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-   -   Soft Synths and A/D Converters - Please explain (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/120316-soft-synths-d-converters-please-explain.html)

Kendrick 19th April 2007 08:39 PM

Soft Synths and A/D Converters - Please explain
 
Hi, I'm fairly new to this forum, but have referred to it on several occasions. I read alot about the importance of tracking through high quality a/d converters . Supposedly it gives the music a depth, width and fullness thats not there when A/B'd against a typical onboard a/d converter. OK, great. But what if all of your music is coming from soft synths and requires no conversion? What do you do with a mix like this to make it have depth and clarity as well. If you answer this question, it will explain to me the importance of getting expensive a/d boxes.

For example, I use a 002R as my interface. I also sometimes use software synths for instrumental music. If I bought an HD system, what would be my advantages, as far as sound quality, if the software synth requires no converting. To me it seems logical that the 002 and the HD recordings of the Soft Synth should be identical. Please break it down for me. Thanks

feyshay 19th April 2007 10:17 PM

If you're going with soft synths, you still want to hear things accurately, right?
If you're not monitoring properly, how will you equalize properly, etc?
How are you listening to your soft synths? Your sound will be affected by the quality of the soft synth and your audio program, then by you converter, and then by your headphones and/or monitors and room.
Get it?
You at least don't have to worry about A/D unless you want to use outboard compressors and the like.

max cooper 19th April 2007 11:54 PM

Recording soft synths is an example of never having to leave "the box" if you don't want to.

I use a few soft synths; Moog Modular and Imposcar mostly. To get more depth and "vibe" I sometimes send them out through a mic preamp and a compressor and back to the box; that's a good reason to have good conversion since my mic preamps and compressors are analog.

One of the things I hear immediately with better converters is that the low freq's tighten up nicely.

And besides, even if you never leave the box, better clocking makes everything run better.

There are a ton of ways to mangle up the sound of soft-synths, like distortion boxes, sending them out through speakers and back into microphones, crappy reverb boxes, etc.

Try anything.

I hear a lot of music these days that never seems to leave the box. I dunno why. I always wanna mess with the sounds more than that but if it works, fine.

gsilbers 20th April 2007 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kendrick (Post 1239827)
Hi, I'm fairly new to this forum, but have referred to it on several occasions. I read alot about the importance of tracking through high quality a/d converters . Supposedly it gives the music a depth, width and fullness thats not there when A/B'd against a typical onboard a/d converter. OK, great. But what if all of your music is coming from soft synths and requires no conversion? What do you do with a mix like this to make it have depth and clarity as well. If you answer this question, it will explain to me the importance of getting expensive a/d boxes.

For example, I use a 002R as my interface. I also sometimes use software synths for instrumental music. If I bought an HD system, what would be my advantages, as far as sound quality, if the software synth requires no converting. To me it seems logical that the 002 and the HD recordings of the Soft Synth should be identical. Please break it down for me. Thanks


well, w/ HD u will get more tracks and better D/A conversion as well as no CPU limit (or high at least) which is why HD is better. u can also argue to have 002 with apogee converters on a G5 8 cuad core can give similar results and it might be true.

the best option is to run softsynth tracks through a tube pre or compressor or something that will give it some even and some odd harmonic distortion to make sound more real or warmer or whatever u want to call it.

there are also some tape and tube emulatio nplugins like the new digi stuff which will warm up your tracks. or u can re amp them using the real stuff.

there are a lot of poeple out there doing almost everything in the computer and other outside its a matter on what u think is better in your case. good monitoring is essential though.

Tibbon 20th April 2007 12:07 AM

It's already there!
 
A good A/D convertor doesn't "add" anything really. Of course there's analogue circuitry in the A/D convertor that will always distort and color the signal a bit, but that's normally pretty minimal in most high end modern conversion.

If you're using softsynths, I see no reason to run through a A/D stage (and to do that, presumably you'd have to go through a D/A stage). I thought the rule of thumb was to keep the number of conversion steps to a minimal. Running through a D/A then to an A/D will only decrease accuracy, and introduce noise, distortion, and will not make the signal "better" by any technical stretch. Maybe you want a less detailed signal, but that seems to be the opposite of what the OP is asking for.

With softsynths the detail is either there, or it isn't. This to me is the problem with many (not all) softsynths. The detail just isn't there to begin with. A good A/D convertor doesn't make things more detailed, it helps capture the detail that's there to begin with. If you've ever wanted to hear what the "ideal" A/D convertor would sound like, simply bypass the convertor on your patchbay. That's the ideal clocking, conversion, analogue stage, etc... As if it wasn't there at all. Basically, at best conversion doesn't damage the signal (much), and at worse it does damage the signal audibly.

Now if you're looking to use outboard, that's a whole nother issue there... but again.. keep in mind that you can't make something more detailed than it already is. Outboard will change things yes, but not add detail, and "warmth" is basically just glorified distortion.

My advice? Get better softsynths, or get real hardware to begin with.