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Welcome to the World of HAL

It’s no coincidence that the name of Rane’s new audio system (HAL) matches that of the sentient computer made famous in Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction book and film titled 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Clarke’s tale, HAL (which stands for Heuristically-programmed ALgorithmic computer) is all-knowing, all-seeing, and (at least initially) a tremendous asset to the astronauts on board the spaceship Discovery. Rane’s HAL System (which stands for Heuristic Audio Laboratory) is also, in many ways, all-knowing and all-seeing—in terms of audio, that is! Unlike Clarke’s HAL, however, we assure you that Rane’s HAL will remain loyal to you—easing your audio design tasks for years to come. No mutinies, no murders—guaranteed!

So what is the HAL System and what can it do? First and foremost, it can make your life a lot easier! Comprised of a central brain (the HAL device) and a variety of auxiliary devices, the HAL System uses an application-centric approach to simplify the design, configuration, and management of everything from zone processing to paging to presets to room combine situations. No third-party hardware or software. No programming. No late nights trying to figure out how to integrate disparate components. Instead, the HAL System offers a seamless solution to all of your audio needs, melting away the individual hardware views so prevalent in older DSP systems. Using the HAL System, all you have to control are the inputs and outputs—freeing up so much of your time that you'll be able to take that much needed vacation, attend that concert you saw in the newspaper, or simply relax at home for a change!

Are you thinking that this sounds too good to be true? That this is nothing but hype? If you have ever used any Rane products, you know that we place quality above everything else. This high standard holds true with the HAL System, Rane's most exciting and comprehensive product to date. Let us assure you that this is no hype!

So how does it work? In essence, all of your audio and control devices are connected to one central brain (HAL) which results in one omniscient host device that knows everything about each piece of hardware connected to it. This centralized control is the key to what makes the HAL System so easy to implement. You use the system software (called Halogen—clever, huh?) to define and configure the hardware and to design the audio routing and processing, simply by dragging and dropping components onto a central workspace where you can then connect and configure them as you like.

What if you don't actually have any hardware yet, but you'd like to start designing your system? No problem. Using Halogen, you can configure your entire system (and even test many aspects of it) before you even see a piece of hardware. Then, when you connect the actual hardware, the software helps you sort out any detected mismatches between your virtual design and your actual setup. Thus you can use Halogen as a design tool, allowing a consultant to create a configuration to pass on to someone else, or giving a design/build engineer a tool for experimenting with different system designs.

Finally, have you ever designed and set up an entire system only to replace it a few years later when your audio needs changed? This all-too-common situation is time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive. For this reason, Rane's brilliant engineers designed the HAL System to be completely extensible, allowing customers to connect additional devices that extend the functionality of the initial system. Rane anticipates the development of multiple HAL–ready devices over the coming years that will address needs both new to the industry as well as needs unforeseen at this time.