Pro Tools Expert take a first look at Merging Technologies Horus & HAPI.
In this video Paul from Emerging introduces us to the Merging Technologies Horus and Hapi audio interfaces that can be made ready for Pro Tools Standard and HD via and HDX interface card or over the AES67 Audio Over IP protocol Revenna. Now it’s fair to say that a lot of the gear we test is great some it even really great but it can be very hard to tell just how much effect on your sound one piece of kit can have. This is not the case here. From the moment we connect the Hapi to the HDX Card (using the HDX Option card) the results were amazing. Once again Paul knows just how to empty James’ bank account. But there is more. The analog audio input cards that can be fitted to Horus and Hapi are not only line level in puts but they are all so fully DAW controllable Mic Pres, and stunning quality ones to boot. Watch and listen to find out how you to can have a Hapi ending all your own.
The World’s Best Analog Section and Converters… Full Stop.
After hundreds of comparison tests made by some of the world’s most “golden eared” engineers, we can say this with a strong sense of confidence.
The Networked Audio range of converters brings Swiss-precision and un-ending attention to detail in every single component and signal path and results in the most astonishing of record and reproduction signal paths of any audio interface or converter available today.
Hand matched and hand soldered analog componentry.
Ardatech AT1201 A/D chip with modified HPF for enhanced performance
Individually calibrated quartz clocking mechanism
Each channel must pass over 30 noise, distortion, CMRR and level threshold tests
Completely balanced signal path direct to the AD
A/D and D/A samplerate support from 44.1 -> 384kHz, DXD & DSD64/128/256
Merging Technologies Horus & Hapi – A First Look
Click below to find out more:
BBC Keep Things Strictly Pyramix
Pyramix Masscore at the heart of Strictly Come Dancing
‘Strictly Come Dancing’ was first aired in 2004 from BBC Television Centre and Merging’s Pyramix was used for those early productions and on the successive series. The current series is transmitted from the George Lucas studio used by BBC Studios and Post Production. The demands of complex entertainment shows suggested that merely updating the Mykerinos based Pyramix was not going to be sufficient. It made sense to replace it completely with a new Pyramix MassCore 256 Music Pack with new hardware, including a Horus Networked Audio Interface. With the need to post-produce some of the shows, a VCube Essentials pack was also part of the package.
Sound Supervisor, Andy Tapley, was responsible for the decision to continue with a Merging rig as the recording tool to complement BBC S&PP’s new Studer Vista X. Apart from the fact that the team was familiar with the Pyramix platform, the key point was the ability to handle high track counts, with the long recording times that are now the norm. The requirement to record all of the rehearsals and the shows over two days and to refine the mix, and produce stems, for post production, means that there is often the need to record as many as 152 tracks. This is easily achieved with MassCore 256 and the 128 channels of MADI plus 24 AES/EBU I/O connectivity between the Vista X and the Horus. emerging, the UK distributor for Merging Technologies supplied all the hardware including a new 4u computer chassis with a RAID 0 array of 3 x 1TB media drives so that many hours of continuous recording can be stored safely.
One special show each year comes from Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom and Andy Tapley takes up the story:
“Even when we are in the comfort of the Red TX sound recording truck on the Blackpool seafront, capturing the show is simple because Pyramix is part of their standard kit. We can record here and easily transfer the project to our base in Elstree for post production work. Making the move to Horus has been seamless.”
For more information on Pyramix and Horus click below.
Pro Tool Expert get their hands on the Trinnov D-Mon
Paul Mortimer from Emerging pays another visit to the guys at Pro Tools Expert to demo the updated D-Mon Series of Trinnov Audio’s Room Optimization System.
In Part 1 below Paul covers the basics of how the Trinnov D-Mon corrects your listening environment and can make mixing easier, whatever your setup. Stay tuned for part two and three to follow.
Setting Up & Testing the Trinnov D -Mon Part 1
For more information on Trinnov D-Mon click below.
Horus converters part of the mix at iZotope
Award winning plug-in manufacturers place Horus at the heart of their setup
The inclusion of the Horus units brings RAVENNA/AES67 connectivity tothe studio and provides for the easy integration of networked audio products as required. This perfectly fits with the need to adapt the rooms for a variety of uses which include critical listening, product feature testing and DSP research; hosting producers, engineers and customers to examine workflows and gain user feedback; teaching the most effective way to use the iZotope tools plus allowing the staff to complete recording projects and other social events after hours.
“We strongly believe that an educated customer is a happier customer, and our goal is to educate” comments Wyner. “Our efforts are not based solely on our products, but in helping people develop their skills and expertise, no matter what tools they choose. This facility will go a long way in sharing both essential and advanced concepts with the creative community at large.”
To complement the stellar acoustics of iZotope Studios, Wyner and his team chose the latest in breakthrough technologies. As an example, several networked systems bring flexibility to studio usage and allow an outside-in view of what’s happening within. The audio network allows users to access audio inputs and outputs from either studio simultaneously and from multiple computers both in and out of the studio, while a KVM network allows users to control rapid switching between every computer connected to the studio system. In addition, an Avid EUCON network allows the chaining of multiple fader controllers to a single computer, or multiple computers to a single fader controller.
“iZotope has a reputation for world-class audio quality,” explains Brian McQuoid, iZotope’s Chief Operations Officer, “iZotope Studios supports our continued work to that standard, and is a physical expression of that commitment to quality.”
With its ability to pivot easily between multiple uses, the facility also aligns with iZotope’s dedication to education. Its spacious layout was specifically designed to support in-house teaching and community events, with infrastructure that permits high-resolution broadcast via the web.
This emphasis on quality is apparent in the choice of equipment throughout and when asked the reason for choosing Horus in the face of intense competition, Jonathan Wyner opined;
“We chose the Horus due to the combination of no-compromise, best-in-class performance —including conversion up to hi-resolution DSD —and the beautiful mic pres. Coupled with that is the remarkable flexibility that RAVENNA and AES-67 offer us. We can see any channel from any room and route them accordingly at the click of a software switch. Horus is fantastic value.”
For more information on Merging’s Horus click below.
Quality Matters at StarMount Studio
Leading Malaysian studio adopts Pyramix & Horus combination
Switching DAW platforms is not a trivial undertaking but to switch from Mac to PC at the same time really needs a good reason. StarMount is justly famous for its excellent quality recordings of jazz, classical and regional music (and great coffee and pastries). So when Merging Product Manager, Johan Wadsten demonstrated Pyramix to Alex Tan, StarMount’s owner, neither party could predict the outcome. Alex liked the look of what he saw and embarked on a trial period with a Pyramix and Horus on loan from Merging’s local distributor, Stagetec Asia. Alex takes up the story; “I have been a Pro Tools user for more than 8 years. The time came when the studio was ready to upgrade to the latest HDX and the meeting with Johan together with a product demo period was a total game changer. The only thing that really mattered was the superior audio quality but the sheer power of the DAW in handling high track counts in high sampling rates was really surprising. It was so good that we made the bold decision to migrate our on-going session, halting it, rewiring to Horus and recording the rest of the tracks entirely with Pyramix at 192khz. That was WVC TRiO+1 ” Waiting For That Day”.
“We are truly pleased with the amount of headroom available. The audio fidelity from the Horus converters is truly amazing as well. The audio engine of Pyramix is the most powerful yet versatile DAW we have come across so far. I feel this is the best purchase to date for our studio.”
The drive for the ultimate sound quality prompted StarMount to order the Horus with the Premium converter cards and the Pyramix with MassCore so that DSD recordings can be done in the future. With the increasing enthusiasm in Asia for Hi-Res Audio, this looks like a smart move, but surely the change of operating system was a difficult decision. “I do not deny that it was a leap of faith and tough shift from OSX to Windows. It’s all worth the pain as not only my team and I have gained from this new change but our clients are improving on each session because they like what they hear and that drives them to be better!”
“I like the way Pyramix is presented. The proprietary audio processing is far superior to any DSP cards in my own user experience. All in all, we are still learning, exploring within the Pyramix and constantly in contact with your fantastic tech support to make the most out of our workflow. Again, it’s all down to dollars and cents and I think it’s the best system at an affordable price point.”
Having great gear is one thing but the studio location and the atmosphere is just as important. “Like many others, it all sparked from the flame of passion towards crafting my own music masterpiece. We didn’t start lavishly like those big establishments; the studio is camouflaged in a shopping area in a residential neighborhood in Taman Sri Bintang, Kepong in KL. The main reason for this location is the lower overhead expenses that allow us to invest in the best gear. The perks are lots of eateries with wide variety of local delicacies to choose from and a friendly and quiet neighbourhood.” And those pastries: “We love coffee and pastries but it has become so popular with our visiting clients that our pantry became completely over loaded. We are starting our own StarMount Café very soon.”
HAPI ARRIVES IN MEXICO
Hapi and Pyramix pivotal to diverse sessions in August and September
August was a busy month for Juan Switalski. A Pyramix enthusiast since 2010, his Hapi Networked Audio Interface (the first delivered to Mexico) arrived just in time for three blocks of sessions featuring music from Mexican composers. All three featured the Orquesta Filarmónica 5 de mayo directed by Fernando Lozano,but in different locations. September continued with solo harp sessions with Ángel Padilla at a studio in the desert near San Miguel. Juan also learned he had been nominated for a Latin Grammy® for Best Engineered Album. This was for his recording of 21st Century Lyrical Clarinet Concertos but this category is open to all recordings popular or classical, so in the final ceremony, he sadly lost out.
“There were two features of Pyramix/Hapi that proved so useful. The Delay plug-in allowed me align the mics precisely within the soundstage and the ability to control the mic levels remotely from Pyramix via RAVENNA is a revelation. It was also interesting that we had to do a lot less adjustment to the placement of the microphones and to the relative levels.”
One of the more interesting of the August recordings was a piece by Rafael Méndez for three trumpets and orchestra. The three trumpeters were Armando Cedillo from Mexico, Otto Sauter from Germany and Bryan Davis from the UK and the sessions were recorded in the Auditorio de la Reforma in Puebla, 132 km from Mexico City. This is a circular auditorium with a domed ceiling designed by the renowned Mexican architect, Abraham Zabludowsky. With 24 microphones set for the orchestra, other microphone preamplifiers from Pueblo Audio, Millennia, SSL and DPA were available but the majority was connected to the Hapi. Juan made this comment: “There were two features of Pyramix/Hapi that proved so useful. The Delay plug-in allowed me align the mics precisely within the soundstage and the ability to control the mic levels remotely from Pyramix via RAVENNA is a revelation. It was also interesting that we had to do a lot less adjustment to the placement of the microphones and to the relative levels.”
“I did not expect Hapi to be such a dramatic change but it suits all my latest projects and I am itching to return to any hall as soon as possible. I have now sixteen extraordinary microphone preamplifiers plus the same amount of AD conversion and the possibility to easily integrate my other beloved preamps.”
The results from the various halls and the very dry recording studio were consistently great and this was verified when listening back in Mexico City with composers, producers and audiophiles all approving the various mixes. The producer for the harp sessions was Alberto Cruzprieto, one of the most admired concert pianists in México. The music was from Spanish composers like Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and M. S. Avalle among others. Juan took just a few microphones and decided to use three matched pairs for AB (+C) testing. For the first time he was using just the Hapi alone and it was his first ever 192 kHz recording. Listening to the very first take proved to be an emotional experience for the artist, engineer and producer. Despite being seasoned recording professionals, they were sufficiently moved to want to record two more works.
“I’ve moved to 192 kHz and feel gratefully convinced that there is no way to look back. Recording music is like magic and I’m so happy for the contribution of Hapi. It has been a wonderful transition.”
“My upcoming recording projects include an opera and a woodwind quintet. I have just recorded three orchestra projects in concert halls, chamber music in a music school auditorium and solo harp in a small studio in the desert. I’ve discovered a new cosmos that enlightens my universe. I did not expect Hapi to be such a dramatic change but it suits all my latest projects and I am itching to return to any hall as soon as possible. I have now sixteen extraordinary microphone preamplifiers plus the same amount of AD conversion and the possibility to easily integrate my other beloved preamps. I’ve moved to 192 kHz and feel gratefully convinced that there is no way to look back. Recording music is like magic and I’m so happy for the contribution of Hapi. It has been a wonderful transition.”
AUDIENCES LOVE THE SOUND OF DXD
Hi-Res Audio is now mandatory for Gino Paoli concerts
Gino Paoli is one of Italy’s legendary singer-songwriters who has been delighting audiences since the 1950s. Still performing now, he teamed up with the celebrated jazz pianist, Danilo Rea to perform at the wonderful Piazza del Duomo di San Miniato, near Pisa on July 27th 2014. The concert was remarkable enough but it was all the more notable for being recorded and amplified in DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition 352.8 kHz/24 bits). This was achieved with a full suite of Merging Technologies’ product. Ovation was the main Virtual Mixer; Pyramix was the recorder with Horus handling the microphones and other I/O requirements.
“I am really excited to have tested this Merging Technologies/VDM HD Live Virtual Mix system. The results were really outstanding and it is the first time that I could appreciate how much precision can be achieved live.”
The production team of sound engineer, Luca Giannerini and producer, Aldo Mercurio asked VDM Distribution, part of the VDM Group and Merging’s distributor for Italy, to support this project. VDM’s Igor Fiorini has previous experience of working in this way and was able to supply the Horus fitted with the Premium AD and DA cards. The software was loaded on VDM’s custom System24 LiveStation, a special version of StudioStation with features to make it perfect for live applications. An internal battery power supply, secure mounting of all internal components, handmade rugged aluminium chassis and integrated touch screen ensure reliability while the processing components are optimized for Merging MassCore DSD/DXD operation.
“The dynamics and harmonics of the piano to the sighs and subtle nuances of Gino’s voice were all reproduced perfectly. This test was so convincing that we immediately purchased the whole fantastic system. We will be doing all our concerts in DXD from now onwards.”
Front Of House equipment was supplied by Buffalo Sound Service Audio with Luca Giannerini and Igor Fiorini mixing the concert, somewhat enigmatically entitled “two of us who…” The audience was able to listen to classic and new songs from Gino Paoli given a new jazz twist by Danilo Rea. Even though it was outdoors, the extra fidelity was clearly audible and particularly suited to the subtlety of the music.
Luca Giannerini made the following comment; “I am really excited to have tested this Merging Technologies/VDM HD Live Virtual Mix system. The results were really outstanding and it is the first time that I could appreciate how much precision can be achieved live. The dynamics and harmonics of the piano to the sighs and subtle nuances of Gino’s voice were all reproduced perfectly. This test was so convincing that we immediately purchased the whole fantastic system. We will be doing all our concerts in DXD from now onwards.”
“After the test in Pisa the production team (Gi Aldo Mercurio and I) decided to invest in this system because we wanted to be among the first in the world to do our concerts in high definition (HD-DXD). Furthermore, I can record all our concerts simultaneously on separate tracks”
On October 23rd 2014, the hall of Santa Cecilia ‘Auditorium, Parco della Musica in Rome was sold out for another concert by Gino Paoli and Danilo Rea to celebrate the 80th anniversary of one of the greatest Italian singers. As was done in the four previous concerts, the sound engineer Luca Giannerini used the virtual mixing console system provided by VDM Distribution & Design of Rome. “The concert in Rome,” says Giannerini; “was for me the ultimate test of the new system. This truly demonstrated the potential of this innovative mixing system, primarily because it was held inside the “Santa Cecilia” hall the largest auditorium in the complex (2,800 seats), and famously defined by those who amplify music, as the most difficult to manage. It is also critical because the Roman audience is reputed to be particularly demanding. Thanks to the collaboration of the technical staff of “Agorà” (new supplier of audio and lighting for all events within the Parco della Musica) and the L’ Acoustic system, configured and aligned by the excellent Angelo Camporese, it was possible to evenly distribute of sound in every corner of the room with exceptional quality.”
FOH we used:
Main Mixing System
Hapi 8/8 DSD/DXD – converter – by Merging Technologies
System24 LiveStation by VDM Design
Ovation – Live Virtual Mixing system works in HD-DXD – by Merging Technologies
Secondary Mixing System
Hapi 8/8 DSD/DXD – converter by Merging Technologies
System24 LiveStation by VDM Design
Ovation – Live Virtual Mixing system works in HD-DXD – by Merging Technologies”
“Together with VDM’s Igor Fiorini, we have agreed to use an identical system as a backup (configured to always have two systems working in parallel) and to make doubly sure we even used the Midas XL8 console provided by Agorà as an additional backup. The end result was far beyond our expectations. The system returned a natural sound that seemed to be not amplified and captured the subtle nuances that are the essence of Gino’s voice and of Danilo’s piano. The confirmation of this was provided by the audience actively participating and generously applauding. Great press reviews have even focused on the high quality of the sound heard in the room (which unfortunately usually only features when there are problems). I personally think that with this system we are at the forefront of a sea change in the mixing management of sound, which, thanks to the high capacity of 352 kHz DXD sampling, provides a dynamic range that sounds natural and brings out the subtlety of the performance. I have never found this in any console, analogue or digital, and it really helps the engineer to control the mix.”
“After the test in Pisa the production team (Gi Aldo Mercurio and I) decided to invest in this system because we wanted to be among the first in the world to do our concerts in high definition (HD-DXD). Furthermore, I can record all our concerts simultaneously on separate tracks. The system is very easy to transport (also by air as hand baggage) and allows me to program all the events at home, even down to the smallest detail. There is a huge range of plug-ins I can use and we can even control the video and lighting systems from Ovation. This is live concert management of the future.”
Merging’s Ovation adds Realism to the First World War
Idee und Klang’s sound design requires reliable multi-channel playback
London’s famous Imperial War Museum opened its new First World War Gallery in July. The vision was to give the visitor a more realistic representation of what life in a trench was like. A soundscape was clearly going to be vital and the noises should come from many different parts of the display. The mission was on to find a proven playback system that would respond to cues from a Medialon Show Controller and interface with video servers from 7th Sense and Dataton. The clear choice was the Merging Technologies Ovation.
“We were lucky to see a demonstration of Ovation some time ago and it seemed to tick the boxes. I have now had a chance to look a little deeper into the product and I think it is the perfect product for this type of project.”
Idee und Klang have an enviable track record of significant projects from the BMW Museum in Munich to the Stategrid Pavilion at the Expo Shanghai 2010 so sound designer, Ramon De Marco was able to understand the requirements very easily. The museum had organised an international competition to select the sound design company and the Idee und Klang proposal was the one selected. There were several challenges that presented early in the project. The first was a very restricted space. If one thinks that having a tank and a biplane in the space make it large, it is actually very deceptive. It was clear that there needed to be several good quality loudspeakers hidden or strategically placed on the ceiling to provide the atmosphere but without assaulting the visitor. The next issue is that sound recording was not very common 100 years ago so where could one find authentic sound effects. Some could be adapted from sound libraries but many had to be freshly recorded. The voices could only be done in the UK to have the necessary local accents and nuances. Ramon is used to thinking of the design in musical terms and the installations they have done are compositions created from sound-effects and sound-design elements. Taking this approach makes the scene flow better and be less like random sound effects put into a loop. Idee und Klang normally record and assemble the programme in Pro Tools so because there was no time to become familiar with Pyramix which is an integral part of Ovation, the same approach was taken here. Once the track was finalised, it could be easily transferred to Ovation and the cues and outputs programmed.
Once on site, it was obvious that this was a full-on building site during the day so the only way to mix the track and set the right levels was to work overnight when the construction team were asleep. The trench area is the first and the most complex display and needed to be driven by Ovation but this also had to be blended with other zones that had fewer channels of audio coming directly from the 7th Sense servers. As the visitor moves through the display sections, the appropriate sounds become apparent.
“It is great not to be limited by the technology and we are particularly excited to hear that there are plans for a 3D panner which will be perfect for what we need”
Understandably, any public project has budget constraints and this was no exception. More ambitious plans for interactivity had to be shelved and focus turned to ensuring that sufficient audio quality with reliability was paramount in a system that will be working constantly during the museum opening hours. The Ovation Native pack was consistent with the budget and was able to easily interface with the rest of the components specified by the systems integrator.
Ramon De Marco summarises; “We were lucky to see a demonstration of Ovation some time ago and it seemed to tick the boxes. We know Merging well since we are both from Switzerland and my partner was one of the first to buy a Horus converter. I have now had a chance to look a little deeper into the product and I think it is the perfect product for this type of project. It is great not to be limited by the technology and we are particularly excited to hear that there are plans for a 3D panner which will be perfect for what we need.”
2g Audio Visual is HAPI to win.
Pro light & Sound Merging Technologies Draw won by 2g Audio Visual
Offering prizes at exhibitions can be a lottery in itself. The recipient can be somebody with no interest in the product and it ends up on an auction site the day after. So when our hostess, Katharina drew the card out, we hoped she had made a good choice. The Merging Hapi Networked Audio Interface was won by Rich Griffiths from 2g Audio Visual in the UK. It seemed that Rich was involved in the right business and would find Hapi of use. That proved to be very much the case when the prize was finally presented on October 20th by Chris Hollebone, Merging’s Sales and Marketing Manager. The exhibition was way back in March, Hapi began shipping in July, so why so long to present the prize. 2g is a busy company and finding a convenient date was certainly challenging.
“We can hook Hapi up to Pro Tools with the Core Audio driver and this will be ideal for doing quality recordings with our condenser microphones.”
Paul Mortimer from Emerging, Merging’s UK distributor and Chris Hollebone drove to Coleshill to find that 2g is based in a container storage park. This seemed curious but the logic of this home became quickly apparent. Containers at ground level act as storage for the show gear whilst on top is a very comfortable Portakabin office, next door to the studio which is housed in another container. 2g is a real family business with Rich and brother, Andy handling the diverse projects and mother Jane, doing everything from sending out the invoices to driving the van. Simon Vacher provides the video shooting expertise and edits with Final Cut Pro, whilst Rich and Andy look after the sound and lights and hire in the crews to help them when the big events are happening. Eric the Lizard keeps a watchful eye on the office and workshop from his vivarium. The company has been operating since 2011 but the boys have amassed a lot of freelance experience since they were teenagers and the variety of what they can offer is a key to their success.
“It also gives us a great D/A that we can put in the monitor chain. It was definitely worth scribbling my name on the card.”
The studio features a Behringer X32 digital console and Pro Tools. Hapi will provide the ideal I/O set up to record the variety of projects that get booked in. The majority of the bookings are for corporate events but they are also in demand for some high profile weddings for the local Asian community. It is not unknown for a stretched limo to arrive at the container park and unload young ladies on a “hen night” who want to record something special. Engineering these gigs is quite popular!
However, 2g also get involved with much larger projects such as the Farnborough Air Show, Longbridge Light Festival, and the Kenilworth Bonfire and Fireworks Gala on November 8th where in addition to providing lights and sound, 2g will be using the historic castle as a target for projection mapping to add to the spectacle. They have also ventured overseas to India and Dubai and will soon be managing a project in California.
“You enter these competitions without any expectation of winning but when I had found out what I had won, I was really impressed.” Rich Griffiths continues; “We can hook Hapi up to Pro Tools with the Core Audio driver and this will be ideal for doing quality recordings with our condenser microphones. It also gives us a great D/A that we can put in the monitor chain. It was definitely worth scribbling my name on the card.”
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Re-Equipped with Merging Pyramix
New installation features Hapi, Horus and Pyramix 9
September 13th saw a major Gala concert given at the Meyerson Symphony Center. This was notable for two reasons; firstly it featured violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and it was the first concert to be recorded with the new recording equipment featuring Merging Technologies’ Horus and Hapi Networked Audio interfaces, two Merging silent PC chassis, and Pyramix 9 MassCore. The hall was filled to capacity and the event was simulcast to a nearby park where thousands were able to enjoy the music and video. The TV truck was fed audio via MADI from one of the Hapi converters and the sound in the park was rated as “excellent”.The orchestra, under its Music Director Jaap van Zweden is performing at very high levels these days and the DSO is rated as one of the top orchestras in the country.
The whole recording chain at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas was replaced this summer by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. President and CEO Jonathan Martin along with resident recording engineers George Gilliam and Roy Cherryhomes identified the limitations of the current equipment and chose Merging Technologies as a partner to move their recording activities to the next level.
“It’s such a tightly integrated system. I really like the customizable mixing console, DSD capability, integrated CD burning, and the cool software plug-in tools that come with the system.”
George Gilliam takes up the story; “The microphones include Schoeps CCM and Pearl microphones hanging from the attic and canopy above the stage. We have one Horus in the attic for those mics, plus three Hapi converters. They provide 56 channels of microphone preamps and converters capable of DSD/DXD performance. Two are installed at the stage for spot microphones, or special setups using mics on stands. The third Hapi is in the audio control room in the basement of the building. A fiber Gigabit Ethernet network was also added to connect all these points for the RAVENNA network. I couldn’t be happier with the operational and sonic performance of the Horus/Hapi converters and microphone preamps. The equipment in the control room is straight-forward. We installed two Merging silent computers for primary and backup recorders and each one is running Pyramix MassCore software with Flux VST plug-ins for dynamics and EQ processing. A custom Argosy desk houses the PCs, two 24” LED monitors and four Avid/Euphonix Artist Series controllers which operate the Pyramix mixers. The main monitoring system includes a custom 5.1 surround monitor controller built by Rens Heijnis in the Netherlands, and five Avalon ‘Mixing Monitors’ plus subwoofer. Powered monitors by Focal and Klein + Hummel are also available for reference.”
“I still cannot believe the sound quality improvement in the audio control room, all due to the fine microphone preamps and converters in Hapi/Horus. These are the highest quality I’ve experienced”
Supply and installation of the equipment was undertaken by Audio DAWg from nearby Irving. CEO, Spunky Brunone has been selling Merging equipment for a number of years and when he started Audio DAWg, he particularly wanted to keep the line. “It’s such a tightly integrated system. I really like the customizable mixing console, DSD capability, integrated CD burning, and the cool software plug-in tools that come with the system. I think besides all of those great things, Merging offering their RAVENNA/AES67 hardware truly makes this a great system. Having this kind of power all integrated by one vendor is outstanding. You know it’s all going to work.”
“It fulfils all our goals, and the Merging hardware and software operate flawlessly.”
A few weeks on, George Gilliam had this to say: “We can pronounce the project finished and a resounding success. It fulfils all our goals, and the Merging hardware and software operate flawlessly. I still cannot believe the sound quality improvement in the audio control room, all due to the fine microphone preamps and converters in Hapi/Horus. These are the highest quality I’ve experienced. This is an incredible system that perfectly meets the needs for classical music recording and production. I can’t imagine using anything else.”
Merging Technologies Announce 3D Panner Development
Strategic partnership with Auro Technologies.
Merging Technologies announces that its future 3D panning and mixing engine, to be incorporated in the next release of software for Pyramix and Ovation, will work seamlessly with Auro-3D® creative tools. This new partnership with Auro Technologies means that this panning and mixing engine will allow direct import of Pyramix files to the Auro-3D® encoder, and that the plug-in decoder can be used with Pyramix to monitor the Auro-encoded stream.
Immersive or 3D audio is hitting the headlines everywhere with daily announcements relating to cinema, consumer, broadcast and even live sound. Merging Technologies has been alert since months to these developments and the trends most affecting their client base. Auro-3D® is already a reality in D-Cinema with a strong theatre install base worldwide and leading post-production studios equipped with the Auro-3D® studio system, as well as in other segments such as home entertainment, gaming and automotive. Moreover, a variety of Auro-3D® recorded and remixed music on Pure Audio Blu-Ray has been released, from classical releases from 17-times Grammy nominated audio engineer Morten Lindberg to Mando Diao’s new rock album and an exciting immersive audio-visual album from the German band, Lichtmond. With more releases on the way, now being mixed at studios such as Wisseloord and Galaxy, improving the creative workflow was an obvious priority. Since many of these productions are being mixed and mastered with Merging’s Pyramix, smoothly integrating an immersive panning tool with the Auro-Codec® technology is a logical step to take. Pyramix files can be imported directly to the Auro-Codec® Encoder and the Decoder plug-in can be used with Pyramix to monitor and QC the Auro-encoded stream. This significant advance is scheduled to be part of the reworking of the mixing engine which will feature in the next release of software for Pyramix and Ovation.
“As I have always been a fan of Merging’s expertise and quality, we are delighted that Merging have been able to align their new panning and mixing engine with the Auro-3D® Creative Tool Suite. Being able to work seamlessly across Pyramix and Auro-3D® will allow more creativity and a smoother workflow. Creating amazing sound in 3D has never been easier!”
The 3D panner is suitable to work with any format of object or channel based audio and in parallel, Merging is involved with a number of national broadcasters that are evaluating technologies to bring immersive audio into the home. Standards bodies such as the EBU and SMPTE are also looking at ways to bring some more order and clarity to the confusing situation that prevails at the moment and Merging is following these developments carefully and will be ensuring that its technology can be used in any circumstance.
The company’s Ovation Audio and Event Sequencer can already output and control multiple audio channels but the ability to be able to dynamically pan sounds, live or in response to pre-programmed cues, to an unlimited number of speakers arbitrarily placed in a 3D space, will bring exciting new possibilities to the innovative and more immersive public events now being designed.
Merging’s Head of Software Development, Dominique Brulhart opined; “We looked at the various panning solutions available and the way the different formats were evolving. Having our own specific needs for film post-production, TV post-production, live shows and high resolution immersive recording, it was pretty clear that we had to do more than just design a 3D panning tool. We decided to implement our own pretty revolutionary 3D panning and mixing engine. In parallel, knowing that Auro-3D® addresses post production, recording and live sound and already has consumer decoders available, logically led us to integrate with this technology at the earliest stage of our development so that the complete Auro-3D® Creative Tool Suite will be available immediately upon the release of Pyramix 10. Opening up creative possibilities and addressing the high-end audio market perfectly matches our philosophy.”
Wilfried Van Baelen, CEO of Auro Technologies and inventor of the Auro-3D® format commented; “As I have always been a fan of Merging’s expertise and quality, we are delighted that Merging have been able to align their new panning and mixing engine with the Auro-3D® Creative Tool Suite. Being able to work seamlessly across Pyramix and Auro-3D® will allow more creativity and a smoother workflow. Creating amazing sound in 3D has never been easier!”
ARTESUONO FINDS HORUS & PRO TOOLS TO BE A WINNING COMBINATION!
Grammy® Nominated Jazz and Acoustic specialist adds Horus to Pro Tools
Artesuono studios has an enviable reputation as Italy’s best known venue for recording jazz and acoustic music. It has a long collaboration with ECM Records and with many other international labels and artists. Because of this, location recording has become a big part of the operation and involving travel across Europe. The recent addition of Merging Technologies’ Horus Networked Audio Interface fitted with 32 input channels has greatly improved the portability of the mobile rig whilst significantly improving the end results. Stefano Amerio, Artesuono’s owner and principal sound engineer, chose Horus for the quality of the microphone preamplifiers, the converters and the ease with which he can connect to his existing Avid Pro Tools HDX and HD3 Accel systems.
“Amazing sound; natural and dynamically perfect. Incredible and impossible to go back.”
The Horus was supplied by VDM Distribution, part of the VDM group, official Merging distributors for Italy. The CEO, Igor Fiorini is also used to doing location recording work and was able to specify a system to meet the needs of Mr Amerio, who has recorded a remarkable 1500 albums and has more than 600 artists per year visiting the studio. Unsurprisingly, Stefano Amerio is constantly searching for the best equipment to capture unique live performances in world famous locations. The recent recordings made at the Musikverein in Vienna with bass clarinettist, Ulrich Dreshler and pianist, Stefano Battaglia witnessed the first result of the Horus/Pro Tools partnership. The ability to use a Horus in a travelling case connected via a Cat 6 cable to a MacBook Pro allows high sample rate recording using the CoreAudio driver with the easiest possible installation and extreme portability.
“Horus will be my main recording system far into the future.”
The search for the perfect converter to use on the road had taken some time as the requirement was to find a converter that was easily portable, had sufficient inputs and had “no-compromise” audio performance. All the microphones used in the recordings delivered superlative results, delivering a clean, warm and precise sound with sufficient headroom to manage the dynamics of the music. After completing a number of location sessions, Stefano Amerio wanted to use Horus in the studio as well. Summarised in a few words, Mr Amerio observed: “Amazing sound; natural and dynamically perfect. Incredible and impossible to go back. Horus will be my main recording system far into the future.”
German recording studio and orchestra Babelsberg upgrades to DAD AX32 AD/DA converters
“The analog to digital and digital to analog conversion quality is highly impressive across many types of music.”
Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg, one of Germany’s leading symphony orchestras, together with its Scoring Stage studio, has invested in three DAD AX32 ultra-high-quality digital audio converters, including DAD’s microphone preamplifiers option, as part of a major technical upgrade to the technical facilities at its headquarters in the German film centre at Babelsberg near Berlin.
“We have excellent sound recording and production equipment but were convinced that we could increase the sound quality of our orchestral music productions which are used as accompaniments to television programmes and feature films” Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg’s Chief Engineer, Falko Duczmal.
“Florian Strucken of AVS-Medientechnik GmbH worked with us as a technical consultant and integrator. He invited Jan Lykke of NTP over to our studios with a demonstration system and we conducted some very successful listening tests. The results were breathtaking, both in terms of acoustic transparency and operational versatility. “The analog to digital and digital to analog conversion quality is highly impressive across many types of music.”
“We are now using the AX32 as a 72 channel system for analogue to digital or digital to analogue conversion. Recording is supervised from a 72-fader Neve VXS scoring desk in Control Room 1 or an SSL C200 digital console in Control Room 2. The mixers are coupled through the AX32 converters to an Avid Pro Tools 11 digital audio workstation.”
Housed in a compact 2U chassis, the AX32 is designed for use in no-compromise audio recording and mixing, both in studios and on location, as well as post-production. The AX32 features up to 48 analogue I/O and a whole range of digital interfaces such as ProTools HD, MADI, AES and Audinate Dante audio over IP. Combined with a built-in audio router it not only offers a superb audio quality but also a tremendous operational flexibility. The optional microphone preamplifier has a very low noise floor and wide dynamic range, putting it on a par with the very best stand-alone preamplifiers currently available.
Existing users of DAD audio converters include Abbey Road Studios, Acoustic Recordings, Alchemy Mastering, Bauer Studios, Benny Andersson’s RMV Studio, Classic Sound, CMC Studios, Collegium Records, Danish Radio, DEX Mastering, DPA Microphones, Echopark Studios, Galaxy Studios, Hana Music Montreux, Helsinki Music Centre, Lindberg lyd, Magne Furuholmen, Master Touch, McGill University, Moscow Music Conservatory, NDR Hamburg, NHK, NRK, Opéra de Dijon, QVC shopping channel, Real Sound, Royal Danish Opera House, Royal Opera House London, Sidney Opera House, SK Works, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, SoundWorks/Jeff Sheridan, Spanish Radio, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Stock Fish Records, Swedish Radio, Telarc International, Timbre Music, Ultimo Productions and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra.
NHK INVESTS IN HAPI AND HORUS
Japan’s national broadcaster to use Merging Technologies converters with Avid Pro Tools Audio Workstations
Merging Technologies is proud to announce that NHK’s prestigious music recording studios division has placed an order for three Hapi and two Horus Networked Audio Converters.
These will be fitted with nine AD8DP input boards and nine DA8P digital to analogue converters.
These will be used with Pro Tools to record high sampling rate PCM audio in the music studios.
MERGING LAUNCHES NEW 16 i/o CARD for Horus & HAPI at IBC 2014
‘Merging will show a new AD and DA combination board that will instantly double the quantity of analogue I/O available for Horus and HAPI.’
The sensational launch of the latest in Merging’s Networked Audio range of interfaces has proven that the family of products was just what the market was looking for. Hapi has been shipping in increasing numbers over the last few weeks. In a step to significantly enhance the practicality of both Hapi and Horus, on stand # 8.E96, Merging will show a new AD and DA combination board that will instantly double the quantity of analogue I/O available on the units. A staggering 48 in/48 out on Horus makes it the ideal stagebox for many applications. For Hapi, this allows a number of exciting possibilities. 16 in/16 out or 8 in/8 out with MADI are likely to be big sellers. Despite the extra component density, the performance of the ADA8 AD and DA option card is virtually identical to the AD8 and DA8 components that are still in the range and can be “mix and matched” to form a huge range of I/O combinations. Able to work up to 192 kHz with better than 120dB dynamic range, these Swiss designed masterpieces have the same exceptional transparency and headroom on the mic preamplifiers. There is no loss in functionality either. Each ADA8 board comes equipped on the input stage with Mic/Line input selection, Phantom power, LPF and phase invert. The output stage is also equipped as the DA8 card is, with a Dip switch controlled line up level up to +24dBu and a digitally controlled output trim. All parameters can be controlled from the front panel or remotely via the RAVENNA LAN connection. The ability to control all of the Networked Audio range via a simple web browser means that stand alone operation is a breeze. To connect to any DAW, the addition of CoreAudio and ASIO drivers mean this level of quality is available for any number of software programs.
‘To connect to any DAW, the addition of CoreAudio and ASIO drivers mean this level of quality is available for any number of software programs.’
After the NAB launch of the new 64-bit versions of Pyramix, Ovation and VCube, they will all have moved to *.1 versions by IBC. Major enhancements for Pyramix relate to Virtual Transport improvements, archiving metadata workflows and digital album publishing for DSD/DXD multi-channel releases.
VCube gets a complete update on rendering options and now supports a range of video cards from Blackmagic Design for capture and playback. These cost efficient and high quality PCI Express cards and USB video interfaces significantly enhance the value offering throughout the VCube range.
‘VCube gets a complete update on rendering options and now supports a range of video cards from Blackmagic Design for capture and playback.’
Ovation is hot from powering the Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies and is now well established as the most versatile Audio & Event Sequencer available. To make the broadcaster’s life even easier, there is now the option to enable or disable the playback logging function, either manually or on a time cues. This ensures that no false logs are made during set-up or rehearsal but nothing gets missed as soon as the show goes live.
A powerful selection of VS3 and VST plug-ins from companies like Flux, Vincent Burel, Algorithmix and AudioEase are now available for Merging’s new 64-bit world and there will be a great offer running throughout IBC and beyond. The Vincent Burel offering of reverberation, a full set of dynamics processors, EQ and measurement tools plug-ins have acquired a multitude of fans worldwide and these will be available to new customers at a 50% reduction from September 1 through to October 31. There are also great upgrade deals for existing VB customers.
Finally on show will be the Iris Networked Post System which is not only acquiring serious fans in broadcast and film post, it has also been used recently for recording and live sound reinforcement duties. A live concert in DXD is already a reality and the musicians and the audience certainly appreciate the difference!
AX32 converters capture Jose van Dam & You
AX32 converters captured the detailed audio nuances during a large-scale recording of a recent concert with José van Dam & YOU in Brussels. The recording was made at the city’s largest cultural venue, the Palais des Beaux-Arts, for the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel. Other performers included the National Orchestra of Belgium and soloists. The concert was streamed directly over the web using low-latency uncompressed audio-over-Ethernet networking.
Composer, musician and sound engineer Jarek Frankowski was responsible for the recording and the sound design: “We were able to take this feed straight from an Audinate Dante card in the AX32. The event worked so well that Pierre-Josef from the main Belgian classical radio channel, Music 3, asked me to be an adviser for their future Dante set-up.
“I decided to invest in two DAD AX32 audio analog/digital/analog converters for my Brussels-based company, Acoustic Recordings, because of their very high sound quality and versatile connectivity. Each converter allows up to 48 microphones to be routed as IP data along 100 metres of Cat 6 cable or a practically unlimited distance via optical fibre.
“Following this event I prepared the AX32 and Adobe Pro Tools setup for the live recording of Tunisian composer and performer Anouar Brahem who fuses Arab classical music, folk music and jazz. This was produced at the Flagey concert hall which is the home of the Brussels Philharmonic. Once again, the full brilliance of the performance was captured by the AX32 and retained right through post-production to the final master file. The main engineer was very happy to run my AX32 and I heard him seriously speaking about getting one of his own.
“In a completely different style, we produced a video of Andy Warhol’s Night with the Musique Nouvelles Ensemble. I did the recording and mix with AX32.
“Buying AX32 converters for my recording and live sound system is my best investment ever. After 20 years of using the finest preamps and converters, I find the AX32 is an audio dream. Two AX32 are heaven!”
Born in Poland, Jarek Frankowski performs regularly as a guitarist and chamber musician. He has worked with numerous classical music ensembles and artists for a wide range of record labels as well as working on film soundtracks. As a composer, he has created instrumental music for several albums and film sound tracks.
Designed for use in no-compromise audio recording and mixing as well as post-production, the DAD AX32 adds even higher sound quality than the established AX24 which is currently the worldwide reference standard. The AX32 can be configured with up to 48 analogue audio channels, making it an extremely compact multi-channel converter. The optional microphone preamplifier provides up to 72 decibels of analogue gain, 123 dB dynamic range and an equivalent noise floor of -133 dB. The AX32 comes as standard with Avid Pro Tools and eight AES/EBU and MADI inputs and outputs. It can optionally be fitted with a Dante IP audio interface and two optical MADI interfaces, making it an extremely versatile platform.
A versatile interface structure allows the analogue-to-digital, digital-to-digital and digital-to-analogue converters to be assigned to any digital interface, as well as patching between the interfaces on a channel-to-channel basis.
The AX32 can be fully remote controlled via Ethernet using NTP Technology’s DADman software. Alternatively, the preamps can be controlled from Pro Tools software and basic control is also possible from the front panel.
Existing users of DAD audio converters include Abbey Road Studios, Alchemy Mastering, Bauer Studios, Benny Andersson’s RMV Studio, Classic Sound, CMC Studios, Collegium Records, Danish Radio, DEX Mastering, DPA Microphones, Echopark Studios, Galaxy Studios, Hana Music Montreux, Helsinki Music Centre, Lindberg lyd, Magne Furuholmen, Master Touch, McGill University, Moscow Music Conservatory, NDR Hamburg, NHK, NRK, Opéra de Dijon, QVC shopping channel, Real Sound, Royal Danish Opera House, Royal Opera House London, Sidney Opera House, SK Works, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, SoundWorks/Jeff Sheridan, Spanish Radio, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Stock Fish Records, Swedish Radio, Telarc International, Timbre Music, Ultimo Productions and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra.
HORUS & RAVENNA SAVES RIO CONCERT
Technical challenges show the true value of Audio over IP
It was one of those gigs where nothing can be allowed to go wrong. The World Cup Concert at the HSBC Arena in Barra de Tijuca was due to be broadcast delayed-live to more than 50 countries within hours of finishing, starting with China. The concert starred Plácido Domingo, Lang Lang, Puerto Rican soprano, Ana María Martínez, the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra and Opera Chorus and local singing sensation, Paula Fernandes made a surprise appearance. The musical feast featured highlights from Domingo’s extensive operatic repertoire married with songs from Broadway, operetta, Zarzuela and popular music from around the world.
The renowned production company, Bernhard Fleischer Moving Images was retained to ensure a top quality result and they entrusted the audio production to Grammy® Award winner, Jesse Lewis who had been their partner on several previous occasions. The planning was meticulous and clear instructions were sent ahead; input lists were done, MADI splits were arranged, cabling specified and all the equipment was organized to be there. Brazil presents some challenges for importing equipment so some of it, including the Merging Horus units, was shipped from Europe. Jesse Lewis always uses Pyramix for the recording so plans were in place to record at 96 kHz with one Horus on stage and the other in the truck. And, it always goes according to plan… except when it doesn’t.
The weather at JFK delayed Jesse’s flight to Rio by one day, cutting the preparation time in half. When he finally arrived, the OB Van location had needed to be moved an additional 50 meters to accommodate construction for the 2016 Olympics. This extended the copper cable runs to about 100 meters; on the limit for both coaxial MADI and gigabit Ethernet. The cables they were able to acquire on short notice would be below spec (100 meters of fiber MADI wasn’t an option on 6hrs notice); every vendor was completely bereft of stock because of the World Cup. There was an option of either slightly longer cable runs without electrical interference or shorter ones with a high probability of problems; longer runs without interference were obviously chosen. Both RAVENNA and coaxial MADI were run to provide redundancy but nobody could speculate which would work. The team connected redundant MADI streams from the DiGiCo racks, one for each Horus. One Horus was installed in the rack with the DiGiCo, with short coaxial MADI cables feeding it, and a long CAT6E RAVENNA feeding the truck. The other Horus was placed in the truck and received the pair of long coaxial MADI.
“The stress was unimaginable, but so was the relief of Pyramix and RAVENNA in action. I hardly had time to worry about the rain and the mosquitoes!”
Jesse Lewis takes up the story; “We knew ONE of them had to work. We looked first at the MADI connections in anticipation of green lights – signal? Lock? MADI had nothing, blank. Checked the connections, checked them again. Moved them just in case –nothing. Moved them back – still nothing. We moved to Ravenna, our only hope. Green. Lock. PTP means Precision Time Protocol and the light was green! From DiGiCo, two coaxial MADI connections fed 128 audio channels to our Horus unit, which in turn fed the RAVENNA network on 100 meters of CAT6E. Flawless. Thank God for Horus and the RAVENNA network. I can’t think of any other I/O unit with this flexibility.”
The Horus also allowed for routing of the MADI signal in 8-channel blocks to overcome some limitations of the Studer Vista 5 MADI input. It was also discovered that the truck was not able to cope with a 96 kHz recording so it was switched to 48 kHz without compromising the final transmission. The two 56-channel coaxial MADI streams from the DiGiCo were fed from the Horus via RAVENNA and then to the Studer console on a pair of 64-channel MADI fiber streams allowing the recording of all signals to hard disk. The Pyramix recorders were perfectly reliable, and even allowed for some convenient remixing prior to the delayed-broadcast a few hours later.
HAPI TO BE OVER 100
Merging’s new baby is a hit!
More than 100 of the new Hapi interfaces from Merging technologies, which only started shipping last month, have been ordered already. Investing in an audio converter is usually a big decision that requires exhaustive listening tests but as Hapi uses the same AD8D/P and DA8/P option cards as Horus, customers have been happy to place orders without any audition.
“When combined with exceptional conversion technology and enormous headroom on the mic inputs, the package is irresistible to anyone recording today regardless of the DAW software they are using.”
Hapi has a compact 1u chassis with two card slots in contrast to the six with Horus. This reduction in size and cost make Hapi the perfect partner to Horus in a system where fewer inputs or outputs are required at a given position and it provides a lower cost entry point into the RAVENNA/AES67 world. Once again, digital connectivity is a major asset of Hapi. The standard chassis has the following features as standard:
- 8 AES/EBU I/O (on DSub 25)
- 8 ADAT or 2 SPDIF I/O (on TOSLINK)
- RAVENNA/AES67 I/O (on RJ45)
- Word Clock Input and Output (on BNC)
- SYNC – LTC/MTC/Video ref/(requires CON-D15-VTC Cable)
- 2 Option slots for AD8D/AD8DP, DA8/DA8P and MADI option cards
- AC and DC power connections
- Web browser control interface
- Detachable rack ears for placement in standard rack
It has been gratifying to see existing Horus users placing orders for Hapi but the lower price point and the CoreAudio and ASIO drivers (also available for Horus) have made this an attractive choice for a variety of different DAWs. The benefits of being able to control networked audio devices from any platform of personal computer, tablet or smart phone are obvious but the practical advantage in so many user environments have proved liberating. “RAVENNA and AES67 have enormous potential for Audio over IP in large systems but users are surprised how quickly the ability to remotely control all the I/O and mic pre parameters becomes an essential requirement in a small local network.” Claude Cellier, Merging’s President continues; “When combined with exceptional conversion technology and enormous headroom on the mic inputs, the package is irresistible to anyone recording today regardless of the DAW software they are using.”
Starting from £1,529.00 Ex Vat
Ovation for LA GALAXY
StubHub Center invests in Merging’s Event Sequencer
Soccer might not be the most popular game in the USA although it has had a major boost from the latest World Cup. Undoubtedly the involvement of David Beckham with the LA Galaxy team made it the most well known team internationally. Their home venue is California’s StubHub Center, which is way more than just a football stadium. This is also an Official U.S. Olympic Training Site with state-of-the art stadiums and facilities for tennis, track & field, cycling, lacrosse, rugby, volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball and other sports in addition to the soccer. Playing music, making announcements, playing commercials and jingles is essential in any stadium and multiple areas need different treatment. When it was time to upgrade their facilities, the technical team at the StubHub Center chose Merging’s Ovation Audio and Event Sequencer.
Removing the limitations of the previous cart type player proved a liberating experience for the team. Now different cues can be played in different areas at different volume and the ability to add a live DJ, CD or iPod playout and commentary to the regular program fits their needs perfectly. Installing Ovation has also removed the need for a separate mixer which results in a simpler and less expensive system but with far greater functionality. Future expansion is also possible by upgrading the Ovation to the more powerful Platinum pack that will add Scene Snapshots and enhanced mixing features.
An operator at the StubHub Center made the following comment; “If you compare Ovation to our old Instant Replay System, it is like stepping from analog to digital. The ability to manipulate your cues easily plus having the touch screen function makes it extremely easy to operate and to access stored sound bites. Being able to control your inputs (DJ, iPod, live microphones) directly in front of you from one work space is a major benefit.”
HORUS PLAYS NICELY WITH PRO TOOLS
Boston’s Futura Productions finds the combination a revelation
The spectacular Futura Productions recording studio in the Roslindale neighbourhood of Boston plays host to a huge variety of sessions. This former Masonic Hall with its grand appearance is used for recording music as varied as classical, pop, rock, jazz, folk, choral, world music, film and video game scoring and even music from the Ottoman Empire! Producer-engineer John Weston moved his company to the hall in 2003, set up his massive Pro Tools rig along with all his other studio gear, and has become tremendously busy, averaging between 300-400 recording sessions per year. With a 38′ x 60′ x 22′ main recording room, iso rooms, variable acoustics, a Steinway 9′ concert grand piano, and a large control room with video and surround mixing, the studio is able to handle many different kinds of projects.
“Once I heard the preamps and converters, I knew the Horus had to be a central part of the new system”
Looking to update his studio in early 2014, John upgraded his Pro Tools HD system to HDX and purchased Merging’s Horus Networked Audio converter. The choice of this combination justifies an explanation. Local Boston resident and Grammy® award winner producer-engineer Jesse Lewis came to Futura in 2013 to record Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and brought in his Pyramix MassCore equipment with a 40 input Horus. Before the session started, the first thing that was apparent to John was how easily Pro Tools could be connected to the Horus via MADI to run as a back-up recorder. When recording commenced, the sonic difference was immediately noticeable to engineers and musicians alike. “A veil had been lifted” and Horus with AD8DP and DA8P converters had been added to the Futura upgrade shopping list.
“Whether I’m recording at 44.1K or 96K or 192K, the sound of the Horus is wonderful”
John says; “Once I heard the preamps and converters, I knew the Horus had to be a central part of the new system”. Delivery of the 32in/16 out Horus coincided with the release of Merging’s CoreAudio driver which allows extremely easy integration with a Mac laptop. “This meant that not only could I use the Horus in my main system, but it would also allow me to have a perfect remote recording solution simply by using the Horus, a MacBook Pro running Pro Tools, and a CAT6 cable”.
The debut project for Futura’s Horus was a string and brass scoring session for “Kikaider Reboot”, a Japanese tokusatsu superhero action movie. John remarks that; “Everyone, from the composer to the conductor, film director and myself was immediately impressed with the beautiful sound and clarity that was coming from the Horus“. Since then, the Horus has been used on almost all of Futura’s projects, including a jazz chamber recording “absolutely amazing on percussion and piano”, and a intimate recording of Ottoman Mevlevi Sufi music featuring voice, çeng (Turkish harp) and cura (a long-necked lute). “Ottoman classical music of this type needs a very intimate feel and the results stunned the musicians” said John. “Whether I’m recording at 44.1K or 96K or 192K, the sound of the Horus is wonderful”.
“No question, this is the very best front-end I’ve used and it will be a part of many, many projects to come!”
Considering the last six months with Horus, John Weston had this to say; “Horus immediately impressed me with the build quality and ease of integration with my DAW. The routing, the control, plus the on-board I/O just make a stunning package which is equally at home in my studio or on the road. It’s a perfect partner for my Pro Tools system, but it all wouldn’t matter if it didn’t sound right. No question, this is the very best front-end I’ve used and it will be a part of many, many projects to come!”