Merging Technologies HAPI by felipousis
I got a demo unit loaded with the ADA8 card, that provides 8 mic/line inputs as well 8 line outputs. The HAPI (the son) uses the same cards as the HORUS (the father) but can only fit 2 of them.
After testing the unit with a rock band, and later with an acoustic spanish guitar, I was amazed with the quality of the conversion and the preamps. The AD/DA conversion sounded to me very full, no hypes no loss, just pure full spectrum audio, something other people call the "3D" sound. The preamps are super clean with a lot, and I mean a lot of headroom, on the realm of Milennia or Grace, no color at all, it's like a straight cable from the microphone.
I used to have an Avid HD I/O with both HD|X and HD|Native, and compared to it, the HAPI sounds even better, I believe. The solid feel you got from the unit is by far better than the plastic sense you got from many of the products made in China. Also I liked to have a 1U interface able to handle 16 mic preamps along the AES and ADAT I/O, and not dealing with USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire issues. The unit is fan less so no noise coming from it, also it has the option of DC power for redundancy as well.
The Ravenna protocol worked as expected, and demands some reading to avoid questions, especially related to routing. Once you setup your network correctly (I used a class C IP range on the second NIC of an HP Z800 -10.10.10.x/24) you can use the unit without any issue, browse to it and also use the internet if needed at the same time, and without dropping audio packets, at least @ 44.1/48 which was the sample rate I was using.
Using the unit with Pro Tools HD 10/11 with Core Audio in Mountain Lion in a tuned HP Z800 without a single issue. I also liked a lot the feature of having the mic preamps inside Pro Tools, like Avid's own PRE, that's great and save times and can be recalled.
The convenience of having just 1 Gigabit ethernet cable (2 for redundancy) that can run up to 100 meters is key for location recordings. Also due Ravenna (the Audio Over IP protocol used by the HAPI which is fully AES 67 compliant) work on standard networks, means that you can add an Ethernet switch and connect the HAPI, or the HORUS or several of them, and more computers to record the signals streams in a fully redundant configuration.
The unit is not cheap, but for the features, is also not expensive, I believe its price is very fair, especially having in mind that's built in Switzerland, with the precision and high standards that this implies.