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DAC quality more important than ADC?
Old 12th March 2009
Gear Head

DAC quality more important than ADC?

From experience I 've witnessed how important a difference DAC can make to monitoring. A concrete example would be a Audiophile 24/96 vs. Focusrite Sapphire Pro. The sound of the Audiophile being misty and indistinct, with the highs and lows "narrowed in". While the Saffire Pro having sparkle, harmonics and clarity to pick out all the nuances, the highs and lows seemed to extend much further. This difference is obvious even under sub optimal monitoring, to untrained ears as well as experienced. I can understand why high end Apogee and Lavry DACs are used for the extreme accurate monitoring.

But would the same quality be desireable for ADC's? The expense of 24 tracks ADC at Lavry/Apogee quality (1-3k per pair) would be very high end indeed!

My thoughts are once the single source (track) is in the box, we subject it to all our "sweetening". Then each track is mixed with as many as 10-30(!) others. We could build a lush soundscape even though the ADC's are lesser quality than the final DAC used in monitoring. So long as that mix itself doesnt go through the less than perfect ADC's, we should still be ok?
Old 12th March 2009
Your recordings are only as good as the source track you've recorded, no matter what kind of processing you do after tracking. So, the A/D is just as important as the D/A. The D/A is critical so you can accurately hear what you've recorded and make proper mix decisions, but you've still go to capture the source in the highest form so everything sits together and mixes easily.

A/D and D/A are the biggest bottleneck in any digital environment and both are equally important, if you're doing both tracking and mixing. Both are equally important even if you're just mixing, if you're using outboard gear during the mix. If you are only mixing and no outboard gear is involved than of course only the D/A becomes important.
Old 12th March 2009
Lives for gear
Unknown soldier's Avatar

I would say the ADC is more important - you need to capture the detail first. Having a $5,000 DAC wouldn't mean much if you don't have the detail in the 1st place. But, It would allow you to accurately hear the smearing of your bad ADC!

That being said, a good DAC is also important of course. Get em' both. Like a mytek pair, or something similar.
Old 12th March 2009
Lives for gear
DontLetMeDrown's Avatar

Both are equally important.
Old 12th March 2009
Originally Posted by DontLetMeDrown View Post
Both are equally important.
YES!! At least to anyone who cares about the art of digital audio.
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