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best converter for my protools mixplus Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 17th April 2003
  #1
best converter for my protools mixplus

hi guys

i'm just planning to upgrade (finally) my home studio from 8 i/o's to 32 i/o's. i do mostly electronic music, from experimental to techno to trance on my pro tools mixplus system beneath all the midi gear . i'd like to have 32 channels of i/o because i mix all my stuff on my mackie 32 8-bus (32 direct outs) and i wish to be able to record all the tracks at once, without overdubbing or recording track per track, because a lot of track consists various live elements. it is like recording a band live at a concert. the other point is that in future i want the 960L, the orville and maybe a ksp8. thus i need also a lot of digital i/o's to be able to implement this gear into the tdm mixer.

until now i've heard and read a lot of apogee, prism and of course the "standard" 888/24 converters. and i am not really experienced with such problems and thus a don't want to spend a lot of money to be aware afterwards that i would have to spend more money. i'm willing to spend tons if it is necessary. imho technique should NOT compromise creativity. i've read today some posts and i know that here really serious working professionals (i was amazed) who know all the different high end products and their weak points. so here are my questions to you as experts! i really need your advise!!!

-could you give some ideas? maybe i don't know all the converters out there?
-where will be the differences between these converters in sound and quality?
-how much will be the price difference between 3x 888/24 and 3 others?
-a lot of people say that 888/24 are not as good as the others, but if the 888/24 is much cheaper, will they be not good enough for my style of music?
-would seriously clocked 888/24's be as good as other converters, but at the same time cheaper?
-or should i better go with eg 8 focusrite isa 428 and then digitally into my daw, and not over the direct outs of my mackie?
-maybe there is all the way another solution???

uff... a lot of questions, i know, but they're relating all together in a way!

thanks a lot in advance, kind regards deft:::
Old 17th April 2003
  #2
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Mytek 8X96 with ADAT card + ADAT Bridge = sonic tonic and immortality!

If you need alot more channels cheaply, the Apogee AD16 doesn't look too bad.
Old 17th April 2003
  #3
1) Cheap and cheerfull is to buy a Rosendahl Nanosyncs or Ard Sync II to clock your interfaces with...

After that, the options get conciderably more expencive...

2) Get 32 i/o set of Apogee AD16's & DA16's running in and out of 2 ADAT bridges.

3) buy second hand Apogee AD8000's

4) Buy Prism converters

5) Buy Euphonics converters

6) Buy a Radar with Nyquist converters & integrate it into your studio
Old 17th April 2003
  #4
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
1) Cheap and cheerfull is to buy a Rosendahl Nanosyncs or Ard Sync II to clock your interfaces with...

After that, the options get conciderably more expencive...

2) Get 32 i/o set of Apogee AD16's & DA16's running in and out of 2 ADAT bridges.

3) buy second hand Apogee AD8000's

4) Buy Prism converters

5) Buy Euphonics converters

6) Buy a Radar with Nyquist converters & integrate it into your studio
how big are the differences between the ada 16 and ad 8000?
Old 17th April 2003
  #5
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
1) Cheap and cheerfull is to buy a Rosendahl Nanosyncs or Ard Sync II to clock your interfaces with...
I used to have an 888 clocked with the Mytek (great clock) and it didn't take out the papery tone of the 888, but it did improve it quite a bit.
Old 17th April 2003
  #6
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
Mytek 8X96 with ADAT card + ADAT Bridge = sonic tonic and immortality!

If you need alot more channels cheaply, the Apogee AD16 doesn't look too bad.
I'snt there a difference in sound between AES and lightpipe?

I remember reading somewhere about glass lightpipes sounding better for transfers. I have noticed a difference at times between AES and lightpipe.
Old 17th April 2003
  #7
Jax
Lives for gear
 

thrill, I've done a blind listening test and could not reliably tell the difference between AES vs lightpipe. YEMV. What system were you listening on when you heard the difference?
Old 17th April 2003
  #8
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
thrill, I've done a blind listening test and could not reliably tell the difference between AES vs lightpipe. YEMV. What system were you listening on when you heard the difference?
Soundtracs DPC or Virtua. Uses both lightpipes and AES/Spdif.

The difference was clear. Like I said there have been papers written on this, if I can find a link to one I will post it.

Thanks.

TTF
Old 17th April 2003
  #9
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
The difference was clear. Like I said there have been papers written on this, if I can find a link to one I will post it.
The closest I could get to finding a paper or link on it (short of searching the AES website... eventually) was this extract from the ME's board, filtered through my own words (hopefully not misconstrued) and from another post of mine here. These guys read their papers, too: (pardon any redundancy, and no I don't speak like I write, thank god)

"If I have learned this correctly (from Bob Katz, Dave Collins, Bob Ohlsson, and Michal Jurewicz [Mytek]) the quality of the PLL used in the master clock device has much more effect on jitter than any type of digital cabling used, including optical. Both usb and optical cabling are less than ideal if you are running clock over them, but either is fine for carrying audio signals after digital conversion has taken place at the AD/DA stages. For instance, if optical cabling was inferior for audio signals, Bob Katz wouldn't run the digital output of his Sony CD player that way. Glass optical is preferable to plastic optical, however. (not sure why this is... I can only speculate that plastic induces jitter? Haven't found out yet.)

With all that taken into consideration, the most stable clock is derivied from the wc i/o of a conveter. Or, if the converter's wc design is inferior to that of an external device, make the external device the wc master for the converter. By degree of most stable to least, the list of choices looks like this:

1) wordclock (has the lowest jitter)

2) AES EBU BLACK (no audio on the cable)

3) SPDIF black (no audio on the cable)

4) #2 or 3 above with signal on them."
Old 18th April 2003
  #10
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Buy a master clock, ( Nano, Aarydsynk, Lucid) an use the rest of the cash to get rid of that Mackie 8 bus, that will alter the overall sonics way more than converters in my experience with that console.
Old 18th April 2003
  #11
I agree, what he said.

Old 18th April 2003
  #12
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Bang for Buck i would go RME. Have heard vERy good work on them with Mix +. Spend the rest of your $$ on analogue summing like a dangerous or other boxes or a GOOD analalogue console with HEADROOM!, or outboard pre's comps, Eq's. This will be way more beneficial in the long term than buying GOOD digital boxes that will become redundant quicker than an analogue console. Also the console will afford you a greater degree of flexibiltity hopefully.

There are some great analogue console bargain around at the moment which will be reallt nice for your type of music.

The radar is a good tip as well... i read that u simply place it in bypass and i can fully concur that they sounds fantastic and you also get a hard drive recorder u can take away with u or RENT out as an addtional revenue stream.

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 18th April 2003
  #13
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chap's Avatar
 

wait a month

wait a month and get the Apogee Big Ben. No more PLL stuff to worry about and un measurable jitter.
Adaptive loop filtering will replace PLLs. Sort of a digital PLL only more solid.
I'll use it on my entire studio (40 digital inputs from a variety of converters)
Old 18th April 2003
  #14
Mytek for clock and A/D.
Old 18th April 2003
  #15
i'd like to have the tlaudio vtc desk. but i' ve just bought furniture from argosy for my mackie. so they would for nothing. 6000 $ flushed... :( be aware that this is going to be still a home recording studio. probably i will rent it for others, but mostly i want to make my own music.

i think a new console is now at the moment NOT an alternative. maybe in 7-9 years.

i don't see the point where the mackie should alter the sound because i rarely use the gains and eq's. of course i know that there are much better consoles. but i think i go for better outboard gear to improve the "lead" sounds. i think that should be enough just to eg. improve the bass lines, vocals, lead sounds. the 3rd hihat don't need a better or a high end channel strip to sound good. if i need once such a console i could take the session to a bigger studio.

i have to upgrade successively and a big console would be a too big step now. but once 960L, then better converters, cool analogue outboard gear, then an orville and ksp8 etc etc etc will let my studio sound much more better even if i mix them on my mackie. buying a big console for which i have to save the money over 3 years will not change my outboard. still i would use only 8 i/o's, only my dp/4 and dp/2 for fx.

the next step is comming at the end of this year, where i'm going to build next to my house a "little" studio. it's a 8x8 meter cr with a vocalbooth in it plus a machineroom (already there in my house). so think i will stick to better converters, maybe the money will be enough to get the 960L, orville and a ksp8 plus the converters.

but still i have to count the money. if it is much cheaper, let's say more than 10 grands of difference, but only a little difference in sound, i'm going with the 888/24 pro clocked by nano, aard, mytek or whatever my ears say it's the best. but if the price difference is not big then i stick to high end converters.

regards deft:::
Old 18th April 2003
  #16
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

deft_bonz.....

IMHO the TL VTC is sub standard for the amount of $$ they are asking. There was one on show last yr in a local dealers showroom and i thought it sucked nuts.. my opinion but to say i was diapointed was an understatement. Definately look around before you shoot for one of them. Maybe a Daking console!!!!!!

Also the problem with the mackies IMHO is not so much the pre's and eq, it more the lack of headroom in the stereo buss. also coming from a neve it is hard to cope when your mix starts to **** itself @ +16 dBu. Mixes can be done on them but i have found the lack of headroom so inhibiting to the mix it beomes 2D instead of 3D so if you like a pancake mix go ahead!.. lol i guess i just love headroom in all pieces of gear .

Your list looks cool in respect to other pieces of kit.. whilst im not much of an FX person the KSP-8 looks like a cool box! let us know an dpost some pics of your new studio as u r building it!..

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 18th April 2003
  #17
until now i've not had the opportunity to listen to different headrooms. honestly until now i've not did any thoughts about this theme. but as i've mentioned before, it's too early to go for a new mixing desk.

i will post some photos when i'm building my new studio.

if i will test the different converters in my studio: how should i test them? and how should i decide?
Old 18th April 2003
  #18
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I agree with Wiggy on the mackie 100%

Deft, Are you in an aera that you can audition gear at your space? if not, try to find dealers that have a forgiving return policy and try try try. The most imoprtant thing for me with any purchase is not just how it affects me now, but what it will be doing in 3-5 years ( or even 10 ) The 888 clocked to a nano ( or similar) will sound much better then a reg 888, but when you do upgrade your console or monitoring, it will become the weak link and be worthless on a trade at that point. aving said that, if it is the route that gets you making music, go for it! Remember one of our mottos, it's not the gear, it's the ear!
Old 18th April 2003
  #19
so you' re saying that i should go with the best possible converter for MY ear to be prepared for the future. i'm willing and know that high end gear will last for over 20 year. in such lang periods these gears are cheaper because they run and run and run... that's a further argument for me to buy only such units.

but there is always a little man sitting in my head called "mr. doubt". and he asks me always if this is not only pure overkill! perhaps i'm going with 4 ad8000se that cost a whole life, but don't i exagerate with this attitude? maybe i will never sell anything to a record company, ok this is not true, my next album will released on mikrolux and one if the tracks is just playing within space night (in earth views 9 for those who know it). so the first serious steps are done and my next album is on the way. but i've reached this without high end gear, although i've spent 90k for my studio.

so there is still the question of getting pure overkill???
Old 20th April 2003
  #20
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Quote:
so there is still the question of getting pure overkill???
There is no such thing here @ gearslutz... heh heh heh heh

Only the true slut knows the awesome power of sonic and monetary overil in order to support their habit!

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 20th April 2003
  #21
hehe... i share the same attitude, but you have to know that this is going to be my private home recording studio wihtout any clients, thus i believe that the number 2who costs much less (not cheap at all) than number 1 of the top ten converters will be enough for me.

saving the money for spending 10k$ for ad8000-se and getting converter for about 6k$ plus some nice effects/synths will be much better in price performance ratio for a home recording studio than just spending all the money only for converters.

so what would you recommend me at this price range? and how can implement radar as front end for my protools?
Old 20th April 2003
  #22
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Hi Deft

I just posted in your thread on SOS to come and ask in Gearslutz. I see you're way ahead of me! I had a read of this thread, and have another train of thought...

You said that you're doing mainly electronic music....I cant help thinking that spending a serious amount of cash on converters might be overkill indeed. The vast majority of your sources simply wont benefit. Presumably what you're after is a really slamming powerful setup. Nuance is not top of the list....? Assuming thats the case, I would suggest that you'll be dissappointed, as you could spend 10k and not really feel that everything has come together for you. Maybe some really good eq would be more important, and some good compressors. Which takes me on to the desk thing that some of the guys were talking about. The mackies have made a lot of dance records true, but more and more people are realising their limits. If you could consider a better console (even an allen and heath or something) you might notice an enormous change. You have all that analog eq! With regards to the conversion, maybe get an apogee 2 trak. That way you have 2 really high quality channels, with clock, and pres that you can use for vocals and stereo sources, letting you use 888's for the rest of the rig. You might be able to afford a nice compressor like an Alan Smart C1 or 2...very good for making things SLAM. Try Altiverb for some nice reverbs. etc

J
Old 20th April 2003
  #23
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Deft..

As a lot of electronic sounds are pre-genrated and are not designed to capture the nuances of an accosutic preformance and environment the extra $$ you are thinking about in shelling out or an AD8000SE, whilst a fantastic AD/DA IMHO is not really warranted.

Instead i would spend your money on eq/pre's/ compression.

Seriously i would reccomend a Neotek Elan for what you are tinking of doing. They are smallish, sound great and have EQ that is very complimentary to electronic music. That is one genre of music that i really dont think Vintage 10XX equiped Neves really cut is.. **GASP** . There are a bunch of Neotek devotees like myself, E-Que, Drumsound and a few others that swear by them.

These are getting cheaper allt he time and parts are readily available.

Keep ya 888's (666's ) get a nice clock and go for gold!

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 20th April 2003
  #24
the mist is slowly dissolving with your help...

having a better console woud be great, but a too big investment at the moment. the building, cables, reverbs, eq's and converters could be payed over the bank, but no chance of getting a desk or synths from them . another point would the time and the money i've spent last year for the furnitures and for the cabling incl. the neturik patchbay. this would be gone for nothing.

the most important point you've all said is to have better outboard gear. so my question is: what can i do with them for electronic music. normally all the sounds are already full compressed, pre-equed etc etc? can you say me where the big benefits with eg urei comp, gml eq etc etc etc would be for my setup?

recording:
mackie 32-8bus, klein & hummel O198 nearfields, brauner valvet, spl channel one, protools mixplus, sony dat a-9

synths:
oberheim matrix 6, casio cz1, roland jx3p, alesis nanobass, akai s3000xl, akai s01, emu proteus 2000, mam adx1, ensoniq asr-10, mam mb33, clavia nord modular

fx:
spl charisma 8, spl transient designer 4, ensoniq dp4, ensoniq dp2, tc electronic d-two, drawmer ds 201, aphex 104 aural exciter, mam rs3, mam phazer 2, behr**** ultra q, ale*** nanoverb, ale*** nanocompressor (sorry for those guys hitt, these were my early faults tutt) waves gold pack tdm (plugins)

regards deft:::
Old 20th April 2003
  #25
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I totally see your point with regards to the mackie...You've put a lot into that and you want to see something back from that time/money investment before suffering all the joys of finding a console and rewiring.

However you MUST disregard these factors when deciding what your studio needs! It s a mistake I'm sure many of us have made in the past...not being happy with the results we focus on changing things we can afford to, often more than once, or buying more and more modules or synths rather than tackling the REAL reason for feeble mixes....sometimes the console, more often the acoustics of the control room to name a couple.

With regards to what all the hardware can do for you...The main issue that has raised discussion recently is that of analog summing. Many people feel that summing 'in the box' is fundamentally flawed, and that if it is possible to get the ultimate sound from a DAW, it is certainly extremely difficult and inconvenient. This is perhaps because of the inherant headroom that quality analog desks and summing units offer. Your Mackie is limited in this department. Moving away from that issue, hardware eqs and compressors are valuable regardless of the state of your samples. Not ALL of them will be compressed, and some may need extensive treatment. After all, those processes are track dependant, so you must make decisions regarding their shaping regardless. If all the sources in your mix are pre eq'd and compressed, the chances of them sounding right together as a mix, are a million to one.

You have a pretty fine kit list. I think maybe some better conversion is a nice idea though. Even if its just one or two really good channels of A/D. You can then concentrate on getting some money coming back in and look for a new desk in time. If you start hunting for a console now, you might just find one by the time the money is there! Just kidding...it can be a frustrating process.

Jack
Old 20th April 2003
  #26
oh yeah i can see that the choice of a desk will be the most frustrated one to do. grudge

at the moment i hate the idea of being handicaped by too less inputs and outputs. but i see the point of getting a new desk. perhaps the time will come AFTER i made some serious releases like the actual album where one track is playing at the tv.

if i see that there is more money comming in with my hobby i will SURELY go for a better desk, maybe a neve vr ...

to stay at the decision of the "right" converters. i've just had the idea to go with different units. let's say 1 ad-8000, 2 myteks (they have only "one way" converters), 1 prism and 1 888/24 (or lucid, how are they???). this i could choose the converter depending on the source... is this a good idea or not????

regards deft:::
Old 21st April 2003
  #27
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atticus's Avatar
Another school of thought would be to sell the Mix plus rig while it's still worth something and go native. I'm sure that there are a ton of Logic users here that would strongly suggest that route. Then you could get whatever converters you wanted, without having to worry about DIGI compatability. But that's just lil' old me.heh
Old 22nd April 2003
  #28
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

We just got our new room fired up with a Mytek 8/96 (and light pipe to adat bridge) as well as clocking our 888's with a lucid Gen/x distro (using the Mytek as master clock)

VERY pleased to say it's no contest.....if only we could afford another 8 channels.

we'll instead wait for the Benchmark piece that's comming down the pike soon as a floater piece between a and b rooms. That'll give us 10 available track at once channels of "sweetheart" conversion.
the 888's will be used when those 10 are filled....

We'll go to PT 6 in about a year and re-asses for HD at that point....who know 's , depending on the climate we may abandon PT altogether.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #29
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by cajonezzz
We just got our new room fired up with a Mytek 8/96 (and light pipe to adat bridge) as well as clocking our 888's with a lucid Gen/x distro (using the Mytek as master clock)

VERY pleased to say it's no contest.....if only we could afford another 8 channels.
Congrats on the Mytek. I can't imagine my studio without mine. 888 conversion scares me now.
Old 22nd April 2003
  #30
My Apogee AD8000SE may be for sale soon!

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