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cheap |"high-end" panasonic converters Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 29th March 2003
  #1
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hollywood_steve's Avatar
 

cheap |"high-end" panasonic converters

The recent Full Compass rag lists "closeout" pricing on the Panasonic line of converters introduced a couple of years ago. I don't have the info in front of me, but I think that we are talking about $2800 8ch converters being sold for $800 or so. Anybody know if this is a good deal or whether these units are overpriced at any price?

steve
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Old 29th March 2003
  #2
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PlugHead's Avatar
 

If interested, go to www.da7.com - they have a few articles on the converters. As it goes, I don't think they made a big impression when they arrived on the market, but have been sought after by some heavies in the industry. All reviews have been favourable, but a little cold towards them, tho there are peeps that swear by them, even in mastering houses...

The general opinion of them is very good, and if you bought a WZ-AD96M , you could have a one rackspace unit with 8 good pre's/AD. I would expect that to be pretty awesome for $500-700 street. The main reason for low(er) prices is (North American) distribution is ending for Ramsa: I have been eyeing them as well!

YMMV,
Old 29th March 2003
  #3
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It looks like a decent deal to me. The closest ADDA units in price are RME, which aren't that great in my opinion. I used to have a DA7 which was an AWESOME digital console so if the design quality is simmilar, they're probably a great buy.

Actually, with the major discount, Pansonic ADDA would cost you no more than RME ADDA.

Seems like a great buy!!! I might sell my lucid and pick em up. I like the one with the pres too. They're probably not as good as my outboard pres though and as I'm trying to sell 4 channels of outboard, it probably would be silly to get em.

They might be real useful for location recording though.


Old 9th April 2003
  #4
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Buddhaman's Avatar
 

Ramsa's

I have the ADM-96 and the DA96...they sound awesome!!

Great deal on the street price

Buddhaman
Old 11th April 2003
  #5
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damn...i'm seeing these posts everywhere! i certainly like mine....but i have one too many, brand new, and cheap! ....(singing)"who will buy my ramsa converter. who will buy...."..you know, Oliver
Old 11th April 2003
  #6
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out1ear's Avatar
 

how much do you want for it??? I may be interested.
Old 11th April 2003
  #7
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I'm going to offer a somewhat different view of these converters... I've posted it on r.a.p. a few times so it isn't a secret. I have a set of the WZ-AD96M mic-pre/converters. I use it as a front end for my O1V and occasionally when I have somebody tracking here at my home as a front end for my Sequoia rig or my Digi001.

Considering what they are upgrading from, they are quite satisfactory. They are pretty transparent, slightly warm and not ugly sounding (like a lot of the cheap- Yamaha/Alesis, etc...- converters).

I will only use them at 24 bits, though. I have tried them at 16 a few times and I was horrified at the sound. They became very noisy, constricted in soundstage, and considerably more harsh sounding. This is more than a simple 24 vs. 16 issue here. I had always suspected that they were adding noise and truncating to make a 16 bit word.

I finally have hooked them up to some bit scopes (not Spectrafoo, but other reasonable quality stuff) and found that at "16 bits" they were NOT sending a 16 bit word. Rather, they were sending a 24 bit word. It sounds like they add a lot of noise (noise shaping??? Yeah right!) and hope it covers up the sound of truncation.

I have also been less than satisfied at how much headroom there is in front of the ADC chip. There always seems to be far too much gain before clipping. To figure out gain structures was not easy with them. Even when I've used ribbon mics with 150 feet of cable, they can't be opened up too much before they clip. Also for loud sources with transients (people yelling, drums, etc...) they can overload easily... There aren't any inserts or ways of getting an analog out so you better be careful. To match stereo pairs is also difficult as they do not have stepped gain knobs.

So... Here's my take on them. For what they cost, they are great. I've made plenty of good sounding recordings with them. I'd rather use them in a studio than live and I'd rather use them for area micing rather than close micing. Also, don't plan on using them at 16 bit.

My $0.02...

--Ben
Old 17th April 2003
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally posted by fifthcircle
...This is more than a simple 24 vs. 16 issue here. I had always suspected that they were adding noise and truncating to make a 16 bit word.

I finally have hooked them up to some bit scopes (not Spectrafoo, but other reasonable quality stuff) and found that at "16 bits" they were NOT sending a 16 bit word. Rather, they were sending a 24 bit word. It sounds like they add a lot of noise (noise shaping??? Yeah right!) and hope it covers up the sound of truncation.
Ben, your hunch is right. It's confirmed in the owners manual. It's a 24-bit converter that uses "built-in dithering" to deliver a 16-bit approximation.

Thanks for the opinions. I will be sure to never use mine in 16 bit mode unless absolutely necessary.

One thing that concerns me about this unit: at DA7.com a post mentions that you should never send wordclock through the lightpipe; supposedly it's jittery. But the panasonic doesn't have internal wordclock out - just "IN" and "THRU." Does that mean I'm going to have to buy a external sync to use the ADAT output?

Anyone tried the mod that turns the wordclock "THRU" into a true "OUT?"

Kato
Old 17th April 2003
  #9
Jax
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Re: cheap |"high-end" panasonic converters

[QUOTE]Originally posted by hollywood_steve
The recent Full Compass rag lists "closeout" pricing on the Panasonic line of converters introduced a couple of years ago. I don't have the info in front of me, but I think that we are talking about $2800 8ch converters being sold for $800 or so. Anybody know if this is a good deal or whether these units are overpriced at any price?

Don't know if that's a good deal but I just saw where some knucklehead is trying to skewer people with his for $1200!
Old 17th April 2003
  #10
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Couple things.. They were never close to $2800 in the stores. More like $1700 or so. (still not a bad deal).

Quote:
Ben, your hunch is right. It's confirmed in the owners manual. It's a 24-bit converter that uses "built-in dithering" to deliver a 16-bit approximation.
So pardon my French, but what the hell does 16 bit approximation mean? I hate it when manufacturers make a substandard product or one that doesn't follow spec and they talk out of their @$$ to cover it up. It is either dithering and outputting a true 16 bit word or it isn't. They can't have it both ways.

Quote:
Anyone tried the mod that turns the wordclock "THRU" into a true "OUT?"
I've got the AES card in mine so clocking off of that isn't a problem. As for ADAT, it really depends on the gear. RME stuff has a buffer in it that helps deal with light-pipe jitter. In general, it won't be as solid though. I haven't turned my out in to a thru... I do regularly run it on my Aardsync II with the rest of my digital gear, though... No problems with Sync there.

--Ben
Old 17th April 2003
  #11
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dave-G's Avatar
DAMMIT!!

I think I'm going to get a pair of these things, if only to use as extra sends-returns for aux/outboard gear in PT mixing... Seems like a pretty good deal..

To those of you that have 'em already (ben?) ... any drawbacks to the ones with the mic pres if/when working at line level? Are they functionally the same otherwise?

-dave
Old 18th April 2003
  #12
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I don't have a comparison to the line level ones, but they seem to work just fine when hit with +4. I'm doing the final mix/master of a recording I made where they were the ADC and nothing more. I had Millennia, custom Jensen 990, and Boulder preamps. No problems.

--Ben
Old 18th April 2003
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally posted by fifthcircle
...So pardon my French, but what the hell does 16 bit approximation mean? I hate it when manufacturers make a substandard product or one that doesn't follow spec and they talk out of their @$$ to cover it up. It is either dithering and outputting a true 16 bit word or it isn't. They can't have it both ways.
Sorry, "16 bit approximation" was my phrase.

They still talk out their @$$ to cover it up; here's what the manual says:

"16 or 20 bit output modes are selectable utilizing a proprietary Dithering algorithm to significantly reduce distortion in the audio output."

I have no idea why they capitalized the word "Dithering." Maybe they think it's a proper noun.

Quote:
I've got the AES card in mine so clocking off of that isn't a problem. As for ADAT, it really depends on the gear. RME stuff has a buffer in it that helps deal with light-pipe jitter. In general, it won't be as solid though. I haven't turned my out in to a thru... I do regularly run it on my Aardsync II with the rest of my digital gear, though... No problems with Sync there.
What does the AES card do? Allow you to go to 96kHz on all 8 channels, I'm guessing?

Kato
Old 18th April 2003
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally posted by dave-G
To those of you that have 'em already (ben?) ... any drawbacks to the ones with the mic pres if/when working at line level? Are they functionally the same otherwise?
The only drawback I know of is reduced metering. See the review at Pro Audio Review that details the differences:

http://www.proaudioreview.com/par/ma...ters-web.shtml
Old 18th April 2003
  #15
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dave-G's Avatar
Thanks, Ben+Kato..

Tough call.. I don't imagine I'd ever need to use the micpres, but it's a cheap enough extra-option, eh? .... As long as it wouldn't compromise the quality for my basic intended use of them as simple A/D's.

-dave
Old 18th April 2003
  #16
Gear Nut
 

tough call is right

Quote:
Originally posted by dave-G
Tough call.. I don't imagine I'd ever need to use the micpres, but it's a cheap enough extra-option, eh? .... As long as it wouldn't compromise the quality for my basic intended use of them as simple A/D's.
yeah that really IS a tough call.

I ended up going without the preamps just because I'd rather have 10 LEDs for metering than one single one that changes color. And the ability to zoom in gives you an accuracy to .05 dB with the AD96.

And since the preamps are not (probably) as good as my RNP and Great River, I figured when will I ever use these?

Anyway, not trying to make up your mind. Just reliving the way I decided.

Kato
Old 18th April 2003
  #17
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dave-G's Avatar
Re: tough call is right

Quote:
Originally posted by kato
yeah that really IS a tough call.

I ended up going without the preamps just because I'd rather have 10 LEDs for metering than one single one that changes color. And the ability to zoom in gives you an accuracy to .05 dB with the AD96.
Ah!! I somehow missed that detail about the metering... Although the recorder will have meters that I'm more likely to look at... I dunno.. I'll just see what's available anymore... 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, yadda yadda ... the overall deal on either is good enough for me.

thanks
-dave
Old 18th April 2003
  #18
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Ya know, the mic pres really aren't too bad... They certainly aren't Millennia, but they are a pretty decent sounding pre. They are definitely better than Mackie, Yamaha, or any of the others you get on low-end boards.

On my website, the music examples 2,4,6,9, and 11 use them in some way or another... (4 also has 10 channels of Vac Rac Tube Pres heh )

--Ben
Old 18th April 2003
  #19
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I'm not sure I'd trust metering on most pres, anyways... I just look at the input metering on a digital board or recording when I use mine...

I'll truse dBTechnologies (Lavery) Blue or Gold series meters, but a lot of high-end A-Ds don't even have meters.

--Ben
Old 22nd April 2003
  #20
Are the M versions running around on sale?
Old 22nd April 2003
  #21
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dave-G's Avatar
I couldn't find any... I got a regular A/D and D/A pair.
--dg
Old 23rd April 2003
  #22
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Buddhaman's Avatar
 

Spam Alert

Guys--

I love the Ramsa converters...

but I'm consolidating my rig and summing in my KSP8...so I put my DA96 and my ADM96's on ebay...I love the mic pre's..they are very detailed but not harsh

see here auction number 2525292086

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...525292086&rd=1
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