The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Audio interfaces and their AD/DA chips LISTED Audio Interfaces
Old 29th January 2019
  #391
Here for the gear
 

Apogee Symphony MK1:
AD CS5381
DA ESS Sabre32 ES9018
Old 4th February 2019
  #392
Here for the gear
 
erickgc182's Avatar
 

The converter chips have a signature sound, I compared the sound of the new claretts (AKM chips) vs Saffire pro (Cirrus Logic 4272) and they have tonal differences , I liked more on the ADC section the Saffire pro line , dark-neutral sound with a great low end perfect for pair with bright gear , the clarets was very bright. The flagship chip of Cirrus Logic is the CS5381, this chip it's used on the Prism Orpheus and Lyra. I think Prism maybe don't release new interfaces because Cirrus logic don't release new chips. After heard and compare a lot of recordings I liked the Cirrus Logic sound for the ADC section .My recordings with the pro40 (cs4272) have a vibe and its very musical and with a good low end punch compared with the bright sounding ADC converters with 124db of dynamic range.. So Cirrus Logic converters are very musical for the ADC section , they are neutral , great low end and very dynamic stereo . They work really great for Rock! My tape transfers with the pro 40 have a vintage vibe sounding and the low end its punchy, the drums shine on that converters. I think maybe I will repurchase the Saffire pro 56 paired with a antelope clocking via BNC only for use his ADC ,or upgrade and go for a Rednet that uses Cirrus logic too or finally a Prism Orpheus-Lyra for that Cirrus Logic sound paired with Antelope clocking.
Old 4th February 2019
  #393
Lives for gear
 
s wave's Avatar
Focusrite Scarlett Solo Cirrus Logic CS4272-CZZ audio codec.

complete pics and chips shown here: Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB audio interface - Page 1 its good to follow up info from wholesalers like TI too.
Old 4th February 2019
  #394
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I prefer the Claretts. Saffire and Scarlett are on a lower tier. I hear more space and dimension in the Clarett range. Hey, that's just my take on it. The lower focusrites are good budget picks.
Old 4th February 2019
  #395
Gear Guru
What a cool thread. Tony Maserati vs Jim Williams, priceless!......Interesting does 32 bit conversion help in the final analysis? I have a Sound Devices MixPre6. Just curious....
Old 5th February 2019
  #396
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
What a cool thread. Tony Maserati vs Jim Williams, priceless!......Interesting does 32 bit conversion help in the final analysis? I have a Sound Devices MixPre6. Just curious....
Certain 32-bit converters (esp. DAC's) sound better than the previous generation -- but not because they actually have 32 useful bits! Read their dynamic range specs and you'll see that 24 bits is plenty if they are properly dithered. Maybe that's a big "if" when manufacturers are doing digital volume control upstream.

On an ADC, those extra bits are clearly "marketing bits", but they don't prevent a converter from sounding good. The circuitry around it might, though. Same old song!

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording

Last edited by David Rick; 5th February 2019 at 02:51 AM.. Reason: added note on digital volume controls
Old 5th February 2019
  #397
Gear Guru
Do you think maybe a future proofing, where 32 bits may be something the industry moves into? Non tech person here and curious since I mix in 32 bit and 64 is where people seem to have moved. Sound Devices is a stand alone recorder that functions as an interface so wondering if they did that to have the extra bits baked in and a pillar of their platform?
Old 5th February 2019
  #398
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Do you think maybe a future proofing, where 32 bits may be something the industry moves into? Non tech person here and curious since I mix in 32 bit and 64 is where people seem to have moved. Sound Devices is a stand alone recorder that functions as an interface so wondering if they did that to have the extra bits baked in and a pillar of their platform?
There's never a "future" for digital recording hardware. It goes obsolete almost before it's out of the box. A "32-bit" ADC in which the bottom 8 or 9 bits are garbage isn't going to sound any better next year than it does today. Actually, many DAW platforms have been 32 bits (or more) for over a decade. Most are 32-bit floating-point, which is not even the same number format as these converters. Nominal bit depth is a lousy way to judge how something actually sounds.
Old 5th February 2019
  #399
24 pure bits gives you a 140 db dynamic range, more than enough. We haven't gotten there yet, some DAC's are around 8 db's short. ADC's have a much longer way to go.
Old 5th February 2019
  #400
Lives for gear
 
Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Do you think maybe a future proofing, where 32 bits may be something the industry moves into? Non tech person here and curious since I mix in 32 bit and 64 is where people seem to have moved.
There's really no advantage to 32-bit output except from a marketing perspective. As David points out, the 32/64-bit form DAWs use as an intermediate stage is a floating-point representation designed to provide huge amounts of extra headroom so you don't need to worry about gain-staging everything obsessively.

The 32-bit representation is actually a combination of 24 bits of precision paired with 8 bits describing the exponential magnitude. So you won't clip even if you wind up at +600dB, and you won't lose detail even at -600dB (not exaggerations - these should be close to the actual limits.) You can always pad or amplify the signal back to a sane range later in the audio pipeline.

By the time you actually hear the resulting mix there's not much point in trying to reproduce anything below -140dB.
Old 5th February 2019
  #401
Lives for gear
 
s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
There's never a "future" for digital recording hardware. It goes obsolete almost before it's out of the box. A "32-bit" ADC in which the bottom 8 or 9 bits are garbage isn't going to sound any better next year than it does today. Actually, many DAW platforms have been 32 bits (or more) for over a decade. Most are 32-bit floating-point, which is not even the same number format as these converters. Nominal bit depth is a lousy way to judge how something actually sounds.
In your estimate...(noob adc dac guy here) what is the optimum set up? In other words when you say that the converters do not have the 'same number format' what does that mean? Is it that everything does not quite coherently fit -- {the converter/daw/algorithm}

any other insights would be helpful to a lay person... thx
Old 26th February 2019
  #402
Here for the gear
Has somebody made up a "DA/AD Chip Quality for Price" list?

I am on the search for an Audio Interface under 300$- maybe 500$ right now and wonder which Audio Interface gives me the best Chips for its price.

thanks,
caspar
Old 26th February 2019
  #403
Lives for gear
 
s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by casparcom View Post
Has somebody made up a "DA/AD Chip Quality for Price" list?

I am on the search for an Audio Interface under 300$- maybe 500$ right now and wonder which Audio Interface gives me the best Chips for its price.

thanks,
caspar
I remember buying the Focusrite solo - on the sole fact the chips used inside. I really couldn't build one for that price... ($90) I urge you / when you find an interface that you like - look up the chip cost at manufacture. Such as a Texas Instrument - Cirrus or Burr. The hard cost of the parts can tell you a lot about the quality. With that budget I would also consider the simple PRO line DAAD set-ups. Separate Pre / Separate DAAD.

If you can use a soldering iron this maybe? Home for a preamp heard great things.
Old 26th February 2019
  #404
Gear Guru
Id get the Tascam 7000 used or a used Audient for that money. The analogue wrapper in most converters is what you're buying, the chip is matched to that. There are threads on both units and with the Audient you may have options....
Old 26th February 2019
  #405
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Id get the Tascam 7000 used or a used Audient for that money. The analogue wrapper in most converters is what you're buying, the chip is matched to that. There are threads on both units and with the Audient you may have options....
Both of those are great small interfaces. If you only need a small number of inputs, these will do well.
Old 26th February 2019
  #406
Gear Guru
Hear the Monkey! He knows his conversion......
Old 27th February 2019
  #407
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Hear the Monkey! He knows his conversion......
Thank you I've tried a few... I dabble. Feel free to refer to me as "the monkey" from now on, that's a good one.
Old 27th February 2019
  #408
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Id get the Tascam 7000 used or a used Audient for that money. The analogue wrapper in most converters is what you're buying, the chip is matched to that. There are threads on both units and with the Audient you may have options....
Thanks for the tips, the problem is that I want at least two separate balanced line out pairs, one for the headphone amp, and if possible free routable.
The MOTU Ultralite Mk4 seems to have all the features, what would you monkeys say about that? :D

They advertise is has a really fancy chip inside.
Old 27th February 2019
  #409
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by casparcom View Post
Thanks for the tips, the problem is that I want at least two separate balanced line out pairs, one for the headphone amp, and if possible free routable.
The MOTU Ultralite Mk4 seems to have all the features, what would you monkeys say about that? :D

They advertise is has a really fancy chip inside.
I've heard a lot of good things about the modern MOTU interfaces, having never personally owned one. On the other forum I go on there's a ton of guys using them.
Old 27th February 2019
  #410
Lives for gear
 
Lady Gaia's Avatar
At most price points I would expect the quality of the analog design surrounding the core chipset to be the more important factor for sound quality. A/D and D/A parts have gotten so good in recent decades that it's frankly pretty amazing. So you have to evaluate the unit as a whole to make sure the chipset's quality isn't compromised by other parts of the design. I am delighted with my MotU 828es but don't have any experience with the Ultralite.
Old 10th March 2019
  #411
Old 1 week ago
  #412
Here for the gear
IK Multimedia AXE I/O

A fresh one to add to the list:

IK Multimedia AXE I/O:
The AD is a Cirrus Logic CS5364
The DA is a Cirrus Logic CS4365

Cheers
Old 5 days ago
  #413
Gear Nut
 
SPiTFiREgr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kasami08 View Post
I wasn't too off as I had the DAC right. Presonus really cut corners on the THD+N as the Ak5574 has a maximum THD+N low as -112 dB or 0.000251% while the real world performance for the Quantum has a higher noise floor at -86 dB or 0.005%. If they used higher grade capacitors and higher end op-amps, that would bring up the cost of the unit. They might as well have implemented the AK5388. I don't see much benefit for 32bit ADCs since there isn't a such thing as 32bit PCM material. 32bit DAC's only has its benefits for DSD in the DAW for mixing, but at the end of the day, all recorded material will be dithered down to 24bit or 16bit PCM. 32bit is not audible as the human ear can only hear between 20-21 bits, a maximum of 120 dB dynamic range and 20Hz to 20kHz frequencies or less. Here's a good read. The great audio myth: why you don’t need that 32-bit DAC
Oh my god, the comments section on this article is pure gold. No wonder Hi-Fi audio is milking dollars like crazy for so many years

Speaking of 32-bit DACs, you seem to ignore a very big utility:

Digital attenuation.

Owning, for example, a DAC/Audio Interface that features a "controller" volume knob that simply instructs the DAC circuity to lower the volume of it's output (most modern DACs / audio interfaces do that), is essentially cutting bits off that 24bit stream.

By having a 32-bit DAC, you can have a 24-bit stream with extra padding/headroom to attenuate the stream digitally without losing any information. Same thing as a 32/64-bit DAW mixer. This is done by design, even when you are feeding the DAC with a 24-bit stream.

If you have a 24-bit DAC interface that uses digital attenuation for volume control, in order not to lose any bit/information you have to leave the volume knob at max and use an external, analog monitor volume control prior reaching your monitor amp stage

Of course a 32-bit DAC is overkill if the interface uses an analog attenuator (or a digitally-controlled analog one, as my old FireWire Apogee Duet had)

EDIT: Just found out that Apogee ditched the digitally-controlled analog attenuator as well: QUARTET USB 4-CHANNEL AUDIO INTERFACE | Tom Lee Music

Quote:
32-bit Monitor Attenuation
The ESS DAC provides 32-bit digital attenuation for monitor volume control when connecting directly to powered speakers. When compared to alternate attenuation designs, 32-bit digital attenuation provides the best performance and flexibility. In the past, digital attenuation (at 24-bit resolution) was not considered the best way to provide monitor level control – lowering the output level results in a loss of resolution. Digitally-controlled analog attenuation, as employed in previous Apogee designs, was the revolutionary solution that offered the flexibility of software control while maintaining resolution and perfect stereo/5.1 channel tracking. While developing Symphony I/O’s standard-setting DAC stage, it became evident that the components used to provide digitally-controlled analog attenuation were limiting the DAC’s performance, so another design had to be found. The 32-bit digital attenuation offered by the ESS Sabre32 DAC is the perfect solution – digital resolution is maintained far beyond the circuit noise floor while noise and distortion performance remains un-compromised.
I bet you are all running to purchase an analog monitor volume control now

Last edited by SPiTFiREgr; 5 days ago at 02:51 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #414
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPiTFiREgr View Post
Oh my god, the comments section on this article is pure gold. No wonder Hi-Fi audio is milking dollars like crazy for so many years

Speaking of 32-bit DACs, you seem to ignore a very big utility:

Digital attenuation.

Owning, for example, a DAC/Audio Interface that features a "controller" volume knob that simply instructs the DAC circuity to lower the volume of it's output (most modern DACs / audio interfaces do that), is essentially cutting bits off that 24bit stream.

By having a 32-bit DAC, you can have a 24-bit stream with extra padding/headroom to attenuate the stream digitally without losing any information. Same thing as a 32/64-bit DAW mixer. This is done by design, even when you are feeding the DAC with a 24-bit stream.

If you have a 24-bit DAC interface that uses digital attenuation for volume control, in order not to lose any bit/information you have to leave the volume knob at max and use an external, analog monitor volume control prior reaching your monitor amp stage

Of course a 32-bit DAC is overkill if the interface uses an analog attenuator (or a digitally-controlled analog one, as my old FireWire Apogee Duet had)

EDIT: Just found out that Apogee ditched the digitally-controlled analog attenuator as well: QUARTET USB 4-CHANNEL AUDIO INTERFACE | Tom Lee Music



I bet you are all running to purchase an analog monitor volume control now
I think the 32 bit chips are better for digital attenuation too. I wanted to replace the AK4413 with a AK4414 to get a 32 word to allow deeper digital attenuation.
But looking at the design, the attenuator is an eight bit controller in front of the chip. Same for the 32 bit and the 24 bit dac chips.
People smarter than me told me in practice the results are the same and only extreme levels of digital attenuation will effect the sonic performance. I try to keep the level knob at 12 to 2 o’clock. That is a lot of attenuation.
The math is correct, the results do not match the simple each 6dB of attenuation drops a bit. Mid level around 12 on my interface is -64 dB of attenuation. So dropping 10 -11 bits. The performance would be limited to 13 - 14 bits. When playing back 44.1/16 files and 96/24 files the results should be the same for S/N, noise floor, and dynamic range. But they are not. The added resolution is still there with 10 bits of digital attenuation.
Old 5 days ago
  #415
Lives for gear
 
Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panelhead View Post
I think the 32 bit chips are better for digital attenuation too. I wanted to replace the AK4413 with a AK4414 to get a 32 word to allow deeper digital attenuation.
In the case of a 32-bit floating point DAC, much deeper attenuation is possible. The 6dB per bit reference you mentioned is a guideline for integer representations where each bit just adds precision to the total. It's a different story in floating point where 24 bits are used for precision and 8 for a binary exponent where it basically moves the binary decimal point to the left or right in 256 discrete steps.

The exponential representation is a huge deal. The largest 32-bit integer can be represented in 10 decimal digits. The largest 32-bit floating point number requires 39 decimal digits to represent, so it covers a much wider dynamic range.
Old 5 days ago
  #416
Gear Maniac
 

Over my head

The 8 bit attenuator AKM includes when applied to the 24 bit words yields a 32 bit product.
If 10 bit attenuation (-61 dB) is applied what is left?
Old 2 days ago
  #417
Gear Head
 
Sabovic Adis's Avatar
Yeah, we don't need 24 bits with 4 bits worth of garbage, we need 32 with 72 dB of noise. Because it's cool.
Old 2 days ago
  #418
Gear Nut
 
SPiTFiREgr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panelhead View Post
The 8 bit attenuator AKM includes when applied to the 24 bit words yields a 32 bit product.
If 10 bit attenuation (-61 dB) is applied what is left?
There is no such thing as 8 bits applied to 24 bits. If the final, DAC stage bitdepth is 24-bit , this is your final bitdepth.

If there is a conversion to 32 bits prior the DAC <-> Digital attenuation <-> Conversion to 24 bits again (with dither applied maybe?) <-> into the DAC , that's another story, but I'm not aware of such an implementation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabovic Adis View Post
Yeah, we don't need 24 bits with 4 bits worth of garbage, we need 32 with 72 dB of noise. Because it's cool.
Utilizing a 32-bit DAC for nearly lossless digital attenuation isn't "cool" , it's a major audio quality advantage. If you are ignorant enough to not be able to understand that (which I wouldn't be surprised, audio industry is full of sciolist wizards), you can keep on feeling confident monitoring with digital attenuation in your 24-bit DAC

A very simple test to understand the audio quality loss of digital attenuation can be done by using the excellent Audio MIDI Setup of macOS. The built-in DAC of Apple machines support 32-bit for this exact reason: digital attenuation. Plug-in your headphones, set the volume really low and listen to some low frequency transients blended with reverb tails. Switch between 24-bit and 32-bit in the format dropdown menu. You won't be able to hear the lower volume details and reverb tails using the 24-bit format.

Another way to test the same thing is by using your audio interface utility app, if it rocks a digital attenuator for the DAC stage. Most probably, your headphone out is rocking an analog attenuator as well, because a headphone amp is present. Depending on your audio interface vendor, you either have a DSP mixer fader for that stereo headphone out and/or a DAC output (digital attenuator) fader (like in Focusrite's Clarett range). Try to evaluate the level of detail in the same low frequency transients blended with reverb tails material, in very low volume. Compare the digital attenuator at 0dB setting with reduced volume at the analog h/w volume knob vs setting the digital attenuator at -30dB and the analog h/w volume knob at 0dB.
Old 2 days ago
  #419
Gear Maniac
 

Combining binary words

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPiTFiREgr View Post
There is no such thing as 8 bits applied to 24 bits. If the final, DAC stage bitdepth is 24-bit , this is your final bitdepth.

If there is a conversion to 32 bits prior the DAC <-> Digital attenuation <-> Conversion to 24 bits again (with dither applied maybe?) <-> into the DAC , that's another story, but I'm not aware of such an implementation.



Utilizing a 32-bit DAC for nearly lossless digital attenuation isn't "cool" , it's a major audio quality advantage. If you are ignorant enough to not be able to understand that (which I wouldn't be surprised, audio industry is full of sciolist wizards), you can keep on feeling confident monitoring with digital attenuation in your 24-bit DAC

A very simple test to understand the audio quality loss of digital attenuation can be done by using the excellent Audio MIDI Setup of macOS. The built-in DAC of Apple machines support 32-bit for this exact reason: digital attenuation. Plug-in your headphones, set the volume really low and listen to some low frequency transients blended with reverb tails. Switch between 24-bit and 32-bit in the format dropdown menu. You won't be able to hear the lower volume details and reverb tails using the 24-bit format.

Another way to test the same thing is by using your audio interface utility app, if it rocks a digital attenuator for the DAC stage. Most probably, your headphone out is rocking an analog attenuator as well, because a headphone amp is present. Depending on your audio interface vendor, you either have a DSP mixer fader for that stereo headphone out and/or a DAC output (digital attenuator) fader (like in Focusrite's Clarett range). Try to evaluate the level of detail in the same low frequency transients blended with reverb tails material, in very low volume. Compare the digital attenuator at 0dB setting with reduced volume at the analog h/w volume knob vs setting the digital attenuator at -30dB and the analog h/w volume knob at 0dB.
I agree with you. I want to replace the AK4413 in my Clarett 4Pres with AK4414. Two issues, not convinced that is a drop in replacement. The other is the math on how binary bits combine.
The value of the 8 bit attenuator is a 256 step linear attenuator with a value of 0.5 dB per step. When applied to the 24 bit data word the resulting product is now a 32 bit word.
How much is lost at mid range attenuation is what I cannot get my hands around.
Upstream I have options for attenuation. A 32 bit software attenuator, and a 64 bit crossover function that both can do the heavy attenuating.
Played with steeper attenuation before the Clarett. Sounds different, cannot say better. Cleaner, maybe the bit depth is better.
I screwed up on my monitors. Went from 87 dB monitors to 105 dB. Trying to offset this somewhere in the chain.
Old 2 days ago
  #420
Gear Nut
 
SPiTFiREgr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panelhead View Post
The value of the 8 bit attenuator is a 256 step linear attenuator with a value of 0.5 dB per step. When applied to the 24 bit data word the resulting product is now a 32 bit word.
How much is lost at mid range attenuation is what I cannot get my hands around.
This doesn't make any sense. If the DAC chip is 24-bit , this is the final bit depth.

If any "resulting product" is 32-bit, it needs to be converted to 24-bits (with dither applied) to be fed to the DAC.

The attenuator doesn't add "8 bits" of digital audio bit depth to the stream

Where did you get that info from?
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
gramps / So much gear, so little time
13
Andy D / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
pschniddy / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
scoob / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
2

Forum Jump
Forum Jump