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AD Converter Comparison Test - Cranesong/Forssell/Prism/RME
View Poll Results: Which AD do you prefer?
Cranesong HEDD 192
5 Votes - 31.25%
Forssell MADA-2a
7 Votes - 43.75%
Prism Dream AD-124
1 Votes - 6.25%
Prism Titan
3 Votes - 18.75%
RME Fireface UFX
0 Votes - 0%
Cranesong Spider
0 Votes - 0%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

Old 8th June 2020
  #1
AD Converter Comparison Test - Cranesong/Forssell/Prism/RME

AD Converter Comparison Test

A very elementary ITB rough mix with no EQ or compression, of an album I´m working with at the moment.

I send the 2ch mix through Cranesong Egret DA and back to the computer via:

1 Cranesong HEDD 192
2 Forssell MADA-2a
3 Prism Dream AD-124
4 Prism Titan
5 RME Fireface UFX
6 Cranesong Spider

Which one do you prefer?

Music: Ola Sandström, from the upcoming album "Aska"
The song Lille Charles, is written by Carl Mikael Bellman.

Old 8th June 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
Would like to do this, but with HOFA blind testing via the DAW.

Could you share the reference WAV files? The higher the sample rate the better :¬)

Nice track btw!
Old 8th June 2020
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Would like to do this, but with HOFA blind testing via the DAW.

Could you share the reference WAV files? The higher the sample rate the better :¬)

Nice track btw!
Thank you!

Interesting to hear how much information is left when the file comes up compressed on youtube!

High res link via PM!
Old 8th June 2020
  #4
Gear Addict
 
___GLM___'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Berndalen View Post
Thank you!

Interesting to hear how much information is left when the file comes up compressed on youtube!

High res link via PM!
yes let me have the wav files, too, please! thx
Old 9th June 2020
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Bodhifile's Avatar
Another here for the link please?

Recorded very well. Also, just curious: was clocking from AD or external?
Old 9th June 2020
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Berndalen View Post
Thank you!

Interesting to hear how much information is left when the file comes up compressed on youtube!

High res link via PM!
May I get the high-res links too?

Love the song btw!
Old 9th June 2020
  #7
I voted for the Cranesong Hedd 192 in the number 1 spot, closely followed by the Prism Titan.

The HEDD 192, had the highest fidelity across the frequency spectrum, and seems to offer the highest transparency. The Titan was close but a little more coloured and smooth which in some cases might actually be preferable.

The least exciting for me was the Fireface UFX
Old 9th June 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodhifile View Post
Another here for the link please?

Recorded very well. Also, just curious: was clocking from AD or external?
Link sent!

Yes! All 6 AD’s is clocked from my external Antelope OCX
Old 10th June 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Ribbonmicguy's Avatar
1. Mada 2 - organic, focused.
2. HEDD192 - huge bottom end and yet controlled. Good depth information.
3. Titan - better than dream.

I can live with all of them, except I think the poorest performance is from the RME for me.
Old 11th June 2020
  #10
Conclusion - not yet

Very interesting to hear. Thank you!

I have sent the files to several people I trust. Among others, one that has a large MBL system for + € 250,000. Another who has been mastering for 30 years.

The strange thing is that some have Cranesong HEDD in first place and some have it in last place.
RME seems to stand out as the least popular.
Some had Cranesong Spider as their favorite.
And one held Prism Dream highest and Prism Titan number two.

With my equipment, DA converter Forssell MADA-2a, Power Amp from Classé, speakers from Swedish Ino Audio and acoustic treated and measured listening room, I like everyone except RME, I can hear that they sound different, but have a hard time deciding which I likes the most.

With headphone listening with DA conversion from Prism, the superior headphone amplifier EAR 903 from Swedish company Harmony Design and Audeze LCDXC, it is about the same listening impression I get.

Maybe I think that Prism Dream has the best timing in the bass freq.

And that Cranesong HEDD sounds a bit hyped at the top, almost mastered. A bit flattering in a way that I am both delighted and at the same time a bit skeptical of.

What is really interesting is that a person, the top geek of the audio nerds, a blind man here in Sweden who has produced speakers all his life. He argued most emphatically that the only thing that suited him was Prism Dream. I will rent a car and drive to him and his incredibly transparent listening, where nothing is left to chance, right from the fuse box to listening position. I want to hear what he hears.

I was also going to meet another person, a friend who has been tuning his sound system and acoustics for years.

I return with my impressions after visiting them.
Old 11th June 2020
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Bodhifile's Avatar
If I had to rate them, probably something like this:

1. HEDD
2. Dream
3. MADA
4. Spider
5. Titan
6. RME

Splitting hairs between most.
It may help to include the ITB version too.
Old 13th June 2020
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Berndalen View Post
Thank you!

Interesting to hear how much information is left when the file comes up compressed on youtube!

High res link via PM!
requesting the link as well, please!
Old 13th June 2020
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodhifile View Post
If I had to rate them, probably something like this:

1. HEDD
2. Dream
3. MADA
4. Spider
5. Titan
6. RME

Splitting hairs between most.
It may help to include the ITB version too.
Splitting hairs, oh yes. But what do you like with HEDD and Dream? What makes them on No 1 & 2?
Old 13th June 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwazi View Post
requesting the link as well, please!
Link sent!
Old 14th June 2020
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Spent some time listening to the WAVs today and spent considerable time listening to the YouTube video a couple of days ago. I listened on my low-end setup (Focusrite 2i4 + M-Audio Q40). Here are my comments:

Winner
1. HEDD - female vocals are most balanced to me in this recording, and it seems as if all the elements have their place. Very good spacing. Clarity in the HMF and HF. Strong LMF which could be off-putting to some. Makes me wonder what the Quantum sounds like.

2nd Place - TIE - well-balanced across the spectrum, exciting where it matters
2. MADA - a bit more extension and air than than the Dream
2. Dream - different flavour than the MADA, but equally good

Runners up - very balanced, but "boring" and lacks sheen and dimension compared to the Top 3.
4. Titan
5. Spider

Last Place - muted compared to the runners up
6. RME

EDIT - Finally: great song. I'd like to hear the rest of it. Thanks again for the files.

Last edited by kwazi; 15th June 2020 at 04:06 AM..
Old 15th June 2020
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by blayz2002 View Post
I voted for the Cranesong Hedd 192 in the number 1 spot, closely followed by the Prism Titan.

The HEDD 192, had the highest fidelity across the frequency spectrum, and seems to offer the highest transparency. The Titan was close but a little more coloured and smooth which in some cases might actually be preferable.

The least exciting for me was the Fireface UFX
Quoting my own post.....

Upon listening on my studio monitors (I listened on Bluetooth headphones connected to my iPad previously) I’d have to place the MADA in second place too.
Old 18th June 2020
  #17
Gear Maniac
HEDD- sounds good but processed . Little harsher sibilance especially syllables with “F” but overall great.

Forsell- wow clarity, dynamics , this sounds like I believe I would want to hear coming out of pre before conversion like the live tracks from board. Simply gorgeous reproduction that sounds like the most pristine recording with tons of air .

Prism- wonderful tone , but there is a tone . Love it though.

Titan - awesome balance. Has the dynamics of the mada but just not as much detail. Very usable and only slightly colored . Just not as open as Forsell but in the same vein.

UFX work horse digital mixer, hub , recorder , great drivers ... wait sound? Good for its class of broadcast interfaces but it’s in a difference class thsn these others. Lacked low end and dynamics and lacked detail .tonally it reminds me little of a British console type of sound, to my ears anyway.

Spider - didn’t like it at first but I think I just was half asleep by end.

I have listened many times and rated them as follows:

1. Favorite for pure conversion is the Forsell and I think I just love the sound as well. I think the Titan gets close to not getting in the way as well but the details don’t hold up the same as the MADA. the Titan has some smearing and lacks the air.

2. The dream, HEDD and spider all tied because they all have cool analog color and tone but are not perfect for just purely capturing. However if those tones are part of your sound I can see why they would be important to people .

3. The UFX is in last place here simply not a fair fight.

Last edited by BrettB; 22nd June 2020 at 09:14 PM..
Old 19th June 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
Very cool piece of music. I have listened a dozen times. It’s easy to get sucked into the song and forget I was trying to critically listen. What is the song about? What are the lyrics saying?
Old 19th June 2020
  #19
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berndalen View Post
Thank you!

Interesting to hear how much information is left when the file comes up compressed on youtube!

High res link via PM!
Were these all the same sample rate as the ad-124? 48k?
Old 23rd June 2020
  #20
OAE
Here for the gear
Nice work! and thanks for the interesting comparison. Could I have the link for the hi-res files?
Old 25th June 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Zuewi's Avatar
 

I agree with the blind audio nerd and prefered the Prism Dream as #1 , it sounds the best to me, then the HEDD probably as #2 yes it sounds a bit processed/mastered at the HEDD somehow.
The others i didn't care too much probably the Spider is #3 followed by the Titan. The Forssell seems too "dry" for my taste at the start, when the vocals apear it is getting better, dunno.
Old 25th June 2020
  #22
Deleted 432039d
Guest
Forssell for me. Has sonic balance, yet musical.

Then the Dream. Very balanced sound.

I was actually quite surprised by how well the RME held up.
Old 29th June 2020
  #23
Here for the gear
 

I'm impressed by the Forssell everytime. Just WOW. Magnificent clarity and detail.
The 'S' sound is just so superior, so natural in the Forssell.
From the 'ping' sound of the ride cymbal, to the depth of the double bass.
I wish I had 32-ch of Forssell AD for live acoustic recording.
Old 29th June 2020
  #24
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithRichards View Post
I'm impressed by the Forssell everytime. Just WOW. Magnificent clarity and detail.
The 'S' sound is just so superior, so natural in the Forssell.
From the 'ping' sound of the ride cymbal, to the depth of the double bass.
I wish I had 32-ch of Forssell AD for live acoustic recording.
I felt the same way. Then I put them into Logic and did blind shoot outs. Titan beat Forsell 3 out of 3 and then the AD124 beat the titan 3 out of 3. I like the way the AD124 smooths out the strings but man that is a lot of color and less stereo sounding.... Maybe for a mastering effect on certain things.. not every track and not ever master either. But it was my favorite because of the smoothness and color yet still open sound. Sounded processed in a good way

I ended up getting a Lyra last week and been demoing it. Still may get a Hilo here to demo. They others were out of budget for me. But I am just doing tracking with it.

Berndalen, you coming back?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by OAE View Post
Nice work! and thanks for the interesting comparison. Could I have the link for the hi-res files?
PM sent!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettB View Post
Very cool piece of music. I have listened a dozen times. It’s easy to get sucked into the song and forget I was trying to critically listen. What is the song about? What are the lyrics saying?
Thanks a lot!

The name of the singer and guitar player is Ola Sandström. The full album is recorded and will be released, autumn or winter spring, depending on how it develops with the corona...

The composer of the song is actually the Swedish legend Carl Michael Bellman. The song is written 250 years ago. The song is called Little Charles.

Carl Michael had a child that died vey young. In the lyrics he is telling his newborn son about the transience of life. It is a very ancient and poetic language.
The first phrase is: Little Charles sleap sweetly in peace. Another one is "The world is an island of sowrrow. And "In time", or maybe "soon enough" see our wroth time, and her gall taste . with "her", I think he is referring to Mother Earth.

It´s a fantastic piece of music and lyrics
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Thanks again everybody for your valuable input!

I have been partly buried in livestreaming work, partly on holiday with the family.

Now I have had time to listen more myself, and also in the high-resolution speakers of my sound nerd friend that I mentioned. In fact, in his listening, Prism Titan emerged as the most well-balanced and cohesive AD conversion.

Earlier, I got the impression that it was number three that he liked, Prism Dream. But that was certainly not the case. He is blind, so it went wrong with which was which. But when we listened together, I kept track of the numbers. And it was undoubtedly the 4th. Prism Titan.

In his listening environment, the differences were greater.
Cranesong Spider, for example, highlighted the male voice extra much, which then obscured the female voice, which is already a bit in the background. It was great to hear, one loves midrange, but I doubt an AD who does it that way.

I agree with someone in the thread that Prism Dream has a tone. To me, it is warm and brown. Great, but maybe nothing that belongs in the only AD converter you have.

RME is still on another level for me. In one class below the others.

Forssell is still very balanced and when I listen to headphones at home on the couch tonight, it probably has more details than Prism Titan. It has.

There are many who like Cranesong HEDD. It's not my favorite. But I love the three magic knobs on it. Which of course is in bypass in this test. The question is whether it is economical to keep it just for them...

CONCLUSION:

I'm crazy. Do not tell anyone. But I just bought a Crookwood C1 Monitor controller with both DAC and ADC.

So now dear friends. Can you handle another round when I get Crookwood to the studio and run through the mix through it?

The question is which DAC should I use this time?
In the test I had Cranesong Egret.

My options are Cranesong Egret again, or the new Crookwood, Forssell MADA-2a or Prism Titan.
The test should also include an ITB version, right?

Maybe it's in place with two tests?
Both a continuation of this AD test and maybe also a DA test with different DA and the same AD?!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Ribbonmicguy's Avatar
I'm in!

Let's do it


Quote:
Originally Posted by Berndalen View Post
Thanks again everybody for your valuable input!

I have been partly buried in livestreaming work, partly on holiday with the family.

Now I have had time to listen more myself, and also in the high-resolution speakers of my sound nerd friend that I mentioned. In fact, in his listening, Prism Titan emerged as the most well-balanced and cohesive AD conversion.

Earlier, I got the impression that it was number three that he liked, Prism Dream. But that was certainly not the case. He is blind, so it went wrong with which was which. But when we listened together, I kept track of the numbers. And it was undoubtedly the 4th. Prism Titan.

In his listening environment, the differences were greater.
Cranesong Spider, for example, highlighted the male voice extra much, which then obscured the female voice, which is already a bit in the background. It was great to hear, one loves midrange, but I doubt an AD who does it that way.

I agree with someone in the thread that Prism Dream has a tone. To me, it is warm and brown. Great, but maybe nothing that belongs in the only AD converter you have.

RME is still on another level for me. In one class below the others.

Forssell is still very balanced and when I listen to headphones at home on the couch tonight, it probably has more details than Prism Titan. It has.

There are many who like Cranesong HEDD. It's not my favorite. But I love the three magic knobs on it. Which of course is in bypass in this test. The question is whether it is economical to keep it just for them...

CONCLUSION:

I'm crazy. Do not tell anyone. But I just bought a Crookwood C1 Monitor controller with both DAC and ADC.

So now dear friends. Can you handle another round when I get Crookwood to the studio and run through the mix through it?

The question is which DAC should I use this time?
In the test I had Cranesong Egret.

My options are Cranesong Egret again, or the new Crookwood, Forssell MADA-2a or Prism Titan.
The test should also include an ITB version, right?

Maybe it's in place with two tests?
Both a continuation of this AD test and maybe also a DA test with different DA and the same AD?!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Of course, @ Berndalen . Bring it on!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
Here for the gear
 
AbsoluutBeats's Avatar
 

I would like to here the WAV files to before I gave my input. Thanks.
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