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Metric Halo LIO-8 3d USB-C Audio Interface with DSP – No Longer Available

USB-C audio interface with eight line-level inputs, multichannel digital I/O, DSP-powered mixing, and software control
MFR# 000-50022

Product Description

The Metric Halo LIO-8 3d is the result of Metric Halo’s 20 year research program into the fusion of digital and analog audio technologies. It is a one-stop shop for all of your audio needs, addressing every requirement with exceptional quality.

A/D/A Conversion

Audio converters stand at the heart of every digital audio product. If the conversion is not up to snuff, you might as well toss the product out the window -- as the best you can hope for is that it doesn’t damage your precious audio (or reputation) too much. No matter how good the DSP is, if your converters don’t capture (or render) your audio accurately you are starting at a deficit.

RackAudio conversion is something that is more than the sum of its parts. You can’t simply look at the converter chip and determine how something is going to sound. Excellent audio conversion requires careful attention to detail and the tuning of every element of the entire conversion system; this includes the analog front end, the power system, the clock and the converter chip itself. As all of these interact with each other in nonlinear ways, it is the system that determines the performance, and not any of the individual parts. As any system can be no better than it’s weakest link, it is vitally important that the component you use to capture and render all of your audio is not the weakest link in your system.

The analog converters in the LIO-8 provide mastering grade conversion that “simply gets out of the way.” Metric Halo’s converter philosophy is to come as close to the original analog signal as possible; converters should not color your signal. By accurately reproducing your input, the LIO-8 3d allows you to properly capture the nuance of your sources, whether they be mics, tape decks or classic analog gear.

Accurate conversion means that when you monitor your production, you actually hear what you will deliver - not some approximation with euphonic distortions introduced by your monitoring chain. And if you add euphonic distortion with an analog loop, you can be sure that the results will be captured accurately. In other words, the LIO-8 doesn’t distort the distortion. You choose where and when your signal is processed.

The A/D/A converters in the LIO-8 are DC-coupled to the analog I/O stages so they introduce extremely low phase distortion. The D/A has no low-frequency filtering and may be used to drive DC signals for generating CV signals for analog synths. The A/D converters have an extremely low frequency DC blocking filter that calibrates the input path and removes DC offset, so they cannot be used to capture DC CV signals, but the integrated EdgeCard slot may be used to add a wealth of ADAT connectivity to the LIO-8, which can be used to drive dedicated third-party CV converters.

Monitoring

Monitoring is critical to the production process at every stage; you need to be able hear exactly what you are working on. Your monitor chain will be limited by the weakest link in the chain. The LIO-8 3d integrates a transparent digitally controlled analog-domain monitor controller to ensure that you can connect directly to your reproduction chain without having to reduce the fidelity of your signal with an inferior monitor control system. The Monitor Controller in the LIO-8 3d provides sophisticated monitor control features that are only available in dedicated monitor controllers that paradoxically cost more than the LIO-8 3d. These features include:

  • Multiple source selection
  • Multiple speaker output selection
  • Shared speaker set support
  • Per speaker gain and delay
  • Per speaker solo/mute control
  • Output path calibration support
  • Multichannel support from Stereo up to 7.1.4 Surround (Dolby Atmos)
  • Mono fold-down
  • Mute and Dim
  • Analog domain gain control
  • Talkback
  • Listenback
  • Multiple cue output support
  • PFL/AFL integration with the mixer

In addition to all these high-end features, the MH Monitor Controller provides unique support for per-output-path configurable signal processing including EQ, Bass Management and protective limiting. Each output path can have its own signal processing, even if the paths share speakers. This allows you to configure alternate monitoring setups with one monitoring system (for example, you could configure the signal processing to provide a band-limited monitoring path or a path that lacks subwoofer reinforcement).

Each LIO-8 3d includes a high quality headphone amplifier with dedicated D/A conversion (which is the same quality as the primary D/A’s in the system), and digitally controlled analog domain gain control. So you don’t need to add a headphone amp to your system. By default the headphones are configured as a parallel Cue output mult’ed from the Monitor Controller, but you can drive the headphones with an independent mix or you can make them an alternate output for the monitor controller.

Cue Control

In addition to monitoring the mix in your control room, multitrack production requires providing multiple output cues to performers and other stakeholders (such as producers and/or broadcast feeds). The Monitor Control in 3d is enhanced by a sophisticated Output Cue section that provides you with an arbitrary number of output controls. Each cue can be driven from any of the busses in the system, or it can be set to derive its input from the currently selected source in the Monitor Controller (MC).

Since each Cue can be driven by a separate mix bus from the mixer, they are perfect for routing and controlling independent headphone mixes for individual performers.

Cues can be configured to listen to PFL/AFL (or not). So for producers and engineers, the cue can follow PFL/AFL Solo in the mixer while performer and broadcast cues are unaffected by soloing.

Each cue has an independent output path which can be set to any of the MC supported output types. Each cue controller uses the MC engine for its control of routing, gain, delay and output graph processing, so it can do all the things the MC can do.

Cues are not Mixes. Cues are output points with gain and routing controls that can be fed by specific mixes, the current monitor controller source, or a mix of a source and the talkback signal. They serve as named output mults with direct access to associated output gain controls.

Cues form the basis of the routing points for Talkback and Listenback.

Talkback provides the ability to route a specific input to any sub-set of the cues in the system; it also allows you to control the amount that the Cue source signal is dimmed when talkback is active. The Talkback signal is mixed with the selected source.

Listenback provides the ability to route the source that the engineer is currently monitoring through the MC to any sub-set of the cues in the system. This allows playing back a mix of the take to any or all of the monitoring cues in the system without having to re-patch.

Processing

LIO-8 3d includes sophisticated digital signal processing engine that is only limited by your imagination. The mixing engine and audio router built into each unit is capable of mixing 128 inputs to 64 busses at all sample rates (up to 192k) with every gain interpolated on a sample-by-sample basis. This custom dedicated mix engine utilizes the equivalent DSP power of 30 of the SHARC DSPs that were used in our previous generation product. Each LIO-8 3d also includes a programmable DSP that supports the instantiation of arbitrary DSP processing plug-ins; this is used for insert processing in the mixer and for output processing in the Monitor Controller. LIO-8 3d includes over 100 plugins that you can use for low-latency monitoring, live mixing or in production. The DSP in 3d has 1GB of DDR3 RAM available so long delays and multiple reverbs are not a problem.

The +DSP license included with every unit provides Metric Halo’s unique Graph insert which allows you to build your own signal chains with arbitrary phase compensated routing between plugins. You can insert a Graph in any insert slot in the mixer and as output processors in the Monitor Controller.

The 3d system enhances the processing engine included in each unit by routing between multiple units and utilizing the resources of all units attached via MHLink as one unified system. Your DSP and mixing resources are pooled. This allows you to seamlessly grow your system one unit at a time - all the way up to 128 channels of simultaneous input and output! All your inputs (including inputs from the computer) are available as sources in the mixer and monitor controller. All your outputs (including returns to the computer) are available as destinations for the mixer, monitor controller, cue system and direct outs.

FEATURES:

  • Mastering grade A/D Conversion (8 channels)
  • Mastering grade D/A Conversion with analog domain monitor control (8 channels)
  • Mastering grade headphone output with dedicated D/A Conversion
  • Exceptional ultra-high impedance Guitar/Bass DI inputs (2 channels; shared with Analog 1+2)
  • AES I/O (8 Channels)
  • All I/O supports 192k
  • SMPTE LTC I/O
  • MIDI I/O
  • 128 Channel x 64 bus mixer (up to 192k)
  • Instantiable DSP processing with over 100 plugins
  • Integrated analog domain surround-capable Monitor Controller
  • Incredibly accurate DPLL clock with ultra-low jitter
  • Seamless hardware multi-unit unification over MHLink (mixer, routing and transport)
  • MH EdgeBus Card slot with support for AES/SPDIF/MADI/ADAT/TOSLINK/MIDI (depending on card)
  • Internal slots for optional MH ULN-R preamps (in 4 channel blocks)
  • SMUX support for ADAT and MADI
  • IR Remote Control support
  • Front panel metering and control with dedicated gain knobs
  • Bullet-proof recording with the integrated Record Panel
  • MIO Console 3d
  • MHLink Ethernet connectivity
  • USB-C connectivity

Product Specifications

ConditionNew
Width17 in
Depth13 in
Height1.7 in
Unit Weight6 lb
ChassisDesktop
Digital Inputs8
Analog Inputs8
Input Connectors1/4-inch TRS, AES/EBU DB25, Analog DB25
Digital Outputs8
Analog Outputs8
Output Connectors1/4-inch TRS, AES/EBU DB25, Analog DB25
Computer ConnectionUSB
MIDI ConnectionsIn, Out
Maximum Sampling Rate192 kHz

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