PCI Express card enables easy, low-cost 96k multitrack recording with any common recording software.
When MIDAS developed its digital mixing platform, their goal was to create a system that offered the full sonic advantage of the company’s acclaimed analog consoles, most notably the acclaimed XL4 microphone preamps. To transport the digital audio signals efficiently and without loss in quality, MIDAS turned to the AES50 interface, which allows bidirectional transport of 24 channels of digital I/O at 96 kHz, 24-bit accuracy via a single Cat5e or Cat6 cable. Realizing the potential of this high quality signal, Lynx Studio Technology developed the hardware required to transport the audio to a computer.
“The AES50 protocol essentially acts as a digital snake, making it easy and inexpensive to move audio between any two points on the network,” explains Phil Moon, VP of Sales & Marketing for Lynx Studio Technology. “That allowed us to develop a PCI Express card, the AES16e-50, which ports that audio from any MIDAS AES50 jack directly into your Windows or Mac computer. This allows you to use any common recording software – Nuendo, Pro Tools, Logic, Reaper, Sequoia, whatever – to capture the performance. And because the protocol is bidirectional, you can also play it back through your MIDAS console with no additional hardware. You can also use it to interface with other external devices, such as a Waves plug-in suite.”
All MIDAS digital consoles, as well as sister company Behringer’s new X-32 mixer, offer multiple open AES50 ports. The system uses some of them to connect the system’s control surface, I/O system, and system engine, but offers multiple extra ports to allow external signal transport, ideal for implementing tools like the Lynx Studio Technology AES16e-50 card. Because the AES50 ports are already native to the MIDAS digital architecture, it eliminates the need for extra peripherals like MADI cards and network bridges, a significant savings both in terms of cost and rack space.
Jim Roese is owner of RPM Dynamics, which owns MIDAS PRO6, PRO2 and PRO1 consoles. Roese saw the potential of the AES50 system and worked directly with Lynx Studio Technology and MIDAS to develop it into a seamless system. “While there are other protocols available to do the same job, the beauty of the AES50 system is that it’s native to the MIDAS digital system, which makes it much more affordable,” he says. “It’s totally stable and very low latency. All you need is one AES50 card and Cat5e cable for every 24 channels of music you want to record. It works with any Mac or PC, and whatever recording software is convenient for you.”
Roese and RPM Dynamic have developed a specially priced turnkey system, the RPM-TB48 I/O, which can turn any modern laptop into a 48-channel multitrack recording system. “It took a lot of time and effort to make sure it was user-friendly and bulletproof, but we’ve now got a system that takes full advantage of the homework MIDAS did in designing their digital mixing system, with the world’s best-sounding live mic preamps, 96k, 24-bit resolution, and the accuracy of AES50 signal transport.”
The RPM-TB48 I/O includes a pair of Lynx Studio technology AES16e-50 PCI Express cards in a specially modified Sonnet chassis with externally mounted Ethercon jacks. “For a MIDAS digital console user, all you do is open the box, plug in two Cat5e cables, and load the drivers onto your computer,” says Roese. “You get full access to 48 channels of MIDAS digital audio for both recording and playback via a single AD/DA conversion, and at a lower price than any other method.”
With the huge surge in sales of MIDAS digital consoles brought on by the more accessible products like the PRO1, PRO2, and PRO2C, the demand for the Lynx AES16e-50 cards has exploded. “With MIDAS coming out with such affordable consoles, we’re seeing a lot of demand for this added capability,” says Phil Moon of Lynx Studio Technology. “Whether you need 24, 48, or 72 channels of signal transport for digital recording, Lynx AES16e-50 cards provide full MIDAS quality, and at a lower price than any other protocol.”
Jay Easley, Associate Vice President of Customer Service for MIDAS and KLARK TEKNIK in North America, notes that MIDAS stands in full support of these efforts. “We just had the RPM Dynamics 48-channel recording set-up on display at the PLASA Show in London, and there was a lot of interest,” he notes. “Obviously, we’re very pleased to see companies like Lynx Studio Technology and RPM Dynamics supplying solutions like this. By creating a full-featured recording system that preserves the full sonic advantages of MIDAS digital consoles, they are helping the MIDAS community realize the full potential of their investment in MIDAS digital.”