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Is AD/DA in low-end interfaces really as good as high-end ones from 15 years ago? Digital Converters
Old 19th February 2017
  #1
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Is AD/DA in low-end interfaces really as good as high-end ones from 15 years ago?

Records from the late 90s and early 00s sound pretty good to me. I'm seriously questioning spending $1500 - $3000 on ad/da converters. Your thoughts are appreciated.
Old 20th February 2017
  #2
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Anyone?
Old 20th February 2017
  #3
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bobchops's Avatar
 

I use my computers inbuilt sound card on the mother board. I do have an old mbox, but now the mbox drivers are so out of date it makes buzzing noises from latency.

The inbuilt sound card is fine for the output but to noisey to use for recording from microphone.
Old 20th February 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
Records from the late 90s and early 00s sound pretty good to me. I'm seriously questioning spending $1500 - $3000 on ad/da converters. Your thoughts are appreciated.
My apogee duet sounds better than the pro tools 5 converters I spent thousands on 15 years ago.
Old 21st February 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
Records from the late 90s and early 00s sound pretty good to me. I'm seriously questioning spending $1500 - $3000 on ad/da converters. Your thoughts are appreciated.
90s and 00 albums were still often hybrid and mixed on SSL tracked on Neve/API.
ITB was not common.

I will say 15 year old Apogee stuff like Rosetta are still better than the new Protool tool HDX stuff... Light years better than 192s, so that is your best option. AD16x are a better option
Old 21st February 2017
  #6
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deuc647's Avatar
 

To me the Rosetta 200 still is a great sounding converter.
Old 21st February 2017
  #7
Vintage converters are best
Old 21st February 2017
  #8
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I am definitely not a converter snob and I tend to go with what sounds best to me. I've participated in various double blind tests and while I generally do hear some differences, I don't always pick the high end unit. I pick the one that sounds best to me. Go figure.

That being said, when I replaced my trusty MAudio Delta 1010/66 PCI cards with a modest MOTU Ultralite AVB (latest unit), it was like someone took a blanket off my monitors.
The difference was major.
Even playing 320kbs MP3 files.

What really surprised me was playing high end VSTi pianos like Ivory, Ravenscroft, Pianoteq revealed a clearness and sparkle in the sound that was definitely not there with the Delta.
And I swapped back and forth and every time the Delta was in the loop it was noticeably foggier sounding.

I was pretty surprised as like I said, I'm not a converter snob but even my 57 year old ears can easily hear differences between older technology and newer assuming similar cost factors within a given price bracket.

So my simplistic conclusion is the technology has come a long way since the 90's.
Even on the low end.

And BTW this has nothing to do with recordings from "the dark ages" sounding good. Listen to some Ella Fitzgerald live recordings from the late 50's / 60's and they sound stunning...

One other thing, the big differences in interfaces, driver stability aside, is really the preamps and the analog section.
That is where the "character" if you will comes from.
Old 21st February 2017
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
90s and 00 albums were still often hybrid and mixed on SSL tracked on Neve/API.
ITB was not common.

I will say 15 year old Apogee stuff like Rosetta are still better than the new Protool tool HDX stuff... Light years better than 192s, so that is your best option. AD16x are a better option
The current HDX converters (called HD IO; the 193/ are also 15 years old) are better than 15 year old apogees.

They also play with pro tools better than the AD16X.

Have you used the HD IO? Many prefer them to current Apogee offerings!
Old 21st February 2017
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
The current HDX converters (called HD IO; the 193/ are also 15 years old) are better than 15 year old apogees.

They also play with pro tools better than the AD16X.

Have you used the HD IO? Many prefer them to current Apogee offerings!
I totally agree. I was not prepared to like them so much, not ever having been amazed by the digi 192's, but in one of my favorite rooms we have 4 Cranesong HEDDs, a Rosetta 800 and a couple of the Avid IO's and the Avids clearly sound the best to my ears.
Old 21st February 2017
  #11
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E.Shostokavitch's Avatar
 

I have a somewhat related question:

I have had an Audient ID22. The preamps are lovely and smooth and quiet, however, the drivers suck for windows and the headphone amp makes tracking quiet sources nigh on impossible.

Real shame cos the pre's and audients service are top notch.

Iv replaced it with a Allen Heath Zedi-10, very much a budget hybrid mixer.. The Pres are ok the headphone amp much better - but how much fidelity am I losing at the point of conversion?

Audient burr browns are raved about, I don't even know what is used in the AH
Old 21st February 2017
  #12
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anyone?
Old 22nd February 2017
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E.Shostokavitch View Post
....
I have had an Audient ID22. The preamps are lovely and smooth and quiet, however, the drivers suck for windows and the headphone amp makes tracking quiet sources nigh on impossible....
Iv replaced it with a Allen Heath Zedi-10, very much a budget hybrid mixer..... but how much fidelity am I losing at the point of conversion?
You've asked a quantitative question, "How much fidelity am I losing at the point of conversion?"

There is a whole constellation of Hi-Fi magazine articles written over decades about what high fidelity is, and how it should be measured. I think you've asked a question that won't have an answer that is useful to you.

As for your immediate problems, I say that you should get an external headphone amp for the ID22, and provide the GS community with some details about what is making you dissatisfied with the ID22 drivers in Windows (assuming you've already contacted Audient tech support). There may be a satisfactory answer waiting for you out there.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #14
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E.Shostokavitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaGary View Post
You've asked a quantitative question, "How much fidelity am I losing at the point of conversion?"

There is a whole constellation of Hi-Fi magazine articles written over decades about what high fidelity is, and how it should be measured. I think you've asked a question that won't have an answer that is useful to you.

As for your immediate problems, I say that you should get an external headphone amp for the ID22, and provide the GS community with some details about what is making you dissatisfied with the ID22 drivers in Windows (assuming you've already contacted Audient tech support). There may be a satisfactory answer waiting for you out there.
When attempting to use the ID22 with reaper/ableton running a few instances of fairly CPU light plugs and tracking external synths there were always persistent crackles/ pops. That's is with the SR at both 96 and 48.
The Audient added significant latency at high sample rate/ low buffer when triggering and recording synths.

All cracks/pops have disappeared since using the AH. Even at 96khz and latency set to 'minimum'.

I kind of resent buying a somewhat expensive AI and then having to attach a separate headphone amp (and use another power source..) When they should have just got it right 1st time.

If I simplify my question to: does anyone know what converters are used in the most recent ZED line?

That way I can do my own research and testing
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