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SSL Alpha/MADI A/D/A + RME MADI PCIe Card + Logic Studio ??? Modular Synthesizers
Old 22nd September 2007
  #1
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jindrich's Avatar
 

SSL Alpha/MADI A/D/A + RME MADI PCIe Card + Logic Studio ???

Any users of the SSL converters and/or RME card care to report how they perform? I believe Michael Wagener is using the RME cards.


What would be interesting to find out:

-How the SSL Alpha/MADI converters sound compared to the studio staples (Digi 192s)
-How the RME MADI card performs and what its real-world latency numbers are
-Whether if the combo RME+SSL work without hiccups, specially on Macs


As mentioned, I believe M.Wagener is using the RME cards to interface Nuendo with his Sony DMR100 mixers, so they must be delivering properly. Likewise, SSL is confident to publicy that its Alpha converters are being used worldwide by Broadcasters and Studios alike, including AIR studios -which speaks for itself; plus I don't think SSL would compromise its reputation with a mediocre product.


Anyway, IF working properly together (don't see why they cannot), the combo of the SSL converter, the RME card and Logic Studio puts an amazingly cheap and professional solution in the DAW world. The WHOLE package sells for $5k for godssake!!
That's unparalleled in the Industry. You get up to 64chs of I/O [email protected], including 24 chs of analog A/D/A and 24 chs of AES I/O, all connected via MADI which kind of lets you put the computer and converters in two different countries (with a single wire), and all fronted by the new Logic 8 which is finally as easy and intuitive as PTHD and will soon be everywhere (new standard) because of its very low price.



Adopters of the RME MADI card and SSL Alpha converters please do report. We have to find out whether this is a viable alternative to a similar PTHD rig (at a 1/4th of the price btw). I know PTHD ==Logic 8, but BeatDetective aside, they're quite the same to me now.

Sam or Jim (from SSL) can you please enlight us a bit on this?
Old 22nd September 2007
  #2
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crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
Any users of the SSL converters and/or RME card care to report how they perform? I believe Michael Wagener is using the RME cards.


What would be interesting to find out:

-How the SSL Alpha/MADI converters sound compared to the studio staples (Digi 192s)
-How the RME MADI card performs and what its real-world latency numbers are
-Whether if the combo RME+SSL work without hiccups, specially on Macs


As mentioned, I believe M.Wagener is using the RME cards to interface Nuendo with his Sony DMR100 mixers, so they must be delivering properly. Likewise, SSL is confident to publicy that its Alpha converters are being used worldwide by Broadcasters and Studios alike, including AIR studios -which speaks for itself; plus I don't think SSL would compromise its reputation with a mediocre product.


Anyway, IF working properly together (don't see why they cannot), the combo of the SSL converter, the RME card and Logic Studio puts an amazingly cheap and professional solution in the DAW world. The WHOLE package sells for $5k for godssake!!
That's unparalleled in the Industry. You get up to 64chs of I/O [email protected], including 24 chs of analog A/D/A and 24 chs of AES I/O, all connected via MADI which kind of lets you put the computer and converters in two different countries (with a single wire), and all fronted by the new Logic 8 which is finally as easy and intuitive as PTHD and will soon be everywhere (new standard) because of its very low price.



Adopters of the RME MADI card and SSL Alpha converters please do report. We have to find out whether this is a viable alternative to a similar PTHD rig (at a 1/4th of the price btw). I know PTHD ==Logic 8, but BeatDetective aside, they're quite the same to me now.

Max (from SSL) can you please enlight us a bit on this?

I have been using RME MADI cards for years now...since they first came out actually. I was one of the first people in the states to have one. I actually sold Michael one of his as well.

What I can tell you is that they perform FLAWLESSLY. They never break. And the options are almost unlimited. They do VERY well at low latency settings with RME's latest WDM drivers. You just can't go wrong with these cards!

What you SHOULD keep in mind, is that this format does split channel count when you go up in sample rate. So.... 64 at 44.1/48, and 32 at 88.2/96K.

I don't know much about the SSL stuff other than what Michael told me. I think he has one now. Maybe he will chime in.

jmtc...


p.s. My studio is now all AES which also allows me to put the computer and converters far from each other, albeit with bigger cables. I have used RME and Lynx AES cards and I find they are both excellent. The RME definitely has more features. I prefer AES now because I don't loose channel count when I change sample rates. It's also nice to be able to have a digital patchbay with standard TT AES cables and patch stuff anywhere digitally.
Old 22nd September 2007
  #3
Gear addict
 

I am also thinking on this combo for a while, or to go with the SSL Mixpander instead of the RME (not sure it supports MADI though).
The Mixpander would be awesome if it could support Duendo plugs as well like the Drumstrip. But I dont think that will happen..

I am sure it is a great package and the SSL convertors I heard seem to be very good ! But you have to take into account:
64 channels of digital MADI I/O = at 48kHz
At 96 Khz you have 32 channels left
24 ADAT Lightpipe digital inputs and outputs at up to 48kHz
At 96 Khz you have only 12 left
24 analog IO to max 96 Khz (quite enough though)

So no 192 Khz supported.

I wonder if one can choose sample rates in between, eg. 88,2 Khz ??
Old 22nd September 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I don't have the Alpha MADI yet, but I do have an RME PCIe MADI in a Mac Pro, going to my DMXR-100. The Alpha is my prime candidate for eventually replacing the DMX for I/O.

The RME card is solid, no problems I can think of. It works exactly like the PCI version I was using before....I don't know the latency specs on it, I'd like to.

Is there a combined latency if you mix the two? I don't know.
Old 22nd September 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
I actually sold Michael one of his as well.
You actually sold my first one to me as well. heh
Old 23rd September 2007
  #6
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jindrich's Avatar
 

thanx for the replies.

Good to know the SSL boxes halve their channels when running at 96. that might be an issue for some.

Waiting on a word from SSL (Jim or Sam). How do the coverters perform with an RME MADI? Is SSL planning a PCIe card to run on Macs?


Still think the $5k price for the combo (DAW + Card + Converters) a steal. Is this too good to be true?
Old 23rd September 2007
  #7
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

Works fine with MADI and the RME. We know of quite a few users out there...
Old 23rd September 2007
  #8
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 

I'd consider a Mixpander card as well.
It's very stable (as reliable as the RME cards) and offers A LOT more funcionality.

The SSL box is connected via a special TDM port which means that you can use all the 48 (without MADI) or 64 (with MADI) channels at the same time. You also get the most flexible latencyfree software mixer available and quite a lot of DSP power (for example for a lot of SSL EQs).

I've just bought another Mixpander for or Studio B. Great flexible setup!

Jim, I'm not getting tired to ask you about the Duende compressor for Soundscape!
Old 23rd September 2007
  #9
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to the sweetener,
Have you compared the SSL converters to other boxes? how do they sound?

When you say "latency free mixer with the Mixpander", you refer to a input>daw+plugs>output, or more a latency free mixer like other manufacturers offer (maestro and the like)



to Jim,
hi, nice to hear from you here. Can you specify more about the Alphalink series *sound* and about their latencies when working with somthing like an RME MADI? I know since i met you that you're quite a cautious man who wont make direct comparisons with other products and wont comment much about other brands, but without a Mixpander for Macs, I think you should tell us further about the combined performance of the Alphalinks with the RME MADI.

Incidentally, I'm sure you're aware of the new biz opportunities the new Logic 8 may bring to SSL with Digi keeping their technology and protocols for themselves. With a low latency Mixpander version for Macs and the Alphalinks converters, SSL can offer, along with Logic Studio (and the power of current Macs), an alternative to PTHD that sells for 5k instead of the 20k+ of a comparable Digi solution.
Old 23rd September 2007
  #10
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
I am using the SSL Alphalink MADI converter with 24 analog I/O and 24 AES I/O. Except for a quick functionality test, I did not have time to hook up the analog connections (too busy right now), so I can't tell you anything about the sound of the converters yet. I have used the AES side with my RME MADI cards and it works flawlessly, no problems whatsoever.

My setup is: Steve Lamm (Crypticglobe) built PC with two RME MADI cards, 2 Sony DMX R-100, SSL Alphalink SX, Euphonix 703 and 713 converters, Euphonix FC 727 (every format to and from MADI). It is all connected via the Euphonix SH612 Studio Hub, which is a MADI patchbay, so I can route any input to any output in the whole studio. The Alphalink is connected via optical MADI to a small optical to BNC converter box to the SH612 (the SH612 does not have optical MADI I/O).

It all works great. The analog and the AES I/O shows up on the SH612 software router and I can route to AES and analog at the same time (great for parallel compression). I assume all the inputs and out[puts would just show up in your DAW if you didn't have an external router (Jim?).

The whole idea with the mixpander sounds very interesting and I'll check into it some more at AES in NY.

Like I said I have not heard the actual A/D - D/A converters in the Alphalink, but I'm sure SSL wouldn't put their name on something useless. I report back when I've had some time for comparisons, maybe we can do that in the next workshop in November...
Old 23rd September 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
to the sweetener,
Have you compared the SSL converters to other boxes? how do they sound?
I don't have the SSL converters, I have the Soundscape box, which has a different
analogboard but the same functionality. I really like the converters though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
to the sweetener,
When you say "latency free mixer with the Mixpander", you refer to a input>daw+plugs>output, or more a latency free mixer like other manufacturers offer (maestro and the like)
Imagine the Mixpander like a DM2000 in software with a direct 64 channel connection to your ASIO software. You can stream 64 channels from for example Cubase to the Mixpander mixer, use all its functions (plugins, aux, buses, mixing, splitting etc), combine the Cubase signals with signals from other programs or live inputs (synths, hardware efx, outboard, whatever) and output everything to 48 or 64 outputs (or just mix it ITmixpanderB). As long as you don't use VST plugins (which you should rather do in Cubase) it's completely latencyfree.

The Mixpander mixer is so full of funtions that the flexibility is almost overwhelming. But you can really route every signal to every output, bus or whatever. Things like parallel compression, outboard integration, routing between different programs is soo much easier

These are the drawbacks:
1.) No latency compensation for VST plugins (of course this can only be done by delaying the signals, but there should be this option!)

2.) No dedicated hardware controller. Hello Jim?

3.) No automation (ok, it's possible, but too complicated.)

4.) Not many modern hi end plugins!
We have the SSL EQ, the two Algorithmix EQs (API and NEVE) and the Drawmer compressor. These plugins sound amazing! The rest (Aphex, Sonic Timeworks, TC and the others are quite old and rather average!)

Where are the Chandler, new TC, URS, Sonnox and Sonalksis plugins?
Hello Jim, are you working on this?
Why is the SSL compressor still not here?tutt


But if you don't need all these functions, you can still use the Mixpander as a very stable normal 64 in/out soundcard. IMO it easily smokes every other PC solution (RME or whatever)!

Last edited by TheSweetener; 23rd September 2007 at 07:20 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 24th September 2007
  #12
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

I'll see if I can dig up some ADDA conversion times - but know that we are talking in the VERY small millisecond region.

As for the RME - I'll leave it to them to publish their own latency specs...
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