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-   -   HD Native Personal Mini Review (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=286773)

Tom Hartman 11-11-2010 02:47 PM

HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
As promised...

Setup:
Mac Pro Dual 2.8 Harpertown 8g memory
Sample Drive (internal SATA)
Audio Drive (internal SATA)
System Drive (internal SATA)
10.6.4
PT9

Interface: Avid Omni
Card: HD Native

-----

I received my HD Native card last Friday.

This card replaced an HD1 card I had gotten a couple weeks before, since Native wasn't shipping yet. I sold the HD card just before the Native card came in.

Unfortunately this first card had some issues, it happens, it's electronic, and AVID got me a new one as soon as they possibly could. So I have been using it all day today, tracking and mixing.

First off, again, the system is very responsive. It feels like Logic or any other Native app, very zippy and there isn't that kind of lag I felt, however slight, when I was using HD. One thing I did notice that's great is changing the buffer size is almost instantaneous after hitting "OK." In Logic, there is this long pause while you wait for the buffer change to take effect, and I've seen Logic crash at this point, so it's always a hold your breath moment.

This was all well and good, but I really wanted to find out how it felt to record guitar overdubs.

For mixing I was running at 256 (with a lot of tracks and plug ins, about 80 voices used on one song) and the CPU/RTAS usage was at about 20 per cent.

When I went to track guitars, I lowered the buffer to 128, and I was really impressed that it sounded great. No "bathroom" echo when in "input" and I could have tracked easily at that buffer. I then lowered it to 64, and that was REALLY good. Only a slight difference, if it had given me any trouble with CPU errors I could have easily tracked at 128. Very tight.

I did get some CPU "raise your buffer size" messages when playing back an 80 voice song (that is at mix stage) when attempting to play at 64, which I would never be at for mixing anyway, but just wanted to see what would happen. I then remembered that I had trashed Digi prefs a few days before, and I no longer had "Ignore Playback errors" checked in the Playback buffer dialog...once I checked this I played the same problematic section back with no problems. At 64, RTAS usage jumped to about 48 per cent.

For me, going to Native made sense, as with an HD1 card I was extremely underpowered and would have had to buy another DSP card to get to HD2. Now I have the same amount of tracks, none of the gain staging difficulties of TDM, and none of the mix and match headaches of RTAS and TDM plugs, much less the cost of upgrading all my RTAS plugs to TDM.

I'm a happy camper. The system sounds fantastic, and does exactly what I need it to do, as a composer and independent producer who doesn't need 800 inputs or record bands.

Big thumbs up!

TH

travista00 11-11-2010 02:59 PM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
what are the gain staging differences for plugins between HD and HD native?

i agree that hd native is a step up in voices from hd because you're not losing voices when using rtas on aux tracks. you get a more "true" 192 voice count.

acmost 11-11-2010 03:26 PM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
Appreciate the review...I upgraded from PTHD2 8 to 9 and have been reading and weighing the options. I only have a Mac Pro 2.66 Xeon but I seriously don't miss the buffer errors from my 002 days & gain staging I dunno...do you run out of headroom? That said the idea of going Native is appealing but I think from HD2 to HD Native on my particular Mac Pro wouldn't be a forward move for me. I've grown used to the HD Card security blanket of solid performance...not to say Native isn't! I'm still remotely considering it....not Native with the card so much as PT9 with a Lynx AES16.

Anyway congrats on the new rig!

Tom Hartman 11-11-2010 04:07 PM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
Well in HD TDM yes it's a whole different animal with levels. Try playing back a native session on HD TDM and most of the time your levels will be through the roof because you just don't have to worry with them as much out of TDM land.

That said, if I had HD2, I'd understand sticking with it. There is a confidence factor, although even HD2 could get sticky on a huge pop session. HD3 no problem.

I'm a fan of HD TDM, at least, a fan of the IDEA of DSP for that sense of stability it gives. I just believe that for many people, it just costs way too much to get there...and HD3 even now with cards going used for less than used to, it's a big investment, and even more if you want a UAD card and have to get an expansion chassis, etc.

I feel like Native is great compromise, it's very powerful, lots of tracks, latency of no issue. If in the future AVID chooses to pursue DSP processing in the HD line and comes out with one card that's the equal of two or three of todays, then I might be interested. But then again I may never need another system than this one.

Interesting times!

TH

acmost 11-11-2010 04:18 PM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
No, it sounds great what you have going. I don't want to sound like I'm dissing it because I'm not. Good luck with it.

filosofem 11-11-2010 07:38 PM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Hartman (Post 1700329)
I did get some CPU "raise your buffer size" messages when playing back an 80 voice song (that is at mix stage) when attempting to play at 64, which I would never be at for mixing anyway, but just wanted to see what would happen. I then remembered that I had trashed Digi prefs a few days before, and I no longer had "Ignore Playback errors" checked in the Playback buffer dialog...once I checked this I played the same problematic section back with no problems. At 64, RTAS usage jumped to about 48 per cent.

Was this Tom, at a 96k Sample Rate with a H/W Buffer 64 Samples? How is recording audio tracks at 96k H/W 64 with twenty playback audio/MIDI device tracks? HD OMNI and HD Native Card that is. Tom.

Tom Hartman 11-11-2010 08:45 PM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by filosofem (Post 1700584)
Was this Tom, at a 96k Sample Rate with a H/W Buffer 64 Samples? How is recording audio tracks at 96k H/W 64 with twenty playback audio/MIDI device tracks? HD OMNI and HD Native Card that is. Tom.


All of this was at 44.1, haven't tried 96 as I never use it...will try 96 though and update this .....

Tom

midnightrambler 11-12-2010 07:19 AM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
Yes, interesting review, thanks.

Is Omni HD true HD though.....? I still can't help but think it's a souped up 001.

nst7 11-12-2010 07:30 AM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
If you mean sound quality, it's holding it's own against Prisms and the new Apogee Symphony IO. No one who's heard or reviewed this is using terms less than "fantastic", "amazing", "beautiful", etc.

midnightrambler 11-12-2010 09:08 AM

Re: HD Native Personal Mini Review
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nst7 (Post 1700989)
If you mean sound quality, it's holding it's own against Prisms and the new Apogee Symphony IO. No one who's heard or reviewed this is using terms less than "fantastic", "amazing", "beautiful", etc.

Yes I suppose that's what I was getting at, that and the sense that you're definitely using HD, not LE.


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