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Help with new converter
Old 22nd June 2005
  #1
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JimmyPills's Avatar
 

Help with new converter

I just picked an Apogee Rosetta 200. My plans are to use it to mix down to a 1/4 tape deck, saturate the mix a bit. Then send it back in for some stereo editing and into the CD burner. I was also planning on using it to go into the computer while tracking 1 or 2 things at a time. My set up is as follows:

Focusrite Voicemaster Pro
Presonus Blue tube
(Planning on buying an OSA pre or the Portico soon)

Various mics- sm57's, Oktava, Studio projects

Into the Apogee, S/pidf into Digi 002 Pro-Tools 6.9

G4/ Glyph hard drive

Pioneer 707 reel to reel (all new parts and brought up to factory specs, not the best but it was free)

My question is, so far I'm not hearing a huge difference. I was planning on buying some higher end mic pre's and a good converter. And bought the Apogee first, maybe I should have bought the mic pre's first. Do I need this Apogee thing? I've been recording for a few years now, and am just trying to build up a rig that sounds the best that I can make it. Any suggestions on maybe the right way to hook this stuff up, or should I return the Apogee and get some killer mic pre's.... I hope this makes some sense. Digging the forum..... Thanks in advance, Jimmy
Old 22nd June 2005
  #2
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Hi,
I have a lot of the same gear as you and thought I would toss in a few comments from experience. Actually, I am probably in the exact opposite boat as you at the moment! I had planned to get a nice mic pre or converter and was torn between the Universal Audio LA-610 and an Apogee Mini Me. Ultimately I went with the UA LA-610, but wasn't really blown away at the difference it made in my recordings vis-a-vis my mbox pres. Shortly thereafter, I demoed an older Apogee converter and was blown away. So I bought a Rosetta 200, and am now very close to selling my preamp for a cheaper one.

The difference I noticed with the Rosetta was profound! In addition to tracking, I have it set up as a hardware insert on my master bus in order to utilize the CODA mastering features during mixdown...essentially sending my master bus out and back into Pro Tools via SPDIF.

To be fair, the LA-610 is really great for vocals and DI bass. However, after working with it for the past three months to get a good electric guitar sound (SM 57 or Studio Projects C1 on my Mesa MKIII/Rivera Cab), I finally gave up. To my astonishment, I ran the signal through a $50 dollar behringer mixer I use as a headphone amp out of the Rosetta...vastly improved guitar sound. Unbelievable. If the thing didn't sound superhuman on vocals it would be gone. In fact, I am seriously considering selling it to get one of the Old School Audio L3's and a power supply as they are about equal dollar wise. My only reservation is that I will never be able to drop 1k on one of the OSA compressors they have coming out. The API compressors are even more. But I digress...

So to answer your question, my personal experience has shown that better converters far outweigh the advantages of a high end mic pre. My mixes sound considerably better with improved monitoring through the D/A, UV22HR, and normalization via the Aptomizer. I notice a huge difference tracking as well.
Old 22nd June 2005
  #3
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JimmyPills's Avatar
 

Thanks a bunch for the info! I was hoping you could explain a bit more on how you use the apogee on the master bus. I set mine up this morning the way you desribed and I'm not hearing a change. I think I'm doing something wrong (it is only 8am here) though. How do you have the apogee set up? Again, I sure appreciate the feedback. Yeah, I was on the phone with Atlas Audio yesterday in regards to picking up a couple of MP1-C's and a track pack, but after dropping almost 2 grand on this converter I'm waiting to see what kind of sounds I can get out of this thing first. I had been looking at 610 also. I'm going to try tracking some guitars this weekend and see how that sounds. Everyone keeps saying how night and day this thing is supposed to sound, I want to hear that! Thanks, Jimmy
Old 22nd June 2005
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyPills
Yeah, I was on the phone with Atlas Audio yesterday in regards to picking up a couple of MP1-C's and a track pack, but after dropping almost 2 grand on this converter I'm waiting to see what kind of sounds I can get out of this thing first. Everyone keeps saying how night and day this thing is supposed to sound, I want to hear that! Thanks, Jimmy

My instincts and experience tell me that you won't hear the 'night and day' difference because of some fundamental reasons.

The most important upgrade is the one that starts closest to the sound source, and then as it moves away from the original source it is slightly less important (although your sound is only as good as the weakest link). So in order of most important to least IME (and it follows suit that the top of the list will make the most impact):

1) Room/recording environment
2) Microphone
3) Microphone preamp
4) Recorder (which includes converter if digital,
high quality analog tape machine with wide track format if analog)
5) High quality processing, i.e. compression and EQ (preferably analog for at least the majority of it).

Best of luck.
Old 23rd June 2005
  #5
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JimmyPills's Avatar
 

Wow thanks for the info Nathan! Okay, so I think I'll go ahead and go for the OSA pre's tomorrow, and see if I can get them rushed to me for a recording gig on Saturday (I spoke with Bridgette yesterday, she was great). So tell me, does the Apogee even make a difference when mixing ITB? I'm using it on the master bus ( based on a previous suggestion.. Thanks again Chrisrulesmore) after the L1 as an I/O, then bouncing to disc... Then taking the stereo file into Bias Peak for some Ultra maximizer treatment. Should I even hold onto the Rosetta? I wish my 1/4 inch sounded better for mix down, but it's pretty noisy, so it's ITB for me as of now. I'm sure I could use better monitors too (KRK ST6's, Yorkville YSM-1's) I'm mostly doing post/ sound for short films and right now finishing mixing a full length CD that was recorded elsewhere. Again, I'm trying to make things sound the best that I can. So let the let the suggestions or critcisms fly!
Old 23rd June 2005
  #6
I tried also an Studer/Revox A77 machine.. and I heard also very little diffrence.

then I tried the PSP vintagewarmer from PSP-audio and WOW!! some digitalplugin that makes me feel anlogue and warm

maybe you can try this plugin.. well it's not the same, but at least you don't have problems with transportmechanisms, rubbers and servicetechs!!

cheers
Old 23rd June 2005
  #7
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Jimmy,
I have an Mbox which makes things easy to explain given that there is only one i/o path, but I'll do my best to explain the Apogee set up on a digi002. Obviously, you want to set your clock source to the Apogee. Set up one of your digi002's i/o paths in ProTools to SPDIF and name it Rosetta. Run all of your audio tracks to an auxillary input as a master bus and out to your master fader (e.g. all audio outputs to bus 13-14, and bus 13-14 out to bus 15-16 which is what you have your master fader output set as). On bus 13-14, click on the inserts button like you would for any plug in, and choose i/o-->you should see your Apogee i/o path you created. This will route your master bus out to the Rosetta then back to your master fader, allowing you to apply UV22HR and utilize the Aptomizer function (make sure you enable the learn function on the master bus and let the Rosetta calibrate levels on your 2 channel mix...but don't forget to click learn again and turn the aptomizer on before you do a bounce). Finally, when you are ready to do a bounce to disk, make sure you choose bus 15-16 as your bounce source in pro tools in the bounce to disk dialog box where you are asked to choose the bit rate and so on. Alternatively, you could similarly route all of your audio to a stereo audio track and simply record a master track using the same type of set up.

Leon, from Apogee is supposed to be sending me some more information on this, so I'll let you know what he says. If you do order some OSA stuff I would love to hear your thoughts, as we have much of the same gear and I am considering the OSA route as well. Nathan's comments are well taken regarding the impact of gear as you move away from the sound source, and in fact I have read that same heirarchy at some point previously. I think the most often neglected is number 1, room treatment. I decided to wait on that since I am building out a dedicated basement studio early next year, with the exception of an auralex gramma for isolating my mesa. My thoughts on mic's, especially for electric guitar, is that a 57 and a C1 are completely capable...maybe not a royer and a U87, but certainly capable. This heirarchy led me to the LA-610 and I can honestly say that it pales in comparison to my Apogee as far as sonic improvements go. Comparing sessions done before and after, I am amazed. But ultimately, the proof is in the pudding as they say, and you should trust your ears. If you aren't hearing much of a difference, I would say ditch the Rosetta and get some Auralex treatment, new pre's, or a new mic. Again, I would love to hear your feedback on an OSA set-up from Nathan.
Old 24th June 2005
  #8
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JimmyPills's Avatar
 

Night and Day

Okay, I've heard it! Crisp, clear great stereo image! Thanks everyone for all of your posts! I used the Rosetta all day mixing down a project, it sounded great! Next are the mic pre's. Still thinking about the OSA's, maybe API. I'm heading to Hollywood on Sunday for a recording session at Capitol Records ( I did sound for a short animated film here at my home studio, and someone composed music and is recording it there) I was lucky enough to be invited to watch the session! Anyhow hopefully I'll get some ideas and input while I'm there, so I can make an educated decision when I return. I've got a session here at home on Saturday and I'm going to track with it. I'm sure I'll end up with a bunch more ?'s after that..... Jimmy
Old 24th June 2005
  #9
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Glad to hear you got everything set up ok. Out of curiosity, what are you using to monitor D/A? I've yet to get into some monitors, so I'm running the analog outs into a mixer so I can monitor on AKG 240S Headphones.

Also, one more tip on using the Rosetta for tracking...always engage the learn function and let the Aptomizer calibrate the level before each take. This is hands down my favorite feature on the Rosetta 200 that isn't found on any other Apogee converter at the moment. It ensures that you always get the maximum resolution hitting the converter and makes for a much easier mixdown given the consistent levels on every track. The PSX-100 that I demoed was a pain to calibrate using a mini screwdriver!

Further, I'm not as familiar with the latency on a Digi002, but when the Mbox is set to SPDIF i/o, the mix control becomes inactive leaving one no option of balancing the direct signal with the latent playback. However, because the Rosetta has D/A, I can run one of the analog outs to the Mbox solely for monitoring the direct signal while the SPDIF signal is being recorded in Pro Tools. This is a HUGE improvement in direct monitoring for the Mbox.

Again, I digress...look forward to hearing about the Capitol session...and keep us posted on your future mic pre investments!

-Chris
Old 24th June 2005
  #10
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beechstudio's Avatar
 

Wow......this is low end theory? Some good info on the Apogee guys! Thanks!
Old 28th June 2005
  #11
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JimmyPills's Avatar
 

More converter talk

First of all let me just say Capitol Records was ****ing cool. Big 56 channel Neve consoles, Fairchilds, Pultecs... I could go on and on.... But I have more converter issues. Chris, I'm using your method to bounce down using the Apogee, but the music ends up sounding all weird (too fast) I know I'm just missing a step somewhere. Have any of you who are doing it this way had any of those issues? Obviously something is not getting converted correctly. I'm taking a 48k/ 24bit file and bouncing it to 44.1k/ 16bit so I can hit it with the Ultramaximizer, and get it onto a cd using Jam. But the whole time I'm locked in with the Apogee at 48k.... Any thoughts would be cool. I've heard it and I want to have that sound in my final mix.... And I'm going to buy some pre's real soon here. Thanks, Jimmy
Old 29th June 2005
  #12
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Hey Jimmy,
I think this is a sample rate issue if what you are hearing is not timed correctly. I generally record at 44.1k, so I may not be able to speak from experience on this one. Do you have the SRC (sample rate convert) light engaged on the Apogee? Looking at page 2 of the users guide on the diagram it looks like you need SRC engaged along with UV22HR on your source to digital outs...

http://apogeedigital.com/pdf/rosetta200_usersguide.pdf

Do you have 44.1k or 48k selected as your sample rate on the Apogee? I've found the Apogee tech support to be extremely helpful, so maybe give them a ring? Let me know if you figure it out. I'm in Hawaii so I can't check it out on my Rosetta 200.

-Chris

p.s.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1
Old 10th July 2005
  #13
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JimmyPills's Avatar
 

Okay Chris, this is what I have figured out so far (and it's actually working). I put the Apogee on my master bus as a spdif I/O. I use the learn function and then turn the Coda on and bounce with it on. I leave the sample rate on the Apogee at whatever the session is at. I then do one more bounce to get it to the appropriate sample rate. I have some stuff recorded at 48. I have the 002 set to spdif in the clocking area. Before I bounce to 44, I turn the the clock back to internal, or the bounce gets all wacked out and changes pitch. I have the analog out of the apogee going to one of the source inputs on my Big Knob. That way I can A/B the two inputs, one with the Apogee and one without. I don't think I'm using this right at all. But it is definitely making a HUGE difference in my mixes. Anyhow... If anyone knows how I should be using this correctly please let me know. I haven't tracked with it yet, but when my OSA pre's get here I will be... Jimmy
Old 10th July 2005
  #14
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It depends what you will be doing mostly. Are you recording mostly live stuff or mostly synth and sampled based.

If its live stuff then mic and mic-pre and then buy a good converter later.
If your mostly sample synth based recording, then a good converter and DI/micpre will give the majority of your sound the quality you are looking for. If its software synths and samples mostly that you are recording then go get the second most recorded source for improvement. If it's vocals, then get a mic then pre.
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