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JCF Latte Digital Converters
Old 11th November 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

JCF Latte

Hi Everyone! I was just curious on this JCF Latte product. I currently have a Hilo & thinking of upgrading, but not sure if it's worth it or not. Or if it's better to use that money for more outboard instead of new converters. Are there any users out there that can share any feedback? Maybe you have a song that you recorded using it to hear? Any help/insight is greatly appreciated!
Old 12th November 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Steve G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
Hi Everyone! I was just curious on this JCF Latte product. I currently have a Hilo & thinking of upgrading, but not sure if it's worth it or not. Or if it's better to use that money for more outboard instead of new converters. Are there any users out there that can share any feedback? Maybe you have a song that you recorded using it to hear? Any help/insight is greatly appreciated!
Al Schmitt has had one for years. We've mixed every album we've done for the last 6 or 7 years through the Latte. Still the best 2 channel converter I've ever heard.

Steve G
Old 12th November 2014
  #3
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I would love to run a JCF Latte through our ZenPro Audio converter test, which we are able to constantly add new models to. I don't have a relationship with them though and nobody near us owns one to borrow!

Seems like all of the requests for fair comparisons that show up here are unanswered.

War
Old 12th November 2014
  #4
Gear Addict
 

It is incredible., I don't think you would be dissapointed at all + considering you get premium conversion both ways and also two premium mic pre's for 6.5K, its actually very good value. I've done tape transfers from a Studer A80 through the unit and at 192KHz I honestly cannot discern the difference between straight tape playback and the digi print playback. The thing is built with passion and care and you will hear the difference!
Old 12th November 2014
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I would love to run a JCF Latte through our ZenPro Audio converter test, which we are able to constantly add new models to. I don't have a relationship with them though and nobody near us owns one to borrow!

Seems like all of the requests for fair comparisons that show up here are unanswered.

War
Maybe I will get a chance to compare to other converters for Gearslutz.

Let me just tell you, I think the reason you don't find many shootouts around, is because the guys that try them out, find them to be winners of said shootouts, "for what they are looking for" and just use it without trying anything else,
if you do some homework on this box you will find it to be a "supreme" option,

What other converters will fairly compare with a Latte? The Answer is Not many....I would recommend comparing it to the JCF Audio AD8 first. And maybe a master 2-track recorder
Old 12th November 2014
  #6
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
What other converters will fairly compare with a Latte? The Answer is Not many....
I do not doubt this statement at all, and I say that without ever hearing them!

I am definitely saying you could know the difference in our purpose built test, it is easy to hear the difference between Mytek, Burl, Crane Song, Antelope, Apogee and others so the JCF should stand out in theory.

It would involve somebody sending me one to check out for a day, it is an all day process.

War
Old 12th November 2014
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I do not doubt this statement at all, and I say that without ever hearing them!

I am definitely saying you could know the difference in our purpose built test, it is easy to hear the difference between Mytek, Burl, Crane Song, Antelope, Apogee and others so the JCF should stand out in theory.

It would involve somebody sending me one to check out for a day, it is an all day process.

War
it is a pretty different and 'radical" piece. It is very different, War. Very!

When you see all the many ways you can use one,
it becomes clear, that it's hard to compare what you are getting in this product to another product. But Sound wise, the AD converter on the Latte is totally invisible. It uses a 3-transistor input-buffer stage, which you can bypass with jumpers under the hood if you want. Absolutely No input transformers.

You might be able to tell the difference between input, and you'll like it. I do! But its way more subversive than any of the terrible artifacts you get with all these cheap-o-chipy converters that squawk at cha. Or converters with high slew rate op amps. Or Converters that play with jitter injectors and synthetic sound.

The Latte AD converter doesn't change the sound at all, to my ears. Very transparent and no "lens" effect. No nonsense. It is designed to capture all the mojo of the DMT section, so it doesn't have any coloration that I can describe. The DA converter sounds "pristine" and enhanced. It is a 4-transistor Cinemag-Transformer Coupled Line Block that is configurable. It has a sweet, warm sound that relaxes your ear drums. Bottom octave through the floor.

These specific electronics can be used as Mic Preamps, a DA converter, or Reproduce Electronics with a low-impedance Tape Head. All of which can be sent directly to the invisible, "on a wire" AD converter. With no latency, BTW. There are not too many AD/DA units with discrete circuits and transformers, though there are a couple. Each of those are still different, so yea I am sure they will all sound different.

If you want to compare, that's cool, but what Josh is doing is very different from what anyone else on earth is doing. Making comparison and shootout files are cool, but its not a good enough substitute for hearing your own music through it. The reason I love what the Latte does, is about "what you do not need to hear" that is so pleasing. This DAC hearkens the experience I get when I am listening to my vinyl. Pleasing and Euphonic. It makes the computer sound way better.

If you couldn't hear the difference it makes, I would feel really sad for that person. For me, The Latte is much closer to hearing a final product, right away from the Computer. So mixing "ITB" with one, is like cheating. But with all the other stuff at play [Recording, Mixing and Mastering] It just sounds perfect, and using one is a joy.
Old 12th November 2014
  #8
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
If you want to compare, that's cool, but what Josh is doing is very different from what anyone else on earth is doing. Making comparison and shootout files are cool, but its not a good enough substitute for hearing your own music through it.
Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Speaking to this statement specifically, no audio files on the interwebs (including ours) tell the whole story. The good news is that people can read about the function and choose on features when selecting a product for their workflow and studio needs.

What is left is to hear the result, which is the one huge puzzle piece people keep asking about on these forums and it remains unanswered.

The strength of our test is that all of the descriptive words you used could become reality when compared to other converters sonically, and we already have ready to compare side by side many directly competitive brands.

I would feel sad for anybody not hearing the difference either, but I certainly sympathize with the guy who wants to confirm what he will hear before buying. This is why we offer this info as a dealer, it usually ends up being more of a "tie breaker" to help somebody jump on their next investment without question.

War
Old 12th November 2014
  #9
Gear Addict
 

the latte is great for sure very realistic, full and natural/organic

do you guys ever get stumped in these shootouts as in the more you a/b the less you hear the differences ?
Old 12th November 2014
  #10
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdd17 View Post
the latte is great for sure very realistic, full and natural/organic

do you guys ever get stumped in these shootouts as in the more you a/b the less you hear the differences ?
If you're asking me I can tell you, it's not a shootout. It's actually a purpose built test that the only object that changes it the device under test (the hardware PCM converter). So it's not like we pull all these boxes out and listen, but rather we can bring a converter in here for a day and add it to the results that you get to listen to.

The differences don't become any less apparent over time.

The original poster was asking about upgrading the HiLo, which we have fully tested same as all others we sell.

War
Old 12th November 2014
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Lets put it like this.. Doug Sax chose it over 1 Bit dsd and uses it to make his living. Its gotta be good.
Old 12th November 2014
  #12
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PartHunter View Post
Lets put it like this.. Doug Sax chose it over 1 Bit dsd and uses it to make his living. Its gotta be good.
I cannot stress this enough, it's because I bet it is good that I would so love to know how it compares to others. There is no question in my mind that it is as good if not better than many of the other greats on the market!

It most definitely should sound different though, which means one could prefer it or not based on its sound characteristics.

War
Old 13th November 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Steve G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I cannot stress this enough, it's because I bet it is good that I would so love to know how it compares to others. There is no question in my mind that it is as good if not better than many of the other greats on the market!

It most definitely should sound different though, which means one could prefer it or not based on its sound characteristics.

War
In the high end audio market there is no good and bad, just stuff you like and stuff other people like.

Steve
Old 13th November 2014
  #14
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve G View Post
In the high end audio market there is no good and bad, just stuff you like and stuff other people like.

Steve
Yes...it comes down to preferences no matter what. Past the function of a unit ("I need a preamp", "I need an AD/DA converter") it really comes down to confirming how something sounds.

War
Old 13th November 2014
  #15
brew some fresh coffee and check out the manual
http://www.jcfaudio.com/manuals/latteman.pdf
Old 13th November 2014
  #16
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
brew some fresh coffee and check out the manual
http://www.jcfaudio.com/manuals/latteman.pdf
We are all about the coffee here!

The manual definitely sounds warmer and clearer than other manuals I have read.

War
Old 13th November 2014
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
We are all about the coffee here!

The manual definitely sounds warmer and clearer than other manuals I have read.

War
haha War thats hilarious!



Thanks everyone for your feedback! Believe it or not I do feel better informed just by reading some of your posts!
Old 13th November 2014
  #18
Gear Addict
 

One of the coolest aspects of the unit is how tweakable it is depending on what you want to do.. You can use the main outs (transformer coupled) or aux outs (transformerless), you can run the line inputs unbalanced/balanced, same with the very useful aux output + can run it in high level line out mode or pre-attenuated... This means you can literally strap any mic preamp to the aux output bypassing the line section.. therefore getting specific amplification off digital/tape deck to use how you wish. If using it for tape repro, you can variable load the inputs impedance depending on how much top end you want to recover., you can even use this when using microphones to tailor the response if you really know what you are doing. You also have tape EQ alignment trims, oh line in + DC offset trims,. its pretty much a swiss army knife.

I'm soon getting my 1/4" deck modded to have extra head outputs, this means I can use the Latte for reproducing off tape. The discrete transistor mic and line amps inside are top shelf, basically the same as the simple and very high quality circuits used in machines such as the MCI JH-16, and MM1200.. only the transformers in this are better. Part of the magic of their sound is how simple and short the signal path is, very pure. The quality of conversion is stunningly good and very natural, possibly due amongst other things to the nyquist filtering not executed on board the digital chip, but passively in the analogue circuit.

It really is an amazing piece, and part of its genius and cost effectiveness being how the different functions all share the same circuits., theres no other way you could have 2 mic pre's and 2 way conversion of that quality, at that price.
Old 13th November 2014
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PartHunter View Post
One of the coolest aspects of the unit is how tweakable it is depending on what you want to do.. You can use the main outs (transformer coupled) or aux outs (transformerless), you can run the line inputs unbalanced/balanced, same with the very useful aux output + can run it in high level line out mode or pre-attenuated... This means you can literally strap any mic preamp to the aux output bypassing the line section.. therefore getting specific amplification off digital/tape deck to use how you wish. If using it for tape repro, you can variable load the inputs impedance depending on how much top end you want to recover., you can even use this when using microphones to tailor the response if you really know what you are doing. You also have tape EQ alignment trims, oh line in + DC offset trims,. its pretty much a swiss army knife.

I'm soon getting my 1/4" deck modded to have extra head outputs, this means I can use the Latte for reproducing off tape. The discrete transistor mic and line amps inside are top shelf, basically the same as the simple and very high quality circuits used in machines such as the MCI JH-16, and MM1200.. only the transformers in this are better. Part of the magic of their sound is how simple and short the signal path is, very pure. The quality of conversion is stunningly good and very natural, possibly due amongst other things to the nyquist filtering not executed on board the digital chip, but passively in the analogue circuit.

It really is an amazing piece, and part of its genius and cost effectiveness being how the different functions all share the same circuits., theres no other way you could have 2 mic pre's and 2 way conversion of that quality, at that price.
Hey PartHunter, was intrigued by what you said about using the mic pre. I have a TG2 right now, can I use that in place of the repro if I don't have a tape machine? Sorry if thats a dumb question, still trying to familiarize myself with various technical aspects of audio production...
Old 14th November 2014
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooleyocity View Post
Hey PartHunter, was intrigued by what you said about using the mic pre. I have a TG2 right now, can I use that in place of the repro if I don't have a tape machine? Sorry if thats a dumb question, still trying to familiarize myself with various technical aspects of audio production...
Yes you can, whether or not you would notice a huge difference is another question.. basically the aux output can be set to be 'pre-attenuated' level.. meaning it puts out the signal from digital/tape at a small level, this means you can plug the aux out into your TG2, effectively using the TG2 as the analog side of your D to A. I'm not sure how much of the Latte's line circuit it avoids like this, perhaps from digital it still hits the Latte's input transformers.. but its probably avoiding the 4 transistor line amp to 'drive' the outputs... thus allowing your TG2 to do the job, so if processing tracks OTB or simply bouncing a whole mix out then in this could be a good solution for adding specific colour, especially if you can drive your TG2 to get some hair on sounds, as you can then plug from the TG2 back to the line ins and use the trim pots to attenuate your driven signal so it does not clip the AD. Again though in practice I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make just in that instance, but the possibilities are there depending on your creativity and arsenal!
Old 14th November 2014
  #21
^^you can do A LOT with it!!!
The configurable AUX outputs are just one of the many reasons why the Latte is so versatile.

But, to utilize the Latte's DAC or switched to Mic pre's, you are utilizing the same exact electronics, which will yield the same mojo/character.

It goes down smooth,
every time
so that's how I would roll it,
Old 26th May 2015
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Has anyone heard the Latte side-by side the MADA-2?

If so, how's the Latte sound next to the MADA-2 when it's set to "clean" and everything else is bypassed?

Blue Sky
Old 23rd September 2015
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

I was curious for the experts on this thread. Does anybody know of any albums that were recorded using the Latte? Not just mastered, but each track recorded with the unit, besides the "Sol Invictus" album?
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