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
Each Hydra2 router can manage a huge
number of routes thanks to the integral
routing matrix, providing enough
crosspoints for even the largest and most
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
There are a growing range of Hydra2
interface units available. A number of
fixed format units are available in various
A modular Stagebox is also available
- 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)
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