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Introduction to the HAL System

The HAL System, Rane's revolutionary new audio product, makes it possible for you to solve age-old audio issues with a simple click or two (or sometimes three). In designing this system, Rane's engineers have anticipated the needs of the installer, the designer, and the end user, resulting in an intuitive and relatively simple system to operate. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can accomplish tasks that used to take hours.

The HAL System includes both hardware and software components. This introductory topic provides a broad overview of these components as well as a quick rundown of the common audio needs specifically addressed by the HAL System. For more details on each component, click the links provided below.

Hardware Components

The primary hardware component in a HAL System is the HAL host device. There is only one HAL device per system. HAL serves as the system's brain to which you connect other slave devices such as analog audio equipment, Remote Audio Devices (RADs), Digital Remotes (DRs), Expansion Units (EXPs), and more. Inside HAL is a DSP processor that manages the audio as well as a host processor that manages other aspects of the system.

The following graphic provides a visual of an entire HAL1x System:

HAL System

For more details on the HAL System hardware, see Hardware Components.

Software Component

Included in the HAL System is a software application, called Halogen, that you use to configure and manage the entire system. Halogen contains two primary graphical workspaces, the Hardware Workspace and the Processing Workspace, in which you simply drag and drop hardware components and processing blocks to set up the audio system you want. You can work in online mode (connected to HAL) or offline mode (not connected to HAL or any other hardware). The ability to work in offline mode makes Halogen a powerful design tool available for use whether or not you have the hardware in hand. And not only can you design your system without having hardware in place, you can also test your system before you install the hardware! Now that's powerful!

note: When working in online mode, changes made in the software are immediately implemented and saved to HAL (with the exception of DSP changes that require a system recompile).

Below is a sample of the Halogen Processing Workspace:

For more details on the Halogen software application, see Introduction to the Halogen Software.

Powerful Ease-of-Use Features

A HAL System handles all the standard audio processing you need and provides a user interface that simplifies configuration tasks. Where the HAL System truly shines, however, is in several key areas that have proven difficult over the years for many users:

  • Routing multiple background music channels to many different zones

    Have you ever been up to your neck in wires when attempting to route multiple background music channels to multiple zones? Would you prefer to simply set up your background channels and have them automatically routed to your output zones? The HAL System makes this latter approach possible via its unique processing block—the Distributed Program Bus.

  • Setting up a variety of paging options

    Perhaps you've also been up to your neck in matrices—and presets—when setting up a paging system. Paging configurations can grow quite cumbersome as the number of zones and paging options increase. With the HAL System, setting up paging is as simple as creating your zones (by dragging zone processing blocks into the Halogen Processing Workspace), defining groups of zones (called Scenarios) to page into, and then using the intuitive Paging Manager to define your paging priorities and to specify which zones each paging station can access. See About Paging for more details.

  • Creating and recalling presets

    Presets can be a nightmare to create and manage. The HAL System, however, turns this nightmare into a pleasant dream by providing an easy-to-use interface for creating presets and giving you more control over their management. See About Presets for more details.

  • Setting up control links to remote control devices

    Almost every audio system needs remote control devices allowing end users to control channel selection, volume, and so on. More often than not, you also need to set some control devices to track one another. Configuring and linking these control devices to objects in your audio system is frequently a confusing and tedious process. The HAL System greatly simplifies this process, allowing you to create a control link with a single drag and drop operation. In addition, the HAL System hardware includes a variety of plug-and-play Digital Remote devices, providing flexibility in the controls available for your end users. See About Control Links for more details.

  • Configuring audio systems in room combine situations

    Anyone who has configured audio systems for rooms with flexible wall configurations knows how difficult it can be. Simplifying this process was a key goal of the Rane's HAL System engineering team. And boy did they succeed! The HAL System contains a unique Room Combine processing block that anticipates requirements common to all room combine scenarios—defining the possible room configurations and properly handling mixing, automixing, and control linking when the room configuration changes. Its simplicity is truly amazing! See About Room Combine for more details.

Limitless Number of Inputs and Outputs (Almost)

When it comes to quantifying inputs and outputs, most audio systems present a fixed matrix. The HAL System, however, is so extensible that nailing down a fixed input/output matrix is difficult. In reality, the HAL System input and output capacity is almost limitless. You can increase HAL's I/O capabilities by adding Expansion Units or specialized RADs that add inputs and outputs. Each HAL model has a particular input and output capacity, from small to very large, so all you need do is pick the HAL model and set of EXP and RAD devices that match your system needs. For information on the capabilities of HAL models see Available HAL Models. For information about expander capabilities see Available EXP Models

Since the HAL System is not philosophically matrix oriented, programming using the matrix mentality of yore is not wise. Instead, utilize the Zone Processor, Distributed Program Bus and Room Combine blocks as a design philosophy. You'll find attempts to think of HAL as a matrix system by using the simple matrix DSP blocks for such things as zoned page ducking or room combining a lesson in frustration. Use the modern tools in Halogen to solve these problems. It should go without saying, but design your system and verify the resources required before you get to the job site to avoid headaches such as running out of DSP or other resources in the HAL or in your computer.