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Prism Sound Orpheus vs ADA-8XR vs AD-2
Old 27th January 2010
  #1
Gear Head
Prism Sound Orpheus vs ADA-8XR vs AD-2

What's the difference in terms of sound quality between the Prism Sound Orpheus, the ADA-8XR and the D-2 Converter ?
Old 1st February 2010
  #2
Gear Nut
 
meyhiel's Avatar
 

Some reviews would be very helpfull.........
i'm also plan to buy a prism converters , but still wondering which one !!!
anyway , i'll soon have a try .....but i'll be curious what you guys have experienced as well.

Thx
Old 1st February 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
unit7's Avatar
Did you search? I remember that before I bought my ADA8XR I found some discussions about this. At least about ADA vs Orpheus, and that Prism folks had commented that the Orpheus represented the best in AD/DA. Not sure. Something like that though.
Old 1st February 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 
Chris Allen's Avatar
 

Hi all,

this has been discussed in a previous Orpheus thread. Here is the reply from our Director, Graham Boswell:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boz View Post

I'd just like to add some thoughts about technical specs and clarify the facts relating to the performance of Orpheus relative to our other music recording products.

Before I deliver the basic specs, I'd like to say that these numbers are useful as a starting point, but are of limited value when it comes to determining if a device yields either a true-to-life and/or pleasing sound.

First, any detailed assesment of distortion and noise has to be at least spectral rather than on a linear scale, but even this is difficult to relate to the subjective.

The developers of mp3 and similar codecs have spent a fortune trying to understand what we don't hear so they can throw it away.

Here are a few examples where perception goes in the opposite direction to our favourite measurements:

1. A decaying piano note or sine wave digitally truncated and amplified sounds awful (to me). With correctly added dither it sounds clean right down below the dither noise level. The dithered version measures about 3dB worse for THD+N. On a CD with a 0dBFS stimulus this would be roughly -93dB dithered (with hiss but clean sounding) or -96dB (buzzing/distorted).

2. Noise-shaping - a variation on 1. By using some clever DSP it is possible to modify the spectral content of the (truncation) noise when reducing wordlength (say to 16 bits for CD) without affecting the spectral balance of the music content. This can give the impression of lower noise than 1 (this is strictly only valid when the playback level is such that the residual noise level is very low); however THD+N measurement using the usual 22-22kHz bandwith and no other weighting filter might reveal a measurement of anything up to about -65dB (for 0dBFS stimulus).

3. Buzzing speaker - this was the bane of the loudspeaker industry becuase it was traditionally so hard to measure. With speakers producing a lot of second and third harmonic which subjectively we find relatively benign, using a THD+N measurement to detect the extended, but low level harmonics corresponding to the buzzing noise is difficult - the measurement is amost unaffected by the buzzing but it is so easy to hear and so annoying! Hence speaker production lines often had (many still have) a human at the end listening as a reliable final check!

4. Tubes. Lots of nice even harmonics and hiss. Lots of people like 'em!

That said, THD+N and dynamic range measurements are important, but only as a starting point. Use your ears, or if you have the requisite knowledge and equipment, then do some more interesting measurements!

So here are the specs ..

The AD-2 does have the widest dynamic range (130dB, rms unweighted, 22-22kHz) and it was designed particularly with live to stereo recording in mind, in the days when we went out with a DAT, DA-88 (with our bit-mapper) or Studer open reel digital deck. You don't worry about noise or headroom when remote recording with an AD-2.

Here's how the A/D performance specs stack up (from our web site):
AD-2 Dynamic range: 130dB
AD-2 THD+N: -108dB

ADA-8XR Dynamic range: 112dB
ADA-8XR THD+N: -105dB

Orpheus (Line I/P) Dynamic range: 116dB
Orpheus THD+N: -111dB


You can check out the D/A specs on the web site (Prism Sound - Professional audio equipment, AD converters, DA converters, audio analyzers) if you want.

While you could argue that the AD-2 is better with 130dB dynamic range, Orpheus has a better THD+N figure. In reality, the subjective differences between our converters are not that great - they are all pretty good. Each product serves a slightly different need - ADA-8XR is modular and flexible - perfect for tracking with Pro Tools, for example, but has the flexibility to work with a FW interface as well. Orpheus is dedicated to FW.

But performance-wise, it is a fair statement that Orpheus is overall the best we've built yet.

We hope you like it.
Get in touch if you would like to discuss anything further -

+44 (0)1353 648 888
[email protected]
[email protected]

Kind regards
Old 1st February 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
First, any detailed assesment of distortion and noise has to be at least spectral rather than on a linear scale, but even this is difficult to relate to the subjective.


Please, could you explain ?
Old 1st February 2010
  #6
The "quality" is easily noted by the price of these boxes. Some may take issue with that, but it is true. You do get what you pay for. The Subjective sonic result is not a part of what I am referring to, however. Sure, the subjective is a result of the design, which will all be different to a degree. This is assumed.

But the only reason I say this, is becasue of the precision found in every converter mentioned here. They are all ultra hi fidelity to my ears. The AD2 and DA2 are perhaps the most over built and over specified Prism AD/DA's made. There is a purpose for their innovation.

Same as the ADA8XR.

The ADA8XR is a machine that is utterly configurable, and gives the end user a certain level of "comfort" with its modular design [not to mention the immeasurably clean detail and depth]. Again, I hear ALL OF THEM, as super hi resolution ADA's, as they have huge amounts of dynamic range and their "spectral" properties or "change-through-a-device", or "frequency response" is something you must use to believe in.
Old 1st February 2010
  #7
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
The "quality" is easily noted by the price of these boxes. Some may take issue with that, but it is true. You do get what you pay for.
I've a large doubt whether such a price tag is justified since Orpheus was compared to similar gear (with 8 new design preamps instead of 4 commercial -PGA-based) 5 times less expensive in this thread. Moreover several shoot-outs available on this forum lead to the conclusion that the converters have nowadays reach such a quality level that the subjective difference between low end and high end is questionable.
Old 1st February 2010
  #8
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inthere's Avatar
 

That thread is misleading. At the end it was decided that there was no difference between high end and low end conversion, and Motu and M-Audio were brought into as equivalent to high end solutions.
Old 1st February 2010
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I've a large doubt whether such a price tag is justified since Orpheus was compared to similar gear (with 8 new design preamps instead of 4 commercial -PGA-based) 5 times less expensive in this thread.
Have you actually used the Orpheus or are you questioning "getting what you pay for" becasue of gearslutz? Personally, I think "getting what you pay for" is end user relative. Like, if I wanted 8 preamps instead of four, than I would think the one with 8 of them is a better purchase for me. I have not used other box you mention, to be fair, but upon speculation I suspect I would be able to make records with it. Would I want to make records with it over a Prism? Maybe not. Ah, the ol' preference bug. Anyway, I have used the Prism to record stuff, and its a great unit in many aspects. Certainly, as an end user, you have the right to justify your purchase however you see fit. No problem with that.
Old 1st February 2010
  #10
Gear Nut
 
meyhiel's Avatar
 

Thanks to everyone for all the info and reviews.....

just wondering something :
knowing that i only need 2 or maximum 4 channels for my converters ,
wouldn't be smarter to pay the same amount of money for only 2/4 converters ???? ( and which converters??????)

Does someone already tried to link a Big ben or Antelope clock on prism converters ??? ( sound improvement or not )



Old 1st February 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
Have you actually used the Orpheus or are you questioning "getting what you pay for"
I was questioning "getting what you pay for". Actually some companies might use this paradigm for selling a product at a much higher price than the value that would be determined by the product quality and the one of the competing products on the market. They rely on the customer thinking 'if it's expensive, it's good'.

I think the cost of the Orpheus could result more from a marketing approach because Prism is keen to keep its 'high end' image, than to the quality of the product. Someone reported here having compared the preamps of the MR816 and the ones of the Orpheus and found the MR816 ones being better. Which is much likely since the cost of one Orpheus preamp IC available from Texas Instruments is only a few $: why Yamaha would have invest in a bespoke design if it would result in a poorer performance ?

And my feeling about the comparison of the converters made in the thread of which I gave the link is that they are on par. I'm sure that the Orpheus is an excellent product. I think it is possible, even likely, that another product, 5 time cheaper, might be as good, if not better.
Old 1st February 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I think the cost of the Orpheus could result more from a marketing approach because Prism is keen to keep its 'high end' image, than to the quality of the product.
I would argue this is an incorrect assessment, [not that you ain't entitled to your own opinion as an end user as I said before] but I would explain to you that the cost of the Orpheus is more than likely directly related to the design, parts used and specifications achieved by their design implementation. Are we to believe that the cost of the product is 100% related to marketing and not exactly what the design/device is comprised of, in labor, parts, and ultimately the design engineering work that makes the product "marketable"? I find this a little hard to believe.
Old 2nd February 2010
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Well I can speak as someone who owned and used the Prism Orpheus for about a year and a half. I made many recordings with it and was always very happy with it. I then bought the Steinberg MR816 and have now made recordings with it over the last couple months. I can honestly say that I have heard no difference between the two units. In fact if I didn't know I was using a different interface I surely wouldn't be able to tell by the sounds that are going into and coming out of the MR816. I just tracked some electric guitars this weekend using a DR. Z MAZ 38 with a R-121 and Mojave MA-200 into the MR816 pre's and they sound every bit as good as anything I recorded with the Orpheus. Again, this is just what I am hearing and everybody may come to their own conclusions, but just thought I would throw my two cents in as someone who has used both of these units, one being considered high-end and one 'prosumer'.
Old 12th May 2010
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Then when you add the price point into the equation, well, it's a no brainer.
Old 10th August 2015
  #15
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr123 View Post
Well I can speak as someone who owned and used the Prism Orpheus for about a year and a half. I made many recordings with it and was always very happy with it. I then bought the Steinberg MR816 and have now made recordings with it over the last couple months. I can honestly say that I have heard no difference between the two units. In fact if I didn't know I was using a different interface I surely wouldn't be able to tell by the sounds that are going into and coming out of the MR816. I just tracked some electric guitars this weekend using a DR. Z MAZ 38 with a R-121 and Mojave MA-200 into the MR816 pre's and they sound every bit as good as anything I recorded with the Orpheus. Again, this is just what I am hearing and everybody may come to their own conclusions, but just thought I would throw my two cents in as someone who has used both of these units, one being considered high-end and one 'prosumer'.
Are you still using your MR816?
If so, have you tried the Black Lion Audio Mod for it?

Currently looking hard into the Prism Titan or the Mytek 8x192. I using the UR28M for now. Nice box for the $$$

Thanks!
Old 20th October 2015
  #16
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudflux View Post
do you still need an explanation?
No, thanks !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudflux View Post
If you cannot hear the difference then i'm sorry to say your ears must be completely insensitive - the difference between the units when you A/B is huge.
Huge really ?

DA-AD loops:

Orpheus

MR 816
Old 4th April 2016
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
No, thanks !



Huge really ?

DA-AD loops:

Orpheus

MR 816
I just listened to these demos over and over and to me the Prism sounds more detailed and clear but YMMV.
Old 5th April 2016
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Chris Chapelle's Avatar
 

Differences are big (to my ears).

Prism is more open, cymbals have more details and their release is more crystal and clean. Depth is more like I'm swimming into the music.

MR816 is more planed and congestioned, but instruments have got something like more "together". Maybe the lack of depth.

Different schools, I do not know the price of MR816 yet, but details are far more important to my ears, speaking about conversion.

Anybody has Loops of AD2 and ADA8, please. Thank you.
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