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Newer Converters ie. Rednet, Orion+ etc... 24-32 AD/DA Channels
Old 23rd February 2016
  #1
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Newer Converters ie. Rednet, Ferrofish A32, Orion+ etc... 24-32 AD/DA Channels

Are there any Focusrite Rednet or new Antelope Orion+ users out there that have also used Lavry Blue and or SSL Alphalink that can speak to how they compare?

Here's my situation. I've spent the last two decades building my studio and equipment setup and have upgraded every major component of my studio except my multitrack converters. I have an incredible selection of high end outboard and mics, a great control room, a real nice tracking room, great monitors and treatment, a few channels of Burl, Lynx Hilo, and Lavry Blue conversion for mixing, mastering and overdubs. But it's time for me to replace my SSL Alphalink that I've used for drum and band tracking. I'm looking for something at the level of Lavry Blue or better, but I need 24-32 channels. And I can't currently afford 24 channels of Lavry, Burl, etc. Symphony MK II looks enticing but unlike the original symphony it will not run in standalone mode disqualifying me from using it on the PC side. I run PC in the studio and Mac when I am portable. Cross platform is important as is a variety of connection protocols.
In my research I see very few options out there that fit my workflow in a single brand. I do not want to invest into older models. I hear great advances in converters the last few years. Wondering if the new Antelope Orion+ or Focusrite Rednet are working well and sounding great for others. Those two seem to be the only ones that meet my needs for connections and features. I'd be interested in user experiences regarding sound quality and particularly drum tracking. Looking for 24+ Channels in the $3-7k range with dsub connections and if possible ADAT outputs for sending to a live headphone cue system.

I've recorded many billboard hits on this current system, but... It's the personal quest for better sound that drives me. Particularly drums. Right now I feel every part of my chain is primo except the SSL converters. If I can find something to that sounds significantly better than the SSL Alphalink without having to spend 10k+ then it's time to make the upgrade. FYI, I've used the Silverface FireWire Apollo and if UA would get off their butts and make the new Apollos available for Pc then I'd seriously consider that route. And the original Antelope Orion is not quite at the level I'm seeking.

Oh, and one more thing... The 24-32 channels of both AD and DA is critical for interfacing all my outboard as well.

Right now the best solution I see is a Focusrite Rednet system with 2 16 Channel Rednet 2 ADDA units plus their PCI card for lower latency and a Rednet 3 to handle all my AES and ADAT connections. But I can't seem to find enough info about how these compare sound wise. I'd be particularly interested in any info from Rednet users.

Last edited by DrSax; 27th April 2016 at 07:39 PM..
Old 23rd February 2016
  #2
Old 23rd February 2016
  #3
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DrSax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabostudio View Post
Very cool. Thanks for sharing gabostudio! Don't know how I missed this unit. If the converter quality is where I need, this would be a perfect solution for me.
Old 24th February 2016
  #4
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Are there any Focusrite Rednet users that would chime in?
Old 24th February 2016
  #5
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Whatever you may end up with try to arrange an audition where you can do some BLIND testing against what you already have. I assume you have already explored all your existing clocking setup options for your current converters as that can make a sonic difference (rule of thumb is that your main A to D unit be master clock but sometimes other options sound better). You may find little if any difference in converters unless choosing colored converters. In your blind AB testing choose a stereo live source with GOOD 3D info as if you choose a recorded source it likely is already stripped of some of that 3D info. If striving for quality conversion you will be listening to the monitered live source vs. what you hear via round trip from a converter, paying special attention to the 3D soundfield and frequency balance. We don't have good collective converter information here as no large blind converter shootout has ever been done.

Though you are looking for new options, an old one might be worth exploring. The Alesis HD24XR modified by Jim Williams (he puts in the latest good converters and improves the power supply) teamed up with a RME 9652 PCI card interface (the newer version with 2 midi I/O) or the RME Raydat PCIe card interface. Used price for the HD24XR plus 9652 is now around $1k to $1.1k with Jim's mod extra (or find a used HD24XR that has already been modified). Want more than 24 channels, buy more HD24XR's and RME interface cards (i'm running three of each for 72 channels of conversion). The downside is you are stuck using 44.1k or 48k sample rate to get the full channel count (it's an ADAT cable limitation). There is plenty of ink here discussing the pros and cons of this type of configuration for your research but for guys using large analog desks it's a nice solution.
Old 25th February 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Whatever you may end up with try to arrange an audition where you can do some BLIND testing against what you already have. I assume you have already explored all your existing clocking setup options for your current converters as that can make a sonic difference (rule of thumb is that your main A to D unit be master clock but sometimes other options sound better). You may find little if any difference in converters unless choosing colored converters. In your blind AB testing choose a stereo live source with GOOD 3D info as if you choose a recorded source it likely is already stripped of some of that 3D info. If striving for quality conversion you will be listening to the monitered live source vs. what you hear via round trip from a converter, paying special attention to the 3D soundfield and frequency balance. We don't have good collective converter information here as no large blind converter shootout has ever been done.

Though you are looking for new options, an old one might be worth exploring. The Alesis HD24XR modified by Jim Williams (he puts in the latest good converters and improves the power supply) teamed up with a RME 9652 PCI card interface (the newer version with 2 midi I/O) or the RME Raydat PCIe card interface. Used price for the HD24XR plus 9652 is now around $1k to $1.1k with Jim's mod extra (or find a used HD24XR that has already been modified). Want more than 24 channels, buy more HD24XR's and RME interface cards (i'm running three of each for 72 channels of conversion). The downside is you are stuck using 44.1k or 48k sample rate to get the full channel count (it's an ADAT cable limitation). There is plenty of ink here discussing the pros and cons of this type of configuration for your research but for guys using large analog desks it's a nice solution.
Yeah, I've tried a variety of clock setups and found the one that sounds best here... And will recheck that with any new converters I test.

Cool suggestion about the HD24XR. I will need to run at higher sample rates sometimes, so without the ability to do SMUX the HD24xr probably won't fit the bill. But I've heard great things about the Jim Williams modded ones
Old 25th February 2016
  #7
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The HD24XR will do 96K sample rate but you cut the channels in half (24 down to 12). Good luck with your testing and chime back in with your observations / testing methods as there is so little converter shootout info here.
Old 25th February 2016
  #8
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lesser known options worth checking out: ( both are danish)

Rostec Engineering Audio and Video equipment

DAD - AX32 AD/DA/DD Converter

Good luck, Rasmus
Old 27th February 2016
  #9
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSax View Post
Are there any Focusrite Rednet users that would chime in?
I have and love the Rednet 1. It just sounds amazing to me however I came from an Emu 1616. LOL

Here's a thread where Plush commented on the sound as compared to his really high end DAD stuff. His comments start at #9 .

Focusrite Rednet audio quality (comparison with...)

Neil McTavish
Briagha McTavish
Old 27th February 2016
  #10
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Great options guys. Thanks so much. I've investigated several of these. Good to hear Plush's response about the rednet. I know he has a very discerning ear.
Old 6th March 2016
  #11
Gear Head
Hi There from Australia, You know last year I did a full upgrade of my studio and I needed a similar track count for converters. I listened to the focus rite and a orion and originally had an apogee which worked great . I went with the SPL Madison ( I bought two) I could not be happier with my sound. I mix some pretty high end stuff and they are just such a refined converter....affordable also. I have the rme HDMI card and run 32 channels of madi without a single problem...
Old 7th March 2016
  #12
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I've looked at the SPL Madison, and heard many great things about it.
Old 27th April 2016
  #13
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Bump for this thread. Rednet and Ferrofish A32 are looking like they'll fit my workflow and configuration best. Any more users that can comment on sound quality of these? There still is not a lot of personal testimony on these units from end users. There is a big difference in price between these two for the channel count I am looking at - so I am wondering if there is a lot of difference in the sound quality between them
Old 29th April 2016
  #14
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Anybody knows if the A32 is a big improvement over the AK16 Mk-II?
Old 29th April 2016
  #15
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Keep in mind that for studio usage the networked options will need to use their specific PCIe card instead of the computer's network because of latency. More details about this will be in network specific threads here.
Old 15th July 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSax View Post
Bump for this thread. Rednet and Ferrofish A32 are looking like they'll fit my workflow and configuration best. Any more users that can comment on sound quality of these? There still is not a lot of personal testimony on these units from end users. There is a big difference in price between these two for the channel count I am looking at - so I am wondering if there is a lot of difference in the sound quality between them
What did you end up buying sir? What was found on your journey to your purchase?
Old 16th July 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pardonband View Post
What did you end up buying sir? What was found on your journey to your purchase?
I ended up with UA Apollo mkii with a few channels of higher ended converters for mono/stereo tracking. The rednet and ferrofish were not up to the sound quality I was looking for.
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