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UTrack 24 vs HD24 converters Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 23rd August 2018
  #1
UTrack 24 vs HD24 converters

Ok, Never thought I would start one of those XXX vs YYY, but her it goes.
Please comment if you have first hand experience with these units.

Alesis XD24 vs Cymantic Audio U24.

I am currently using the Alesis XD 24 as a field recorder.
This unit is a little long in the tooth. Heck, It was a little long in the tooth an decade ago!
I typically mix on faders, and do a D/A on the stereo outputs, but going into a DAW and taking it there would be a reason to consider the U24, with it's USB out, it can act as an interface.
I am not totally unhappy with the sound, and my perception of the sound quality. It sounds pretty good to me.
I do occasionally hear what I attribute to 'better converters' on some commercial recordings. These are usually big time acts eg. Fleetwood Mac! I kinda feel like they are using better converters than I have.
I think Lavry converters have a sound that I like, but not in the budget. Perhaps on the 2 buss in the future.
For the first time, The Alesis has had a technical issue, the Hard Drives are older and becoming questionable.
I am thinking the u24, would make a backup (or primary) recorded, in 1 rack apace, no less. Add conversion to usb, act as an interface when I slide into a DAW. I currently go to a pro room for transfers and work it on there DAW.

So, The question is... How can I expect the converters on the Cymantic Audio u24 sound compared to the Alesis XD24 ?
If I go this route, will I get a conversion upgrade as well?

My mics and pres have gone pretty high up the chain (Grace Designs, complete mic locker) I think the converters now, after many years may have become my bottleneck.

Steve Daffner, New Orleans
Old 23rd August 2018
  #2
The HD24XR is bit accurate. Feed it good stuff and it rises to that level. Use external conversion if the AKM chips disappoint.
Old 23rd August 2018
  #3
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
I'm with Jim on this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
The HD24XR is bit accurate. Feed it good stuff and it rises to that level. Use external conversion if the AKM chips disappoint.
Old 23rd August 2018
  #4
Thanks gentlemen for your early responce on this one.

As I said, I'm not totally unhappy with the XD24. I feel like to upgrade from there, I'd have to spend many more times my current budget.
What I want to achieve, will have to happen incrementally.

Currently, I do not have a DAW. Many projects need, or at least my clients / artists feel the need to 'protools' it. For this, I have to go to the pro house. Some expense, a lot of time running over there. Many lost clients to the transfer or lack of a DAW.

So, I am trying to supplement my current workflow.
1)I want to do my own transfers in house. Have a DAW on premises. u24 would allow that with the usb interface aspect.

2)On location back up. Again, the u24 fed via ADAT If I do this.

3)Converter upgrade? I will be able to tell which set of converters are better. and make that unit upstream feeding the next via ADAT optical *

* Which brings up this age old question, How is the ADAT lightpipe as a transfer protocol?

Thanks for the input all. Steve
Old 23rd August 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
I'm with Jim on this one.
Um, any piece of digital gear that isn't broken or designed incorrectly is bit accurate.

Fleetwood Mac's biggest records didn't use any converters; they're pre-digital! Whatever converters they've been through since contributed about 0.001% sonically compared to the rest of it.

They sound good because they are fantastic players playing excellent not busy arrangements that are well recorded and mixed without a bunch of effects and processing. #nomultibandzone

I'm sure both of these things will sound about the same. The design brief for products like this is functionality, not best converters ever. Think about how big a 24 channel Lavry converter would need to be. Obviously there is a lot less going on inside these pieces of gear.
Old 24th August 2018
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew View Post
Um, any piece of digital gear that isn't broken or designed incorrectly is bit accurate.
Says Who? My ears tell me otherwise. Are you a digital EE?

Fleetwood Mac's biggest records didn't use any converters; they're pre-digital!
Tha'ts obvious. Thanks
Whatever converters they've been through since contributed about 0.001% sonically compared to the rest of it.
Yes and scene I have maxed out the rest of my chain. I'm looking at converters. You did see where I said I have been on this system for almost 20 yrs. I think I can go up.

They sound good because they are fantastic players playing excellent not busy arrangements that are well recorded and mixed without a bunch of effects and processing. #nomultibandzone
YES! Just like the ones I (prefer to ) work with.

I'm sure both of these things will sound about the same. The design brief for products like this is functionality, not best converters ever. Think about how big a 24 channel Lavry converter would need to be. Obviously there is a lot less going on inside these pieces of gear.
OK Thanks for that opinion. I was really looking for someone with first hand experience with the 2 units and could give me some insight.
a 24 track Lavry would be exactly 3 rack spaces and many times my budget.
Again, I'm not looking for Larvy grade converters, but I am wondering what 20 yrs of development has done to converters in this class.

Thanks, but this is almost no help to my original post.
Steve
Old 24th August 2018
  #7
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12ax7's Avatar
 

This might make it easier to decide:
HD24Tools
.
Old 24th August 2018
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
This might make it easier to decide:
HD24Tools
.
YES! great academic peer created app. I use it all the time.
FWIW I have the "fire port" and have used it, but currently we use HD 24 tools and a usb hack.

Again I was originally asking about the u24 as it would immediately be an onsite rt back up. I had a HD failure and PATA HDs are getting harder to find. Yes,there are workarounds here as well.
Then as a usb interface, it will save going to a pro room for those transfers to pt.
Then the org question - how will these converters sound vs the Alesis.
.
I have used the Alesis for almost 20 yrs. have 2 units and really like it.
But in that time, I have acquired Grace Preamps, A Manley Gold Ref., Gates broadcast compressors. It''s time to up the converters and monitors.
Old 24th August 2018
  #9
Lightbulb

Hi NewOrleansSteve -- Sounds like you are looking for the modern successor to the HD24? Check out the JoeCo BlackBox BBR1-B. Feed it with whatever pres you want.

I know a colleague who started with a Cymatic uTrack24. Couldn't count on it, so he bought JoeCos.
Old 27th August 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 

The XR upgrade vastly improved the AKM converter performance of HD24.
The primary problem is the fact that the "new Alesis" business model treats the HD24 recorder, and most all of their older cutting edge products, like bastard step sons they no longer recognize. HD24 tools is a great forum with some very good help however even Jim Williams can no longer retrieve certain essential new parts for repair and/or restoration work.
Hugh
Old 27th August 2018
  #11
The AKM converter chips used in the XR are still made and available. I have a roll of each here. They are also used in the Masterlink and many other products. Feed a ESS Sabre 9038 DAC and it's a wonderful step up.
Old 28th August 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I was alluding to major elements such as the "mother board", not the converter chips.
Hugh
Old 4th September 2018
  #13
I have no experience with the Alesis, but, I've been using the uTrack24 exclusively for live club recordings (mostly jazz & orchestral) for 3 years now. I've recorded over 500 sets in that time, and no one has had any complaints about the recording quality. Quite the opposite in fact. IMHO, mic pres are more important. I've attached a link to a trio I recorded recently (bass, cello, sax). I used either Audient or Midas mic pres. I honestly can't remember. The mics were 3 Rode NT2000. It was mixed in the box with stock eq's in Cubase and the MJUC compressor. The reverb you hear is just the room.
Ithra | Aerophonic Records
Old 4th September 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew View Post
Fleetwood Mac's biggest records didn't use any converters; they're pre-digital!
They sound good because they are fantastic players playing excellent not busy arrangements that are well recorded and mixed without a bunch of effects and processing.
Rumours was mixed off the safety 24 track reel. Ego's wore out the first generation. That is a dull and uninspiring record to me reflecting the excesses of the LA recording scene back then.

Perhaps it was good Mick laid off the cymbals as those came off the tape on a Q-tip every morning they cleaned the heads.
Old 18th April 2019
  #15
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Speeddemon's Avatar
Sorry for the necrobump, but any more input regarding the Cymatic utrack24 vs HD24XR?

Since there's an ADAT expansion card for the Cymatic, and it has a USB interface, wouldn't it make it for a simpler HD24XR replacement, if you're only using the ADAT I/O of the HD24XR?
Old 18th April 2019
  #16
Gear Head
One thing to note about the uTrack24, which I didn't understand until too late, is that it only records 8 channels at 96khz.

If you want all 24 channels the max is 48k.

And yes, that includes when using digi input option cards.
Old 18th April 2019
  #17
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Speeddemon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk View Post
One thing to note about the uTrack24, which I didn't understand until too late, is that it only records 8 channels at 96khz.

If you want all 24 channels the max is 48k.

And yes, that includes when using digi input option cards.
In all fairness, the HD24XR drops to 12 channels in 96kHz mode too.
Old 18th April 2019
  #18
Gear Head
Ah, I did not know that. Ty
Old 18th April 2019
  #19
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Plush's Avatar
Cymatic is awful and is to be avoided. It malfunctions, its software is suspect, and the company is a bs company.

Re-route and avoid.
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