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Black Lion Mods.. Worth It? Synchronisers/Clock Generators
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Cajun Bob's Avatar
 

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Black Lion Mods.. Worth It?

Hey Guys,

Are Black Lion Mods worth the $?

I have 3 Avid HD io's stock in my A suite. I've noticed a big box store offering Black Lion Mods at $1695 per unit...

While I understand Differentiation and having "That Sound"... To this Cajun Man, that's a lot of Crawfish!

Opinions needed.

Thanks
Bob
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Lenzo's Avatar
I had them do a digi 002r a few years back. Huge improvement. I had them do a Apollo 8 a couple of years ago. Not as huge but a worthwhile improvement for the money. They were having a half price sale at the time so it wasn't real expensive. After the mod, comparing it to my Symphony, it was hard to tell the difference when I a/b'd them...so I'd say that was fairly impressive. Can't speak to your exact hardware, but I found them very professional and helpful. They did the work faster than they said they would. I would recommend them.
L.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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I went thru that big box store to have my HD I/O modded, its been a week so far but as soon as it comes back from modding ill let you know how it turned out.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Thread Starter
Thanks!

Great Input...

Duc647, I'd truly appreciate your guidance once you've had time to review the Mods.

Thanks,

Bob
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
I went thru that big box store to have my HD I/O modded, its been a week so far but as soon as it comes back from modding ill let you know how it turned out.
Do you have more than one? It’d be interesting to hear a proper, controlled test (ie well lined up, single recording split to the two interfaces) to compare.

Personally I’m a touch sceptical (I wasn’t impressed by the Sparrow AD when I heard it compared to the HDio, and I really have no issues with the HDio as stock) but a well controlled test, not a sales pitch, would be interesting.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Do you have more than one? It’d be interesting to hear a proper, controlled test (ie well lined up, single recording split to the two interfaces) to compare.

Personally I’m a touch sceptical (I wasn’t impressed by the Sparrow AD when I heard it compared to the HDio, and I really have no issues with the HDio as stock) but a well controlled test, not a sales pitch, would be interesting.
Naw i actually dont. This is my lone multichannel converter besides the lynx E44 and the Qes PAD-2. Even if i grab another AD card and install it before its modded I think the XB clock will improve the overall non stock converter anyway. If I could find a empty chassis I would get one and test it. There was one on reverb but someone got to it before I could.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Naw i actually dont. This is my lone multichannel converter besides the lynx E44 and the Qes PAD-2. Even if i grab another AD card and install it before its modded I think the XB clock will improve the overall non stock converter anyway. If I could find a empty chassis I would get one and test it. There was one on reverb but someone got to it before I could.
That’s a shame. Also makes it difficult to really asses any improvements for you.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
That’s a shame. Also makes it difficult to really asses any improvements for you.
Well for me its easy to see cuz i rerecorded a track i know very well so when it gets back im gonna record it again and see if there is any improvement or not. Im not a purchase justifier so if it wasnt worth it ill gladly say it with no hesitation, then ill just save and get a HAPI
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Well for me its easy to see cuz i rerecorded a track i know very well so when it gets back im gonna record it again and see if there is any improvement or not. Im not a purchase justifier so if it wasnt worth it ill gladly say it with no hesitation, then ill just save and get a HAPI
OK....not what I'd consider a fair test but would be interesting to hear anyway if you can link/post when done!
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
OK....not what I'd consider a fair test but would be interesting to hear anyway if you can link/post when done!
Will do. I actually hope its worth it too. Itll be a waste of 2k if not but oh well, we live and learn I guess. I know a studio owner that uses a 192 but i dont feel like thats a fair comparison if I take that over to his spot cuz the HD I/O is already a big improvement over the 192s.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Just got word that My HD is on its way back. 1 week to the day is a good turn around time so I can complain about them taking forever, now lets see if its as good as i hope it is.

On a side note, I just scored an avid sync HD and will be testing michaelangelos theory about it being the best way to lock your PT session to a good reference clock. Im a bit torn about using the sync HD as the clock source or reference?
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Hardly in the same class but I had the BLA mod done for an FW1814 and I thought the improvement was really nice. The improvement in definition was very noticeable and it opened my eyes to being able to hear Everything. Digital sterility disappeared thanks to the analog mods, the pre's offered much more detail and lost a lot of harshness in the highs and the low end was much more punchy. Lower mids clean up nicely.

I remember Mike Shipley raving about the BLA mod for the 192 and how much Alison Krauss loved it. She took one home with her to listen to the days work. This was when they were in pre-production on the record "Paper Airplane". Apparently she didn't like what she was hearing with the un-modded 192's he was using.

See some comments from him here So who here has had their Digi 192 modded by BLA?
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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I wonder if they still hold weight be todays standards, converters have come a long way since 2010, but the avid HD I/Os sounded good alone I just wanted something kinda modular to upgrade when i could. I listened to the mothership recorded album and while it has a sound, i wasnt overly impressed with them to justify paying 9200 for 8in 16 out and AES when the modded HD I/O would come out to a total of 4300 for the same amount if I/O.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
On a side note, I just scored an avid sync HD and will be testing michaelangelos theory about it being the best way to lock your PT session to a good reference clock. Im a bit torn about using the sync HD as the clock source or reference?
Let us know thoughts - but don't also forget that what was being *strongly* debated was not the idea that a sync HD could clock the converters and the result be preferred, but that this whole "resolve PT timeline to the clock" thing (that only PT HD with a sync can do) is the "correct" way to do things. That's necessary for syncing to tape, but not in general use! Michaelangelo didn't appear to understand what a DAW buffer is.

PS the way I would clock it is Sync HD as master, interfaces Loop synced. If you have an external clock, that feeds the clock in on the Sync HD.

What the Apogee article MA referenced stated was different, ignoring loop sync. I'm really surprised that's recommended (given that it's the way Avid designed the system to work) but hey - I've not compared the 2 options.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Let us know thoughts - but don't also forget that what was being *strongly* debated was not the idea that a sync HD could clock the converters and the result be preferred, but that this whole "resolve PT timeline to the clock" thing (that only PT HD with a sync can do) is the "correct" way to do things. That's necessary for syncing to tape, but not in general use! Michaelangelo didn't appear to understand what a DAW buffer is.

PS the way I would clock it is Sync HD as master, interfaces Loop synced. If you have an external clock, that feeds the clock in on the Sync HD.

What the Apogee article MA referenced stated was different, ignoring loop sync. I'm really surprised that's recommended (given that it's the way Avid designed the system to work) but hey - I've not compared the 2 options.
This is where it gets hairy for me. The modded HD I/O is gonna have the BLA XB clock in it, so do I still use the Sync HD as master then run a BNC out of the XB modded HD I/O to the sync WC in? Or have the Sync HD follow the clock source as HD I/O#1 as loop master?
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
This is where it gets hairy for me. The modded HD I/O is gonna have the BLA XB clock in it, so do I still use the Sync HD as master then run a BNC out of the XB modded HD I/O to the sync WC in? Or have the Sync HD follow the clock source as HD I/O#1 as loop master?
I would try it both ways.

If you’re not going to use the clock in the sync HD and you don’t actually need it’s sync facilities, then in my opinion it’s kinda pointless having it at all. MichaelAngelo may disagree, but I don’t really see what purpose it serves.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I would try it both ways.

If you’re not going to use the clock in the sync HD and you don’t actually need it’s sync facilities, then in my opinion it’s kinda pointless having it at all. MichaelAngelo may disagree, but I don’t really see what purpose it serves.
I feel you, But if the sync locks the clock to PT(session) then it will be helpful in a way. Im gonna try it every way i can. i dont have an external clock unless i can use the XB I/O as external clock then use loop sync to tie it in as the master external vs using the XB I/O as loop master in loop sync as clock source or even using sync HD as source and XB I/O as reference. which i dont think is possible.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
I feel you, But if the sync locks the clock to PT(session) then it will be helpful in a way. Im gonna try it every way i can. i dont have an external clock unless i can use the XB I/O as external clock then use loop sync to tie it in as the master external vs using the XB I/O as loop master in loop sync as clock source or even using sync HD as source and XB I/O as reference. which i dont think is possible.
What is this “sync locks the clock to PT session” thing...I’m really sorry, I think that’s a misunderstanding.

What MichaelAngelo was referring to in the other thread is LTC clock ref - it’s important if you’re locking to tape or a desk automation system, but if you’re not it isn’t.

The fact he keeps going on about locking the session to the clock is a misunderstanding of how a DAW buffer works. It’s the interface driver’s job to send packets of data back and forth from software to interface, but it doesn’t happen in real time - it just has to happen before the buffer empties (hence a buffer buffer. It’s you more processing time). The clock is at the interface only.

Locking PT to LTC is essentially a varispeed (due to micro tape fluctuations) but if you’re not using tape it’s moot. I genuinely think it’s a misunderstanding in the way DAWs work, and I’ve said as much.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
What is this “sync locks the clock to PT session” thing...I’m really sorry, I think that’s a misunderstanding.

What MichaelAngelo was referring to in the other thread is LTC clock ref - it’s important if you’re locking to tape or a desk automation system, but if you’re not it isn’t.

The fact he keeps going on about locking the session to the clock is a misunderstanding of how a DAW buffer works. It’s the interface driver’s job to send packets of data back and forth from software to interface, but it doesn’t happen in real time - it just has to happen before the buffer empties (hence a buffer buffer. It’s you more processing time). The clock is at the interface only.

Locking PT to LTC is essentially a varispeed (due to micro tape fluctuations) but if you’re not using tape it’s moot. I genuinely think it’s a misunderstanding in the way DAWs work, and I’ve said as much.
Ok I think I know what you are getting at, you are saying that nothing is locking PT to a clock basically correct? That a "buffer" is keeping the timing correct, correct? The only thing I am curious about is if all buffers do it correctly and this thing is a moot point, what is the purpose of the loop sync if you can just go the normal way and use WC the way every other DAW does?
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Ok I think I know what you are getting at, you are saying that nothing is locking PT to a clock basically correct? That a "buffer" is keeping the timing correct, correct? The only thing I am curious about is if all buffers do it correctly and this thing is a moot point, what is the purpose of the loop sync if you can just go the normal way and use WC the way every other DAW does?
Loop sync is an avid-specific sync protocol, bespoke to HD compatible interfaces. Just a different standard. Don’t ask me how it differs or if it “sounds better”, it’s just unique to HD interfaces. It’s not the DAW as such, just a way to link 3 interfaces by the same manufacturer. I think UAD do a similar thing with their interfaces via the thunderbolt cable to enable expansion.

Word clock is a universal standard, so used when you’ve got differing devices.

My point about clocking is that that’s all handled at the interface. Packets of data are sent from interface to DAW and back again, but not in sync. They just have to arrive in time for them to be able to played back in the right place - and that is where the clock comes in. Provided the buffer doesn’t empty, it doesn’t matter if the data transfers in fits and starts.

That’s different to a digital audio stream through aes or whatever, which is purely audio encoded digitally.

The LTC thing is positional reference, but it’s not real time clock as MichaelAngelo has been stating. It’s control data, for example telling PT to varispeed if the tape fluctuates minutely. With clock source set to LTC, you can set pro tools to chase smpte, transfer drums to tape and back again, and it’ll all line up back where it started.

Do it without this, and you’ll find things drift, even if PT is chasing timecode for position.

This is the quick and dirty way to do tape transfers - the correct way is to use a lynx synchroniser to resolve everything correctly - but this way works well enough.

BUT - if you never use desk automation, SMPTE, tape machines or digibetas and the like (ie post production) you just don’t need a sync box. The clue is in the name - it’s for syncing!
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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We gonna find out Tuesday!!! Im all about sound, if it doesnt sound better ill sell it and move on. If I find it makes a palpable difference them ill report my findings and keep it.
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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I had them mod my SSL alpha link. Between the mods and the Black lion clock, huge improvements.
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