Metric Halo – Introducing 3D & MH Link
What it is…
The 3d Card Upgrade is a user-installable hardware and software combination that completely refreshes your Metric Halo devices for the next leg of the digital revolution. It replaces all the digital & computer interfacing on your hardware with up-to-date, cutting-edge implementations.
The 3d Card Upgrade includes:
- MH Link — Exceptionally low-latency, Ultra-high-bandwidth audio, clock and data connections over Gigabit Ethernet.
- MH EdgeBus — An Ultra-high-bandwidth programmable and pluggable audio expansion slot. MH EdgeBus allows you to effortlessly extend your system to be exactly the interface you need at any given moment.
- MH Console – A modern, 64-bit application to control your entire system with a simple, lightning fast and flexible routing model and a stunning new visual design.
- MH Mixer – 128 input x 64 bus multi-box unified zero-latency mixer.
- MH MonitorControl – Integrated surround capable monitor controller with system processing capability. Includes Analog Domain level control on ULN-8/LIO-8 hardware.
- MH Record – 128 input ultra-reliable multitrack recorder with deep hardware integration.
- MH DSP Engine — Enhanced processing power and massive memory in the hardware. All 3d hardware includes the +DSP license providing over a hundred plug-ins and the unique Metric Halo Graph environment.
- MH Link Audio — Direct Ethernet CoreAudio driver (with support for up to 128 channels of I/O @ 192k).
- USB Audio — USB-C Class Audio Interface.
This release is Early Access. What does that mean?
- Early Access means Final Production Hardware with Public Beta Software.
- Purchasing during the Early Access period provides a discount over the final price.
- Early access MH Console software is for macOS only.
- Early access firmware supports built in UAC2 drivers on Win10, Linux and iOS (but no MH Console support on those platforms yet).
MH Link – Small Plug, Huge Pipe
Introducing MH Link — our ultra-low latency Gigabit Ethernet based box-healing backplane
MH Link redefines audio interconnect technology. It supports up to 128 channels at 32-bit/192k, bidirectionally, on each port. MH Link intelligently manages low-jitter audio clock distribution, high-bandwidth audio streaming and system control data all on a single lightweight, inexpensive, industry-standard Cat5/5e Ethernet cable. MH Link helps you to maximize your audio performance while minimizing complexity.
MH Link key features:
- No Latency offset — The MH Link transport effectively unifies all connected devices into one unit. There is no latency offset between the individual devices. With MH Link, the maximum transport latency between units is 16 microseconds, regardless of whether two units are directly connected or there are 16 additional units in between.
- Up to 100 meter MH Link Cables — Say goodbye to your expensive, heavy, noisy analog snakes. Place your Metric Halo setup where it is best positioned and remove hundreds of meters of analog audio cable. Easily connect your Metric Halo unit with commodity Cat5/5e cable with up to 100 meters of cable length per MH Link connection.
- Split systems — With up to 100 meters of cable between units, put your primary system on stage (or your live room) and your monitor box at FOH (or your control room). MH Link adds no latency and provides a common clock; you can even use existing installed wiring plants for tie-lines.
- Integrated daisy-chain support — No need for the added expense and complexity of Ethernet switches.
- MH Link uses true locking connectors to provide security from cables getting snagged and disconnected at inopportune times.
- Galvanically isolated — Because MH Link is based on Ethernet and is transformer coupled at each port all your connections are galvanically isolated. This makes operation extremely safe while also protecting your recording system against electrical interference and the introduction of data-path ground loops.
- Integrated, Automatic Clocking — No need for word-clock or any other digital interface to transparently lock multiple MH Linked unit’s clocks.
- Standards-compliance provides support for both direct connection and switched connection to computers via MH Link Audio — our Ethernet CoreAudio driver.
The Portal to Your Future
Upgrading to 3d means that you are prepared for whatever future interfaces you may need. The MH EdgeBus port integrated with every 3d Card accepts Metric Halo’s exclusive high-speed expansion EdgeCards.
In addition to the connectivity already included with the 3d Card, the following EdgeCard variants are now available with the 3d release, with more planned for the future:
Welcome your new Console — MH Console
Ultimate Console and Mixer Solution
A new engine deserves a new Console. For 3d, we designed a new retina-enabled, 64-bit, cross-platform console application: MH Console.
MH Console features a high-impact, modern, flat design with scalable UI elements. With user controllable color theming and extensive support for user-configurable interaction preferences, it is easy to tune the console to fit your style (and your eyesight). MH Console also adds support for standard UI gestures including drag-and-drop for inserts and multi-strip control swiping.
It is built to support both multi-window and single-window modes — so you can work comfortably no matter what your windowing style is — it even supports full-screen mode.
MH Console features an expanded and updated MH Mixer. Building on the power of the v.5 Mixer, MH Mixer continues to support all the v.5 features that you have come to rely on: multi-bus mixing, arbitrary routing, input and output multing, zero-latency hardware plug-ins, surround support, and headamp control. MH Mixer removes the barriers that limited the v.5 mixer by providing:
- Up to 128 channels of input (@192k)
- Up to 64 (mono) busses (@192k)
- Mix busses that span all the hardware in your MH system
- Automatic routing to the computer
- Cascade assignment of inputs, sends, busses and plug-ins
- Instantiating plug-ins and graphs with presets
- Dragging plug-in inserts within the mixer (including drag-copy)
- Unlimited Parameter Link Groups
- Unlimited DCAs
- Unlimited Mute Groups
- Hard Mutes
- Fully configurable Main, Aux and Group busses (up to a total of 64 mono busses)
- Aux sends directly on mixer strips
- Flipping Auxes onto the primary mix surface (in both the UI and on hardware control surfaces)
These new mixing features unlock new workflows specifically targeted at mixing for live and zero-latency cue mixing during tracking.
More Channels. More Power. Simple Setup. Zero Latency. No Aggregate Devices Required.
Every Metric Halo 3d Device includes Metric Halo’s custom Multicore-Audio Network-on-a-Chip technology which is a unique hybrid of custom FPGA processors and programmable floating point DSP processing.
The 3d Core combines hardware MH Link packet processors, Digital Audio I/O processors, dedicated hardware for Mixing, Routing, and Metering along with programmable DSP to form a flexible, programmable Audio Network System.
MH Console uses the 3d Core in each unit and the network of MH Link connections to automatically aggregate all the resources of your Metric Halo 3d hardware units into one unified device. Unlike many competitive products, 3d does not require a central unit in order to aggregate. This means that you can scale your system one box at a time without having to make a big investment up front.
3d is designed to balance DSP power with I/O capabilities. As you add more Metric Halo I/O, your DSP power increases proportionally. With 3d you can simply connect a second unit to double the performance and each additional MH Linked unit increases the overall processing power of the system.
With 3d, all I/Os, mix busses, DSPs and processing engines are first-class citizens. Unlike other products where low-latency routing can only be done within a given unit, MH Link supports routing from any resource on any box to any resource on any other box with only 3 samples total latency.
Adding more boxes to your system adds more I/O channels to the mixer (both input and output). Need another headphone output? Add a box. Need more mic inputs? Add a box. All inputs are available to all busses and all busses can be sent to any and all of physically connected boxes and their the outputs across the system.
MH Console gives you the freedom to route anything anywhere, while greatly simplifying the process of configuring the system to meet your needs. It provides:
Unified Mixer — The new MH Mixer breaks boundaries. It unites all channels and busses of the physically connected units at mix level across devices. You decide where the signal goes and MH Console takes care of the routing for you.
- Unified Clocking — All connected devices obey your selected master, no matter which sample rate is selected from 44.1 to 192 kHz. If you select external clock, all units automatically track the external clock with no user intervention. MH Link controls the synchronization precisely across all MH Linked devices. Internal clock provides sample rate accuracy of better than 1.5 PPM and barely measurable drift. Each unit contains an agile digital PLL to distribute system clock with ultra-low jitter and fast automatic lock to any sample rate.
- Unified Driver — Your DAW sees only one device connected to the computer; all device I/O is aggregated in the hardware. The dreaded “Aggregate Device” will quickly disappear into the depths of your memory – forever!
- Unified System — Metric Halo’s 3d technology enables you to focus on the tasks that are most critical to you (making great music) while hiding the complex routing required to make your music a reality. The system magically scales across your hardware while presenting a single comprehensive UI to control it all — something nobody has been able to pull off before 3d.
MH MonitorControl — Monitoring is Key
Hear the Transparent Sound of Metric Halo D/A Conversion
You have to be able to hear your audio properly to make good decisions. For 3d we built in MH MonitorControl: an integrated, system-wide, surround-capable monitor controller.
MH MonitorControl allows the exceptional Metric Halo D/A converters to shine without the need for any additional hardware.
MH MonitorControl on ULN-8/LIO-8 features analog domain gain control for pristine level management at full converter resolution.
In addition to all the expected features of a monitor control solution (including source and destination selection, gain control, mute, dim, speaker mute/solo and mono fold-down), MH MonitorControl provides extensive support for:
- System routing — All sources, busses and destinations in the system are available to the monitor controller; your monitor outputs can be on any box in your system
- Output path processing – Each output path includes an integrated signal processing graph for Room EQ, crossovers and other processing. This supports:
- Different EQ for alternate sets of monitors
- Different processing on the same monitors (e.g. bandwidth limiting to emulate smaller speakers on a full-range system)
- Bass Management
- Path Calibration – All output paths have independent overall level calibration as well as independent time delays and level calibration for each output channel
- Input path trims — All input sources have independent trim controls for level matching
- Input path mode control — Monitor input selection can optionally control the analog domain Mic/Line switch in the ULN-8 for more analog input sources.
- Input path clock source control — Monitor input selection can optionally control the system clock source for monitoring digital inputs that must function as a clock master
MH Record – Get on track
Record with Unparalleled Stability, Simplicity, Sound-Quality and Track Count…
Originally developed to record Soulive’s 2003 Blue Note live album “Soulive (Live)” the Record Panel was designed to capture the inputs of multiple 2882s direct to disk.
MIOConsole’s integrated Record Panel implemented a simple capture tool: rock-solid and light-weight with direct access to the hardware.
Over the years, the Record Panel added advanced features including SMPTE LTC decoding, audio file time stamping, BWF support and file auto-breaking for long-form live recording.
MH Console expands on the design of the Record Panel and integrates MH Record – a take-based recording engine with deep integration with the 3d hardware. MH Record maintains the legendary stability and reliability that the Record Panel is known for while adding a host of new features.
MH Record provides:
- Deep Integration — MH Record automatically tracks the mixer’s track configuration and record enables
- Support for recording up to 128 channels @ 192k
- Per-track metering in the MH Record view
- Optional live track waveform overviews
- Direct access to monitor mix controls and headamp controls from the track view
- Floating transport controls with time and take display
- Integrated sample-accurate SMPTE LTC decoder
- BWF timestamp and metadata support
- Flexible take folder and media file naming support
- BWF, CAF, AIFF and FLAC recording support
- Support for 64-bit BWF and CAF
- User-selectable 16, 24 and 32-bit per sample recording support
- Manual, TC, and Level-based record triggering
- User-configurable pre- and post-roll (up to 30 seconds)
- Pre-roll lets you start recording before you hit the record button
- Level-based record triggering is like an automatic assistant engineer — never miss a take
- Multiple redundant mirrored recordings; add as many mirrors as your computer can support
- Support for recording multi-mono, stereo, surround or polyphonic files
- Control surface support for record enables, transport controls and time readout
- Integrated with MH Console — no additional software or licenses needed
For live recording and take-based tracking, MH Record offers unparalleled stability, simplicity and sound-quality.
MH DSP Engine
Scalable Processing Power & Massive Memory
Full +DSP License Included with Each 3d Card
In 2001, Metric Halo blazed a trail for the industry by introducing the first interface with support for instantiable DSP.
17 years later we took +DSP to the next level. 3d core technology is based upon a fused FPGA/multi-processor design. To take advantage of this we offloaded as much of the core audio processing functions from the DSPs to the FPGA as we could.
And the results are stunning.
Within the FPGA we implemented a complementary set of custom designed audio-optimized processors that all interface to each other with virtually no latency. The Metric Halo custom designed processors in each 3d Card include:
- A fully interpolated, high-precision 128 input by 64 output matrix mixer
- A 1024×1024 channel audio signal crosspoint router
- A 1024 channel VU, PPM and Peak Hold metering engine
- MH Link packet formatter and processor
- Custom USB audio packet formatter and processor
- A variety of audio data processors
- Custom DMA processor with fixed/float conversion support
The processing power of the FPGA-based custom processors in 3d amount to roughly 30x the processing power of the DSP on the 2d Card. All the processors in the FPGA run with 1 sample of latency. All 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 completely in hardware.
The 3d Core DMA engine connects to the fully programmable floating point DSP cores, which continue to support instantiable plug-in processing, with the added benefit of massively increasing the amount of low-latency memory available to the plug-ins. Each 3d Card has 1 GB of memory available for DSP processing – more than 2500x the memory that was available on 2d. This means that running out of memory for delays or reverbs is a thing of the past.
We have included the full +DSP suite with the purchase of 3d. You can now access all the +DSP plug-ins as well as the +DSP graph on all units without an additional license.
Control Surface Support for Mackie Control and Eucon
MH Console supports the industry-standard Mackie Control protocol as well as Avid’s EuCon control surface protocol. If you want tactile control over MH Console, all you have to do is add one of the many supported control surfaces.
Faders, pans, mute, solo, headamp controls and MH Record transport controls are at your finger tips, and MH Console is ultra-responsive – no lag between the surface and the DSP.
You can navigate through your mix from your surface. Moving an Aux to the faders is a single button push, and if your surface has a master fader, the selected bus master is always on the master fader.
The Future (proof)
3d is just the start of the next chapter in MH’s audio technologies. We have built future-proof extensibility into the hardware at its base level.
Buy 3d for the problems it solves for you today. With Metric Halo’s 17 year proven commitment to future proof hardware, you can be confident that it will continue to help you solve new problems tomorrow.