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Help me understand Conversion A/D D/A Audio Interfaces
Old 22nd August 2007
  #1
Question Help me understand Conversion A/D D/A

Okay....I hate to ask such a lengthy series of questions but, this seems to be the most complex and most debated part of digital audio chains..."conversion." First off I believe I have an intermediate understanding of what converters are supposed to do, optimize and translate the wave form into binary with the least amount of error...ect, but I find myself increasingly confused on to determine my need and how to properly configure an a/d converter and or a d/a converter into my chain. for instance: currently my chain is chain goes mic>pre>comp>delta 1010 I asume my A/D converter would go right before the delta 1010....or should I just get a word clock and use the A/D coverters in the delta, or should I get the delta modded, or should I get a word clock to go into the converter and then go into the delta, or should I bypass the delta's analog input and use S/PDIF via wordclock>A/D converter???!!!....the possibilities go on. Can you understand why I'm confused? I currently do all my mixing itb, but I'm considering (maybe) using outboard gear in my future mixes (compression) so do I even need a D/A converter? Even with all those questions anwsered then comes the next challenge: What to buy?! Apogee (Rosetta, Minime?) BigBen Aurora (Lynx)? What?!!

So simply put: what chain will be most benificial? How the hell would I put it together? and which units?

Sorry for the long post, but thanks in advance to all those who dare to read.......PEACE!!
Old 22nd August 2007
  #2
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search the forum and you'll find tons of opinions on your questions.

Everyones needs are different. if you have bad monitors, bad room acoustics, or bad ears, the best converters might make no difference to you because you can't hear them. But, a good A/D converter will still be doing a better job encoding your audio, and that will show when it is played on a good system.

I definitely believe that a good A/D converter is warranted if you want to maximize the quality of your audio. but, at the same time, you need to ask yourself if your studio will get a greater improvement from this, or if a better piece of outboard gear, new microphone, new monitors, or money spent making your acoustic space better would be a better investment.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by gainstages View Post
search the forum and you'll find tons of opinions on your questions.

Everyones needs are different. if you have bad monitors, bad room acoustics, or bad ears, the best converters might make no difference to you because you can't hear them. But, a good A/D converter will still be doing a better job encoding your audio, and that will show when it is played on a good system.

I definitely believe that a good A/D converter is warranted if you want to maximize the quality of your audio. but, at the same time, you need to ask yourself if your studio will get a greater improvement from this, or if a better piece of outboard gear, new microphone, new monitors, or money spent making your acoustic space better would be a better investment.
I have an indepth understanding the importance of all the diffrent factors/components that can affect the signal chain from preamps to room acoustics....and I have one of the most detailed, and critical pair of ears of anyone I know...Conversion is the what I need help with now. Not mics or monitoring. I've also done many searches throught the forum for detailed information explaining conversion...but all I find are debates and topics discussing situations in which everone posting already understands conversion enough to be effectively using them. I need "conversion 101", so I can make an informed desicion when upgrading signal chain.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #4


The interface has a converter in it already. If you want to use a different converter, you'll have to use a digital input like AES/EBU or ADAT optical.

All the converter does is sample the analog audio and convert it into a mathmatical representation at a particular bit depth and sample rate.

The bit depth determines the number of levels available at any point in time - 16 bits is about 65,500 levels and 24 bit is 16.78 million levels. In terms of dynamic range, 16 bit is about 96dB and 24 is 145dB.

Sample rate is the number of samples per second - theoretically, you get frequency response up to half of the sample rate. So 44.1k sample rate should get you up to about 22 kHz. But, for various technical reasons, conversion isn't perfect.... 48k is maybe not enough, but 96k is probably overkill. Remember that most final recordings are dstributied using 44.1k, but there are good resons for using higher rates until it's mixed to 2 track - then converting it to it's final format.



-tINY

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