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AD/DA and back...How many times?
Old 3rd February 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 

AD/DA and back...How many times?

Just wondering, because this will condition my way of working and buying gear.

How many times will you bounce a track OTB for use with your outboard gear?

Aim not a ITB guy, but with the cost of some outboard gear, I have to work OTB and ITB.

I use a Echo Audiofire 12 for the conversion. Will it degrade my sound to much with to many round trips?

If it dose, then I should think of getting EQ, compresion or whatever on the way to my AD. Pro´s con´s? Thanks for your help...

Kind regards,

Mike
Old 3rd February 2009
  #2
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Tube World's Avatar
I always track with EQ's and compressors...g e n t l y. Then add the plug ins for touch up's in the mixing process. At the end, send my two bus mix out to some nice hardware EQ's and compressors.

I believe the standard thinking is use the least back and forth as possible. I will do it once, maybe twice, but no more...even with good converters.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 

It's really easy to test. Just loop the signal and record it. Repeat as many times as you like, normalize the copy and the original and show them into Foobar ABX or similar.


/Peter
Old 3rd February 2009
  #4
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staudio's Avatar
 

Try to minimize the format conversions as much as possible. That being said, do what you gotta do to get the sound you want.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
It's really easy to test. Just loop the signal and record it. Repeat as many times as you like, normalize the copy and the original and show them into Foobar ABX or similar.


/Peter
This makes the best sense.

The rest of us can't answer for your chain -- but you can easily test it yourself -- and I think you should, given the way you wish to work.


Like others, I occasionally engage a light-to-moderate amount of compression on my vocal chain going into AD when I know precisely what I want.

Now, after putting together my first DAW (actually the HW was in place but I was waiting for a host-based multi-channel DAW, which appeared in the form of Cakewalk Pro Audio in '97) I mixed hybrid/out of the box (in 8 channels of stems, basically). Realtime plug in FX were a few years away in terms of practical reality.

But since moving ITB in 2001, I've found a couple of plugs that I really like, one for EQ and one for compression and they really do the heavy lifting beyond that light compression going in.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #6
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It depends on the converters. I say use your ears and decide which benefits the material the most.

I was at a listening session at Avatar (Studio E) back at AES 2007, and we A/B'd an orig. source file (96k) against one that had been converted DA/AD 20 X - not ONE person in the room could tell the difference. I changed my perception of converter relevance soon after...

Let your ears be the judge is what I say.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #7
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reconverting degrades the sound . Listen to some converter shoot outs on here and you'll hear how much better the original audio source sounds before its sent out and back in . The main thing I hear is it loses its 3-D depth and sounds flat more 2-D.

Unless you got HIGH end converters , I mean the real expensive ones , I would stay in the box and use the best plugins .

Yeah outboard hardware might be the best but if your system is more mid range with conversion , you might not really benefit.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #8
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Wasn't there a Roger Nichols shoot out where he did like 20 round-trips through a pair of Panasonic 3700's? He invited some "Golden Ear" friends to identify which was which, and few of them could tell.

It's probably in here somewhere:

http://www.rogernichols.com/DAEQ.html
Old 3rd February 2009
  #9
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
A trip through converters does degrade the sound, but in most situations I find that a great piece of analog gear will outweigh the cost. Its sort of like spending a dime to make a dollar.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
A trip through converters does degrade the sound, but in most situations I find that a great piece of analog gear will outweigh the cost. Its sort of like spending a dime to make a dollar.


But would you do it with a Echo Audiofire 12 ?

I'm not knocking using a Echo Audiofire 12 , I'm sure it gets a decent sound going in , but spending alot of money on outboard gear to run it in and out of mid level converters ?

Personally I'd stay in ITB in that situation and use really good plugins .
Old 3rd February 2009
  #11
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Benmrx's Avatar
 

This is why I want a console/summing box with recall and at least MIDI mutes so badly. Not because I think that DAW summing sucks, but just to cut down on the number of conversions going on.

This is the most rounds of conversion I've done so far.

A/D: The original tracking source to the DAW
D/A: To outboard gear from DAW during the mix on individual tracks
A/D: Back to the DAW from outboard gear to "print" the processed signal
D/A: In the form of 4 different "busses/groups" to outboard gear and/or summing for parallel processing and/or group compression on things like drums or BGV's, and/or simply 2buss processing on an insert within the DAW

A/D: Final print of the stereo mix
D/A: Monitoring

Also, there's the outboard FX, which get there feed from aux sends in PT. The returns of these effects are either brought back into aux inputs inside PT if I need to automate the returns, or brought back and summed in the analog world with the 4 busses.

Considering most of my outboard EFX are digital (lex reverbs, delays, H3000, etc.) there's a few conversions within the EFX loop, especially if the returns are brought back to PT. The order of conversions would be:

D/A: From DAW aux sends to outboard EFX
A/D: Outboard EFX internal A/D conversion process
D/A: Outboard EFX internal D/A conversion process
A/D: From Outboard EFX to DAW inputs
D/A: Group/Buss/Summing/2buss output
A/D: Stereo Mix
D/A: Monitoring
Old 3rd February 2009
  #12
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
But would you do it with a Echo Audiofire 12 ?

I'm not knocking using a Echo Audiofire 12 , I'm sure it gets a decent sound going in , but spending alot of money on outboard gear to run it in and out of mid level converters ?

Personally I'd stay in ITB in that situation and use really good plugins .
I have never used the Echofire, but I did do a test with a MOTU traveler, which has pretty awful converters. Did did a test running great analog EQ via an analog loop vs. a high end well respected plug in EQ. Both myself and the other engineer I was working with felt that it was a net gain, and preferred the analog option.

Its worth noting that what we were trying to achieve was a bit of analog mojo on the track, and an increased sense of depth a bigness. If we were we looking to do some surgical corrective EQ it probably would have made sense to stay ITB when only low end converters are available.
Old 3rd February 2009
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Number 6's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
A trip through converters does degrade the sound, but in most situations I find that a great piece of analog gear will outweigh the cost. Its sort of like spending a dime to make a dollar.
I love this analogy. thumbsup
Old 4th February 2009
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
The main thing I hear is it loses its 3-D depth and sounds flat more 2-D.
Without doing the loop test some of you suggested, the above quote would be my first thought regarding degradation. That quote just makes sence to me.

I will have to do the loop test in order to see if I hear any difference. As some of you said, the difference might be subtil to me, or maybe not. As I think, sometimes all of this is a bit subjective.

Best,

Mike
Old 4th February 2009
  #15
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insomnio's Avatar
 

Interesting thread.
Old 4th February 2009
  #16
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2deep2112 View Post
Without doing the loop test some of you suggested, the above quote would be my first thought regarding degradation. That quote just makes sence to me.

I will have to do the loop test in order to see if I hear any difference. As some of you said, the difference might be subtil to me, or maybe not. As I think, sometimes all of this is a bit subjective.

Best,

Mike
A good way to test is to use your favorite bands CD . Import the audio into your DAW then run out your converters and back in , do this however many times you want , then compare .
Old 4th February 2009
  #17
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

FWIW, I checked out my PT 192 in this fashion and satisfied myself that it just wasn't a problem.

-R
Old 6th February 2009
  #18
Gear Head
 

Wow, post get old real fast...

Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for there input! Thank you all very much!

I will have to try the loop thing... I just sold my monitors, so I have to wait till next month when my new monitors arrive.

What worry´s me, is loosing that 3D soundscape. But, dosent that have to do with the pre-amp as well? Is it a combination of both? Good pre--> Good converters = Good 3D soundscape?

I would think that with 114db of dinamic range which better´s the noise floor on the Audiofire 12 would give me some slack for roundtrips... Not much of a pro at this, but with you guys around life is easier...heh Thanks a bunch folks! I will file all of this in whats left of my brain!

Good care,

Mike
Old 6th February 2009
  #19
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warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paultools View Post
Wasn't there a Roger Nichols shoot out where he did like 20 round-trips through a pair of Panasonic 3700's? He invited some "Golden Ear" friends to identify which was which, and few of them could tell.

It's probably in here somewhere:

EQ index
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlugHead View Post
It depends on the converters. I say use your ears and decide which benefits the material the most.

I was at a listening session at Avatar (Studio E) back at AES 2007, and we A/B'd an orig. source file (96k) against one that had been converted DA/AD 20 X - not ONE person in the room could tell the difference. I changed my perception of converter relevance soon after...

Let your ears be the judge is what I say.
Like 3-4 years ago I had a similar experience, taking a signal recorded via TOSLINK (my QS8 keyboard) and then coming out analog and back in digital, then taking that generation recording and doing it again, and I did it 20 times. In the end I think it's 210 instances of AD / DA conversion. I did have to normalize in the end to make up for small differences in signal (I'm talking after 20 runs maybe .5dB?).

I was amazed at how well a decent converter could hold up! In the end, yeah I could hear a difference but that 20th track was able to be used in a mix no problem.

I'd love to hear the noise build up and loss of transient information, as well as lower mid build up doing this with a tape machine...but then again it's not how you use a tape machine or a converter so not really a valid point I suppose.

A good converter will hold up fine, in fact it's still the way I like to test a converter to get a feel for how clean it really is, as the 20th take will exaggerate certain characteristics in what it does to the sound (or doesn't).

War
Old 7th February 2009
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thanks Warren,

I´ll have to wait for the test for now, as aim waiting for those Yammis MSP5 you mentioned on other post. Yes, I do follow your advice... Thanks again Warren!

The Echo Audiofire 12 is all I can afford for now, I would think that it stands up very well with similar priced and/or some higher priced converters found on brand audio cards. So aim sort of in the middle of the road. My thoughts are that from here (AF12), the jump has to be high-end, beacuse aim already half-way to say so.

It´s a pain, because the AF12 is my 3rd audio card... I first had (have) a Creamwear Scope Home audio card. It was my first attempt at home recording and what a bad experience, the Scope platform is a bitch to configure if you never installed a audio driver or worked with a DAW. So much, that I left my gear in the room for about a year without doing anything. My next card was a TC Konnekt 24D, well it dose sound good, but got fed up with it´s random firewire drop-outs. So now it´s just me and my AF12. So yeah I know from here, its save your money and buy the real thing! But hell, I don´t even have a car now! Anyway, music is my passion. Isnt it for all of us!

Good care,

Mike
Old 7th February 2009
  #21
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Cameron Johnson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
Try to minimize the format conversions as much as possible. That being said, do what you gotta do to get the sound you want.

+1
Old 7th February 2009
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
WiZKiD's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
Try to minimize the format conversions as much as possible. That being said, do what you gotta do to get the sound you want.

no rules, just results.
Old 16th March 2009
  #23
I'm not into a top-notch studio, so I just plan which plug and outboard FXs I will use and try to have 1 A/D only .
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