Power & Stability

 

Power & Stability

Recording live events can be a scary business if there is no second chance. Some of the world’s biggest sporting events depend on 100% reliable playout to drive the whole opening ceremony. The fact that Merging equipment has been repeatedly chosen by the leading sound designers, remote trucks and broadcasters is a testament to the confidence placed in Pyramix and Ovation.

The shows get bigger and more complex every year so reliability is not the only important criteria. High track count and the ability to operate at higher sample rates is also a crucial factor. The increase in immersive audio projects, sometimes with multiple zones puts additional demands on the equipment. There are a host of features that make Pyramix and Ovation the complete answer to demanding live event production. Merging provides solutions, not just components.

 

Merging at the Olympics

The 2000 Sydney Olympics ushered in the 21st Century Olympic opening and closing spectaculars. The company that organised the technical requirements for it also won the contract for Athens in 2004. After evaluating what was needed, Norwest Productions chose to use Pyramix. The same company has been successful in winning the contracts for most of the recent Summer and Winter games, so the same requirements for reliability dictated that Merging was the natural choice. This is easily the most important technical decision as the whole show is driven from the master timecode coming from Pyramix or Ovation.

Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and other major sporting events are similarly dependent on Merging systems. Now with AES67 compliant I/O solutions, these complex installations are becoming dramatically more powerful but much simpler to connect. ANEMAN offers the control necessary to ensure proper network management of multiple AES67 devices, with intuitive visual feedback.

London Olympics, powered by Ovation/Pyramix

London Olympics, powered by Ovation/Pyramix

Merging, Ravenna, Avallon at Fischt Stadium Opening Ceremony Sochi 2014

Merging, Ravenna, Avallon at Fischt Stadium Opening Ceremony Sochi 2014

MassCore Power Overview

Normally, in systems that provide “proprietary” audio engines, the user is required to purchase DSP cards which allow the software to make lots of calculations very quickly. The reason that cards are used rather than allowing the task to be given to the computer’s internal CPU is that for a piece of software to access the power of the Intel CPU, it has to ask for the “permission” from the operating system. This method has a single issue with it that makes it almost unusable for professional, high track count productions... and that issue is latency.

DSP cards vs. Moore's law

The even bigger though, problem is that there is an issue with investing in DSP cards as well. As technology continues to develop at lightning speeds, the usable lifespan of computer-based hardware is becoming shorter and shorter. Connectors and chipsets change, software requirements in the DAW increase, plugins require more power… the list goes on and on. This means that even though users can spend the money to enjoy low latencies and incredible power, they are bound to the simple fact that give a few years’ time, they are going to have to make that investment in new hardware technology all over again.

Until MassCore came along:

MassCore embodies the power and low latencies of DSP cards, while staying completely away from requiring a user to make large incremental reinvestments in proprietary hardware technology. And it does this by turning the whole PC into a realtime audio engine of its own.

Ovation & Horus rack at La Grande Gallerie de l'Evolution, Paris

Ovation & Horus rack at La Grande Gallerie de l'Evolution, Paris

MassCore Technology

MassCore technology “hides” one or more cores in a multiple CPU computer and then creates a “pipe” directly between the software and those hidden cores to essentially create an Intel-powered DSP based system. By doing this, the user can enjoy all the power that an Intel CPU core(s) holds (which is a HUGE amount) and does not add any additional latencies as it effectively removes the need for any requests to be made of the operating system with regards to real-time calculations.

In brief, MassCore is capable of the following in a single QuadCore system with no additional hardware required.

  • 384 Inputs and 384 Outputs @1FS (44.1 / 48 kHz)
  • 96 @ 4FS (176.4 / 192 kHz)
  • 48 @ 8FS DXD (352.8 / 384 kHz)
  • 48 @DSD256 (11.2 MHz 1bit)
  • 1.33ms Latency from Live in to Live out
Windows Task Manager with one core 'hidden' and available for the underlying realtime OS powering MassCore

Windows Task Manager with one core 'hidden' and available for the underlying realtime OS powering MassCore

Check out the Pyramix and Ovation pages to see how MassCore is implemented.