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How important are DACs, really?
Old 6 days ago
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
Maybe. but people pay him for his ears. and you can hear the results for yourself.
Experienced recording/mastering engineers almost don't need their ears to do their job.
I bet some really good guy would be able to produce good sounding music just by following his usual work pattern even if he was totally deaf.
Industry connections and reputation from their previous work is what brings them new customers.

But often they are not the best people to ask about sample rates, clocks, opamps and modern digital audio technology.
Old 6 days ago
  #182
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adydub's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
Experienced recording/mastering engineers almost don't need their ears to do their job.
I bet some really good guy would be able to produce good sounding music just by following his usual work pattern even if he was totally deaf.
Industry connections and reputation from their previous work brings them new customers.

But often they are not the best people to ask about sample rates, clocks, opamps and modern digital audio technology.
I think you desperately need to work with some different mastering engineers if the ones you've been using may as well have been totally deaf! To be honest, your comment makes me think you've never had any interactions with a professional mastering engineer, or if you did, you somehow really upset them.

In the video the results of the different AD stages are there for you to hear for yourself, you can simply forward the video to the audio examples and not listen to any of his opinions if that's your preference. You can still hear the differences.
Old 6 days ago
  #183
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Muser's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
I've replied in line below
Quote:
I was with you up unto the last paragraph. I don't think he's making the assumption about AD being the weak link. There could be any number of reasons why he uses the HEDD as his primary DA. For example, it could be that he wants the DA feeding the analogue chain to be a predictable, known quantity. It could be that he's done a shoot out of the DA stages and consistently prefers the HEDD to his other options. It could be down to the cabling in his studio means it's much easier to swap ADs than DAs. It could be because the HEDD has some tone shaping options that he likes to employ ahead of his analogue chain etc. etc. etc.
I don't especially find anything to disagree with in that statement. there are numerous unknowns about what he may or may not think or have done. I'd agree that some backbone of predictability is an important factor in any respect.

as to what he says. at 1:44 he says.

the A to D converter is one of the essential crucial pieces of gear, I tend to refer to as the weaknesses in studio’s and recording. mentions monitoring and room and then refers to the A to D once again as being crucial and critical.

to me this implies that he considers it often the less sufficient and most overlooked aspect in studios and recording. which of course must mean in contrast to mastering situations, where he considers this shows up as providing meaningful difference. a mastering situation one would assume is the more closely equivalent to any given monitoring situation, if the given monitoring situation is considered by any user, to also include a given quality in the monitoring condition.

which granted these days, is usually now considered as part of any general users recording situation. the question is usually in respect of its overall sufficiency. and it’s something which can often be difficult to determine because in order to do it to any degree of sufficiency, you would have to have every user making a given claim, go through the type of comparison he is making and to a similar degree of precision to which he is carrying it out.

this is probably why we have to often rely on so much anecdotal claims, which could include all kinds of variables. along with all the claims about someone or another thinking they have golden ears and so on. or someone criticizing someone else for thinking they have golden ear. regardless of wether that person is able to differentiate some given difference or another. claims often made and all the while provided with no objective tests to know one way or another.

given he’s using only the HEDD here, it’s hard to determine from that video, any arguments in respect of the sufficiency of a given D to A, under any meaningful comparative conditions. as it doesn’t include any such comparisons.
Old 6 days ago
  #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
I think you desperately need to work with some different mastering engineers if the ones you've been using may as well have been totally deaf!
You took it totally the opposite way.
Now go and reread my post and interpret it as a compliment.

It is like i said that an archer is so good he would even hit his target with closed eyes.
Old 6 days ago
  #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
In the video the results of the different AD stages are there for you to hear for yourself, you can simply forward the video to the audio examples and not listen to any of his opinions if that's your preference. You can still hear the differences.
I totally don't care about the differences as long as they are small enough that they would get completely lost after you EQ, chorus, compress, mix, reverb and compress and limit again the recording.
Old 6 days ago
  #186
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adydub's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
I totally don't care about the differences as long as they are small enough that they would get completely lost after you EQ, chorus, compress, mix, reverb and compress and limit again the recording.
That's completely reasonable. In the case of mastering, the AD is pretty much the last thing that happens in terms of processing so the difference may matter more in this context.
Old 6 days ago
  #187
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
The video is about AD converters, not DA converters. And you’re both getting the point and missing the point simultaneously.
Basically, I've come to the complete opposite conclusion as you, which...is okay I think.

I've learned that when people talk about high end "DACs," they're actually referring to a very fancy audio interface that has a lot of capability including mastering processing that subtly sweetens the sound. They're not referring to the actual DAC or ADC, which is only a small part of these units (and generally about $10 bucks). Although I can't actually hear a difference between these interfaces in YouTube, if there is a difference in sound, it's based on the processing features of the units. Nothing to do with the actual DAC, which, at the most will only produce some clock jitter that is so far below the noise threshold that it won't be heard.

There's some weird features to the rme including some sort of volume stabilization feature that changes the bass and high end response according to whatever volume you have it at. That goes far beyond the definition of what I thought of as a "DAC."

So, these are high end interfaces with mastering processing. And in the audiophile realm (as rme makes a very similar "DAC" for home use), they are referring to "sound sweeteners" and amplifiers. DAC is a confusing marketing term, imo. It's like calling something a "CPU," when it's actually a full blown computer.

So, agree to disagree.
Old 6 days ago
  #188
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I know that U-he for example always use the Antelope Audio interfaces because supposedly the DACs and internal word clock and superior and they claim it makes their synths sound better. I am using an RME Fireface UC since years and have been curious if moving up to an Antelope would give me a better sound. But at the same time tempted by Apollo X4.
Old 6 days ago
  #189
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

Im trying to lift the veil, will $$$$ convertes do that?
Old 5 days ago
  #190
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markodarko's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEXUS-6 View Post
Im trying to lift the veil, will $$$$ convertes do that?
There is no spoon.
Old 5 days ago
  #191
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
The video is about AD converters, not DA converters. And you’re both getting the point and missing the point simultaneously. The different implementations of the devices, the analogue input stages and the surrounding electronics, can and do make a difference to the sound. The mastering guy is aware of this, so when capturing the analogue signal back into the digital domain, he has some different options. In absence of perfection being available to him, he can select a different flavour of compromise that best suits the material he’s working with..
One thing I should add that I think is pretty interesting about this test is that he is for sure processing the original song. I don't know that he really explains this in his video. It seems like he's saying he's just looping it out of the computer, through his Manley and back to the ADC without any post processing.

If you download the 4 files, the original is a totally different waveform than the other 3. The transients have been pulled down from the original (even after normalizing all 4). He makes it seem as though he is only running the original out of the DAW and back into the converters without doing any processing, but he is FOR SURE doing some mastering processing to the sound.

I did a little loopback test with my Focusrite on the original through my own mixing board, and the wave came back pretty much exactly the same as the original, as opposed to the wave files of these 3 converters. So, if you hear a difference between the original and the converted signals (like "tighter bass"), you definitely should. Because he processed them!
Old 5 days ago
  #192
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Well the real question is which sound card is deemed having "hight end DAC" at first place. Does a $150 focusrite audio interface have high end DAC?
Old 5 days ago
  #193
Gear Head
 

These DAC arguments have been going on for years. They made me walk away from otherwise very enjoyable hifi forums. At least it’s limited to one thread here...

This is the DAC I have used for the past 8 years. Under $150 and a very clean sound. I don’t think they’re in production anymore. Whoever said about low cost meaning a cheap interface, well that would definitely apply here. https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/aud...ne-cdac.20163/
Old 5 days ago
  #194
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Re. That RME Video:
I finally had some time to download and check the audio files.
LOL !
All 3 tested clips are colored the same way by that console he went through.
The console adds about 1.7dB at 55Hz and removes from 2dB to 3dB between 90Hz and 450Hz, then keeps going about 1dB below the original up to about 8.5KHz (yes, i lined them up on the timeline properly before analyzing - that required some moving to match the waveforms).
No wonder the difference between the source and the test files is so audible.
That is NOT how you test things.
To do a proper test you need to elliminate all unnecessary variables - just connect the output with the input with a short cable.

BTW The differences between the 3 test files are as small as i guessed they will be before i checked them.
Old 5 days ago
  #195
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Muser's Avatar
Maybe that's the HEDD and not the console.
Old 5 days ago
  #196
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markodarko's Avatar
 

Slightly off topic, but here’s an interesting article. Not particularly scientific, but pretty much sums up my feeling on such things...

Hi-fi music streaming: People can't tell it when they hear it
Old 5 days ago
  #197
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i use an old panasonic dat machine to do my conversions. i think its the burr brown chip. from previous research (long time ago i looked into it) 64x oversampling 24 bit. give a nice sound when you overdrive it (going over the notch at -12, upto -6 to -2db).

i use it's clock (master) on making digital transfers
also i find it good to use as a "selector unit" so i can send to different devices from there, connect one device to aesebu, one on optical, one on coax, few button pushes and i can send it to where it needs to go from there depending on what i'm doing.

to each his own. i've never needed more/better than this.

Last edited by Preston135; 5 days ago at 04:00 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
Slightly off topic, but here’s an interesting article. Not particularly scientific, but pretty much sums up my feeling on such things...

Hi-fi music streaming: People can't tell it when they hear it
Most people don't know what to look for when comparing 320kps mp3 and PCM audio, as it is not the usual bollocks you hear all over the internet and in reality, it doesn't affect the enjoyment of the music itself. The difference could be heard on a range of systems, not just the most expensive as the most obvious difference is background noise, mp3 eliminates a lot of that.
If anyone has Tom's Diner on CD, compare how it sounds next to how it sounds on Spotify, 320kps sounds like you've run it through Izotope RX tastefully. None of this "flat"/"compressed"/"thin" BS, those guys are lying to themselves more than anyone.

When I swap out interfaces, I'll play stuff off Spotify and the subtle differences with DAC's are still evident, you're not having to listen to the background or the extreme highs of the track or anything like that to hear a difference there.

The whole "hi-fi" audio streaming service thing reminds me of the episode of Archer where Lana gets all the guys to pretend they've had sex with her. Because if anyone says they can't hear a difference or its not all that significant, it'll be their ears that are the problem. So everyone pretends they can, hence you get people repeating empty adjectives they've heard others use rather than explain a tangible difference.
Old 5 days ago
  #199
Here for the gear
Isn't transparent monitoring one of the most important thing in music production?

Let me share an extreme example. I've been using a pair of Dynaudio Emit M10 speakers and a Denon amplifier. I bought Dynaudio's based on my previous experience that they're warm and rather accurate, but when I first started listening to music with my PC, it sounded rough and lifeless - missing low end, harsh treble and so on.

After some time, I got interested in DAW, VSTs, etc. and bought Komplete Audio 6. The difference was night and day. Only then I realized how bad the onboard Realtek HD chipset was. Yes, I was using an internal sound chipset because I didn't believe it will make huge difference. There're some YouTube videos saying it's not that different (especially motherboards with "quality sound chip") but now I know IT IS. PC's internal audio chipset with DAC can be ok for low to mid-end PC speakers & earphones, but not good for monitor/hi-fi speakers and headphones.

The reason I mentioned this is because I think some people can hear difference between 2 or more DACs - even among high-end ones. The sound quality won't go up forever if we pay more, but I believe there'll be some level of improvement. So I guess the question will be how good we want the sound to be and how much we can spend.
Old 5 days ago
  #200
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
Re. That RME Video:
I finally had some time to download and check the audio files.
LOL !
All 3 tested clips are colored the same way by that console he went through.
Is the console itself coloring the sound that way, or do you think he cranked the pre-amps on the Manley on the line signal to level match or something? It seems like it would be so confusing to have a console that naturally changed the sound that much in a mastering studio(?)

In the comment section, this response seems very disingenuous from RME:

"Just out of curiosity, what processing is being applied while in the analog realm? Captures are bottom heavy when compared to the original mix...just wondering if this is intentional or if perhaps it is just the sound of your transfer console?"

Rme: "None. As mentioned in the video, the HEDD is doing the DA conversion for all three examples."
Old 4 days ago
  #201
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinimino View Post

when I first started listening to music with my PC, it sounded rough and lifeless - missing low end, harsh treble and so on.
Yeah, there's some weird audio enhancements that come along with those onboard sound chips though that default to on. You have to disable those in device manager. They're often trying to make it sound more 3D or something.. Will totally change the frequency spectrum.

Not saying that a Realtek chip on an intel motherboard is the same as getting a dedicated interface, but the main difference, when you turn all of the audio enhancements off is just terrible shielding, so you get digital noise and possibly some distortion, not to mention terrible latency.
Old 4 days ago
  #202
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I recently had a new computer put together for me but used the same converters. Switched from SSL to RME MADI card. I can't put my finger on it, but it is much easier to balance/gain stage the signals going in and out of the converters. I'm not sure why, but RME does something right.
Old 4 days ago
  #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJT View Post
Is the console itself coloring the sound that way, or do you think he cranked the pre-amps on the Manley on the line signal to level match or something?
Can't be 100% sure without being there and checking it myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJT View Post
It seems like it would be so confusing to have a console that naturally changed the sound that much in a mastering studio(?)
Right.
But maybe his ears are used to that coloration and he can naturally compensate for it.
Old 4 days ago
  #204
Got a track back from mastering today and its on my YouTube channel though I am also supplying a link to the delivered WAV.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/baswds13mh...aster.wav?dl=0

Not sure how useful the original 8 track poly wav off the Zoom F8 would be though I'd post it if it matters.

I asked what converters they used:

"We use a Cranesong HEDD192 with quantum chips for both DAC and ADC on the analog chain, and a Benchmark DAC for monitoring."

Its a Brazilian jazz standard with my wife on vocals, best known from the 1959 film "Black Orpheus" . You can see the gear list and signal path in the video description.

Old 4 days ago
  #205
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you'd think the HEDD would be flat when it's in Bypass, but maybe it isn't flat.
it would be weird if it wasn't flat and not possible to have it flat, at all.

Old 3 days ago
  #206
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser View Post
you'd think the HEDD would be flat when it's in Bypass, but maybe it isn't flat.
it would be weird if it wasn't flat and not possible to have it flat, at all.

I hear the digital effects being bypassed in this video, it does sound like there's a delay from when he switches it to when you hear it. I assume it is flat, so I would say that the clear bottom heaviness to the processed signals in the other RME sponsored video is due to his Manley desk, whether that be just straight 2 channel mix (tubes?), or by adding gain with the preamps. Because in the other video, he has the Hedd fx bypassed.
Old 3 days ago
  #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJT View Post
I hear the digital effects being bypassed in this video, it does sound like there's a delay from when he switches it to when you hear it. I assume it is flat, so I would say that the clear bottom heaviness to the processed signals in the other RME sponsored video is due to his Manley desk, whether that be just straight 2 channel mix (tubes?), or by adding gain with the preamps. Because in the other video, he has the Hedd fx bypassed.
there are a few possibilities I guess. one is he might have switched it back out of bypass. the Manley is another. you would think backbone systems for mastering were also able to be made flat. but maybe it's considered a beneficial flavor in that application. it's not going to be easy to figure any of that out I'd suspect. unless someone starts doing tests on said gear.
Old 3 days ago
  #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
You see, I think this is also a loaded statement.

The trouble with all these comparisons is that they are exactly that. Comparisons. In isolation no one would care. To say that one ADC is more or less “transparent” than the other only really matters for engineers who’s focus is that minutiae - in the same way a synthhead’s focus can be the differences between two saw oscillators. It’s a refined skill.

But... all the refinement in the world counts for nothing in the context of a piece of music with good eq, good mixing and good mastering.

Others have quoted how it’s important for “high end studios” (such as abbey road) to have “the very best”, but I disagree. As others have mentioned, this is an argument that’s 20 years out of date. In this day and age I’m pretty sure that any decent engineer could use a bottom-end Scarlett to record the Berlin Phil and end up with a beautiful recording - providing the conductor captured the essence of the music etc.

I honestly think that we’re all living in a bit of a bubble and it needs to pop. But I digress...
Microphone choices and placement have far more to do with the quality of recording the Berlin Philharmonic than any ADC nonsense, for sure.
Old 3 days ago
  #209
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BrianVengeance's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
I wonder how many different kinds of prosumer ADC/DAC chips are actually out there. Can’t be that many.
Not that many, but the signal path into ADC and out of DAC varies pretty drastically between units.
Old 3 days ago
  #210
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianVengeance View Post
Not that many, but the signal path into ADC and out of DAC varies pretty drastically between units.
I think so. I've read that that's why Scarlett 3rd gen has better spec than 2nd gen even though chipsets are the same.
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