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Help with AD/DA Digital Converters
Old 13th September 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Antagonist's Avatar
Help with AD/DA

GearSlutz-

After reading tons of posts, listening to advice, listening to tracks, etc.... I'm really starting to think that one of my main problems in my recording chain is my AD/DA conversion.

I'm currently tracking as follows:

Mackie 24X8 - TC Electronics Triple C Compressor(spdif out)- M-Audio Firewire 410(spdif in) - Pro Tools 7

Sometimes I leave out the Triple C and go: MACKIE- FIREWIRE 410- Pro Tools 7

Now obviously I'd love to have 3-4000 sitting here to go and spend on a Lavry or top of the like Apogee converter.... But due to spending on other equipment, running a business, etc, funds are kind of tight right now.

So I guess my question has three parts:

1. Is a dedicated ad/da converter going to really improve the sound I'm getting from my current converters in either the Triple C or the Firewire 410?

2. Is a midrange ($500-$1000) ad/da converter going to give me a major improvement, or should I wait and try to save for the $3000 dollar range?

3. Out of the model's I'm looking at, which one, if any would you fellow slutz recommend???

1. RME ADI 2-- $699
2. Apogee Mini Me-- $600+ Auction
3. M-Audio Super DAC --$270.00 Auction
4. SM Pro-Audio ADDA 192-S Stereo Converter-- $499.00
5. Lucid AD 96/24 (doesn't have DA but do I need that mixing in box? and I can also buy the D/A for $500 so total for both would be $1300.00)
6. Any Other Recommendations???


I only really need two channels of conversion, and I usually track at 24bit 48K
Another option would be to buy a stereo compressor that had ad/da conversion included- i.e. Focusrite, JoeMeek 2Q, etc.

Alright Slutz, Thanks for your time...NOW HELP ME MAKE A PURCHASE!!!

Antagonist
MySpace.com - ANTAGONIST - CALIFLORIDA - Hip Hop / Rap / Freestyle - www.myspace.com/leftcoastrider
[email protected]
CaliFlorida Productions
Old 13th September 2007
  #2
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Eigenwert's Avatar
IMO a UA 2192 is absolutely worth it. Can´t comment on the Lavry - didn´t try it since the 2192 is exactly to my likes.

I often read comments where people tell you not to drop that extra money in upper class converters until the rest of your studio is absolutely top notch so I wanted to share my opinion.

To me the recordings sound way better and I don´t always feel "eq out those overtones - they sound like crap"-effect. The combination of various tracks make the soundwise advantages obvious to my ears.
Old 13th September 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Antagonist's Avatar
I'd love to get that UA2192 but it's almost 3G everywhere. So I take it your advice is to wait, stack the funds, and get the high-quality converter? I have heard good things about this converter, but not sure if the best investment of my funds at this time.

Thanks for that advice. Hopefully I'll get some more input as to this.
Thanks
Antagonist
Old 13th September 2007
  #4
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deuc647's Avatar
 

Try a rosetta 200, i have one and it has great AD as well as DA, which is equally important
Old 13th September 2007
  #5
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
I often read comments where people tell you not to drop that extra money in upper class converters until the rest of your studio is absolutely top notch so I wanted to share my opinion.
This is probably the case but if you were to bypass the mackie and use something like an apogee minime (or even an old rosetta AD and get a stereo pair of nice preamps), the recordings you capture will improve in fidelity even if you cant hear it...upgrading the monitor chain will help a lot too in order to hear what is really going on with your recordings.

Personally, I'd probably get the Rosetta AD and a pair of Hi-end pres. That would probably be round 2k.

What your source material is (DI from synths, vocals, acoustic inst., etc.) should also influence what and where you look...
Old 13th September 2007
  #6
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Antagonist's Avatar
Stitch-
Interesting comment about my source. I record mainly synths (Fantom/Alesis/Proteus) and Vocals. Here and there I might throw in some guitar, but I usally will do that direct in, and manipulate it through AmpFarm or something.

So far everybodies advice is in the 2-3000 range. Uh Oh...does that mean wasting cash on a 6-700.00 dollar converter is a waste of time, and I should just wait and save up?

Keep em coming.
Antagonist
Old 13th September 2007
  #7
Gear Head
 

check out the echo audiofire.. nice a/d d/a for the price.. Not as good as my Lynx Aurora but 95% there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antagonist View Post
Stitch-
Interesting comment about my source. I record mainly synths (Fantom/Alesis/Proteus) and Vocals. Here and there I might throw in some guitar, but I usally will do that direct in, and manipulate it through AmpFarm or something.

So far everybodies advice is in the 2-3000 range. Uh Oh...does that mean wasting cash on a 6-700.00 dollar converter is a waste of time, and I should just wait and save up?

Keep em coming.
Antagonist
Old 13th September 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 

check ebay some myteks going there for under $700.....they are supossed to be great for the money
Old 14th September 2007
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
nivek_yoccm's Avatar
 

converters: a difference that makes a difference?

Hey Antagonist--

BE an antagonist on this one, man. I currently believe that conversion--while extremely interesting scientifically--is mostly nonsense at the musical/listener level. At a minimum, it's a joke compared to any other part of the signal chain, including cables (seriously). I'd only spend money on AD/DA if you've been personally convinced, through blind tests where the levels are kept absolutely even, that there's a difference that makes a difference.

I just recently got the 3D Audio (Lynn Fuston's) ADCD that runs mixes through 30 AD converters. I've listened multiple times in many ways before looking at the models used on each track--admittedly "only" through an RME Fireface 400 (which has better DA than, what, 99.999% of the world's listeners?). I can tell some difference between tracks (or so I've convinced myself). But not a difference that makes a difference. I'm no pro engineer; but as someone who has strong opinions on mic's and pre's (and can tell an important difference), I'm comfortable saying that to my ears converters don't mean ****.

Maybe that's why there seems to be a total lack of serious blind testing done. . . I don't, though, question, people's sincerity that they hear a legit difference. I just think there might be a relative lack of rigour in this area. Or maybe people's ears are tuned to different qualities in sound. . .

Just my 2 cents. . . coincidentally, the difference between a $100 converter and a $10,000 one.

BTW, I really hope my opinion on this changes {I suspect it will }; I honestly have an urge to join the Crane Song HEDD cult. Seriously.
Old 15th September 2007
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Hmmm,


My first question would be what type of monitors are you using, your ears are everything - so I would be concerned with my monitors first!!!! Great A/D/A coupled with crappy monitors isnt recommended. If you have a decent set of ears (accurate and in the $1500 - $4000 price range), now you can start talking about converters.

I tend to stay away from all in one combo's, most don't live up to the hype and if they do their expensive. I would start with a Lavry black DA10. Get your monitors and D/A happening then you will really be able to hear whats going on in your chain and your mixes.


Dallas
Old 15th September 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 

I would say that in my chain Instruments/2ch- Avalon pre and comp/Apogee Mini-Me/Mbox...the Mini-me makes a difference. It makes everything sound better. I can't really explain why...maybe thats the thing about good a/d conversion...you can tell it sounds better, but you can't explain it. You can get a great sound with the cheaper ones. The apogee rosetta a/d goes for about 500 on ebay. I certainly don't think you should shell out thousands of dollars for expensive converters....you make Rap music. It's way easier to get a good sounding rap recording because you don't have to worry about mic techniqes and acoustics and stuff, because everything is keyboards and samplers..mostly line in. I suggest you don't spend any more than you want to!
Old 15th September 2007
  #12
Gear Addict
 
daillman's Avatar
i think before an adda converter i would get me a nice pre or two,what pres if any are you useing?and after your pre section then i would move to converters becouse the converter is only as good as what you feed it ie pre amp....just something to think about...heh
Old 15th September 2007
  #13
It's been said here many times when cats ask about upgrading and I think you get better bang for buck sound wise upgrading the pre amp to something a little but more boutique (and maybe slightly coloured in a good way) this tends to have more impact on the sound than the conversion.

I'm still low end (but I took this advice) I use EMU 1820m AD/DA and recently change my mic pre from a Preonus Tubepre to GT Brick and I can easily here the difference that makes.
Old 15th September 2007
  #14
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Eigenwert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
This is probably the case but if you were to bypass the mackie and use something like an apogee minime (or even an old rosetta AD and get a stereo pair of nice preamps), the recordings you capture will improve in fidelity even if you cant hear it...upgrading the monitor chain will help a lot too in order to hear what is really going on with your recordings.

Personally, I'd probably get the Rosetta AD and a pair of Hi-end pres. That would probably be round 2k.

What your source material is (DI from synths, vocals, acoustic inst., etc.) should also influence what and where you look...
Yeah that´s right - without a good pre it´s pretty worthless. DAV pres are known to give a pretty good bang for the buck, some others as well. The BG1U currently is my only preamp and I really dig that one

If you are on a mac and wanna go the cheap route just bringin you 2 ins/outs and decent pres you also might want to give the duet a try (don´t know if it´s shipping as we speak). But there´s no digital in/out on that one...
Old 15th September 2007
  #15
Gear Head
 

converters don't make a difference?? cmon now ppl,, step it up. What are monitoring system you listening to to make a statement like that?
Old 15th September 2007
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboykillin View Post
converters don't make a difference?? cmon now ppl,, step it up. What are monitoring system you listening to to make a statement like that?

My point exactly, get some good monitors first!!!!!
Old 15th September 2007
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
nivek_yoccm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboykillin View Post
converters don't make a difference?? cmon now ppl,, step it up. What are monitoring system you listening to to make a statement like that?
regarding my statement from before:

1) I've tested with my RME Fireface 400 for DA through Adam A7s coupled with the Adam Sub8, also tried with AKG K701 headphones

2) I didn't say "don't make a difference", I said don't make a difference that makes a difference. . .

3) I agree that I'll at some point borrow a better DA and test again--like I said I really do want to love the Crane Song HEDD so I can also have that great processing; but,

4) I think most people who claim major difference aren't doing good tests (getting all set up w new equipment, then kicking back with inevitably different level settings and thinking that's a test. . . hmmm, not to mention the psychological effects of not doing a decent blind test (prefering change, wanting to believe that a new purchase is "worth it", etc.)

YMMV, but it seems to me--from my experience--that conversion is an area where more skepticism might be due
Old 15th September 2007
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nivek_yoccm View Post
regarding my statement from before:

1) I've tested with my RME Fireface 400 for DA through Adam A7s coupled with the Adam Sub8, also tried with AKG K701 headphones

2) I didn't say "don't make a difference", I said don't make a difference that makes a difference. . .

3) I agree that I'll at some point borrow a better DA and test again--like I said I really do want to love the Crane Song HEDD so I can also have that great processing; but,

4) I think most people who claim major difference aren't doing good tests (getting all set up w new equipment, then kicking back with inevitably different level settings and thinking that's a test. . . hmmm, not to mention the psychological effects of not doing a decent blind test (prefering change, wanting to believe that a new purchase is "worth it", etc.)

YMMV, but it seems to me--from my experience--that conversion is an area where more skepticism might be due

The converters themselves and conversion technology is probably not that dfiferent,, but there is alot to an audio interface that affects the sound ie. build quality, cross talk between channels, internal clocks.
There is something to be said for high end interfaces. You can;t compare a presonus to something like lavry,, the sound is worlds part.

And as far as you not hearing a difference, Adam A7s - not exactly high end.
Old 15th September 2007
  #19
Gear Nut
 

anyone wanna chime in on the echo audiofire 2?
Old 16th September 2007
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by third world View Post
anyone wanna chime in on the echo audiofire 2?
sound quality is right for an interface at its price point. but the software interface it comes with could be better, very simplistic.
Old 18th September 2007
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Antagonist's Avatar
Alot of you have asked about my monitoring. I test my mixes on various sources, but my main set of monitors is an:
Event PS8

They were pretty expensive when I bought them.

What do ya'll think? Should I go converters or a better pre-amp first.

I'll admit, my pre's probably aren't the best. For instruments/beats I use the pres in my Mackie 24x8 and go directly into the computer.

For vocals I use either an Art TP2, TC Electronics Triple C, Focusrite Platinum.

I'm currently looking at either a Joe Meek, Grace 101, Aphex 203, and a couple others to beef up my vocal chain.

Keep the advice coming.
Antagonist
www.myspace.com/leftcoastrider
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