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ULN 8 vs. Prismsound Orpheus vs AD16X +DA16X
Old 23rd October 2009
  #1
ULN 8 vs. Prismsound Orpheus vs AD16X +DA16X

Hello all,

Like a month ago I was sure that i would be a proud Ensemble owner soon. Then I discovered this slutty site and yes i have been hardly infected. Now my current setup consists of 7 kick-ass external synthesizers and an MPC. I work with Macs sequencing with Logic.

So not in need of pre-amps really (at least not now) and perhaps never more than one or two. So I finally came to this stage of decision.

Which one of these three solutions is the right path for me?

Pricewise Prism seems most intersesting as I can get one for about 3.000,- euro's, ULN8 is about 5.000,- and the AD/DA16X combi about 6.000,-.

The latter is already a couple of years on the market.

I will need at least 16 line inputs.

grts,

ens
Old 23rd October 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Welcome friennnnnnnnd ! I know the feeling. This site could make you want to go out and become the CEO of Apple, just so you could afford to get all the gear mentioned in this forum !!! At any rate, which interface really depends on what sound you're looking for. The Apogees are great, especially with analog sounding stuff, like an SE-1X or live guitar. Warm and creamy !!! The ULN8 is kinda in a similar ball park, with a bit more definition in the mids, IMHO. If you are doing stuff that you want going in the analog-esque direction with out summing through a mic pre, I say go with the AD's (Although they definitely have their own 'sound'). If price is not an issue and you have a very stable and powerful Mac, and your looking for the most 'Transparent' accurate and detailed converter, Id say get the Orpheus' or two of them for your I/O needs. I if clarity and precision is what you're looking for without sounding too 'clinical' or clean, there it is. This is especially true if you're into the contemporary music scene and need competitive and loud mixes. Another option would be to get an Rosetta 800 for that Analog creamy stuff along with an Orpheus and Aggregate them on the Mac, using the Orpheus to Clock the Rosetta - 8 AD/DA I/O on the Rosetta & 8 AD/DA on the Orpheus, with 2 S/PDIF and 8 ADAT to spare - Stack
Old 23rd October 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
jindrich's Avatar
 

Get the Prism Orpheus. The converters are absolute first class, the 4 preamps are quite remarkable, comes with rather nice monitoring capabilities, RIAA EQ curves, etc, and the price is quite reasonable at €3k for what it does.

If you need more converters get an SSL Alphalink for €1.5k, and an SSL/RME PCIe card for €500. The SSL is not as good as the Prism, but is comparable to apogees/Lynx.

Now plug the SSL Alphalink into the Prism and you have 16 chs of AD/DA that works thru Firewire (for laptops on location). When at the studio, plug the Prism into the SSL (which is connected to the PCIe card housed in a desktop computer) and you get 32 chs of AD/DA.

The above setup will cost you €5k. Only one word of advise though, as there are two different kinds of converters, AD or DA latency (NOT to be mistaken with interface latency), might be off a few samples. So when recording (or playing back), don't spread multimicced instruments (like a drumset) thru both converters in order to avoid phase issues. That's all.
Old 23rd October 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Thanks for your usefull reply Stackm!

If I am into the contemporary music scene and need competitive and loud mixes? Yes! I want competitive and loud mixes with maximum of transparancy and definition. From low to high frequencies, that's not to much asked is it?

Reagarding a stable and powerful Mac, I wil invest in one as soon as they release the next Mac Pro update with lots of ram and a raid system etc. So that is going to come within months.

I just watchted a video where I discovered that I can use the pre amps as line inputs as well so it would make make a tot of 12 line inputs on the Prism. I think I will go and listen to this prism card next week at the local dealer.

Basically I am into electronic music so it's good to hear that this card is good for that

Cheers.
Old 23rd October 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Ok Jindrich thank you too! i will read some on those SSL stuff as I don't really know them.

Gracias
Old 23rd October 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Sound AD/DA at this level is going to be great on any of these units. If I were you I would be thinking like this:

1. which hardware feature set is going to give you what you need.
2. what software is either going to compliment your current situation or maybe make it so you take it to a new place
3. what are the differences in levels of support
4. how stable are the drivers

I own a ULN8. I wuv it.
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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inthere's Avatar
 

The ULN-8 has selectable "character" for each channel; you can choose from several different tube and transformer feels. I think you have about 15 different options. If you're doing electronic music, I feel the ULN-8 is a must. I go with nothing on the tracks I want transparency and a good stereo image on, and tubes and transformers on basses and instruments that I want thickness and warmth on. The separation is just sick on the thing. The ULN-8 is not the only thing out that gives you that kind of flexibility, but that combined with sound quality that's a notch above everything else and the best feature set of any interface out there and you have something special.

Both Prism and Metric Halo have stellar customer support, I would place them both at the top. I don't see how anyone can do better. I haven't haven't dealt with Apogee support yet so can't say.
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
rouslan's Avatar
 

Another for ULN-8. Sold my Apogee DA16X and bought (3) ULN-8. Not that Apogee wasn't good enough, rather having several ULN-8 is more flexible, certainly more portable (in terms of sliding the unit out of the rack and going to do a location recording), and having DSP on board is another major plus. Of course all this in an 80-bit digital environment.

The flexibility, the sound, and the service are top notch! Haven't used Prism, so I can't say much about it, and repeating verbatim what others say without trying it is sort of silly, I think.
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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dnaflr2's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rouslan View Post
Another for ULN-8. Sold my Apogee DA16X and bought (3) ULN-8. Not that Apogee wasn't good enough, rather having several ULN-8 is more flexible, certainly more portable (in terms of sliding the unit out of the rack and going to do a location recording), and having DSP on board is another major plus. Of course all this in an 80-bit digital environment.

The flexibility, the sound, and the service are top notch! Haven't used Prism, so I can't say much about it, and repeating verbatim what others say without trying it is sort of silly, I think.

did you notice any differences in latency moving from the symphony system to uln8 over FW?
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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rouslan's Avatar
 

Nothing that I perceive. The specs are very close. Additionally, you can monitor through the MioConsole for near real-time monitoring. I also have the option of monitoring through an analog board, I'm just too damn lazy to patch the board in most of the time

Quote:
Originally Posted by dnaflr2 View Post
did you notice any differences in latency moving from the symphony system to uln8 over FW?
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
Another who sold apogee rosetta and big ben to get uln 8.

I have to say that the metric halo package is terrific.

wonderful preamps
wonderful converters
wonderful plug ins
unique 80 bit summing engine
wonderful support

If there's any better package I'd love to see it.
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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dnaflr2's Avatar
 

thanks for input. I'm aware MH is great- have had a 2882 for the last 8 years, however just wondering about the whole FW vs pcie thing in regards to latency. anyone have anymore experiences in regards to this?
Old 24th October 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnaflr2 View Post
thanks for input. I'm aware MH is great- have had a 2882 for the last 8 years, however just wondering about the whole FW vs pcie thing in regards to latency. anyone have anymore experiences in regards to this?
Latency is negligible - As I understand it your monitoring is via the uln 8 interface so it is not going to the daw and back if that makes sense - its something like 2-4 msecs depending on sample rate - really not possible to detect.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Quote: The ULN-8 has selectable "character" for each channel; you can choose from several different tube and transformer feels. I think you have about 15 different options. If you're doing electronic music, I feel the ULN-8 is a must: end quote

This character for each channel thing seems to be interesting but isn't this an overkill I you consider that I will also buy an UAD2 card with some decent plugs? Assuming this whole character on each channel is a software solution of metric via it's onbpoard dsp card?

Am I right? right now I am heading towards the Prism Orpheus but the ULN 8 reminds me now and then to not forget her

The whole thing for me actually is that I will buy quitte some new gear in the near future including a decent converter (Prism of ULN8) an UAD 2 duo neve card and a Presonus Central Station monitor controller BUT I want to be carefull not to buy overlapping stuff. Why should I be excited about the onboard dsp and high quality efx on the ULN8 if I mainly use the box in the studio whre I also have another dsp card with rockin plugs on it (UAD 2).

So Prism seems to cover my input wish of at least 8 inputs, good conversion, reasoable priced 9almost half of ULN8. But maybe someone can still convice me to go ULN for whatever reason?

Cheers
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Well seems to me once you add up all the additional items you'd have to to get 8 channels of high quality pres, conversion, headphone amps, DSP based fantastic plugins, you'd end up spending more buying the Prism +UAD-2 +Central Station + 4 more pres + 4 more A/D D/A convertors, than the single ULN-8. That's why it's such a good deal, even though it costs more initially.

I have two UAD-1 cards and rarely use any of the plugins any more. I have 8 separate channels of headphone monitor mixes per ULN-8. And I have 8 I/O instead of the 4 of the Prism. How much more money would you have to spend to get all that with your Prism Orpheus purchase? I got my Neve vibe right here in one single rack spaced ULN-8 and am not looking back. I have three of them and am working hard to get my fourth!
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
dear sir robinett,

Are u sayin that:

* I don't need a 3rd party monitor controller because I can configure a monitor controller within the MIO software? I have two pair of different speakers and I want to be able to switch one pair off whenever needed in my mixing proces in order to listen my mixes over different speakers etc. This seems to be the case isn't it?

* Flexible, Integrated Analog-Domain Monitor Controller. does this mean that if I turn back the volume knob it does not influence the DA conversion and so I don't lose any resolution bit's?

* The DSP driven plugins are good enough so i don't need UAD2 anymore?

* Are the over 100 high-quality processing plugins really that good so I don't need anything else before sending my tracks to mastering?

* Does the ULN8 have 4 more A/D D/A convertorsthan the Prism? So that makes a total of 16? Is this because I can use the mic pre's as line inputs as well? Actually that would be cool cause I have lot's of external hardware synthesizers. So the more I/O the better.

Hmm, I feel I am starting to go ULN8. Arghhh Plus Radiohead uses it. What do I want more?
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ensemble View Post
dear sir robinett,

Are u sayin that:

* I don't need a 3rd party monitor controller because I can configure a monitor controller within the MIO software? I have two pair of different speakers and I want to be able to switch one pair off whenever needed in my mixing proces in order to listen my mixes over different speakers etc. This seems to be the case isn't it?
That's what I'm saying. I have two pairs of monitors as well. And I have a five piece band. We all get phones when we track. Stereo phones.
Quote:
* Flexible, Integrated Analog-Domain Monitor Controller. does this mean that if I turn back the volume knob it does not influence the DA conversion and so I don't lose any resolution bit's?
Yes.

Quote:
* The DSP driven plugins are good enough so i don't need UAD2 anymore?
That's what I said. For me it's true. I don't know about you.

Quote:
* Are the over 100 high-quality processing plugins really that good so I don't need anything else before sending my tracks to mastering?
That's what I said. For me it's true. I don't know about you. I mix and master a lot of CDs, especially lately. The ULN-8 has really helped me step up my game. I only use ULN-8 for mastering and rarely use any other plugins. I used TWO UAD Fairchilds and one Neve 1073 the last three CDs I mixed. I also use Altiverb as my most used native plugin. YMMV.

Quote:
* Does the ULN8 have 4 more A/D D/A convertorsthan the Prism? So that makes a total of 16? Is this because I can use the mic pre's as line inputs as well? Actually that would be cool cause I have lot's of external hardware synthesizers. So the more I/O the better.
Hm. It has 8 phenomenal 192k A/D and 8 phenomenal 192k D/A. It's my understanding the Orpheus has 4 mic pres, rather than 8 so it only requires half the conversion. I might be wrong about that. But it doesn't have 16 A/D and 16 D/A.

Quote:
Hmm, I feel I am starting to go ULN8. Arghhh Plus Radiohead uses it. What do I want more?
I don't know. For me its a no brainer. But that's me.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
cynics1207's Avatar
 

ok, just wanted to share a little bit of my humble opinions. i monitor 3 pair of speaker with ULN-8. focal twins, ns10m, auratone 5c within the MIO monitor controller. it's really work damn well as i can calibrated the speakers output volume to matching 3 pair of my speakers, and i can also calibrated them follow bob katz K-metering level for mixing/mastering. i got a shure desktop mic as mic talkback system. so you might not need to go for the central station route for monitor controller function.

i also have an uad2 quad running with my mac pro. i use the uad plugs often. but i notice when i route my track into mio console, and use the dsp plugin within the mio console, it always sound better. with more open, bigger sounding to me. the mio dsp also help me reduce the dsp usage on my uad2 and CPU. btw, the 80 bit summing is amazing.

i love the preamp with the character. i used to have vintage neve console and track with it a lots. since i got the uln-8, i can really get the similar result, and i don't really miss it a lot. (some time i feel like getting the dangerous d-box just for the talk back mic because the shure occupied one of my preamp) but i miss the neve console vibe and the mojo. to me, the metric halo MIO is just more modern, easier and more flexible way of working. i never heard about the Orpheus, its probably a very good sounding unit too. but the MIO just offer more and the features is just so hard to resist. cheers
Old 12th November 2009
  #19
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
One of the simple things I love so much about the ULN-8, and I've become so accustomed I sometimes take the simple things for granted, is just the flexibility of using eq, compression, limiters, reverb, etc recording on the way in and having the option of an unaffected track as well as post fader. The box is so damned flexible.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Andy Saul's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
Hm. It has 8 phenomenal 192k A/D and 8 phenomenal 192k D/A. It's my understanding the Orpheus has 4 mic pres, rather than 8 so it only requires half the conversion. I might be wrong about that. But it doesn't have 16 A/D and 16 D/A.
Orpheus has 8 channels of A/D, & 8 channels of D/A, all up to 192kHz, just like the ULN-8.
Orpheus has four mic pres, just like Ensemble.
The main difference between the ULN-8 and Orpheus, apart from cost, is the audio performance. Be sure sure to check out the tech specs carefully.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Dear Andy,

Thanks for pointing me to the tech specs of both cards. On the other hand to be honest. Most of it is abracadabra for me. I will definitely try to dive in it more in detail but it stays above my current knowledge. U may ask why I want to buy a card in this range then? I know for sure now that the are both good. Which one will make me happier? I don't knowwwwwwwwwwwwww aaaaaaaaaargggggggggggh
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
It all depends on what you're looking for . The feature set is way deeper with the ULN-8. Both sound great. The uLN-8 is ridiculously flat all the way down and therefore reproduces the low end like nothing -- well maybe the Prism, I don't know. I have faith in both boxes. It just depends on what you're after. You will end up buying a lot less additional doo-dads with the ULN-8. One space in the rack. Amazing. I've sold 4 of my Millennia pres because I just don't need them any more.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Deleted User
Guest
Hello Henry Robinett,

Do you work for Metric Halo? It seems like you are an advocate of their products here. I see your avatar so often (if not always) when MH appears. Reminds me John Willett as a hidden Sennheiser/Neumann employer.

Just asking.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
Allen Rowand's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Hello Henry Robinett,

Do you work for Metric Halo? It seems like you are an advocate of their products here. I see your avatar so often (if not always) when MH appears. Reminds me John Willett as a hidden Sennheiser/Neumann employer.

Just asking.
Henry is not employee, just a very satisfied customer. mhbj and myself are the only MH staff that post here, and identify ourselves as such.

Allen
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Hello Henry Robinett,

Do you work for Metric Halo? It seems like you are an advocate of their products here. I see your avatar so often (if not always) when MH appears. Reminds me John Willett as a hidden Sennheiser/Neumann employer.

Just asking.
Ha! No. I'm just a devoted customer. I definitely am an advocate for their products however. But I get absolutely no compensation whatsoever.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Hello Henry Robinett,

Do you work for Metric Halo? It seems like you are an advocate of their products here. I see your avatar so often (if not always) when MH appears. Reminds me John Willett as a hidden Sennheiser/Neumann employer.

Just asking.
Gosh, you think that long term, satisfied MH customers are happy to advocate for and sing the praises of MH products means they are secret employees? So how often do you beat your wife?

Just asking.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Yes. It is kind of funny. It kind of seems to indicate how poor so many products are, if consumers are over the top in their enthusiasm, they must be plants or secret employees, because, - gee wiz, nothing is THAT good!
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
syntax's Avatar
 

Andy,

Perhaps this is how I read it and not how it was intended, but you sound like you are pointing out a dramatic difference. What I see when I look at both these specs is two audio interfaces with fine features that are pushing the edge of achievable sound quality (within a price point and size configuration) and which, in function, are accurate beyond the capacity for most human recognition.

-s



Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Saul View Post
Orpheus has 8 channels of A/D, & 8 channels of D/A, all up to 192kHz, just like the ULN-8.
Orpheus has four mic pres, just like Ensemble.
The main difference between the ULN-8 and Orpheus, apart from cost, is the audio performance. Be sure sure to check out the tech specs carefully.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Deleted User
Guest
Thanks for clarification, Henry. Good to be a happy customer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
So how often do you beat your wife?
Just asking.
How do you know I have a wife?
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Thanks for clarification, Henry. Good to be a happy customer.
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