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Are primitive digital interfaces dangerous to the ears?
Old 2 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Are primitive digital interfaces dangerous to the ears?

Sorry for the ridiculous title but its literally how i feel right now

Long story short i wanted a cheap PC set up with a good amount of in/outs and my Dads been using the old Pro Tools 6.4 w/ digi 001 since they came out so i got my own set up for basically nothing.

I had been making demos on my Late 2009 iMac with Logic Pro x for the past few years with no interface and i swear the iMac demos sound better than anything out the Digi

If i load a song into iTunes made on the Digi and skip to a random point in the song while its playing i hear this horrible high pitched wailing. Is this what aliasing sound like? Its really disappointing because apart from the crappy sound, the build quality on the Digi001 is really solid (Made In USA) and its quite off putting when i look at modern interfaces and they all have dingy connections like usb B, firewire and for heavens sake i saw something that looked like Samsung phone charger port on one of em can't remember which model but but it did cost a mint.

Fairly sure I'm wasting my time and ears trying to make the Digi play nice. I'm sure its not a case of bad operation or source material as I've mixed in Logic without an interface and those mixes sound better although maybe a bit frequency cramped but theres no harsh high pitch sounds when i skip through a song while its playing.

Could the built in sound card/convertors in my 2009 iMac be infact better quality than the primitive digital system of the Digi001? Reason i havn't just stuck with the iMac is because its so old I'm afraid it'll die soon so i wanted to get a new system ala a PC.

Looks like ill have to spend a fortune on a new PC + modern DAW + modern interface. I need something with enough ins and outs to have some outboard stuff connected like a Limiter which requires 2 ins/ 2 outs to connect.
Old 2 weeks ago
Hi! Welcome to Gearslutz

Sounds like a good plan. You recognise the limitations of your gear and have ID'd a solution. I'm impressed at the sonic quality of consumer audio gear; 20ish years ago, when the 001 came out, the consumer gear was either lower-quality or harder to connect to other gear (although that had creative benefits).

Lot's of great music made on that older digital gear too. So, primitive digital won't harm anyone but bad music will.
Old 2 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Thanks for you input. Probably should've done a more formal introduction as my first post haha I've been lurking here for quite some time and this stuffs been on my mind for a while.

I'm aware some producers have done commercial stuff with the 001. Also the general consensus is that the converters are harsh and phasey sounding compared to the modern market but have still tried to convince myself i can get good results but the weird high pitched aliasing thing its got going on has been the final straw for me.
Old 2 weeks ago
Yes. The latest converters are good. I went for the 'ITB mix then analogue 2-bus' system and that worked great especially with a transformer-based preamp or line amp to beef up the ITB mix. I am summing in analogue now though but it's not a huge difference over the 2-bus route.
Old 1 week ago
Not sure what your budget is but you can put together a killer rig on a budget and have massive power.

Go on ebay and look for a late 2012 mac mini. Make sure to get the 2.3 or 2.6 gig i7 processor and get 16 gigs of ram. Also make sure to get ssd drives. You should be able to pick one up for 500 to 600 bucks. They will run osx mojave amd have already been announced as being supported when the next osX comes out.

As far as converters check out MOTU. I use the 828es but they have some more affordable units that sound awesome as well. The 828es runs about a grand but they also make the ultralite mk4 which is about half the cost.

Then since you already own logic pro x you can probably transfer the license to another computer.

1200 to 1600 bucks and you have a rig that will run well for several years to come. I have pushed it and stacked 5 instances of ozone 8 on the masterbuss( which is a power hungry plug in) as a test and it only ate up about 10% of the cpu power and about a gig and a half of ram.
Old 1 week ago
Gear Guru

Are primitive digital interfaces dangerous to the ears?
The only real 'danger' to your ears comes from excessively loud sound. And the content of that loud sound is irrelevant. Loud classical music is just as bad as loud rock music and no better than a loud boiler factory.

Do you mean is it a danger to your ability to make aesthetic judgements? Like is eating at Burger King dangerous to your appreciation of fine cuisine?

Obviously this is not the case, as here you are using it, and yet you are capable of deciding it is not for you. Your hearing has survived the "trauma" of listening to a "terrible" Digi 001 and you retained the ability to hear the flaws.

Could the built in sound card/convertors in my 2009 iMac be infact better quality than the primitive digital system of the Digi001?
The converters may be newer, but don't forget that the built-in sound on an iMac is also using the computer's headphone amp and built-in mic preamp. Your conversion on the Digi 001 may be obsolete by "modern" standards, but the 'front end' on your iMac is really cheap crap.

I certainly would not spend a lot of energy trying to determine which one is "worse". And the i/o of your computer is only mono in, stereo out. No good for a 'studio'.
Old 1 week ago
Here for the gear

Maybe its psychological from what I've heard on here about the 001 pres and converters, that they give overheads a harshness that can't be fixed. It's not loud sounds hurting my ears. It's high frequencys

I've tried changing cymbals and mics and it's improved things quite a bit but basically I'll record drums for a track, be happy with it's sound for a few listens then after a while my ears get fatigued at the ride cymbal/open hats, I'll listen to a commercial track and notice no fatigue to my hearing when I compare cymbals. I do over obsess abit about this. I ask people for opinions and they say my stuff isn't harsh

Hoping in mastering my analog limiter will smooth things a little just waiting on some cords. I really can't afford a new interface with the amount of inputs the Digi has + a new DAW. I'm trying to make do with what I've got (I only bought the limiter because PT 6.4s limiter is absolute distorted garbage and it wasn't that expensive)

Just don't want to wreck my ears due to bad converters giving off harsh signals if I can get a smoother sound from the same recording sources with a newer interface. I'm engineering my own music so it's quite a lot of work

Thanks for clearing it up about the difference between the built in iMac converters and the 001.

Also ended up working out that the weird robot sound I was getting when skipping through a song in iTunes wasn't the digi001. It was the crappy wav to MP3 converter I was using.
Old 6 days ago
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by naivekidd97 View Post
Maybe its psychological from what I've heard on here about the 001 pres and converters, that they give overheads a harshness that can't be fixed. It's not loud sounds hurting my ears. It's high frequencys
you need to distinguished between sounds that you find aesthetically unpleasing and sounds that are actually dangerous to your hearing. How loud are you mixing? Get yourself a meter and measure it from your mix position. Give yourself breaks.

Just don't want to wreck my ears due to bad converters giving off harsh signals
high volume sound through good converters is just as dangerous to your hearing as high volume sound through "bad" converters. Your "enjoyment" of the loud sound does not mitigate the dangers to your hearing whatsoever. Turning the volume down will "protect your ears" in both cases.

And not for nothing, but IMO, harshness in the high-frequencies is the kind of thing that is still largely under your control. You can change cymbals and mics like you said. You have an EQ on every channel.

It has been a long time since I have used a Digi 001 and it was several 'generations' ago so I never would have been able to directly compare it to what I have now. But I don't remember the converters as being so terrible as to damage my hearing. Or even fatigue my ears. I would be more suspicious of the harshness coming from the 001's preamps or from cheap mics. What monitors are you using? Are you certain the harshness is on the track and not just in your speakers?

Upgrading is always going to cost you money. The Digi 001 is ancient. I recently had to bring mine to Hazmat, because I literally could not find anyone who wanted it - for free. PT 6.4 is also ancient. The computer to run it must be ancient as well.

But if you want to keep going with this setup, and still improve your sound, how about looking at a nice tube preamp? Ribbon mics might satisfy your yearning for a less 'harsh' cymbal sound. Frankly, I think those kinds of things, plus good judgement at mixdown time can overcome any deficiencies in your conversion.

If it were me, I would be dissatisfied with your setup because of the following factors in order

the Digi 001's preamps
Pro Tools 6.4's lack of modern, better-designed, high-CPU usage plugins
You old computers' limited ability to handle larger track counts and effects
I don't know what mics you have, but I suspect I might not be happy with them

somewhere near the bottom of the list would be the 001's converters.
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