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Transitioning from Drag Net

If you are moving from the Drag Net world to the HAL System world, your transition will be smoother if you read through this topic. Explained below are some of the key differences between the two systems.

Understanding Key User Interface Differences

As a Drag Net user, you're accustomed to using a Processing Map to design your system. You'll be glad to know that this concept lives on in the Halogen software—but there's now more! Not only is there a Processing Map, there is also a Hardware Map.

note: The Processing Map is part of a larger area of the user interface known as the Processing Workspace. The same is true for the Hardware Map, which is part of a larger area known as the Hardware Workspace.

As the name suggests, you select and configure your hardware devices in the Hardware Workspace while you use the Processing Workspace to select and configure your inputs and outputs, configure the processing you want, and set up the appropriate audio flow.

As a Drag Net user, you're also used to working with a Remote Map for setting up control linking. Halogen does not contain a Remote Map. Instead, you configure your control links directly in the Processing Workspace. These differences are explained more thoroughly below.

Working with Presets

The handling of presets is perhaps the area that has changed the most between the two systems. A key result of these differences is a significant reduction in the need for presets in the HAL System. Whereas in Drag Net, control linking, paging, and room combining required the use of presets, this requirement does not exist in Halogen. You will now use presets primarily to dictate how the audio is processed. Ironically, although presets are required less often in Halogen, you can create many more of them than you could in Drag Net (which has a preset limit of 24). You can also now customize your preset names, which you could not do in Drag Net.

Another key difference centers on how presets are turned on. In Drag Net, you would recall a preset. In Halogen and the HAL System, there are some new terms for this process—because there are new ways of performing this function. This Help System contains detailed explanations of working with presets in the HAL System, but, for you Drag Net users, we'll mention some of the key differences here:

  • In Drag Net, you could recall a preset, but you could not then remove it (or un-recall it, if you will). For example, if you wanted a preset for muting the audio, you would need another preset for unmuting the audio. In the HAL System, depending on how you define your presets, you can activate a preset and then, when it is no longer needed, you can deactivate it. (To mute the system, activate the preset. To unmute the system, deactivate the preset.) The system then falls back to the next preset in the preset priority list. Whenever you activate a preset, it goes to the top of this priority list.
  • A HAL System feature that makes this preset behavior possible and viable is its Baseline preset—another new concept for you Drag Net users (although it has some similarity in functionality to Drag Net's Preset Zero). The Baseline preset, which is automatically created for you but can be customized by you, contains all the blocks you have included in your audio system. It provides the foundation, the fallback position, for your system. Therefore, when you deactivate a preset, there is always a configuration for the system to fall back to.

    tip: As a Drag Net user, were you often tempted to include every relevant block in every preset, even if the preset didn't change a value in the block—just to be sure of every parameter value when recalling the preset? Rest assured that, in the HAL System, this practice is not necessary. You should include in a preset, only those blocks containing a parameter value to be changed by the preset.

  • The ability to activate and deactivate presets greatly simplifies their use as you no longer need to worry about the layering effect of recalling one preset over another. However, if that layering is what you want, you can still accomplish it by using the appropriate preset types or by simply not deactivating a preset if you want to layer another one over it. For example, in Halogen, a Command preset behaves like the presets you're accustomed to in Drag Net. You can assert the Command preset (equivalent to recalling a Drag Net preset), but you cannot un-assert a Command preset. The disadvantages of a Command preset are the same as the disadvantages of presets in Drag Net—it's hard to know at any given time what state the system is actually in, you often need to create pairs of presets, and these preset types generally require more time to configure. For these reasons, we recommend the use of the newer preset types (Toggle and Selector). But if you're used to the Drag Net way and want to stick with what's familiar, Command presets are there for you.
  • tip: Our advice to you? Read the details on preset types and working with presets before getting started with your design!

  • In the HAL System, just like in Drag Net, you need to provide end users with remote control over the activation (and deactivation) of presets. This process is very different in Halogen. For more details, see the section on control linking below.
  • A new preset feature in the HAL System that we know you will LOVE is the ability to test your presets offline, from within the software! How great is that?! You no longer have to wait until your hardware is installed to find out if your preset configurations work correctly.
Working with Control Links

You're going to love configuring control links in Halogen! The process has been simplified and streamlined. Following are some of the key differences:

  • As previously mentioned, you no longer use a separate Remote Map to create your system's control links. Instead, you use a simple drag-and-drop operation in Halogen's Processing Workspace—the same location where you configure all aspects of your audio processing.
  • You no longer have to define and manually create the behaviors for your remote controls. Instead, you simply choose the appropriate remote control device (Digital Remote, or DR) and, if necessary, select in Halogen the appropriate control mode for your purpose. See Digital Remotes for details.
  • In Drag Net, you set the volume range on the remote device itself. In Halogen, you configure this range on the level control and then link this control to the remote device, or DR. The DR always goes from 0% to 100%, but that range is defined in the level control.
  • Speaking of level controls, in Drag Net, you always had to drag in an extra Level block to align with an input or output block. This step is no longer needed as Halogen's Input and Output blocks contain their own level controls.
  • Regarding terminology changes, Drag Net control links contained a Group Master, which defined the control that the other linked controls would match when the link was activated. This same concept exists in the HAL System, but uses a different term: Link Master. Another terminology change is the broad term for the overall functionality: Group in Drag Net means Control Link in Halogen.
  • We save the best for last! Just like with presets, you can now test your control links offline—from within the Halogen software! This is a tremendous benefit for you, the designer. You will know long before your hardware is installed if all your remotes are linked and working correctly.
Configuring Remote Device Hardware

Configuring your HAL System remote devices is much simpler than in Drag Net. Following are a few reasons:

  • What good is a remote device without a display showing possible selections to the end user? To provide such a display for your remote devices in Drag Net, you had to create and load a bitmap onto each device. You will be happy to know that in Halogen, you simply specify the text that should be displayed on a specific device and, voila, it appears on the device's LCD screen. It could not be simpler!
  • Another complexity in Drag Net was the requirement to specify an address for each remote. But in the HAL System? Nope—remote device addresses are no longer needed. Each HAL System DR connects to HAL via a homerun. In other words, every DR is connected directly to its own DR port on the back of the HAL device. There is no daisy chaining or star wiring. In addition there is no termination required and no need for termination switches.
  • The HAL system is capable of powering any DR produced by Rane—at a cable length up to 1000'. What does this mean for you? No more power calculations or external power supplies!
  • In summary, because of these differences, you will be able to implement much more complex situations with regard to remote control devices than was ever possible with the RPM (Drag Net) products.
Setting up Zones and Paging

Remember the Automixer/Ducker block in Drag Net? Such a beast does not exist in Halogen. Instead, Halogen offers some terrific new blocks that combine to accomplish the same applications of the Drag Net Automixer/Ducker block, but with far simpler configuration and vastly superior features. These blocks include:

  • Distributed Program Bus—provides a central place for configuring all background music channels and any other audio that you want distributed to all zones
  • Paging System—a central place for configuring paging needs for your entire system, automatically includes ducking functionality
  • Zone Processor—defines a specific audio zone, automatically includes the Distributed Program Bus channels as well as paging