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Compare sound of Apogee, Lucid and RME converters Digital Converters
Old 3rd February 2003
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Compare sound of Apogee, Lucid and RME converters

Has anyone compared the sound quality of Apogee, Lucid and RME converters in the real world???heh
Old 3rd February 2003
  #2
Yes, but trying to compare is like describing the taste of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
Old 4th February 2003
  #3
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mdbeh's Avatar
 

Lynn Fuston of 3D Audio has a CD coming out that compares a bunch of different converters. It isn't out yet, but I've got one on order that I'm really looking forward to hearing.

If you do a search on this forum or elsewhere, you'll find that there isn't a lot of agreement on what's "best." I have a Lucid, and I think that it kills the stock converters in my 001. But within a given price range, it seems to come down to individual preferences.
Old 4th February 2003
  #4
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Nathan hit the nail on the head, for me, when you get to a certian level of converter, it is all about flavours, and how they make you feel, and gets very subjective, In my experence.

Do you have any local sources to hear converters? maybe even rent some to hear in your own rig?
Old 4th February 2003
  #5
Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Smith
Nathan hit the nail on the head, for me, when you get to a certian level of converter, it is all about flavours, and how they make you feel, and gets very subjective, In my experence.
I think most people can agree on "good" or "bad" in general (especially with a lot of experience backing the engineer)...but if you take a bunch of "good" you'll have ten opinions in a room of ten people about which one is "better".
Old 4th February 2003
  #6
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I had a chance to spend some time with the 3d Pre & Mic CDs recently --it's like Yoga for the Ears! Really good excercise in active and critical listening in that color range... I am anxious to hear [at long last] the AD CD.

That said, for those of us who don't have the opportunity to do shootouts or compare multiple units, the benefit of others experience helps greatly in making expensive purchase decisions, even if the opinions are totally subjective.

Saying, 'it's hard to describe' is kind of punting. Don't be afraid to embrace the challenge and offer up something constructive...
Old 4th February 2003
  #7
Quote:
Originally posted by six_wax
Saying, 'it's hard to describe' is kind of punting. Don't be afraid to embrace the challenge and offer up something constructive...
I usually do, but there comes a point when words don't work and only the ears can make the decision. As far as the ADC CD goes, I think the concept is flawed, even more than the preamp comparison CD (there are so many variables in that CD that could change ranging from how the input source sounded before the microphone to proper impedance matching between whatever mic he used and the preamp, that's extremely important and can completely change the intended sound of the mic or preamp) . IMNSHO ADC's can only be truly compared in one's own studio environment from an original source immediately familiar to the engineer. The majority of the strengths and weaknesses of an ADC can only truly be discovered over multiple tracks (i.e. 16 or more)....especially when it comes to the very subject upper level. What dither will be used for the CD? It is 16 bits correct? There are two problems with that. Either Lynn can choose one type dither to make it consistent, and that dither will play an artificial role in how the ACD will sound, or he can truncate which isn't good either. Or maybe I'm wrong and this will be a CD-ROM with 24 bit files on it. Opinions?
Old 5th February 2003
  #8
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I'll agree with that. The concept of an AD "shootout" CD is flawed. Even if there is a noticeable difference between tracks it won't be anywhere near close to fair. None of the converters your looking at suck. Buy one and make some music. Put more thought into what you want for dinner or something...
Old 5th February 2003
  #9
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six_wax's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Put more thought into what you want for dinner or something...
I must be lost. I thought this was 'Gearslutz'. yuktyy
Old 5th February 2003
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

It is GS, and that's good advice IMHO. I have 3 different flavors of converters, all 3 from the names we all know. Each is good and the differences between them are subtle, particularly in comparison the what all the things in front of them add. I track with them together all the time. The mic/pre combo and mike placement are far more signicant than the differences between good converters.
Old 6th February 2003
  #11
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Totally. When I first started the AE thing I was working in a great studio with an OK live room. I had no idea what the hell I was really doing and the mixes were going to a Panasonic 3700 with stock converters. When I started freelancing and then opened the Moose I had (and still have) a DA-30MkII. And well, the **** that I did to the 3700 sounded much better then the stuff I did right after I left. Not a subtle difference, more like night and day. So yeah, I'll downplay converters and say spend the money on other stuff. As long as they don't totally suck they aren't going to make or break a project.

Funny, most people (clients and some AE's) can't hear the differance between the Mytek A/D I have and the stock Tascam. But, they can all hear the difference between a TLM 103 and a 414.

So, what did ya have for dinner?
Old 6th February 2003
  #12
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What I had for dinner?

Ramen. Saving up the pennies...
Old 15th February 2003
  #13
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Henrik's Avatar
 

So you guys seem to think that above a certain level, the differences between converters are subtle, and merely a question of preference.

So...where would that certain level be? The RME ADI converters, do you see them as in the same league as say Lucid?

Cheers
/Henrik
Old 16th February 2003
  #14
Neither of those are "high end"...they are more like lower midrange.
Old 16th February 2003
  #15
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Thanks for your input, Nathan.

I was under the impression that quite many people regarded the Lucids as pretty much top players, in spite of their comparatively low price.

Cheers
/Henrik
Old 17th February 2003
  #16
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by NathanEldred
Neither of those are "high end"...they are more like lower midrange.
I don't know if I'd agree with lower midrange, maybe higher midrange to middle. I compare Lucid to Apogee stuff. Something like a Motu would be lower midrange IMHO.
Old 17th February 2003
  #17
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pounce's Avatar
 

sure motu has been lower midrange, but maybe the new hd192 box of thiers takes them up a notch? it ain't a prism dream converter, but it's a heck of a step up from standard computer interfaces. i'll be curious to see how it compares to pro tools hd.

http://www.motu.com/english/motuaudio/HD192/body.html

i bet a benchmark or mytek would beat it by a good margin, but they are at least trying to go from the lower middle to something, well higher
Old 21st February 2003
  #18
Gear Addict
 

I don't think the RME converters are on Lynn Fuston's converter comparison CD.
I've only been able to compare, in my own space, RME to an Apogee Rosetta and I liked the RME better. There is a comparison of an RME ADI and an Apogee 8000, done by a German mag, floating around the web somewhere. Acording to that test, done with test instruments the quality and consistancy of the RME converters pretty much blew away the Apogee, in every category, S/N etc.
But I have to agree with Jay, from my limited experience in my own space and a couple of other that I work in occasionally, once you get to a certain level the differences are subtle and a good mic pre or a different mic is much more discernable. The only converters that i have heard that i hated were the early 888 things (I can't remember their proper name)
I had a medium rare steak marinated for three hours in ginger, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil, along with some potatoes fried with scanlons and garlic and a whopping big Romain salad with onion, tomato and feta and topped with fresh corriander. Take care Logan
Old 5th March 2003
  #19
Quote:
Originally posted by NathanEldred
I usually do, but there comes a point when words don't work and only the ears can make the decision. As far as the ADC CD goes, I think the concept is flawed, even more than the preamp comparison CD (there are so many variables in that CD that could change ranging from how the input source sounded before the microphone to proper impedance matching between whatever mic he used and the preamp, that's extremely important and can completely change the intended sound of the mic or preamp) . IMNSHO ADC's can only be truly compared in one's own studio environment from an original source immediately familiar to the engineer. The majority of the strengths and weaknesses of an ADC can only truly be discovered over multiple tracks (i.e. 16 or more)....especially when it comes to the very subject upper level. What dither will be used for the CD? It is 16 bits correct? There are two problems with that. Either Lynn can choose one type dither to make it consistent, and that dither will play an artificial role in how the ACD will sound, or he can truncate which isn't good either. Or maybe I'm wrong and this will be a CD-ROM with 24 bit files on it. Opinions?
If one incorrectly assumes that the ADCD is meant as a "buyer's guide," then I agree completely that "the concept is flawed." If you consider it as an "auditioner's guide," which is intended to allow people that otherwise would never have the chance to sit down with a dCS and a Prism and a Weiss and a Mytek and a Manley and a Cranesong and an Alesis and a RADAR and an Apogee and a Tascam, then I think it's very valid.

I have always maintained that buying any piece of gear after listening to any "comparison CD" is a huge mistake. It says so clearly in the liner notes of the Mic CD. I can't tell you how many times I've said "Buying any equipment after only hearing it on the CD is like buying a car after watching a videotape of a test drive. You can do it, but it's a bad idea."

In terms of dither, which was NOT under review here and could easily be the subject of another comparison, I used my personal favorite which is POW-r 3. The files, over two hours worth of ~1:00 samples, are all on two Redbook CDs at 16/44.1 kHz.
Old 5th March 2003
  #20
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Deadly's Avatar
 

quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by NathanEldred

I usually do, but there comes a point when words don't work and only the ears can make the decision. As far as the ADC CD goes, I think the concept is flawed, even more than the preamp comparison CD (there are so many variables in that CD that could change ranging from how the input source sounded before the microphone to proper impedance matching between whatever mic he used and the preamp, that's extremely important and can completely change the intended sound of the mic or preamp) . IMNSHO ADC's can only be truly compared in one's own studio environment from an original source immediately familiar to the engineer. The majority of the strengths and weaknesses of an ADC can only truly be discovered over multiple tracks (i.e. 16 or more)....especially when it comes to the very subject upper level. What dither will be used for the CD? It is 16 bits correct? There are two problems with that. Either Lynn can choose one type dither to make it consistent, and that dither will play an artificial role in how the ACD will sound, or he can truncate which isn't good either. Or maybe I'm wrong and this will be a CD-ROM with 24 bit files on it. Opinions?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is another thing that I believe is of great importance and is overlooked repeatedly JITTER!

And it can be heard as soon as you have ONE stereo track (record 2 percussion instruments one in each hand with matched stereo pair of good mics, for example). With a jittery clock source your stereo image shrinks (because of the lack of phase coherency), On a mixed track any bass that is placed in the center gets bigger and less compact (phase again) and the high-end details get blurry and less distinct.
Listen for these elements and you will be able to pick out which convertors have the most consistant (stable) clock.
While it might be done with the best of intentions a demo CD won't replace your doing a test yourself of the various convertors you might want to purchase.
And please try to do it on closed cabinet monitors as bass-flex designs DO NOT have the ability to reproduce the correct phase relationship you need to ACCURATELY judge the above criteria. Try it you'll see what I mean.
Old 6th March 2003
  #21
Quote:
Originally posted by Deadly
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
There is another thing that I believe is of great importance and is overlooked repeatedly JITTER!

And it can be heard as soon as you have ONE stereo track (record 2 percussion instruments one in each hand with matched stereo pair of good mics, for example). With a jittery clock source your stereo image shrinks (because of the lack of phase coherency), On a mixed track any bass that is placed in the center gets bigger and less compact (phase again) and the high-end details get blurry and less distinct.
Listen for these elements and you will be able to pick out which convertors have the most consistant (stable) clock.
While it might be done with the best of intentions a demo CD won't replace your doing a test yourself of the various convertors you might want to purchase.
Or the other option is to record the same piece of music throug all the converters, each using its own clock, and then do another pass with all the converters clocked to the SAME source. That way you can hear it standing alone and then on a level playing field with a universal clock, which takes the clock out of the picture. That's what you'll hear on Disc B of the ADCD.

Again, a Demo CD will not replace having the units in front of you and listening on your own. No arguments there.
Old 8th March 2003
  #22
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Lynn, what was the setup like on the ADCD? Did each one go down at the highest sample rate? The best sounding one? 24/44.1 with dither? Also, how how do you feel that the end users DAC affects things? I have a Mytek and while I can hear a differance with that over the stock ADC's on the DAT and whatever I'm sure that I'm not personally getting the full effects of it but the mastering engineer is.
Old 8th March 2003
  #23
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freshrobot's Avatar
 

apogee

Just to register my opinion: my studio has an apogee AD-8000 giving us 8 extra inputs via lightpipe and clocking my 001. We got it because our experience with them is that (and forgive the adjectives here) we found the apogee to be 'smooth', 'round' and 'warm' in the bass and mids, either tracking directly to it, or transferring from tape.
The trade-off to that, however, is that I enjoy nice, crisp highs, and I found the apogee kind of rounds/smoothes those over a bit too. I thought it was just me until I heard some pro tools HD playbacks and the highs sounded just like what I felt was missing... so there you go, one guy's opinion. It's all taste. And speaking of taste, I didn't have dinner last night. I'm on a diet so I had an orange and celery at different points in the evening.
Old 10th March 2003
  #24
Lives for gear
I've compared the RME and the Apogee Rosetta. To me there are differences. The Rosetta sounds more analogish to me. Hard to explain but the high end doesn't sound digitallish brittle. The RME are very clean sounding, nice in a different way. When comparing them to my Alesis HD 24 converters, I ended up keeping the Rosetta because it sounds different in a good way. I found the difference between the Alesis HD converters and the RME to be minimal. To me anyways. The RME are great for the money, but I did prefere the Apogee.
Old 10th March 2003
  #25
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Lynn, what was the setup like on the ADCD? Did each one go down at the highest sample rate? The best sounding one? 24/44.1 with dither? Also, how how do you feel that the end users DAC affects things? I have a Mytek and while I can hear a differance with that over the stock ADC's on the DAT and whatever I'm sure that I'm not personally getting the full effects of it but the mastering engineer is.
There aren't enough pages here to detail the setup. There's tons of info at my webboard, 3dB, and the link is in my sig (I think).

Highest sample rate for each was never even considered because that would entail different processing steps for each one to get to down to the release SR which is 44.1.

All were recorded at 24/44.1 with no dither or noise shaping alllowed.

The end user's DAC will have an enormous effect, as will their monitoring chain. As will their experience and their aural acuity.

Read through the info at 3dB, since much of this has been covered before, and I'll be happy to answer any additional questions. Believe me, lots of thought and preparation and time went into it. It is as fair a comparison as I believe humanly possible. And quite revealing, I might add.
Old 11th March 2003
  #26
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any idea when we might be able to finally hear it, Lynn?
Old 18th March 2003
  #27
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Ianneve's Avatar
 

I own and have been using the RME's for about 3 years now. I have had the Cranesong Hedd for about 1 month and the RME's are more in your face. THey seem faster but then harsher. The HEdd is more like tape. Softer and deeper. Depending on the set up and the mic's etc. the rme's could serve me better. The combination is great and I mostly use the hedd but when I need more I reach for the Rme's and they always do a great job. I have to admit though my tracks now that I have the Hedd are much deeper and warmer. BUt I'm also using the Dan Alexander (Neve Clone) pre's and I love them. Between them and my UA 2-610 and the Hedd I'm almost hearing the tape reals turning. It's great. I find myself actually using the Dan pre's more then the UA now though. I love Neve. Always have.
Old 18th March 2003
  #28
Soon, very soon.

Quote:
Originally posted by six_wax
any idea when we might be able to finally hear it, Lynn?
I'm looking at the next to the last draft of the artwork as I type. It won't be long now. I've just got to make sure that all the details are correct.

Lynn Fuston
3D Audio
Old 25th January 2012
  #29
Here for the gear
 

Guys the Lucid does not have and is not and interface strictly a converter thats all it does. We have a Apogee Rosetta 800, & a Lucid 88192 we use a Motu 2408 MKIII PCIE as the Interface card for light pipe only. The converters in the Rosetta are great but the interface in the Motu believe or not for light pipe is better then the Rosetta interface. The Motu made our Apogee Rosetta Come Alive. The Lucid Chassis only converts which means it was designed to do one thing and one thing only convert sound and it does it better then Apogee but the Rosetta using another interface to communicate with your computer is stellar no slouch at all. Again when we disconnected the Fire-wire to the Apogee Rosetta 800 and went light pipe only the Rosetta went on steroids. By the way you need a Big Ben or a $1.4K or (More), Word Clock to make it all tight. The Big Ben Clock is better then the clock in the Rosetta & Lucid, then you get the best of Converters (Big Wide Sound Smooth). With The word clock your locking all three pieces as one. The Motu 2408 PCIE converters are good not great get the Black Lion Audio Mod then your cooking, the interface on the Motu again once word clocked is the bomb.
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