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Will Big Ben improve mid-end converters?
Old 20th October 2005
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rep
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.
Well, a lot of people I know think ProTools conversion sounds pretty bad, and the "ProTools" chipset in the EMU 1212M doesn't seem to be doing me any favors sonically. So an upgrade from HD192 isn't saying a lot to me. Also, I'm only speaking of the two channel Rosetta 48, not anything newer that's come out.

I personally found the Lucid AD 9624 very superior to the Rosetta 48. Ultimately, I was not satisfied with either A/D converter. I sold off the Rosetta on Ebay, and returned the Lucid to the dealer for store credit.

I thought the high end on the Lucid was much more creamy & smooth than the Rosetta. It didn't have the graininess. What I didn't like was the fact that it the Lucid didn't seem to convert the lows very well.

In my world at the time I owned the Rosetta, I actually found that the best conversion I got was from the unbalanced analog line ins mixing to a Tascam DA20!

I currently mix back to a Tascam MX-2424 set in Mix Mode. That seems to give me the "warmest" conversion of any combination I've tried, and sounds "truest" to what's coming off the Mix A output of my Ghost mixer.

I've never trialed or experimented with expensive outboard A/D converters.

As always, YMMV, and what gives an individual the best result with their gear is all that matters.
Old 20th October 2005
  #92
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riad
I did the exact same "wife" test when I got my Dangerous 2 Bus... she said, WOW. :D
Yeah, because the wanted to leave and go shopping.
Old 23rd October 2005
  #93
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John The Cut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Blackwood
Care to expand on this?
Not really. It stands to reason.
Old 23rd October 2005
  #94
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abit's Avatar
 

Don't have any experience with BB - no comments.
But I was one of the 1st one to buy R800 - that was day and night to my RME Multiface.
This is on the positive side of the story.
But at the same time it was big disappointment with FW situation...

As of today, 1.5 year later I stuck with RME PCI card connected to R800 through lightpipe.
Nah..
This not what I was counting on.
After asking Apogee what to do - the answer was - get a Lynx AES16.
ThankU Apogee.
dfegad
I was hanging for a !half a year! and finally send xFW-card back..
M-Audio FW, Motu FW, RME FW800 - work very stable as I heard -
Apogee not able to deliver..
This is ridicules.
Beside this, it's still a puzzle to me -
is it possible to see R800 and da16x at the same time with ASIO.
Otherwise what the point.

I'm not the only one who stuck in this situation.

Something defiantly weird happening with Apogee.
It's used to be a company I trusted - sorry, not anymore.
Not at this particular period of their history.

I think I'm gonna follow the advise - I'll sell R800 and go for Aurora16/AES16.
It's cost me now and will cost me more, but this what real slutz are for.
Bye.
Old 23rd October 2005
  #95
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Warren
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
Yeah, I can do that.

http://www.deceptivesound.com/16bit2.mp3
http://www.deceptivesound.com/16bit3.mp3

Both these tracks were recorded without Big Ben, but the second one was mixed down with Big Ben on the DA. Also, the first track is clocked to a PSX100SE.

Jasper
Old 23rd October 2005
  #96
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

Jasper, thanks for posting the files and all I can say is wow, holy crap. I guess those two files can answer the question of this thread right there.

I listened to it first on headphones (7506) and could barely hear any difference, so I then switched to the Mackie 824's and there is almost a night and day difference, and that's just listening to the mp3's!

What I noticed in the Big Ben files is a much clearer high end, like the blanket had been taken off, and a much more defined mid-range and low end as well as better stereo imaging.

You could almost physically observe the difference as it seems that the whole frequency spectrum had been shifted upwards and even where the sound was coming from in relation the monitors (woofer vs. tweeter) the sound was physically higher. A lot less boominess in the low-end too with the Big Ben.

The non-Big Ben track would have caused me to reach for a bunch of EQ where as the Big Ben track would have caused me not to reach for the same EQ. This clearly illustrates the need for not only good converters but a good clock as well. Imagine mixing a project without the Big Ben only to take it somewhere for mastering and final output where they are using high end converters and clocks and all your EQ sounds whacked!

Good purchase choice!!

I've been contemplating going with something simple like the Rosetta 200 but have heard conflicting reports that adding the Big Ben to the 200 as an upgrade choice later actually results in it sounding not as good. Makes me almost think about just going with the 16x all the way...

-Mark
Old 23rd October 2005
  #97
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

Just wanted to point out as well specifically in the file where I heard a big difference.

On the low end there is a point where he is really hitting hard on those lower notes around 00:37 - 00:41 and in that first file I'd be reaching for EQ to get out that boom and in the second file it's simply just....gone.

A specific high end improvement is harder to point out as it improved quite uniformly throughout, but just prior to that passage at about 00:33 there is some string slide noise that is definitely more crystal in the high end on the second file.

Overall it's almost the difference between sounding demo and sounding pro, and that's without an EQ change or added effect, compression or anything, and listening to compressed mp3's at that (and I recognize this file from the Portico vs. Great River test, so it's not even 'making a record' so to speak, where I'm sure the difference will be even be more pronounced for you. Maybe you should even repost those preamp comparison files now using the Big Ben?).

Of course these are all subtle in some ways too, and without better monitors they may be harder to hear. Interested to see what anyone else thinks/hears.

-Mark
Old 23rd October 2005
  #98
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Warren
...
Makes me almost think about just going with the 16x all the way...

-Mark
I'm using the PSX100SE for my converters and the Big Ben for the clock. Apogee still makes the PSX100, which leads me to believe the A/D, D/A conversion is still state-of-the-art even if the clock isn't.

Or... for some odd reason, Apogee continues to make the PSX100 even though the A/D, D/A conversion is obsolete. I would hope that's not the case.

BTW, with the exception of tech specialist Shane Koss (I think that's his name) I'm not a big fan of the company. I sent three emails to the sales department asking them about different upgrade paths, and they didn't answer one of them. Believe me, If I knew for sure that the AD-16X was superior to my set up of PSX100SE and Big Ben, I'd buy the AD-16X. But Apogee's motto seems to be, "Even if we know, why should we tell you?"

Pretty bad sales department anyway.

One thing: I keep writing PSX100SE, and the SE stands for Special Edition. I notice they don't make that anymore, so I'm not sure if it's because all PSX100 models now boast special edition specs, or if they just didn't feel like making the SE version anymore.

Again, I'm not able to get any answers out of Apogee. Is it any wonder people are gravitating toward Mytek and Benchmark? Not really.

Love the Big Ben, though.

Jasper
Old 23rd October 2005
  #99
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atticus's Avatar
Mike,

I am intrigued by your conclusions. Is there any way I can get .wav files from you that are level matched? I listened to the MP3's and accouring to Peak there is almost a .5 db difference between them in terms of level. Thanks.
Old 24th October 2005
  #100
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blackcom's Avatar
 

Improves performance of mid-converters, huh?

I have a ISA428 with the converters connected to an RME Fireface 800 via the lightpipe....I use the ISA428 converters as my main converters. I use the clock in the ISA428, not the Fireface.

Would A Big Ben acutally improve my soundquality??
Old 24th October 2005
  #101
AB3
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I can tell you that my Isochrone definitely improved my Lynx Aurora so I would have to think that it would improve the RME or ISA converters. I would assume the same for the Big Ben. I think the Isochrone goes for a little less than the Big Ben. I do not know if anyone has done a comparison of the Isochrone vs. Big Ben.
Old 24th October 2005
  #102
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus
Mike,

I am intrigued by your conclusions. Is there any way I can get .wav files from you that are level matched? I listened to the MP3's and accouring to Peak there is almost a .5 db difference between them in terms of level. Thanks.
David,

The .wav files are 17mb each, so there's a bandwidth issue for me. Besides, I only uploaded the mp3s to find out if anyone heard things the way I did. The test isn't all that scientific or conclusive, obviously. If you say there's a .5 difference, I believe you.

But I would like to make sure you're clear on my conclusions; I think there are only three:

1) Apogee's Big Ben improved the sound quality of my D/A on some previously recorded material, according to me, my live-in girlfriend and one other musician who recently visited my studio. To my ears, I'm hearing a vast improvement -- a crispness, a clarity. I can't wait to try it on the A/D side as well. (I'm doing a lot of upgrades here, so it'll be awhile.)

2) I don't know if Big Ben will work for anyone else's setup, but it worked for mine, and I was clocking an Apogee PSX100SE before I got Big Ben. The only way to find out if Big Ben will work for you is to do what I did: buy or borrow one and hear for yourself.

3) I don't know if Big Ben is better than any other brands. I've never compared them. Frankly, I didn't know about Isochrone or any other standalone digital clock until I started posting on this thread. I thought Big Ben was the only one of its kind when I bought it two weeks ago.

Jasper
Old 24th October 2005
  #103
Gear Nut
 

I couldn't hear any difference in these two MP3 files.
Old 24th October 2005
  #104
AB3
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2nd track is richer. Smoother high end. Warmer - not as harsh.
I had to put both tracks in wavelab so I could quickly go back and forth on certain parts in order to hear the difference.
Old 24th October 2005
  #105
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

The differences are subtle but there. Again I coudn't hear anything on either headphones or a smaller pair of Yamaha monitors I have, but on my Mackies (824) I could definitely hear it, and it brings up the issue of potentially making adjustments to tracks when you think you hear a problem with the tracks, when in fact the problem is an inferior clock of all things.
Old 24th October 2005
  #106
AB3
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I Had Hafler monitors with a Tannoy sub as well as the Mackie 824s with the sub. in both cases the monitors were shelved at 80. This adds a lot of clarity to the Mackies. So the difference to me was signficant the more I heard it. When you multiply tracks, I think the difference will even be more significant.
Old 24th October 2005
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
I couldn't hear any difference in these two MP3 files.
i heard quite a difference on my G4 powerbook.

just got an isochrone. hope it makes as marked a difference on 192s. maybe i'll see if i can borrow a big ben and compare... thanks for posting the files jasper.
Old 24th October 2005
  #108
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Dave Casey's Avatar
 

Hey Mike,

Just to clarify things a bit: The PSX-100 was a fantastic product and was in fact the first Apogee product I owned long before working here. It has however, been discontinued and a new PSX has not rolled off the assembly line in a number of years. We did have a few re-furbished units that we were selling during the last part of 2004, but even those are now long gone.

Building on the legacy of the PSX-100, we introduced the Rosetta 200 at the beginning of this year. The Rosetta 200 is a 2X2 interface with improved converters, analog design, word clock and power supply over the previous PSX-100. The Rosetta 200 supports higher sampling rates and the expanded connectivity options, such as Firewire and Pro Tools, via the X-option slot and it also features sample rate conversion and the Aptimizer technology. You can check it out here:

http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/rosetta200.php

Addressing your feelings about the Apogee pre-sale experience, I apologize for your dissatisfaction with the follow-up you received (or did not receive). I went back to search through every email I have received since beginning work at Apogee almost two years ago and was only able to find one email from you, which arrived at 4:30pm on October 4th. Unfortunately, I was already wheels up on my way to the AES show in NYC. I generally do try very hard to answer emails even after a long day on the show floor, but for whatever reason, this particular email fell through the cracks and went unanswered. For this, I apologize.

My primary purpose at Apogee is to educate potential customers and to facilitate the sale of Apogee gear. With this in mind, it is never my intention to keep interested customers like you from the information that will help you make purchasing decisions on Apogee products. In the future, my suggestion would be to follow up with a phone call, as one way or another you should be able to reach me.

I have two obsessions in my world: Old cars and great sounding recording equipment. Give me enough time and I will bore you to death with opinions on both. My number at the office is 310-584-9394 ext. 37. I would love the chance to discuss all things Apogee….or muscle cars (so long as its Chevy-related ) with you whenever you have the time.

Cheers,

Dave
Old 24th October 2005
  #109
AB3
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Mike - while I love my isochrone - I have to say - that is a classy response from apogee. Just shows we are all human.
AB
Old 25th October 2005
  #110
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3
Mike - while I love my isochrone - I have to say - that is a classy response from apogee. Just shows we are all human.
AB
Yeah, well, if you're going to be twenty days late, the least you can do is be classy.

Here's why I thought the PSX100 was still in play. It's listed under SUPPORT, rather than PRODUCTS at the website. I didn't notice that. My mistake, and maybe a costly one:

PSX100

It does look like I might have been better off getting the Rosetta 200, especially if it uses the same clock employed by Big Ben (frankly, I'm not sure).

Then again... maybe I got exactly what I needed. The Rosetta 200 goes up to 192khz conversion rates, but I never go past 48khz. Ever. The Rosetta 200 connects directly to Pro Tools HD and Pro Tools Mix systems, but I'm using a Digi001. It also has an optional FireWire connection, but again I'm using a Digi001. Don't need firewire for that.

(SIDEBAR: Would I even need a FireWire connection if I had a Digi 002? After all, I could run my chain from the mics, to the mic preamp, to maybe a compressor, then to the converters via analog, then out of the converters to the Digi 002 via S/PDIF. I think this would work just fine, although I also see that if you connected via FireWire, it would leave the S/PDIF free for something else to connect, such as a Lexicon PCM91.)

The Rosetta has SoftLimit and UV22HR. I only have UV22. But I've been using Pro Tools PowRDither anyway. I don't have Aptomizer, and I don't have sample rate conversion. But I don't see that as essential, really, since most of my tracks are 24bit, 44.1 and I'm hitting everything plenty hard while recording. At least I think I am.

But Rosetta 200 has Intelliclock. Does Big Ben? Here is what it says about Intelliclock at the Apogee website:

"Another essential for outstanding digital recording is maintaining an ultra-low-jitter, clock signal. To accomplish this, ROSETTA 200 utilizes Apogee’s Intelliclock. Intelliclock is really two clocks in one. A fast-responding ´read´ clock, with a wide locking range, fills a dedicated FIFO buffer, while an ultra-low-jitter ´write´ clock writes the data out of the buffer, and is used to clock the converter."

Here is what it says about the C777 clock used by Big Ben:

"At the heart of any word clock regeneration is a phase lock loop (PLL). The PLL is a combination of analog and digital elements without the ability to dynamically adapt to the nature of the external clocks. In other words, the better the clock performance, the less flexibility it has. And conversely, the more flexibility there is in a PLL, the less effective it is at jitter reduction. Apogee’s new C777 is built to address these inadequacies. The C777 utilizes an entirely digital process that Apogee has developed using the most advanced Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) technology available along with DSP based digital filtering. The result is the most aggressive jitter reduction ever. With the flexibility and stability provided the C777, Big Ben is able to re-clock devices with excessive jitter and function as if it were the master clock. The ultimate in flexibility combined with unprecedented levels of performance make the C777 unequaled in the world of clocking."

I'll have to talk to Dave and find out if the clocks in the Rosetta and Big Ben are the same. I just put in a call to him, 4 p.m. or so Pacific Time (Apogee is on the West Coast) and got his answering machine. Banker's hours on a Monday. Hey, I'm just saying.

I'll tell you guys more as I learn more.

Jasper
PS -- Despite the fact that I once did publicity for NASCAR racer Flyin' Bryan Germone, I do not give a flyin' **** about cars, Chevy or otherwise. Again, I'm just saying. But I would definitely love to talk about converters.
Old 25th October 2005
  #111
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Warren
I've been contemplating going with something simple like the Rosetta 200 but have heard conflicting reports that adding the Big Ben to the 200 as an upgrade choice later actually results in it sounding not as good.-Mark
Just read this post again. It would be nice for Dave Casey to comment on this Rosetta 200 vs. Big Ben question here, I think.

BTW, Mark, I sent you a PM regarding preamp tests from another thread. Send me an email or call me at 301-7203.

Jasper
Old 25th October 2005
  #112
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Just talked to Dave Casey. Here's what I got from him:

The clock used in the Rosetta 200 is not the same as the clock used in the Big Ben. Most of you guys probably knew that. The clock in the Big Ben is superior.

Second, he thinks the Rosetta 200 by itself is better than the combination of my PSX100SE and the Big Ben. Not a night and day difference, but better. (This is the only thing he said that I think might be bull****. Not night and day bull****, but...)

The 16 AD-X and 16 DA-X units include the Big Ben clock. Makes sense, since it's the top-of-the-line stuff.

In Dave's estimation, the best configuration for my two-channel setup would be the Rosetta 200 clocked to the Big Ben.

At this point, I'd like to get my hands on a Rosetta 200 and try some tests. But first...this might be a good time for the guy from Mytek to jump in again.

Jasper
PS -- Dave Casey's a pretty good guy, BTW.
Old 25th October 2005
  #113
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Dave Casey's Avatar
 

Mike,

Good chatting with you this evening...no banker's hours for me, I'm in for the long haul until at least 6PM.

Regarding my comment about the PSX-100SE (with Big Ben) and Rosetta 200 (without Big Ben) comparison, I wasn't feeding you a line of BS at all. In my opinion, I think that the sonic differences between these two front end solutions is small, but if I was to personally choose what I think is the best, I would have to say the Rosetta 200. Additionally, quite a few other people I have run into who have compared the two feel the same way. Put the Big Ben on the 200 and you have much less of a horse race.

I strongly recomend listening for yourself. If you need help finding someone to hook you up with a Rosetta 200 give me another call and I will see what I can do to help.

Dave
Old 25th October 2005
  #114
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Casey
Mike,

Good chatting with you this evening...no banker's hours for me, I'm in for the long haul until at least 6PM.

Regarding my comment about the PSX-100SE (with Big Ben) and Rosetta 200 (without Big Ben) comparison, I wasn't feeding you a line of BS at all. In my opinion, I think that the sonic differences between these two front ends solutions is small, but if I was to personally choose what I think is the best, I would have to say the Rosetta 200. Additionally, quite a few other people I have run into who have compared the two feel the same way. Put the Big Ben on the 200 and you have much less of a horse race.

I strongly recomend listening for yourself. If you need help finding someone to hook you up with a Rosetta 200 give me another call and I will see what I can do to help.

Dave
I believe you believe that, but I wouldn't believe that until I heard it for myself. Better?

Okay, then. Anybody in Austin, Texas got a Rosetta 200 they're willing to bring over to my studio?

Jasper
Old 25th October 2005
  #115
AB3
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And for the price of a Rosetta 200 I believe you can get a Lynx Aurora 8 channel. Six more channels! And with or without your Big Ben, I am sure the Lynx will sound great. And Lynx is a company that responds RIGHT AWAY!!! I have dealt with Lynx since 1999 (maybe 1998) and they are awesome people. But to be honest, I bet what you have is great right now. I hope you borrow a Rosetta 200 and compare it to your PSX with the Big Ben. Send us the samples. My bet is that it is not worth the money versus getting other gear that can enhance "your sound." Your MP3s were great.
Old 25th October 2005
  #116
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Mark Warren's Avatar
 

Mike,

Never got your PM but I just PM'd you with my number, and left you a phone message as well. The Rosetta is definitely still at the top of my list, and probably will be the unit I'll go for, so I would have it quite soon. Let's get together.

-Mark
Old 25th October 2005
  #117
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John The Cut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
Just talked to Dave Casey. Here's what I got from him:

The clock used in the Rosetta 200 is not the same as the clock used in the Big Ben. Most of you guys probably knew that. The clock in the Big Ben is superior.

Second, he thinks the Rosetta 200 by itself is better than the combination of my PSX100SE and the Big Ben. Not a night and day difference, but better. (This is the only thing he said that I think might be bull****. Not night and day bull****, but...)

The 16 AD-X and 16 DA-X units include the Big Ben clock. Makes sense, since it's the top-of-the-line stuff.

In Dave's estimation, the best configuration for my two-channel setup would be the Rosetta 200 clocked to the Big Ben.

At this point, I'd like to get my hands on a Rosetta 200 and try some tests. But first...this might be a good time for the guy from Mytek to jump in again.

Jasper
PS -- Dave Casey's a pretty good guy, BTW.


This is exactly the kind of BS marketing hype I was referring to earlier in the thread.

Of COURSE he suggested you clock your 200 to the Big Ben. Its another £1500 for Apogee.

My point, is that why does the Big Ben make SUCH a difference to the Rosetta. It certainly shouldnt make £1500 worth of difference. I consider Rosetta 200 to be very much a high end converter - it should be THAT GOOD straight out of the box. If Apogee have the technology and are not implementing it and then charging you an extra wad of cash to improve things thats not fair imo.

I realise the Big Ben is superior clock technology, but it should not make a huge difference to the Rosetta - and probably doesnt.
Old 25th October 2005
  #118
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atticus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
At this point, I'd like to get my hands on a Rosetta 200 and try some tests. But first...this might be a good time for the guy from Mytek to jump in again.
OK, here I am. Seriously if you want to do a converter shootout I'd be more then happy to arrange for a demo for you. With our converter I'd recommend using it on the internal clock, which is very good. Using an external clock will change the sound somewhat but will undoubtedly degrade it's performance. You may like the sound of the degridation, so whatever works then go for it. We also make an external clock but would never suggest that you need to buy it to improve the performance of a converter you already bought, especially since they already have great clocks in them to begin with.

The thing you have to understand about converters is that you never really know what's accurate in terms of the sound. Once a signal is sent through a microphone and various outboard gear how can you really tell what the converter is doing to it? You can see how one converter sounds different then another one but you can't tell which one is more accurate as opposed to which one you just like better. Some marketing materials claim that their converters sound more like the source, but even the source is a moving target. When you record a guitar amp are you really listening to it with you ear against the cone, or is the sound you associate with a Fender Twin or Deluxe the sound you hear in stereo ten feet or so away from it?

These things are all just tools. The magic of any recording is in the musicians and the interaction between them. At Mytek I think we make really great converters, clocks, and meters, but I'd be a fool to think that Mytek gear made more of a difference in a recording then the musicians did. We just try to build gear so that it stays out of the way and lets the music happen.

With all that said if you want to do a shootout let me know. My cell number is in my signature, and If I don't answer I'll call you back within an hour.
Old 25th October 2005
  #119
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Dave Casey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogWai
This is exactly the kind of BS marketing hype I was referring to earlier in the thread.

Of COURSE he suggested you clock your 200 to the Big Ben. Its another £1500 for Apogee.
Considering Mike already has a Big Ben, I do not see the relevance.

Quote:
My point, is that why does the Big Ben make SUCH a difference to the Rosetta. It certainly shouldnt make £1500 worth of difference. I consider Rosetta 200 to be very much a high end converter - it should be THAT GOOD straight out of the box. If Apogee have the technology and are not implementing it and then charging you an extra wad of cash to improve things thats not fair imo.
My understanding is that putting the C777 clock in the Rosetta 200 would add to the cost of the unit significantly. Generally, I would say that the Rosetta 200 on its own is more than enough, but Mike has a Big Ben, so it is relevant to mention how it would perform in that context. I am confident that the Rosetta 200 by itself will outperform any other 2 channel converter on the market; I have personally witnessed it in double blind shootouts, comparing a source to the Rosetta 200 and other converters many times since I have been here.

Quote:
I realise the Big Ben is superior clock technology, but it should not make a huge difference to the Rosetta - and probably doesnt.
It’s not a huge difference. The improvements that Big Ben provides to a Rosetta 200 are much less apparent then they are when clocking a PSX-100, but they are there.
Adding Big Ben makes sense if there are other things to clock in the studio or if you can take advantage of Big Ben’s other features such as vari-speed, video input, format conversion, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Seymor
The thing you have to understand about converters is that you never really know what's accurate in terms of the sound. Once a signal is sent through a microphone and various outboard gear how can you really tell what the converter is doing to it? You can see how one converter sounds different then another one but you can't tell which one is more accurate as opposed to which one you just like better. Some marketing materials claim that their converters sound more like the source, but even the source is a moving target
When it comes to evaluating the accuracy of a conversion process, it most certainly can be done and is indeed very important. If you are recording a Marshall guitar cabinet with a Royer going through an API 512, you are creating a sound. It may or may not sound exactly like the source (the guitar amp itself), but that doesn't always matter. Maybe this combo thickens the sound a bit and this why you like it. Maybe it makes that somewhat "boxy" sounding cabinet a little more open sounding....regardless, you think it sounds good, so IT IS good. Now you want to capture that sound digitally with a minimal amount of loss. This is the role of the converter.

Conversion (as all of us know) is the process that takes the analog world and makes it digital. Accuracy IS important at this point. I want to know that the energy of a specific mic pre or eq is not being countered by a dull conversion. On the flip side, I don't want unnecessary "hyping" occuring at my conversion stage. I prefer to shape and mould my sound with mic, pre amp, and eq selections.

I have done a number of converter shootouts in the past year. The best ones were always when we ran an analog source (a piano, cello, vocal, etc) through a specific chain (mic, pre, and sometimes eq) and split the source into three destinations: Converter 1's AD/DA, Converter 2's AD/DA, and a direct feed to the monitoring and selecting device (multiple 2-track inputs on a console, a Central Station-esque monitoring device, etc). Now you can switch between the two candidates for the conversion process AND the source. The source is constant and known because it is the same mic, pre, eq and instrument which makes it possible to first choose which conversion sounds best to your ears, and then which sounds closest to the un-converted source.

Obviously, it comes down to what you want out of the conversion process. If you are looking for the most accuracy at the conversion stage, you can achieve it. If you are looking for something to "enhance" the sound, you can find it. To say that it is impossible to truly evaluate a converter's accuracy is not entirely correct. It can be done if you are willing to do it properly.

Dave
Old 25th October 2005
  #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
Yeah, I can do that.

http://www.deceptivesound.com/16bit2.mp3
http://www.deceptivesound.com/16bit3.mp3

Both these tracks were recorded without Big Ben, but the second one was mixed down with Big Ben on the DA. Also, the first track is clocked to a PSX100SE.

Jasper
What? Are you sure that the clocking is the only difference? What was your final mixdown medium. You went out analog, right? Into what? Converted how?

-R
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