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Author Topic: 2D: Digital HEDD for Metric Halo and SonicStudio  (Read 1991 times)

Dave Davis

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2D: Digital HEDD for Metric Halo and SonicStudio
« on: June 05, 2008, 07:50:29 am »

I just had to post on an update to Metric Halo's hardware and software.  Console v5 is a big step forward, delivering on the real promise of their platform.  It includes reworked firmware, plus a plug-in framework within a single "healed" mixer, offering a lot better (more flexible and intuitive) routing.  But the coolest part are the Character models (which work best with +DSP, a 2D hardware upgrade): you can drop a tube, a transformer, an FET, a saturation stage, or various hardware models, into your signal path at any point in the chain.  And while we're obviously talking software, the sound and concept are much closer to hardware (the real deal) than other stuff I've tried, including HEDD.

2D replaces your digital board, and upgrades many things, including ADAT i/o performance.  It adds TOSlink/spdif capability, and a ton of DSP (roughly 5X more than +DSP alone I think).

But I keep coming back to Character and the mixer itself.  The sound is stunning.  We've been doing summing tests alongside PTHD, Logic and soundBlade, and have been amazed at how much better 16 tracks sound when summed within the MIOs, relative to the other platforms.  An 80 bit mixer sounds much closer to a big analog console than a software summer.  And, using Character we can get the best aspects of analog sound, without the noise, performance and dynamic range limitations of the "real thing."

I'm floored.  I bought a 2882 in early 2002, around the same time Sound Images bought the PT Mix rigs we still use alongside HD.  When new Mix interfaces didn't sound as good as the 2882s (analog performance measures quite close to our HD192s at 48 and 96K), and today they're showing their age: While Mix still works, it only runs on ancient computers, 2 versions behind current OSX release!  Certainly it's never gained any new features or capabilities.  Meanwhile, my 2882 has only gotten better and more powerful, year after year.  With 2D, it's not just gained features, but actually sounds different and better (the mixer itself, not just Character).  Latency has continuously dropped as well.

I can't think of any other digital gear that's gotten better (without paying megabucks) over the past 6 years.  +DSP MIO users get many of these features in v5 software alone, with no additional investment.  For a few hundred bucks, my 6 year old interface is again state of the art, much cheaper than a new interface.  And while analog gear holds it's value, it never gains features.  I think MH is on to something very cool...

This stuff runs great on the SonicStudio interfaces, and sounds even better there, without 2D, so I'm a happy boy.
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Bob Boyd

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Re: 2D: Digital HEDD for Metric Halo and SonicStudio
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 12:16:02 am »

Thanks for posting your experience with this Dave.  Makes me feel even better about my Sonic Studio 304 which of course is built by the smart folks at MH (and has the 2D card you mention).

I've only had this I/O since January but I can back Dave up and say that the V5 console does sound great and I've been impressed with the DSP.  I love being able to run the Sonic EQ on the DSP (a difference you get with the Sonic-branded box). It's a very powerful and very flexible EQ.  I can dial in broad strokes in the analog domain and when needed, a touch of SS EQ can be a quick and effective combo.  Definitely softened the blow of selling the EQ1.
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Bob Boyd
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Dave Davis

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Re: 2D: Digital HEDD for Metric Halo and SonicStudio
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 07:34:13 am »

 I hear ya... I always loved Sonic EQ when I was at QCA, running under SSHD.  While sB restores this functionality and interface, the GUI is nicer and sound of the same EQ in hardware is better to my ear.

For sB users, here's a tip that works on all flavors: use the higher order filters for "color" (they can be quite "creative" with signal), while the 1st orders offer really nice broad brush shaping.  You can push the 1s nearly as far as a linear phase eq for correctives and transparent shapes, which is unusual in plug-based eq.

-d-
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