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-   -   Can Big Ben make 888-24 D/As sound as good as a stock AD8000 ? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/74966-can-big-ben-make-888-24-d-sound-good-stock-ad8000.html)

sage691 20th June 2006 09:41 AM

Can Big Ben make 888-24 D/As sound as good as a stock AD8000 ?
 
Just thought I'd check to see if anybody else here has already done this experiment and what results they heard ?

I'll soon be mixing an album into a Trident console with alot of good outboard patched in. I've recorded all of the songs' tracks already through a stock Apogee AD8000. So my A/Ds were all Apogee which I did notice was a vast improvement over the Digi 888 A/D.

I'm just wondering, with the BB clock as the master, could it improve the D/A resolution of an 888-24 interface enough where it would do justice to these great tracks we have recorded, or should I just go with all Apogee D/A ? I'm asking because I need 3 more interfaces with 8 analog outs. This is how I intend to get 32 outs from PT going into the console.

I could either purchase 3 more AD8000s, or save $1k or so buying the BB and 3 888-24 interfaces.

Has anyone tried the BB specifically with the D/A on Digi 888s ? Is this really an option, or did I just read somes hyped up article about how great the BB could make an 888 sound ? Is this a corner that should not be cut ?

Remember, I'm only concerned with D/A and not A/D.

bob katz 20th June 2006 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sage691
Just thought I'd check to see if anybody else here has already done this experiment and what results they heard ?

I suspect not. The reason is that the Apogee AD8000 sounds better than the 888 for more reasons than just clocking. The distortion and linearity of the old 888 are just not in the same quality-range as the Apogee. Clocking is part of it, and the 888 may improve slightly with a Big Ben, but it won't turn an 888 into an AD8000. You'll be missing a lot on low level resolution and purity of tone that the AD8000 unmistakably has, even for such an old converter. Putting a "good clock" on an 888 is like taking a 1964 Chevrolet and giving it a tappet job. The motor will run more quietly but it still won't accelerate like a new V8. Now if you changed the motor, well, might as well buy a new car instead.

BK

Ol' Betsey 20th June 2006 12:29 PM

Slightly OT but I love my trusty ol' AD8000.

Not sure I would spend more money buying another one now these days but I certainly wouldn't spend money on 888's.

R.

sage691 20th June 2006 06:56 PM

Well, I definitely need 32 D/A outs from PT, so I'll have to buy either 3 888s or 3 more AD8000s.

Some will say buy Apogee DA16x, but it seems like a waste to me for a PT mix system that can only record & playback 44.1 & 48 khz.

Maybe I'll just try to find a regular DA16. I've seen these going for around $1700 on Ebay, which is a better deal than 2 AD8000s.

Guess I'll probably get 1 more AD8000 and 1 DA16, and maybe I'll get an AD8000 SE for the A/D as well.

I decided to get a 2" tape machine instead of upgrading to PT HD. This was after seeing the rigs of 2 very well respected and successful producers. They still use old PT mix systems and think HD is not worth the extra $, because even at 192khz with Apogee converters it the sound still does not compare to 2" tape.

ejsongs 20th June 2006 07:14 PM

i'd be careful about mixing and matching convertors. new convertors process audio faster which means than some of the older ones and can change the way the track feels. i.e. a hat can sound a little out of pocket with a shaker if coming through different convertors due to the processing speed of the convertors.

ej

Fajita 20th June 2006 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sage691
Just thought I'd check to see if anybody else here has already done this experiment and what results they heard ?

I'll soon be mixing an album into a Trident console with alot of good outboard patched in. I've recorded all of the songs' tracks already through a stock Apogee AD8000. So my A/Ds were all Apogee which I did notice was a vast improvement over the Digi 888 A/D.

I'm just wondering, with the BB clock as the master, could it improve the D/A resolution of an 888-24 interface enough where it would do justice to these great tracks we have recorded, or should I just go with all Apogee D/A ? I'm asking because I need 3 more interfaces with 8 analog outs. This is how I intend to get 32 outs from PT going into the console.

I could either purchase 3 more AD8000s, or save $1k or so buying the BB and 3 888-24 interfaces.

Has anyone tried the BB specifically with the D/A on Digi 888s ? Is this really an option, or did I just read somes hyped up article about how great the BB could make an 888 sound ? Is this a corner that should not be cut ?

Remember, I'm only concerned with D/A and not A/D.


You could always rent just for this project...



heh

sage691 20th June 2006 09:16 PM

Hey EJ
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ejsongs
i'd be careful about mixing and matching convertors. new convertors process audio faster which means than some of the older ones and can change the way the track feels. i.e. a hat can sound a little out of pocket with a shaker if coming through different convertors due to the processing speed of the convertors.

ej


Do you mean to say that an older DA16 would process the D/A audio faster than an AD8000 ? I was under the impression that as long as I selected 44.1 as my sample rate on the DA16 that it would act just as the AD8000 does for this purpose. Am I wrong ?

The stuff sounds really good as it is, so I definitely don't want any sonic alterations on the D/A side.

Ziggy!! 21st June 2006 12:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sage691
Well, I definitely need 32 D/A outs from PT, so I'll have to buy either 3 888s or 3 more AD8000s.

Some will say buy Apogee DA16x, but it seems like a waste to me for a PT mix system that can only record & playback 44.1 & 48 khz.

Maybe I'll just try to find a regular DA16. I've seen these going for around $1700 on Ebay, which is a better deal than 2 AD8000s.

Guess I'll probably get 1 more AD8000 and 1 DA16, and maybe I'll get an AD8000 SE for the A/D as well.

I decided to get a 2" tape machine instead of upgrading to PT HD. This was after seeing the rigs of 2 very well respected and successful producers. They still use old PT mix systems and think HD is not worth the extra $, because even at 192khz with Apogee converters it the sound still does not compare to 2" tape.


I don't quite understand your frame of thinking. No a protools rig won't sound like tape... but then again thats not why everyone is using one. It offers features that tape never will... You have to decide if those features are going to be necessary in your studio. If you want your DAW to sound like tape then sell you DAW and buy tape! A DAW excells at other things, one of which is not sounding like tape! Call me crazy but some situations just call for digital recording.

The fact that you will only be using 44.1khz or 48khz is pretty redundant imo. Converters like the newer apogees show less of a difference in sound between 44.1khz and higher sample rates than aging converters.

I think you'd be crazy not to consider a DA16x. You could probably find them for aroudn $3000 used... Thats less than 2 AD8000's and it will probably be hanging out in your studio for quite a few years to come.

robot gigante 21st June 2006 01:27 AM

No No No on the 888's! hidz I can't imagine anything helping those enough to make them useable.

The AD8000's might be getting kind of long in the tooth, but I still depend on the AD8000SE and it gets the job done. Not sure if I would get another one with all the options out there now, but they're not bad.

bob katz 21st June 2006 02:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sage691
Do you mean to say that an older DA16 would process the D/A audio faster than an AD8000 ? I was under the impression that as long as I selected 44.1 as my sample rate on the DA16 that it would act just as the AD8000 does for this purpose. Am I wrong ?

The stuff sounds really good as it is, so I definitely don't want any sonic alterations on the D/A side.

The technical term is "latency", as you know. The delay of the converter. For sure the AD8000 and the ADX will have different latencies. But you can still use them in conjunction, at the same sample rate, just don't record stereo pairs or multiples of the same instrument across the two converters. I doubt you're going to hear a timing issue, the latency differences will be small, measurable in samples, well below a millisecond.

sage691 21st June 2006 03:16 AM

Ziggy
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziggy!!
I don't quite understand your frame of thinking. No a protools rig won't sound like tape... but then again thats not why everyone is using one. It offers features that tape never will... You have to decide if those features are going to be necessary in your studio. If you want your DAW to sound like tape then sell you DAW and buy tape! A DAW excells at other things, one of which is not sounding like tape! Call me crazy but some situations just call for digital recording.

The fact that you will only be using 44.1khz or 48khz is pretty redundant imo. Converters like the newer apogees show less of a difference in sound between 44.1khz and higher sample rates than aging converters.

I think you'd be crazy not to consider a DA16x. You could probably find them for aroudn $3000 used... Thats less than 2 AD8000's and it will probably be hanging out in your studio for quite a few years to come.


So, you're implying that an AD & DA 16X at 44.1khz will still make my PT mix system sound better ? The reason I haven't considered them much is because I thought an HD system would be required to capture what they really can offer in improved sound.

And yes, I'm a pretty savy PT user and I'm fully aware of it's infinite superiority over tape in terms of creative editing, automation, special FX, etc. Actually, the music I do is quite experimental and pushes the limit of what PT has to offer as a program. The automation of certain plug-in FX I have used to create sounds that modulate and take on their own character (much like turnings knobs on a moog), and these will often be layered over guitar parts or strings, when it's actually the guitar riff that is being sent into the effect. Tape offers me nothing more but the ability to get a fatter, meatier sound for certain instruments -- especially electric bass and drums. Without exception, EVERY commercial CD I have heard where the drums are real, and I really admire the sound and sonic PUNCH of the drum sound, 2" tape was used as the tracking medium. To rely on 1 medium like PT for EVERY aspect of the tracking & mixing process will yield a very 1 dimensional sound IMO.

PT will no doubt still remain the dominant editing and automation tool for me. For this application, I think it's very powerful and I know the functions well from working with so many rappers over the last 5 years. But to rely on PT "bounce to disk" as a final mix medium is certain death for the heavy and experimental kind of music that my band does. It may work for Dre or Mariah Carey, but my band doesn't sound anything like that.

I'd love to hear a band like Tool or Machinehead both tracked and mixed PT ITB, and only relying on plug-ins for electric guitar, compression, EQ, and FX. Bet it would sound crappy(probably unlistenable to most fans), and I'm sure I'll never get a chance to hear it either.

bushwick 21st June 2006 03:37 AM

I have a PT TDM rig with four AD8000's. I have been curious to check out the clocking aspects of my rig so i have on order an Antelope isochrone. I am very, very curious to hear what difference if any I will notice over the AD8000's clocked on their own. I suspect that the biggest difference between current and older converters is the clocking. I should find out in about three weeks when more units are shipping. Sold out across the country....boohoo.

j

Ziggy!! 21st June 2006 04:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sage691
So, you're implying that an AD & DA 16X at 44.1khz will still make my PT mix system sound better ? The reason I haven't considered them much is because I thought an HD system would be required to capture what they really can offer in improved sound.


Yes, Absolutely!

The increase in sample rate is not the only improvement that has happened to conversion. There will be an improvement when stepping up to the 16x series, even when using them at 44.1 & 48khz sample rates.

Also consider the longevity of your system. While you might not be using higher sample rates now, who's to say you won't be in the future? The AD8000 is fast approaching a decade in age, thats one heck of a lifetime for any digital gear...

Perhaps you should try some out? Doesn't mercenary have demo units or the likes? Maybe see if you can get a hold of a rosetta800 (atleast with the R800 you can roughly compare both A/D & D/A) or the 16x series to make a few comparisons.

I 100% agree with you about the usefulness of tape's sound, I guess I was more miffed by the conclusion that digital conversion doesn't yet sound like tape. Digital has had a greater dynamic range than tape, and has so for quite some time... I think in its ongoing improvement, digital will just keep moving away from tape altogether. Different tools, different strokes... insert whatever opinion orientated cliche you desire.

sage691 21st June 2006 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziggy!!
Yes, Absolutely!

The increase in sample rate is not the only improvement that has happened to conversion. There will be an improvement when stepping up to the 16x series, even when using them at 44.1 & 48khz sample rates.

Also consider the longevity of your system. While you might not be using higher sample rates now, who's to say you won't be in the future? The AD8000 is fast approaching a decade in age, thats one heck of a lifetime for any digital gear...

Perhaps you should try some out? Doesn't mercenary have demo units or the likes? Maybe see if you can get a hold of a rosetta800 (atleast with the R800 you can roughly compare both A/D & D/A) or the 16x series to make a few comparisons.

I 100% agree with you about the usefulness of tape's sound, I guess I was more miffed by the conclusion that digital conversion doesn't yet sound like tape. Digital has had a greater dynamic range than tape, and has so for quite some time... I think in its ongoing improvement, digital will just keep moving away from tape altogether. Different tools, different strokes... insert whatever opinion orientated cliche you desire.


I 100% agree. At this point we have the choice of different palettes of sonic coloring via both digital and analog. Why not use them both in the same way Dali would use different colors and contrasts in his paintings ?

In the end, it all becomes a 2 track 44.1 khz mix on a CD, or an Mp3. This is a FRIGHTENING reality, and should be for anybody getting into recording these days with PT and believing the hype that they have all they need to make a great sounding record. Even with the very best pres and EQs on the front end ( I've used D.W. Fearn VT2, Neve 1073 and 1084 modules, V76, V72, API 3124, Pultec EQP1a, Pultec Meq, Manley Massive Passive, La2as, 1176 Blue and Black, and too much more to list) the mix will sound great on your studio monitors, but once you use the digital summing bus in PT to make a 2 track mix, IT JUST DIES and sounds weak and thin on a small stereo or in somone's car! The best producers care ALOT more about what the finished product sounds like in a car or on a jam box than they do thru the studio monitors. The mix BETTER be powerful, colorful, 3 dimensional AND loud enough to compete once mastered. But nothing is worse than an excessively loud CD that is 1 dimensional, which seems to be the inevitable outcome if one stays only digital and mixes ITB.

Tibbon 21st June 2006 06:14 AM

Behringer ADA8000 with a Big Ben anyone? *ducks, rides and runs away to the Low End forum*

Greg Wells 23rd June 2006 07:08 AM

Let me preface this post by saying one of my favorite Peter Gabriel tracks is called "Shaking the Tree".

When legendary producer Bob Ezrin told me that the Digi 192 interfaces absolutely sounded better than the new Apogee interfaces, I paid attention. Bob's produced a few little records... had some minor success (Dark Side of the Moon, anyone?).

In the spirit of tree shaking... my 192's clocked to a Big Ben and recording at 96k, sound better to me than tape. Gulp. Don't get me wrong - I adore recording analog and resisted Pro Tools until a few years ago. But this current combination wins.

sage691 23rd June 2006 06:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Wells
Let me preface this post by saying one of my favorite Peter Gabriel tracks is called "Shaking the Tree".

When legendary producer Bob Ezrin told me that the Digi 192 interfaces absolutely sounded better than the new Apogee interfaces, I paid attention. Bob's produced a few little records... had some minor success (Dark Side of the Moon, anyone?).

In the spirit of tree shaking... my 192's clocked to a Big Ben and recording at 96k, sound better to me than tape. Gulp. Don't get me wrong - I adore recording analog and resisted Pro Tools until a few years ago. But this current combination wins.


Thanks Greg,


Well, I don't have a PT HD system. I'm still using a Mix system with 5 mix farms, and I track at 44.1khz.

I just don't know if going with the Apogee X series interfaces will really make such a difference with my setup. It just seems to reason that if you can't take advantage of the 96khz sample rate that you won't get out of that interface what it has to offer.

That's why I'm wondering what difference a BB would make with my rig. Could it really improve the D/A on stock Apogee AD8000s or the older Apogee DA16s ? I have already tracked a great sounding project thru an AD8000, using a wide assortment of top notch mics, pres, and compressors -- in some really BIG sounding rooms! Plus, my band's sound uses alot of MIDI samplers, which is why I decided to plop down $20K on a real console (Trident 80 series).

All my sequenced MIDI stuff will go straight into the board and totally bypass being digitally recorded until the final mix. So I'm just looking for 32 channels of D/A that will do justice to the great tracks that we have already tracked into PT.

I don't think I'm as much of an audiophile as many others on here. I like the way the AD8000 sounds on A/D, so I'm sure I'll be happy with it's D/A as well.

I'll probably end up buying 3 more AD8000 units, or 1 AD8000 and 1 DA16. Maybe I'll get a BB just to see if the D/A can be improved all that much.

Dopamine 24th June 2006 05:32 AM

Why don't you look for an AD8000 SE with "SE-enhanced" D-A's as well (they are out there). I just picked up one and am very happy with it. These boxes sold for $8k just 3-4 yrs. ago. I got mine on eBay for $1750.

SiliconAudioLab 24th June 2006 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Wells
Let me preface this post by saying one of my favorite Peter Gabriel tracks is called "Shaking the Tree".

When legendary producer Bob Ezrin told me that the Digi 192 interfaces absolutely sounded better than the new Apogee interfaces, I paid attention. Bob's produced a few little records... had some minor success (Dark Side of the Moon, anyone?).

In the spirit of tree shaking... my 192's clocked to a Big Ben and recording at 96k, sound better to me than tape. Gulp. Don't get me wrong - I adore recording analog and resisted Pro Tools until a few years ago. But this current combination wins.

I hear ya, but don't agree. We've got a 2" Otari and will hit the tape first then transfer to protools (from tape) for editing. Takes time - not a lot of time, but *some* time. Every time we do this - every single time - two things happen:

1. The client wants to just use the 192's at first - then when they hear a few tracks using this method they refuse to turn back. cooge

2. They insist we use the tape and are happy over direct comparison w/ the 192

Tape as a mojo depth effects machine. kfhkh

Anyway as to your question, I have an extra 882/20 (that I will GIVE away to some deserving soul here who PM's me) clocked to the Big Ben and it sounds OK. NOT heavenly, but ok. Only use in a pinch to pull the out board stuff in when all the other converters are called for. Will be replacing it with a Rosetta 800.

I think the clock helps. The V8 engine analogy is correct though. Can't make it sound TOO good no matter what voodoo is onvolved.

Oh, welcome aboard Greg. It's really great to see ya here. howdy

Greg Wells 24th June 2006 07:38 PM

When we have the luxury of time and rental $, I'll still record drums and bass to analog first then transfer into PT. I couldn't agree with you more about the depth factor, but I find I only need it on those two instruments. Everything else sounds better to me at 96k... less fuzzy, way more accurate. That said, I can't wait until we're recording at 96,000,000k.

SiliconAudioLab 24th June 2006 07:44 PM

Drives drives drives and mo' drives! We have a boatload of GT103's (Glyph) and it's becoming like the graphics company I compose for. Terrabytes & terrabytes of drives.

wworried wworried heh

I'm soooooooooo tempted to grab the Portico Comp but the half rack thing is trippin' me out. Eh I'm being silly. I once sold a great piece of gear 'cause it didn't have enough lights (a synth I latter bought back - one Roland JP8).

But I still like my SSL 384 and have been seen running some mixes through my Bob Alach mod'd Urie LA4's (stereo strapped) - niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!!

Anyway they simply must do a 1 rack - full mastering - detented - better meter version.

C'mon, give Rupert a call will ya!? hittt hittt

SiliconAudioLab 24th June 2006 07:49 PM

Oh yeah, hit the synths to tape. YES even the vertual ones.

sage691 24th June 2006 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SiliconAudioLab
Oh yeah, hit them synths to tape! YES even the virtual ones.


Hey Silicon,

I imagine this would apply to virtual electric guitars as well, right ? I have a bunch of tracks in PT that I used SansAmp and AmpFarm on. I recorded with a nice PRS gtr. direct into a Neve 1272 thru an AD8000 into PT. The sound is smokin', but after ITB "bounce to disk" all is lost.

But I bet this can be resolved by slammin these tracks to tape, then final mixing thru the Trident 80 console. This is what I'm hoping for!

SiliconAudioLab 24th June 2006 11:18 PM

phukin-a-bubba!! kfhkh

Hit 'em both ways - going in and and at mix down - you DO mix to tape don't you? tutt heh

Yeah yeah I don't ALWAYS use the tape at every step either. Time consuming - but I do use it about 75 ~ 80% of the time.

Mix to tape then suck it into PT for future editing & mastering.