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Converter Pink Noise Test Audio Interfaces
Old 19th December 2017
Here for the gear

Converter Pink Noise Test

Hey Guys,

First off let me say I may have posted years ago, I can't recall but I constantly lurk, with out a whole lot to add to this amazing knowledge base, so nice to meet anyone who responds! Hopefully this is in the right area, as it includes new Apogee and soon Lynx hardware along with older but high end converters that have been modified!

I've been doing some fairly radical alteration of my studio equipment lately, it's a fairly humble home setup, however; I'm slowly building up enough equipment to be able to take on more ambitious projects. Right now I have a nice setup for anything but drums, however; I'm building up my I/O to support more including analog summing and a few other things, and hopefully can move into a facility where drum tracking becomes a possibility in the years to come.

Being as I'm fairly budget conscious, I have to make very wise decisions when it comes to purchasing of equipment. As of right now my setup is an Apogee Ensemble 2 Thunderbolt, and I just recently added a Lucid 88192 modded by Revive Audio. Per the usual for my neurotic tendencies I have proceeded to do some converter tests between the two. The Apogee will be replaced in the coming weeks with a Lynx Aurora 16 TB, and a Hilo, I'll be using two 88192's via AES, and the analog outs of the Aurora for a summing mixer TBD. I will hopefully add to this test once with Aurora and Hilo arrive. What spurred this test was my desire to see if my ears were lying to me, as I felt the Lucid was more transparent and has more "air" when I was tracking vocals and some jazz guitar. I've always personally felt Apogee converters are a bit colored, I feel like they have a boxiness to the low end that adds perceived punch, what I didn't realize is how hyped the high end is, but it makes sense as it adds a certain thickness to the sibilance sounds.

To the test!

Here are the basic premises of the test, I used Cubase Test Generator to create a -20db Pink Noise signal, I then used the internal clocks of both the Ensemble and the Revive 88192 (which also has a clock upgrade done by them). This way both converters were internally clocked eliminating any issues with external clocking. The Apogee was connected directly to the Mac vs TB, and the Lucid is connected via 4 toslink cables running in SMUX. I recorded at 32 bit float, and 96k. I had to trim the gain up on the 88192 as the Apogee has no input gain trim, and in general seem to be a bit hotter than the 88192, I then did the final phase cancelation via phase inversion built into the console 1 software, and used the gain trim on it to move it by tenths of a db to get the best phase cancellation I could. I used the 88192 out and into it self, and the Apogee analog into it self, everything was set at 4db level.

Here's the results, lower db would mean a more canceled frequency. These numbers were collected using waves Paz tools.

Loop Back - Google Sheets

Let me know your thoughts, and if anyone has found any flaws in the test, or anyway I can improve it.

My results were that the Lucid phase canceled the original source over all much better than the Apogee!
Attached Thumbnails
Converter Pink Noise Test-lucid.png   Converter Pink Noise Test-apogee.png  
Attached Files

Pink Noise - Apogee.wav (9.09 MB, 555 views)

Pink Noise - Lucid.wav (9.09 MB, 615 views)

Old 23rd December 2017
Lives for gear
The results should only be of passing interest to you, since it seems from your other information that you won’t be using the Apogee in the future. If you repeat the test when you have the Lynx, those results would seem to be more interesting to you, and to me at least. Will the Lynx be like the Apogee or like your Revive?
Old 23rd December 2017
Lives for gear

Shouldn't you post the source pink noise file too?
Old 24th December 2017
Here for the gear

Yes once the Lynx arrives I'll post some results as well.

I can post the pink noise when I do the next round of testing, the system is currently disassembled at the moment until I get a shipment in and assemble the new gear and get all of my I/O setup!
Old 28th December 2017
Here for the gear

Here's is an update to the spreadsheet with the Hilo doing a loopback on the pink noise! I can't believe how close it is to the lucid, yes it's an improvement but man it's staggering how much they both beat the snot out of the Apogee Ensemble! After finding some resources here on audio diff maker, it's pretty clear the Ensemble does not test as well despite the specs listed, then again maybe specs mean nothing...

Loop Back - Google Sheets
Attached Thumbnails
Converter Pink Noise Test-hilo.jpg  
Old 28th December 2017
Here for the gear

FYI I'm not sure if it'll make any difference what so ever, but I'll try the Lucid clocked to the Hilo, and vice versa, as well as running the Lucid AES3 instead of ADAT toslink garbage (I hate toslink...)
Old 1st January 2018
Here for the gear

I've done days, literally days, of pink noise testing and loopbacks now. Here's my conclusion...

1) AES, for me has been significantly more stable and reliable as a clock source than BNC, the best loopback I've done so far with external converters was over BNC, but I've yet to be able to replicate it, with AES I'm getting almost as close but consistently better!

2) I am not a fan of syncrolock technology in the lynx units, by my guestimation it's very good for dealing with noisy signals but when you have good quality clock sources, from what I've seen so far, my loopback tests are showing significantly more noise in the high end with syncrolock on. I suppose this makes sense because it uses the internal clock to filter the external signal, so in effect you don't really get the benefits of the external clock as much. I found a significant different in sound from syncro on to off when clocking externally, it's not always bad depending on the clock source but I did find that the unit I ended up using as a master clock sounded best to me clocked over AES3 into the Hilo, with syncrolock off.

3) The hilo converters are flipping amazing, honestly they are incredibly, incredibly clear, best I've tried by far!
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