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DEAR GOD! What is the Fireface doing to my audio!?!
Old 17th May 2006
  #1
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

DEAR GOD! What is the Fireface doing to my audio!?!

I'm running Logic, with a Fireface 800. I run out the FF into a Manley VariMu and Massive Passive. I just did an A/B test. First bounce ITB, then out the FF converters with both Mu and MP bypassed. Holy crap, my audio goes to pot!

Is this something that'd go away with a Rosetta 200 or a Big Ben? or is this just one of those things that happens when you leave the digital realm? I love the Manley stuff, but I don't wanna take 4 steps back (leaving digital land) and then 4 1/2 steps forward in quality (trying to get my punch back with the outboard). Should I sell my outboard and buy a G5 Quad?

Ugggg.

Here is a clip, in 4 parts.

1. ITB
2. passing through the FF AD/DA, with Manley's bypassed
3. ITB again
4. FF AD/DA with some gain from MP
Attached Files
File Type: aif in-out-in-outgained.aif (4.43 MB, 301 views)
Old 17th May 2006
  #2
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midnightsun's Avatar
 

Both

I'll recommend keeping the outboard gear and getting a G5 Quad. I am running Logic through a G5 Quad and it is very stable. My outboard gear includes the same stuff you mention. I didn't listen to your clips but will take your word for it that something is wrong. My Manley gear sounds great as I mix and/or bounce. It does something for my personal taste that I just can't get with plugins-- but I am learning to appreciate some of the plugins.

I am wondering if you have a problem with your converters or clock. What is your buffer set at. I wouldn't blamed the outboard gear unless it simply needs to be serviced.

Best of luck to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael
I'm running Logic, with a Fireface 800. I run out the FF into a Manley VariMu and Massive Passive. I just did an A/B test. First bounce ITB, then out the FF converters with both Mu and MP bypassed. Holy crap, my audio goes to pot!

Is this something that'd go away with a Rosetta 200 or a Big Ben? or is this just one of those things that happens when you leave the digital realm? I love the Manley stuff, but I don't wanna take 4 steps back (leaving digital land) and then 4 1/2 steps forward in quality (trying to get my punch back with the outboard). Should I sell my outboard and buy a G5 Quad?

Ugggg.

Here is a clip, in 4 parts.

1. ITB
2. passing through the FF AD/DA, with Manley's bypassed
3. ITB again
4. FF AD/DA with some gain from MP
Old 17th May 2006
  #3
Gear Addict
 
frontierfran's Avatar
 

i dont know man...you have killer outboard gear there...

and the clips sound pretty good to me. i have a feeling I'll like the song as well....if I heard the entire thing (hint hint)
Old 17th May 2006
  #4
MDM
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MDM's Avatar
...
Old 17th May 2006
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
HeatWAVS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MDM
RME fireface = not a pro AD/DA converter, sorry, they lied. It's not. It has the same converters as the cheapo Multiface series.
Sell it !

get for example Apogee or MH 2882 instead - you wont regret it
do you know what your talking about because even though I don't have a ff800 I still know that the converters in the multiface 1 & 2 and the fireface 800 are different. The converters in the fireface 200 are the same. As for $800 being cheap I'd hate to see what you think about m-audio stuff.
Old 17th May 2006
  #6
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dirren's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MDM
RME fireface = not a pro AD/DA converter, sorry, they lied. It's not. It has the same converters as the cheapo Multiface series.
This is, of course, not true as a quick look at the RME website will prove. Also the Apogee Rosetta 200 and RME Fireface are two completely different boxes - so why bother comparing them? Read-up, decide what you need, look in the wallet and then make a descision based on whats actually needed here. To me clip 2 sounds like clip 1 just passing some wire. Like... the FF and the Manley?

/D
Old 17th May 2006
  #7
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Ziggy!!'s Avatar
 

audiomichael,

When you say the manley gear is bypassed is it entirely out of the signal chain or did you just hit the bypass button?
Old 17th May 2006
  #8
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

Clip 2 is going out the FF AD into the VariMU and MP with the bypass buttons in (according to Manely, the bypass is as clean as can be) then back into the FF. Everything is Mogami cabled.

To be clear, the Manley stuff is great and I love what they do to sound. Even when I had an Alan Smart, I'd run a bass or kick out to it, and something in the back of my mind would be saying, "hmmm, am I crazy or did I lose something here."

I just upgraded monitors, so I wasn't able to hear REALLY what was going on before.

It's as if the sound drops back a bit, and the bottom end rolls off and the punch / clarity really suffers. Without A/Bing I don't thing anyone would say, "Dude, your sound is all F'd up!" but I'm A/Bing plugins to a $8000 signal path here!

If I could fit these Manleys inside of my G5 I'd be good to go.
Old 17th May 2006
  #9
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirren
This is, of course, not true as a quick look at the RME website will prove. Also the Apogee Rosetta 200 and RME Fireface are two completely different boxes - so why bother comparing them? Read-up, decide what you need, look in the wallet and then make a descision based on whats actually needed here. To me clip 2 sounds like clip 1 just passing some wire. Like... the FF and the Manley?

/D
I'm comparing them because they both do AD/DA. I'm not looking to replace the FF. As an interface dig I/O it's great and stable.
Old 17th May 2006
  #10
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Slaytex's Avatar
 

I'm at work on ****ty speakers so take this for what it's worth. I mainly here a difference in level. When you ran into the MP and applied some gain it was very similar to the ITB. What level setting is you're FF800 on for it's in/Outputs? There is a lo gain/-10/+4 & Hi gain/-10/+4 check box. Make sure these are set correctley or you may get some sound quality issues. I haven't used outboard gear with my FF800 yet so I don't know the ideal way to set it but I would leave everything at +4 for both In/Out. When tracking I set my Inputs on the FF800 to Lo gain so I can run my API 3124 hotter. I would not blame the converters just yet. Hope this helps.
Old 17th May 2006
  #11
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Albert's Avatar
 

Theoretically, the mix should lose no clarity because the same converters are being used when you listen back to your ITB mix as when you go through your Manley outboard. I don't think that Manley gear would negatively affect the clarity.

Is your routing out of the computer right? I mean, are you double routing any tracks to the outboard gear?
Old 17th May 2006
  #12
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I have a Fireface and a selection of outboard which I use all the time.

I listened to your samples and there is definitely something wrong with your set up. I've never heard anything that drastic even when I used my Digi 001 as my D/A!!!

I run all my stuff through my Fireface and it comes back pretty much the same as it was originally.

They're not the best converters. They're not even great converters. But they're good enough, and much better than what you've got going on.

You should try running out 3-4 and going in 5-6 with no gear whatsoever (not even bypassed). Then try changing your cables. Then try changing your output level settings.

Good luck
Old 17th May 2006
  #13
MDM
Gear Addict
 
MDM's Avatar
forgive me

the converters are based on the ADI8-series - that's another story

I was so convinced they were based on the multiface

btw

I have been a happy user of the RME HDSP9652 and ADI8pro converters for some years -so in that regard I am not totally clueless-

I think it was Digital AudioService in Germany, who told me, that RME has BASED it's converters of the Firefce on the ADI8 series, but that they didnt put the actual converters in it, but cheaper versions ...
Well - hey .. didnt mean to bust anyones balls here ..
Old 17th May 2006
  #14
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dreamsongs's Avatar
 

A few things...

1) match levels
2) check cables...I have all Mogamis too but once in a while...
3) get the qulaity converters to match your Manley gear

With the Fireface, once you leave the box you will never get the same quality on the return...

Good luck...
Old 17th May 2006
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael
I'm running Logic, with a Fireface 800. I run out the FF into a Manley VariMu and Massive Passive. I just did an A/B test. First bounce ITB, then out the FF converters with both Mu and MP bypassed. Holy crap, my audio goes to pot!

Is this something that'd go away with a Rosetta 200 or a Big Ben? or is this just one of those things that happens when you leave the digital realm? I love the Manley stuff, but I don't wanna take 4 steps back (leaving digital land) and then 4 1/2 steps forward in quality (trying to get my punch back with the outboard). Should I sell my outboard and buy a G5 Quad?

Ugggg.

Here is a clip, in 4 parts.

1. ITB
2. passing through the FF AD/DA, with Manley's bypassed
3. ITB again
4. FF AD/DA with some gain from MP
By most informed accounts -- except of course from those marketing external master clocks -- the ony time you need an external master is when the interface you would normally be using as master has an inferior clock. And by most accounts, that's none of today's pro interfaces.

Furthermore, by most informed accounts, running an external master clock on a single interface is unnecessary, period, since the whole point of a master clock is to provide a master clock for synchronizing multiple digital interfaces. Some sources point out that you can actually end up degrading your sound in some cases where you impose an external master on a less-than-top-flight interface.


Let me ask you this... you're normally monitoring through the FF box, right? And it sounds OK?

Now, obviously, anytime you make another D/A and A/D pass you're going, by definition, to get some degradation of your signal. But with today's interfaces --particularly running at 24 bits -- that degradation should be quite minimal, hopefully just about inaudible.

It seems to me if the difference is as significant as you suggest (and I haven't listened to the clips) there's quite likely some hitherto unrecognized issue.
Old 17th May 2006
  #16
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

I monitor out FF SPDIF to Central Station's DA. I use the Manley stuff in analog 1-2 from the FF and call it up as a insert plugin in logic.

I have my FF settings at +4

I've tried going out of the FF into only 1 of the Manley's (tried on both units) and there's a little less volume drop, but still there's a loss of punch and bottom and clarity.

I have to buy some balanced cables to try just going straightwire from DA>AD.

I'll try other FF in outs later today.
Old 17th May 2006
  #17
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John The Cut's Avatar
 

Pesky Firewire methinks. A jittery interface?
Old 17th May 2006
  #18
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strauss's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael

I have to buy some balanced cables to try just going straightwire from DA>AD.
You can't really say anything about the DA/AD loop untill you've done this.
Old 18th May 2006
  #19
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Ziggy!!'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael
Clip 2 is going out the FF AD into the VariMU and MP with the bypass buttons in (according to Manely, the bypass is as clean as can be) then back into the FF. Everything is Mogami cabled.
well lets face it, the manley stuff want be adding anything but a longer signal path when it is sitting in bypass...

For the purposes of eliminating all possibilities I would remove the manley gear entirely from the signal path and just loop the DA back into the AD and try the same test.

If it removes the problem you know its not the fireface. Thats not to say the manley gear is bad either... Just only use it when you want to add some compression or eq.
Old 18th May 2006
  #20
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kingofswing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MDM
RME fireface = not a pro AD/DA converter, sorry, they lied. It's not. It has the same converters as the cheapo Multiface series.
Sell it !

get for example Apogee or MH 2882 instead - you wont regret it

The RME Fireface has better conversion than you may think.

FWIW a very good freind of mine (a private studio owner / producer) just sold his apogee rosetta 800 and Motu's (after trying mine out for a few days) for the rme fireface 800 (x2). In comparison to the RME, both he and I found the Apogees to sound a little pale / bland.

I still think people will disagree with me here. I just find the RME clean and sweeter sounding.
Old 18th May 2006
  #21
MDM
Gear Addict
 
MDM's Avatar
yes - i was a little mistaekn - I though that the converters in FF are the same as Multiface .. that rme did not use their more high-end converters found in the AD8-series ..
It's still a blurr area - i am not sure - i remember that RME once brought out a slightly cheaper ADI8 - that had converters like in the Multiface ...
so .. let's check ! ..

ADI8 pro aint bad - I used to have them and use it a lot - I thought it sounded better than MOTU and of course also M-audio -

The moment I heard Metric Halo though, I sold it all and got that instead - I personally feel it's much better gear...

Just to throw something 'wise' in here : It's all so subjective ... So , enjoy the FF !
Old 18th May 2006
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
willythekid's Avatar
 

useless ears

hey, I must have a pair of useless ears because I find that all the 4 clips sound GREAT! please upload the whole song, I can't get it out of my head now and i really want to hear the rest of it...
/wtk
Old 18th May 2006
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofswing
The RME Fireface has better conversion than you may think.

FWIW a very good freind of mine (a private studio owner / producer) just sold his apogee rosetta 800 and Motu's (after trying mine out for a few days) for the rme fireface 800 (x2). In comparison to the RME, both he and I found the Apogees to sound a little pale / bland.

I still think people will disagree with me here. I just find the RME clean and sweeter sounding.
Well, something that I think is easy to forget when it comes to Apogee is that most of the professionals that use Apogee converters use them as the analog mix door to the digital world. In that kind of context the overall loss of quality due to bad conversion is much less because everything is already summed up and contain a big dose of warmth and intimacy to compensate for the sound degradation during the conversion process. This might make Apogee a little overestimated for ITB tracking. If you need great conversion for ITB tracking I think Lavry or Prism would be the route to consider. You can push these pretty well as you are tracking to the DAW and in that way compensate to be able to compete with the analog counterparts. The tracking phase is very critical for the final sound quality and I think that's where the RME Fireface 800 can't compete when it comes to making professional sounding records. I have an RME Fireface 800 and I notice that I lose some important harmonic content, the sound becomes a little thinner, the sound over the velocity pitch is not as natural (the expressions are not translated as well) and the decay is a little shorter. These things result in a little "flat" type of sound, in my opinion the "sound of music" dies a little. It feels "compact", which is a sign that the frequencies have been squeezed together into groups, rather than have been translated with a natural frequency spread. I can hear this really well in the treble department, where the sound often is rather thick, instead of thin due to a nice high frequency spread, which would make the music more natural and more pleasant to listen to.

But generally I think the RME Fireface 800 is well worth the money. I think it's mostly a matter of what kind of tracking/recording method you use and what kind of sound quality you are aiming for that should decide whether the Fireface 800 is enough or not. But let's put it this way, for a top notch studio I don't think it's realistic to expect that the choice would be a converter at 156 EUR/input.

When it comes to using the Fireface 800 as a unit for AD->DA->AD approach I think you should forget that route with the Fireface. The sum of that process WILL degrade the sound too much and I strongly recommend that you only convert once.
Old 18th May 2006
  #24
Lives for gear
i don't hear anything that significant to complain about. i prefer clip 4. could be that the manley stuff is not tru bypass. could aslo be a calibration thing between inputs and outputs on ff. as you know i'm not the biggest fan of the ff convertors. big ben does make a differnce on the fireface but i doubt that would fix your prob. swap out cables and report back and find out if the manley has true bypass..in now that my universal 2-1176 does not.

ej

if not i'd be happy to buy you manley stuff
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