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Prism Orpheus vs Metric Halo ULN-8
Old 22nd June 2009
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Prism Orpheus vs Metric Halo ULN-8

I have seen a couple of times these two have been compared, and done a bit of searching, and the majority of people seem to say that the MH ULN-8 has a number of features that the Orpheus does not. Can anyone outline these features more directly? I've been looking at the specs for each, and don't see TOO much different apart from the obvious reasons. Thanks!
Old 23rd June 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
What do you call 'obvious reasons'. I've not used the Prism but glancing at the website already show some very obvious differences.

* the ULN-8 has 8 preamps, the Prism only 4
* the ULN-8 has near 0ms DSP processing on board, the Prism just mixing
* the ULN-8 has an awesome front panel with dedicated knobs and meters for each channel
* the ULN-8 has 8 AES/EBU ins and outs, the Prism doesn't
* the ULN-8 has a send/return architecture, the Prism doesn't
* the ULN-8 software package is awesome, including a record panel that is one of the most reliable in the industry with for instance mirrored recording to different hard disks (I think I've heard some complaints about the Prism software, but I can be wrong here)
* the ULN-8 has 8 different programmable standalone preset states, allowing it to be customized for standalone usage for many situations, the front panel still allows you to change many parameters afterwards
* the ULN-8 has DC-coupled, zero phase distortion inputs and outputs, which supposedly increases its sound faithfulness a lot, can't comment on what the Prism does here, but at least it doesn't mention it on the specs
* the ULN-8 is very flexible with its power requirements, the Prism doesn't have an external transfo
* the ULN-8 supports SMTPE native, the Prism doesn't
* the ULN-8 has direct support for Mackie control surface through its MIDI connectors even in standalone and support Eucon while going through the computer, the Prism doesn't seem to support any control surfaces
* the ULN-8 is built by Metric Halo, which is has a policy of never leaving a customer behind (look at the 2882's history) and provides the best customer support I've ever had for any device I've ever owned (can't comment on the Prisms customer support, but I'm already missing a dedicated mailing list on their website)

* the Prism has SPDIF/ADAT ins and outs, the ULN-8 doesn't
* the Prism has SRC, the ULN-8 doesn't (though real-time SRC is probably questionable at this sound quality level)
* the Prism has Windows support, the ULN-8 doesn't

Does this help?

Take care,

Geert
Old 23rd June 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
Geert - I think you missed a potential deal-breaker for some, especially those into true field recording...

The ULN-8 can be DC powered!
Old 23rd June 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Yeah, I kinda included that mentally with the power requirement flexibility.

The ULN-8 being DC-powered is very useful, I'm able to run it with a regular laptop external battery pack. It also helps getting rid of certain type of ground problems by being able to totally disconnect the ULN-8 from the mains if the electrical problem can't be fixed or isolated quickly.
Old 24th June 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Andy Saul's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Be sure to look at the Tech Specs before making any decisions:

Orpheus tech specs

ULN-8 Tech Specs

For example, the ULN-8 has Mic Pre THD D/A/A/D loop @ -0 dBFS specified as 0.0023%. Orpheus has THD+N -111dB for all inputs, which is 0.00028%. Orpheus also has a flatter frequency response, +0, -0.05dB to ULN-8's +0,-0.1dB.

Our goal with Orpheus was to provide the most transparent converters possible on a FireWire interface that you can use with your favourite DAW, on both Mac and PC platform. Hopefully, we have achieved this at an affordable price.

We don't have mailing lists or a user forum because we are a small company. However, our tech support is generally well-regarded by posters on this forum.
Old 21st February 2014
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
MH ULN-8 vs Prism

I also say the ULN-8 (or any Metric Halo box) is a much better value than the Prism stuff. The Prism is a rare and hard to get piece of gear in the lower 48. Its based out of the UK - I would hate to have to ship my hardware over seas to have any work done to it. If you are in the USA Metric Halo is a no brainer as their service and quality is seriously second to no one. Amazing user group support as well - all companies could learn a thing or two from Metric Halos service and the user group.

I would love to actually be able to hear the Prism unit but Ive listened to many others and the Metric Halo sound is second to no one as well. The 2882 is a testament to the greatest support. Its original design is from 2001 and it has been improved with new DSP daughter cards and still supported. Most other manufacturers I know would simply after a few years drop it and say sorry we don't support your product any longer..... (AVID anyone??)

Lt 030
Old 21st February 2014
  #7
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How are the Prism OSX drivers? Any problems? Metric Halo OSX drivers are stable and bulletproof. Metric Halo is also very timely after OSX updates.
Old 21st February 2014 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt 030 ➡️
I also say the ULN-8 (or any Metric Halo box) is a much better value than the Prism stuff.
and VALUE is what we are seeking here, after all.
Old 12th April 2015 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
and VALUE is what we are seeking here, after all.
by value I meant amazing hardware, software and customer service that is second to none.
Old 7th August 2015 | Show parent
  #10
SEA
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt 030 ➡️
I also say the ULN-8 (or any Metric Halo box) is a much better value than the Prism stuff. The Prism is a rare and hard to get piece of gear in the lower 48. Its based out of the UK - I would hate to have to ship my hardware over seas to have any work done to it. If you are in the USA Metric Halo is a no brainer as their service and quality is seriously second to no one. Amazing user group support as well - all companies could learn a thing or two from Metric Halos service and the user group.

I would love to actually be able to hear the Prism unit but Ive listened to many others and the Metric Halo sound is second to no one as well. The 2882 is a testament to the greatest support. Its original design is from 2001 and it has been improved with new DSP daughter cards and still supported. Most other manufacturers I know would simply after a few years drop it and say sorry we don't support your product any longer..... (AVID anyone??)

Lt 030
Have you AB the ULN-8 to the Prism Orpheus side by side? I believe Metric Halo is a better value as far as what you get (more pres, etc.) but what about sound and conversion quality?

Thanks!
Old 8th August 2015
  #11
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🎧 15 years
I've owned both and would take the Prism any day of the week over the ULN8.
Old 8th August 2015 | Show parent
  #12
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisrulesmore ➡️
I've owned both and would take the Prism any day of the week over the ULN8.
Thanks Chris! Have you tried the Orpheus next to the Burls?

As far as Metric Halo goes, I always felt the Metric Halo would sound clear on the DAC side but perhaps too clinical and sterile on the ADC side. From what I have read by other Prism owners like Sheltter (who has the ADA-8XR) the ADC side of the Orpheus is where it shines the most. Shelter preferred the Orpheus over the Lavry Gold and another end user preferred the Orpheus over the Weiss ADC2.

Also I hear the 4 mic pres in the Orpheus are excellent!

SEA
Old 8th August 2015
  #13
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🎧 15 years
Prism makes stellar converters and they shine equally on the DAC side in my opinion. The Burl is absolutely huge sounding, and definitely has some more euphonic tonality to the ADC given its transformer based signal path. It has a depth of imaging that I've only heard eclipsed by a finely tuned 2" tape machine. Most converters can do width, very few can do depth in my opinion. The DAC is as crystal clear and accurate as any I've heard, but it is also one of the least fatiguing converters I've monitored through. Not to mention the Burl is built like a tank compared to the other converters mentioned.

But an interface, the Burl is not, so if you are looking for an all-in-one solution that has preamps and monitor control, the Burl isn't the converter for you.

Depending on your needs, I would also check out the iZ RADAR Studio systems. They have integrated one of the finest converters money can buy directly into a blazing fast computer capable of running any Windows based DAW, including Pro Tools. iZ just dropped the price to unprecedented levels for that company, putting the 8 channel systems on par with other high-end converters that don't come integrated in a loaded computer with ten years of support. It is still a standalone converter though, so you will need outboard preamp and monitor control.

Hope this helps, PM me if I can help you with anything further.

Best,
Chris
Old 8th August 2015 | Show parent
  #14
SEA
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisrulesmore ➡️
Prism makes stellar converters and they shine equally on the DAC side in my opinion. The Burl is absolutely huge sounding, and definitely has some more euphonic tonality to the ADC given its transformer based signal path. It has a depth of imaging that I've only heard eclipsed by a finely tuned 2" tape machine. Most converters can do width, very few can do depth in my opinion. The DAC is as crystal clear and accurate as any I've heard, but it is also one of the least fatiguing converters I've monitored through. Not to mention the Burl is built like a tank compared to the other converters mentioned.

But an interface, the Burl is not, so if you are looking for an all-in-one solution that has preamps and monitor control, the Burl isn't the converter for you.

Depending on your needs, I would also check out the iZ RADAR Studio systems. They have integrated one of the finest converters money can buy directly into a blazing fast computer capable of running any Windows based DAW, including Pro Tools. iZ just dropped the price to unprecedented levels for that company, putting the 8 channel systems on par with other high-end converters that don't come integrated in a loaded computer with ten years of support. It is still a standalone converter though, so you will need outboard preamp and monitor control.

Hope this helps, PM me if I can help you with anything further.

Best,
Chris
Thanks Chris! I'll have to check into the RADAR as well!

It would be great to hear a solo vocal test going through the Burl ADC and the Prism Orpheus. I don't need an all in one solution, just great muti channel ADDA for loop back purposes.

I also plan on picking up the Sonic Farm Creamer Plus to get the color and analog goodness that the Burl is said to have. That way, I would have the best of both worlds plus more versatile with the Creamer Plus. I would also use the Creamer on the backside when looping out of the Orpheus DAC.

The 4 built in pres may come in handy if I ever need to record a drum kit. I have 2
Channel strips now and with the Creamer plus that makes 4 so yeah, 4 more in the Orpheus is a selling point to me.

As far as the Burls go, to loop back through the Creamer means I'd need 2 B2 DAC (1 for monitoring the track I'm printing on) and 1 B2 ADC plus an AES card. That's over 7K and the MS with 1 BAD4 and 1 BDA8 would be similar in price.

I could pick up a used Orpheus and a B2 and have enough cash over for the Creamer Plus compared to a complete Burl setup as mentioned above.

Choices eh?

SEA
Old 8th August 2015
  #15
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🎧 5 years
MH has send/return for preamps.
MH driver is very stable, I never have one issue...
MH preamps has 90db gain
MH routing is the best I ever used!
MH has plugins, you can use reverb only for your singer headphone monitoring and no latency problem.
Orpheus can't do that...
MH sound is awesome! Orpheus too...

Last edited by Black Ninja; 8th August 2015 at 03:53 PM..
Old 8th August 2015 | Show parent
  #16
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Ninja ➡️
MH has send/return for preamps.
MH driver is very stable, I never have one issue...
MH preamps has 90db gain
MH routing is the best I ever used!
MH has plugins, you can use reverb only for your singer headphone monitoring and no latency problem.
Orpheus can't do that...
MH sound is awesome! Orpheus too...
You left out that Metric Halo is a only few blocks down the street from where I live!

The problem is they are MAC only and I'm on Windows
But I figure once their 3D card is out AND they finally go Windows, I could get one to try next to the Orpheus or whatever ADDA I'm using at that time.

As far as reverb in my vocals while headphone monitoring I can do that through Reaper. Did that while I was using my Liquid Saffire 56.

As far as drivers I hear that Prism has been solid with Windows.

As far as a pad on the pres of the Orpheus (which there is not I hear), one could use something like the Whirlwind IMP Pad - 20 dB. Like $15 each.

However, I wasn't planning on using the Orpheus mic pres unless I had to use them for a drum kit like MAYBE in the future! Currently all my drum tracks I produce using my midi drum it and sample libs.

My 2 Liquid Channels and the future Creamer Plus will do all the tracking for vocals, guitars etc.

SEA
Old 8th August 2015 | Show parent
  #17
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inthere's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbevin ➡️
What do you call 'obvious reasons'. I've not used the Prism but glancing at the website already show some very obvious differences.

* the ULN-8 is built by Metric Halo, which is has a policy of never leaving a customer behind (look at the 2882's history) and provides the best customer support I've ever had for any device I've ever owned (can't comment on the Prisms customer support, but I'm already missing a dedicated mailing list on their website)
I strongly disagree with this, I'm having gigantic problems with Metric Halo support right now. I was told there are replacement supply issues.
Old 9th June 2016 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthere ➡️
I strongly disagree with this, I'm having gigantic problems with Metric Halo support right now. I was told there are replacement supply issues.

Hey, I am right now to buy a metric halo lio 8 from one year and a
half ago, so I think from 2014, I am scared with the problems
that you are pointing out, the thing is that I can buy too an orpheus
and the difference are 300 euros, the orpheus more expensive,
the MH come with both DB-25 cables, but I would like to know
your experience, since I can buy a HDSPE to go with the orpheus
I am doubting which way go, for sure I don`t want to buy something
that is possible to have gigantic problems

I am refering to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MYr2U2ZKh4

Thanks and best regards
Old 9th June 2016 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Portubong ➡️
Hey, I am right now to buy a metric halo lio 8 from one year and a
half ago, so I think from 2014, I am scared with the problems
that you are pointing out...
I beleive the problem he was having was the same one I and a lot of other MH users had - blowing out the Firewire port and then getting it replaced. There were parts supply issues, there still maybe parts supply issues, but using a Thunderbolt-Firewire connector eliminates the possibility of frying the FW port.

Old 9th June 2016 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Saul ➡️
Be sure to look at the Tech Specs before making any decisions:

Orpheus tech specs

ULN-8 Tech Specs

For example, the ULN-8 has Mic Pre THD D/A/A/D loop @ -0 dBFS specified as 0.0023%. Orpheus has THD+N -111dB for all inputs, which is 0.00028%. Orpheus also has a flatter frequency response, +0, -0.05dB to ULN-8's +0,-0.1dB.

Our goal with Orpheus was to provide the most transparent converters possible on a FireWire interface that you can use with your favourite DAW, on both Mac and PC platform. Hopefully, we have achieved this at an affordable price.

We don't have mailing lists or a user forum because we are a small company. However, our tech support is generally well-regarded by posters on this forum.
I can vouch for the Orpheus and Titan as the units with the best sounding converters I have ever owned (and I have owned Avid, several Motu units, Lavry Blues). Prism support is also some of the best I have experienced. They are always quick to get back to me - even to questions most other companies wouldn't bother answering.
Old 9th June 2016
  #21
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Thank you to both, the thing is that I make midi files for my synths and don`t want
something that sound very good but have elemental problems of sync because poor stability
,It`s true that don`t know how works the orpheus in 2016 here, but people say that RME
to use in best conditions orpheus, or HDSPE that is the way I would choose with the interface from prism
at the same time lio and orpheus the conversion is for what I read a hair better on orpheus, don`t know
but metric halo I suppose trumps orpheus in stability and versatility, experimented people say that
both are a true state of perfection, so even a very known mastering engineer say that the difference between
hilo and lio 8 are the same, if you don`t want all the features but in conversion is up there, so metric halo lio 8
is good price 300 euros less than orpheus and come too with both db25/XLR included, so my question
if stability is very important, record synth with midi through whatever compressor, distorsion, space echo
which one do you go for exclusive converter, have a roland octacapture that It will stay with me if the big brother
fail or something and still can make music, I must say that the Roland octacapture is rock solid, in 5 years,
I recommend it but seem that make a bad veil and since listen to the shootout from shelterr where the prism ada 8xr is
amazing with a second place forssell ad da amazing too, orpheus was great but don`t want find problems
with stability because will kill my creativity and with the hdspe even second hand about 200 euros is 600
euros difference counting the cables that come free with the Lio-8, plus the inexpensive tool to not fried
the firewire, I think I am done, but waiting for your thoughts about stability on orpheus, maybe I am wrong
would be for a mac pro 5.1 quad core intel xeon 2.8 Ghz in 10.6.8 OS, but need like right now with octacapture
so if I want to record a jupiter 4 for example through the tr 909 sequencer or paint in logic
a line with my dominion 1 and all work like a charm with the firewire, maybe some synth plugin
but here was told from the seller that work perfect with his orpheus, the thing is that I record
vocals, violin, sax, congas, and maybe orpheus here is where shine so any help is welcome

this forum is great¡¡¡

Last edited by Portubong; 9th June 2016 at 10:43 PM..
Old 9th June 2016 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
thunderbolt

Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford ➡️
I beleive the problem he was having was the same one I and a lot of other MH users had - blowing out the Firewire port and then getting it replaced. There were parts supply issues, there still maybe parts supply issues, but using a Thunderbolt-Firewire connector eliminates the possibility of frying the FW port.

I think that there isn`t thunderbolt on my mac 5.1
maybe there are the same but firewire to firewire or old usb yes??
if not I think that will need the pcie as with the orpheus?
one last maybe dumb question this happen in USA and in europe too??

Thanks

Last edited by Portubong; 9th June 2016 at 11:40 PM..
Old 10th June 2016 | Show parent
  #23
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swafford's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Portubong ➡️
I think that there isn`t thunderbolt on my mac 5.1
maybe there are the same but firewire to firewire or old usb yes??
if not I think that will need the pcie as with the orpheus?
one last maybe dumb question this happen in USA and in europe too??

Thanks
A firewire hub will accomplish the same thing. You would need to contact MH about specifics.
Old 11th June 2016 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drywsef ➡️
I can vouch for the Orpheus and Titan as the units with the best sounding converters I have ever owned (and I have owned Avid, several Motu units, Lavry Blues). Prism support is also some of the best I have experienced. They are always quick to get back to me - even to questions most other companies wouldn't bother answering.
Great, it`s possible have problems doing things
like I told above of synchronization, with midi??

For example if I paint a line on midi with my dominion 1 or moog
or if I decided make an arpegio with jp4 with the 909
or any sync with logic tempest, etc suppose a problem
of stability, the thing is that I will use it for tracking
and heard from people that there are problems
in this regard so need to know if works solid here
if not I will go MH route because stability, can`t drop the
cash and have this kind of problems when the first
priority is tracking with microphones, synths and drum machines
I know will love the orpheus, coud be great to track congas, violin
voice, sax but need too that work in the other department
so if you say me that no latency issues and rock solid
perfect but if not, should go with Lio-8.
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