A truly beautiful ivory-white 1U enclosure, Hapi is a modular multi-channel microphone preamp and networked audio interface/converter. Like other Merging Swiss-made boxes, it is well constructed and exquisitely designed.
In our previous Inside Issue we lifted a first tip of all the new features in Pyramix V6.1 by presenting you the practical Direct Show handler, certainly one of the important novelties in the upcoming Pyramix version. Release is coming very near, so please take a seat and enjoy all the new possibilities…
Display of waveform while recording
Pyramix will now show the waveform directly into the clip while recording instead of showing only a red block. This new feature is supported for all available audio file formats and sampling frequencies including DSD and DXD. Not only does this contribute to the confidence level of making sure that there is indeed audio material being recorded… but will also provide major time savings for all those formats that up to now offered only the “generate waveform after record” possibility. We might also add the capability to start editing while recording, but due to our desire to release V6.1 without too much additional delay, we feel this might best be implemented in a future version.
On the fly sample rate conversion
Placing clips/media in the timeline with a sample rate different from the project’s sample rate is now possible (e.g. playing a 44.1kHz media in a 48kHz project). Original media pitch and length are thus of course entirely and automatically preserved. The option can be enabled or disabled.
.PK2 waveform file format
V6.1 introduces a new .PK2 waveform file format replacing the current .PK waveform files. This new format permits Pyramix to show the waveform while recording and speeds up waveform generation. Typically this action will be x times faster, where x stands for the number of tracks (e.g. a 24 track project will be 24 times faster in generating the waveform, a 100 track project 100 times). Cancelling waveform generation now is instantaneous.
PK2 files cannot be read in previous Pyramix versions. In that case waveforms will have to be regenerated in the known .PK format. On the other side, current .PK files (V6.0 and older) are compatible with V6.1
Additionally a new Waveform Generator application will be available in the Merging Technologies menu. It permits generating waveform files in batch for very large projects before opening them in Pyramix.
New Automation option “Erase points in selection”
This option will simply remove all automation points in a selection without adding a new point at the beginning and end. It will interpolate with the closest present points out of the selection range.
Safe Record Mode
Prevents users from stopping a recording by accidentally clicking one of the transport buttons or moving the cursor by mouse. When activated, this mode can only be deactivated in the “Internal Machine” menu. An “S” overlaid on the record button indicates this mode.
Mixer fader colors
For the ease of use every distinct strip or bus now has its own dedicated fader color :
Input strip : white
Return strip : black
VCA strip (group) : blue
Subgroup strip : green
AUX send strip : yellow
Master bus (mono, stereo, surround) : red
Peak levels above a specified threshold can be logged and displayed in a dialog window with timecode, source (strip/bus) and peak level.
Global Status Button “Solo – Mute – Overload”
If several strips are soloed, muted or if the overload led is on, you can now easily reset them all at once by clicking the respective buttons on the right side of the mixer.
New AUX sub groups
Sub groups are simple way to manage FX channels. They are automatically routed to master buses, just like normal strips. No return strip is needed. You just switch them on or off to the appropriate bus.
Direct monitoring strip
This is a special kind of input strip that bypasses the delay compensation for that strip. Typically useful when working with returns for musicians (e.g. headphones or monitor mixes) during recording. Direct Monitoring can be activated in the mixer configuration page by adding a strip and checking the Direct Monitoring checkbox. These new strips act like normal input strips but they cannot be routed to an AUX or subgroup. Also be aware that actually only VS3 effects can be inserted (Inserting VST effects would for obvious reasons entirely defeat the goal of minimal latency through the system).
MT ASIO Bridge
Merges the output of any ASIO application on the machine into the MassCore mix-engine and I/O. This bridge is also used for merging the Pyramix timeline (edits) into Ovation (!) A maximum of 96 channels are available in the VS3 control panel.
Convert text markers to CD Discs
Text markers can be converted into CD markers. In the Markers tab, right click the desired marker and choose “Create CD disc” from the menu. If you select multiple markers then the selection will be converted. A new CD disc will be created automatically in the CD/SACD window showing the converted markers with corresponding timecode positions and names.
Activating/deactivating trimmer in libraries/media management window
It is now possible to deactivate the trimmer avoiding it from displaying media/compositions having either more than 16 tracks or over 100 clips. These values are set by default but can be changed (only if really required !) in the registry.
“Load a template” wizard
In the New Project Wizard (Project>New or Ctrl+N) the “Load a template” option was added. After selecting a proper template the wizard will continue creating a Project Workspace (Project Name, Folder and Media Location) like it does for any new project. The same routine now applies to the “New From Template” menu.
Please note that projects created in Pyramix V6.1 will not have a compatible mixer if opened in a previous version. For creation of backward compatible projects the “Save special” option in the project menu should be used.
We strongly advise you to read carefully the release notes for additional information.
COME AND VISIT US...
Prolight+sound Frankfurt, April 1 - 4, 2009
Hall 8 Booth G32
NAB Las Vegas, April 20 - 23, 2009
INTERCHANGING FILES BETWEEN PYRAMIX AND OTHER APPLICATIONS, IN PARTICULAR PRO TOOLS AND FINAL CUT PRO
You sure are familiar with the situation; users need to import a project from their ProTools into Pyramix, or vice-versa, and would like to know which exact parameters will actually go through the process, and which will eventually be lost in translation.
Before entering in the relative merits and limitations of such exchange formats as AAF, we would first like to share with you which features each application supports, and then which one are possibly interchangeable, bearing in mind that in any case, only the Timeline content is part of any Interchange formats available today. The Mixing Console, including plug-ins and Automation is not currently described by any existing Interchange format.
Pyramix offers Tracks with a Name, Clips with a Name, Fades with completely custom Curves, Clip Mutes, Clip Gains, Clip Gain Envelopes, Clip Colors and Clip Comments or Notes.
ProTools offers Tracks with Name, Clips with Name, Fades with specific Curves and Track Gain Envelopes.
Final Cut Pro offers Tracks with Name, Clips with Name, Fades with specific Curves, Clip Mutes, Clip Gain Envelopes, Clip Colors and Clip Comments or Notes.
To be able to interchange these parameters, it is essential that the interchange format does support them, or a variation of them.
Let’s take the Apple XML Interchange format as a good example. This format is able to describe all the parameters Final Cut Pro implements, so when importing a Final Cut Pro XML file into Pyramix, all parameters are properly imported without anything lost during the process. Even the Clip colors are imported. For now the Apple XML Interchange format is supported only in import from Pyramix. There hasn’t been any request to export projects back to Final Cut. However we may implement this feature, should enough of you or your customers require it.
Now, when interchanging Timelines between Pyramix and ProTools, the today’s preferred format is AAF. Having been created by Avid, this format mostly focuses on features implemented by Avid products, and doesn’t really supports other parameters. This is why, for instance, Clip Mutes, Clip Gains and Clip Gain Envelopes are not supported by AAF. Only Track Envelopes are implemented in AAF. The result of this is the following:
When importing a project from ProTools to Pyramix, then everything is mostly transparent. Any portion of the ProTools Track Envelope covering a Clip is converted into a Clip Envelope in Pyramix. The auditive result is exactly the same.
When Exporting a project from Pyramix to ProTools, then, as neither AAF nor ProTools support Clip Mutes nor Clip Gains, Pyramix “merges” the Clip Mutes, Clip Gains and Clip Envelopes into a Track Envelope. Here again the auditive result is exactly the same. In addition, the AAF Export module also offers the choice not to merge those parameters and only export the Clip Envelopes thereby ignoring the Clip Mutes and Gains, for specific cases.
The consequence of the above parameters merging is that if you export a project from Pyramix to AAF and import it back, again the auditive result will be the same, but the independent Clip Mutes and Clip Gains information will be lost as they have been merged into each Clip's Envelopes. This is unfortunately due to a limitation of the AAF format… probably due originally to an Avid product's limitation.
Based on these considerations, in practice, interchanging Timelines between Pyramix and ProTools is auditively transparent, once it is understood that Mix Automation and Effects Processing is not part of this process. As an Interchange of Mixing and Effects parameters is impossible, only a prior Mix-down from the Exporting Workstation is however able to adequately convey the entire audio image of a project.
Don’t forget also that ProTools simply doesn’t support real-time Fades and that it replaces them by small rendered Clips. These clips will then be present when importing an AAF file from ProTools to Pyramix, but these have been created by ProTools and are not a limitation from AAF, nor from Pyramix import module. It is planned to add a special feature, as in the OMF module, to automatically filter these rendered Fades during the import process and replace them by a clean and editable Fade “a la Pyramix”. Will come soon, promised !
TIPS & TRICKS : MAXIMIZING/MINIMIZING WINDOWS
Maximizing or minimizing windows in XP suspends the execution of all running programs like Pyramix, VCube but also Word or Excel, for about 200ms ! This potentially could have some serious consequences on the I/O activity, including audio disruptions, in our systems.
We therefore advise all Pyramix, VCube and Ovation users running under Windows XP to turn off the animation of the window when maximizing/minimizing. You can find this setting in : System properties > Advance tab > Performance section Settings button > Visual Effects tab, and deselect the “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing” option.
This issue does not affect Vista systems.
RECENT SALES SUCCESSES
Merging is happy to report this month the first sales of Pyramix and Sphynx-2 to the land of Pyramids! We welcome Brainwaves Systems Middle East as our new Egyptian distributor.
Please note that Merging offices will be closed on Friday 10 th (good Friday) and Monday 13 th (2 nd easter).
Happy easter !
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