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Hydra2 is Calrec’s audio routing system. Its plug and play architecture means that connecting consoles together is as simple as connecting their routers, with a single connection between routers providing 512 audio signals in both directions and enormous network expansion. 
The router does not require an entire console system to function, so complex networks can be created with minimal cost.
Based on 81922 router modules, Hydra2 allows connection of audio sources and system components over copper or fibre, with signals routed to any consoles or I/O boxes on the same network. It supports multiple synchronous sample rates across the same network, allowing sources on the same network to be used for different applications.

The Hydra2 system is designed to provide seamless, scalable audio networking and resource sharing. It allows large numbers of audio inputs and outputs that may be physically remote, to be easily shared and controlled.

Each Hydra2 router can manage a huge number of routes thanks to the integral 8192 2 routing matrix, providing enough crosspoints for even the largest and most complex systems.

A single connection between Hydra2 clients (including routers and interface units) can carry 512 signals in both directions simultaneously at 48kHz, providing unmatched bandwidth per connection. This is more than enough for any single I/O unit but the real power comes in connecting routers together. Should more connection capacity be required, then simply make another connection between routers to double the connection bandwidth in both directions.
Of course all connections are complemented with a secondary redundant connection, just in case.

 A network’s topology may be designed to meet the specific requirements of the broadcast facility, from simple console to console connections to more complex topologies involving centrally located routers and interface resources. Trunks of varying capacity can be created between different parts of the network to reflect anticipated demand. There’s no manual tie-line management required as the control software transparently organizes all routing, including redundant connections.

Hydra2’s interconnections are made using either copper or fiber connections. Distances are limited only by the connection type and may run to many kilometers. The capacity of the network is vast, both in terms of the number of input and output ports and the switching capability.
In fact, Hydra2 is so powerful that Apollo and Artemis consoles both include a dedicated Hydra2 router in their racks which simultaneously manages all connections to and from the console and ensures that any connected resources are shared seamlessly across the network.

Hydra2 has been designed for broadcast to build on the success of the previous Hydra network, making it a scalable and highly future-proof investment. Introduced in 2009 with the launch of the Apollo console, Hydra2 is a proven standalone development and a ground breaking product in its own right. Apollo and Artemis both contain Hydra2 routers at their core, enabling seamless sharing and control of all networked resources including I/O ports and console resources.

Resource Sharing
As Apollo and Artemis consoles are 
fundamentally integrated into the Hydra2 
network, all resources and labels are shared 
between consoles (subject to rigorous 
access rights control) – no matter where 
they are physically connected to the network. 
Input and output ports may be patched at any 
time, either manually or en masse, as part of 
a memory load. Resource sharing is a base 
requirement that has been built into Hydra2 
from the very start.
The router network is dynamic – if a new 
audio interface or console is connected to 
the network, its presence is automatically 
detected and its resources are made 
available within seconds. This makes it very 
quick and easy to make ad hoc networks, 
such as connecting two mobile trucks 
together. It also makes it very easy to 
deploy extra resources as they are needed. 
Seconds after consoles and interface units 
are connected together, they behave as 
a network, without the need for any more 
hardware or software to be installed.
Hydra2 also carries and supports the sharing 
of non-audio data, in particular transportation 
of GPIOs. 
Hydra2 provides 1-to-N routing, meaning 
that an input may be routed to any number of 
destinations without restriction. A given input 
may be connected to a channel on multiple 
consoles, and patched directly to one or more 
output ports on the network. 

Audio Performance
Hydra2 features great audio performance in 
terms of latency, coherency and accessibility. 
The latency for a one hop patch across the 
network from AES3 input to AES3 output is 
only 230uS (or 11 sample periods at 48kHz). 
Coherency is guaranteed between 
signals that take the same number of 
hops. For example, AES3 signals from 
boxes connected to the same router will 
be coherent. Full AES3 frames are also 
preserved across the network. This means 
that frames with embedded information, such 
as Riedel’s Artist system, are passed intact.

Monitoring & Alarms
If any faults develop, alarms are generated 
and communicated via AWACS, Calrec’s 
console alarm system. In addition, the Hydra2 
network may generate SNMP warnings for 
integration into a LAN-based monitoring 
scheme. This comprehensive approach to the 
rapid notification of failures helps to make 
system maintenance more responsive.

Show Portability
Calrec’s powerful alias scheme ensures that 
any shows made with Calrec consoles can be 
seamlessly moved between control rooms. 
Even if a show has to move between studio 
floors, once the sources have been plugged 
in to different interfaces, simply selecting 
the correct alias files ensures that the audio 
is present where it should be on the console 
and elsewhere on the network without 
extensive manual repatching.

Each connection between Hydra2 units can simultaneously carry 512 signals in both directions at 48kHz. The real power comes in connecting routers together. Should more connection capacity be required, then simply make another connection between routers to double the connection bandwidth in both directions.
As with all Calrec products, reliability is a paramount consideration. Decades of experience underpin our uncompromising approach to power distribution, heat management and robust physical design – the cornerstones of Calrec’s legendary product reliability. In the unlikely event of a fault, a redundancy scheme automatically deploys backup hardware to quickly restore operation. All critical components can have their own hot (i.e. powered-up and ready to operate) backup and all network interconnections may be duplicated. In fact, where backup infrastructure exists, secondary routes are created at the same time as primary routes, to speed the process of switching over.

Apollo and Artemis consoles provide deeply integrated control over any Hydra2 network. 
H2O provides extended configuration and monitoring, and support for third party protocols provides increased integration and flexibility.
Interface Units
There are a growing range of Hydra2 
interface units available. A number of 
fixed format units are available in various 
configurations including:
  • 12 Mic/Line In, 4 Line Out (XLR)
  • 24 Mic/Line In, 8 Line Out (XLR)
  • 48 Mic/Line In, 16 Line Out (XLR)
  • 32 Mic/Line In, 32 Line Out (EDAC)
  • 16 AES3 In, 16 AES3 Out (BNC)
  • 32 AES3 In, 32 AES3 Out (BNC)
  • Dual MADI Interfaces (BNC, Single 
  • mode Fiber SC, Multi mode Fiber SC/ST)  
A modular Stagebox is also available 
allowing flexible configuration of interfaces 
and extremely high port density. Modules 
  • 4 x Mic/Line In (XLR)
  • 8 x Line In (DB37)
  • 4 x Line Out (XLR)
  • 8 x Line Out (DB37)
  • 4 x AES3 In (BNC)
  • 4 x AES3 Out (BNC)
  • 8 x AES3 In/Out (2 x DB25)
  • Dual SDI De-embedder (BNC)
  • Dual SDI De-embedder with Dolby E 
  • Decoding (BNC)
  • Dual SDI Embedder (BNC)
  • 8 x GPI & 8 x C/O GPO (DB50)
  • All Hydra2 interface units feature dual redundant power supplies and Hydra2 connections for complete confidence in operation.
H2O is built on web technologies allowing it to run in the browser of any connected Windows, Mac OS X or Linux computer. 
H2O provides a powerful and convenient 
method of monitoring and controlling a 
Hydra2 network without installing any extra software. Simply connect a computer to a 
console or standalone router and direct a 
browser to H2O.

H2O allows centralized naming of I/O resources which propagate throughout the network to any connected clients, although individual consoles may still overwrite these labels with their own custom labelling. 
Multidimensional folder structures can also be created for powerful management and navigation of sources and destinations H2O users and consoles on a Hydra2 
network can all be subject to rigorous access rights control.
Clients can be granted or denied access to complete 
studios or control rooms right down to individual ports.
Advanced patching screens provide users with increased clarity when making new routes or viewing existing patches.

Third Party Integration 
Hydra2 supports the SW-P-08 protocol allowing patching to be controlled from third party routers or broadcast control systems. Hydra2 may also be connected to controllers using the EMBER protocol. 
Currently providing access to port names, future support is planned for loading of desk memories and alias files, controlling the insertion of Dolby metadata in SDI embedders (as per SMPTE 2020), mic preamp gain and phantom power switching

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