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What AD Converter to buy Digital Converters
Old 3 days ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
What AD Converter to buy

Hello everyone!
I am a bass vocalist and right now I'm trying to improve my recordings!

I curently have two microphones ( Cascade Elroy Tube and AEA R84 Ribbon) , Great River ME-1NV Preamp going in Apollo Twin Thunderbolt - Pro Tools!

I know that the next thing I need to buy is a good AD converter! I did some recordings at a profesional studio and they used a Lynx Aurora converter and I can tell you that I loved that sound! And I found out that they have also the Lynx Hilo AD converter which I'm thinking to buy! But it has so many features and routing options that I don't think I will use, and my Apollo Twin has only digital input, no digital output so I think I can't use de DA conversion of the Hilo, and all of that routing options, Right? so maybe instead of having features that I won't use maybe I can choose a simple sandalone AD with the same sound or better? In the same price range! Around 2k! more or less!

What can you tell me about Lavry Blue 2 Channel AD, Lavry AD 10, Burl B2 Bomber, Mytek Digital Brooklyn ADC or others! Please recommand me what you thing is the best option!

Thank you!

Last edited by morosh; 3 days ago at 08:23 PM.. Reason: mistakes and additional infos
Old 3 days ago
  #2
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There are many, many conversion threads on Gearslutz, and there are essentially two camps responding.

One camp will congratulate you on your wisdom in recognizing conversion as such an important part of what you hear in a recording. They will go on to recommend favorite converters, awesome converters, and flavors of converters to match your genre.

The other camp will tell you that what you heard that was different/better than in your current (home?) studio was not the converter, and that you are wasting your money if you are chasing a significant audible improvement in your mixes by swapping an Apollo for a Lynx or any of your other converter candidates.

What else could have made that studio’s recording sound better than yours, apart from conversion:
1. The room. A better room, with more effective treatment, makes an audible improvement if you record with a mic.
2. The microphone. Was it the same mic with the same switch settings, at the same distance? Any of those differences is far more audible than different conversion.
3. The preamp. If the preamp circuitry or settings are different, the recording will sound different.
4. Outboard or ITB processing. Any hardware or software processing will be more audible than a converter swap.
5. Monitors? This is less clear from your post. Did you hear this dramatic converter difference when you got home and heard it on your speakers, or did you hear that it sounded better on the other studio’s monitors? Different monitors in a different room OF COURSE will sound different, and the time lag between hearing the two playbacks makes a close comparison impossible.

As you might guess, I’m in the second group. I do believe that you and I can hear a difference in a PreSonus year 2003 converter (for example) and any reasonably good current converter. But I can’t pick any consistent favorites in blind tests of very carefully level-matched current generation converters of different manufacturers. Maybe you can, but I doubt it. Most of the posters who claim to hear a dramatic difference won’t do a genuine blind A/B test, and are very hostile to the suggestion.
And I don’t get that. Anyone who is so sure of the superiority of their hearing should be pleased to demonstrate it, but instead they are very insulted by the suggestion.

So, buy a really expensive high end converter, if that’s the itch you are dying to scratch. It certainly won’t hurt your product. But you have to have a truly amazing studio and equipment set if nothing needs improvement more than your pathetically (not) awful Apollo conversion.

Last edited by Bushman; 3 days ago at 10:03 PM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 3 days ago
  #3
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Thread Starter
Thanks Bushman!

I want to tell you that I have the same Mic, same preamp, same distance from the mic and a pretty good environement in my home studio!
And the sound difference that I hear I hear it on my home studio, not at the studio!
I don't know what is ITB or onboard... I'm not a sound engineer, I m just a poor vocalist trying his best on recording!

So yes, I think the only big difference in the chain of the Pro studio and my home studio, by elimination, is the converter! Maybe?

And I'm not buying anything yet! That's why I'm asking this here, to understand it better and to make the right decision!

Thanks anyway!

Last edited by morosh; 3 days ago at 10:11 PM.. Reason: additional info
Old 3 days ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
Thanks Bushman!

I want to tell you that I have the same Mic, same preamp, same distance from the mic and a pretty good environement in my home studio!
And the sound difference that I hear I hear it on my home studio, not at the studio!
I don't know what is ITB or onboard... I'm not a sound engineer, I m just a poor vocalist trying his best on recording!

So yes, I think the only big difference in the chain of the Pro studio and my home studio, by elimination, is the converter! Maybe?

And I'm not buying anything yet! That's why I'm asking this here, to understand it better and to make the right decision!

Thanks anyway!
Maybe.... you seem to be in the first group. It’s your money and you have to trust what you hear.

ITB means “in the box”, as in “in the computer” or software.
“Outboard” is hardware, not software.
Old 3 days ago
  #5
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Bushman's reply is spot on.

That stated. Here is my standard response to question like this.

The big decision is protocol. What is protocol? The format Audio moves from the converters to the computer.

USB
Thinderbolt
Firewire
AES
SPDIF
ADAT optical
MADI
Daunte

When the computer does not have the protocol built in, you buy and adapter card, typically PCIe.

The drivers are the single most important thing. But good drives tend to come from just a few brands and the more expensive protocol.

RME & MADI is the best, but it's not cheap.

What is your budget, How many channels do you want?

I suggest you start by looking at Converters at Sweetwater. And taking look at the RME site to get familiar with what is Available.

Then Look at MOTU, and search for other threads here to try and get your cost down. There is a huge thread here about the lag of converters.

You may want to look at UAD units and use there plugs.

Lag and sound quality are the important details to pay attention too.
Old 3 days ago
  #6
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
I want to tell you that I have the same Mic, same preamp, same distance from the mic and a pretty good environement in my home studio!
There is, generally, a huge difference between the sound of the room in a home studio and in a professional studio. That you've mentioned having a "pretty good environment" suggests (to me) that your room is, in fact, probably a long, long way from having the acoustics of a professional studio - but you may not, yet, know how to identify the issues that are caused by it.

What size is your home studio? What acoustic treatment do you have in place? (The fact that you are super aware of what bits of gear there are in each place, but totally vague about acoustic treatment and room size is a Big Clue.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
And the sound difference that I hear I hear it on my home studio, not at the studio!
Of course you do. Because they've captured a better sounding recording in their studio. Because they have a better-sounding room. Also, and you haven't mentioned this, but are you listening to raw, uncompressed un-EQ'd vocals in both cases?


Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
So yes, I think the only big difference in the chain of the Pro studio and my home studio, by elimination, is the converter! Maybe?
No. The only big difference between their chain and yours is their room.

Unless you truly have money to burn, forget about "upgrading" your converters. Yes; good engineers in professional rooms will likely be able to pick out high-end converters from budget ones. But the converters in your interface are clean, modern, and absolutely more than good enough. If you can hear a clear difference between the vocals recorded in their studio and vocals recorded in your studio - in both cases, by the way, listening through your DA converters - then it is NOT down to their AD conversion. It just isn't.
Old 3 days ago
  #7
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GeneHall's Avatar
Your Apollo is a fantastic piece of equipment for what you describe are you needs. It's a brilliant bit of kit in every way imaginable.
Room treatment is, if you've not already done so, is the investment to keep chipping away at.
As for that bass I'd have a coupla really awesome sounding DI's, like the A-Designs REDD and the RND instead of buying converters and have a pile of money left over!
Your converters are GREAT. But if you have doubts, go down that road and we'll see you on the other side mate.
Don't forget to look over the esoteric cable lines available cuz God knows where this quest for the best will end, you may actually find a burning need for a $1200 guitar cable too!!jk
Your'e there , your kit is great, do everything you can for your room and just get on with making your special brand of great sounds
Old 3 days ago
  #8
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To be honest, the converters on the Apollo are decent, and I don't think you are going to get the difference you want in changing converters. As mentioned above, I imagine that maybe they put a nice compressor and/or EQ on your recording at the studio. Are you using anything like that on your home recordings?
Old 3 days ago
  #9
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Bushman's reply is spot on.

That stated. Here is my standard response to question like this.

The big decision is protocol. What is protocol? The format Audio moves from the converters to the computer.

USB
Thinderbolt
Firewire
AES
SPDIF
ADAT optical
MADI
Daunte


What is your budget, How many channels do you want?


Lag and sound quality are the important details to pay attention too.

I have APollo Twin Thunderbolt going into an iMac!
My budget is around 2000 USD and I need maximum 2 channels!
Old 3 days ago
  #10
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
There is, generally, a huge difference between the sound of the room in a home studio and in a professional studio. That you've mentioned having a "pretty good environment" suggests (to me) that your room is, in fact, probably a long, long way from having the acoustics of a professional studio - but you may not, yet, know how to identify the issues that are caused by it.

What size is your home studio? What acoustic treatment do you have in place? (The fact that you are super aware of what bits of gear there are in each place, but totally vague about acoustic treatment and room size is a Big Clue.)



Of course you do. Because they've captured a better sounding recording in their studio. Because they have a better-sounding room. Also, and you haven't mentioned this, but are you listening to raw, uncompressed un-EQ'd vocals in both cases?

I know how important room acoustic treatment is! I'm aware of that!
I don't know what dimenssions my room has but I can tell you that is big enough and there's no frequencies bouncing around!

And yes, I compared the raw files in both cases! No compression or EQ!
I'll post the 2 recordings later for you guys to hear the difference!
Old 3 days ago
  #11
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inglesworth View Post
To be honest, the converters on the Apollo are decent, and I don't think you are going to get the difference you want in changing converters. As mentioned above, I imagine that maybe they put a nice compressor and/or EQ on your recording at the studio. Are you using anything like that on your home recordings?

They recorded dry, no compression or eq, at the studio!

I prefer to record dry and to use the processing tools at mixing! I can record though at home wit real time plugins with my Apollo Twin!
Old 3 days ago
  #12
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Thread Starter
Thank you everyone for your answers, I know you have good intentions!

But this days almost every selling gear company has the Money Back Policy if you're not satisfied with the product!
So instead of worrying about my pocket or my room treatment or anything else you can actually help me in choosing a good converter! If the converter isn't the problem and the sound quality remain the same I can simply return it and take my money back!

Hope you understand that!

Thank you!

Here's the samples with the recordings from the studio and from my home!
Attached Files

PRO Studio.mp3 (898.3 KB, 197 views)

Home Studio - Dry.mp3 (898.3 KB, 209 views)

Old 2 days ago
  #13
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
I know how important room acoustic treatment is! I'm aware of that!
So, what treatment have you used - or, is it possible that the answer to that is "none, but I know I should"?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
I don't know what dimenssions my room has but I can tell you that is big enough and there's no frequencies bouncing around!
Whereas I can tell you that there is literally no room in the world about which that can be said. (You think if you record in a cathedral there won't be sound bouncing around?!) In fact, that statement alone tells me that the answer here is 100% guaranteed to be that when you record at home, you are baking in the sound of an untreated domestic space to your vocals, which will greatly affect the sound. You may not, yet, have the experience to hear "the room" in your recording; but absolutely everything you've written so far points to that being the case.

In domestic spaces, it's not a "reverb" you get, so much as strong early reflections, that usually add a ring/mask at certain resonant modes.
Old 2 days ago
  #14
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
So, what treatment have you used - or, is it possible that the answer to that is "none, but I know I should"?!



Whereas I can tell you that there is literally no room in the world about which that can be said. (You think if you record in a cathedral there won't be sound bouncing around?!) In fact, that statement alone tells me that the answer here is 100% guaranteed to be that when you record at home, you are baking in the sound of an untreated domestic space to your vocals, which will greatly affect the sound. You may not, yet, have the experience to hear "the room" in your recording; but absolutely everything you've written so far points to that being the case.

In domestic spaces, it's not a "reverb" you get, so much as strong early reflections, that usually add a ring/mask at certain resonant modes.

What can you tell me about "Vocal Booths" ? Is this a good option?
Old 2 days ago
  #15
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Thanks for posting the two clips. I really like your voice. The good news is that either clip shows off the good qualities of your voice.
This is my take on what I hear. First, the overall sound is essentially the same in both vocals. I don’t hear a “bad vocal sound” in one clip and a “good vocal sound” in the other.
As to what accounts for any differences, here’s a list:
1. Two different takes. Even an excellent and extremely controlled vocalist will have slight performance/emotional variations in two different takes.
2. Two different preamps. Some preamps deliver a little more pizazz at the output than is present at the source. I have picked out differences in blind tests.
3. Two different rooms. You are naive to think you have no issues in you room based on what you hear. You need to look at what REW hears.
4. Two different microphones (even if they are the same brand and model). Microphones, especially mics not tested and sold as matched pairs, have far more variations in sound than converters have. That’s why specific microphones are often favored in studios that have a number of 87s (for example).
That’s just a list off the top of my head.
Again, you don’t need my OK before you spend your money, but even at a distance I feel bad when someone invests serious money in “thing A” when there is a whole alphabet of other things that many experienced pros would have (and have already) suggested as more likely to make improvements in your studio and project.

I’m not too worried about you. You have a great voice and good gear. Your possible “mistake” in spending on conversion instead of anything else is not a mistake at all in the sense that it might lower the quality of your product. It might improve things, and if it allows you to believe you have improved your system, OK, the placebo effect has proved in studies to actually improve medical outcomes, so it may work for you in a similar way.
Old 2 days ago
  #16
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Vocal booths are a wide subject area. It is easy to buy or build an awful booth. I don’t like the sound of most booths and I don’t like the space they take away from your room. You would do yourself more good by treating your room (if you are doing vocals in your mix room).
Old 2 days ago
  #17
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Thanks for posting the two clips. I really like your voice. The good news is that either clip shows off the good qualities of your voice.
This is my take on what I hear. First, the overall sound is essentially the same in both vocals. I don’t hear a “bad vocal sound” in one clip and a “good vocal sound” in the other.
As to what accounts for any differences, here’s a list:
1. Two different takes. Even an excellent and extremely controlled vocalist will have slight performance/emotional variations in two different takes.
2. Two different preamps. Some preamps deliver a little more pizazz at the output than is present at the source. I have picked out differences in blind tests.
3. Two different rooms. You are naive to think you have no issues in you room based on what you hear. You need to look at what REW hears.
4. Two different microphones (even if they are the same brand and model). Microphones, especially mics not tested and sold as matched pairs, have far more variations in sound than converters have. That’s why specific microphones are often favored in studios that have a number of 87s (for example).
That’s just a list off the top of my head.
Again, you don’t need my OK before you spend your money, but even at a distance I feel bad when someone invests serious money in “thing A” when there is a whole alphabet of other things that many experienced pros would have (and have already) suggested as more likely to make improvements in your studio and project.

I’m not too worried about you. You have a great voice and good gear. Your possible “mistake” in spending on conversion instead of anything else is not a mistake at all in the sense that it might lower the quality of your product. It might improve things, and if it allows you to believe you have improved your system, OK, the placebo effect has proved in studies to actually improve medical outcomes, so it may work for you in a similar way.
Thanks Bushman for your kind words!
1. Yes, My voice was actually in a better shape when I recorded home!
2. I used the same preamp as the one at the studio!
3. Definetly different rooms
4. Same Mic, same model but the one at the studio is older than mine and I found out that there are actualy differences even at the same model!

So yes, there are things to be improved! But as I said before, I need to try a converter to convince myself! if it doesn't improve the sound I'll return it! I can't return tough acoustic treatment, especially after been installed to walls... lol...

I serched a lot of converters this days and I gathered a few options, please everyone help me pick one of them... My options are: Lavry AD10, Lynx Hilo, Mytek Digital Brooklyn ADC,Mytek Digital Stereo 192 ADC, Antelope Audio Pure 2...

Thank you !

P.S. I will post here the takes with the standalone converter and the takes with the inside converter of Apollo for us all to hear it! If you'll help me choosing the right one.. lol.

Last edited by morosh; 2 days ago at 07:58 PM.. Reason: additional info
Old 2 days ago
  #18
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GeneHall's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post

So yes, there are things to be improved! But as I said before, I need to try a converter to convince myself! if it doesn't improve the sound I'll return it! I can't return tough acoustic treatment, especially after been installed to walls... lol...

I serched a lot of converters this days and I gathered a few options, please everyone help me pick one of them... My options are: Lavry AD10, Lynx Hilo, Mytek Digital Brooklyn ADC,Mytek Digital Stereo 192 ADC, Antelope Audio Pure 2...
Be aware, when buying hardware that is latched to software, often times any "returns" policy may/may not be what your'e expecting. Shop with extreme caution here, you may find yourself underneath a purchase you can't get out of and if you have system integration issues, you'll be stuck with something you will have to sell 2nd hand at a considerable loss.I think it's admirable that you want to get the best possible conversion you can, even if it is not something that will demonstrate any noticeable improvements over your already more than adequate equipment proven functional to your needs. You just have to go down that road and find out for yourself. I've owned 2 of the converters on your shopping list and can tell you first hand they are not any improvement over you Apollo, just different. I demo'd a 3rd on your list I would not touch with a barge pole after experiencing it's awful time wasting software, beautiful unit with much promise but a prime example of post purchase RnD at the buyers expense. Do your research carefully and be aware that while you may find what you seek, that may not turn out to be what you need or were actually looking for.
Enjoy your process
Old 2 days ago
  #19
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by morosh View Post
What can you tell me about "Vocal Booths" ? Is this a good option?
Okay, so first things first: I loved the vocal samples; a baritone (?) rendition of Johnny Cash was NOT what I was expecting - though this being GS, you never know what you're going to get!

Second thing: the difference between the two samples is absolutely, 100% guaranteed, NOT down to differences in the converters. Any half-way decent modern digital converters is, generally, clean, noise-free, and offers an incredible level of precision. The small differences that highly-trained engineers can distinguish between high-end converters and less high-end converters, within the confines of their professionally treated studios, through their studio monitors are NOT the kind of the thing that's on display here. You are, truly, barking up the wrong tree; and you shouldn't waste another minute thinking that getting more expensive converters will make up even 0.1% of the difference in these two recordings. They won't.

What I hear in the home recording, particularly in relation to the studio recording, is a build up at around 700Hz room tone. In the case of your particular vocal, which have plenty of body, plus more weight from proximity effect, is that the home vocals sound ... less warm/more nasal/a little more boxy. There may well be other problem areas, but I don't have the kind of studio ears that can pick out the details behind the details behind the details.

I guess you tracked them in a pretty dead room at the studio too, because those sound very booth-y indeed - no natural room ambience at all. Which is fine; but it inevitably means that if you take the studio recording as being (to your ear) how your vocal *should* sound, then any untreated space will fail to measure up - because of the acoustics.

In a typical domestic space, the best thing is not necessarily to aim for an enclosed booth, but instead to use broadband acoustic panels, particularly in the area where you'll be recording. These will be pretty effective in mopping up that mid-range slap. With that deep voice of yours, that might still leave some 100 Hz flying around the room ... but it will get you much, much closer to the sound you get in the studio.

GIK offer an excellent quality/price ratio - you would have to pay a lot more to get anything even a little better, and there aren't any cheaper-but-nearly-as-good options either, though DIY is possible if you have tools, time, and space.

If you didn't want to mount things on the walls, then a couple of their folding screens would be your best bet: putting one in a loose V-shape behind you, and another facing you (behind the mic). Depending on how tall you are (and the height of your room) the ceiling can be a significant reflection point when tracking vocals - sound waves don't care if a surface is vertical or horizontal, they just care whether it's something they can bounce off.

GIK Acoustics Screen Panel - GIK Acoustics Europe

My not-at-all-made-up estimate would be this:

600-ish Euros spent on GIK or similar treatment would get the vocal sound of your home recordings 60-70% of the way from how they sound now to how they sound at the studio.

2,000 Euros spent on converters would get them less than 0.1% of the way there - if that.

(To bear in mind: this is a journey I have been on myself. Four or five years ago, I proudly brought home three possible "upgrade" mics to do a mic shootout. It wasn't until we'd recorded the different tracks, and listened back for ... a pretty long time, that my ears were able to tell me that as big as the differences were between each mic, the nasty sound of the room was dominating all of them. Back went the mics, and up went the first round of treatment. I just wish someone had sat me down then and told me in no uncertain terms not to skimp on room treatment for the sake of gear. If it helps, just keep repeating: "Acoustic treatment is gear, acoustic treatment is gear"!)
Old 2 days ago
  #20
A nice converter is a good thing to have. But like everyone said here. It will make absolutely no discernible difference in achieving the sound difference between your samples.

The studio version sounds like it has been compressed a bit, as there is more dynamic range in yours. There is more upper mid sound in your studio which is the result of the room and mic, not the converter, which are all designed to be flat.

You can get closer to that studio sound with a bit of compression and eq, I would think.
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