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Best AD/DA converters Digital Converters
Old 6th August 2014
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by yungclyde View Post
Also are there any others converters better than these.
You may want to check out what Greg Hanks is doing with this "BA-AD" units.
Old 6th August 2014
  #32
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I usta-could spell missipi. I'm from Dallas TX, not Podunk but I still say y'all.

To the OP: Lavry Gold! At leat for D/A.
Old 6th August 2014
  #33
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In this situation I'd be looking closely at iZ Radar / ADA 2 converters.
Old 6th August 2014
  #34
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What about Ross Martin Audio. His units are described by many as the amazing and as transparent as it gets. They are also very inexpensive! Yes, the build quality could be improved and some of the components could be replaced with more expensive ones, but this is why they don't cost a lot and the fact the company is a man and wife team and so they take months to build the units to order. You can request additional features and component changes etc, but they will still end up A LOT cheaper than the competition. Your budget is more than enough for 32 channels of Ad & DA conversion!
Old 6th August 2014
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yungclyde View Post
I was wondering if any of you has ever tried doing a showdown between the converters like prism, lavry, antelope, forsell, pacific microsonics, burl audio or even any others. Its unfortunate that in a country like India I cannot get all theses top products in 1 place at 1 time to compare. If anyone has done such a thing then please share your conclusions. And yes as I said before the price of the product doesn't matter. I'm not one of those guys who will compromise on quality because of the price. I'm also not one of those who thinks that the higest quality converters (most transparent) ones will be the most expensive ones and vice versa. I just believe quality takes hard work and hard work costs money. If the quality of the product justifies its price I will pay for it.
I have only heard the DCS 904 and Lavry Gold personally. I will be getting a Weiss ADC2 sometime this month or early next month. If you like to know more about them let me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
You may want to check out what Greg Hanks is doing with this "BA-AD" units.
Are you talking about the AD unit in the BA660? If so from what I understand, via email from Greg himself, if that the ADC in that unit only does mono.
Old 6th August 2014
  #36
Yes, but Greg has worked out the Stereo Coupling between units so two can be used together. These are of the most impressive AD converters I have used.
Old 6th August 2014
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Yes, but Greg has worked out the Stereo Coupling between units so two can be used together. These are of the most impressive AD converters I have used.
Oh yeah you are right.... Man I got to get some of those! One step at a time. I can't end up like Gollum.
Old 6th August 2014
  #38
You will feel refreshed!
Old 6th August 2014
  #39
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I have such a huge list of stuff I need.... 2x Greg BA660, Dual Atomic Squeezebox, GML2030, POM Fairchild, Knif Vari-mu, and Jim Williams modded Aphex Compellor 320 on the compressor side. Knif Soma, GML 9500, Sontec MES-482, Barry Porter NetEQ, and Fairman TMEQ on the EQ side. I wish I had the money to get them all and maybe nebulized them for the community.
Old 6th August 2014
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spigon View Post
I have such a huge list of stuff I need.... 2x Greg BA660, Dual Atomic Squeezebox, GML2030, POM Fairchild, Knif Vari-mu, and Jim Williams modded Aphex Compellor 320 on the compressor side. Knif Soma, GML 9500, Sontec MES-482, Barry Porter NetEQ, and Fairman TMEQ on the EQ side. I wish I had the money to get them all and maybe nebulized them for the community.
Bucket list!
Old 7th August 2014
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Indeed! I am already working on it. Hoping to get the Barry Porter NetEQ sampled with my Weiss ADC2 sometime soonish. The world of mixing will never be the same!!!
Old 7th August 2014
  #42
Gear Nut
 

From the ones I´ve heard they´re transparent in different ways. They all have some trade offs. One will sound flashy and wide but a bit 90:ies(is that a bad thing?), one will sound solid but maybe a bit congested, one organic but a little blurry, elegant but maybe too polite etc. etc. There are some shootout tests made if you search this site that´s useful. I think at least the one made by Matt Grey still have the files up.
Old 7th August 2014
  #43
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Would also like to point out that other people don't think the RMA converters are as transparent as the big boys.
Old 7th August 2014
  #44
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Pacifica!!!
Old 7th August 2014
  #45
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
Call me naïve but I like the 192s in that video better. The Prisms were more open but the 192 sounded more finished. Just saying.
Do you really judge top shelf audio quality from a Utube video? That is like judging sound from an MP3...
Old 7th August 2014
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yungclyde View Post
I was wondering if any of you has ever tried doing a showdown between the converters like prism, lavry, antelope, forsell, pacific microsonics, burl audio or even any others. Its unfortunate that in a country like India I cannot get all theses top products in 1 place at 1 time to compare. If anyone has done such a thing then please share your conclusions. And yes as I said before the price of the product doesn't matter. I'm not one of those guys who will compromise on quality because of the price. I'm also not one of those who thinks that the higest quality converters (most transparent) ones will be the most expensive ones and vice versa. I just believe quality takes hard work and hard work costs money. If the quality of the product justifies its price I will pay for it.
Over the years I have owned and extensively used and tested: Lavry Blue AD/DA, Lavry Gold AD, Burl B2 ADC, Burl Mothership AD/DA, Prism AD-2/DA-2, Prism ADA-8XR.

In addition, I have also demoed, tested or heard: Forssell MADA-2, Antelope Eclipse, JCF Latte, Prism Orpheus.

Based on your description the convertor you are looking for is the Prism ADA-8XR. I prefer it to all of the above for tracking, mixing, and mastering. It is transparent yet musical and extremely high headroom. It also has the best sounding clock of the bunch.

In tracking applications, Prism ADA-8XR tracks sit effortlessly as they stack up and are much easier to mix than with other converters I have owned. In comparison, Lavry Blues sound squishy and the Burl sound dry and cluttered up in the lows and low mids when tracks begin to stack up. Also, the Burl clock is the worst of the bunch. I find that people in the high end forum that are very satisfied with their Burl's seem to be using a high end external clock (like the Antelope 10m). I know my Burl's sounded much better when clocked to my Prism.

In mastering applications, the Prism ADA-8XR is also the best sounding unit of all of the above listed options.

It is higher headroom than the Lavry Gold by quite a bit. Also, the Lavry Gold has quite a bit more midrange than the Prism and the low end isn't as full range.

The ADA-8XR is pretty similar to the Prism AD-2 but there are notable differences. The XR is wider sounding and has a more modern sounding clock than the AD-2. The AD-2 is more center focused and robust harmonically than the XR, but the XR sounds more weightless, wider, and has a bouncier low end. The AD-2 is a bit hard sounding and absorbs harmonics in the center the more you push it, where the XR repels sound out to the sides as you push it and it leaves more room in the center.

Quick impressions of a few of the others listed, the Forssell sounded very crunchy and unnatural to me. The Antelope Eclipse was great in terms of headroom but sounded too hifi and didn't recreate harmonics and guitar correctly. Shiny and tall, but gutless and lacking aggression that was present in the program material. The JCF latte was musical but compressed heavily when pushed. The Prism Orpheus is actually a very impressive mastering convertor but is missing a TINY bit of the high fidelity sound of the Prism ADA-8XR. I really do like it though and would strongly recommend it for tracking and mastering.

I could go into more detail regarding all of the comparisons and testing that I have done with these converters over the years, but I feel as though this pretty much sums up the info that the OP was looking for.

Also, I'm not saying that you can't make quality records with all of the gear listed above (because I have), but in terms of sound quality and creating the easiest path to making a quality record, the Prism ADA-8XR is the clear winner for me on all fronts. If you want to save yourself all of the years of testing and all of the money it cost me to come to these conclusions, that's your best bet.
Old 7th August 2014
  #47
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I owned a Prism ADA 8 XR and traded it for the new HD I/O
which IMO sounds even a bit better - neever looked back since - in fact
the whole converter discussion has become absolutely redundand to me since the current high end generation is at such a high level.
Old 7th August 2014
  #48
Writing that money is no concern and then capping the amount at 6-7k is a bit of a contradiction isn't it?
Old 7th August 2014
  #49
If money were no concern to me I would audition each and every high end converter and then keep the only I liked best. Just saying....
Old 7th August 2014
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
I owned a Prism ADA 8 XR and traded it for the new HD I/O
which IMO sounds even a bit better - neever looked back since - in fact
the whole converter discussion has become absolutely redundand to me since the current high end generation is at such a high level.
I currently own both an Avid HD I/O and the Prism ADA-8XR and I cannot fathom how someone would come to this conclusion. I have read you post this before but it baffles me all the same. I'm not gonna say that the Avid HD I/O isn't a good quality convertor (because it is) but it is not in the same league as the Prism. I did extensive testing when I got it and found the Avid to have an exaggerated low end and to be smeary sounding in general compared to the Prism. It is also considerably less high headroom than the Prism for mastering purposes. Not to mention the difference in clocking.
Old 7th August 2014
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelterr View Post
I currently own both an Avid HD I/O and the Prism ADA-8XR and I cannot fathom how someone would come to this conclusion. I have read you post this before but it baffles me all the same. I'm not gonna say that the Avid HD I/O isn't a good quality convertor (because it is) but it is not in the same league as the Prism. I did extensive testing when I got it and found the Avid to have an exaggerated low end and to be smeary sounding in general compared to the Prism. It is also considerably less high headroom than the Prism for mastering purposes. Not to mention the difference in clocking.
You know we could lead an endless discussion about this.
Of course I did extensive testing as well - with my own ears and that of other engineers etc. and came to this conclusion.

I found the HD to be equally fast in the transients plus it has nicer highend - but this is all so very subjective.
After many years of working with all kinds of gear I've totally given up interpreting specs / measurements - they are totally meaningless to me. There are the Lavry/Massenburg 96 k / Jitter / clocking etc. battles out there - which is nice for them but absolutely redundand for everyone who has ears and trusts them.

The leap from the old blue 192s has been drastic - the difference between the hd and the prism is much smaller.

However there is no RIGHT in hearing- I actually am lucky that I now have 16 channels prism grade conversion instead of only 8.

I'm mainly tracking and mixing and couldnt be happier.
Enjoy the prism - we're all right heh

My actual point is this:
Buy one the current highend converters out there and be done for years.
Conversion is similarily overrated like pre amp choice and summing.
Don't spend too much on gear - make your wife a nice present and donate the rest to those who
need it more than you.

Cheers.
shaman
Old 8th August 2014
  #52
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yungclyde View Post
I was wondering if any of you has ever tried doing a showdown between the converters like prism, lavry, antelope, forsell, pacific microsonics, burl audio or even any others. Its unfortunate that in a country like India I cannot get all theses top products in 1 place at 1 time to compare. If anyone has done such a thing then please share your conclusions. And yes as I said before the price of the product doesn't matter. I'm not one of those guys who will compromise on quality because of the price. I'm also not one of those who thinks that the higest quality converters (most transparent) ones will be the most expensive ones and vice versa. I just believe quality takes hard work and hard work costs money. If the quality of the product justifies its price I will pay for it.
Click on this to read Matthew Gray opinion on this matter.
Old 8th August 2014
  #53
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I'm sorry but I just can't trust anyone that thinks the Forssell MADA-2 is a top of the line AD/DA. Unless there are some CRAZY mods going on, this just isn't possible based on my experience with it. It is far from neutral and the top end sounded sharp like shards of broken glass when pushed. On top of being harsh it also wasn't particularly musical sounding. The DA performed much better than the AD in my opinion but I really don't understand the appeal of the convertor. I felt like I was viewing the music through a plate of shiny glass. Sure it was "clear" and "shiny", but why is there a window there at all? That was my feeling.
Old 8th August 2014
  #54
Whats the deal with all this "when pushed" stuff?? That sounds like incorrect user error
Old 8th August 2014
  #55
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shelterr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Whats the deal with all this "when pushed" stuff?? That sounds like incorrect user error
There are many ways to evaluate converters. The better designs tend to clip more gracefully when pushed in mastering applications. It doesn't tell the whole story but it is certainly useful to know.

And please, let's not pretend that high end mastering converters aren't being used this way in top mastering houses all over the world.
Old 8th August 2014
  #56
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How does the Burl conversion compare with Prism, assuming both are running through the same high end clock? These would be the two that I would A/B if I could only shortlist a couple.
Old 8th August 2014
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelterr View Post
There are many ways to evaluate converters. The better designs tend to clip more gracefully when pushed in mastering applications. It doesn't tell the whole story but it is certainly useful to know.

And please, let's not pretend that high end mastering converters aren't being used this way in top mastering houses all over the world.
I don't use my converters anywhere near that way. Just because a converter clips well doesn't mean that distortion isn't introduce. Being a huge proponent of transparent processing, I don't push anything, maybe a slight nudge but never a push lol. Any who I don't think clipping gracefully is even close to being even remotely good at evaluating converter. All it means is that the unit itself was made to clip well, it has no actual effect on the accuracy of the conversion, unless someone abuses the unit. It is however a good test to see if the time, effort, and money was spent to make a unit that works well when used as intended or unintended. Meaning the test is indicative of a well made unit. But by no means it show whether one unit is better then another. That is my opinion however yours might differ

I am in no way advocating the Forssell just speaking my mind.
Old 8th August 2014
  #58
^^^Agreed with the above post all the way!!!

When you dump +30 levels into an AD converter you risk Damaging it's input circuitry.

I hope you and the other "mastering engineers" don't blow up the amplifers in your equipment.
Old 8th August 2014
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spigon View Post
I don't use my converters anywhere near that way. Just because a converter clips well doesn't mean that distortion isn't introduce. Being a huge proponent of transparent processing, I don't push anything, maybe a slight nudge but never a push lol. Any who I don't think clipping gracefully is even close to being even remotely good at evaluating converter. All it means is that the unit itself was made to clip well, it has no actual effect on the accuracy of the conversion, unless someone abuses the unit. It is however a good test to see if the time, effort, and money was spent to make a unit that works well when used as intended or unintended. Meaning the test is indicative of a well made unit. But by no means it show whether one unit is better then another. That is my opinion however yours might differ

I am in no way advocating the Forssell just speaking my mind.
I totally understand this and see where you are coming from. In my opinion, whatever is least detrimental to the music and most reflective of the source material is all that matters. It may sound crazy, but for me a high headroom convertor is the BEST way to not have to participate in the loudness wars to such a degree. It's just part of gain staging for me. If a mix is tonally balanced, the Prism gets you pretty close to a finished level without having to use a bunch of software limiters.

Obviously there is more to it than this, but I will say that if it wasn't cleaner sounding than the alternatives, I wouldn't be doing it. And if it isn't the right option for a master, just don't do it! It's just that simple. It's a tool that is there when I need it. Just like anything else when it comes to music production.

Also, I'm not saying it's ONLY better than other convertors when pushed. I'm saying it's more accurate and functional below zero as well in tracking and mixing. I have not found any convertor that sounds more like the source when run through an AD/DA conversion. And the slight difference that you hear happens to be a positive thing most of the time, so I don't ever bother thinking about how my convertor might be negatively effecting my signal. It's just works and sounds correct and it adds up every step along the way.
Old 8th August 2014
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
^^^Agreed with the above post all the way!!!

When you dump +30 levels into an AD converter you risk Damaging it's input circuitry.

I hope you and the other "mastering engineers" don't blow up the amplifers in your equipment.
You strike me as a "use your ears" kinda guy...and yet when it comes to mastering it sounds as though you fear the little red light. Unless you are listening to classical and jazz stuff, I'm sure you are hearing lots of little red lights any time you listen to music. And I bet you ENJOY it because you just use your ears.

I'm also not claiming this is the ONLY thing the Prism excels at. This is just one example of the MANY things it does extremely well.
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