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AD Converter Connection to Computer Audio Interfaces
Old 3 weeks ago
Here for the gear
Mudjaw's Avatar

AD Converter Connection to Computer

I have searched threads but can not find any assistance/opinions on this. I am building a mastering room off my studio using analog mastering chain. I am curious about the best way to connect an AD converter to a computer with mastering capture software for most stable data transfer (AES, USB, firewire, Thunderbolt). I am starting with a clean slate. I see a lot of people using laptops. Any advantages to using aworkstation with PCIe slots for cards like rme HDSPe AES vs laptop. Thanks, Mudjaw

Last edited by Mudjaw; 3 weeks ago at 05:58 AM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 3 weeks ago
Gear Addict
An AD converter is for recording (analog to digital) right?
All modern digital data transfers are stable, some faster than others (if latency is an issue) but all stable.
Quality will be more in the interface then in the used data transfer.
A laptop is more mobile, but with the right gear (choices are less) and setup it can be an as good digital recorder.
Old 3 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Justin P.'s Avatar

I love my RME AES HDSPe card for my main rig. You can use it with a laptop if you get an enclosure from Sonnet or OWC to house the PCIe cards and connect to your laptop (or desktop) with Thunderbolt 3 (or Thunderbolt 2 if you still prefer).

In my main studio I use nearly all the I/O channels of the RME AES HDSPe because I:

1) Send the unmastered source to two different DAC units so I can choose on my mastering console which one feeds the analog gear for a particular song/project.

2) Send the end of my analog chain back to my DAW feeding two different ADC converters and in the DAW I can toggle between the two to choose a favorite.

3) Send the main output of my DAW to my monitor controller via AES.

4) Send a fully unprocessed version (no plugins, no analog gear) to my monitor controller (via AES) so I can instantly toggle between my processing and the totally raw version.

5) Send a digital copy of whatever I'm listening to on my monitor controller to in to the RME AES card so that I can use a great metering app (Flux Pure Analyzer) to monitor whatever I'm listening to be it my DAW, iTunes, TIDAL, vinyl, MacOS etc.)

6) Send a digital copy of what I'm listening to OUT to my hardware Dorrough meters to monitor the loudness of whatever I'm listening to.

7) I also send a copy of the unmastered audio to another hardware Dorrough so I can monitor the level both pre and post analog chain.

So, if you want to get fancy with it all, the RME AES card (or Lynx AES16e if you want to save a little money but have a few more headaches) can be a really great tool for advanced routing.

If you want to just keep it simple like I do at my home setup, I've found the MUTEC USB to AES interfaces to be the most stable. I tried the MOTU 8D (very unstable) and Dante Virtual Soundcard (never got it working) and the MUTEC is by far the most stable and easiest to work with.

MC-3+ USB:
MUTEC - Professional A/V and High-End Equipment - MC-3+ USB

Or the discontinued MC 1.2 can still be found on eBay and others:
MUTEC - Professional A/V and High-End Equipment - MC-1.2

I'm told they will eventually refresh the 1.2 but did not give a timeline.
Old 3 weeks ago
Here for the gear
Mudjaw's Avatar

Thanks Justin. This is extremely helpful. Just what I needed to know. I have a all analog studio and us a RME AES HDSPe card for my final capture to digital. I will move the computer in to the mastering room when I have it complete and experiment with different routing options based on my intended workflow. Then purchase what I need for the mastering room.

Couple of other questions...
Do you run a common system wide clock or allow each digital devise to use their own clock?

What software are you using for playback and final capture?
Old 3 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Justin P.'s Avatar

No problem. I’m currently using the HEDD Quantum as the master clock. It sounds great and has 6 WC outputs.

In the past I have used the RME card as the master clock with my setup.

I use REAPER for the analog play/capture session (one session, one computer) because it’s highly flexible, stable, efficient, and customizable.

I use WaveLab for final touches, assembly, PQ/metadata, and rendering all the master formats.

I recently added a MUTEC MC3 + USB to use as WaveLab’s dedicated interface so it’s easier/faster when I’m moving between sample rates because my analog chain pretty much lives at 96k with the exception of when things come in at 88.2k or 192k.
Old 3 weeks ago
Here for the gear
Mudjaw's Avatar

Thanks again for answering my questions. I think I am good to go.
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