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Name the Holy Grail of "ITB" items.
Old 21st September 2005
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar

Name the Holy Grail of "ITB" items.

Hello all.

In my own little world, I decided about 4 years ago NOT to follow the ever evolving world of soundcards/interfaces/converters etc etc, as I have always aspired to go the analogue route.

I do track to a PC (yes, that reads PC ... I no zilcho about Macs) ... via 3 x EgoSys WamiRack 24 interfaces and my current machine is a P4, 2.4ghz with 2gb of DDR Ram running XP Pro sp2 and Cubase SX3.

I have always "assumed" that once I had eventually taken delivery of my Neve 8038 ( heh heh heh ), that I would probably invest in the "whatever is the top of the line at the time" Pro Tools setup to simply get up to date as such.

Now, as I said earlier, by choosing NOT to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of weekly upgrades etc, I have fell right off the back of the bus and even though I hang around here for a couple of hours a day for the past few months (usually in the "analogue hardware world") .... I cannot find a cut and dried Holy Grail, or the cliched "Dream List" of current PC hardware goodies.

I see Apogee and RME and Big Ben clocks and many other names that, when researched further, do not necessarily lead to a conclusive decision as such.

This has always been the case with PC's since the days of traditional soundcards such as the Turtle Beach days and it is for this reason that I found what suited me at the time, bought and got on with it.

To be quite honest, I am so out of date with ITB products, that I have always thought that the highly acclaimed Apogee boxes were ONLY for Macs (and even as I write this I am unsure) ...... HELP!!

I mean ... what is "THE" list of hardware to invest in with a fat budget and a great PC (NOT Mac) ........ preferably multiple ins (at least 12 - 16) and outs (at least 24)??

BTW ... if it is still a case of "Mac and PT hardware only for Pro use" then by all means clarify this for me.

Old 21st September 2005
Gear Addict
AjD's Avatar

I'll defer to others on the "holy grail" converter question. The answer is bound to be an Apogee, Mytek or one of the other usual suspects. There are a few boutique solutions now as well - everyone has their favorites. Go out and listen. Beware though; this is really 'last mile' stuff. It's not like moving from Mackie to Neve preamps.

On the subject of PC sound interfaces though, I'd say the nearly unanimous choice is RME. They are the (undisputed?) leader of pro PC soundcards. Bulletproof stuff. Especially if you work with Nuendo/Cubase. (If you are a ProTools guy, you're kind of forced to get their hardware, or M-Audio.)

One word of warning though: If there's such a thing as "holy grail hardware" to be had for computers, it's only temporary. Be prepared for your grail to get a little less blessed in 12 months, simply due to obsolecence. And in two years, your holy grail is a slightly tarnished tin cup.

Anyway, that's my 2 pennies. Consider the source though; I've been putting off upgrading my converters for years (still happily chugging along with 24 chs. of Frontier Tangos). See no reason to upgrade - when I get $3000 to play with, I'll buy something sexy or interesting. Vintage mics, boutique guitar amps, heck even a new piano or snare drum. There's always something I can add that makes *much* more of a difference than converters. To me. Sorry slutz.

Thank god you didn't ask about 192k.

Old 21st September 2005
Lives for gear
dave-G's Avatar
I'm still waiting for the "Talent" plug-in.

Old 21st September 2005
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar

I am with you on all of your points .... especially the here today gone tomorrow issue.

It is just quite a bit trickier researching PC hardware as such because there is no real benchmark to compare against.

Which is kind of where I am coming from as I have been picking up on converter this and converter that and MANY references to converters making a noticeable improvement to quality etc etc ....... and here I sit basically completely DISINTERESTED in computers (although I have been working as a contract IT jack-of-all-trades since the days of DOS) as I hate the damn things and have stubbornly tried to use them for as little as possible when it comes to making music!!!!
This is probably why I have NOT followed the trends.
I chose my WamiRacks because of the (then) good reviews and nice feature set and I too have stuck with them.
I have been more focused on my music (and analogue toys!!) over the past 8 years or so.

But now all this talk about converter choices and I am trying to catch up on the relevant issues.

When you say that Apogee are the usual suspects ... are their boxes only for Pro Tools systems or can a PC running Cubase be loaded with some or other Apogee card/interface??

Old 21st September 2005
If you are on a quest for the holy grail - you might take this guy with you... ya never know..he might come in handy...
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Old 21st September 2005
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar

Ermmm ... sorry ... I know I could just go to Apogee's homepage and check it out.

I am probably being lazy, but I guess I am trying to use fellow Gearslutz knowledge base to get a simple shortcut rather than spending days trawling through information relating to clock options, firewire interfaces, 192K recordings blah blah blah

Hell I know this sounds arrogant .... but I don't mean it like that.

My Wamiracks get plugged in ... they sync up through umbilical cables and off you go. Simple as that.

I am REALLY a newbie on this whole clock and superior converter issue and it is a jungle out there when it comes to researching this.

Old 21st September 2005
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar

Hey Jules ... you've been living in the UK too long old chap!!!

Did that machine go "ping"??
Old 21st September 2005
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by Bones
Hello all.
I see Apogee and RME and Big Ben clocks and many other names that, when researched further, do not necessarily lead to a conclusive decision as such.
this may help for a conclusion...

& we don't use soapbox plug-ins for mixes... well for advertising stuff it's OK
Old 21st September 2005
Lives for gear
max cooper's Avatar

Of course, you'll need converters anytime you're recording digitally, so they're not just an issue having to do witih computers.

The most important questions as converters go are (A) how much? and (B) how many inputs and outputs do you need at one time?

I have eight in and eight out of Apogee converters, and I'm about to add two more in and out. Lots of interface points are good for patching in outboard.

Michael Brauer mentioned that he uses Digi converters, so there you go.

I think that whatever the 'holy grail' or 'trend' seems to be may be ignored. I'd recommend listening to material you know through whatever you think you're gonna buy. I'd say there's bound to be a studio somewhere that you can rent for a few hours to listen to converters.
Old 21st September 2005
Gear Addict

Apogee is more then good enough for anything
Old 21st September 2005
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar

OK ... thanks guys.

I am happy with my WamiRacks for the time being.

I guess there is no real shortcut to any of these things

Old 21st September 2005
Lives for gear
severe's Avatar

Originally Posted by Jules
If you are on a quest for the holy grail - you might take this guy with you... ya never know..he might come in handy...
Arthur: "Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left."

The Invincible Knight: "I'll bite your legs off!"
Old 22nd September 2005
Lives for gear
six_wax's Avatar

I find the 192s to sound... sandy...
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