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Where to Begin

So you're new to the HAL System and wondering where to start? The answer depends on what it is you're trying to do as well as what experience you have with audio design and with other Rane Corporation products. For example, if you have used Rane's Mongoose product, you are already familiar with Remote Audio Devices (RADs) and the many advantages they offer ... and are one step ahead in learning about the HAL System. If you are coming from Rane's Drag Net product, you are used to doing things the Drag Net way and will need to learn what has changed with the HAL System.

To help you get started, we've organized this topic by the different phases typically found in an audio design project in hopes that you can quickly find the information you need for what it is you are currently trying to do. Within each section are tips and links to topics that will be most useful given your background and your current goal.

Initial Product Research

Take a look at Understanding the HAL System. This section provides a broad overview of the system as well as detailed descriptions of the hardware components and the Halogen software. For a quick review of the system's components, you can also review the system data sheet on Rane's website.

note: If you're familiar with Rane's Mongoose product, you can skip the section on RADs (unless you need a refresher).

Also included is an overview of the recommended work flow for creating a HAL System from start to finish. Reviewing this work flow will give you a solid idea of what's involved when building a HAL audio system from scratch.

Bidding Phase

You're new to HAL and need to quickly put together a bid? Here are tips on how to get started:

  1. If you are completely unfamiliar with the product, review Introduction to the HAL System. If you have used Rane's Drag Net product, you may want to review Transitioning from Drag Net.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the hardware components available to you in a HAL System. You can also access the system data sheet on the Rane website.
  3. Review the basics of working with the Halogen software, specifically the Hardware Workspace. Using Halogen in the bidding phase greatly simplifies the process of selecting hardware for your audio project. A particularly useful tool is the RAD and DR Model Picker, accessed from the Hardware Workspace.

    For those bidders who need to provide a list of required hardware but do not plan to work with the system design or with the Halogen software, you can simply review the hardware and manually create your required hardware list. You'll need to calculate how many EXP devices are needed, if any (when using Halogen, it determines EXP usage for you).

  4. So how do you decide which hardware components to use? If new construction, RADs and DRs are definitely the way to go. If a retrofit, you may need to stick with analog depending on what cabling is already installed or is possible to install. Keep in mind that there are 8 analog inputs and 8 analog outputs available on a HAL1. If you want to use RAD functionality in your audio rack near a HAL or EXP, a nice solution is to install RADs in the rack using special expansion devices. We suggest you take a look at the rack device products by Lowell (specifically the LD9-RMP) or by Radio Design Labs (specifically the RM-D9 rack mount product).
  5. note: In the past, you likely spent a good deal of time in this phase figuring out the conduit needed for your system. Using HAL's RAD and DR technology, you can now kiss those days goodbye. All that conduit? No longer needed! Time saved? Hours, if not days (when including installation time)!! Therefore, if it is at all possible to use RADs and DRs in your system, you should do so.

    tip: Do you have any needs for portable RADs? For example, perhaps your system has varying needs for automixers, or the site needs a portable A/V cart that can be rolled from room to room as needed. Review Using RADs as a Portable Device for more details on what hardware is needed and how to design for this functionality.

  6. Begin adding hardware components in the Hardware Workspace.
  7. tip: The quickest way to add hardware devices is to double-click the device in the Hardware palette. Halogen adds the device to the next available RAD or DR port (depending on the selected device). When all HAL RAD or DR ports are used, Halogen automatically adds an EXP device and begins connecting devices to its ports. Therefore, when you are finished adding hardware, the software basically tells you how many EXP devices you need (if any).

    note: If you want to connect a device to a specific port, you should drag and drop it onto that port.

    When you have finished adding your hardware components, you can save your work to a file—which becomes your hardware list that you can hand off to the designer—simple as that.

Design Phase

You won the bid! Congratulations! Now it's time for your first HAL System design and you're wondering where to start. You don't want to read pages and pages of documentation (although that would undoubtedly help) but you know you have lots to learn. We'll do our best to point you to specific, targeted information that'll have you designing in no time.

tip: You can find all the information you need in this Help System. If, however, you prefer reading a book, take a look at the HAL System Design Guide. It contains much (but not all) of the same introductory information you'll find here. The Design Guide is included on your product DVD. You can also download it from the Rane website.

Now, let's get started! Following are the recommended steps for learning what you need to know to begin your audio design:

  1. Perform your initial product research, learning about the system's hardware components and the basics of how the software works. Understanding the HAL System is the best place to start. Be sure to review the recommended work flow to get a general sense of the HAL System design process. If you have ever used Rane's Drag Net product, you may want to review Transitioning from Drag Net.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the key audio design features of the HAL System. Do this now—before you begin your design! You could save yourself days of time—really! The HAL System includes some tremendous time savers that you could miss out on if you simply jump in and create your system using last-century techniques. These key areas include:
    • Distributed Program Bus—Talk about a time saver! If you need background music in your installation, simply wire the background music channels to a single block called a Distributed Program Bus and, voila, these channels automatically appear in your zones (as long as you use a Zone Processor or Room Combine Processor to create your zones). See Distributed Program Bus for more information.
    • Zone Processor—Need to create an audio zone with background music and paging? The Zone Processor block supplies all you need (with some help from the Distributed Program Bus and the Paging System). See Zone Processing for more information.
    • Paging System—Here's another time saver! In the HAL System, you design your paging in one central location (the Paging Manager). No longer do you need to wire your paging into every zone you create. This wiring is done for you, behind the scenes. See Paging for more information.
    • Control Linking—You won't believe how simple it is in Halogen to set up remote controls for your end users. Each control in the system contains a special link icon. To link two controls together, you simply drag one control's icon and drop it onto the icon of the control to which you are linking. There's certainly a bit more to learn, but the process is really as simple as that. See Control Links for more information.
    • Room Combine Processor—Perhaps the ultimate time saver in the HAL System is its Room Combine Processor. Whereas you may have approached room combine designs with a sense of dread (all those complicated matrix mixers), you'll now skip through the creation of a room combine design in no time at all. We can honestly say that the process is simple! See Room Combine for more information.
    • Presets—With the introduction of Toggle and Selector presets, the HAL System makes it possible to activate and deactivate a single preset, eliminating the complexities introduced by layering presets (although the layering approach is still available, if needed). See Presets for more information.
  3. Design to your heart's content! And have fun with it. The Halogen Processing Workspace is a blank canvas waiting to be filled with your ideas and design expertise. The tools provided by the HAL System remove many of the tedious, time-consuming tasks from days-gone-by and free you up to do what you do best—design audio systems!
Installation Phase

You're tasked with installing a HAL System and have never seen one before? You're wondering how to go about it in the most efficient manner? All the information you need is in this Help System, but it is also available in the HAL System Installation Guide that was shipped with your HAL device. If you have misplaced the printed copy, you can find a PDF version on the Rane website. Listed below are a few tips and references to help you get started with the installation:

  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of the system—especially the hardware. You can review this information in this Help System or, if you prefer reading from a printed page, sit down with a cup of coffee and the Installation Guide.
  • Review the detailed installation instructions, contained both in this Help System as well as in the Installation Guide. The information is identical in both places. The information is organized to give you a broad overview of the general installation workflow, followed by the details of each step.
Service and Maintenance Phase

Once your HAL System configuration is completed successfully, we're confident that very little maintenance will be needed. But the system was designed and built (and installed) by humans—and we all know that we humans are far from perfect. So, in the rare event that a problem arises, we have provided as much troubleshooting information as we could. Refer to Troubleshooting in this Help System for details. Much of this information is also included in the HAL System Installation Guide, which was shipped with the product and can also be found on the Rane website. In general, troubleshooting the HAL System is much simpler than any other audio system you've likely experienced—one glance at the Halogen software or the front panel of the HAL device will inform you if there's a problem.

Other maintenance issues might include the addition of new hardware to your system and/or the replacement of an existing device. The plug-and-play nature of the HAL System makes these tasks simple. You can find the details here.

If at any time you have questions or issues that you cannot resolve, Rane's dynamite tech support team is waiting to talk with you.