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Converter upgrade prioritizing Digital Converters
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Kimotei's Avatar
Converter upgrade prioritizing

Id like to upgrade my AD/DA at some point with the latest Cranesong stuff, from current RME ADI-2 Pro, but can only afford about €2000 a time which yields stereo AD or stereo DA only. Covering the full chain I would need 2x stereo DA and one stereo AD at a total of €6000, if I was to go all out with this brand. So my question is where would you prioritize first? I see many pro MEs around here with combos of multiple brands..


What would you prioritize first and second, and why:
DA to Monitors
DA to Hardware chain
AD from Hardware chain


Last edited by Kimotei; 4 weeks ago at 07:01 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
It's a tough call. I lean towards the DA to your monitors because you can't judge any shortcomings of the rest of the processing chain if you can't hear them.

On that subject: monitors and studio acoustics are orders of magnitude less linear than any converter. IMO, any improvement there is money better spent toward improving the quality of your work.

Just in case you haven't seen it before... Zmix Converter Tests
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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gorka's Avatar
 

The Adi-2 Pro is a pretty good, contemporary converter and the tests are 11 years old...

I think the d/a with its filter options is definitely good enough to keep it for a while.
Therefore I´d go for the a/d first.
I´m interested to hear how you describe the differences, then.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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teebaum's Avatar
i know some famous people who prefer your converter to a lot of very expensive products...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
i know some famous people who prefer your converter to a lot of very expensive products...
Yes, I know and thats one reason why I got it next to the budget at hand, but its the only “high end” ive tried, and im curious to atleat a/b it against something else supposedly at another step up. People seem almost flaberghasted in reviews about the recent new Cranesong, and I must admit the gearslut in me is itching. It will be more then 3x the price to cover the same i/o ground, but the great thing is that it can be broken into 3 stages.

I guess perhaps starting with 1x DA would be best as it can be used to shoot out against the ADI2 pro with feeding the monitors, and also to feed from the chain.. And from there either keep it an use it where it shines best in the chain for me, or return it and get the money back if its not worth it. (If I feel the money is better spent somewhere else) I will do that, but want an en eq and some stuf first, so it will be a while even before I have the cash to “demo” purchase/return it.

But I see the other point with prioritizing DA to the HW also..

@Greg: Yes, room acoustics (fully treated and tuned) and monitoring (fullrange high-end) is all very good. Cables too. I can clearly hear differences in converters and such.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
Yes, I know and thats one reason why I got it next to the budget at hand, but its the only “high end” ive tried, and im curious to atleat a/b it against something else supposedly at another step up. People seem almost flaberghasted in reviews about the recent new Cranesong, and I must admit the gearslut in me is itching. It will be more then 3x the price to cover the same i/o ground, but the great thing is that it can be broken into 3 stages.

I guess perhaps starting with 1x DA would be best as it can be used to shoot out against the ADI2 pro with feeding the monitors, and also to feed from the chain.. And from there either keep it an use it where it shines best in the chain for me, or return it and get the money back if its not worth it. (If I feel the money is better spent somewhere else) I will do that, but want an en eq and some stuf first, so it will be a while even before I have the cash to “demo” purchase/return it.

But I see the other point with prioritizing DA to the HW also..

@Greg: Yes, room acoustics (fully treated and tuned) and monitoring (fullrange high-end) is all very good. Cables too. I can clearly hear differences in converters and such.
when i tested the rme adi-2 pro back then, i didn't take the time to try out the different lowpass filter settings - a big mistake.
my colleague, who also likes to spend 20'000 on a converter, tested the rme against everything there is and has stayed with him. if i didn't know him so well and couldn't judge his statements so well, i'd laugh - come on, a rme - but i know that this inconspicuous little box is a kind of "gift to themselves" to the rme people who had a jubilee to celebrate and they gave themselves a present with a device where they could be without compromise.
i'm saying that changing to cranesong is not an upgrade, it's just a sidegrade that costs you a lot of money and brings you nothing.
with the money you can have a nice holiday, learn a language or buy a mastering-eq or maybe a vari-mu - all better investments.
just because the rme is cheaper, it doesn't have to be worse - rme can produce in completely different quantities than cranesong, forssel or lavry (etc), so a boutique manufacturer's device 3 times as expensive doesn't necessarily have to be better than the "showpiece of a mainstream manufacturer".
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
when i tested the rme adi-2 pro back then, i didn't take the time to try out the different lowpass filter settings - a big mistake.
my colleague, who also likes to spend 20'000 on a converter, tested the rme against everything there is and has stayed with him. if i didn't know him so well and couldn't judge his statements so well, i'd laugh - come on, a rme - but i know that this inconspicuous little box is a kind of "gift to themselves" to the rme people who had a jubilee to celebrate and they gave themselves a present with a device where they could be without compromise.
i'm saying that changing to cranesong is not an upgrade, it's just a sidegrade that costs you a lot of money and brings you nothing.
with the money you can have a nice holiday, learn a language or buy a mastering-eq or maybe a vari-mu - all better investments.
just because the rme is cheaper, it doesn't have to be worse - rme can produce in completely different quantities than cranesong, forssel or lavry (etc), so a boutique manufacturer's device 3 times as expensive doesn't necessarily have to be better than the "showpiece of a mainstream manufacturer".
Thanks for the input Teebaum! Amazing review and thoughts there.

Cool.. It sounds fantastic its just I didnt know how big of a step up it could be to the next “level” as I dont have any other refference to compare at this level. Yeah I have a mastering eq on top of the list actually. New converter is 5th or even further down the list now after your reply.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Verified Member
In the end no converter out there is 100% transparent, they all color to an extend. What sonical compromise do you prefer? So its about us to choose a setup that fits our expectations, our budget (and the chain). Buying blindly because of names and reputation isnt a good idea, but comparing things within the own setup is a must.
Personally I feel that a lot of those famous US boxes are just too expensive for what they deliver over here in Germany/Europe, unfortunately. Local brands are often better priced, and we have lots of.
Dont trust too much in those regular gearslutz hypes, its mostly about the next flavour of the month, no more no less (not saying that the cranesongs arent very good converters, not at all).

Mytek, build in Poland: good converters and reasonable priced, not that clean, but...
Anamod, Germany, good multichannel Cs
Lake People, Germany: quite cheap for what they deliver, more flat than the Myteks, but maybe a bit boring to some,
RME, Germany: never been a fan of their converters and clocks, but the new ADI seems to be real solid (the old one was quite bad).
Acousenc, Germany: high price exclusive HIFI brand, but for sure one of the best sounding designs I heard til today
and I bet there are many more, especially when it comes to DACs it worse to have a look into the HIFI world as well.
Not a converter, but worse a look too imho: Mutec Clocks: yeah I know a "hot topic", but I do not want work without mine anymore.

You should check those too, before buying because of names imho...
In the end the most important question is: whats wrong with you current setup? What you miss? What are you hoping for buying new converters?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Mytek, build in Poland: good converters and reasonable priced, not that clean, but...
Anamod, Germany, good multichannel Cs
Lake People, Germany: quite cheap for what they deliver, more flat than the Myteks, but maybe a bit boring to some,
RME, Germany: never been a fan of their converters and clocks, but the new ADI seems to be real solid (the old one was quite bad).
Acousenc, Germany: high price exclusive HIFI brand, but for sure one of the best sounding designs I heard til today
and I bet there are many more, especially when it comes to DACs it worse to have a look into the HIFI world as well.
Not a converter, but worse a look too imho: Mutec Clocks: yeah I know a "hot topic", but I do not want work without mine anymore.
i don't share jp's judgement of certain converters at all - but that's nothing special either, with converters everyone will tell you something different and everyone rates other aspects as important.
i see mytek as much more linear and clearly a class about lake people, but i at least share his opinion that the "normal" rme are far away from mastering grade - that's why i underestimated the ADI-2 Pro in the beginning.

to upgrade the ADI-2 Pro is only worth considering if there is a lot of other right - acoustics, monitoring, actually all other components in the chain ud even the website i would upgrade before (but without knowing your one).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Benoit D's Avatar
 

Hi Kimotei

I have ADI-2 Pro for monitoring duties and Crane Song Hedd 192 for the analog loop.

Features wise, the Adi-2 Pro is UN-BEAT-ABLE ! You can find a Hedd 192 for about 1500€ in EU. And it makes a very powerful converters team.

Last edited by Benoit D; 4 weeks ago at 03:48 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benoit D View Post
Hi Kimokei

I have ADI-2 Pro for monitoring duties and Crane Song Hedd 192 for the analog loop.

Features wise, the Adi-2 Pro is UN-BEAT-ABLE ! You can find a Hedd 192 for about 1500€ in EU. And it makes a very powerful converters team.
Cool! Is it possible to upgrade it later at some point, to a quantum?

And one more: Did you try to a/b it against the Adi2 Pro, and if so what sounds different compared?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Benoit D's Avatar
 

My Hedd is not upgraded but there are some explanations on Crane Song’s website :

http://www.cranesong.com/downloads/H...NFORMATION.pdf

By the way, I read somewhere (probably here on GS) that is pretty difficult to buy the Quantum upgrade.

According to the comparison Hedd 192 vs Adi-2 Pro, I think it’s pointless because they aren’t the same products. The Hedd 192 isn’t “designed” for monitoring use. It’s a great D-A/A-D + processing. Of course the Adi-2 Pro could be use this way also, but it strength lies in it options (Filters, EQ, loudness, crossfeed, headphone amp etc...). That’s why I’m not interested to compare them sonically. I prefer to use them for what they are.

I have a slight EQ on the Adi-2 Pro for my monitoring and just for that feature, it beats the Hedd.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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Yfoiler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
Id like to upgrade my AD/DA at some point with the latest Cranesong stuff, from current RME ADI-2 Pro, but can only afford about €2000 a time which yields stereo AD or stereo DA only. Covering the full chain I would need 2x stereo DA and one stereo AD at a total of €6000, if I was to go all out with this brand. So my question is where would you prioritize first? I see many pro MEs around here with combos of multiple brands..


What would you prioritize first and second, and why:
DA to Monitors
DA to Hardware chain
AD from Hardware chain

By upgrade you must mean spend more money. Do you really NEED 2x D/A? Even if you have a large analog chain I'm having great success with the DM Liaison for instantaneous switching/comparisons with separate A buss and B buss..and combined. Check out the Dangerous Music Liaison and see if it could fit into your workflow and just may be less expensive than the two D/A's you are considering? Personally I feel the DM Liaison and the ADI2 Pro are hard to beat. Yes, I love my ADI2 Pro....
The ADI2 Pro is well beyond the capabilities most require and as far as value goes it has a ton more features than the Birdsong gear.
Sorry... Just my not so humble opinion. I don't buy into the expense of what the songbird stuff is all about at all---hype? For sure. Results? Nah...
Remember, a small company cannot give you the same bang for your buck a large well founded company can give you. Not that they cannot be better in some cases, but they for sure will be way more costly; they have to be in order to survive.

DA to monitors? What monitors do you have now? D/A monitors? Or actives? Passives? You did not say what you have or are going to use.
(I am using the Barefoot MM45's which as you know are yet another conversion). Can YOU hear it?
DA to hardware chain? LOVE the ADI2 Pro...hands down for features, clarity and transparency.
AD from HD chain? Again, you get that with the ADI2 Pro and it is fantastic.
Words here, including mine, should be taken for what they are...opinions.
Good luck....and I hope you save a buck... In the end? It's all about the song, not necessarily the crane's song. ;-)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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both cranesong and rme are great - and very different so imo cannot really be compared.

for $2000 i'd go an entirely different route and add a lake lm44: although the main purpose of this box is of course speaker alignment, imo the converters are very good (but not getting attention from studio engineers 'cause the gear was design for live sound)

[i'm using 18 channels of lake on my studio outputs - and i do have the choice to route signals through studer and euphonix...]
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Head
 

On the RME this recent article contains a wealth of info:

Archimago's Musings: MEASUREMENTS: RME ADI-2 Pro FS as DAC (Part I - output levels & digital filter settings)

Notably Jürgen Reis of MBL Audio in the comments sections stresses how stable RME software is.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Plush's Avatar
Normally I would suggest to always focus on the source--so that means a/d.

However, your current a/d unit is quite good.

So I recommend the next step to be the d/a to the monitors.

There, I recommend the Cranesong Solaris.

It is the top top converter available today.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
...just because the rme is cheaper, it doesn't have to be worse - rme can produce in completely different quantities than cranesong, forssel or lavry (etc), so a boutique manufacturer's device 3 times as expensive doesn't necessarily have to be better than the "showpiece of a mainstream manufacturer".
This sounds like a good argument at first. But with that explanation Volkswagen should be able to produce a car like a Ferrari just for less money.

Yes, mass manufacturers can produce with lower costs because of getting mass parts cheaper and because of industrial manufacturing.
But you also have to have the knowledge, the ears and a lot of time for development. You have do deal with additional problems coming from many features these units often offer in opposite to a reduced feature set of high end units from boutique manufacurers.

Maybe the knowledge is there and they solved all the additional problems caused by many features then the sales man comes and tells the developer you have to use condenser X and transormer Y we have in our production process anyway to keep the costs low - don´t take a fancy part which was winner in a hearing session ... You have to use the the same case or connectors (from the mass line) for cost reasons instead of a box with better shielding ...etc.

And at last the margin for distributors and delaers have to be higher for the mass market. Boutique manufasturer often sell directly or via delaers at a lower margin.

So it is not easy for a mass manufacturer to keep up with small and very fine componies if they want to offer the same quality. I come back to the expample at the beginning with Ferrari. Yes there are solutions like Audi does with a independent group or BMW does with the M-Grpup or Merceds with AMG.
They can offer a comparable performance like a Ferrari if they found a specialized group and hire specialized engieers independend from the mass development and independend from the mass production line. Yes, this way they are able to offer a similar performance like a Ferrari - and often then also at the same price.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adebar View Post
This sounds like a good argument at first. But with that explanation Volkswagen should be able to produce a car like a Ferrari just for less money.

Yes, mass manufacturers can produce with lower costs because of getting mass parts cheaper and because of industrial manufacturing.
But you also have to have the knowledge, the ears and a lot of time for development. You have do deal with additional problems coming from many features these units often offer in opposite to a reduced feature set of high end units from boutique manufacurers.
since i'm a boutique manufacturer of microphones and loudspeakers myself, i'm well aware of the key to mass products and small manufacturers.
depending on the type of product, however, this can shift massively in one direction or the other. especially for products with hifi and high-end touch, it is sometimes more important how expensive a product is, and not how good - mytek would have a massively better reputation if they sold their products more expensive, and some high-end products would lose their shine if the price had a relation to quality.

since you are a distributor of highend products yourself, i would find it important that you also identify yourself as such in your posts.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
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Adebar's Avatar
Hello teebaum,
in many posts I have given the information that I´m the German importer/dealer for Forssell Technologies, Gordon Instruments and Josephson Engineering as well as the German Dealer for Acousence and Zähl Tontechnik.

So everybody can and should see my posts with a grain of salt.

And to be clear here. My input about mass manufacturers and boutique manufacturers was in general and RME products (you refered to) in my experience are worth every penny.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adebar View Post
Hello teebaum,
in many posts I have given the information that I´m the German importer/dealer for Forssell Technologies, Gordon Instruments and Josephson Engineering as well as the German Dealer for Acousence and Zähl Tontechnik.
.
if someone is interested in a particular topic or product they do not necessarily have to have read other articles from you and therefore cannot identify you as a dealer

in my opinion, it is one of the conventions in such a forum that professional dealers can be identified as such in the signature and mention this in the profile (only the name aldebar acoustics does not yet say that you are a dealer / distributor)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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Adebar's Avatar
You are right, teebaum.

I edited my signature and I´m open for further criticism.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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jbuchholtz's Avatar
 

This is my solution, based on the fantastic little RME boxes, and I am totally pleased with it:

AD/DA for analog chain: ADI 2-Pro
DA for monitoring: ADI 2-DAC
(these two converters are connected to a RME UFX by Adat)

Unbeatable bang for the buck in my opinion
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