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QES Labs PAD-2 vs Burl B2 Bomber Stereo ADC shootout vid Digital Converters
Old 23rd December 2016
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
OhioGreg's Avatar
 

QES Labs PAD-2 vs Burl B2 Bomber Stereo ADC shootout vid

I've been using the Qes Labs PAD-2 for a couple of weeks now, and I'm extremely happy with it's sound.
I planned to post some files, but it was moving day so didn't have the chance. I talked to Val at Qes, and he has just produced a shootout video comparing the PAD-2 to the Burl B2.
He kindly sent me the link (24/96 HD files can be downloaded from the link in description):




The PAD-2 'Low Group Delay' filter setting is my favorite clip:
very transparent, the voice impressed me, it's clean and detailed, with a holographic representation associated to it.
If I close my eyes, the sensation of the singer being in front of me is clear and palpable, the bass and is so natural, top end so airy, and I hear a remarkably wide 3d soundstage, an open stereo image.
The B2 is a tad more colored, wonderful and fat bass, with a reel tape feeling, very musical.
The PAD-2 with the 'Classic' filter setting engaged is more similar to the B2, being more puchy, with that 'analog' feel.

Really enjoyed this shootout!
Old 23rd December 2016
  #2
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Ill be the first to say that the filter button is something i havent even messed with on mine. Now im curious
Old 24th December 2016
  #3
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Jeb A's Avatar
 

I liked the low group delay setting on the Pad-2, the way it can preserve the attacks, especially kick and guitar.
In the low mid, I felt the B2 was just a bit punchier, as the classic filter setting of the Pad-2, while the the low-group setting was more linear.
Mid through Top sounded very smooth and open on the Qes, in a way that could be described as more true to the source, and a little more jagged on the Burl, still in a positive way, that would refer to a tape machine.
The stereo image was wide-ranging on both units, a little more open in the low-group-delay setting on the Pad-2.


Thanks for posting.
Old 24th December 2016
  #4
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I always left it on the low group delay for tracking but am thinking i might wanna start tracking in classic
Old 24th December 2016
  #5
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioGreg View Post
I've been using the Qes Labs PAD-2 for a couple of weeks now, and I'm extremely happy with it's sound.
I planned to post some files, but it was moving day so didn't have the chance. I talked to Val at Qes, and he has just produced a shootout video comparing the PAD-2 to the Burl B2.
He kindly sent me the link (24/96 HD files can be downloaded from the link in description):




The PAD-2 'Low Group Delay' filter setting is my favorite clip:
very transparent, the voice impressed me, it's clean and detailed, with a holographic representation associated to it.
If I close my eyes, the sensation of the singer being in front of me is clear and palpable, the bass and is so natural, top end so airy, and I hear a remarkably wide 3d soundstage, an open stereo image.
The B2 is a tad more colored, wonderful and fat bass, with a reel tape feeling, very musical.
The PAD-2 with the 'Classic' filter setting engaged is more similar to the B2, being more puchy, with that 'analog' feel.

Really enjoyed this shootout!
thanks for posting.
I'll download the files and listen later.
Old 26th December 2016
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
I always left it on the low group delay for tracking but am thinking i might wanna start tracking in classic
We should be grateful to you any way, as you have been the very first one to bet on this unit, bringing it to our attention.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
thanks for posting.
I'll download the files and listen later.
You're very welcome.
I would be very interested to hear your own impressions.
Old 26th December 2016
  #7
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So glad I took that leap of faith. Hopefully ill be able to track in classic sometime this week and see if i hear an audible difference.
Old 26th December 2016
  #8
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I can definitely hear the burl doing its thing.
Kinda tightening the low/ low mids and rounding transients.a thickening thing but bit less air overall.subtle but when I A/B the direct live console mix it's apparent.
Works for most material but I'm using a shadow hills mastering comp ,pultecs and black box hg2 on mix buss. sometimes I don't need the "burl" thing.
since getting the burl I rarely use the "iron" setting on my shadow hills unit..in conjunction with the b2 it's little too much low mid glue/color imo.
I print into the burl very conservatively to have the least amount of color as possible . But any way you slice it it does impart its thing to mix material.maybe at the cost of a little depth imo.
it is a sorta tough punchy analog sound.its not an exact copy of the original source.there's a vibe there.


I think the low group sounded best for this material as well..clean R&B. Detailed wide and good 3-d depth.
Without hearing his direct console feed live in the room I guess it's hard to tell how true to the source it is.
Ultimately the only real way to know if it's for me is getting the QES unit In here and compare it to my live console feed.
I don't want anything "extra" or "enhanced",just transparent musical translation.
I'm thinking of taking this further and ordering a PAD2.

Last edited by RoundBadge; 27th December 2016 at 11:24 AM..
Old 27th December 2016
  #9
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It is a special unit. Glad its finally getting the recognition it deserves.
Old 27th December 2016
  #10
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The Burl sounded a little small. I liked the Classic setting on the QES. Curious to hear it against Forssell, Mytek, et al
Old 27th December 2016
  #11
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I haven't critically listed yet, but the QES in low group mode sounded easily the best to me. Classic mode seemed a bit small or sterile to me and the Burl sounded like the Burl.

I would love to shoot it out against my Prism ADA-8XR since it seems more in that ballpark.
Old 27th December 2016
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelterr View Post
I haven't critically listed yet, but the QES in low group mode sounded easily the best to me. Classic mode seemed a bit small or sterile to me and the Burl sounded like the Burl.

I would love to shoot it out against my Prism ADA-8XR since it seems more in that ballpark.
Yeah the classic mode is kinda in between for me.sorta mellowed transients and less wide.
In use I'd likely stick with low group setting.
yeah the burl sounds thicker but veiled,less 3-d/wide.

Last edited by RoundBadge; 28th December 2016 at 06:14 AM..
Old 27th December 2016
  #13
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What is the price of the QES? It doesn't say on their site, AFAICT...sort of cryptic if you ask me.

Also, is there an American distributor?
Old 27th December 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
What is the price of the QES? It doesn't say on their site, AFAICT...sort of cryptic if you ask me.

Also, is there an American distributor?
As dumb as it sounds. The price varies on features you want implemented. He will tailor make it to your needs. But its in the 2100 mark. No distributor as he makes them as people order them.

Im itching for his vari-mu but that is a topic for another discussion.
Old 28th December 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
As dumb as it sounds. The price varies on features you want implemented. He will tailor make it to your needs. But its in the 2100 mark. No distributor as he makes them as people order them.

Im itching for his vari-mu but that is a topic for another discussion.
That's a tad perplexing, but I guess it is what it is.

I'm dealing with ramifications from my state comptroller, regarding some purchases I made directly from Europe, where I thought I signed all the necessary forms and paid duties on while it got put on hold...it sure would be easier if the vendor made it easier for us 'Mericans, as everyone knows we're challenged in many ways.

Why doesn't someone like VK or Sweetwater come forth and do some sort of arrangement with QES? I'm sure business wise it would make a lot of sense...but maybe I'm totally off base here, who knows?
Old 28th December 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
That's a tad perplexing, but I guess it is what it is.

I'm dealing with ramifications from my state comptroller, regarding some purchases I made directly from Europe, where I thought I signed all the necessary forms and paid duties on while it got put on hold...it sure would be easier if the vendor made it easier for us 'Mericans, as everyone knows we're challenged in many ways.

Why doesn't someone like VK or Sweetwater come forth and do some sort of arrangement with QES? I'm sure business wise it would make a lot of sense...but maybe I'm totally off base here, who knows?
No middle man= better consumer prices(most of the time)
Old 28th December 2016
  #17
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
What is the price of the QES? It doesn't say on their site, AFAICT...sort of cryptic if you ask me.

Also, is there an American distributor?
Current base price is $1890.0 us.
there are upgrades you can add on like cardas silver XLR's, all silver internal wiring,teflon 4 layer pcbs,Oversized toroidal core transformers,beefier faceplate,chassis etc.
full bells and whistles version around $3600.00.
Old 28th December 2016
  #18
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OhioGreg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
...Why doesn't someone like VK or Sweetwater come forth and do some sort of arrangement with QES? I'm sure business wise it would make a lot of sense...but maybe I'm totally off base here, who knows?
Probably because they're already full of manufacturers.
Old 28th December 2016
  #19
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RoundBadge's Avatar
I ordered one with all the upgrades.
Old 28th December 2016
  #20
Gear Head
 
BigBeard's Avatar
 

Hello everyone.
I'm the guy who recorded and mixed the song and who talked in the video.

First i'd like to thanks everyone for your interest. Is great to read your opinions.

Talking about my personal opinions, as soon as I turned my mix on the PAD with low group settings I was impressed about the transients. They were fast, seems not covered at all and everything became detailed. The voice seems to get a step forward, the instruments were natural and really detailed and the 3D and wide image seems to be beneficed. The total dynamic was kept.

Basically, to me turning in the B2 with -18 setting was like turning a DAW, that is almost completely linear, into a tape recorder. Infact this is what Burl says, and I heard the exact thing even if PAD did not gave any digital feeling. The transient were less detaliled, but smoother. The sound were more colored, giving a really good taste at the mix. The low end were more punchy and the wide image were less than the PAD, but unchanged as the reality.

PAD with classic setting were a mid way between them. Less linear than low group but a bit more punchy. Less colored than B2.

At the end, i think that PAD is for tracks or engineers that wants to keep everything unchanged. Burl always said that his products aren't linear, but tape kind. And i really love it too. It just depends what you need in your mix, so i can't say wich I think is better. I really enjoyed both.

Thanks for your time!

Giuseppe Polito
Starlight Studios, Naples.
Old 28th December 2016
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I ordered one with all the upgrades.
Dude its like you bleed cash!!!!!!!1

Please try and post something when you can if you can, would love to hear that version of the unit.
Old 28th December 2016
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I ordered one with all the upgrades.
I always appreciate your opinion on gear so I'm looking forward to hear your findings about the PAD-2.

In my preference (and for my intended use) the PAD-2 sounded better to me in this comparison. I'm interested in using it as an ADC in my mastering chain. For the moment I'm using Symphony I/O mk I and I feel the analog signal gets a tiny tiny bit "squeezed" to fit into the converter.
Old 28th December 2016
  #23
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBeard View Post
Hello everyone.
I'm the guy who recorded and mixed the song and who talked in the video.

First i'd like to thanks everyone for your interest. Is great to read your opinions.

Talking about my personal opinions, as soon as I turned my mix on the PAD with low group settings I was impressed about the transients. They were fast, seems not covered at all and everything became detailed. The voice seems to get a step forward, the instruments were natural and really detailed and the 3D and wide image seems to be beneficed. The total dynamic was kept.

Basically, to me turning in the B2 with -18 setting was like turning a DAW, that is almost completely linear, into a tape recorder. Infact this is what Burl says, and I heard the exact thing even if PAD did not gave any digital feeling. The transient were less detaliled, but smoother. The sound were more colored, giving a really good taste at the mix. The low end were more punchy and the wide image were less than the PAD, but unchanged as the reality.

PAD with classic setting were a mid way between them. Less linear than low group but a bit more punchy. Less colored than B2.

At the end, i think that PAD is for tracks or engineers that wants to keep everything unchanged. Burl always said that his products aren't linear, but tape kind. And i really love it too. It just depends what you need in your mix, so i can't say wich I think is better. I really enjoyed both.

Thanks for your time!

Giuseppe Polito
Starlight Studios, Naples.
Thanks Giuseppe.
I'm running a B2 @ mix and get exactly what your saying.
I'm currently using a Mothership and Avid 16's for tracking.lots of old school front end.
Same with my mix buss chain.
Lots of color/vibe.
At this point I'm looking for the most transparent "true to" representation of what's coming back off the console.
No extra fancy stuff,just clean musical capture.
Old 28th December 2016
  #24
Lives for gear
 
shelterr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBeard View Post
Hello everyone.
I'm the guy who recorded and mixed the song and who talked in the video.

First i'd like to thanks everyone for your interest. Is great to read your opinions.

Talking about my personal opinions, as soon as I turned my mix on the PAD with low group settings I was impressed about the transients. They were fast, seems not covered at all and everything became detailed. The voice seems to get a step forward, the instruments were natural and really detailed and the 3D and wide image seems to be beneficed. The total dynamic was kept.

Basically, to me turning in the B2 with -18 setting was like turning a DAW, that is almost completely linear, into a tape recorder. Infact this is what Burl says, and I heard the exact thing even if PAD did not gave any digital feeling. The transient were less detaliled, but smoother. The sound were more colored, giving a really good taste at the mix. The low end were more punchy and the wide image were less than the PAD, but unchanged as the reality.

PAD with classic setting were a mid way between them. Less linear than low group but a bit more punchy. Less colored than B2.

At the end, i think that PAD is for tracks or engineers that wants to keep everything unchanged. Burl always said that his products aren't linear, but tape kind. And i really love it too. It just depends what you need in your mix, so i can't say wich I think is better. I really enjoyed both.

Thanks for your time!

Giuseppe Polito
Starlight Studios, Naples.
Thanks for the info!

Which upgrades did the QES convertor in the demostraton video have?
Old 28th December 2016
  #25
Gear Head
 
BigBeard's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
Thanks Giuseppe.
I'm running a B2 @ mix and get exactly what your saying.
I'm currently using a Mothership and Avid 16's for tracking.lots of old school front end.
Same with my mix buss chain.
Lots of color/vibe.
At this point I'm looking for the most transparent "true to" representation of what's coming back off the console.
No extra fancy stuff,just clean musical capture.

That's exactly what i mean. I think everyone should get something more colored and something more trasparent. It just depends on each situations.
Old 28th December 2016
  #26
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBeard View Post
That's exactly what i mean. I think everyone should get something more colored and something more trasparent. It just depends on each situations.

having used ATR102,Studer A80 and 3M 2 trk mix decks for years I'm convinced nothing sounds like an well maintained ATR, m79 or Studer.
imo what the b2 does is different.ultimately just a pair of custom nickel trannies implemented into the circuit.there's that color it imparts but definitely not an ATR/Studer..imo.
thanks again to you and Val for the video.
Old 28th December 2016
  #27
Gear Head
 
BigBeard's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post

having used ATR102,Studer A80 and 3M 2 trk mix decks for years I'm convinced nothing sounds like an well maintained ATR, m79 or Studer.
imo what the b2 does is different.ultimately just a pair of custom nickel trannies implemented into the circuit.there's that color it imparts but definitely not an ATR/Studer..imo.
thanks again to you and Val for the video.
Yes. Of course I agree.

Thank to you!
Old 28th December 2016
  #28
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Dude its like you bleed cash!!!!!!!1

Please try and post something when you can if you can, would love to hear that version of the unit.
kinda the nature of this game isnt it?
Old 28th December 2016
  #29
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deuc647's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
kinda the nature of this game isnt it?
Touche
Old 29th December 2016
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Nice post...I was looking into getting the B2 or Pure 2 next, but I think this may add another competitor to the list. I use a lot of UAD plugins to add a lot color so not really sure if adding the B2 would benefit more or should I go more transparent? I do mostly hip hop if that even matters.
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