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So what's the consensus for most analog sounding converters in 2020?
Old 26th May 2020
  #1
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Sybille's Avatar
So what's the consensus for most analog sounding converters in 2020?

Hello,



So, burl ? JCF audio ? Forssell ? Lavry Gold ? Anything new in 2020? Haven't read much on this topic for quite some time.

Maybe something that feels rounder/more tape-like/more analog-sounding than the rest for vintage projects?

Throw at me your most musical converters!

Thank you!
Old 26th May 2020
  #2
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Plush's Avatar
I am using Sonosax converters and also Digital Audio Denmark (DAD) converters. These are both outstanding and reflect the source very well. They are transparent converters.

Sounds like you are looking for something that adds a rather heavy imprint on the sound. You are using terms like rounder, more "tape-like," more analog sounding.

Mix and effect your source sound to have these characteristics.

Do it to a fare-thee-well.

Then capture it with a transparent converter.

It will reflect whatever the source presents.
Old 26th May 2020
  #3
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SPL Madison has the low end warmth and is cheaper than Burl and Lavry. Burl is always interesting with the transformers.
Old 26th May 2020 | Show parent
  #4
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if you refer to analog as in analogy, then a very 'transparent' converter; some dsd converters imo come close to analag.

if you refer to the converters having lots of effect on the signal as when using tape and going through transformers etc. then burl is said to do that (although not necessarily due to the converters themselves ) but there's no such thing as 'most' (or 'best' etc.) in our craft.

i'm mostly using studer, euphonix, rme, ssl, cranesong, weiss and lake.
Old 26th May 2020
  #5
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Liquidaudio's Avatar
 

Here I was thinking converters should not have a sound...
Old 26th May 2020
  #6
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Sybille's Avatar
Thanks guys for the replies.

I was talking more about musicality when I said analog, for example some very high end converters sound too clean / too high res for me it's too hyped in the details, clarity.

I need something that would be more balanced and natural/musical.

I've heared the tracking in the jcf audio AD8 might be the most musical atm, can someone confirm?

I guess I'll have to pick between madison, burl and jcf, they seem to play more on the "natural, musical" field than others when I read reviews, but I'd like to read more experiences if possible.
Old 26th May 2020
  #7
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Keep in mind that Burl changes based in how hot you hit the transformers and discrete opamps. It’s not tape. Sometimes it sounds bad based on how hot you’re hitting it even when it’s not clipping. The JCF converters I’ve never heard but the analog sections are very similar to actual tape machines.

Also consider Lavry. Lavry converters has a certain low end warmth while still being clean and open that other converters lack. There are converters that measure better than them with a less warm low end that still impose themselves more on the sound, ie theyre more colored. The soft saturation function on the Lavry ADs can also sound great. The analog parts are just Analog Devices ICs. There are no custom wound transformers or discrete opamps that can behave in undesirable ways like the Burls.

The Madison has less detail and isn’t as big but still sounds great. They also don’t have any transformers of uncertain quality (the Burl ones are designed to saturate. They aren’t Jensens or Tangos) that can behave in ahem interesting ways.

The Dangerous Converts are also awesome. There’s an Hammond transformer you can put in the signal path on the AD. Hammonds normally are not that great unless you want saturation but here it can saturate in a very desirable way. The Convert DA is punchy as hell with a certain warmth and darkening, rounding to the air sheen that’s helpful for popular contemporary digital recordings with treble artifacts everywhere. It certainly affects whatever is run through it but many supposedly “clean” or “wire with gain” converters are definitely just as colorizing to the sound in ways that are less “betterizing” than what the Dangerous converters do. They are much less colored than Burl.
Old 26th May 2020
  #8
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
Hello,



So, burl ? JCF audio ? Forssell ? Lavry Gold ? Anything new in 2020? Haven't read much on this topic for quite some time.

Maybe something that feels rounder/more tape-like/more analog-sounding than the rest for vintage projects?

Throw at me your most musical converters!

Thank you!
Sounds like the Burl is what you are looking for. It can smooth out the sound and add a bit of coloration especially if you hit it hard. I owned the Burl for a while and loved it but as Plush said, I prefer my converters to be transparent and derive coloration elsewhere. Best sounding converters I have used are Lavry Gold and Apogee Symphony I/O mkII 2X6 mastering edition (which I now own).

Note: I have not used Forsell or JCF but have heard excellent things about both
Old 26th May 2020
  #9
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Can someone confirm JCF audio (ad8) sounds a bit smoother, like burl for example, or it's just on the transparent side as Lavry ?
Old 26th May 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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judging from a couple of other threads you started recently, i can't help but getting the impression that you'd be far better off in terms of THAT 'sound' you seem to be looking for to use mostly ribbon mics, all but analog gear with lots of transformers, tubes and of course tape, maybe even bounce tracks and of course also mix to tape...

...or get very good at emulating all the processes (i recently described in one of your threads - did you ever count how many transformers were in the signal path i outlined btw?)

[i fear you're not getting what you possibly imagine by using a dark ribbon, two kilometers of old mic cable and a burl - and i still can't figure out why someone would be after THAT sound; i think it's a misconception that in the olden days, people wanted to achieve this sound: the gear however trapped them into a specific sonic landscape...

...which i'm glad i left a long time ago (well, for the most part: i sold my last remaining large analog studio and everything in it except some mics just two weeks ago]

no hostility/nothing personal - good luck!
Old 26th May 2020
  #11
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Plush's Avatar
The OP posts show that he is relying way too much on a converter to get his desired sound. That's not where it happens.

Work on the program material and get the instruments sounding like you want with techniques that don't expose all that detail that you don't like. Use dynamic mics, use ribbon mics, use gear with transformers. Don't use tape unless you are prepared to buy a reconditioned machine for $10,000. Use plug-ins.

Then any good converter will capture what you feed it.

A recordist does not define his sound with a converter. H relies on the converter to transfer whatever is fed into it. It is all the things done during the recording and mixing that gets you the sound.

Don't start out with the wrong ideas which is what you are posting here.
Old 26th May 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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Sybille's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
judging from a couple of other threads you started recently, i can't help but getting the impression that you'd be far better off in terms of THAT 'sound' you seem to be looking for to use mostly ribbon mics, all but analog gear with lots of transformers, tubes and of course tape, maybe even bounce tracks and of course also mix to tape...

...or get very good at emulating all the processes (i recently described in one of your threads - did you ever count how many transformers were in the signal path i outlined btw?)

[i fear you're not getting what you possibly imagine by using a dark ribbon, two kilometers of old mic cable and a burl - and i still can't figure out why someone would be after THAT sound; i think it's a misconception that in the olden days, people wanted to achieve this sound: the gear however trapped them into a specific sonic landscape...

...which i'm glad i left a long time ago (well, for the most part: i sold my last remaining large analog studio and everything in it except some mics just two weeks ago]

no hostility/nothing personal - good luck!
I'm having a master in the art restore a 1930 ribbon mic at the moment, I'm hoping that if I run it into a v72/76/vipre into silver bullet/ into anamod into burl/jcf audio converter I can maybe get what I want.

I'm obsessed with this "sonic landscape" you wished to leave. Just a matter of taste.

I remember your post, very helpful in fact, I'll just do my best to add as many tubes and transformer as I can while staying hybrid.
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #13
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i doubt one can mimic effects of crosstalk from a 2"/24 track tape machine, the idiosyncrasies of pan pots and again crosstalk plus some other small differences between channels and subgroups (phase dift, different fr etc.) of a large analog desk...
Old 27th May 2020
  #14
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nomatic's Avatar
I am running 16 Channels of JCF AD-8s for my tracking rig and find they lack any digital artifice and are devoid of that touch of neon electric sound of certain hi end modern units. I personally prefer the JCFs to Burl as I feel the Burl is fiddly on how hard you hit them and end up coloring the source too much.
The AD-8s just sound like music and have my highest recommendation.
I also own Prism and Metric halo 3d and have had Berkley , Antelope as well...
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #15
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Sybille's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomatic View Post
I am running 16 Channels of JCF AD-8s for my tracking rig and find they lack any digital artifice and are devoid of that touch of neon electric sound of certain hi end modern units. I personally prefer the JCFs to Burl as I feel the Burl is fiddly on how hard you hit them and end up coloring the source too much.
The AD-8s just sound like music and have my highest recommendation.
I also own Prism and Metric halo 3d and have had Berkley , Antelope as well...

May I ask you to what are connected your AD8s ?
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #16
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Sybille's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i doubt one can mimic effects of crosstalk from a 2"/24 track tape machine, the idiosyncrasies of pan pots and again crosstalk plus some other small differences between channels and subgroups (phase dift, different fr etc.) of a large analog desk...
My goal is not to be perfect, just getting as close as possible while having a good workflow.
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #17
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nomatic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
May I ask you to what are connected your AD8s ?
I am using a Metric Halo ULN-8 3 D with a additional AES edge card...
Old 27th May 2020
  #18
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axisdreamer's Avatar
It's an older unit but I choose the Rosetta 200 years ago because it sounds less bright and adds some low end and sounded more analog to me . As cheap as they go for now used you could get one and also get something else so you would even have two to choose from at mix time..
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomatic View Post
I am using a Metric Halo ULN-8 3 D with a additional AES edge card...
How does the A/D side of the ULN-8 compare to the JCF AD8?
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
How does the A/D side of the ULN-8 compare to the JCF AD8?
The ULN-8 is a good transparent converter. As stated earlier in this thread the JCF AD8 is perhaps the very best tracking converter if you are looking for a musical, analog or tape-like quality. It's not really "coloring" per say but rather just "better" sounding. JCF says it "ruins audio less" which is another way of looking at it. Most "clean" converters are perhaps degrading or failing to capture the audio in a way that isn't discussed or admitted much?

The AD8 sounds truly sublime... "musical" and "3d/deep" without "coldness" is how I would describe it. They are very different converters. Personally for me the JCF AD8 is the only AD converter worth using if I am going to record digitally. Radar and then Burl would be the next best options IMHO. I figure that I am already saving a ton of time and money on tape and tape machine maintenance recording digitally so the JCF AD8 is really a great value despite its relatively high price. Really since the advent of digital audio there is a general tendency for the manufacturers to cheap out on the analog sections of the converters. Compare the price of the parts for the analog portions of a 24 track tape machine to price for the analog parts in 24 channels of average conversion. JCF pushes the boundary of the quality of the analog sections on their units along with totally unique digital technology and the sound is "musical." This is how pro level converters should have always been built I think.
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #21
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nomatic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by veggieryan View Post
The ULN-8 is a good transparent converter. As stated earlier in this thread the JCF AD8 is perhaps the very best tracking converter if you are looking for a musical, analog or tape-like quality. It's not really "coloring" per say but rather just "better" sounding. JCF says it "ruins audio less" which is another way of looking at it. Most "clean" converters are perhaps degrading or failing to capture the audio in a way that isn't discussed or admitted much?

The AD8 sounds truly sublime... "musical" and "3d/deep" without "coldness" is how I would describe it. They are very different converters. Personally for me the JCF AD8 is the only AD converter worth using if I am going to record digitally. Radar and then Burl would be the next best options IMHO. I figure that I am already saving a ton of time and money on tape and tape machine maintenance recording digitally so the JCF AD8 is really a great value despite its relatively high price. Really since the advent of digital audio there is a general tendency for the manufacturers to cheap out on the analog sections of the converters. Compare the price of the parts for the analog portions of a 24 track tape machine to price for the analog parts in 24 channels of average conversion. JCF pushes the boundary of the quality of the analog sections on their units along with totally unique digital technology and the sound is "musical." This is how pro level converters should have always been built I think.
This......
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
My goal is not to be perfect, just getting as close as possible while having a good workflow.
of course you're not after perfection: quite the opposite actually, you're after analog imperfection... - and with that on the wrong track if you're looking at digital!

the burl sounds somewhat different due to it's analog stage btw, there's no digital magic...
Old 27th May 2020
  #23
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Sybille's Avatar
Well I guess I'm gonna go the JCF AD8 route then.. But into what? ATM i'm on an Imac but I'm planning on switching back to windows for stability. Any suggestion for a good sound card/ interface to complement well the ad8 ?
Old 27th May 2020 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
Well I guess I'm gonna go the JCF AD8 route then.. But into what? ATM i'm on an Imac but I'm planning on switching back to windows for stability. Any suggestion for a good sound card/ interface to complement well the ad8 ?
Options are somewhat limited for AES interfaces. Motu 112D or 8D, Metric Halo ULN-8, Apogee Symphony I/II, Focusrite RedNet D16R AES, Avid HD I/O with AES, RME PCIe AES, etc... Personally I use an RME ADI-8 DD ADAT to/from AES converter since I am somewhat locked into the UAD Apollo system having dumped way too much money into plugins I can't sell there. It works well and I clock to an Apogee Big Ben.
Old 28th May 2020 | Show parent
  #25
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Sybille's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by veggieryan View Post
Options are somewhat limited for AES interfaces. Motu 112D or 8D, Metric Halo ULN-8, Apogee Symphony I/II, Focusrite RedNet D16R AES, Avid HD I/O with AES, RME PCIe AES, etc... Personally I use an RME ADI-8 DD ADAT to/from AES converter since I am somewhat locked into the UAD Apollo system having dumped way too much money into plugins I can't sell there. It works well and I clock to an Apogee Big Ben.
I'm a bit in your position i have an appollo and 50 plugins but I'm about to sell it with the plugs, I want to work entirely itb without dsp, it's slowing me down, hey're not irrepleacable, I'll buy acustica and i'll be good, also i'm switching to windows, had enough of mac.


So I'll go AD8 into something and call it a day in terms of sound and efficiency/workflow.


Do you think the quality of the AES interface can have an impact on the sound? I mean it will already be converted to digital after all?


Also, where to buy the jcf audio stuff, it's confusing I can't seem to find an official shop?

Also, can the AD8 work with the 220v input we have in europe?
Old 28th May 2020 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
I'm a bit in your position i have an appollo and 50 plugins but I'm about to sell it with the plugs, I want to work entirely itb without dsp, it's slowing me down, hey're not irrepleacable, I'll buy acustica and i'll be good, also i'm switching to windows, had enough of mac.


So I'll go AD8 into something and call it a day in terms of sound and efficiency/workflow.


Do you think the quality of the AES interface can have an impact on the sound? I mean it will already be converted to digital after all?


Also, where to buy the jcf audio stuff, it's confusing I can't seem to find an official shop?

Also, can the AD8 work with the 220v input we have in europe?
Well its only my opinion but I'd say its hard to beat the uber simplified workflow/efficiency of the Apollo with Luna on a Mac/hackintosh. It's closer to working on my tape machine and console so I should say that is another reason I now continue to stick with the Apollo. The interfaces will usually impart a sound through the quality of their clock if they are the master clock or if you use a nice external clock that will be the determining factor.

Dealers are listed on the site: http://www.jcfaudio.com/site/distributors
Old 28th May 2020 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggieryan View Post
Well its only my opinion but I'd say its hard to beat the uber simplified workflow/efficiency of the Apollo with Luna on a Mac/hackintosh. It's closer to working on my tape machine and console so I should say that is another reason I now continue to stick with the Apollo. The interfaces will usually impart a sound through the quality of their clock if they are the master clock or if you use a nice external clock that will be the determining factor.

Dealers are listed on the site: http://www.jcfaudio.com/site/distributors
Just the fact of having to switch on the appollo and sattelites in a specific order everytime and once again when I exceed dsp is annoying to me, this and the fact my mac is crashing everytime a software related problem occur, it's slowing me down and less inspiring IMO.

regarding the dealers mentioned, for some reasons the first one only sell Levr and Latte, the second is a dead website giving blank page, the third one only give Lvr and Latte too, the fourth one has no jcf audio stuff whatsoever lol.

Really strange the only place I can find an AD8 to buy is on a website called sonicircus or on reverb.
Old 22nd June 2020 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
The OP posts show that he is relying way too much on a converter to get his desired sound. That's not where it happens.

Work on the program material and get the instruments sounding like you want with techniques that don't expose all that detail that you don't like. Use dynamic mics, use ribbon mics, use gear with transformers. Don't use tape unless you are prepared to buy a reconditioned machine for $10,000. Use plug-ins.

Then any good converter will capture what you feed it.

A recordist does not define his sound with a converter. H relies on the converter to transfer whatever is fed into it. It is all the things done during the recording and mixing that gets you the sound.

Don't start out with the wrong ideas which is what you are posting here.
Disagree, sience all tools has an impact on sound including converters. If you don't hear it then you are "a lucky guy".

Try to track Marshall via for exemple Forssell MADA-2 and Burl or UA2192. It sounds totally different. It's the same for acoustic instruments...

Mics are importand and so are mic pres but converters are most underrated tool in a studio especially in a digital age where most ppl think they got a soundcard and ready to sounds like a pro. Back in the days even tracking on porta let say Tascam 244 sounds totally different compared to Studer or Ampex using the same mic and pre.

My 2 cents
Old 22nd June 2020
  #29
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axisdreamer's Avatar
I picked the Rosetta 200 because the high's are softer and the lows are bigger like analog... I look at converters as the mixdown tape deck so to speak..
Old 7th July 2020
  #30
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Running my JCF AD8 aes into a Metric Halo 3D rig. Just switched to clocking the ULN8 off the AD8 and that even sounds better than MH's new 3D internal clock.

The AD8 has thrown me for a loop but I love it. For me, a digital recording workflow and mindset has always been predicated on what A/D converters lack sonically, and that can motivate mic and pre choices etc. The AD8 sounds so huge and analog that I've had to recalibrate somewhat.
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