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Alesis Masterlink converters vs Lucid AD9624
Old 13th July 2008
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Alesis Masterlink converters vs Lucid AD9624

Hello,

Do you think that Lucid's converters are better than those on the Masterlink for final mixdown? I'm thinking of inserting an AD9624 before hitting the Masterlink.

Or perhaps I should use the Masterlink alone..

Thanks for the feedback.
Old 14th July 2008
  #2
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AudioFocus's Avatar
 

I've been using the Masterlink for mixdowns for years and have never put anything else in front of them. Never really a problem for me, I don't think that my mixes have suffered from the Masterlink converters. Bear in mind that I never mix to the Masterlink at any sample rate below 88.2kHz.
Old 14th July 2008
  #3
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daillman's Avatar
i bought a 9624 from a fellow slut and like what little box brings to the table it has a nice clock and conversion is first rate
Old 14th July 2008
  #4
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daillman's Avatar
excuse my spelling im on my psp
Old 14th July 2008
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for the feedback. The opinions seem to be 50-50.
Another candidate on my list would be an RME ADI-2.

Decisions, decisions....LOL
Old 14th July 2008
  #6
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

id describe the converters as slightly below average.
put an apogee or any high end converter in front of it and you will hear a noticeable improvement.
Old 14th July 2008
  #7
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Andrew Kinsey's Avatar
 

If you already have the Lucid AD to hand then id suggest you try it out against the Masterlink converters and that way you will know for sure.

My guess would be that most (high-end) dedicated AD converters will sound better than the built in Masterlink converters.

Old 14th July 2008
  #8
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SOT...IMHO..I think it's the DA in the Masterlink that a little on the weak side. If you playback or monitor thu the on board DA, then compare the playback on another unit, ( even a cheap $20.00 DVD player....) you'll hear a difference in sound quality. The Masterlink's playback is not as open or relaxed?..YMMV
Old 14th July 2008
  #9
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
id describe the converters as slightly below average.
put an apogee or any high end converter in front of it and you will hear a noticeable improvement.
I'd say that's pretty accurate. I don't use the Masterlink converters at all.

Frank
Old 14th July 2008
  #10
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Jetblack's Avatar
 

We've been using a masterlink for a long time. About a year and a half ago, we bought a Neve 1073 DPD preamp and converter. We wired the output of the board into the Neve line ins and the digital out to the masterlink.

At 88.2, we did a A/B test. one straight into the masterlink using its converters, one using the Neve with the transformers in line, and one with the Neve without passing through the transformers. There was a noticeable difference between all 3, and the winner was the Neve w/o transformers. We even took the tracks to a mastering studio and listened to the tracks there, and w/o knowing which was playing, we all chose the Neve w/o transformers.

Now, all that being said, the differences were not by any means astronomical. Spending $3500 for a front end converter in this case would be silly, as a I think you'd help your mixes out way more if you spent it on a nice eq or comp. But the slight improvement is still an improvement.

So subjective I guess...
Old 14th July 2008
  #11
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I wonder how much of this is that placebo effect I keep hearing about.


If someone figures it out for sure, let me know. I am just using my Masterlink stock.
I hear you...in this case, I actually did an A/B with some recorded material through the SSL's to the Masterlink via SPDIF and analog direct to the Masterlink from the console. SSL's were tighter in the low end, clearer in the mids and in the high end. The difference wasn't night and day, but it was significant.

Frank
Old 15th July 2008
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

So..would I need a 3k external converter to notice a significant difference from the Masterlink converters?

Or would a unit such as the RME ADI-2 or Lucid AD9624 also make a 'significant difference'?

I'm trying to gauge, from all the responses submitted, if this will turn to be a significant investment vs final results or if I can get away with lower priced units (and improved sounding mixes) such as the 2 examples given above.

Old 15th July 2008
  #13
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Jetblack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TROT View Post
So..would I need a 3k external converter to notice a significant difference from the Masterlink converters?

Or would a unit such as the RME ADI-2 or Lucid AD9624 also make a 'significant difference'?

I'm trying to gauge, from all the responses submitted, if this will turn to be a significant investment vs final results or if I can get away with lower priced units (and improved sounding mixes) such as the 2 examples given above.

i was just saying that we didn't get a $3000 improvement. my suggestion? rent a high end converter from a rental place, or buy one from a pro audio place that has a good return policy and try it out.
Old 15th July 2008
  #14
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I'm using the Lucid AD9624 in front of a Masterlink and like it fine. However, the biggest sounding difference was using a Lucid DA9624 for the output conversion from the Masterlink for monitoring. You might try getting a better DA converter first to see what the Masterlink's AD conversion actually sounds like. Then you can decide if you need to replace it.
Old 15th July 2008
  #15
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TROT View Post
So..would I need a 3k external converter to notice a significant difference from the Masterlink converters?

Or would a unit such as the RME ADI-2 or Lucid AD9624 also make a 'significant difference'?

I'm trying to gauge, from all the responses submitted, if this will turn to be a significant investment vs final results or if I can get away with lower priced units (and improved sounding mixes) such as the 2 examples given above.

i notice a significant difference between the ML converters and apogee rosetta or even mini me converters. ive done several A/B's withe the forementioned units and the apogee's are a noticeable step up from the stock ML converters.
Old 15th July 2008
  #16
The Masterlink uses AKM 5393 ADC's and the matching 4393 DAC. The HD24XR uses the same converters but with different analog. The Radar 96 also uses the 5393 ADC's with the same 5532 opamps. The Crystal CS5396 ADC chip used in the Lucid AD9624 is still very good, better than the AKM part. The analog in the Lucid is lacking.

Masterlink's have a problem playing back off the CDR drive. The AES is better than the S/PDIF as wired. Play Masterlink recorded discs off a good DVD player feeding a decent DAC to audition. If you want much better, that Tascam R1k DSD is very nice.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 15th July 2008
  #17
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Mastering101's Avatar
i mix down through the Crane Song Hedd into the Masterlink. Doesn't get much better
Old 15th July 2008
  #18
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Soldier777c's Avatar
 

I put a 2192 in front of mine and the difference was significant.
Old 15th July 2008
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TROT View Post
So..would I need a 3k external converter to notice a significant difference from the Masterlink converters?

Or would a unit such as the RME ADI-2 or Lucid AD9624 also make a 'significant difference'?

I'm trying to gauge, from all the responses submitted, if this will turn to be a significant investment vs final results or if I can get away with lower priced units (and improved sounding mixes) such as the 2 examples given above.

Got $149?

PCM4222EVM from:
Analog Technologies, Semiconductors, Digital Signal Processing - Texas Instruments

Top-o-line A/D converter for very low cost. Just add a + - 15 and + 5 volt supply and go...

Less $$$, more performance = best value.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 15th July 2008
  #20
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buschfsu's Avatar
why don't folks just mix down back to a stereo track in your DAW? I actually have one of these and cant figure out why the hell anyone would use one.
Old 17th July 2008
  #21
Gear Addict
 

I noticed a big step up with Jim's Masterlink mod. Then I noticed an even bigger step up with a Lavry Blue, followed by an even BIGGER step up with API's a2d. I'd say bypass the Masterlink. -E
Old 29th July 2008
  #22
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soultrane's Avatar
trick to using masterlink;

monitor thru it while mixing...

you will be less surprised with the end result.
Old 29th July 2008
  #23
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in the red's Avatar
 

i use a crane song hedd in front of my masterlink, switching between masterlinks and hedds conversion is ear opening! like night and day. huge difference. i´d say those masterlink converters are way below average... so putting a good ad in front of the masterlink quite possibly has a huge impact on your mix.
Old 29th July 2008
  #24
Lives for gear
I just strapped a BLA Sparrow in front of my Masterlink.. Initial results....I'm impressed! Played back a track recorded thru the Masterlink converters, then thru the Sparrow converters. I'm really impressed with the noise floor ( or lack of noise) ..Price justified....( IMHO)..I'll report back as put some more hours in!...
Old 29th July 2008
  #25
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Ive had mine for two years and I love it just te way it is and I am getting a second one .
Old 30th July 2008
  #26
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KEYBEEETSSS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snatchman View Post
I just strapped a BLA Sparrow in front of my Masterlink.. Initial results....I'm impressed! Played back a track recorded thru the Masterlink converters, then thru the Sparrow converters. I'm really impressed with the noise floor ( or lack of noise) ..Price justified....( IMHO)..I'll report back as put some more hours in!...
Hey Snatch what chain do u have goin into the Sparrow...& what DAW???...
Old 30th July 2008
  #27
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crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier777c View Post
I put a 2192 in front of mine and the difference was significant.
Yup... + 1000

So much so.. that I haven't used a Masterlink since I got the 2192. I got an old RME 9652 and put it in a cheap computer with Wavelab on it (or Wavelab lite, or any software that records and burns CD's).

HUGE difference.
Old 31st July 2008
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Was there a problem with noise with the built in converters?
No problem with the Masterlink's converter noise wise. Just noticed the Sparrow had a lower noise floor after comparing tracks.
Old 31st July 2008
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by KEYBEEETSSS View Post
Hey Snatch what chain do u have goin into the Sparrow...& what DAW???...
Hello. I'm coming out of an analog console ( no DAW.....), into a Pico Stereo 2-Bus Compressor, into The Sparrow, into Masterlink ( digital AES)..I gotta get me an external DA..( Mytek, Lucid,etc.and by-pass the Masterlink's DA also..thumbsup..
Old 3rd August 2008
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Update..

Ended up getting an RME ADI-2 in front of the ML-9600. I like the change.
I thought the converters on the ML were lacking oeverall. Nice improvement with the RME.

Thanks to all for the feedback, much appreciated.
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