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Do we really need computers? Audio Interfaces
Old 17th September 2011
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
ahhh... proprietary audio rears it's ugly head! Take a $500 computer, add a few dollars of software and budget audio hardware, and sell it for $5,000..... nothing new.

The real drawback to any proprietary system is that it locks you into pieces/parts you may not want. There are no shortage of proprietary systems out there now, buy one if that is your answer. But I prefer to be free to choose my own converters, software, plugs, video monitors, hard drive speed and size, burner quality... and to change them at will without having to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Old 17th September 2011
  #32
I suspect if more folks could get what they want out of a dedicated recorder, they'd sell a lot more of them.

I know 5 or 10 years ago a lot of folks leaving behind various analog tape rigs seemed awfully anxious to avoid what they saw as the headaches of modular systems built around comptuers -- and a number of increasingly more flexible and powerful units have come out -- usually for less and less money.

So why haven't they taken off?

I guess many people can't get as much of what they want out of turnkey systems as they can get with a modular system built around a computer -- because, without much question, it's a lot cheaper and easier to just go down to the music megastore and drop $500 on a 8 channel/24 track table top box that includes everything -- including even built in mics in some of them.
Old 18th September 2011
  #33
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Jay-'s Avatar
My big issue with recording on a PC with Internet is there is just ~WAY~ to much pron and I never get anything recorded!
Old 18th September 2011
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
My big issue with recording on a PC with Internet is there is just ~WAY~ to much pron and I never get anything recorded!
See... now there is a real issue that I think most of us can understand on some level.
Old 18th September 2011
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alndln View Post
You mean like this?

Yeah..I mean like the idea that Roland had with the original VS2480..you could edit using a monitor etc but had the dedicated hardware behind it all.No latency and no messing.Look, I have a satellite tv box that can record sound and vision in HD and 5.1.Costs a few hundred.Wouldn't take that much to have a version that could allow an all in one recording solution.How many DAWs out there could cope with that?
Old 18th September 2011
  #36
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rogerdodger's Avatar
 

A computer is about as self contained as it's EVER been

Build a real studio with the real hardware

work for a while

And then have fun troubleshooting
Old 18th September 2011
  #37
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popmann's Avatar
Have not MADE a hardware digital studio in MANY years. They can't sell ANY of them because they're not made.

Your "modular" system can't do what hardware can. Is this hard to grasp? Fundamental differences in design. I get the attraction to that concept...it's just not the truth. A stand alone box actually is NOT a $500 windows PC with proprietary software. I bought my Akai some 7 years ago for $2200 new. If you mean the proc-sure, it probably something slow. Sill less latency than my decade new design PC. Has 12 preamps that beat anything over used in interfaces. Not that they're API/Millenia caliber, but unless you ARE using that caliber...anyway-full control surface with 13 touch sensitive 100mm faders-who knows how many buttons and rotaries...analog master section with speaker switching and analog mono collapse...add another probably 10x10 IO other than the preamp channels....56bit fixed mixer and great sounding channel dynamics...and some really crappy reverb.

So, just spitballing...but, take the $500 computer...add an MCU and expander...a big knob or Central station...a couple Onyx Blackbirds...and now, you're well over what I paid-still more latency. So, you've got to add a little analog mixer in there...only, the mixer (meaning the 32bit software) doesn't have the fidelity of the Akai...so, you add an analog summing box-which means you don't have enough IO now. Suffice to say, to get close to the same quality I end up looking at $10k...still not integrated.

It's all about working around what sucks about software...and I can-hell, Window network admin as a living-I know how to make it work. Still it isn't the same...and it takes a good amount of money to get what used to be cheap in hardware. That dps24 was 5 grand on launch...came down over the few years...I waited and bought it when it got cheap enough. Should've been blowing it out for the next $5k all 96k version with enhanced EQ and new soft over limiting onthe anon inputs--or whatever, they had to make the next model better to sell it evey product cycle. Now, they don't make it sound better, they add a new way to twist your files. Which implies that the app sounds as good as it can. Which I've got ten year old digital proof that's not true.
Old 18th September 2011
  #38
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popmann's Avatar
Also side note...just got back from playing the Kronos. Anyone want to buy a cubase6 pc with about $3k in software instruments?

Kidding...sort of....not going to replace VSL, even though sequencing them is a bit like pulling teeth!
Old 18th September 2011
  #39
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason West View Post
The one area that dedicated hardware really shows its advantage is near-zero latency capability. If you want or need latency of less than 1.5ms ... dedicated DSP chips such as Metric Halo or the cue mix architecture on Pro Tools Native/TDM can deliver that type of performance. Even the next 10 years of progress on general purpose computers with liquid-nitrogen cooled 4.0GHz 50-cores may not be able to match that low latency.
You make good points but just a small reality check: A PT HD¦Native system running at 32 samples and using one of the new Avid Omni interfaces has _less_ round-trip latency than a PT HD TDM system with a 192 I/O! This is through the whole system including plungins etc. (The round-trip latency is about 10 samples less at 44.1/48Khz)

Alistair
Old 18th September 2011
  #40
Gear Maniac
 

I use outboard digital and analog; the only thing the computer (Mac) does is act as a tape machine and stores fader rides.

Agree with the original post. The mouse and keyboard are not musical type instruments, they were made for spreadsheets and emailing...and the computer is wasting resources on a lot of non-music stuff. We need real inventors to get interested and change everything.

Things could be a lot different than what people are capable of imagining right now. Take these Bill Gates nerdy devices and make them intuitive and musical...
Old 18th September 2011
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason West
The one area that dedicated hardware really shows its advantage is near-zero latency capability. If you want or need latency of less than 1.5ms ... dedicated DSP chips such as Metric Halo or the cue mix architecture on Pro Tools Native/TDM can deliver that type of performance. Even the next 10 years of progress on general purpose computers with liquid-nitrogen cooled 4.0GHz 50-cores may not be able to match that low latency.
Yes and even in the next 10yrs general computers won't be able to match *anything* metric halo digital does right now.
Old 18th September 2011
  #42
Old 18th September 2011
  #43
maybe I'm just ********, but i feel the sound i get in the box, for my needs, is pretty god damn good and at this point, as my skills become more then before, it's only getting better.

And i have been through a plethora of outboard all in one decks and can really only vouch for one. the hd 24. supposedly the xr is so much sweeter, but to be honest the sound out of that box with the right pre in front of it is so good, i can't really see it getting better. but i have been wrong before.

i can say that the yamaha aw1600 was a solid deck and worked well, but just got the **** beat out of it on a sound quality level from the alesis. giant leap forward.

but it's all computers. we will never escape the computer. it is us now.
Old 18th September 2011
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Yeah..I mean like the idea that Roland had with the original VS2480..you could edit using a monitor etc but had the dedicated hardware behind it all.No latency and no messing.Look, I have a satellite tv box that can record sound and vision in HD and 5.1.Costs a few hundred.Wouldn't take that much to have a version that could allow an all in one recording solution.How many DAWs out there could cope with that?
[bold added]

Less latency. All the cue on such devices is via DSP. But, since it's contained in a single, purpose-engineered system, such devices don't require as much buffering as a PC using a bus-based AD/DA interface. In the best case scenario, it should be more like the onboard near-zero latency DSP monitoring on many outboard or add-in interfaces -- and less like the often unusable-for-monitoring round-trip of through-the-computer monitoring.

(Many of those devices, unfortunately, subscribe to the marketing fantasy that such DSP monitoring is zero latency. But it's not. There's no such thing as audio going through an AD/DA process, let alone through various FX routings and remaining 'zero' latency. But it may be little enough as to be unnoticeable by some, or at least not too vexing.)


[And I see that, actually, this general issue came up just a few posts above.]
Old 18th September 2011
  #45
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popmann's Avatar
Also point out that in THEORY, using hardware "direct monitoring" on a computer interface should achieve the latency that hardware does, albeit without any FX in the monitor feed, but in practice, I've not found that to be the case. I don't know how anyone monitors at 64 samples...and 32, you would need a new PC than mine-I generally run a single VI being played live at that, but a whole project...nope. Anyway, I don't think anyone would argue it's less than the hardware monitoring, which still seems variable in the computer. Sometimes it's as good as hardware (again without the fx) sometimes it's not. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about-I don't want to set adjust a buffer size...I want hit record and get no latency on my mic-more importantly the SAME latency every time. A dedicated box delivers that. But, if we really want that solved, we should employ digitally controlled analog cue mixers into the interfaces. How easy would that be? More expensive than a little 56bit chip like most employ (your monitor mixer has more Rez than your final mixdown mixer-another issue, IMO)

See...my position isn't at all anti tech. It's opposite, actually-I look at the past decade as software slowing digital studio progression except on the smallest of budgets. You will buy the new version because it's compatible with newer CPUs-in fact you often HAVE to because you can't buy the hardware tech older software was made for. You get 64bit or AU compatibility. WaveRen EQ (nice enough EQ) is being sold an upgraded 10 years on. If you bought it 10 years ago, it no longer works on a modern pc. Anyway-there's a whole lot of noise and upgrade money. To go back to a hardware keyboard-if they don't improve the sound or the feel of the keys, or maybe long ago polyphony, thy didn't sell product next cycle. Software, though, thy will. And then there's the economic impact to those whose budgets are not the new $3800 workstation keyboard...guess what? In a few years, you'll be able to pick them up for half that...then a quarter that...they still sound and play just as good. So, for those who are of a budget mind, like myself, who usually shop on last year's rack blowouts...software kills that, too. So people buy cheap software which usually sounds like, well-cheap software. Now that bfd2 is out, can you get the very nice bfd1 instead for half the price? Nope. Don't even sell it.

I'm getting OT a little...but, not a lot. I just view the last decade with little to no hardware dev and all soft as this big...NON progression of tech. There are a million things I'd change/add to the hardware I use...tons of room for improvements...but instead of improving them the next product cycle, they sort of side stepped to software...it sucked but "getting better every release"...some pieces certainly have...others not so...and the longer it goes, the fewer people actually KNOW and understand the flaws and where it should be improved. And I'm kind of passionate about how stuff sounds. The future without labels means small budgets...and since the transducers and analog components will never come down in price, we need the digital side to...there are already artists I love making really so so to UI my sounding records....jeez...I don't much care about my stuff-or more accurately, that's not where this passion is based. It's as a fan. I HATE bad sounding records. If artists aren't going to have big backing any more, we need the inexpensive tools improved-STAT.
Old 18th September 2011
  #46
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
It's as a fan. I HATE bad sounding records. If artists aren't going to have big backing any more, we need the inexpensive tools improved-STAT.
For all the talk you give in this place, I'm going to ask a taboo question in these parts: can we hear some of that amazing sound you're getting out of the computer? Because I'm currently getting better sound in the box than many of my favourite albums and I could never have done that without the magical device in front of me.
Old 18th September 2011
  #47
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Depressionman's Avatar
U are right

Analogue board +tascamX-48 for recording live music
Old 18th September 2011
  #48
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
For all the talk you give in this place, I'm going to ask a taboo question in these parts: can we hear some of that amazing sound you're getting out of the computer? Because I'm currently getting better sound in the box than many of my favourite albums and I could never have done that without the magical device in front of me.
popmann has a MySpace link in his signature. (Not that you can tell much about the finer sonic details after MySpace encoding...)

Alistair
Old 18th September 2011
  #49
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popmann's Avatar
And, while I make no apologies for the material in the link...its easy to listen and think "that sounds fine...my stuff sounds fine-who cares?"

...I can make "fine" in the computer, too. It just hits a ceiling, where the only way to get it "better" is to get things louder. That's the thing-I've sat with the same tracks in cubase and the Akai-messed with different gain staging, pan laws-not even using plug ins to make it "even"--I can't make Cubase or Reaper sound as open and detailed as the Akai.

So, I'm saying...you may or may not hear my stuff as melting your ears with it's radiant sonic glory, but having the tracks in both mixers, having plug in reverb and the pcm91 and ksp8...all sitting right here, they sound better. Don't even see it as debatable. You can always make a case for having the ability to make good with less...but, that's actually a different conversation all together.

The question is why doesnt anyone hold computers to the same standard?

I will also be open about why I'm so "sensitive" about this subject-when I swathed to digital some 13+ years ago I bought at face value the whole "digital is digital in terms of fidelity-you just buy on features"...and made the worst sounding record I've ever made on a Roland VS1680! good news is...software mixers DO sound better than that mixer! I saved the album with seriously heavy handed software mastering...but, I chose the Akai by listening-like I'd have done in the old days-vowed I would never buy another system that sounded worse than the one that came before it. Right now, that will cost me an arm and a leg thanks to software.
Old 18th September 2011
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
A...-when I swathed to digital some 13+ years ago I bought at face value the whole "digital is digital in terms of fidelity-you just buy on features"....
so who sold that lie to you? It isn't even logical. Once the signal is digitized, as long as nobody diddles it it is indeed as good on playback as it was when captured, barring any damage that your playback system might inflict on the sound of that playback. Much different than an analog tape deck which has playback limitations and can also damage your original recording. All the stuff that can happen to a signal on the way to storage is still applicable, and in the editing stage is applicable. Those variables are as important as they always were, in analog or digital.
Old 18th September 2011
  #51
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richgilb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Yeah..I mean like the idea that Roland had with the original VS2480..you could edit using a monitor etc but had the dedicated hardware behind it all.No latency and no messing.Look, I have a satellite tv box that can record sound and vision in HD and 5.1.Costs a few hundred.Wouldn't take that much to have a version that could allow an all in one recording solution.How many DAWs out there could cope with that?
I had the VS2480 and I wish they had continued with it. Main problem was the autofaders went wrong, bouncing files out took forever, the graphics were not quite good enough even on the monitor and the preamps were a bit grainy.

They could have sorted this in the interim 10 years and I would possibly not be using a Mac now. What did they do instead? Nothing.
Old 18th September 2011
  #52
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noiseflaw's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
No.
Old 18th September 2011
  #53
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
And...FYI...they're not "outselling" because they haven't had a meaningful refresh in a decade.
This comment is kind of typical of your illogical reasoning: Do you really believe a hardware company like Akai would discontinue a commercially successful product line? They haven't had a meaningful refresh because they didn't sell! That is also why you could get yours so cheap. Companies don't drop the price on products that sell like hot cakes.

And if companies like Akai were distracted by software as you claim, where is Akai's software DAW?

You compare a very limited hardware unit that only allows 5,5 hours of 20 track recording (with extra external converters) and 8 (mono) FX plus 4 mono-in stereo-out bus effects to the immense power available from a modern computer and somehow conclude it is superior.

And because of that, I'm out! ;-)

Alistair
Old 18th September 2011
  #54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
My problem with self contained solutions, as a whole, is that they usually exclude outside solutions, so its best not to even bring up the conversation, so we can keep offering solutions.
Old 18th September 2011
  #55
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I have nothing against anyone using whatever system works best for them. What I would prefer to see in discussions on the various options are rational and logical ideas. Like, for a segment of the population a stand-alone (in any price category that provides the quality that they need...) is the perfect answer. Plug it in, learn how to use it, and get to work. Perfect. A great solution for a production suite, for example.

I've mentioned my own reasons for not liking such a solution in earlier posts on this thread. For most studios and home studios, the gear is an ever-changing movement upwards in quality. A stand-alone system makes that a much tougher and more expensive proposition with a higher learning curve.
Old 18th September 2011
  #56
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
so who sold that lie to you? It isn't even logical.
Read it every **** day STILL...right here. You can read how all digital EQs sound exactly the same...to every digital mixer nulling itself. Digital=digital.

The front end is out of the equation--I didn't even use their front end. Someone would have to be silly to think THAT didn't matter, or was even part of the discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann
And...FYI...they're not "outselling" because they haven't had a meaningful refresh in a decade.
This comment is kind of typical of your illogical reasoning: Do you really believe a hardware company like Akai would discontinue a commercially successful product line? They haven't had a meaningful refresh because they didn't sell! That is also why you could get yours so cheap. Companies don't drop the price on products that sell like hot cakes.

And if companies like Akai were distracted by software as you claim, where is Akai's software DAW?
Of course that's why they didn't make more. The PROMISE of computers. I'd be an idiot not to think they're more popular. See my very first post as to the reason.

The COMPANIES weren't distracted by software...the MARKET was/is.

Quote:
You compare a very limited hardware unit that only allows 5,5 hours of 20 track recording (with extra external converters) and 8 (mono) FX plus 4 mono-in stereo-out bus effects to the immense power available from a modern computer and somehow conclude it is superior.
I have no idea where you got that spec...which mostly aren't true...and where it is sort of misleading...but, MORE to the point, you just listed FEATURES. Which is exactly my point...I won't BEGIN to defend a ten year old system's FEATURES...FEATURES...should be secondary in audio production to fidelity.

I'd LOVE to replace my system. Good God...why do you think I keep upgrading computers....software...trying new plug ins...someday, it's going to be as good right?

And my system (for the record) is NOT an Akai all in one recorder. If anyone thinks I'm saying that the hardware unit by it's lonesome produces better "all told" fidelity than a computer app, that is NOT what I'm saying. It's a KSP8, PCM91, and old Q2 handling the FX...and various colorful compressors and analog EQs and outboard preamps. And I have the Cubase PC if there's something I need to do that it won't, or won't easily--connected via USB. Fly over....fly back. Which all of the above, Akai made simple to integrate-unlike other outfits like Roland.

Anyway--my point is the MIXER, which is what I use it for. I mean, I track there because it's just easier, too. But, I also don't really care that much--I have a Tranzport, which is super conveinent (compared to the Akai's wired remote) and can track in Cubase fine. No...it's not as nice an experience...and yes...I need an analog mixer to do so because of the variable latency of "direct monitoring"....but, I can do it. If the mixer fidelity was there, I'd be running a computer full time in a heartbeat. But, it's not. So, I don't. I keep trying.
Old 18th September 2011
  #57
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I have no idea where you got that spec...
Straight from the manual.

Quote:
]Anyway--my point is the MIXER ... If the mixer fidelity was there, I'd be running a computer full time in a heartbeat. But, it's not. So, I don't. I keep trying.
Any current DAW's mixers' fidelity beats any analogue mixer at any price.

Alistair
Old 18th September 2011
  #58
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popmann's Avatar
Did anyone else read my posts as "An Akai DPS24 alone" is a better solution than a computer full of third party algorithms?

I'm just curious if that's the perception I'm giving off here.

And to change topic to (related) the Kronos. Show me the disk streaming software synths that play as soon as you choose the sound. Have sound sets uniformly mapped to physical controllers and velocity curves and filters programmed for the keybed at hand all with a non latent feel that I know Kontakt4 on at 32samples doesn't have on my machine. Which speaks to the greater point--dedicated hardware will always outperform software at it's time of release.

The problem was they stopped developing (likely an expensive proposition) and the two big machines- the VS2480 and AkaiDPS24 kept getting new drive sizes...or the 2480 got a DVDR for backups...during product refresh cycles. Duh...and they wonder why people stopped buying. That's what I mean by no meaningful refresh. When you as a (digital) hardware company keep putting out old designs, of course you'll lose people--and you should. So, when we have this discussion today, when I say "hardware" people look at what a 10 year old design can do in terms of featureset, and compare it to a modern computer. Not fair. Compare it to you G3/233 with 256mb, which was the software choice then. Maybe a P2 300 with 128mb? That's your apples to apples comparison of hardware versus software. You want to work on THOSE machines instead of that hardware?
Old 18th September 2011
  #59
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
]Anyway--my point is the MIXER ... If the mixer fidelity was there, I'd be running a computer full time in a heartbeat. But, it's not. So, I don't. I keep trying.
Any current DAW's mixers' fidelity beats any analogue mixer at any price.
Since you want to be literal...why does a relatively cheap analog mixer sound BETTER? I get that you're being an a$$ with the literal meaning of fidelity...is there a language barrier here?

You know what I mean. You may not agree with it, since it's subjective...but, it's a stupid cop out to claim it's now perfect when I'd venture everyone here...or at least an overwhelming majority prefers a mix done on a big desk. Most would prefer things cut to 2".
Old 18th September 2011
  #60
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Arksun's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
My issue with recording is that the ONLY thing a computer has "advanced" in a decade is:

Content editing capability.
Track count
Sample rate Rez as it relates to track count

Everything else has been catch up...and as a rule has NOT caught 10year old digital hardware.
I guess you don't use VST's very much then?. There's been lots of cool innovative ideas in fx and virtual synth designs that simply haven't and don't exist in hardware units. To give just 2 examples, when NI released Spektral Delay, or just look at the oscillator engine of Zebra, that section of Zebra alone is a work of pure genius. Morphable 16-shapes defined by vector spectral or hand drawn points with additional osc fx units to manipulate the shape further.

Getting back on topic, certainly the dedicated audio OS has already been tried, it was called BeOS, but sadly it never took off.
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