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Favorite Converter for the Mix Bus??
Old 3rd April 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 

Favorite Converter for the Mix Bus??

Hey Ya'll,

I'm in the process of putting together a new and improved studio, and I have a final stage mix bus question for everyone.

Just some background on how I work: I run a hybrid setup. I have outboard EQ's, compressors, effects, and of course, a bunch of preamps, all fed into a patchbay. My main converters are a BF Apollo 16, which, as you all know, means that I use a TON of UAD plugins, as well. As far as recording goes, I call my approach hybrid because I'll often use my 1176 during tracking (especially vocals), or my EL Lil Freq pair on acoustic guitar -- but I also use plugins during tracking, as well, etc etc etc (you get the idea). However, when I mix individual tracks, and on the mix bus, I would say that 99% of the time it's all plugins. Occasionally I'll throw my mix through my JDK R22 or JDK R24 just to round out the final sound through the I/O plugin in Logic X (love those pieces of gear for gentle tone shaping). However, what I really want to do is change my ADC on the final stage of my mixes to add a flavor that the Apollo doesn't have the palette to create (my DAC is a D-Box, and I don't intend on changing that). I'll complete the first stage of the mix through the Apollo and then run it through a new ADC for the final stage. Big question: WHAT CONVERTER DO YOU ALL LIKE BEST FOR THIS APPLICATION?

I've heard the Burl B2 Bomber ADC before. It sounds super forward and powerful, but that's not right for every song (I do a lot of folk recordings), so it may not be worth the $. However, when the right song comes along, Burl is the shizzz. Then I hear incredible things about the Crane Song HEDD 192. What I love about the idea of the 192 is that you can shape the tone. I own a Dave Hill Europa (and if it can shape like that pre can shape sounds, WOW). Then I hear people rave about the Pure 2. Do I trust Antelope Audio? NO. Not unless it's clocking, and I don't use a word clock -- I just clock with the Apollo. I also hear rumblings about tons of other converters. There is no consistency of opinions, of course, because this is the audio world and everyone hears differently. And I'm not looking for THE ANSWER, because I know the only way to have that answer is to hear these converters in my studio with my own ears. However, I want to hear about your thoughts and experience with various ADC's to add to my arsenal of anecdotal knowledge.

I'll make it easy: I mostly do indie rock and folk recordings. With that knowledge in mind, do you prefer:

1. Burl B2
2. Crane Song HEDD 192
3. Antelope Pure 2
4. Other (please say what the "other" is)

A simple 1, 2, 3, or 4 with a basic explanation will do me worlds of good.

Thanks, ya'll!!
Old 3rd April 2017
  #2
Not really an opinion that holds any value yet, but I've ordered the Mytek Brooklyn ADC after researching a long time myself. Still waiting for the delivery though.

Initially I wanted to pull the trigger on a QES Labs PAD-2, but that option became a bit too expensive for me.

I will be feeding my outboards from a Symphony mkI btw.
Old 3rd April 2017
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by HobbyRobby View Post
Hey Ya'll,

I'm in the process of putting together a new and improved studio, and I have a final stage mix bus question for everyone. ...
1. Burl B2
2. Crane Song HEDD 192
3. Antelope Pure 2
4. Other (please say what the "other" is)

Thanks, ya'll!!

I'm biased since I bought a Pure 2 last year. So when I was going to upgrade my conversion I listened to tons of examples, loopbacks etc here on gearslutz, I did a lot of research and decided that I was going to go with either Pure 2 or Hilo.

So the ones mentioned is indeed very good converters, add in Hilo, and Convert2/Mytek192/Benchmark2&3 if you're up for using more than one unit.

Some simple characteristics:
B2+B2: Beefy, big. Some say Burl has too much character for mastering, but works great for tracking and mixing. Can also do clean if you don't push it, but I got a feeling people buy this for it's sound, not to go clean.
Hilo: Clean, wide. Very clinical and transparent, multi purpose, might not give you much extra flavor, which can both be good and boring. Very wide, maybe a tad light in centre.
Pure2: Beefy, clean. ADC feels ballsier and you can drive it pretty hard giving pleasing roundness to your sound, DAC very clean. Feels like the center is a bit stronger than Hilo, but Hilo feels a tad wider.
Old 4th April 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
Benchmark ADC1 or Lavry Black ADC. They're both basically designed to be as transparent as possible independent of clocking. They're the same league as your Dangerous D-Box which I have also. There's no point in buying an ADC that's higher tier than D-Box DAC if you're not going to upgrade that also. And you won't find a better ADC than that DAC for under $5k, the D-Box is on par with any converter in the $1-3k range. I use the D-Box's DAC to monitor through for that exact reason. On mixdown I'll use the summing section with a different converter and still know exactly what to expect.
Old 4th April 2017
  #5
Look at the Qes labs pad 2

It's exactly what you're looking for....

QES Labs PAD-2 vs Burl B2 Bomber Stereo ADC shootout vid
Old 4th April 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
 
deuc647's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slogun View Post
Not really an opinion that holds any value yet, but I've ordered the Mytek Brooklyn ADC after researching a long time myself. Still waiting for the delivery though.

Initially I wanted to pull the trigger on a QES Labs PAD-2, but that option became a bit too expensive for me.

I will be feeding my outboards from a Symphony mkI btw.
How did it get too expensive If you dont mind me asking?
Old 4th April 2017
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
How did it get too expensive If you dont mind me asking?
My currency isn't really holding up to the Euro. Add customs etc. to that and the Brooklyn turned out to be a noticeable cheaper choice for me.
Old 4th April 2017
  #8
Deleted User
Guest
Burl always wins on my mix bus, but for a cleaner option, UA 2192 is still very hard to beat. I prefer it for bouncing channels through outboard.
Old 5th April 2017
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
OhioGreg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
Look at the Qes labs pad 2

It's exactly what you're looking for....

QES Labs PAD-2 vs Burl B2 Bomber Stereo ADC shootout vid
Extremely happy user of a unit. The PAD-2 is one of the most true-to-the-source, detailed, natural and open sounding ADC's I've ever dealt with.
It's clean, so you can shape your tone with your outboard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Slogun View Post
My currency isn't really holding up to the Euro. Add customs etc. to that and the Brooklyn turned out to be a noticeable cheaper choice for me.
Not sure what you're referring to, since both brooklyn and basic Pad are w/in the $2K mark. Did you mean the LE version?
FWIW, there are no customs fees within EU countries.
Old 5th April 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioGreg View Post
Not sure what you're referring to, since both brooklyn and basic Pad are w/in the $2K mark. Did you mean the LE version?
FWIW, there are no customs fees within EU countries.
A basic PAD-2 incl. VAT and shipping was about € 2.940:- for me - the Brooklyn was almost 1000 € less for me. Might be because Mytek has a distributor that carries some of the currency conversion loss for us customers.

But you're right - customs wasn't something to worry about. Still a substantial difference though. Now I can only hope the Brooklyn is close to the PAD in quality
Old 5th April 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
Look at the Qes labs pad 2

It's exactly what you're looking for....

QES Labs PAD-2 vs Burl B2 Bomber Stereo ADC shootout vid
Another shootout may also help
Acousence, Andiamo, Lake People, Lavry, StageTech ADC shootout
Old 6th April 2017
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
tony2015muzik's Avatar
 

The HEDD is great I owned it for years, the tape knob on there had just enough color when needed, the D/A is great on the crane song too!
I recently switched over to Burl for my A/D for printing mixes and I love tracking through it, I liked "beefiness" it gave when hit harder, it can totally do clean too if needed.

You can't go wrong with either, they both sound lovely.
Old 6th April 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
+1 HEDD 192

Still my favourite for the Mix bus - I use it to feed an analog bus compressor and always add some HEDD FX usually Tape and Pentode.

I mix into the HEDD FX from the get go as I start a mix because the Tape/Pent add lovely subtle non time domain compression in their own right.

Even after all the advances in DSP and plugins nothing comes close to the special magic the HEDD FX knobs add to a mix - it's a unique tone and spacial magic that sounds to my ears exactly like working with analog tape and tubes - there's nothing "digital" sounding about those FX knobs - they really are a speical extra touch - Dave Hill is a genious imho.

Someone once said the HEDD 192 is to digital as the Studer is to analog - it's also a swiss army knife for lot's of digital tasks - plus a fantastic clock and converter in it's own right.

One bit of kit that has been a real keeper for me.
Old 7th April 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Akoppenheffer's Avatar
 

UA 2192 here and have nothing but great results. Even though it's an older unit, I have no desire to look elsewhere.
Old 7th April 2017
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobbyRobby View Post
Hey Ya'll,

1. Burl B2
2. Crane Song HEDD 192
3. Antelope Pure 2
4. Other (please say what the "other" is)
Looks like you already have the correct order!!
Old 8th April 2017
  #16
Lives for gear
 
DrSax's Avatar
Lots of great options out there these days. Using a Lynx Hilo here and am very pleased with it.
Old 8th April 2017
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSax View Post
Lots of great options out there these days. Using a Lynx Hilo here and am very pleased with it.
Me too!
Old 9th April 2017
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Hamburg58's Avatar
 

Love my B2. Anyone that thinks it's too colorful has too much time on their hands. The difference between my B2 and my Lynx Auroras is splitting hairs. Sure you can make the Burl get a little hairy if you want but I hardly use that setting. My input level on the converter is usually -18 or -16. It doesn't really go beyond that, and it sounds great. The color is minimal. It's almost half mental to me, thinking I am getting into another box for my mix. The difference between running the mix back into the Lynx is so subtle, if we did a shootout, it would be split down the middle. One thing that is very different is the B2 DAC which I also have, it does have a substantial low end response Ive never heard on another converter. IT's fun to listen back to a mix through it or EVEN if you're wanting to get saucy, print out of the DAC through some outboard back into the ADC so you're getting the sound of the DAC on your mix. Not for everything, but some more modern low end stuff, it's been the right move.
Old 9th April 2017
  #19
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
I have a Burl B2,QES Labs PAD2 and new Mytek Brooklyn sitting here.
all good and different
Burl - has weight,solid analog vibe.Rock n Roll.
PAD-Pristine.no added color.closest to the source.
Mytek.nice feature set.Clean with a little added something on the his,lows.
didn't really dig the transformer options.
Old 9th April 2017
  #20
Looking for a new mix bus converters as well.. I've switched my multitrack converters to an Apogee Symphony MKii to switch from my old Auroras, when AB it with my Pure2 DA I found out I like the Apogee better !
I still think the Pure2 still has the edge over the Apogee on the AD side though.. I'm considering re buying a Hilo, trying the Merging Technologies or maybe buy more apogee DA's and keep the Pure2 for AD
Old 9th April 2017
  #21
+1 on the Mytek Brooklyn. Their new generation of converters are stellar. The transformer option is a nice bonus on the unit too.
Old 10th April 2017
  #22
Gear Nut
 

low end person here, thought i'd try to understand what you are talking about. is the pure 2 a high end 2 input audio interface but low end compared with 500 seriese? alternatively, could i send a signal through 2 high end pre amps into the right and left of a B2 for tracking 2 tracks? do people do that? no one is talking about the antelope Eclipse 384, is that the kind of equipment you are talking about? isn't the pure 2 a little bit low end as it has so many components in one unit: pres, AD converters, DA converters, clock, like a high end focusrite gen 2 usb 2i2? i am asking because i don't know. thanks to anyone who answers ;-)
Old 10th April 2017
  #23
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nomoreflakes's Avatar
 

I love the AVID IO.
Old 10th April 2017
  #24
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
+1 on the Mytek Brooklyn. Their new generation of converters are stellar. The transformer option is a nice bonus on the unit too.
Nathan how did you deal with the lowered levels on the transformer option?
Old 10th April 2017
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramar View Post
low end person here, thought i'd try to understand what you are talking about. is the pure 2 a high end 2 input audio interface but low end compared with 500 seriese? alternatively, could i send a signal through 2 high end pre amps into the right and left of a B2 for tracking 2 tracks? do people do that? no one is talking about the antelope Eclipse 384, is that the kind of equipment you are talking about? isn't the pure 2 a little bit low end as it has so many components in one unit: pres, AD converters, DA converters, clock, like a high end focusrite gen 2 usb 2i2? i am asking because i don't know. thanks to anyone who answers ;-)
Pure2 doesn't have mic pres, it's only a DA/AD converter like the Hilo. It's far superior in conversion to all-in-one interfaces, but you might not need it as there are plenty of all-in-ones that have adequate conversion.
Old 10th April 2017
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
Nathan how did you deal with the lowered levels on the transformer option?
Here are instructions from Mytek:

"1. Set the transformer to be where you want it to be- 3:1 the cleanest , 1;1 the hardest hit

Read the headroom value- change it if need be to what you want

2. Set solid state input the same headroom value

See the manual here:

https://mytekdigital.com/download_li...v2016_v1.0.pdf

It’s very general we will be updating it soon."
Old 10th April 2017
  #27
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Here are instructions from Mytek:

"1. Set the transformer to be where you want it to be- 3:1 the cleanest , 1;1 the hardest hit

Read the headroom value- change it if need be to what you want

2. Set solid state input the same headroom value

See the manual here:

https://mytekdigital.com/download_li...v2016_v1.0.pdf

It’s very general we will be updating it soon."
Sweet thanks!
Old 11th April 2017
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Never quite understood why one would want anything but a good sounding transparent converter - ACD or DAC - being that someone's preamps are usually used on the way in and other gear is attached on the way out - in which case wouldn't one want a transparent converter for the loop back?

That said I also often wonder how much of Burl's purported musical sound comes from the fact that its circuitry is a discrete, class-A, direct-coupled, capacitor free circuit path. My HiLo is sufficient for 99% of what I do, as [apart from some compression limiting] I'll usually run the mix out bus through some V72 or 1073 preamps and maybe an exciter for color and musicality.
Old 11th April 2017
  #29
Gear Nut
 

which interfaces would be comparable to the quality you are discussing here? what would be a pre amp that would be a good match to the pure 2 for pop music with a bassy female vocalist through a shure sm5b, acoustic guitar and piano, but mainly for the female vocals. i realize the best way would be to try it and see what it sounds like, but i'd like to start somewhere.
Old 11th April 2017
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramar View Post
which interfaces would be comparable to the quality you are discussing here? what would be a pre amp that would be a good match to the pure 2 for pop music with a bassy female vocalist through a shure sm5b, acoustic guitar and piano, but mainly for the female vocals. i realize the best way would be to try it and see what it sounds like, but i'd like to start somewhere.
Prism Lyra2 has great conversion quality and a better option than Pure2 if you're looking for an interface. That said, Orion, Apollo, UFX are all great options, you could always get a Burl B2 ADC later and run it through AES if you want a set of high end inputs..
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