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Budget-ish Converters
Old 22nd October 2013
  #1
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Budget-ish Converters

I am seeking some feedback on a few common convertors. First a little background...

I am currently running a MOTU 828MKII with a Focusrite Octopre for a 16x16 (4 mike preamps) analog I/O and A/D conversion in my project studio. Most of my work involves a fair number of modern analog and digital hardware synths, vocals/guitar miking and some synth based OTB audio processing. Tracks I am working on tend to be fairly thick so I am concerned about cumulative signal degradation due to so-so conversion. At some point I expect to upgrade to the latest Mac Pro and shift to a 100% thunderbolt setup (no PCI/e options).

I have been considering the following units:

Lynx Aurora 16 with thunderbolt interface
Apogee Symphony 16x16 with thunder bridge
Used Apogee AD16 with new thunder bridge

What real world quality difference can I expect between these units and are there additional points that I should be considering in terms of favoring one over the other? Are there any other comparable products I should be seriously considering?

Please keep in mind this is all about stepping up from my MOTU 828MkII converters and the relative worth (price/performance) of doing so.

Thanks.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #2
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guitarboy94's Avatar
 

I've never used those converters, but I can say that I've never heard a huge difference, if any, between modern converters in the sub 1,000 dollar range. I was using an RME 9632 card which runs about 500 dollars. I sold it and bought a 90 dollar M-Audio Audiophile card that I honestly think sounds just as good. I used the profit and invested in some sound treatment. That made a MASSIVE impact on my recordings. Money well spent! I definitely would not be losing sleep over any of those converters you mentioned. Any modern converter will get the job done very well.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #3
Gear Nut
 

None of those is budget! I'd go Apogee, however: they sound more like a record from the off. Take from that what you will
Old 22nd October 2013
  #4
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Ragan's Avatar
 

If a Symphony is "budget-ish" to you, you must know about some converters that I don't.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarboy94 View Post
I've never used those converters, but I can say that I've never heard a huge difference, if any, between modern converters in the sub 1,000 dollar range. I was using an RME 9632 card which runs about 500 dollars. I sold it and bought a 90 dollar M-Audio Audiophile card that I honestly think sounds just as good. I used the profit and invested in some sound treatment. That made a MASSIVE impact on my recordings. Money well spent! I definitely would not be losing sleep over any of those converters you mentioned. Any modern converter will get the job done very well.
I already have decent room treatment and excellent monitoring (Focal Twin BE6, Avantone Mixcubes, Sennheiser 650s). I am also fortunate enough to have high end instruments, amplifiers and decent mikes, so my source is good, my room/monitoring is as good as it will get within my current space, at this point I think high end conversion would be the next logical step.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #6
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I suppose budget-ish is a bit of a stretch, I was thinking relative to a professional environment where a PT HD setup and associated preamps really add up. The cost of a Symphony 16x16 with Thunderbolt support is definitely over the top.

So one vote thus far for Apogee over Lynx. Hoping for some more feedback.

Any thoughts on a used AD16 versus new Symphony in terms of conversion quality?
Old 22nd October 2013
  #7
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Ragan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SRT View Post
I suppose budget-ish is a bit of a stretch, I was thinking relative to a professional environment where a PT HD setup and associated preamps really add up. The cost of a Symphony 16x16 with Thunderbolt support is definitely over the top.

So one vote thus far for Apogee over Lynx. Hoping for some more feedback.

Any thoughts on a used AD16 versus new Symphony in terms of conversion quality?
You'll need preamps with any standalone converter, not just a PTHD rig. That cost is there no matter what.

You may get more feedback if this isn't in Low End. No one in Low End is spending $3-4k on standalone converters.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #8
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I like my 24 I/Os converters, I've never used any of MOTU's strait firewire/USB units but I think the 24 I/O has a bit more going for it with the 424 card instead of a regular firewire plug. You only have 8 analog ins with your currant device, so more inputs would be good and you really need a good mixer to.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
You'll need preamps with any standalone converter, not just a PTHD rig. That cost is there no matter what.

You may get more feedback if this isn't in Low End. No one in Low End is spending $3-4k on standalone converters.
Fair enough. I'll rethink the post and shift over to the high end forum.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24 I/O View Post
I like my 24 I/Os converters, I've never used any of MOTU's strait firewire/USB units but I think the 24 I/O has a bit more going for it with the 424 card instead of a regular firewire plug. You only have 8 analog ins with your currant device, so more inputs would be good and you really need a good mixer to.
Actually I also own a 24 I/O with a PCI/E-424. It was my first audio interface. I switched to the 828MKIII setup because of the mike preamps and optical connectors. The MOTUs are decent, but having heard some A/B tests with Apogee gear in person I felt that there is enough of a a difference in the final mix that an upgrade is worth consideration.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #11
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I use the lynx and have no complaints for the money. but I have not compared them to the other converters you mentioned.

is use the lynx with pcie and it is faultless. it has never skipped a beat since the day it was installed. I have zero complaints.

it is relatively transparent. there is a certain sound to it but compared with some other converters out there it is transparent. it reveals plenty of detail. I would like more transparent. actually i'd like completely transparent if that helps yo uunderstand my view on converters.

with the lynx, I can easily and clearly hear the differences between gear, mics, preamps, compressors etc. when you look at the price the lynx is extremely good value.

ross martin audio is also starting to make 8 channel converters. although a lot of people have issues with his business model. might be worth a look.

there is a new level of converters starting to come to the market that are apparently a step up sound wise. based on the newer chips.
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