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Converters or clock? Dumb question...
Old 4th July 2005
  #1
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timtoonz's Avatar
Converters or clock? Dumb question...

Okay, first I'll apologize if this is a dumb question but I couldn't really find much of an answer from searching the forums.

I've been slowly but steadily upgrading my project studio. Got some decent mics, new speakers, just got some decent pre's... So assuming I ever see a positive balance in my bank account again, what's next in the priority department?

For A/D, I'm currently using either my Tascam DM24 mixer, or the trusty old MOTU 2408 mkIII (which also handles D/A). But would I see a bigger improvement clocking what I have to something like the Big Ben, or is it smarter to get an Apogee or an Aurora or something and then bring that into my G4 via firewire?

Complicating things (just a little) - I've also got a KSP8 effects box, and I've heard some folks here say the converters on it are pretty nice. I've just been using the analog I/O thus far...

So -- what's next? Better converters? Better clock? Or just keep living in digital ignorance as I've done all these years and thus save a bucketload o' cash? (Sorry, I realize that last option isn't really worthy of a true Gearslut...)
Old 5th July 2005
  #2
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timtoonz's Avatar
Nobody, huh?

Gee I had a hunch it was a dumb question, but I had no idea HOW dumb...

Either that or it's THE HARDEST QUESTION EVER! Um, or not.

Okay, let me simplify it a bit:

Anyone had success "saving" the sound of a MOTU 2408 (mkIII) by using an external clock? Or are newer, better converters simply the only way to audio bliss?

?
Old 9th July 2005
  #3
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Sergievsky's Avatar
 

I would also like to know, but after many searches my guess would be you would get different answers, to the point you'll be back to where you started. I'm almost tempted to buy an expensive clock just out of damn curiosity whether it really makes a difference.
Old 9th July 2005
  #4
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

i would think about adding a HD192 to the system. decent sounding, not hard on the pocket... and then think about adding a master clock.

even though i LOVE digital stuff, it changes so rapidly right now i cant see spending fortunes on very small percentages of gain. look at the one thread on the lavry/apogee/mackie convertors all clocked to a big ben[?]. i thought the mackies held up FINE in comparison and i preferred them over the lavry's.. and the apogee's sounded odd to my ears.... but not that the mackie was perfect in any way. confusing?

hell, maybe try a clock out and see if it improves the 2408v3.... if not, dont get one. try the HD192 or maybe break the bank on something "better".
Old 9th July 2005
  #5
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

has anyone seen the antelope[?] clocks? from teh guy who did aardvark.

i have heard clocks certainly tighten up systems in various studios.... and im looking for something now.
Old 9th July 2005
  #6
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Tim,

> what's next in the priority department? <

Unless you're using truly crappy gear now (you're not), I'd say that outboard clocks and converters are way down the list of things that will make a real improvement. What matters most is the accuracy of your monitoring, which also includes your room. Have you ever measured your playback system?

--Ethan
Old 9th July 2005
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
songman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
Tim,

> what's next in the priority department? <

Unless you're using truly crappy gear now (you're not), I'd say that outboard clocks and converters are way down the list of things that will make a real improvement. What matters most is the accuracy of your monitoring, which also includes your room. Have you ever measured your playback system?
--Ethan
How does one go about measuring a playback system? I guess you need special equipment?
Old 9th July 2005
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I was in your shoes about two years ago. I wanted to turn the corner and was willing for the first time to spend some extra cash because I was tired of wasting $ on crap.The biggest improvement in my sound was when I added a Big Ben to my mk3 and a week later got so enthused that I bought the HD192. All I have to say is spectacular. My projects more than doubled and I have been tempted in leaving my day job (teacher) but then my wife would leave and take half my gear and I would be right where I was 2 years ago with half a studio and half the gigs I have now, but enough with the ranting!!! Get the clock and if you can get the HD192. I promise that you will be thrilled with your results.
Old 9th July 2005
  #9
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Hey, what a pleasant surprise to see this thread revived after I'd given it up for dead.

Ethan, thanks a lot for your input. I think you're definitely right that my monitoring environment is worth an upgrade. I'm in a new room with new monitors, and it's still kinda' hard to be sure what I'm really hearing. My problem is that right now I can't get into the treatment phase until I'm done with the re-wiring and painting phase... Haven't had enough down-time to get that stuff done.

The other thing that keeps me from just ordering a bunch of MiniTraps etc. (aside from the shipping costs to Canada) is that figuring out what I need and where to put it might be as tricky and costly as the materials themselves... Are there any Mac tools for testing your room and making acoustic treatment decisions?

Treatment aside, I still want to improve my input chain as much as possible, especially now that I've gone preamp crazy (6176, OSA lunchbox, TG2). So far the most tempting solution to me is the UA2192 coz at least it's A/D/A and clock source, all for one formidably 'affordable' price... Very interesting to hear about your experience with the Big Ben and HD192 conguero. I think I'll have to see if I can try out some of these options, test my ability to hear the difference, then who knows? I'll probably end up just ordering some mini-traps. And a Silence Case. And a 2192. And... AHHRG! DANG YOU GEARSLUTZ! Do you realize I was once a happy portastudio owner?!!!!!

Old 10th July 2005
  #10
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Sergievsky's Avatar
 

I'd also like to thank Ethan, from this thread and a couple others I ran into while reading up into my next upgrade. I'm certainly not happy with my room, though my monitors are very forgiving in that regard. But I still don't like the fact I like the sound much more the further I go back in the room. That's where my attention is now going...it's just a LOT more reading required.

As for gear, I have 2408 1&2, and just about ready to pop for a Big Ben since I've got several other digital gear I need to sync up. I'm not really sure how a great clock can affect the D/A side of things, but I suppose I'll eventually find out. Reading all those threads on the Big Ben and clocks and converters really made me dizzy, and if I only lived in the U.S. I wouldn't have bothered reading all of it and just try out the damned things in my studio.

The HD192 w/ BigBen upgrade certainly sounds intriguing.
Old 20th October 2007
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timtoonz View Post
Hey, what a pleasant surprise to see this thread revived after I'd given it up for dead.

Ethan, thanks a lot for your input. I think you're definitely right that my monitoring environment is worth an upgrade. I'm in a new room with new monitors, and it's still kinda' hard to be sure what I'm really hearing. My problem is that right now I can't get into the treatment phase until I'm done with the re-wiring and painting phase... Haven't had enough down-time to get that stuff done.

The other thing that keeps me from just ordering a bunch of MiniTraps etc. (aside from the shipping costs to Canada) is that figuring out what I need and where to put it might be as tricky and costly as the materials themselves... Are there any Mac tools for testing your room and making acoustic treatment decisions?

Treatment aside, I still want to improve my input chain as much as possible, especially now that I've gone preamp crazy (6176, OSA lunchbox, TG2). So far the most tempting solution to me is the UA2192 coz at least it's A/D/A and clock source, all for one formidably 'affordable' price... Very interesting to hear about your experience with the Big Ben and HD192 conguero. I think I'll have to see if I can try out some of these options, test my ability to hear the difference, then who knows? I'll probably end up just ordering some mini-traps. And a Silence Case. And a 2192. And... AHHRG! DANG YOU GEARSLUTZ! Do you realize I was once a happy portastudio owner?!!!!!


Went through the same delima - my advice - skip the clock and go straight to a better converter. Multichannel go with Aurora or Rosetta. For 2-channel, UA 2192.

Good converter is combination of audio chain and clock - not just clocking. After going the Big Ben route (no knocking it - it does a good job) I'm a believer in using internal clocks when you can. Big Ben is more useful when you're syncing multiple converters, but some converters (like UA 2192) does that well also.
Old 20th October 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
Try out the " MicroClock" from BlackLion Audio. ( I have one..Like it). It's not a lot of money ( $400.00'ish..) and it works well for me. If you don't like it, BLA will refund your money back. ..... It's not very pretty and interesting to look at!...heh
Old 20th October 2007
  #13
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Tim,

> what's next in the priority department? <

Unless you're using truly crappy gear now (you're not), I'd say that outboard clocks and converters are way down the list of things that will make a real improvement. What matters most is the accuracy of your monitoring, which also includes your room. Have you ever measured your playback system?

--Ethan
thats backwards Ethan. Decent converters come into play more if you have great gear and great rooms already.
Old 21st October 2007
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
thats backwards Ethan. Decent converters come into play more if you have great gear and great rooms already.
I didn't see the OP say anything about having a great room, which is my whole point. If he has a ton of cool gear in a typical untreated room, he needs bass traps and other acoustic treatment much more than he needs an outboard word clock.

You brings up a good point, though I disagree that most sound cards and converters are not "decent." These days you'd have to go out of your way to find a sound card that is not audibly transparent. Versus even the most expensive speakers that are 100 times worse (distortion, frequency response) than the cheapest sound cards.

--Ethan
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