RME UFX and Cranesong HEDD
devastat
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#1
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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RME UFX and Cranesong HEDD

My audio interface is RME UCX, and I am considering getting a Cranesong HEDD converter to record my mixes after my outboard gear. I would use it only for the A/D conversion as I need the 8 outputs from the UCX to sum my mixes in the D-Box.

Is the A/D converter in HEDD a big improvement over the UCX converter? Any users here with experience with this setup?
#2
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
  #2
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Magucci's Avatar
 

First of all why are you considering Crane Song Hedd (ad/da unit) if you only want the AD?

ISSUE: You want to capture your mixes and need only AD. You can spend around 3K.

SOLUTION: Buy Forssell MADC-2.

DESCRIPTION: Nothing comes close to Forssel in this price range (no Burl, no Hedd, no 2192 etc.)


devastat
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#3
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magucci View Post
First of all why are you considering Crane Song Hedd (ad/da unit) if you only want the AD?
Because HEDD has an excellent AD? I will look into Forssell MADC-2.
#4
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devastat View Post
Because HEDD has an excellent AD?
No it's not.

Lavry Gold AD122-96mkIII is excellent.

Hedd is good but boring.
devastat
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#5
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Do I need a separate master clock with Forssell MADC-2, or does it have a clock like HEDD does?
#6
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devastat View Post
Do I need a separate master clock with Forssell MADC-2, or does it have a clock like HEDD does?
No, you can't use the MADC with external clock. It performs excellent with its internal clock. It has only word clock output.

BTW every converter in the world has an internal clock.
devastat
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#7
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Ok thanks for clarification.
#8
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devastat View Post
Is the A/D converter in HEDD a big improvement over the UCX converter? Any users here with experience with this setup?
I don't think any modern, mid to highend converter has ever been demonstrated to be a "big improvement" over any other. There are differences and some people have strong preferences, but if you look at the results of any comparison where people tested blind you find that these differences are all quite subtle. In fact, for many they often cant hear any difference. converter differences is one the most overly hyped topics here on GS.

I have never heard the UCX, but i own a UFX which i believe has the same converters. They are excellent and for me the high cost required to get a 1% improvement is not worth it. But of course YMMV . I would suggest you borrow or rent a converter first (or buy from a place with a good return policy) and then compare mixes (blind!) made using each unit.

Another consideration is that if you decide you want to get higher end converters and are going to outboard gear, you may want to look at some DA options as well. In fact for the UFX at least the AD is generally considered better than the DA. So you may notice more improvement on the DA end. Something like the Lavry blue system where you can mix and match AD and DA units would be worth looking at. Used prices are reasonable and may be in your budget.

Good luck
#9
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magucci View Post
Hedd is good but boring.
The better the converter the more transparent it should be. How can a good converter be "boring" ?!?
#10
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Disagree the HEDD is boring, though every man is owed an opinion. To each is own.

I've found plenty of boring gear in my time. Crane Song HEDD was never one of them.
devastat
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#11
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neirbod View Post
I
Another consideration is that if you decide you want to get higher end converters and are going to outboard gear, you may want to look at some DA options as well. In fact for the UFX at least the AD is generally considered better than the DA. So you may notice more improvement on the DA end. Something like the Lavry blue system where you can mix and match AD and DA units would be worth looking at. Used prices are reasonable and may be in your budget.
The reason I am mainly looking at ADs at the moment is that I need 8 outputs for the summing unit. I am planning to get Lynx Aurora 16 with Dangerous 2-bus LT in the future, but was thinking that right now I could improve the sound of my mastering rig by purchasing a better AD (that I can use even with Lynx Aurora in the future). However, if the AD in the UFX is really that good (it is the same as UFX) and if the improvement is only 1% then it might not be worth the cost.

Cranesong HEDD would be good in the sense that it also has a DA that I could use when not summing. The Forssell DA + AD is over my budget at the moment, but I could consider getting the Forssell AD.
#12
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Disagree the HEDD is boring, though every man is owed an opinion. To each is own.

I've found plenty of boring gear in my time. Crane Song HEDD was never one of them.
Indeed there is much more boring gear.

Maybe my coffee was bad this morning. I should have said that Hedd is not as excited as Lavry Gold or Forssell.

No offense to all the happy Hedd users. Maybe I should take some beer before posting on GS next time.

#13
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devastat View Post
The Forssell DA + AD is over my budget at the moment, but I could consider getting the Forssell AD.
The Forssell MADA-2 is ad/da unit and costs around 4K and it has word clock in and out.
#14
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devastat View Post
However, if the AD in the UFX is really that good (it is the same as UFX) and if the improvement is only 1% then it might not be worth the cost.
All I am suggesting is you listen critically before buying new converters. For me the difference is very slight, for you who knows. You may find new converters really help. Just don't rely on folks here for making decisions like this Listen for yourself (blind! The mind plays tricks if you "know" one piece of gear is " better") and then decide.
#15
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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if you are a non commercial studio who does not have a NEED mandated by your clients (which I imagine is the case if you are posting this thread) I have the following to say:

Ive been using a UFX to do demo work on our website and every time I turn that thing on I am stupified with how good it sounds. Rainbows dont come out of my monitors, but for around $250 per channel of conversion, it is astounding what you can get done with a box like that. I know with confidence there is very little chance of getting 10 times the performance by spending 10 times the price per channel of conversion. I think when you get to this level of converter you are largely making parallel moves to a different flavor and thousands of dollars of upgrades can offer small percentages of improvement. That could be worth it to you entirely, or it can be a measure of resolution that you may not even hear in playback in your signal chain. If you are moving towards a 16 channel lynx you could just get a ufx to add to what you have and be done with it.

If you cant make a professional recording that impresses listeners using a UFX, there is absolutely no converter out there at any cost that will suddenly have your mixes translating if they arent now. Better converters, sure. But you are already there with a quality piece of equipment. The question is not so much are there better converters, but how much the rme box you have is currently holding you back. Only you can answer that.

With all that said, I have used many of Forssell's jfet opamps in projects in the past and they are an absolute thing of beauty. Fred is also a very very very smart guy. A converter designed by him, with his jfet front end is bound to be a thing of beauty. And you'd be doing business with someone you can be proud to be doing business with.

The real question is not if there is something better than a UFX but if you need to be considering spending $1500 per channel on a/d at all. Discussion should probably end there because only you will know the answer.

The conundrum with eventually buying into the upper or top tier of equipment manufactured is eventually you can no longer scapegoat your gear as the reason things arent working right or arent pleasing enough in the studio and you have to focus on your skills. When I installed my first real console, I definitely solved the problem I had identified in the console it replaced, but it created a new problem in the same instant: any problems were now the fault of my engineering. Not a piece of gear, not the accounting department at a manufacturing company, but it was all of a sudden all on me.

No question there are better converters than anything RME makes. However a box like a UFX absolutely gets you to a level where the real measure of improvement will not be made with other converters to upgrade to, but rather what you are sending to that UFX in the first place.

Anyhow, probably should keep my nose out of this discussion but when the UFX comes up around here, I usually scratch my head as its a very very nice sounding box and there's just no way that I can imagine that there is someone out there listening to a record or movie whose only comment about the content would be, "eh, wish this was made with a better converter".

There are plenty of reasons, all of them good, to spend tons and tons of cash on expensive converters. Plenty. And not one of them IMO is because a UFX wasnt good enough for transparent enough professional application.
devastat
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#16
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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After listening to various converter shootouts in this forum, to my ears Lavry Gold, Prism Orpheus and Forssell seem to have the most pleasant sound to my ears. If I would have the money I would get Lavry Gold or Prism Orpheus for sure. I have to admit that I haven't been that fond of the Crane Song HEDD in these comparisons.

It would be very interesting to hear how does UFX and Lynx Aurora compare to these high end converters.
#17
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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CUDOS to AwTAC!!! Absolute dead center on target comments for this thread.
Hugh
devastat
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#18
2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwTAC View Post
If you cant make a professional recording that impresses listeners using a UFX, there is absolutely no converter out there at any cost that will suddenly have your mixes translating if they arent now. Better converters, sure. But you are already there with a quality piece of equipment. The question is not so much are there better converters, but how much the rme box you have is currently holding you back. Only you can answer that.
AwTAC, I agree with your post 100%. I'm not disputing the fact that UFX is an amazing audio interface with great converters.

I'm just curious to understand how different converters make a difference on the overall sound - and to see if there are still better options for me. Also, I've spent quite a lot money on outboard gear recently, and I want to make sure that I'm getting the best out of it.
#19
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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A HEDD has been part of my studio for years. First time I heard it I was coming of a FF800 and I thought it sounded like crap. Then I came to realize it sounds exactly like what you're putting into it. Now that can be a good thing or bad thing depending on what you want to hear. But for me, that's exactly what I want a converter to do.

DB
devastat
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#20
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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After a long thought and consideration I decided to go with Prism Orpheus.

I have really enjoyed the sonic quality of the Prism converters in the comparisons that I have listened to, and I have managed to find it (used) on Ebay for the price of the Forssell AD converter alone. With Orpheus I am also getting 8 channels of DA conversion that will be in par with my summing needs.

Thanks for all the helpful contributions in this thread!
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