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SSL Alpha Link AX vs. Antelope Orion32 Sample Files Digital Converters
Old 18th July 2014
  #31
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matucha's Avatar
Athena sample has unplesant midrange cloud all over the place. Strangely I didn't like it from the first few seconds of listening and my next thought was if it wasn't there in the source. Zeus says otherwise. Not a small difference, all the ugly stuff is gone. Though SSL Alpha never was the creme de la creme of the conversion so this was an easy win. I'd like to hear the same thing through all of the other converters in the building ;-).

(my listening chain was: avocet > me geithan rl901k)
Old 18th July 2014
  #32
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matucha View Post
Athena sample has unplesant midrange cloud all over the place. Strangely I didn't like it from the first few seconds of listening and my next thought was if it wasn't there in the source. Zeus says otherwise. Not a small difference, all the ugly stuff is gone. Though SSL Alpha never was the creme de la creme of the conversion so this was an easy win. I'd like to hear the same thing through all of the other converters in the building ;-).

(my listening chain was: avocet > me geithan rl901k)
I've heard wonderful things about those speakers! I'd love to demo some, they just look ugly! Ha - I'm not sure how they'd fit on an SSL meter bridge!
Old 22nd July 2014
  #33
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Updated link to 88.2 .wav files

http://we.tl/bwWBD2dyf7
Old 22nd July 2014
  #34
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matucha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatiii View Post
I've heard wonderful things about those speakers! I'd love to demo some, they just look ugly! Ha - I'm not sure how they'd fit on an SSL meter bridge!
Interesting that some find them ugly, I quite like the design .

The real question is: would SSL bridge take 2 x 48kg? Perhaps it could, I never had one heh
Old 22nd July 2014
  #35
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matucha View Post
Interesting that some find them ugly, I quite like the design .

The real question is: would SSL bridge take 2 x 48kg? Perhaps it could, I never had one heh
I don't think I'd take the chance even though I think a sumo wrestler could sit on it! It's certainly built like a tank.
Old 29th July 2014
  #36
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gatiii's Avatar
 

10M

Antelope 10M clock arrived today...

I connected it after the session (a wonderful Brazillian female artist) and my first impression was really great! She's been tracking on my vintage 251 and her voice jumped forward in the monitor mix with this clock. The bass got deeper and the kick punched a touch harder. Overall, I felt more presence and resolution. I'm anxious to test this more!
Old 29th July 2014
  #37
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
Would welcome a null test, very useful to see wether this can be captured beyond perception in the measureable domain as well.
We've all seen graphs of perfect clock, but the impact on resulting audio seems debateable.
Like if you have no clicks or pops there is not much to improve and internal clock seems always prefered
A clock can be a problem solver, IF you have a problem, it's not considered for improving audio quality as such.
Old 30th July 2014
  #38
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at4033's Avatar
Glenn, thanks for posting these files. Count me among those considering an Orion. To my ears. the Orion clearly has more detail on top, but the SSL has a euphoric quality that is attractive (and a seemingly softer top). I'm curious: which of these samples is closest to the sound of the actual piano?
Old 18th November 2014
  #39
Here for the gear
Imma bit late for this, but anyway, great comparison!
I immediately felt the athena sample better and thought it has to be the orion, as some folks have been giving hard time for the SSL but then, scroll and behold, it was the SSL!

The first time, i felt there was wider stereo to the SSL, and the midrange stuff going on there sounds just pleasant presence, and there's magic in the gighs. The orion is warmer ok, but to my ears, lacks life, makes the piano sound more like a really good software synth, if you know what i mean.

I imagine the SSL would complement my thick sounding Soundcraft console nicely. So maybe it's just a matter of what to put where really. There's just that something to the SSL!

I'm listening with Sennheiser HD 25 II.
Old 25th November 2014
  #40
Gear Head
Wow this is fascinating! And reaffirmed what I always thought of the SSL.
When I first listened to the original files, I A/B ed back and forth quickly and thought after a couple of listens that I liked the Athena better, as it was slightly warmer and seemed a little more natural sounding, but it had less midrange detail than Zeus. So I went with the Athena. So I'm surprised to find out it's the SSL! Listened on ATH-M50's. I mix through a Euphonix CS2000 and I always found that my tracks always have a little too much low mid buildup and mud. Bass never quite sits well (but there's a ton of it!). And the top end is a little hazy and dark. I think the DA side of the Alphalink may be the problem!! I like the AD side fine, and this warmth and extra low mids doesn't bother me at all. But when summing the tracks back through the console I always feel it's a little dull sounding. I would love to know if the Orion has as nice a DA as it's AD, if so I'll be buying one. I know the Alphalink uses different chips on the DA side, maybe to it's detriment? Not sure??
The SSL is great but that mud on the DA is tiring, and I will be summing analog as much as possible, and yes it does build up quite a bit with all channels pushing air....this mud is probably not as noticeable if you stay in the box and not use the DA at all......
Very interesting!
Thanks very much for this!!! Cheers.
Old 25th November 2014
  #41
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Orion

I have 64 Channels of the Orion going into the SSL 9000, and it sounds fantastic. It is certainly clearer and deeper than the SSL. Also, the mids don't have that haziness. What took it to a new level was the Atomic clock. I didn't want to like it, but the difference was undeniable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabana66 View Post
Wow this is fascinating! And reaffirmed what I always thought of the SSL.
When I first listened to the original files, I A/B ed back and forth quickly and thought after a couple of listens that I liked the Athena better, as it was slightly warmer and seemed a little more natural sounding, but it had less midrange detail than Zeus. So I went with the Athena. So I'm surprised to find out it's the SSL! Listened on ATH-M50's. I mix through a Euphonix CS2000 and I always found that my tracks always have a little too much low mid buildup and mud. Bass never quite sits well (but there's a ton of it!). And the top end is a little hazy and dark. I think the DA side of the Alphalink may be the problem!! I like the AD side fine, and this warmth and extra low mids doesn't bother me at all. But when summing the tracks back through the console I always feel it's a little dull sounding. I would love to know if the Orion has as nice a DA as it's AD, if so I'll be buying one. I know the Alphalink uses different chips on the DA side, maybe to it's detriment? Not sure??
The SSL is great but that mud on the DA is tiring, and I will be summing analog as much as possible, and yes it does build up quite a bit with all channels pushing air....this mud is probably not as noticeable if you stay in the box and not use the DA at all......
Very interesting!
Thanks very much for this!!! Cheers.

Last edited by gatiii; 25th November 2014 at 09:17 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 22nd August 2015
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatiii View Post
Antelope 10M clock arrived today...

I connected it after the session (a wonderful Brazillian female artist) and my first impression was really great! She's been tracking on my vintage 251 and her voice jumped forward in the monitor mix with this clock. The bass got deeper and the kick punched a touch harder. Overall, I felt more presence and resolution. I'm anxious to test this more!
The word clock made her voice suddenly "jump forward" in your monitors? What were you using prior?
Old 22nd August 2015
  #43
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Milner View Post
The word clock made her voice suddenly "jump forward" in your monitors? What were you using prior?
I was comparing the internal Antelope clocking to clocking with the 10M in my statement.
Old 23rd August 2015
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatiii View Post
I was comparing the internal Antelope clocking to clocking with the 10M in my statement.
The internal clocking is that poor? Surprised. So basically no point in buying an Orion unless you are also going to buy a 10M. Convenient.
Old 23rd August 2015
  #45
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Milner View Post
The internal clocking is that poor? Surprised. So basically no point in buying an Orion unless you are also going to buy a 10M. Convenient.
I didn't say that either - the internal clocking is fine - the atomic clock is better.
Old 23rd August 2015
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatiii View Post
I didn't say that either - the internal clocking is fine - the atomic clock is better.
You said the external clock made the "voice jump" forward so it goes to reason the internal clock is defective. I move between Prism, SSL, Apogee/Bigben, etc. never any jumping voice phenomenon. So not good anyway you slice it. The differences should be much smaller if the units are working properly, pretty sure the developer will confirm that for you. No clock should ever cause jumping voices AFAIK. One of them is significantly inaccurate in any event according to the dramatic changes you are reporting.
Old 23rd August 2015
  #47
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gatiii's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Milner View Post
You said the external clock made the "voice jump" forward so it goes to reason the internal clock is defective. I move between Prism, SSL, Apogee/Bigben, etc. never any jumping voice phenomenon. So not good anyway you slice it. The differences should be much smaller if the units are working properly, pretty sure the developer will confirm that for you. No clock should ever cause jumping voices AFAIK. One of them is significantly inaccurate in any event according to the dramatic changes you are reporting.
Maybe you should check your room design/acoustics and monitoring to better hear differences.
Old 23rd August 2015
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatiii View Post
Maybe you should check your room design/acoustics and monitoring to better hear differences.
You said in your room, with your monitors you employed two hardware configurations, the second of which caused a voice recording to suddenly "jump forward". Therefore one of those configurations is inaccurately misreporting the vocal in your room, with your monitors. They can't both be reporting accurately if one cause the vocal to "jump forward" and the other does not.

Therefore one is definitely an inaccurate representation of the voice, and the other is [hopefully] an accurate representation vis-a-vis what the audience will hear on their devices.

Last edited by Corey Milner; 23rd August 2015 at 04:33 AM..
Old 23rd August 2015
  #49
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
Tighter clocking can give an improved sense of seperation and depth in the stereo image, less blurry, more detailed.
It are the same kind of differences you can hear between converters. Maybe it's described a bit passionate, but these differences are not uncommon and and can be heard easily in the right room with the right monitoring.
The other thing you often hear is "pace" / microtiming, it can sound tighter if you will. Again not a world of difference, but the same kind of vibe feel between having a good day, or a bad day. All those little things help to percieve a more engaging sound. It's not a world of difference, often very subtle.
Old 23rd August 2015
  #50
Gear Nut
 
gatiii's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Mastering View Post
Tighter clocking can give an improved sense of seperation and depth in the stereo image, less blurry, more detailed.
It are the same kind of differences you can hear between converters. Maybe it's described a bit passionate, but these differences are not uncommon and and can be heard easily in the right room with the right monitoring.
The other thing you often hear is "pace" / microtiming, it can sound tighter if you will. Again not a world of difference, but the same kind of vibe feel between having a good day, or a bad day. All those little things help to percieve a more engaging sound. It's not a world of difference, often very subtle.
Very well stated!
Old 5th January 2016
  #51
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TheAmpFactory's Avatar
daym.. this test was not good for me!.. - I listen several times, and always ended up liking the Athena one more.. just had more "mojo" for me, or at least for my own pleasures. - the zeus was fine too though, but the SSL won the test..for "pleasure"

And this causes me great concern, as I already have the SSL's and was looking to upgrade to 2 orions 32's..

Maybe I just dig the SSL thing...its all personal right? there is never a winner or better.
Old 5th January 2016
  #52
Geariophile
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmpFactory View Post
daym.. this test was not good for me!.. - I listen several times, and always ended up liking the Athena one more.. just had more "mojo" for me, or at least for my own pleasures. - the zeus was fine too though, but the SSL won the test..for "pleasure"

And this causes me great concern, as I already have the SSL's and was looking to upgrade to 2 orions 32's..

Maybe I just dig the SSL thing...its all personal right? there is never a winner or better.
When I had the SSL I really dug the way it caused 'edges' on the audio. Particular flavour that worked musically for me. Like contrast turned up. What I didn't like as much is how easily things can get wooly/blurry/loose in the bottom half. And the whole thing felt a bit tense and stuck/harder to make sound relaxed than it should be.

Ended up with SPL Madison and am very happy. All I can say is do NOT buy anything that you can't give back based on hearsay, try the thing out. The Madison wasn't the first thing I tried when looking to go better from the SSL.......
Old 15th December 2018
  #53
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Highphi's Avatar
 

Interesting thread. I have an Alphalink AX clocked with a Big Ben just like this test. It sounds good, much better than the Alphalink on its own. The many comments about the SSL converters align with my experiences. A great box to get quality work done with, but not the best option available. Looking forward to demoing the newer Orions soon.
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