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Old 19th January 2012
Gear Head

I just did a similar listening test and I do not have files either, but will give you my opinion.
I am a long time user of the Apogee Ensemble and Logic. Very solid.
In the past I had used a Rosetta Hi Def 96k into the Alesis Masterlink. I've still got both units sitting in my rack and they both work well.

The reason for my shootout, has been that my mixes sound great here, but a bit hazy lows and harsh high end when I burn CDs out of the Mac and play them on other systems. I'm also having a problem with the Ensemble hiss and wanted to locate the problem.

I decided to do an A/B/C comparison of the Ensemble D/A/D, the Rosetta A/D into the Masterlink via SDIF, and the Masterlink using it's own converters.

Since the Masterlink outputs come up on a different 2 track return on the Big Knob, I was able to match levels and instantly tell there is a hiss problem coming from the Ensemble. I've seen other posts on GS reflecting the same issue.

My current track is recorded 24/48. I use the Logic Output channel i/o plug to send out to an SSL G384 bus comp and record back into Logic. The D/A for this send was the Ensemble in all 3 cases, but the return to the Mac was back through the Ensemble, while the other two were send to the Rosetta/ML and M/L onboard converters respectively to an identical 2-tr return on the BK.

The A/B/C results were surprising to me.
I had low expectations for the Alesis, as it is an old technology. Using it's own converters, to me it was the most neutral. Clear and honest.
The Rosetta converters into the ML was my favorite. Bold, better definition on the low end, and that typical Apogee color in the top.
I like the Ensemble as well, but I heard some of that overall vagueness and a bit of brittle quality in the high end.

After the test I also did a digital A/B of the Mac to Ensemble D/A, verses the Mac to ML D/A. Again big difference in the hiss. Overall the D/A in the Masterlink sounded more defined and natural than the Ensemble, but by a smaller fraction.

All 3 are still quality sounds, but with small, yet obvious differences in the end result. I'd say it was like an orange, a tangerine and a tangelo.

That was my afternoon. Later, J