Metric Halo 2882 3D
The original portable recording interface
Originally released in 2001, the 2882 was the first the first digitally controlled FireWire interface designed specifically for the Macintosh.
The Granddaddy of them all, the 2882 just keeps getting better. A seminal piece of gear, the feature set of the 2882 represents a list of firsts in the industry. The 2882 was the first Mac-only FireWire interface on the market and was the first bus-powerable FireWire interface ever. It was also the first (and only) FireWire interface to offer onboard fully instantiable DSP processing with our unique +DSP processing environment. The first 96k FireWire interface, and the first to feature digitally controlled analog stages, the 2882 has inspired an entire genre of gear.
Take a look at some other products on the market and you are sure to find numerous features and approaches originally invented by Metric Halo. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and as we look around the now-crowded interface market, we’re happy to say that we’re truly flattered!
Updated with 3d, 2882 3d jumps ahead of its competition again.
The 2882 3d is a portable, high–quality, modular multi-format audio converter, interface, and processor.
Each 2882 3d integrates:
- 8 Mic/Line/Instrument analog inputs
- 8 analog outputs on balanced TRS connectors
- 24/96k converters on all channels
- Headphone amp with dedicated D/A and front panel mute/dim
- Full front-panel metering
- Remote gain control on all channels
- AES I/O (2 Channels)
- SPDIF I/O (2 Channels)
- ADAT I/O (8 Channels)
- All Analog I/O supports 96k
- All Digital I/O supports 192k
- 128 Channel x 64 bus mixer (up to 192k)
- Instantiable DSP processing with over 100 plugins
- Integrated surround-capable Monitor Controller
- Incredibly accurate DPLL clock with ultra-low jitter
- Seamless hardware multi-unit unification over MHLink (mixer, routing and transport)
- MH EdgeBus Card slot with support for AES/SPDIF/MADI/ADAT/TOSLINK/MIDI (depending on card)
- SMUX support for ADAT and MADI
- Front panel metering and control with dedicated gain knobs
- Bullet-proof recording with the integrated Record Panel
- MIO Console 3d
- MHLink Ethernet connectivity
- USB-C connectivity
At Home in Any Situation
2882 3d is the perfect tool for capturing audio wherever inspiration hits, in the studio or on the road. Well suited to any recording situation, you can record and edit on the road, in the hotel, on the airplane, or wherever you find yourself. Use 3x 2882s chained together for 24 tracks of live concert recording with processing on all channels in 3 rack spaces. Location sound engineers can now capture the moment — anywhere, anytime.
When you’re done recording, use the 2882 in the studio as an extremely high quality audio interface to transfer your tracks into a DAW. You’ll be amazed at the sound of this little box! And weighing only 5 pounds, and about the size of a laptop, you can be the first one out of the gig, with no hassle, just throw the Mobile I/O into your computer bag, and you’re done!
The 2882’s pristine inputs and outputs, coupled with Metric Halo’s exclusive Character processing, provide flexibility and sound quality unavailable on any other interface. You can transition from a wire-with-gain to a gooey tube pre with one click of the mouse, and every input can have the right character for the material you are recording.
The 2882 3d provides an on-board processing engine that supports fully instantiable processing, allowing you to use Metric Halo’s world-renowned signal processing effects without sacrificing your computer’s processing power or introducing any additional latency in your monitor path. From MIOStrip to HaloVerb, the 2882 3d comes with all the basic production processing you need. And remember, this one rack space audio interface has the ability to run from any DC power source (9V-30V), making it truly and completely mobile.
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 2882 provide exceptional conversion that also has a “Sound”. The 2882 has subtle FET distortion in it’s input that gives your signal some additional analog warmth. Since this warmth is captured, you can rely on the fact that you are hearing what you are delivering. If you are looking for absolute pristine conversion, check out the other products in the 3d family: ULN-2 3d, LIO-8 3d, and ULN-8 3d.
Since the 2882 3d connects seamlessly with other members of the 3d family, you can get accurate conversion and monitoring with another 3d product while taking advantage of the “sound” of the 2882 and the low cost per channel that it provides.
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 2882 3d integrates a transparent digital Monitor Controller to ensure that you can use with the line output paths or via external converters or digitally connected speakers.
The Monitor Controller in the 2882 3d provides sophisticated monitor control features that are only available in dedicated monitor controllers that paradoxically cost far more than the 2882 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®) with external converters
- 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 2882 3d includes a high quality headphone amplifier fed by the monitor path D/A conversion with independent analog domain gain control. So you don’t need to add a headphone amp to your system.
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.
Cues can be configured to listen to PFL/AFL (or not). So for producers and engineers, the cue can follow PFL/AFL Solo in the mixer while performer and broadcast cues are unaffected by soloing.
Each cue has an independent output path which can be set to any of the MC supported output types. Each cue controller uses the MC engine for its control of routing, gain, delay and output graph processing, so it can do all the things the MC can do.
Cues are not Mixes. Cues are output points with gain and routing controls that can be fed by specific mixes, the current monitor controller source, or a mix of a source and the talkback signal. They serve as named output mults with direct access to associated output gain controls.
Cues form the basis of the routing points for Talkback and Listenback.
Talkback provides the ability to route a specific input to any sub-set of the cues in the system; it also allows you to control the amount that the Cue source signal is dimmed when talkback is active. The Talkback signal is mixed with the selected source.
Listenback provides the ability to route the source that the engineer is currently monitoring through the MC to any sub-set of the cues in the system. This allows playing back a mix of the take to any or all of the monitoring cues in the system without having to re-patch.
2882 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 our previous generation product.
Each 2882 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. 2882 3d includes over 100 plugins 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.
The +DSP license included with every unit provides Metric Halo’s unique Graph insert which allows you to build your own signal chains with arbitrary phase compensated routing between plugins. You can insert a Graph in any insert slot in the mixer and as output processors in the Monitor Controller.
The 3d system enhances the processing engine included in each unit by routing between multiple units and utilizing the resources of all units attached via MHLink as one unified system. Your DSP and mixing resources are pooled. This allows you to seamlessly grow your system one unit at a time – all the way up to 128 channels of simultaneous input and output! All your inputs (including inputs from the computer) are available as sources in the mixer and monitor controller. All your outputs (including returns to the computer) are available as destinations for the mixer, monitor controller, cue system and direct outs.
MH EdgeBus Cards : The Ultimate Plugins
Every 3d-based unit includes an MH EdgeBus Card slot to provide additional flexibility in configuration. The EdgeBus is a programmable high-speed plugin 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 plugin modules.
The currently available modules include (with I/O channel counts listed):
- AES/SPDIF EdgeCard (4 in/4 out)
- DB-25 AES EdgeCard (8 in/8 out)
- SPDIF + MIDI EdgeCard (2 in/2 out + MIDI I/O)
- SPDIF + 2x ADAT EdgeCard (18 in/18 out)
- 2x SPDIF + 2x ADAT EdgeCard (20 in/20 out)
- 4x ADAT EdgeCard (32 in/32 out)
- 2x MADI Optical EdgeCard (128 in/128 out)
- 1x MADI Optical + 1x MADI Copper EdgeCard (128 in/128 out)
- 4x MADI Copper EdgeCard (256 in/256 out)
The EdgeCard modules are field installable/swappable and the hardware automatically detects the type of the installed card. All EdgeCard audio channels are first class I/O and may be used just like the built-in channels; all I/O is available simultaneously.
You can use EdgeCards to interface with other systems, get additional I/O via third-party A/D/A converters, provide ingest paths for digital recorders, or to patch into your existing digital console (e.g. via MADI interfacing).
The high-channel counts achievable via MADI interfacing means that you can use your 2882 as additional headamps, side car processing, or as a multitrack recorder for your console.
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.
So things like Analog ⇆ MADI, or MADI ⇆ AES, or AES ⇆ ADAT can all be accomplished without any third-party converter devices.
Integration for the Win
By implementing all the functions of a complete audio front end in a single package, the 2882 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.
The MHLink routing and transport architecture allows you to build a system with units up to 100 meters apart with no added latency. Audio and clock transport with up to 256 channels of audio (at 192k) is accomplished with light-weight, inexpensive, commodity Cat 5e cabling, that is available virtually anywhere on the planet 24/7. And yet, the entire system still appears to the host computer as a single unified interface.
What does this integration mean to you?
Rather than pay for duplicate case work, duplicate power supplies and redundant interconnects, you get a product where all the components are engineered to work together and everything you pay for is dedicated to providing functionality towards the execution of your task.
The benefits don’t stop there. By tuning all the functional blocks of the system and removing external interconnects, the 2882 provides enhanced performance and reduced chance of failure from external influences. Connectors and cables are all potential sources of failure and interference. By eliminating preamp to converter and converter to interface cabling, these sources of cost and potential failure and interference are also eliminated. Internal operating levels within the box are tuned for optimal performance.
The 2882’s integrated design provides maximal performance with a minimum use of material and power.
2882 Key Benefits at a Glance
- Awsome Converter Quality – with a “Sound”
- 8 Utility Mic Preamps
- Flexible, Integrated Monitor Controller
- Up to 96k Sample Rate Support
- Analog, AES, ADAT, 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
- Comprehensive Metering — 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
With everything you need to record, mix, process, and master audio (just add your DAW of choice and transducers), the 2882 is your one-stop solution for recording, edit, mix and mastering suites. Even if you are using a DAW or recording system that does not support the 2882 Ethernet or USB interface, the unit’s standalone operation and standard AES and analog interface (and optional ADAT or MADI interfaces) allow you to use it as the Audio Front End and Monitor Controller for Pro Tools HD, standalone and PC based recording systems.
The 2882 Starts Where Other Interfaces End
All these features make for an impressive package, but we’re just beginning. The 2882 is built around Metric Halo’s 3d DSP platform, giving you the power to run a sophisticated mixer with up to 128 inputs and 64 busses across multiple boxes. Of course you can run plug-ins inside the box as well. It also includes a full +DSP license, giving you the ability to create powerful mixing, sound design and master plug-ins. Beauty and brains, all in 1RU.
A unique feature of the Metric Halo 3d system is that MH’s interfaces work as well as a group as they do individually. Mix and match 2882 with LIO-8 3d, ULN-2 3d, and ULN-8 3d units to create a system that meets your needs for track count and preamp power. Adding a unit to the system automatically increases the DSP power of the system, so that your DSP always scales with your I/O. Break your system up for small gigs when playing out or add the units of your mates to build a huge system when required. By standardizing on the 3d platform, each member of the band can have ultimate quality while working alone, and the band can have huge track counts when playing together. You can’t lose!
Flexible signal routing and sophisticated patch and preset management systems as well as a comprehensive set of front panel controls are also featured in the 2882. The 2882’s front-panel controls allow the unit to function equally as well as a stand-alone Mic Pre/Converter system. In standalone mode, the 2882 operates with the converters directly routed to and from the AES/SPDIF I/O, ADAT or TOSLINK, and the analog domain sends allow purely analog operation of the preamps.
As a standalone converter, the 2882 provides a 24bit/96kHz eight channel front-end with 8 utility mic pres for any recording system. This allows the 2882 to function as a line level device, and also provide moderate gain and phantom power on high-level mic inputs. It also functions seamlessly as a monitor controller, making it ideal as a digital headphone amp and studio monitor controller.
The 2882 supports a variety of applications. For studio recording, it provides the highest quality interface to a DAW, offering sound processing or simple file transfer between workstations. Its exceptional sound quality makes it perfect as any studio’s primary analog to digital conversion and monitoring chain. Songwriters and engineers can use the 2882 to record and edit on the road, in the hotel, while traveling, or anywhere that inspiration strikes.
The 2882 is suitable for broadcast applications, too. It offers instant playback of two individual stereo sends for music cues or sound effects. The compact package and portable power features mean that the unit can go anywhere users need to work, and make on-site fixes or edit location recordings without the need to send files back to the studio, saving valuable time before air.
In the live performance arena, in addition to operating as a remote recorder for archiving performances or to play out backing tracks and musical cues, the 2882 Expanded can operate as a soft-synth mixer and I/O interface. The 2882 Expanded is also a great addition to a live sound engineer’s setup, providing a simple and efficient tool for analysis and system venue tuning with SpectraFoo.
Features in Detail
- 8 Channels of Fantastic 96k A/D converters
- 8 Channels of Fantastic 96k D/A converters (line-level)
- 2 Channels of Fantastic 96k D/A converters with integrated headphone amp/monitor amp
- 8 Channels of Utility Preamps with up to 42 dB of gain and Phantom Power
- Integrated Surround Monitor Controller
- Provides switching between any set of user specified sources (Host, USB, AES, Analog, ADAT, MADI or Mix)
- Digital domain gain control
- Supports input and monitor paths from Mono to 7.1.4 (with external converters)
- 4 Channels of 192k capable AES/SPDIF Inputs and Outputs
- Available as computer I/O or direct routed I/O for converters
- Support full channel count at all sample rates
- Professional interfacing
- 8 Channels of SMUX capable ADAT Inputs and Outputs
- Comprehensive Front Panel Controls
- Full support for standalone converter and preamp operation
- Gain selection
- Phantom power selection
- Input source selection
- Phantom power control
- Comprehensive, High Resolution 10 Segment Precision Front Panel Metering
- Real, functional metering for analog inputs and outputs
- Comprehensive Clocking (Internal, Word Clock, AES, SPDIF, ADAT, MADI, MHLink)
- Dedicated internal clock sources for all rates
- Optional MIDI I/O (with EdgeCard)
- MIDI Input and Output on standard DIN connectors
- MIDI transported to computer
- Rock-solid, time-tested fifth-generation software and drivers
- Integrated Mixing and Deep Instantiable DSP Processing (Includes Full +DSP License)
- Fully configurable multibus mixer with surround support (up to 7.1)
- Full Send/Return architecture
- Ultra-low latency, on-the-metal monitoring
- Insert model for inserting zero-latency plugins
- Insertable +DSP plugin graphs for configurable processing
- Insertable graph macros for complex, pre-configured processing
- Includes over 100 high-quality processing plugins, including:
- MIOStrip — channel strip processing
- Dynamics (Compressor and Limiter)
- Transient Controller
- EQ (6 band and 12 band)
- Signal Processing primitives
- and much more…
- Per-channel and Per-bus Insertable Character™
- MHLink Interfacing between boxes
- Ethernet Interfacing to computer with MHLink Audio
- Supports Mac OS X v. 10.8.5 and newer
- Bidirectional Control Surface Support
- Eucon Control Surfaces
- Mackie Control Protocol Control Surfaces
- Integrated Multichannel Recorder (Record Panel)
- Multichannel, multi-box tape-style high-performance recorder
- Exceptional Stability and Sound Quality
- Realtime waveform display
- Extensive File Format support (BWF, WAVE, CAF, AIFF, SD2)
- BWF time-stamping from TOD or LTC (any input channel or dedicated SMPTE input)
- Support for basic BWF metadata
- Support for limiting record file size and seamless file breaking
- Seamless manual file breaking (with time-stamping)
- Support for mirrored recording (recording to multiple drives at once)
- Dreamcatcher™ Level Based trigger
- Timecode based trigger
- Monophonic and polyphonic recording (determined by source strip width)
- Full support for standalone converter and preamp operation
- High quality, custom designed formed powder-coated aluminum case
- Light weight
- Scratch and fingerprint resistant
- Smooth contours for snag-free transportation in a gig-bag
- Rack-mountable with included rack-ear kit
- Exceptional Power Performance (only 8 Watts)
- Low mass (4 lbs / 1.8 kg)
- Extremely Compact (everything in 1 RU)
- Future Proof, Expandable, and software-enhanceable
What’s Included in the Package
Each 2882 includes the following items:
- One 2882 unit
- One IEC Power Cord appropriate for your area
- One 18-volt 60-watt world-ready external power supply
- One 12” CAT5e Ethernet Cable
- One 14’ CAT5e Ethernet Cable
- One USB-A to USB-C Cable
- Two Rack Ears w/ fasteners
- Rubber feet
- Warranty/Registration Card
Which interface is right for me?
While all Metric Halo interfaces are multi-purpose, each has characteristics that make it shine in one use or another:
- ULN-8 3d: Our top of the line, archival quality unit. The ULN-8 has the quality and features to handle the most demanding jobs. Perfect for everything from classical recording to the mastering suite, or any user that needs ultimate power and flexibility.
- LIO-8 3d: All the audio quality of the ULN-8, minus the mic pres. Perfect for the editing suite, recording with your own pres or interfacing your analog console. In true MH style, the mics pres can be added in 4 channel groups if your needs change.
- ULN-2 3d: Two channels of boutique quality mic pres in a small package. The ULN-2 is at home in the mastering studio as well as your home studio. Perfect for the discerning recordist who doesn’t require high channels counts but demands high quality and appreciates portability.
- 2882 3d: Eight channels of analog I/O that fits in your backpack. The 2882 is clean without being pristine and packs a lot of power.
Use the following table to see the notable differences between the interfaces.
|Feature||ULN-8 3d||LIO-8 3d||ULN-2 3d||2882 3d|
|Converter Technology||2nd Generation||2nd Generation||1st Generation||1st Generation|
|Preamp Technology||3rd Generation||Optional (1)||2nd Generation||1st Generation|
|Analog Technology||3rd Generation||3rd Generation||2nd Generation||1st Generation|
|DSP Technology||3rd Generation||3rd Generation||3rd Generation||3rd Generation|
|44.1k – 48k||√||√||√||√|
|88.2k – 96k||√||√||√||√|
|176.4k – 192k||√||√||D/A & Digital||D/A & Digital|
|Channels of A/D||8||8||2||8|
|Mic pres||8||0, 4, 8 (1)||2||8|
|Gain||91.5 dB||91.5 dB (1)||72 dB||42 dB|
|Noise floor||117.9 dB||117.9 dB||110 dB||110 dB|
|Insert points||8||0 (8 sends)||2||n/a|
|Metering||15 Segment Multicolor||15 Segment Multicolor||10 Segment
|Channels of D/A||8
|Output Control||Digitally Controlled Analog||Digitally Controlled Analog||Analog (Monitor Outs), Digital (Analog Outs)||Digital/Analog hybrid|
|Output Control UI||FP + Computer||FP + Computer||FP Only (Analog)
Computer Only (Digital)
|Monitor Controller||Analog Domain||Analog Domain||Digital Domain||Digital Domain|
|AES Digital I/O||8 channels
|2 channels (2)
|2 channels (2)
|Optical Digital I/O||via EdgeCard||via EdgeCard||8 channels ADAT(3)
or 2 Channels TOSLINK
|8 channels ADAT(3)
or 2 Channels TOSLINK
|Tact Switches||7||7||2 (snapshot selection)||2 (Mute & Dim)|
|Gain Control UI||FP + Computer||FP + Computer||FP Only||Computer Only|
|Gain Style||Digitally Controlled Analog||Digitally Controlled Analog||Analog||Digitally Controlled Analog|
|Ultra-low Latency Mixer||√||√||√||√|
|Basic DSP Plugin Bundle||√||√||√||√|
|Number of channels to/from Computer over USB||12||12||12||12|
|Number of channels to/from Computer over Ethernet||up to 128||up to 128||up to 128||up to 128|
|Audio I/O connectors||DB-25||DB-25||XLR and TRS||XLR and TRS|
|MIDI I/O||√||√||via EdgeCard||via EdgeCard|
|Dimensions||17″ x 13″ x 1.72″
432 x 330 x 44 mm
|17″ x 13″ x 1.72″
432 x 330 x 44 mm
|13.5” x 8.25” x 1.73”
343 x 210 x 44 mm
|13.5″ × 11″ × 1.73″
343 x 279 x 44 mm
1: 4 or 8 channels of 3rd Generation ULN-R mic pres may be installed as a factory option or at a later time.
2: AES and SPDIF active simultaneously and independently
3: ADAT supports SMUX; operation supports up to 192 kHz with a corresponding reduction in channel count
- Any Mac that supports macOS 10.8.5 or newer with a 64-bit Intel Processor
- One of:
- USB port
- Built-in Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
- Thunderbolt Dock with Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
- USB3 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
- PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Card
- macOS 10.8.5 or newer required
- All CoreAudio compliant software is compatible with Mobile I/O, including:
- Digital Performer
- Abelton Live
- Studio One
- PreMaster CD
- Pro Tools
- Final Cut Pro
- and hundreds more…