanticipated period where reflection and planning for the future seem more advisable once again...

Cheers,
Luke
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