Metric Halo ULN-8 3d USB Interface with 8 Preamps and DSP – No Longer Available
The Metric Halo ULN-8 3d USB Interface with 8 Preamps and DSP 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.
Continuing the history of Metric Halo’s award-winning and nominated products, the ULN-8 3d is a 2020 TEC Award Nominee!
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.
Audio 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 ULN-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 ULN-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 ULN-8 doesn’t distort the distortion. You choose where and when your signal is processed.
The A/D/A converters in the ULN-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 ULN-8, which can be used to drive dedicated third-party CV converters.
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 ULN-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 ULN-8 3d provides sophisticated monitor control features that are only available in dedicated monitor controllers that paradoxically cost more than the ULN-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
- 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 ULN-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.
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.
The ULN-8 3d includes 8 channels of Metric Halo’s renowned ULN-R preamps. These boutique preamps are famous for their pristine, low-distortion, completely unveiled sound. They are not just great for preamps on an interface; they are great preamps, full-stop. The ULN-R preamp provides up to 90 dB of digitally controlled analog gain in precisely recallable 0.5 dB steps. Each input supports independently switchable P48 phantom power.
The combination of the super transparent ULN-R preamp and Metric Halo’s exclusive insertable Character Component Modeling Processing provides flexibility and sound quality that’s unavailable on any other interface. You can transition from a wire-with-gain pre to a gooey tube pre or anything in between; every input can have the right Character for the sound you desire.
The preamp input path on the ULN-8 always has preamp gain control and has DC blocking for the phantom power, it also supports input levels of up to +20dBu with no fidelity reducing pads, so you can handle high SPL with sensitive mics as well as you can handle extremely low SPL with insensitive mics (like ribbon mics and low output dynamics).
ULN-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 previous generation product.
Each ULN-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. ULN-8 3d includes over 100 plug-ins 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.
Format Conversion as a First-class Feature
The combination of MH EdgeBus Cards and MHLink provides built-in, low-latency format conversion between multiple digital audio formats. Within one box, you can convert from any of the input formats supported by the box and it's installed EdgeCard to any of the output formats supported by the box and card.
If you need to convert between formats supported by multiple EdgeCards you can simply MHLink two boxes with different EdgeCards to achieve the conversion.
MH EdgeBus Cards : The Ultimate Plug-ins
Every 3d-based unit includes an MH EdgeBus Card slot to provide additional flexibility in configuration. The EdgeBus is a programmable high-speed plug-in slot that accepts a variety of audio interfacing cards. Its programmable design and full access to all the audio clocks and power rails allows for the creation of a wide variety of digital, analog, processing and interfacing plug-in modules.
Integration for the Win
By implementing all the functions of a complete audio front end in a single package, the ULN-8 is able to provide unprecedented power and quality in a lightweight, low-power consumption, single RU hardware unit. This integration provides significant benefits to the owner in the form of reduced cabling (lower cost, weight and less opportunity for failure), weight, power consumption, and cost, while at the same time providing unprecedented performance.
In 3d, the command architecture, conversion and DSP processing systems were all designed in concert with the clocking and transport architecture, resulting in a system with superior sound compared with external clocking systems costing tens of thousands of dollars.
- Exceptional, Best–In–World, Archival Grade Converter Quality
- Exceptional, Boutique–Quality Mic Preamps
- Flexible, Integrated Analog-Domain Monitor Controller
- Universal Sample Rate Support
- Analog, AES, Ethernet, USB and EdgeCard Interfacing
- Rock Solid Stability: Mature, Real-World-Tested Firmware, Software and Drivers
- Hardware-based MHLink multi-unit unification network
- Instant Access to Tactile Controls
- Fully digital control for total recall, remote control and control surface support
- Comprehensive Precision Metering — so you always know what is going on
- Works with or without a Computer
- Metric Halo’s Exclusive instantiable Character — from ultra clean to nice and gooey
- Integrated ultra-low-latency instantiable processing with plenty of DSP power to run it
- Most Compact, Lowest Weight, Lowest Power and Lowest Price in its Class
|Package Contents||ULN-8 3d, power cable and external power supply, USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable, 1' Cat5e patch cable, rack ears with fasteners, four rubber feet, 12 configuration jumpers, and MIO software CD-ROM|
|Width||17 in (without included rack ears)|
|Unit Weight||6 lb|
|Input Connectors||1/4-inch TRS, AES/EBU DB25, Analog DB25, BNC, Ethernet|
|Output Connectors||1/4-inch TRS, AES/EBU DB25, Analog DB25, BNC, Ethernet|
|Number of Preamps||8|
|MIDI Connections||In, Out|
|Clock I/O||In, Out|
|Maximum Sampling Rate||192 kHz|
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