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What to purchase - API A2D or API 3124? Audio Interfaces
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 

What to purchase - API A2D or API 3124?

Currently I'm torn between the API A2D and the API 3124. I currently have very "meager" gear (at least for the high end forum) and my Presonus Firestudio Project is handling all of my A2D, although I do have some (low end) outboard pres.

I guess my question is - is it wiser to by the 3124 and have 4 channels of good pre into mediocre A2D, or wiser to have the API A2D and have 2 channels of good pre and A2D. Are the converters in the A2D going to be a substantial step up from the Firestudio? The actual preamps in both units (A2D and 3124) are the same correct?

Gah torn...
Old 15th December 2010
  #2
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DaVogi's Avatar
it really depends on what / how many channels you record simultaneously.

you don't need 4 channels of high end pre if you record most of the time vocal/git/bass-overdubs with 1-2 mics.... so here you can save money and have better a/d.

but if you could use the two additional preamps more often, the difference in preamps is surely more noticable than a little bit better a/d!
Old 16th December 2010
  #3
Gear Nut
 

so in general - it's more wise for me to invest in preamps first, then converters later?

i see really no point in upgrading the firestudio converters to another mid level - so i wouldn't be upgrading until i had the cash for a lynx or something on that level (which being as how i do this as a hobby / for my own band only - would be quite a while).

the thing that i would use more than 2 mic pres on, would usually be drums. besides that, at most, i'd be recording in stereo - and mostly in mono.
Old 16th December 2010
  #4
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Jonathawkes's Avatar
 

I have a firestudio 2626 which I think is great and has gotten a lot of use. I went the API A2D route because I just wanted a couple channels of Mic Pre and AD conversion that I could trust and not have to think about. I must say, I'm very happy with the outcome. I do live of the floor tracking with the stock Firestudio Pre's and dubbing with the API A2D. Not much you can't do with a setup like that. Not to mention you'll get two extra channels to record simultaneously.

Just my 2 cents.
Old 16th December 2010
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Jonathan - Have you tried running the preamps of the A2D into the insert points on the firestudio? I'm wondering if there will be a very noticeable difference...

Thanks for the advice!
Old 16th December 2010
  #6
Gear Head
 

I say if you only need 2 simultaneous rec channels API A2D all the way. I have profire 2626 also(decent mid level converters) and the AD on the API is clearly superior, specially when using the API as Master clock with BNC cable. With the 3124 money you could get an API A2D plus 2 very good pres (JLM Baby Animals if you are into soldering...heh) or a nice mic...
Old 16th December 2010
  #7
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contrattore's Avatar
 

get the a2d. it's cheaper.
if you track yourself or your own band you'll do a lot of overdubs for guitar and vocals.
you are probably doing 8 tracks drums, so i think the equation is:

40 tracks (vocals,guitars,bass)(A2D)+8 tracks drums (presonus+a2d) >
44 tracks (voc,gtrs,bs)(3124+ presonus convo) + 4 more drum tracks (presonus)

you can read the crocodile sign as "is fair better than"
Old 16th December 2010
  #8
Deleted User
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What to purchase - API A2D or API 3124?

API A2D. It will change your game man.

Great converters and great mic preamplifier.

Do it.


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Old 16th December 2010
  #9
Gear Head
The A2D is great and so is the 3124+.. If you are making money and think you might be able to pick up good converters in the near future then hands down the 3124.. I love bothe units.
Old 16th December 2010
  #10
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
A2D assuming your interface has a compatible digital input. You won't get the full benefit of an high end outboard pre if you run it into the analog input of a low end interface.
Old 16th December 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Cool - so it seems like everyone is favoring the A2D. That's great because it's cheaper, and as mentioned most of my overdubs (which will use 2 mics or less) will reap the benefit of better conversion.

I guess my next question is - In general, is it useless to run "nice" preamps into the inserts on the firestudio? Is the conversion really that bad?

For instance if I picked up the A2D, as well as a Vintech 273 - would it be severely crippling the Vintech to go into the insert points on the Firestudio so that it could be used at the same time as the A2D (when tracking drums).

Thanks!
Old 16th December 2010
  #12
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DaVogi's Avatar
I wouldn't knock that hard on the firestudio converters... even the difference between a high end preamp something like vtb1 is not that great in real life and the differences between a high end and mid end converter is much more subtle.

but in your case I also would say A2D. because its a good feeling to have a rock solid 2-channel chain without ever questioning yourself if better converters would make a (big) difference..... and with 2:1 and digital input attenuation the a2d is also more versatile than 3124!
Old 17th December 2010
  #13
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Jonathawkes's Avatar
 

Yeah, I actually have plugged the API pre into the firestudio line ins. The difference was negligible. My test was far from scientific but I'm not an audiophile so If I don't hear a night and day difference, I move on. I do find comfort in a quality signal chain though.
Old 17th December 2010
  #14
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkretz View Post
I guess my next question is - In general, is it useless to run "nice" preamps into the inserts on the firestudio? Is the conversion really that bad?
It's not the conversion that's the problem, it's the analog electronics ahead of the conversion.
Old 17th December 2010
  #15
Gear Nut
 

again thanks everyone - definitely leaning towards the A2D now.

Hammer Mark, still a bit confused about what you mean when you say the "analog circuitry before the converter" in the firestudio. When using the inserts shouldn't I be bypassing the preamp in the firestudio, so it should be (pretty much) hitting the converters straight?
Old 17th December 2010
  #16
Gear Head
 
stvnm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkretz View Post
Currently I'm torn between the API A2D and the API 3124. I currently have very "meager" gear (at least for the high end forum) and my Presonus Firestudio Project is handling all of my A2D, although I do have some (low end) outboard pres.

I guess my question is - is it wiser to by the 3124 and have 4 channels of good pre into mediocre A2D, or wiser to have the API A2D and have 2 channels of good pre and A2D. Are the converters in the A2D going to be a substantial step up from the Firestudio? The actual preamps in both units (A2D and 3124) are the same correct?

Gah torn...
It depends on your time horizon. Short term the A2D is obviously appealing.

In ten years the 3124 will be as new, while the AD conversion part of the A2D will likely be obsolete.

Steven
Old 17th December 2010
  #17
Gear Nut
 
contrattore's Avatar
 

i'm not completely sure.
stuff like old apogee still kicks ass today, they have their own sound because
of the analog path. stuff like MH ULN2 is still highly desiderated today, even if conversion on those units are fairly dated (but the new clock expansion bring them back in the high class).
what sounds good today will still sound goos in the future.
A2D has a clock input somewhere. however Api is not Focusrite or AMS Neve.
i've never seen one opened before but i bet you'll be able to change at least part of the converter circuit in the future.

3124 unit is a 4 preamp rack, useful to people who needs the to multitrack a lot of stuff. i think it's a better investment in a 20 years horizon, but 20 years are a lot of time! i'll never use such an horizon for stuff i need to use now.
Old 17th December 2010
  #18
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkretz View Post

For instance if I picked up the A2D, as well as a Vintech 273 - would it be severely crippling the Vintech to go into the insert points on the Firestudio so that it could be used at the same time as the A2D (when tracking drums).

Thanks!
No. I think "severely crippling" would be an overstatement. Get the A2D, upgrade your converters now and reap the results now. And oh yeah, gain a few API pres. Use the Firestudio as needed.
Old 20th December 2010
  #19
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkretz View Post
again thanks everyone - definitely leaning towards the A2D now.

Hammer Mark, still a bit confused about what you mean when you say the "analog circuitry before the converter" in the firestudio. When using the inserts shouldn't I be bypassing the preamp in the firestudio, so it should be (pretty much) hitting the converters straight?
Probably not. There's probably an analog stage to buffer the input before hitting the converters. The gain of this stage is likely altered to suit the incoming signal -- adjustable high gain for mic inputs, fixed with zero gain or smaller adjustable gain for line input. It is not uncommon for high end and pro-sumer gear to use the same converter chips, but sound vastly different due to the quality of the analog components and design.
Old 20th December 2010
  #20
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DaVogi's Avatar
What to purchase - API A2D or API 3124?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stvnm

It depends on your time horizon. Short term the A2D is obviously appealing.

In ten years the 3124 will be as new, while the AD conversion part of the A2D will likely be obsolete.

Steven
even if he wouldn't use the converters in 10 years - the extra charge on the a2d is next to nothing if you compare it to two 512c (which lack the 2:1 feature) + enclosure/psu
Old 20th December 2010
  #21
Gear Addict
 
monsieur x's Avatar
What to purchase - API A2D or API 3124?

I might get flamed for saying this, but sounds like maybe a used Apogee Ensemble could cover all your bases and more.

If not, the API A2D will be the right choice for sure.

Best,
Old 22nd December 2010
  #22
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ZFire's Avatar
 

We are already way into diminishing returns on A/D advances.. chasing the last 2% of quality for most people's ears. So I really doubt that the A2D is going to be considered obsolete in a decade. What is more likely is that good A/D converters will just get somewhat cheaper to manufacture, so the A/D section of the A2D won't be adding as much value (but will still be very usable).
Old 22nd December 2010
  #23
Here's a few suggestions, take them as my .02.
For the money you're about to spend you could upgrade your converters to whatever (SSL alphalink is what I have but it could be a bunch of other stuff that sounds good to) and that you will notice a huge difference. Then start the preamp thing, then get the 3124. Then you have a setup that a high percentage goes through your money pres and all of them go through high end converters. I've had the firestudio and I can garantee you'll hear a difference.
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