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A/D Comparison - Steinberg MR816 vs Lavry AD11
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#91
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
  #91
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Why do I think it is natural for the samples to sound the same? Well, because the function of converters is to measure voltages 44,000 times per second and store the numbers in a standard format. It's an encoding for later decoding. I don't think converter engineers are in disagreement about the function of what they are designing. I don't think there is any "art" in it. Any more than there is "art" in the length of a ruler. That's why I was asking what sort of imperfections the designer would expect and how he would use his hearing to detect them. I don't know if there's any reason to assume that these imperfections are anything like the imperfections we are familiar with in the analog world. I'm saying I don't think there's any accidental way that the measurement could boost low-mids, or introduce harmonic distortion, for example. That would be like saying that my ruler tends to be more exact on 8 centimeter measurements but often gives a slight boost to 9 centimeter measurements.

"Who's to say the next engineer's idea of an accurate performance is the same as yours?" Well, based on my understanding, this is not subject to opinions, it's a matter of the definition of the standard. It's not about accuracy of human hearing, it's about whether the numbers are correct.

"As an example, if a group of audio engineers that attended a recorded classical performance were the subjects of an immediate playback test of the same performance, do you think they would all agree on one specific mic as being the most accurate transducer from a group of say, six other mics? Highly unlikely." Well, I think maybe they would all agree. They certainly should be able to hear differences, and they should be able to agree what those differences are. But the example is irrelevant, because the mics are devices with moving parts. Mics sound different from each other because there are physical limitations and necessarily design compromises.

I am confused by the notion that "musicality" or "pleasing to the ear" has anything to do with A/D converters. It makes sense possibly when talking about tube amps or microphones, where analog inaccuracies can be heard as "color" resulting from the trade-offs the designer made, that you can prefer or dislike. Going from analog to digital world, it seems to me that any differences we can convince ourselves exist between two converters operating at the same sample rate has to be attributed to one being less accurate than the other in voltage measurements. Why would anybody buy one that they thought was "colored"?

"Now, spend some time looking through some converter posts as to why some people prefer certain converters over others. Is their reasoning always because it sounds the most accurate and lifelike? No. Generally, you'll find many different types of descriptions and reasonings, many of which do not point to the aforementioned attributes." Yes, I have seen a lot of the converter threads. It makes no sense to me that anyone would prefer one converter over another on the basis of anything other than accuracy. And I wouldn't prefer a ruler that was consistently a little off when measuring things that are around 9 centimeters either. The fact that a lot of people have a lot of other reasons does not lend any weight to the discussion, I think.
#92
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
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differences will occur in the chip due to differences in filtering and differences will also occur in the audio input circuits. the power supplies etc....

so one would be listening to the sum of these parts when making comparisons.
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#93
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
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so i was not read, and now i'm read but i didn't read enough of the right stuff.... that's great.

oh, and a face palm is not a gesture of dissrespect.

from wiki "The gesture is a display of frustration, embarrassment, shock, or surprise" it's a big world out there.

now lets look at what a troll is. again from wiki.. "a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community" paradoxical isn't it as you haven't actually contributed to the thread by dealing with the op's original question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
I am speaking about the 2nd edition, the one that I have is from 2007 (Dan Lavry is one the technical advisers in this edition). It goes into great detail about digital, and sample rates in particular.

It seems you are very good at regurgitating snippets you've read, obviously read a few posts on GS, and know a few avatars of some guys that have been around the business for a while. Fletcher is a smart guy, been around a long time, recorded stuff for thousands of hours, but i'm sure that even he would defer to Bob Katz when it comes to digital domain discussions. If you read the second edition of his book, he does extensive blind testing comparing sample rates, and converters with different filtering (using custom designs by top industry digital pros) by a panel of "real experts" like Bob Ludwig, and a half dozen pairs of the better ears on this planet. Experts that the names you dropped here would certify as such. The one thing that did come out of the testing is that 44.1 is plenty "good enough", especially for the type of listening comparisons that the OP is doing here. 44.1 is incredibly valid in this day and age in this business. Facepalming (it is a true expression of disrespect, and only necessary for pretty extreme situations) is for trolls, I'm sure that you are better than that, just wanted to see more respect given when someone honestly spends their time doing something like this. Cheers
#94
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
I am confused by the notion that "musicality" or "pleasing to the ear" has anything to do with A/D converters.
yes. exactly! I've always (for many many years on this forum) pointed out that old relatively poor quality converters have made some outstanding recordings, and imho the only notably audible differences between converters come from the quality and design of the analog circuits, not the conversion itself, assuming certain minimum conversion quality to remain effectively transparent (which has existed for several decades imho).

I don't disagree that superior conversion is better in so many ways, but the most audible differences that people attribute to conversion imho (and based on a fair amount of study of this stuff way back) come from the analog stages. Better imaging, more revealing highs, tighter bass, larger soundstage... all of that imho comes from analog circuitry in the audio interface, not the conversion itself.

and, although I think my thought that the d/a was involved in this test was wrong, this is why I was going on about how this was a great example of this fact since, if the d/a was also being tested in this thread's shootout, then it would be testing one of the worst and one of the best examples in d/a conversion, and people don't seem to have a clear consistent preference that makes you go "Oh, that's the good one".

However, I think my points were flawed LoL since I was being stupid and not thinking of how the d/a wouldnt' be involved in this test.
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#95
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riteup3 View Post
Looking forward to these! Also it would be *fun* not to reveal the results of the first test so we're not influenced by them before the stacking test. Do I make sense?
To do the test correctly would take quite a bit of time (weeks, perhaps months) in my case. I don't think the test takers would be happy to wait that long.
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#96
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
Why do I think it is natural for the samples to sound the same? Well, because the function of converters is to measure voltages 44,000 times per second and store the numbers in a standard format. It's an encoding for later decoding. I don't think converter engineers are in disagreement about the function of what they are designing. I don't think there is any "art" in it. Any more than there is "art" in the length of a ruler. That's why I was asking what sort of imperfections the designer would expect and how he would use his hearing to detect them. I don't know if there's any reason to assume that these imperfections are anything like the imperfections we are familiar with in the analog world. I'm saying I don't think there's any accidental way that the measurement could boost low-mids, or introduce harmonic distortion, for example. That would be like saying that my ruler tends to be more exact on 8 centimeter measurements but often gives a slight boost to 9 centimeter measurements.
I agree most converter engineers are not in disagreement. However, some would argue supreme accuracy isn't the be-all end goal, hence products like the Burl. I have not heard it, but I've heard comments that it imparts some kind of pleasing character? This may qualify as art.

That said, for me, and most others when it comes to conversion, accuracy is the most important.

From what I can tell, Lavry has been all about accuracy/neutrality/whatever you want to call it. And judging by the results so far from this test, the Steinberg is following the same goal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
"Who's to say the next engineer's idea of an accurate performance is the same as yours?" Well, based on my understanding, this is not subject to opinions, it's a matter of the definition of the standard. It's not about accuracy of human hearing, it's about whether the numbers are correct.
There is not definition of a standard when it comes to hearing, and that is what this test is about. Hearing is subjective. It's not about numbers at this point. Yes, the numbers play a part, but ultimately it's about perceptive hearing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
"As an example, if a group of audio engineers that attended a recorded classical performance were the subjects of an immediate playback test of the same performance, do you think they would all agree on one specific mic as being the most accurate transducer from a group of say, six other mics? Highly unlikely." Well, I think maybe they would all agree. They certainly should be able to hear differences, and they should be able to agree what those differences are. But the example is irrelevant, because the mics are devices with moving parts. Mics sound different from each other because there are physical limitations and necessarily design compromises.
There are countless arguments on this board and others as to what particular mics provide the most accurate rendition of a performance, as an example. Again, it's all subjective. So, to believe they would all agree on one mic is really stretching it. And this goes beyond mics. Another example is loudspeakers. There are many documented shootouts between loudspeaker systems as to which provide that "there" quality. Again, the opinions vary widely as what is actually reproducing the most accurate rendition is subjective.

But yes, as you said, mics (as well as loudspeakers) have moving parts and there are design compromises, and we're actually talking about conversion here. However, the problem is that so many people, including many professionals, actually believe aural differences in conversion are greater than they really are. Just browse through all the posts on this subject. This is the crux of this test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
I am confused by the notion that "musicality" or "pleasing to the ear" has anything to do with A/D converters. It makes sense possibly when talking about tube amps or microphones, where analog inaccuracies can be heard as "color" resulting from the trade-offs the designer made, that you can prefer or dislike. Going from analog to digital world, it seems to me that any differences we can convince ourselves exist between two converters operating at the same sample rate has to be attributed to one being less accurate than the other in voltage measurements. Why would anybody buy one that they thought was "colored"?
I agree, these terms shouldn't be associated with conversion. That said, what about products like the Burl?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
"Now, spend some time looking through some converter posts as to why some people prefer certain converters over others. Is their reasoning always because it sounds the most accurate and lifelike? No. Generally, you'll find many different types of descriptions and reasonings, many of which do not point to the aforementioned attributes." Yes, I have seen a lot of the converter threads. It makes no sense to me that anyone would prefer one converter over another on the basis of anything other than accuracy. And I wouldn't prefer a ruler that was consistently a little off when measuring things that are around 9 centimeters either. The fact that a lot of people have a lot of other reasons does not lend any weight to the discussion, I think.
But it does, because tests like these can help to shed light on what people think they are hearing opposed to what they are actually hearing.
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#97
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
yes. exactly! I've always (for many many years on this forum) pointed out that old relatively poor quality converters have made some outstanding recordings, and imho the only notably audible differences between converters come from the quality and design of the analog circuits, not the conversion itself, assuming certain minimum conversion quality to remain effectively transparent (which has existed for several decades imho).

I don't disagree that superior conversion is better in so many ways, but the most audible differences that people attribute to conversion imho (and based on a fair amount of study of this stuff way back) come from the analog stages. Better imaging, more revealing highs, tighter bass, larger soundstage... all of that imho comes from analog circuitry in the audio interface, not the conversion itself.

and, although I think my thought that the d/a was involved in this test was wrong, this is why I was going on about how this was a great example of this fact since, if the d/a was also being tested in this thread's shootout, then it would be testing one of the worst and one of the best examples in d/a conversion, and people don't seem to have a clear consistent preference that makes you go "Oh, that's the good one".

However, I think my points were flawed LoL since I was being stupid and not thinking of how the d/a wouldnt' be involved in this test.
Well, the MR816 must have pretty good analog stages then.

And, about the MR816's D/A conversion: Why make any judgments on it until you've actually participated in a valid test of them. You may be surprised by the results of what you are really hearing.
#98
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe View Post
I agree most
But it does, because tests like these can help to shed light on what people think they are hearing opposed to what they are actually hearing.
I see -- you are an optimist! I haven't seen anybody yet back down from any position they've taken in the whole forum! But that's part of the fun.
#99
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe View Post
Well, the MR816 must have pretty good analog stages then.

And, about the MR816's D/A conversion: Don't make any judgments on it until you've actually participated in a valid test of them. You may be surprised by the results of what you are really hearing.
all along I've made it clear though that the d/a chip itself in that unit is, be design, low performance. This is nothing to do with not making judgements... I'm stating simple facts about the limitations of the d/a converter chip used in this product which is noticeably inferior to that of most other products on the market. Does that matter? NO. that is my point. I'm surprised and disappointed that steinberg/yamaha chose that chip because, again, it makes the specs worse and provides a valid argument against the unit UNLESS you base everything on how it sounds. And that truly is what counts unless you're analyzing waveform accuracy after multiple conversion loops for some reason (and even then imho the resulting distortion still isn't a noticeably audible side effect in most cases, certainly not compared to the overall sound of the analog stages of the audio interface).

Check the specs.

they don't lie. the noise floor can't be improved, nor can it's distortion figures. I have never stated anything other than those facts, and all through this thread I've pointed out that if everyone likes the sound so much then voila - there is no way that poor conversion can affect sound badly. That is a simple, too simple maybe, logical deduction.

But they are only bad compared to OTHER d/a converters. compared to most tape systems or in fact many analog signal stages the d/a conversion in the mr816 is STILL superior, or at least on par.

And that is my entire point (which appears to have been lost for many readers).... the conversion doesn't affect the sound noticeably. it's the analog stages that do.

and of course, the mr816 does have excellent analog stages, as does it's parent the yamaha unit.

Which is what counts. All along in this thread I've stated that the conversion honestly doesn't matter. In some other threads I may not have reached that conclusion, but in this thread I've stated nothing other than that.

I am certain the mr816 sounds great to everyone who's said as much. And that is what counts :-D
#100
14th April 2012
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I believe listening to the sum of the converted audio files make much bigger difference. I mean all the tracks playing. So, listening to individual files makes hard to decide.
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#101
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseLinear View Post
I believe listening to the sum of the converted audio files make much bigger difference. I mean all the tracks playing. So, listening to individual files makes hard to decide.
See post 86 but be sure to take the stacking tests when they are posted to validate or invalidate your perception, because that is what it is: perception.
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#102
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
all along I've made it clear though that the d/a chip itself in that unit is, be design, low performance. This is nothing to do with not making judgements... I'm stating simple facts about the limitations of the d/a converter chip used in this product which is noticeably inferior to that of most other products on the market. Does that matter? NO. that is my point. I'm surprised and disappointed that steinberg/yamaha chose that chip because, again, it makes the specs worse and provides a valid argument against the unit UNLESS you base everything on how it sounds. And that truly is what counts unless you're analyzing waveform accuracy after multiple conversion loops for some reason (and even then imho the resulting distortion still isn't a noticeably audible side effect in most cases, certainly not compared to the overall sound of the analog stages of the audio interface).

Check the specs.

they don't lie. the noise floor can't be improved, nor can it's distortion figures. I have never stated anything other than those facts, and all through this thread I've pointed out that if everyone likes the sound so much then voila - there is no way that poor conversion can affect sound badly. That is a simple, too simple maybe, logical deduction.

But they are only bad compared to OTHER d/a converters. compared to most tape systems or in fact many analog signal stages the d/a conversion in the mr816 is STILL superior, or at least on par.

And that is my entire point (which appears to have been lost for many readers).... the conversion doesn't affect the sound noticeably. it's the analog stages that do.

and of course, the mr816 does have excellent analog stages, as does it's parent the yamaha unit.

Which is what counts. All along in this thread I've stated that the conversion honestly doesn't matter. In some other threads I may not have reached that conclusion, but in this thread I've stated nothing other than that.

I am certain the mr816 sounds great to everyone who's said as much. And that is what counts :-D
The problem is that words like "low performance" and "inferior" may be easily equated with poor sound quality, even though you specifically state your disclaimer about that. I know that's what I think when I see descriptions like that. Maybe others don't, I don't know for sure.

Since the end goal IS in fact sound quality, how could it be an inferior design if it sounds as good as the "much better" designs? Sure, the specs on paper are worse, but who cares? Perhaps the real problem is that too many people equate specs with good or bad sound. Personally, I don't even look at specs anymore; they mean nothing to me. I learned my lesson about 35 years ago when the best loudspeaker of the house had the absolute worst frequency response (just one of many examples I could give).
#103
14th April 2012
Old 14th April 2012
  #103
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I think these are the Larvy

Drums 1 - Sample B
Drums 2 - Sample A
Piano 1 - Sample A
Piano 2 - Sample B

What I hear is better detail , 3D , more clear real sound . The other samples sounded a little more dull , compressed not as much dynamics , not as clear .

I listened to them on $20 Logitech speakers , so even on these it was a noticeable difference , maybe 3 or 4 quick switches between the two samples for each group to hear this .
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#104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
I think these are the Larvy

Drums 1 - Sample B
Drums 2 - Sample A
Piano 1 - Sample A
Piano 2 - Sample B

What I hear is better detail , 3D , more clear real sound . The other samples sounded a little more dull , compressed not as much dynamics , not as clear .

I listened to them on $20 Logitech speakers , so even on these it was a noticeable difference , maybe 3 or 4 quick switches between the too samples for each group to hear this .
LOL is that plural for larva?

Joking aside, thanks for taking the test!
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#105
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpie View Post
interesting test...I think the ones Ive chosen appear to have a bit more body (eg on open/closing hihats).
I do hear more high end in the other samples, and at first chose them...but after several listens I preferred the low/mid emphasis- certainly for drums. Piano was trickier...
Drums 1 sample B
Drums 2 sample A
Piano 1 sample B
Piano 2 sample A
Cool, thanks!
#106
14th April 2012
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Originally Posted by SoSueMe View Post
Thanks for doing the test. Interesting that everyone has different preferences so far.
I haven't read this thread yet , just took the test , but skimming through , it seems that everybody has different preferences .

And I'm surprised only a few people have taken the test , instead of listening everyone just wants to argue .
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#107
14th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
I haven't read this thread yet , just took the test , but skimming through , it seems that everybody has different preferences .

And I'm surprised only a few people have taken the test , instead of listening everyone just wants to argue .
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#108
15th April 2012
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ScumBum made me feel guilty, so I have now listened to all the samples, and I'll confirm I have no preference. Your piano could use a tuning, though. I could be at a disadvantage in that I'm listening back on headphones connected to an MR816CSX; maybe I would hear a difference with a better D/A converter!
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#109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
ScumBum made me feel guilty, so I have now listened to all the samples, and I'll confirm I have no preference. Your piano could use a tuning, though. I could be at a disadvantage in that I'm listening back on headphones connected to an MR816CSX; maybe I would hear a difference with a better D/A converter!
Thanks.

Yeah, it's a new piano and I waited too long on the last tuning, so I'll need one soon again even though the last one was done in early March.

IMO the headphone output on the MR816 sucks. I have the Lavry DA11 as well and the difference is literally night and day. Amazing how much difference there is. However, I'm still holding judgment on the MR816's D/A conversion.
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Agree with you on the MR816 headphone output, by the way. Fortunately, that's not a problem with the regular outputs.
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Does everyone here really listen on headphones, laptop and desktop speakers, or are people listening on resolute systems and afraid to admit it, so that they can have an out and not look stupid? This is gearslutz for goodness sake. Where are the golden ears with real monitors?
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Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Does everyone here really listen on headphones, laptop and desktop speakers, or are people listening on resolute systems and afraid to admit it, so that they can have an out and not look stupid? This is gearslutz for goodness sake. Where are the golden ears with real monitors?
Yes bring out the golden ears with world-class rooms and ATC monitors or similar!
#113
15th April 2012
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When I'm trying to pick out the finest details, good headphones are best with isolation. I don't think I'm the only one.
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Yeah, I get that, but I think most nitpickers here are full of it and speak about things they know nothing about, hence their excuses.

I read this all the time when people are posting mixes. They say, "Excuse the rough mix." I wonder how many are putting up mixes they labored over and just want that out.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Does everyone here really listen on headphones, laptop and desktop speakers, or are people listening on resolute systems and afraid to admit it, so that they can have an out and not look stupid? This is gearslutz for goodness sake. Where are the golden ears with real monitors?
If people don't hear a difference and have no preference , then yes , they need to listen in a more high end critical environment .

But to me , if I can hear a difference between the two samples through a Sound Blaster Live card and $20 speakers then thats saying something .

Some people I'm sure are afraid to commit to an answer and be wrong , but I don't care . If I'm right , cool , I can pat myself on the back , but if I'm wrong thats cool too because that means that Steinberg MR816 kicks ass and its cheap !!


I was wrong in a shoot out between a Hardware 1176 and the BF1176 . I think the BF1176 sounded better and I'm actually happy because it saved me from spending alot of money buying the hardware when I'm happy with the plugin .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Does everyone here really listen on headphones, laptop and desktop speakers, or are people listening on resolute systems and afraid to admit it, so that they can have an out and not look stupid? This is gearslutz for goodness sake. Where are the golden ears with real monitors?
people listen to whatever they have access to at the time and not everyone has 24/7 access to the studio.

the op doesn't ask people to specify which unit is which, why would people feel stupid if they prefer the cheaper converters to the more expensive converters. i kinda hope the cheaper converters get the nod. would save some bucks in the future that's for sure. people only reference their listening chain at the time as it paints a picture. same reason the op listed some of the gear involved.

so what's your preference?
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Originally Posted by gouge View Post
people listen to whatever they have access to at the time and not everyone has 24/7 access to the studio.

the op doesn't ask people to specify which unit is which, why would people feel stupid if they prefer the cheaper converters to the more expensive converters. i kinda hope the cheaper converters get the nod. would save some bucks in the future that's for sure. people only reference their listening chain at the time as it paints a picture. same reason the op listed some of the gear involved.

so what's your preference?
+1!
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#118
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Originally Posted by gouge View Post
...is an example of a $700 unit versus a $2500 unit...
Just to be clear, the street price for the AD11 is around $1680 USD, but it's two channels of A/D and no D/A. So, if you wanted eight channels of A/D like the MR816, that would run you $6720. However, if someone were to use eight channels of Lavry A/D, they'd most likely use the Blue 8-channel unit, which has a street price of around $4300.
#119
15th April 2012
Old 15th April 2012
  #119
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 209

captshiznit is offline
OP Should make a poll.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe View Post
Thanks.

Yeah, it's a new piano and I waited too long on the last tuning, so I'll need one soon again even though the last one was done in early March.

IMO the headphone output on the MR816 sucks. I have the Lavry DA11 as well and the difference is literally night and day. Amazing how much difference there is. However, I'm still holding judgment on the MR816's D/A conversion.
Whats up with the headphone output?
#120
15th April 2012
Old 15th April 2012
  #120
Gear addict
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 466

riteup3 is offline
Time for a Steinberg MR816 vs Lavry AD11 headphones output comparison
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