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Old 1st June 2018 | Show parent
  #1084
Lives for gear
 

Here is the announcement that I promised.

We will begin accepting pre-orders for 3d Card Upgrades and new 3d Units on 6/15/2018. These products will begin shipping via a Public Beta on 6/29/2018.

We have final Golden Master production hardware here ready to ship.

The software is currently in late beta, and we believe that it is both feature complete enough and stable enough that it is a marked improvement over 2d for any existing MIO user.

That being said, we know that there are still some features that we want to complete, and that there are some potential corner cases that still need to be ironed out. As a result we will initially make the software available as a public beta.

MIO Console 3d has been engineered as a cross platform application from the start and Windows support is baked into the codebase. Given that our existing customer base for the 3d Upgrade is 95% macOS-based, we have prioritized the deployment of the macOS version of the software.

While we never promised that Windows support would be released simultaneously with macOS support, the full MIO Console codebase is already targeted to Windows and we will quickly follow up the macOS release with a Windows release. After both versions have been released we will maintain parity between the platforms moving forward.

The 3d USB hardware presents a UAC2 class audio device by default, and the 3d Card is utilizable as a direct-routed audio interface and A/D/A (without the use of MIO Console) on Windows, Linux and iOS.

The more advanced features of the 3d product will require the use of Mac for the time being and will be fully enabled on other platforms when the MIO Console and MHLink drivers ship for those platforms.

Upgrades and new units purchased under the public beta program will enjoy a discount relative to the prices we have published in the past. Details of the discounts will be published on 6/15/2018 when the order page goes live.

Many of you have purchased units in the past with a bundled $99 upgrade deal when the 3d Card ships. We will honor that deal when the public beta program ends and the product has been officially released. We expect to officially release the 3d Card by the 4th Quarter of this year.

I'm not going to reiterate the features that I have described in the past; we will detail the new features on our website.

The question of why this has taken so long has come up a number of times in this thread, and I would like to address that question.

In 2012 we began the long process of developing our next-generation platform - something that would provide a solid, future-proof and extensible base for our future products. All while remaining compatible with our existing products and continuing to deliver on our future-proof promise.

The culmination of that effort is the 3d Card platform. Improvements in processor technology have allowed us (and in many ways, required us) to re-target our development platform in order to provide a more agile, accessible and faster development environment all while increasing the processing power available for user-instantiable functions.

These changes are quite welcome, but they have been quite complex to implement. The original hardware platform and the 2d platform both used DSPs that were sufficiently resource limited that the only way to provide the processing that we achieved was to hand code the Operating System and all the DSP algorithms in assembly code for an architecture that doesn't translate to the future.

As a result, we had to re-implement everything in the MIO environment and +DSP from the ground up - control software, Operating System, and all the DSP algorithms. Now they are implemented in hand-optimized, yet portable C++.

So while it was an incredible amount of work to port to a new architecture -- basically reimplementing the entire product from scratch while also implementing all the new features -- the payoff is huge. We gain full portability for the future, as well as access to massive amounts of on-board low-latency memory, which removes one of the primary resource limitations we had in the 2d system.

In addition, we had to develop new interface technologies - for communication between the boxes, for communication with external systems, and for communication with the computer(s) running your DAW.

3d has custom implemented communication interfaces, with USB and MHLink (Gigabit Ethernet) in the box. USB and MHLink can communicate directly with your computer, and MHLink provides an incredibly high bandwith, exceptionally low-latency box-to-box connection between multiple 3d equipped units.

No one wants to get stuck with a deprecated interface in the future. 3d is engineered so that is simply not possible moving forward - we can add new computer interfaces without having to replace the hardware.

The one thing we know about the future is that it will surprise us. We designed an extremely high-speed, programmable interface that connects directly to the 3d Core called "EdgeBus". Each 3d Card inclues an EdgeBus slot. The EdgeBus slot has the capability to support any number of existing and future communication interfaces, all at extremely low-latency and implemented at the hardware level.

Now we weren't satisfied with simply moving our existing processing over to the new architecture and calling it good. We looked to see what we could do to really take advantage of the capabilities of our new hardware architecture. The 3d Core technology is based upon a fused FPGA/processor design. So we set about to offloading as much of the core audio processing functions from the processor to the FPGA as we could by developing custom DSP processor cores.

The results are stunning.

Within the realm of the FPGA we have designed and implemented an Audio Network on a Chip (ANoC). We set out to design a group of custom, audio-optimized processors that all interface to each other via the ANoC. The Metric Halo custom designed processors in 3d include:

* A fully interpolated, high-precision 128 input by 64 output matrix mixer
* A 1024x1024 channel audio signal crosspoint router
* A 1024 channel VU, PPM and Peak Hold metering engine
* MHLink packet formatter and processor
* Custom USB Audio packet formatter and processor
* A variety of audio data processors
- interleaver/deinterleaver/formatting/smux
* Custom MH Controlled and Owned AES/SPDIF/ADAT/MADI/MIDI Link Layer modules
* Custom DMA processor with fixed/float conversion support

All of the FPGA-based custom processors amount to roughly 30x the processing power of the DSP in the 2d Card. All the processors in the FPGA run with 1 sample of latency. All the processors in the FPGA support their full capability at 192kHz. All of the audio transport in the system (with the exception of DSP processing) is managed in hardware, with no software component.

I hope that this provides a meaningful update, and would like to thank you all for the patience that you have shown as we have worked through a project that was *much* larger than we originally planned for.

We look forward to getting back to our normal approach of being able to provide ongoing iterative enhancements to our products, and to being able to communicate about what is happening in a transparent and timely way.
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