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Metric Halo ULN-8
4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 6 Reviews

Premier FireWire-equipped converter, interface, mic preamp and signal processor.


2nd December 2011

Metric Halo ULN-8 by JonesH

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Metric Halo ULN-8

The Metric Halo ULN-8 is the long-awaited follow-up to the NY-based company's 2882 interface. It features eight very natural mic preamps, an equal number of AD and DA converters respectively, four AES/EBU in- and outputs plus the competent +DSP platform for dedicated in-box processing power. List price at 5,995$, it caters to the highest end of FireWire-based customers.

I shouldn't say that it was an easy decision when I bought my first ULN-8. Despite having had it several months for review and being thoroughly enjoying the experience, it seemed like an awful amount of money for one rack unit of space. But what qualities they've managed to pack into that one rack unit! The mic preamps go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters, and the conversion is second to none. The mixer system and D-Sub connectors might put some bumps in your road at first, but the flexibility they award is well worth the hassle.
This is a true professionals tool, capable of handling almost anything (barring inter-box routing options for those with several of these bad boy). In my case, I ended up getting three of them for mobile recording and centerpiece in the studio.

Initially, the price seemed daunting. But I figured, this unit can easily replace several others; mic preamps, converters, signal processing, DI-boxes, monitor controller, headphone amps, digital interface, SMPTE/MIDI interface. When you think of it, it's really quite cheap for all that. And this black, well engineered unit is just that: all that.

28th February 2012

Metric Halo ULN-8 by nigel saunders

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Metric Halo ULN-8

The Metric Halo package is in many ways difficult to get your head round in because there is nothing else on the market like it. The ULN 8 is a lightweight single rack space magic box which has incredible hardware and software features. The easy bits to understand are 8 amazing clean preamps with 90dB of gain, incredible ADDA conversion up to 192K and 2 DI inputs. The things that are a bit harder to understand include a software based monitor controller and a software summing desk called the MIO with massive headroom, DSP powered plugins and infinite routing capabilities. Because of the headroom, mixes immediately sound better because of the avoidance of digital clipping. The company has a long history of avoiding obsolescence and I still used a 2882 box which has been upgraded thanks to a farsighted policy by the company of building their gear with future developments in mind.
The company support is the best I have ever experienced and when I had some issues with my ULN8 the service I received was amazing.
Consider the ULN8 - given what this one box delivers it is worth every penny.

8th February 2013

Metric Halo ULN-8 by ensoniq

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Metric Halo ULN-8

after 3 years day after day working with this machine I have to say its still the best what money can buy concerning Firwire Audio Interfaces.

Rock Solid drivers, great customer support, prestine preamps , MIO Mixer plugins and all the routing possibilities are still undeafeated.

And even the DAC is in the same league as with a new Mytek Digital DSD192 which is a special DAC for 1500 bugs only -for the DAC

So as a summary: I love this ****

15th February 2013

Metric Halo ULN-8 by rhizomeman

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Metric Halo ULN-8

I agree with the other reviews by Nigel and Ensoniq. The ULN-8 is an incredible unit that is really top-in-class in every aspect of recording, conversion, mixing, preamps, etc... I think it deserves a 4 in "ease of use" because you do need to read the manual a bit to understand the routing concept - BUT once you get it, it's easy!

The only thing I would add that I think is important is the beautiful depth/image improvement that happens when you mix your tracks through the unit. I'm not sure what is happening under the hood but when I run my tracks from DP to the MIOConsole there is a noticeable improvement in the depth and image of the sound (not sure how else to describe it). Others have discussed this here, so I know I'm not just hearing things. In other words, I find just mixing through the ULN-8 makes my music sound better. Incredible!!

18th February 2014

Metric Halo ULN-8 by SKyle

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Metric Halo ULN-8

I spent several months of hard research trying to find the right solution to my interface / preamp upgrade. With protools now able to be used with any interface I told myself that I didn't want to fool around anymore, the time was right to get a real no-regrets rig.

It had to be something that was 8 channels, with great built in preamps, that would work seamlessly with Protools (and others when I was ready to jump ship from Avid), had constant updates (I hate gear that becomes obsolete) and would be a low profile unit, as I would want to do fly-in work with it and a laptop for potential location studio tourism (think: cabin in the woods).

After compare and contrast I fell into the Metric Halo ULN8. I realized after research and reviews and the applications that this unit is used in that, generally speaking, many aren't even aware of it … unless you are working in the mastering rooms of LA or Universal Records. I got it, snagged a decent UK made class A 8 channel unit to slave with the ULN8 = 16 channels in a carry on overhead airplane compartment, and I was flying into my first mobile recording gig with Mics checked into the hold.

Now I have two ULN8 units, and I am extremely satisfied. I can incorporate them into my Analog Tape w/ Digital Protools setup seamlessly. The preamps are true to life. The converters are the best I have ever heard, or rather, can't hear - my vintage gear I've spent so much time tuning in sounds like real life when recorded by this box. Every mic I own has another level of fidelity all of a sudden. Headroom is ridiculous. Noise floor is unbelievably low.

On the preamps and routing options with this box I simply cannot be happier. Customer support has been beyond stellar. I couldn't and still haven't found a better unit for any price. Period.

However, there is a learning curve when getting involved into this world and if you come from an analog production mindset, this may throw you a little. As a typical young buck that yearns for the mythological days of a simple 8 channel reel to reel deck, this is a completely different world. But the support is there, and the user manuals and videos are very helpful, and in the end, the mix quality and sound quality is something that makes this above and beyond.

Lastly it's been mentioned that mixing through the unit or using this unit for mastering is the way to go, and many have said that it adds some additional 3 dimensional qualities to the mix. I also have noticed that with this unit, and it's hard to describe, aside from that it makes it easier for things to find their place in the mix, and the headroom adds a whole other element to what I have been hearing previously in my work. I look forward to using this unit to experiment mastering to tape and also in the box.

Pros: MIO Console and ULN8 w/ built in DSP basically takes the place of a room full of gear. Best converters I've heard. Some of the most true to life preamps I've heard, honest clean and still warm. Incredibly low footprint. Same unit used by large scale mastering houses and secret weapon of many in the record industry. And the biggest pro of all: This company will upgrade this unit as long as they are in business which means zero chance of obsoleteness for some time to come. Again the MIO digital virtual console that is part of the package is just staggeringly brilliant, I can send 4 custom mixes with zero latency per box back to the performers down the snake.

Cons:Lighting on front of the box not as elegant as competitors, looks a bit dated, but LEDs are functional in use. Units can get a bit heated up and shouldn't be racked flush on each other (which makes the footprint an extra rack space larger). Learning curve on the immense depth of the unit and what it can do. Must research knowledge base to find proper break out cables and vendors etc. Rack is just a little too deep to fit into 90% of travel flight cases out there.

There's a lot more to this unit, a whole lot more. It's very deep and I feel that while at present it's perfectly functional for me, that it will continue to pay dividends the more I can think of new and practical ways to use the ULN8 and MIO Console.

14th July 2014

Metric Halo ULN-8 by jsmooth226

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Metric Halo ULN-8

Is a fantastic unit on its own great pre's, great software a great total package ... also to take it to a higher level add the Black Lion Audio micro clock 2 as the master clock ... really makes the ULN8 shine!!!

 

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