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IO HD or Matrox?

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Alan Bezet
IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 10, 2008 at 4:31:53 pm

Greetings everyone. We currently have an AJA IO La, but we are looking to upgrade some time soon. Can anyone give me insight as to the pros and con's of the IO HD and the Matrox MX02?

Thanks in advance!



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gary adcock
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 10, 2008 at 5:03:18 pm

[Alan Bezet] "Can anyone give me insight as to the pros and con's of the IO HD and the Matrox MX02?"

The IoHD was designed in conjunction with Apple, it is the ONLY hardware based solution for capture using Apple's ProRes codec- all other 3rd party devices MUST rely on the base computers CPU and RAM for processing power.

IoHD can capture as 10bit ProRes on a laptop,
Matrox is limited to DVCPROHD @ 8bit with the same laptop setup.

IoHD allows the user a variety of storage options on a laptop via the Express34 slot, including ultra fast storage via esata or sas.
Matrox users can on use FW storage on a laptop.

IoHD can capture using LTC timecode-
I do not know if Matrox does that or not.

IoHD can be configured to act as a stand-alone up/ down/ cross converter
Matrox needs to be connected to a computer to operate.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:23:11 am

1. Matrox MXO2 costs substantially less – $1,595 vs. about $3,000.

For it's price, Io HD offers unique UI features (like a status display including primary and secondary formats and even running timecode and VU meters), unique i/o (like LTC and embedded HD-SDI timecode support to name a few), and unique hardware encoding capabilities - Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) - when compared to MXO2. Yes, it does cost more, but it offers more.

2. Matrox MXO2 is truly portable – fits easily into a laptop bag, can run off a field battery, weighs 3 ½ lbs vs. 9 ½ lbs.

Io HD doesn't weigh 9 ½ lbs. - it weights roughly 7lbs. which is comparable in weight to a MacBook Pro. It has been used numerous times on location. For more info on this, you might look at this document: http://www.aja.com/pdf/IoHD_Customers.pdf, one of those productions is mine.

3. Matrox MXO2 is road ready and rugged – built entirely on one circuit board, MXO2 is a robust design whereas IoHD has many stacked circuit boards which can become loose over time.

Io HD units have been shipped around the world for a variety of projects in a variety of locations. Having more than one circuit board really isn't a liability in its design. The design allows all of the audio/video inputs and outputs to come out of the back of the unit in a familiar VTR like fashion... instead of connectors awkwardly coming out of three sides of the device like MXO2. ANd believe me, when you need all those connections, you really need them, kind of like when you really need a hammer to drive a nail and all your have is your shoe. It also works great in a machine room or rack environment.

4. Matrox MXO2 provides direct surround sound monitoring – IoHD has only stereo RCA output for monitoring.

Io HD has much more than just RCA audio output connectors; it also features 8 channels of digital AES audio via BNC connectors, 8 channels of audio via embedded SDI, 8 channels of embedded audio via HDMI and 4 balanced analog audio XLR connectors.

5. Matrox MXO2 works with a variety of codecs, not just ProRes – there is no need to transcode your native XDCAM, P2, HDV, and DV footage, for example.

The AJA Io HD works with a variety of codecs; AJA provides a number of Easy Setups that include more than just Apple ProRes 422. You can use a wide variety of codecs when you use the Io HD connected to a Mac Pro tower and if you're working SD it supports uncompressed.

6. Matrox MXO2 does not use the FW800 bus – the PCIe bus used by MXO2 provides higher bandwidth so you are not limited to just compressed workflows, you can work with all formats including uncompressed 10-bit HD. You also have the flexibility to use popular FireWire storage solutions with MXO2, even on towers.

You can certainly use the Io HD with any storage you would like. For laptops, you can connect storage via an ExpressCard/34 adapter and those adapters are available in FireWire, eSATA, etc. For towers, a simple and affordable FireWIre host bust adapter can be used to connect FireWire drives to the computer when using Io HD. With Io HD and a laptop, you aren't limited to using FireWire drives like you are with MXO2. This is very handy if you want to use your ioHD on location and transfer or use your footage to a faster array than fw can support. Also with the advent of ProRes and HQ, I am hardly ever using Uncompressed 10bit HD anymore. It is definitely necessary in some workflows, but I also have a Kona for that.

Jeremy


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Andy Mees
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 11, 2008 at 12:17:16 pm

All good points Jeremy and I think No.1's conclusion is important as in "it does cost more, but it does more." Alan, last time this discussion came up (on the FCP forum I think) I ended up going off on analogy abut different cars and their usefulness in different driving conditions, this time lets talk about fruit :-) Lets say for the analogies sake that the MXO2 is an apple and the IoHD is an "organic" orange. Sure some folks like apples and some like oranges and some will just buy anything as long as its "organic" (ok, thats irrelevant) but if you just need a your daily recommended intake of fruit then either will suffice. However, if you specifically need a lot of vitamin C then you'd definitely want to choose the orange even though its more expensive. Ok enough with the fruit.

Anyway, for Alan and anyone else interested I had a bash at the original question over on the Matrox forum
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/132/857179

Cheers
Andy


PS. Jeremy, respectfully, I will observe that the point about surround monitoring or more specifically "IoHD has only stereo RCA output for monitoring" is perhaps being a little misconstrued (and yeah, I'd agree that the marketing / copywriting speak used is in no small part to blame) ... but to my understanding, what its supposed to be is actually a relatively straightforward comparison of the MXO2's 6 RCA "monitor" outputs as opposed to the Io HD's 2 RCA "monitor" outputs and really no more than that. Just like an HDCAM deck has only 2 XLR monitor outputs, that doesn't mean it doesn't have plenty of other audio outputs.


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Jeff Mack
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 11, 2008 at 5:17:36 pm

I use my IOHD for 5.1 surround monitoring right off of my FCP Timeline. I did have to buy 2 AJA AdA4 converters to go from AES to the ADA4 and then XLR to RCA into my receiever which supports direct external inputs. I put the 6 5.1 files on my timeline as well as stereo for the other two outputs on the IOHD. Then I can sit in my home theatre with my bluetooth keyboard and toggle between 5.1 and stereo. I can also edit on the fly. My ultimate low budget pro res concert edit suite!

Jeff



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 11, 2008 at 6:46:04 pm

[Andy Mees] "Just like an HDCAM deck has only 2 XLR monitor outputs, that doesn't mean it doesn't have plenty of other audio outputs. "

Sure. I see what you're saying.

On your response over in the Matrox forum, the ioHD does in fact have HDMI out (and in), with 8 channels of audio if ya want it. It could serve both HDMI monitoring and surround sound capabilities right there.

Jeremy


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Andy Mees
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 5:12:01 am

Yep, you're right, my bullet point was too vague ( like Matrox's surround sound reference! ). Apologies for that.
What I was referring to is the MXO2's capacity to calibrate its HDMI output for color critical monitoring purposes on a "typical HDMI monitor" (just as the original MXO does for its DVI output)
I've added an addendum that to that effect on the other thread.


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Matthew Causon
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 1:04:18 pm

Hello Andy

Being able to calibrate the output of the MXO2 is one thing.

But what about the monitor? A cheap screen with HDMI input does not become colour critical based on what it is fed does it?

Surely a monitor that can be fully calibrated, put together by companies who understand colour critical needs and has been hand selected from the many LCD panels that don't come up to scratch and are discarded (selected from the same LCD sheets as your mobile phone) will cost that much more and have HD/SDI inputs anyway. So you just use the 10 bit HD/SDI feed from the IoHD/Kona etc.

Of course folks want to save money on monitoring (as they do video cards) but I think it's important to be clear of what products can and can't do in a real world environment.

Best regards


Matty Causon



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Andy Mees
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:18:49 pm

Hi Matty

Thanks for posting, and yes I fully agree. In fact your point is one I have made myself numerous times on the subject.
(Heres an example, not put quite so eloquently perhaps, but with the same basic concerns: http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/132/857171)

Nonetheless, I think that insomuch as the capacity to perform such a function exists in the one device and not the other, it stands as a fair distinction to make ... especially when the original question was when trying to identify some of the pro's and con's of the two units. Still, your point's well made. Personally, I use the MXO2's 10 bit HD-SDI output to a BVM-20F1U but I do appreciate thats not an option for everybody!

Best
Andy


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Matthew Causon
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 5:19:14 pm

Hello Andy

Sure it's a distinction, obviously the user needs to decide if that will actually make any difference in the real world (in other word they'll need to buy a colour critical monitor to do colour critical work).

But reading your post on the Matrox forum:

"Do you need color critical monitoring on a non-broadcast reference HDMI display? If the answer to this is "Yes" then all else is moot. TheMXO2 is the solution you need because the Io HD cannot provide that workflow."

Agreed the IoHD can only provide colour critical output via HD/SDI,

but you seem to be suggesting that you get color critical monitoring on a non-broadcast reference HDMI display? Which I think you do not?.....

Kind regards

Matty



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 5:30:11 pm

You can make yourself a Wratten 47B blue filter eye patch and calibrate any monitor!!!!

Kinda.

It's a blue gun only filter for your eyes. The Matrox will kind of send blue only and make a cheapo monitor kind of calibratable. To me, I would not use the HDMI for a cc monitor. At this pont it's only 8 bit (until HDMI v1.3 becomes the ubiquitos standard) and we work in 10 bit almost exclusively. I would use it, however, to feed a client or sound man or any other person that needed it on set or in the studio.

Jeremy


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Chris Ellis
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 8:32:11 pm

Hi Jeremy,

Just wanted to clear something up in regards to HDMI output on the MXO2. The MXO2 does support 10 bit output over HDMI. This means if you work in 10 bit you will have 10 bit output over HDMI.

Cheers,

Chris.





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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 8:37:41 pm

[Chris Ellis] "This means if you work in 10 bit you will have 10 bit output over HDMI. "

OK. Do you have a HDMI 1.3 capable monitor yet?


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Chris Ellis
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 8:53:05 pm

Hi Jeremy,

Yes we are using the HP DreamColor LP2480zx monitor. In the specs for this monitor the HDMI revision is listed at 1.3.

You can take a look at it here.


Cheers,

Chris.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 9:55:16 pm

Cool, hows it look?


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Chris Ellis
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 10:45:09 pm

Haven't had much time with it yet but color reproduction looks really nice so far. When putting up a 10 bit color gradient you can really see the difference when switching between 8 bit and 10 bit output on the MXO2.

Cheers,

Chris.



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gary adcock
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 13, 2008 at 1:45:58 am

[Chris Ellis] "When putting up a 10 bit color gradient you can really see the difference when switching between 8 bit and 10 bit output on the MXO2."



interesting.

Are you getting better image viewing from AE? or Photoshop?




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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gary adcock
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:36:18 pm

[Chris Ellis] "Just wanted to clear something up in regards to HDMI output on the MXO2. The MXO2 does support 10 bit output over HDMI. This means if you work in 10 bit you will have 10 bit output over HDMI"

Chris,
What are you outputting that 10bit HDMI signal too?
Current Plasma and LCD display technologies are 8bit. Full 10bit monitoring display systems are just hitting the Pro markets from companies like Sony, Christie and Barco. HDMI monitoring is not yet available on many highend systems yet.

Cine-tal is hands down the most useful Onset yet they use their own proprietary software to handle the 10bit > 8bit conversions in hardware to give the best possible display of the image it can but they only do that over HDSDI (as 10bit) or DVI-D (as 8bit). HDMI is just not in a lot of pro displays yet.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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gary adcock
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 15, 2008 at 3:30:20 pm

[Chris Ellis] "Just wanted to clear something up in regards to HDMI output on the MXO2. The MXO2 does support 10 bit output over HDMI. This means if you work in 10 bit you will have 10 bit output over HDMI. "

Only if your display (of which there are very few) system supports the 1.3 HDMI spec and can produce 10bit signal. The Dreamcolor monitor talked about here is one of the very few that can do this.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Brian Wells
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 18, 2008 at 1:11:25 am

The primary difference (from a purely functional perspective) is that the AJA IO HD lets you capture video from the HD-SDI port on a video camera and have a unique time code number for each clip on the hard drive, based on the SMPTE RP-188 standard. The MXO-2, on the other hand, does not support SMPTE RP188 (embedded time code over HD-SDI) therefore every clip will start with the same number (ie - 00:00:00:00) instead of a unique number, making logging the footage virtually impossible with prosumer cameras, such as the Sony EX-1 or Panasonic HPX-170, which have HDSDI, but do not have separate TC output ports. Also, the MXO-2 does not capture 1080p23.98 PsF, which is the standard output format of the Sony F900 and, I believe, the EX-3.

So, these are the two main issues with the MXO-2, as far as I'm concerned. I could live with DVCPRO-HD, but I cannot live without time code. Frankly, I just don't see the value of Uncompressed Recording (ie MXO-2) with a product that doesn't read the embedded time code over HD-SDI. I would much rather have a compressed codec, such as Pro Res, at least for now, with a device that allows standard workflow (like referencing unique time code ID's to sort through different clips). I don't see how anyone in this industry could even use the clips from an MXO-2 without time code. It boggles the mind how they could overlook this issue.

Gary will be happy to know I am buying an IO HD after this experience. Nice, too, since B&H just dropped the price for me : )



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Shawn Hamer
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 3:44:50 pm

No TC on SDI ? Is that true? I hadn't read anything about that until now.

But doesn't TC come in primarily via rs-422 on FCP anyway? I mean, you need machine control anyway, so isn't this point moot?

G5 Quad 2.5| FCP HD | Kona LHe


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 3:47:58 pm

[Shawn Hamer] "But doesn't TC come in primarily via rs-422 on FCP anyway? I mean, you need machine control anyway, so isn't this point moot?"

Not if you're capturing live.


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Brian Wells
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:36:58 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Not if you're capturing live."

EXACTLY!

Or, again, if you're capturing from a camera without a TC output. It's especially important.


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Shawn Hamer
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 6:45:52 pm

Live as in 'on location' from a camera or live as in 'capture now'? The former I was already familiar with - if its the latter I have to admit I had no idea that was the case...




G5 Quad 2.5| FCP HD | Kona LHe


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: IO HD or Matrox?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 10:20:24 pm

I was speaking from a location type of environment.


Jeremy


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