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How bad is MOTU 828 mkII audio conversion? (Let's find out) Audio Interfaces
Old 28th December 2010
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghetto3jon View Post
this is great, i love this stuff. i can't believe how strange 100 passes sounds...i was expecting degradation, but that envelop-filtering distortion is wild! anyone with some knowledge care to explain why that happens?
Quote:
Originally Posted by OP
just for clarification, this one (100 passes) is a joke. It's been fed through a guitar stomp box envelope filter [subdecay prometheus ] separately for the left and right channels
That might explain it.
Old 28th December 2010
  #32
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So that's how Misfits did it!
I wonder what converters Danzig & Co. were using back in the late 70's?
Old 28th December 2010
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prontold View Post
(just for clarification, this one is a joke. It's been fed through a guitar stomp box envelope filter [subdecay prometheus ] separately for the left and right channels)
ah, a joke...i get jokes.
Old 28th December 2010
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drloop View Post
I don´t think you have to worry at all.
The converters works fine.

However I would make sure that the local teenager got some help after doing this test, it obviously must have been a nightmare to run the file 10000 times and listening to the changes over time...
heh Yea, that guy is a champ. I gave him some pizza and a $30 gift certificate to Bath and Beyond (no Bed until he deals with his acne). Think that's enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghetto3jon View Post
ah, a joke...i get jokes.
Old 28th December 2010
  #35
I too have an 828mk2, and in all fairness, for the money, it's not bad.

Personally, I've spent too long in studios swearing at digital kit a LOT more expensive than the MOTU, and getting worse results.

I was using Prism stuff before (which I loved), but now, at home, I use my MOTU with a bit of valve pre and post computer.

For me, it's not about the purity of the sound (although I fully respect those that feel it is) - I now use interfaces like sound modules...... to add a timbre or flavour to the overall sound.

The trick is working out which ones sound good with differing material!!

All imho of course
Dan
Old 28th December 2010
  #36
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interesting... that's the first time I've ever heard of converters for flavor, though I'm sure they do sound different, especially if you're not on the super expensive side of things.
Old 31st December 2010
  #37
Like I said, I've spent years chasing audio transparency with various bits of kit........ to make sounds that sound exactly like everything else!!

IMHO, what gives you a distinctive signature sound is the kit you use. Example - I had the great pleasure of working with Sly & Robbie at their studio in Jamaica.
Sly was using his MPC with a rack of toys bolted straight onto the outputs. The rack's contents included Amek/Neve 9098s and some other toys - these totally transformed his sound at source.

If you think about it, the sound is exactly why we choose a specific mic for a job, or an effect unit rather than the effect type - they all have timbres and tonal qualities that make up our distinctive sounds......

Why should the audio interface be any different (as long as it's the sound you're after!)

I'm not saying that this is how everybody should work - but it most certainly works for me and the artists I've worked with over the years.thumbsup

Dan
Old 31st January 2011
  #38
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I just did a test with sampling rates in logic using only the space designer reverb (with a motu 828 mk2) and playing a sample from the exs24.
weirdly the tails varied a lot - the worst being at 96.
44 was ok - 48 better and 88.2 def the best to my ears (the tail extended the longest and was the most clearly defined and open sounding)
96 tailed out very early and was very badly defined...worse than 44
I tried it with a lexicon reverb plug and got the same results.
I'm using a macbook pro. The cpu wasnt really taxed as I just had 1 channel of exs24 in use with 1 plugin.
Wondered if anyone else tried this and experienced the same - am about to get a metric halo uln2 soon, so will try the test again with that.
Old 31st January 2011
  #39
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Llitsor's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prontold View Post
The MOTU 828 mk II gets a bad rap for its converters, internal clock, and preamp.
Oh really?
Sure, they are no Apogee. But MOTU stuff really isn't half bad either. And I certainly don't see them getting a bad rep. It's good solid gear considering what you pay for it.
Old 19th April 2011
  #40
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Tom Higgins's Avatar
Reading this thread... sure there is some degradation at 4/5 passes ... and it's unusable at 100 passes (let alone that 10,000 )

BUT for me, the quality of the converters aren't bad at all. I'm not going to be converting this back and forth ITB/OTB and my gear isn't high end anyway. I think we can be too critical about small aspects in the grand scheme of things. Or when comparing this unit to high end gear, like Prism!
Old 19th April 2011
  #41
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jmik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Higgins View Post
Reading this thread... sure there is some degradation at 4/5 passes ... and it's unusable at 100 passes (let alone that 10,000 )

BUT for me, the quality of the converters aren't bad at all. I'm not going to be converting this back and forth ITB/OTB and my gear isn't high end anyway. I think we can be too critical about small aspects in the grand scheme of things. Or when comparing this unit to high end gear, like Prism!
...You did read that the 100 passes clip was a joke, right?
Old 19th April 2011
  #42
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Prontold and Jose and everyone else: No one has yet mentioned (perhaps I missed it?) that this is not really a test of converters-it's a test of a whole system-with analogue front ends and "back ends." And then, of course, whatever we all have on our end-converters and analogue outs.

So units will sound better and worse and about the same, but remember it's the whole box of stuff.

Prontold-I have not done the listening, but I'm going to. Thanks so much for doing this!

Yes, it would be better if something were taken from in front of an orchestra (or something else), but it's still revealing and I've not seen something like this done elsewhere. Thanks!
Old 29th June 2011
  #43
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i don't mean to open a can of worms, just posting my findings.

i ran the "Mill Valley Waltz" test through my BLA-modded 828mkII five times to compare it to the stock 828mkII (prontold, if this is not cool, let me know and i'll remove the files).

sadly, i cannot hear a difference, and the two files almost completely null. perhaps this a flawed testing technique, i don't know...but i was expecting to hear a difference because i thought the BLA mod improved the sound of my 828mkII.

5-Pass Stock (as posted above, just relinked for convenience here)

5-Pass BLA
Old 30th June 2011
  #44
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i'll be getting a Micro Clock mk2 in the mail tomorrow...so i'll do this test again with the "full" BLA mod (the result above is just the "analog" part of the mod).

anyone have any thoughts? i didn't really expect the 5 passes of BLA/828mkII to sound night-and-day better than the stock, but i expected there to be more of a difference. if 5 passes doesn't reveal much of an audible difference, is it really realistic to think a BLA modded unit could sound better during a more real-world 1 or 2 AD/DA trips?
Old 30th June 2011
  #45
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M.S.P.'s Avatar
Huh... 10,000 passes turned this into The Misfits? I would have thought that would have happened around 138 passes.
Old 20th August 2011
  #46
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Hi there!
After a couple of decades engineering and producing in my country (Argentina) and being through the whole analog to digital conversion, I can say that no gear ever sounded like today's gear. Sorry, I think that's proven over and over. Can you imagine 100 passes through the best tape machine ever? I guess the confusion is between quality and taste. Some people "like" a certain sound (that's distorted, by definition. Otherwise it would be "transparent". "Hi Fi"), and that's it. My akg c-12 through an Avalon 737 or api 512 sounds amazing going into my old 828, and my plugins retired three racks full of outboard. No regrets. My modified 40 channel board sits silent and unplugged under my powerbook, running dp-prepped tracks through my $200 Harrison Mixbus, which ROCKS big time. I've never had this much fatness and clarity at my disposal. Cheers.
Old 24th October 2011
  #47
nms
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Christ... converters are the biggest smoke and mirrors realm of myths in pro audio! So much money poorly spent, so many misconceptions regurgitated and passed on over and over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prontold View Post
My thoughts: maybe a little bit of transient definition is lost with repeated cycles of conversion through the 828.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog View Post
I did a blind A/B between the original and the 4 passes at 44.1
I think the difference is pretty audible, although its not huge. YMMV
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Nice test. Goes to show that sometimes reality doesn't match expectation....
HOWEVER
You would no doubt hear a lot more loss of definition in first pass recorded real instruments that still had their transients intact and in place - ac guitar, percussion, real drums, etc. as opposed to loops and synths which are heavily processed already.
I'm not in my studio but at 44.1 on my computers monitors (JBL 25P's) I can hear a degradation at 4-5 loopthru's that I would not be happy with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaVogi View Post
the 828mk2 is 'ok' and I wouldn't overthink about the quality of coverters... as long as you like what you hear.

that said, i sold my motu and got mr816... the difference was very audible. (more solid, transparent)
Ahhh.. the MR816. The second to least transparent converter we tested See results HERE



And now ladies and gentleman.. drum roll please...

using drBill's suggested high quality content (Mill Valley Waltz) after 5 passes of the stock Motu 828 mk2, the nulltest difference stats from Audio Diffmaker's analysis against the original wav:

Clock rate correction=0.0915 ppm. Correlation Depth: 34.8dB (L), 41.2dB (R) // RMS Level of Difference File: L=-53.4db R=-54.4db

And here's the difference file after the nulltest. This is the information lost after 5 passes: http://www.bass-skidz.com/5PassesMot...lley_Waltz.wav

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz1der View Post
Black Lion Audio does a great mod on these that really made a diference to me. I got a 24 i/o done and it really opened it up.
Haha.. yep, just listen to the difference and how much it opened it right up. Compare 5 passes with the BLA modded Motu to the first difference file: http://www.bass-skidz.com/5PassesMot...lley_Waltz.wav

Diffmaker stats for both units nulled against the original after 5 passes:

Motu 828 mk2
clock rate adj=0.0915 ppm. Corr Depth: 34.8 dB (L), 41.2 dB (R) // RMS: L=-53.4 R=-54.4

Motu 828 mk2 BLA Mod
clock rate adj=0.0914 ppm. Corr Depth: 34.7 dB (L), 41.4 dB (R) // RMS: L=-53.5 R=-54.4

Dear BLA.. sorry.. but what the hell!

I could do this test with my MR816x, but I'll save myself the time and tell you it won't be anywhere in the same galaxy as the Motu.
Old 24th October 2011
  #48
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nms View Post
Christ... converters are the biggest smoke and mirrors realm of myths in pro audio! So much money poorly spent, so many misconceptions regurgitated and passed on over and over.



Ahhh.. the MR816. The second to least transparent converter we tested See results HERE



And now ladies and gentleman.. drum roll please...

using drBill's suggested high quality content (Mill Valley Waltz) after 5 passes of the stock Motu 828 mk2, the nulltest difference stats from Audio Diffmaker's analysis against the original wav:

Clock rate correction=0.0915 ppm. Correlation Depth: 34.8dB (L), 41.2dB (R) // RMS Level of Difference File: L=-53.4db R=-54.4db

And here's the difference file after the nulltest. This is the information lost after 5 passes: http://www.bass-skidz.com/5PassesMot...lley_Waltz.wav

Haha.. yep, just listen to the difference and how much it opened it right up. Compare this to the first difference file: http://www.bass-skidz.com/PassesMotu828_Mk2_BLA_MOD-Mill_Valley_Waltz.wav

Diffmaker stats for both units nulled against the original after 5 passes:

Motu 828 mk2
clock rate adj=0.0915 ppm. Corr Depth: 34.8 dB (L), 41.2 dB (R) // RMS: L=-53.4 R=-54.4

Motu 828 mk2 BLA Mod
clock rate adj=0.0914 ppm. Corr Depth: 34.7 dB (L), 41.4 dB (R) // RMS: L=-53.5 R=-54.4

Dear BLA.. sorry.. but what the hell!

I could do this test with my MR816x, but I'll save myself the time and tell you it won't be anywhere in the same galaxy as the Motu.
I agree with you on the "converter fraud" issue but could you translate some of this "tech-speak" for those of us who are on the slow side (Me) heh and tend to use our ears more (one of your files was missing) than stats...


Thanks!
Old 24th October 2011
  #49
nms
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nms's Avatar
fixed the link.


How To Read: rate adj is the amount of clock drift. The last 2 figures (Correlation Depth & RMS) are the ones to look at for converter transparency. Higher numbers = more transparent. The RMS value is the level of the leftover difference file created by Audio Diffmaker.
Old 24th October 2011
  #50
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DaVogi's Avatar
as far as I can tell sneaking into the other thread you are using the preamp inputs instead of the direct a/d input which are accessibly through the inserts.

if you care to quote me and proof my findings wrong please do me a favor and at least do a PROPER test. thanks!

from the other thread
("As I suspected, clearly the place where the conversion transparency fails is in the ADC of the Steinberg. The DA is quite clean. It's really a shame the preamps in the MR816x can't be bypassed.")
Old 24th October 2011
  #51
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Hi there, though I visit this forum off and on this is my first post here. I've found the comments and tests on these converter threads very interesting and informative, since I'm in the process of looking for an interface.

In the previous blind test thread "Shootout: 828mkII w/ BLA Mods & MicroClock mk2 vs 828mkII Stock" I easily (and correctly) picked file aa over file bb as the bla modded unit, and so did the others who commented. It seemed like a no brainer and there was no doubt in my mind of the added clarity, openness and definition I was hearing in the aa file.

In these other stock vs. bla mod comparisons using prerecorded material, I still hear a similar though more subtle difference.

Is there some explanation for how we all heard the same difference in blind tests, yet this difference does not show up on these charts?

I'm a musician not an engineer, so I may not be using correct terminology, but, is it possible that it's not the soundwaves themselves that are changing but the delivery or projection of those soundwaves to our ears that's changing? In other words is there something apart from the soundwave that affects our ability to hear the potential clarity, depth or openness of that soundwave?

Ahh... This reminds me, the bla website says the MOTU mod consists of upgrading the OP amps (not the converter chips) and the full mod consists of adding a MK2 clock. So unless the analyzed soundwaves of the modded and unmodded 828 units had passed through the OP amps they should be almost exactly alike. And wouldn't this explain the difference between what is seen on these charts and what we hear? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

Keep the tests coming, this is a great thread! Has anyone run this test on a bla modded 002 or 003?

Cheers,
Winston
Old 24th October 2011
  #52
nms
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nms's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaVogi View Post
as far as I can tell sneaking into the other thread you are using the preamp inputs instead of the direct a/d input which are accessibly through the inserts.

if you care to quote me and proof my findings wrong please do me a favor and at least do a PROPER test. thanks!
A proper test of an 8 channel unit is to rig it through the one pair of 1/4" unbalanced insert jacks on the unit as opposed to using the intended 8 channels of balanced analog inputs?
I didn't test running the MR816 through the insert because I don't find it particularly useful if the only hope in getting a more transparent input is by means of the one unbalanced insert pair on the unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nostringsgtr View Post
In the previous blind test thread "Shootout: 828mkII w/ BLA Mods & MicroClock mk2 vs 828mkII Stock" I easily (and correctly) picked file aa over file bb as the bla modded unit, and so did the others who commented. It seemed like a no brainer and there was no doubt in my mind of the added clarity, openness and definition I was hearing in the aa file.
The levels were not matched correctly with the files. Here are the levels from those files:

RMS levels for 1 pass
aa: L=-25.67 R=-25.89
bb: L=-25.37 R=-25.60

10 pass levels
aa RMS: L=-25.68 R=-25.61 (peak: L=-6.16 R=-6.26
bb RMS: L=-25.29 R=-25.54 (peak: L=-5.21 R=-5.68)

Let's make this a bit more interesting. Here are the exact RMS level matched aa & bb 10 pass files. Can anyone tell them apart with any level of consistency?

http://www.bass-skidz.com/this_tenloop.wav
http://www.bass-skidz.com/that_tenloop.wav
Old 25th October 2011
  #53
Here for the gear
 

OK, now they're way hard for me to tell apart, and I have no certainty at all. But if I were going to venture to guess which is the bla mod between the "This" and "That" files I would pick "that". To me it sounds a little more like I'm in the same room with the band as it's being played, and slightly more defined.

The "this" file to my ears sounds slightly less defined which translates in my mind to sounding a bit smoother because of less contrast. So that's my guess. I'm looking forward to hearing which file others pick as the mod, and why, as well as what the right answer is.

I've been considering getting an 828 mkii, and thought I'd need to spend an extra $700 on the mod to get the most out of it. But if this quality of sound is available for the $250-$300 that used 828's are selling for, that's a ridiculous deal!
Old 25th October 2011
  #54
nms
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Congrats, you just picked the stock unit :P

It's way too easy for people to make money off us musicians when it comes to gear!

Let's continue this over on the other thread where I just posted the clock differences as well: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear-...ml#post7163828
Old 25th October 2011
  #55
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I'm derailing this thread somewhat, but I am intrigued by Audio Diffmaker, this is the first I've heard of it. No go for me, though, because I am on Macs. Is there a Mac equivalent? I find this sort of thing interesting.
Old 27th October 2011
  #56
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DaVogi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nms View Post
A proper test of an 8 channel unit is to rig it through the one pair of 1/4" unbalanced insert jacks on the unit as opposed to using the intended 8 channels of balanced analog inputs?
I didn't test running the MR816 through the insert because I don't find it particularly useful if the only hope in getting a more transparent input is by means of the one unbalanced insert pair on the unit.
I just say, if you want to compare converters, then compare converters!

btw.: try comparing the 8 channels of preamps of the 828 with the 8 preamps of the mr816.... ups there aren't so many. does this mean one unit is better than the other. no, it just means that one unit will suit someones requirements better than the other.

I understand the problem with the mr816 that you can't directly connect to the line ins without going through the preamps... so if you don't want this, just buy something other.... but don't make false comparison and sell them as scientific research.

your test is flawed... undermining the opinions of others based of false facts is a very unprofessional and dumb thing
Old 27th October 2011
  #57
nms
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Flawed test? False facts? I was speaking about transparency of converters which has not been a strong point for the MR816' compared to other units.. While the Motus end up on the exact other end of the transparency rankings. Converter transparency is a lot more important to people running a high end rig since they are either not needing preamps or using their own high end units more than relying on interface preamps.

We've tested with measurable results and and posted proof of the MR's preamps. This is coming from someone who currently owns one.. I have no reason to convince myself out of using it if the results aren't there. As of right now my MR is banned from AD duties.
Old 24th October 2012
  #58
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So then since most consumers don't have high end rig, it's safe to say that UFX, and things like Duet 2 sound better than the Mk2 because they are a great ADDA converter/pre-amp combo! I wouldnt get the 828 because buying seperate pre-amps doesn't make much sense in a budget!
Old 24th October 2012
  #59
nms
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Doesn't make sense in a budget? You can grab a 828mk2 off ebay for under $300 shipped. That leaves plenty of money for wherever you feel like going from there. Add a Lavry AD10 for a pair of high grade conversion & master clock source, go preamp shopping, whatever.

There is no "most consumers" solution. Not for a second. What you need depends on what you do. If you're only tracking line level sources you don't need preamps at all. The average consumer on moderate monitors could get by fine with either an 828, Duet, UFX, TC Impact Twin/Konnekt. It's not even worth bothering over really because it's low on the list of other things you can put money towards and get further ahead.

For the average consumer I don't believe there would be any point whatsoever in looking at a UFX over an 828mk3 or TC Konnekt.

For doing important location recordings needing onboard preamps a UFX would be great. They're built tough and reliable and excel in that arena particularly with the added direct to usb recording.

Honestly, most of these are really interchangeable including the MR816 if you're not doing commercial recordings working on nice monitors & outboard gear. Deadmau5 used a Motu Ultralite mk3 as his tour interface for a while. If you think your interface is holding you back chances are good you've been spending too much time on gearslutz!
Old 24th October 2012
  #60
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dxavier's Avatar
I would love this test to be done on the MOTU 828mk1. My friend has one and when I listen to the mixes she creates through that thing, her sound is warm and rich, as though it has gone through a decent desk. Not sure what those converters are doing, but it doesn't sound linear at all to me. Still, whatever it is doing to the audio, it seems to be very nice indeed.
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