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Will Big Ben improve mid-end converters?
Old 21st July 2005
  #61
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atticus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoZo
Here is a quote

"When I replaced my old
converters with the Apogee AD-16X
& DA-16X I noticed an improvement
in the overall tightness of the
sound. While blind testing at British
Grove Studios, in London, both
Mark Knopfler and I and everyone
else present chose the 16Xs over 1”
analog at 15ips, 1/2” analog at 30ips
and a hot-rodded DSD rig. The sonic
quality and fl exibility of the AD-16X
& DA-16X are amazing.”

Producer/Mixer/Engineer
Recent Projects: “Shangri-La” - Mark Knopfl er,
“My Honky Tonk History”- Travis Tritt,
“Between Here and Gone” - Mary Chapin Carpenter
Hear the quality of the 16Xs...
on the new Mark Knopfl er, Emmylou Harris
duets album available this fall.

Chuck Ainlay


so fuuck u heh Joke

lol
Yes that is a quote from Apogee's advertising. What you said earlier is that Mark Knopfler and Bob Ludwig preferred the AD-16x to any analog, which just isn't true. The quote refers to a two track mixdown, as the two machines that are listed in the quote are stereo analog machines. The article I linked clearly shows that they are tracking analog, which would seem to indicate that they prefer the anlog to the digital, at least for tracking.

I'm all for you likeing whatever converters you do, but we should at least attempt to make accurate statements. Thanks.
Old 21st July 2005
  #62
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Todd, the answer is I don't know. I definitely felt that when tracking with the Rosetta 200 clocked to the 777 clock of the DA-16X, it sounded worse then when on the intelliclock. That is easily audible in my examples. In my new room, I'm going to get an AD 16X and try that and see what that sounds like. Basically, I want a midrange that is nice and cuts, the Rosetta clocked to the 777 (I still haven't got word whether the big ben is slightly different then the 777 in the DA 16X) had an overally smooth nd choked midrage.

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 21st July 2005
  #63
Gear Addict
 

I'll repost what I have posted on prosoundweb awhile ago:

AB7 wrote on Thu, 09 June 2005 18:21

"With all respect Mr. Lavry, because you know one hundred times more than I do, I have a Lynx Aurora. I recorded with it as a master and with the Lavry Blue as a master clock to it. The recording definitely sounds better clocked to the Lavry Blue. Yet the Aurora is suppose to have a good clock. I have to assume that the ears mean more than the theory? There are several other people who heard the same comparisons and draw the same conclusion that the Lavry clock improved the AD of the other unit."


It could be a possibility- it really depends how is the clocking of actual AD and DA chips implemented. It might be better it might be worse it really depends on the design of a particular AD/DA box.

Another issue here could be- are you indeed sure it's better?

The best test to answer which is really better (or rather "transparent") in this particular case of jitter would be to do a THD test with Audio Precision. You'd see jitter effect in such test.

If you use your ear - it's good to gain some experience what jitter does- the effect depends a bit on the converter used but generally upper midrange gets emphasized with small amount of jitter and some people think it is good, because some things will jump forward, but this is just an euphonic distortion. Then as you increase jitter the top loses clarity, bass gets less tight and eventually the stereo image collapses inward.

The "better" you pick , might not be the more transparent one. It depends. The issue has few factors one has to be aware of to draw the right conclusion about clock.

Our Stereo96DAC has two modes of clocking. Flipping a switch btw incoming clock and internal is almost equivalent to listening to signal with some jitter vs no jitter. It's an interesting exercise to try that on different playback material. Not always is the one "without" jitter "better".

Regards, Michal www.mytekdigital.com
Old 21st July 2005
  #64
Max
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang
Todd, the answer is I don't know. I definitely felt that when tracking with the Rosetta 200 clocked to the 777 clock of the DA-16X, it sounded worse then when on the intelliclock. That is easily audible in my examples. In my new room, I'm going to get an AD 16X and try that and see what that sounds like. Basically, I want a midrange that is nice and cuts, the Rosetta clocked to the 777 (I still haven't got word whether the big ben is slightly different then the 777 in the DA 16X) had an overally smooth nd choked midrage.

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Hi Bang,

As for the C777 in the AD-16X, yes it is an identical clock circuit to the C777 in Big Ben.

The problem with your test was that there is no control source to compare the two files to, other than themselves, which is totally subjective. This is ok, if you are just trying to determine which sound you like better, but if the goal is to determine which is a more accurate replication of the source material, you would need a control to compare to. Since you are recording yourself live, there is no control to use as a comparison on playback, so while you may prefer one over the other, it is important to understand that this does not really tell us much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus
Fletcher, who sells the Big Ben along with other converters, had this to say on these forums a couple of weeks ago:

Originally Posted by Fletcher
Now I've heard the 'Big Ben' do a wonderful thing to Apogee's Rosetta 800... and I've heard the Big Ben do something pretty cool to the Lynx 'Aurora-16' and totally make my RADAR-V sound like ass... as in it totally changed not only the tones but fukked with the balance of my mix in a huge way... now maybe it would have been a positive if I had started the mix with the Big Ben in place... but I didn't. We hooked up the Big Ben after the mix was ready to print and it totally killed the vibe, balances, size, dimension, and emotion of the mix that was up on the desk when the clock was added... but like I said, I've heard it help other stuff in no small way so I wouldn't take anything conclusive from the previous statement just a matter of observation.
Hi David,

Congratulations on the new gig. In this post, it is important to point out that Fletcher was listening back to pre-recorded material on his Radar that was tracked without using Big Ben. Again, without a control source to compare things to, this is totally subjective and as Fletcher himself points out, may have had a totally different result had he been tracking with Big Ben from the beginning.

The morale of the story is that you have to use proper testing methods to make accurate determinations about how things are effecting the sound.
Old 21st July 2005
  #65
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atticus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max

The morale of the story is that you have to use proper testing methods to make accurate determinations about how things are effecting the sound.
Couldn't agree more.
Old 21st July 2005
  #66
Lives for gear
this may have been answered before, but i can't find it:
for mutliple AD/DA 16Xs, and w/rossetta 800, is it fine to clock from a 16X, or would big ben be better to clock them all?

thank you.
Old 21st July 2005
  #67
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Sergievsky's Avatar
 

I ordered the Big Ben along with a Gefell UM900 and a Pendulum Quartet 1, should be here next week. So do I now officially belong in this sector of gearslutz, the snobby slutz of the High End forum? Or keeping my yamaha and digi002R and m-audio 410 and Firestation cancels it out?

I was thinking how can I possibly do a proper test on how much a Big Ben improves my system when running it without a BB means having to daisy-chain it all up again?

Hey David and Michal, how about clocking the Mytek with a BigBen and letting us know what happens? I still will need to upgrade my converters later on. (gotta let some time pass so the wife kinda forgets a little bit of the large impact this binge had on our bank account)

p.s. I reallylike these smilies heh
Old 22nd July 2005
  #68
Max
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raal
this may have been answered before, but i can't find it:
for mutliple AD/DA 16Xs, and w/rossetta 800, is it fine to clock from a 16X, or would big ben be better to clock them all?

thank you.
Either way is fine.
Old 22nd July 2005
  #69
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergievsky
So do I now officially belong in this sector of gearslutz, the snobby slutz of the High End forum?
Yes thumbsup ,welcome to desparate slutzs club heh .
Your choice is excellent and remember that's just beginning.

But what counts is your work - music you'll do with your gear and be ready sometimes to exchange a bit of sound quality for good inspiration and emotional vibe reflected in the track.

GYang
Old 22nd July 2005
  #70
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krid's Avatar
 

Max, the rosetta 200 clocked to the C777 is equal to the AD16X ?
Old 22nd July 2005
  #71
Max
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krid
Max, the rosetta 200 clocked to the C777 is equal to the AD16X ?
No, the X-Series converters have an upgraded analog section and power supply, in addition to the C777.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #72
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SoZo's Avatar
Yes Mytek... I agree. Out of all fairness, from the examples I've heard, Mytek converters are very clear and I would own them A/D. ( Personally, I didnt like the Lavry). Also from the examples Ive heard, I believe they would improve from big ben. Im sure they have a different flavor then the apogees which is great because this is what we do its called ART.

SoZo
Old 23rd July 2005
  #73
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Bosco's Avatar
 

For what it is worth here are some results from some test we ran here in Chicago.

The tracks we used for testing were on an Ampex 2"-16 track synced up to a work station,in this case Nuendo with an Lynx aes 16 card.

The converters were Apogee Rosetta 800,200 and X series.

The one thing that HAS to be addressed is the syncrolock clocking on the lynx card.When using an external clock with an Lynx card you MUST turn off syncrolock to hear any external clock in it's true form.If it is left on it takes the clock and referances to it but still uses the syncrolock clock.

I have not played with Digidesign's loop sync technology but If you can turn it off I would without question do so.

With the syncrolock on using Big Ben as the house clock a/bing back and forth from the tape deck we found that both the Rosetta and X series still had unpleasent mid range and the highs were not true to the source.

With syncrolock turned off it was another story.At this point the Big Ben was on it's own and the results were very very close to the source.The mid range and high end problem were no longer honky.

In my world a converter should be as true to the source as possible and to hear that you need an analog source that can be compared too that does not change.

Bottom line was that the X series were maybe 5% more transparent than the Rosetta clocked with the Big Ben and I mean maybe.The eye opener was when you turned syncrolock on they all souned very similar.With the Big Ben as clock the Rosetta was definetly improved in all ways lows,mids and highs.

Peace BT
Old 23rd July 2005
  #74
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosco
With the syncrolock on using Big Ben as the house clock a/bing back and forth from the tape deck we found that both the Rosetta and X series still had unpleasent mid range and the highs were not true to the source.

With syncrolock turned off it was another story.At this point the Big Ben was on it's own and the results were very very close to the source.The mid range and high end problem were no longer honky.
From your test the conclusion is that Lynx clocked by BB produces closer sound to tape source than Apogee X series.
Does it mean that BB spoiled X series conversion expected to be superior to Lynx according to many other tests?

GYang
Old 24th July 2005
  #75
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Sergievsky's Avatar
 

I've never heard of a converter where you can turn off its sync clock. I thought just setting it to external already means it'll march to the ext drummer. Is this just the lynx? Is it an actual switch, int jumper, or software switch? What others have this?
Old 24th July 2005
  #76
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Bosco's Avatar
 

The syncrolock can be turned off in the Lynx software,I spoke with them on the phone about this.

I am not sure about the best way to configure a Pro Tools rig,we just sold off a large system and are working with Radar,Tape and Nuendo.

On the Nuendo system I found the Apogee converters to be the the most accurate to the source that I have tried.


It is not hard to hear the Big Ben clock when you have the tape deck and the daw in sync.The tape deck plays right along with the tracks in the daw,just break a patch point to the console with a daw track and a/b.

BT
Old 16th October 2005
  #77
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolo
i add a big ben just the other day to my apogee rosetta 800's set up. let me tell you it does makes a great difference. the high end became more extended yet smooth, the mids were extremely more detailed. and the the low end was more defined. i put my wife in front of the system and just before playing a single sound she said i won't know the difference because i don't even know what to listen for. well, i played a song for her and she immediiately responded by saying it didn't sound like this before. i tell you, it makes all the difference in the world to me. go for it!!!!!
I had almost the exact same experience today, which makes sense since we have the same wife.

But seriously... I just added a Big Ben to my Digi 001 setup. That setup includes a PSX100SE on the front end. I ABed between the PSX100 clock and the Big Ben, and the difference was striking. I'll definitely be keeping the Big Ben. It's what I've been missing in my overall sound. Amazing. Great clarity, no more veil, add your own cliche here.

It took me a long time to pull the trigger on this, because I already own a PSX100, right? And the Special Edition at that. But I'm telling you, it blew me away and, yes, even my girlfriend could hear the difference.

Jasper
Old 16th October 2005
  #78
AB3
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I am happy with my isochrone clock. I use a Lynx Aurora and a Lynx AES16. I have to turn off the synchrolocks on both the Aurora and AES16 to get the benefit of it and it does make it worthwhile. (To turn the synchrolock off on an Aurora you must have the Aurora sofware loaded in the computer from the Lynx website.) I have sent files to others who have heard the difference as well. I do not know if the Isochrone is better than the Big Ben. I would doubt it could be much better.
All this should make those iPods sound amazing
Old 16th October 2005
  #79
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

The Apogee Mini Me made a bigger difference for the better with my 002R system than the Chandler, The UA pre, The Buzz, or the API 512. The difference was not subtle.
Or any mic I've had. And ate my old 888/24 for lunch.

It's a ridiculous no brainer, and the pre sounds great on acoustic guitars, and vocals as well. Their compressor circuit, which I saw a few people sneer at up here at one time, absolutely rocks on guitars. It's a great little secret weapon out there, that many pass up because they feel it's a toy, or just for location stuff.

I have a feeling it would be hard for most people to tell whether a track was cut with this, or the Apogee higher end stuff once the track was in the real world and out of the control room.

JMHO.
TH
Old 16th October 2005
  #80
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Better clocking can make an improvement, but it will not replace any components in the analog stage of the converter, or the digital chip itself. If you want drastic improvements, get a Mytek or something.

Why just improve the clock on a crappy converter when you could get a better converter?
Old 17th October 2005
  #81
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Riad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdunn
Better clocking can make an improvement, but it will not replace any components in the analog stage of the converter, or the digital chip itself. If you want drastic improvements, get a Mytek or something.

Why just improve the clock on a crappy converter when you could get a better converter?
I agree. You can justify the Apogee AD16-X which has the C777 Big Ben clock - best of both worlds.
Old 19th October 2005
  #82
Here for the gear
 

In response to AB3's post about turning off SynchroLock on the Aurora - I would only suggest this if you actually like the sound of slightly increased clock jitter. This is easily measurable on an Ap System Two or Stanford Research SR620 Timing Analyzer.

With SynchroLock off, Aurora uses its analog PLL for synchronization. The benefit of the analog PLL is a wider lock range, but this comes at the expense additional jitter.

Just for comparison here are some measurements using the SR620 to measure averaged RMS jitter of the word clock output. Use these numbers for relative comparisons as each measurement device yields slightly different results.

Aurora with SyncroLock OFF slaved to external source: 100 - 150 ps, typical
Aurora with SyncroLock ON slaved to external source or internal: 35 ps, typical

Just for comparison, using the same test equipment:

Apogee Big Ben word clock out: 47 ps
Aurora slaved to Big Ben: 35 ps (i.e. same as using Aurora's internal clock)
Old 20th October 2005
  #83
Gear Maniac
 

supposing improvement of converters by external clocking, would it (mostly) affect AD or DA. ?

cheers,
Macmod
Old 20th October 2005
  #84
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
I don't know. But I'm responding because I can tell you that it improves DA for sure, and that includes a final in-the-box mix. That is, when I dither down to a 16 bit, interleaved file it's of better quality with Big Ben than without. And that's for stuff I've already recorded previously, without using Big Ben for the AD.

Looking forward to trying both sides of the equation. Perhaps I should do a simple acoustic guitar/vocal test.

Jasper
Old 20th October 2005
  #85
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Riad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by macmod
supposing improvement of converters by external clocking, would it (mostly) affect AD or DA. ?

cheers,
Macmod
It improves both.
Old 20th October 2005
  #86
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

Jasper,

Could you post tracks or segments of tracks that demonstrate how the Big Ben improves the final dithered down track when using DA (i.e. with Big Ben and without Big Ben).

The fact that it could improve final mixes that were recorded without Big Ben on the AD side is of great interest.

Thanks,
Mark
Old 20th October 2005
  #87
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My experience with Apogee

The only experience I have with Apogee is a Rosetta 48. That thing sounded like crap. Very grainy and offensive in the high midrange.

The remaster of Exile On Main Street sounds phenomenal in my opinion. Bob Ludwig did it, and he seems to love Apogee gear. So maybe it's just Apogee's lower end stuff that sounds like a**.

It seems like even the most reliable/famous/talented manufacturers will strike out now and then.
Old 20th October 2005
  #88
Max
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstone
The only experience I have with Apogee is a Rosetta 48. That thing sounded like crap. Very grainy and offensive in the high midrange.

The remaster of Exile On Main Street sounds phenomenal in my opinion. Bob Ludwig did it, and he seems to love Apogee gear. So maybe it's just Apogee's lower end stuff that sounds like a**.

It seems like even the most reliable/famous/talented manufacturers will strike out now and then.
Or, perhaps it was the D/A converter you were using that made things sound that way. Not that I am doubting what you heard or your opinion, as that is very subjective of course, but I have found that most who describe the Rosetta A/D in terms you have used are hearing the inequities of the rest of the audio path more so than the Rosetta itself. What D/A was used? Was everything recorded through the Rosetta? How were things clocked? Truthful answers to these questions will usually tell the story either way.

Just food for thought....
Old 20th October 2005
  #89
Rep
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Rep's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstone
The only experience I have with Apogee is a Rosetta 48. That thing sounded like crap. Very grainy and offensive in the high midrange.

The remaster of Exile On Main Street sounds phenomenal in my opinion. Bob Ludwig did it, and he seems to love Apogee gear. So maybe it's just Apogee's lower end stuff that sounds like a**.

It seems like even the most reliable/famous/talented manufacturers will strike out now and then.
That's funny.... For us the Rosetta was a good sonic upgrade for the HD192,
wich sounded more brittle and not as clean on the bottom.
Old 20th October 2005
  #90
Rep
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Rep's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max
Or, perhaps it was the D/A converter you were using that made things sound that way. Not that I am doubting what you heard or your opinion, as that is very subjective of course, but I have found that most who describe the Rosetta A/D in terms you have used are hearing the inequities of the rest of the audio path more so than the Rosetta itself. What D/A was used? Was everything recorded through the Rosetta? How were things clocked? Truthful answers to these questions will usually tell the story either way.

Just food for thought....

Funny you should bring that up , as it was only after having a MiniDAC
for monitoring the changes, was it really very aperient.!
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