Metric Halo 2882 Expanded by zygmunt
The Metric Halo 2882 is one impressive unit. I've had this thing for one year and I am constantly discovering new things about it, and realising just how much other gear it can replace. For a full run down check out the Metric Halo website. I will just discuss here the features that I think are the most impressive. It is a user definable audio interface that runs over firewire. It can be bus powered for those mobile situations, but has a power supply for better resolution on the outputs when in the studio.
It features 8 analog in, which are switchable between mic/line/instrument inputs. Very handy. The 8 analog outputs are completely user definable. There is onboard DSP magic for the software mixer (which is expandable with the +DSP license for more processing options), and you can choose to record this wet or dry with incredibly low latency. I bypass my DAW and monitor from the MH. I don't think anyone could complain about latency, it is non existent. It also has another 10 Digital IO. Metering on the front panel and in the software is excellent. What I love about this thing is that it will do whatever you ask it to. I constantly forget this, but it is essentially a digital mixer in a tiny lightweight box (it is seriously light!!!), and you can route things wherever you need to. The mixer is software controlled, so some might shudder, but what that means is that it is completely recallable, and nothing is set in stone. For example, I just discovered you can use the 8 analog outputs to power 4 stereo headphones, or 8 mono headphones, all with their own mixes! Goodbye behringer headphone amp. Another recent discovery is that I could take this to a live gig and use the analog IO for 8 inserts in my mix. This could be gates, comps, eq, whatever. I just think about the people I have seen who bring huge racks of outboard to a show, and I'm quite confident that this thing could do all of that without a sweat. Sure I'd have to mouse around, but overall it would save time (and my back), not to mention being able to recall my settings. The drivers are exceptionally stable (MH are knows for this!), so I'd be quite confident that it would hold up.
There are a few things that would give the 2882 a 10 in sound quality and ease of use. Firstly, the mic preamps tend to get noisy with too much gain, but I accept this fact as it is designed for mobile use. The pres usually are fine for everything except very soft acoustic sources, and sound clean and transparent under normal circumstances. Secondly, the lack of physical control put me off initially. I think a single dial that could be used as a monitor control would be very helpful. I have since solved this problem with a contour shuttle USB device and have configured it as a monitor controller (You can customise your monitoring options in the MH software and are only limited by the physical outputs of the unit). Goodbye Presonus monitor controller. Another tiny thing is that I would have loved trs/xlr combi jacks on the XLR inputs (since they can take line/instrument level) to avoid silly adapters if needed.
I could go on forever, but one last point I'd like to make is about Metric Halo's promise of their hardware being future proof! WOW. This thing unit has already had an update in its history (it was one of the first firewire interfaces so the design is old!) when they introduced the 2D card, bringing the DSP up to date. It is incredible to think that this box is still so ahead of its time, yet it is such an old design. MH continue to update the MH software mixer to expand functionality and make it easier to use. On their website they discuss the thunderbolt technology and say that they will ensure the continual use of their interfaces for the future. So once firewire is no longer supported it is suggested that they will modify the digital connectivity on your unit for thunderbolt. What other kind of company offers that kind of support? Not many. Check it out: Thunderbolt Info
Don't hesitate to consider this unit!