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Weighing Merging & Dante options on location
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Weighing Merging & Dante options on location

Hi all,

I am hoping to get some input from various users here to inform my decision-making process. For the past couple of years, I have been using a Dante-centric location recording rig built around a Grace m108, but I have been wanting to expand my channel count in a streamlined way. To this end, I have been considering both expanding my current system, or selling some equipment and transitioning to a Merging Hapi. I'm using Pyramix for recording.

It seems to me that there are a variety of fairly recent developments in the AoIP world (Merging Anubis, AES67, etc.) which have implications worth considering here. However, I have no experience with Ravenna or any of the Merging hardware.

Some main points of the two scenarios, as I currently see them are:

Keep system Dante-based
- Buy a second m108
- System remains very flexible and scalable
- Other equipment I have (e.g. Focusrite AM2) remains useful
- Easy to integrate additional equipment, mix manufacturers
- Once properly configured, Dante has been extremely reliable
- Two m108's will require an additional switch at the rack case
- Another switch already needed to break out to two laptops and monitoring at control position (I'd like to keep points of failure as low as possible)
- No option to explore DSD or DXD in the future
- Cheaper

Transition to Merging Hapi
- Sell m108 towards this
- System becomes more streamlined with 16 inputs in one device
- Less equipment needed, fewer points of failure
- Possibility to provide DSD/DXD recordings
- Other equipment I have (e.g. Focusrite AM2) becomes obsolete
- Additional equipment needed for monitoring (buy Anubis?)
- Fewer options in terms of interoperability (e.g. AES67 not universally supported)
- No direct experience, but have heard some headache-inducing stories RE configuring Ravenna, maintaining stable low-latency performance
- More expensive, particularly considering additional monitoring needs

I would love to hear opinions, recommendations, cautionary tales from anyone using either sort of setup for location recording of acoustic music and, better still, those with experience in both areas, so that I can continue to weigh my options and make the most informed decision possible.

I hope and expect that many here may be thinking about similar questions these days and that any conversation will be beneficial to others and avoid devolving into another annoying thread of the "Which preamp should I buy to record orchestral music?" type.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Whoa, that's a big can 'o worms you openin' up there son.

I am pretty certain that people on this blog know that I am a, let's say, ardent Dante fan. My experience with Dante has been first rate in terms of all those plusses you mention. I have a little experience with Merging and my friend Jim is a big Merging user, so he and I have lots of discussion about the merits of both. I imagine that he may chime in here. Come have coffee with us. We spend hours and annoy the server by hanging out.

I was hopeful that AES67 would be able to merge the two systems (bad pun intended) but it turns out, at least today, my hopes were unfounded. Does AES67 work? Yes. Is it easy, robust and fool-proof? NO WAY!

Since my rig is 100% Dante using first-rate components, it works like a charm, and is, like the OP says, all those positive things. I have absolutely no need to pursue the Merging route.

I'll let Jim talk about why he has chosen Merging, but I can say that if DSD/DXD capabilities are not high on your list, Dante works well.

Happy to add more specifics as the thread moves along.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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al_net77's Avatar
I would consider the upgrade to Merging if I need DSD or DXD, but if not... I don't think the investment would give you great benefits.

You are on Dante, so you can get multiple preamps also in different location, if needed. You can also have a backup recording laptop on the net. As Ravenna. Your points on Ravenna are correct: to have the same config you would spend a lot of money over your actual config. And I don't know the weight of Hapi, maybe it's heavier than the m108?

I'm actually with 3x m108 in Dante config for location recording, mounted in a 8U rack with a switch. It is not a stone. If I'm in need of lesser chans I can dismount a Grace or two and make the rack lighter.

Again, IMHO the key would be DSD/DXD needs.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
it seems the only things the Merging path really has going for it over Dante in your particular circumstance are form factor (more channels per rack space) and higher resolution.

I suppose you have to decide if those 2 things are worth enough to you to switch to and invest in that ecosystem on a permanent basis.

One Dante box to consider if you stay might be the Lynx Aurora N. Built-in recorder functionality, and I think scalable up to 24 or 32 analog inputs. Might help a bit in the channel-count-per-rackspace department (though you’d still need pre’s so... maybe a wash).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
I’ve got a home for your m108 if you decide to go the Merging route.

Both options are viable. I myself am a bit of a luddite that still uses pounds and pounds of copper wire. I still feel like copper snake minimizes catastrophic failure better than AOIP on location. As do banks of 8 channels with separate PSUs/system-boards. I also have a deep and abiding love for all things Grace Design
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Also DAD AX32 can do the job in lesser space than 'n' m108.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
Also DAD AX32 can do the job in lesser space than 'n' m108.
True, but some of us buy the Grace stuff because we like the sound.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
True, but some of us buy the Grace stuff because we like the sound.

D.
I am one of those
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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It is a difficult decision. I like the Merging gear for the following reasons:

1. Love the sound of those superb cards, having the mic amp circuitry with optimum gain right next to the AD inputs seems to work wonders.
2. The quality support I have received from Merging over the years.
3. High sample rate and DSD is still of interest to me.
4. The quantity and weight of equipment to location recordings is absolutely minimised. Its amazing how quickly I can setup and what I can achieve on my own in a location session.
5. I like the community of users in Aus and overseas.

The system works well and as the local concert halls are now just starting to tool up with Cat6 networks and AoIP and VoIP, AES67 and compatibility will become something for me to deal with. Fingers crossed.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Thank you very much for all these thoughts, I really appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I am pretty certain that people on this blog know that I am a, let's say, ardent Dante fan.
As I have hitherto been as well! When you have a second, could you briefly outline the current signal flow you have with the m108's and your monitoring setup -- I know it has evolved over the months/years, including the separate VLAN solution you implemented for the control data, which is a bridge I too will need to cross should I continue down the Dante path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
I'm actually with 3x m108 in Dante config for location recording, mounted in a 8U rack with a switch.
I assume you do something like the strategy Doug adopted (two VLANs, Dante on one subnet, control data on another) to manage the three m108's remotely? Thanks in advance for any info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post
I also have a deep and abiding love for all things Grace Design
I feel the same way... at the risk of sounding sentimental, part of what makes the decision so hard is the feeling of abandoning an old, trusted friend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
It is a difficult decision. I like the Merging gear for the following reasons:
Hi David, I have noted (and appreciated) many of your informative posts on Merging and Ravenna topics... may I ask how you implement a monitoring system in your location rig? Do I remember correctly that you use an Anubis? I'm wondering what the other alternatives there might be at this time -- at least one, ideally two headphone amps plus balanced stereo line outs would be the minimum requirement. Not very familiar with what options exist in the Ravenna universe.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Don’t forget the new Apogee Symphony mkII cards that they showed at NAMM. Up to 32-ch in a single chassis. I’d consider shooting out these pres against the m108 if you need high channel count on Dante in a small form factor.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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The Symphonys look nice. Maybe for inputs 33-64 for me.

But you'd need to be ALL-IN at $5500.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
... may I ask how you implement a monitoring system in your location rig? Do I remember correctly that you use an Anubis?
Yes I use an Anubis now. It works well and is extremely compact. Still haven't quite got talkback back to stage working down the same Cat5 cable yet, but its on my must do list early this year. I have also used a Hapi on stage to simultaneously record and provide headphone foldback (with metronome) to the performers and this all works really well too.

I'm not aware of other Ravenna low latency monitoring solutions, but haven't researched it much.
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Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
I assume you do something like the strategy Doug adopted (two VLANs, Dante on one subnet, control data on another) to manage the three m108's remotely? Thanks in advance for any info!
Yes, there are a lot of infos in Audinate FAQs and documents. In that way I can control the m108s via Ethernet.
But you could also use QoS and no VLAN:

https://www.audinate.com/faq/how-doe...onfiguring-qos
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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Some thoughts:

going for additional m108 increases failure rate. However, if one goes down, you still have a working device. If Hapi goes down; you have nothing.

Monitoring options for Ravenna are VERY limited.
For Dante you can just buy the small dante-AES breakout cable and connect anything you like.

Is a switch on stage necessary ? I thought you can daisy chain m108 units ?

As a side note on m108 and failure rates : I have been using Grace Design units (with dual power supplies) for a long time now, no issues. Grace themselves have admitted that one PS is probably enough for the m108 because the last two decades they have had ZERO power supply failures with the dual power supplies !

Horus has optional dual PS, Hapi has not.

Personally I prefer multiple 8 ch boxes. You can spread them over the stage and keep mic cables short. What happens if you need to hang 6 mics and you have a 24 ch Horus ?

Interested to see which way you go. I am still using m801 and 2x 801R with Soundscape/Apogee AD conversion. Still did not find anything that sounds better (not DAD, not Horus/Hapi). I also want to make my setup more compact, but do want better sound at the same time...

One more BIG plus for the m108 : it has XLR inputs ! I hate d25 connectors and the ****ty cable that comes with it. They have no place on a PRO device, whatever the manufactureres say about it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
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more aiming at live sound and 'limited' to max. 96k but yamaha rio stageboxes can get remotely controlled from a pc.
they have xlr i/o built-in (32 ins/16 outs plus 4 aes outputs) run on dante and are veeery reliable. since they can be found at almost any rental company, one may not even need to buy any but rent them as needed! there is also a smaller (16/8) version and 8-channel input or breakout boxes for use on various positions/short cable runs on stage; i prefer running analog submulticore though and keep my gear in one spot at the side of the stage or backstage; a redundant recorder also goes there.

i like both grace versions of preamps better than yamaha or merging devices; the latter are hard to beat in terms of options (hi sampling/dsd) though...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
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I am with Yannick on all his points.

For me, and I do this often, being able to take one m108 out on small jobs is a plus. I have my m108s racked one and two. The one rack goes out all the time with the SD788T as a recorder on small jobs ("just because" even though I still think the pres in the 788T are great) and the two-rack gets added for the big jobs. All the racks are pre-wired so adding preamps is super easy. Don't need 24 channels? Reduce your load.

And you can daisy-chain m108s. It might be fine. I have not tried it because I almost always have more than just preamps on stage and use VLANs for controllers/aux stuff. I don't see why, if you only needed three m108s on stage, going without a stage switch wouldn't work fine.

No m108 controllers in the CR this way though because, so far, the m108 controller won't play nice in the Dante stream. VLANs fix that, and Grace is working on making the controller Dante-friendly.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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Thanks again, everyone, for the continued input. I really appreciate this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Yes I use an Anubis now. It works well and is extremely compact. Still haven't quite got talkback back to stage working down the same Cat5 cable yet, but its on my must do list early this year. I have also used a Hapi on stage to simultaneously record and provide headphone foldback (with metronome) to the performers and this all works really well too.
David, as someone with long experience both with Merging's software and hardware, I would be very curious to hear if you have any anecdotes, complaints, concerns regarding things like control software functioning correctly, any anomalous behavior with Ravenna latency, etc. -- I realize that Merging's products are among the best and most reliably engineered, but no system is without its quirks, and it would be helpful to hear a little more about what some of these may be. Particularly so from an experienced user, since some preliminary research on this front has yielded a lot of "false positives" from people new to AoIP experiencing user error situations, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
In that way I can control the m108s via Ethernet.
But you could also use QoS and no VLAN
Thanks for pointing this out, I may investigate further at some point, although the strict separation of control data from Dante streams with VLANs appeals to me from a system design standpoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Some thoughts:
Very good points as always, Yannick, thank you. I didn't want to re-quote your whole message, but:
- You are correct about Ravenna monitoring. I did more research today and the results were pretty disappointing, however wonderful the Anubis, specifically, may be.
- Yes, I remember reading the same thing about the m108 design using only a single PSU because of the non-existent failure rate with the 801. Though, presumably Merging is taking a very similar approach in terms of design/reliability with the Hapi.
- The mic-hanging issue is a very real one. Two m108's would of course make this much easier and keep cables short, as you say.
- RE making the setup smaller AND improving the sound, I completely agree. If it seemed to me that the Hapi would offer sound quality an order of magnitude higher than the Grace, that would make the decision much easier, but it is really more about logistics and what seems like the best long-term investment for the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
more aiming at live sound and 'limited' to max. 96k but yamaha rio stageboxes can get remotely controlled from a pc.
Hi deedeeyeah, a good point, thank you. I am very familiar with the various Rio family stageboxes, we use several of them at work with QL series consoles. They are certainly reliable, but using two control apps (one to control the m108, one for the Yamaha) would be a bit annoying with everything else going on, and more importantly, I have only ever used them in a live sound context, but don't really have a sense of how well they'd compare to the Grace in a critical recording context. Perhaps worth doing a test, though, since I do have access to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
so far, the m108 controller won't play nice in the Dante stream. VLANs fix that, and Grace is working on making the controller Dante-friendly.
Any news on this front? When I saw The Brothers Grace back in October at AES, they were clearly still catching their breaths from the big push to get the m908 out to the public.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
But you could also use QoS and no VLAN:
I don't believe this will work at this time. Correct me if I am wrong but I have tried a lot of setups and the Dante stream swamps the Grace controller every time. The more units you add the worse it gets so while it might be possible, in my experience, to make one m108 controllable over the Dante stream, two, and certainly three will not work reliably.

And yes, the m908 was certainly in the way of any research at Grace on about all other things, the m108 remote among them.


D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Just to play the devils advocate here for a minute...
The cost of an M108 with Dante is just north of $4k per unit, $8k total. A fully loaded 16 input DXD/DSD Hapi is $6500. It does have redundant power from the line voltage and 12v inputs, which we use with an online battery that charges from the line voltage for safety. As a plus, there are analog outputs from the preamps for additional redundancy)... add a Masscore Pro key and you are at $9.5k all in. A little more than the individual units, but you get a fully loaded workstation with all the options that has controlled latency and an integrated system with control of all hardware and software from within the application rather than a hodge-podge of elements from different manufacturers.
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
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Hi Mark,

Thanks very much for your thoughts. I was hoping you'd find a moment to share them, for obvious reasons.

If I may ask you two quick followup questions:

1) Assuming that one uses an adequately spec'ed and configured laptop and switch(es) (e.g. following Merging's lengthy recommendations) have you ever experienced any anomalous behavior or malfunctions in terms of latency, control of the Hapi, dropouts, etc.?

2) How would you recommend facilitating control room monitoring in such a situation? Anubis?

Many thanks in advance for any further input.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
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2. Not the most elegant, but cost effective is to use the aes outputs on the hapi, and connect your current dac. It needs an additional run of aes cable though.

I wonder, how much better are the new hires mic/ad cards than the previous gen ? I did not particularly like the sound of those, I prefer my Grace setup.

Still, I do not like the d25 connectors.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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In the end, and I think this is the interesting part; I don't think I will ever talk my friend out of his Ravenna/Merging rig just as I am certain that he doesn't think that he will ever talk me out of my Dante rig.

A couple of things about that. The first being that we probably all think that anything we have put a lot of thought and money into is the best plan. Hence the hard sell by anyone on one of two sides in a rational argument.

And, secondly, as has been noted here, each of us has subtly (or not so much) different ideas on what we want out of our systems and how we get there.

To those points, I don't think either Merging or Audinate is going to be moved out of the way by the other. And the great part about all this is that I can have mine and you can have yours (even as it seems unlikely that we will both have "ours", at least any time soon). That's okay. Great music can be recorded by both, just as it should be.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
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I find the flexible configuration of cards with Hapi/Horus chassis to be a godsend sometimes. One can slide AD, DA, ADA cards in and out of the chassis's as needed for different configs on site. Hapi in particular is an extremely efficient 1RU box carrying up to 16 channels of ADA along with AES IO and Timecode. I put a Hapi backstage timecode sync'd to a Tentacle and run the cat 5 out into the hall for video concerts. Horus (2RU) can carry 48 channels or 8 depending on what for and where it is deployed.

Also an empty Hapi chassis is a reasonable Ravenna monitoring solution for headphones or with an AES DAC or as a foldback solution for artists, this is what I used for years before Anubis. Pick up a Hapi chassis second hand.

DB25 is fine and easy to make solid, this is one of the reasons you can get 16 channels into 1RU.

When my Hapi chassis comes in from site, its AD cards get removed, a premium DA card is installed and it goes back into the lounge for 8 channels of convolution crossover duties for my active LX521 dipoles. I am working it hard and getting real value for money from it.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 2 weeks ago at 11:58 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I don't believe this will work at this time. Correct me if I am wrong but I have tried a lot of setups and the Dante stream swamps the Grace controller every time. The more units you add the worse it gets so while it might be possible, in my experience, to make one m108 controllable over the Dante stream, two, and certainly three will not work reliably.


D.
Maybe I was lucky, but when I assembled the rack I used the QoS for a couple of days before setup the VLANs, and it worked flawlessy with 3x m108 using Grace controller via eth. Not saying it is the best solution, but worked for me...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
Just to play the devils advocate here for a minute...
The cost of an M108 with Dante is just north of $4k per unit, $8k total. A fully loaded 16 input DXD/DSD Hapi is $6500. It does have redundant power from the line voltage and 12v inputs, which we use with an online battery that charges from the line voltage for safety. As a plus, there are analog outputs from the preamps for additional redundancy)... add a Masscore Pro key and you are at $9.5k all in. A little more than the individual units, but you get a fully loaded workstation with all the options that has controlled latency and an integrated system with control of all hardware and software from within the application rather than a hodge-podge of elements from different manufacturers.
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
...to pick up on this but with a different twist: in the last 20 years, i've been using at least half a dozen of aoip formats, each witv its quirks and limitations...

in daily use however, i'm sticking to 'point-to-point'* madi which is stupid-simple to use and has been extremly reliable; i therefore keep it as the backbone of my rig and use format converters to get signals to/from whatever aoip format du jour; works with all formats (except dsd) - i'm currently using converters/cards to talk to ethersound, cobranet, rocknet, reac, dante, aes50 and avb...

i assume that you're using multiple formats in large productions as well? - in my case, going for one format would limit options to much...




* various gear available from different manufacturers to extract/insert signals from/into a madi stream so it's long beyond 'poin-to-point' and patching/routing/splitting works pretty much the same way as with aoip formats.
two undeniable disadvantages of madi: more expensive gear and the need for additional cables for high-channel count and/or high-sampling; everything else i personally much prefer.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
(...) I am very familiar with the various Rio family stageboxes, we use several of them at work with QL series consoles. They are certainly reliable, but using two control apps (one to control the m108, one for the Yamaha) would be a bit annoying with everything else going on, and more importantly, I have only ever used them in a live sound context, but don't really have a sense of how well they'd compare to the Grace in a critical recording context. Perhaps worth doing a test, though, since I do have access to them (...)
although i'm not a 'fan' of the rio stageboxes, they never let me down (except in situations when i wanted to integrate other dante gear into a yamaha/dante environment - turned out that other manufacturers were to blame! repeatedly shure btw) and so far...

no one could tell from listening to a mix what mics/preamps/converters etc. were used!

...so i think we're often making a big fuzz out of nothing!
if you have access to rio stageboxes, it might save you from spending big bucks: you just rent them as needed!

and regarding aoip/yamaha: i'm still using yamaha ad8hr preamps via ethersound occasionally: no hickup in 15+ years! and in direct comparison, i slightly prefer the old pres/converters for whatever reason...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
Maybe I was lucky, but when I assembled the rack I used the QoS for a couple of days before setup the VLANs, and it worked flawlessy with 3x m108 using Grace controller via eth. Not saying it is the best solution, but worked for me...
Interesting and you might be onto something there. I guess putting the controller in a "least important" QoS stream might allow it to stay out of the way of the Dante traffic.

Also interesting in that Audinate does not recommend enabling QoS on any but the very largest systems.

Hmm.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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I’m coming to this thread a bit late, but just wanted to chime in to say why we are using Merging. I started an audiophile record label a couple of years ago, and initially, we were doing quite a bit of music production work in Cuba. This brings several challenges, including:

1) Limits on how much we can carry on the plane
2) We need top shelf preamps, converters and interfaces, built to an industrial standard. We have to strike a balance between the best sound quality possible and portability.
3) Short mic cable runs are important to minimize potential for EMI
4) Impracticality of bringing long multichannel snakes
5) DXD and DSD requirement due to audiophile market demand

At first, we would bring a pair of Nagra VI that we would clock sync together for a total of 12 channels (with two EMP preamps). But that’s pretty awkward, it meant long mic cable runs, and it was clear that we needed a better solution. We had planned to use our ULN-8s, but Metric Halo’s new MHLink AOIP system was not yet ready.

Right off the bat, several of our requirements meant an AOIP system of some kind. We often work in improvised spaces, and the ability to place one Hapi in the live room and the other in the control room as monitor controller is really helpful. We just use inexpensive CAT5 from Amazon and bring extra spools for backup. This alone is a huge savings in space and weight. AOIP also means we can also place the interfaces close to musicians to keep if cable runs short, reducing the possibility of EMI, which becomes especially important when using passive ribbons.

The Merging gear is absolutely fantastic. I remember the first sessions with the Hapis, we were marveling at the dynamic range and asking ourselves, “Is it even possible to clip these things?” The preamps are so quiet, have plenty of gain, and just sound great. Converters...well, it’s Merging...enough said. The Anubis Premium pretty much embarrasses my best HiFi DACs. And also, of all the AOIP systems available today, only Merging Ravenna supports DXD and DSD, which our market prefers. I also love the ability to swap out cards, as the mission changes from, for example, recording to mixing or mastering. It is a very versatile system.

The form factor of the Hapi, in particular, is perfect for the kind of remote recording we do. A Hapi chassis fits just perfectly in a Porter Case, the maximum allowable airline carry on size. As a comparison, our Metric Halo ULN-8s do not. They have to be checked in.

The Anubis is opening up entirely new possibilities. For one thing, it means we can stop using a Hapi as a monitor controller, a mission for which the Hapi is not at all well-suited. Anubis is a wonderful little Swiss (literally) Army Knife device. I’m not sure what Yannick is saying above about limited monitoring options for Ravenna. When you have Anubis, what else do you need?

So imagine, in one carry-on case, you can have 16 channels of preamps with analog outs, A/D good for DXD and DSD256, and an excellent little monitor controller, plus half a dozen mics in Rycote tubes. Amazing. There is no other AOIP solution that can do that currently. Mic cables and Ethernet cable in your check in and you’re good to go. Anubis Premium provides your DXD/DSD D/A, and it’s got 2 inputs with preamps plus 2 additional line-ins, so you’ve got a few more channels if you find yourself short. But Anubis works great on its own as well. For small projects, like doing OneMic videos where you only need 2 channels plus maybe a DI or 2, an Anubis, a ThinkPad and your AEA R88 are all you need and you won’t be calling undue attention to yourself at customs.

The biggest downside to the Merging Ravenna world is that it is a small world indeed. With Dante, there are loads of options for every conceivable purpose from a wide range of manufacturers. Interfaces, remote controlled preamps, monitor controllers, stage boxes...you name it. The excellent Grace m108s that Doug uses would also fit comfortably in a carry on and it would be easy to travel with. The only major thing it lacks is support for DXD and DSD. If not for this requirement, I’d be happy using Dante as well. It’s just that, given our future direction, DXD and DSD are going to be very important for sales.

When Doug and I were having breakfast the other day, I was mentioning to him about the Metric Halo MHLink system. I upgraded my 3 ULN-8s as an early adopter and I think it was only $99 per machine for the new upgrade that includes the new MHLink AOIP interface, plus new clocking and a massively improved DSP. This new system has a lot of potential and I’m thankful that Metric Halo has the kind of integrity to keep their promise to never let their interfaces become obsolete. Yes, MHLink is proprietary, but it also offers a unique value proposition. You can daisy-chain ULN-8s and like other AOIP systems, their I/O is aggregated, and you can route anything anywhere. But the cool thing is the MIO Console, which allows you to create mixes and even use plug-ins that are powered by the DSP in the ULN-8s. This makes it really easy to latency-free create cue mixes with no burden on your computer whatsoever. Heck, you could even do front of house mixes if you wanted. Back at the studio, ULN-8 provides an 80-bit digital summing mixer, with plenty of analog I/O that you can use to patch in outboard gear in any order you like. And the best part is that the DSP resources pool and scale as you add more machines. MIO Console also includes a bare bones recorder, which is great for recording live events. It’s so much nicer to use than a DAW for that purpose. Just a simple recorder, but with all the routing you want plus the Metric Halo Production plug-ins like their ChannelStrip, Character, etc. It’s even possible to configure a ULN-8 as a phono preamp with RIAA EQ using their graphs. Very cool new AOIP system. Now, they need a compact monitor controller, because the small ULN-2 and 2882 units don’t support sampling rates beyond 96k, and bringing another ULN-8 as a monitor controller is asking a bit much. Any way, something to consider. I had given up on Metric Halo after the long delay releasing MHLink. But in the end, they’re really not that late to the game, and they’re bringing something unique to the table.

Last edited by bwanajim; 1 week ago at 08:10 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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A little off topic. Sorry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
I started an audiophile record label a couple of years ago
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.
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