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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:59 pm

Leviethan wrote:Why does a Drawmer pre-amp cost 2500, but an ART costs 300? Because the Drawmer is better made and sounds way better. Why does a Mercedes cost four times as much as a Ford Escort? Because the Mercedes is a better car in every way. But they're both cars right?
Right, but I understand the performance differences between a Mercedes and a Ford Escort. I do not understand the performance differences between a $150 ARTcessory and an Antelope clock. and ART isn't doing anything to explain to me why I should buy one of these, besides throwing a bunch of meaningless marketing terms at me.
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Post by palinilap » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:00 pm

I've done some further comparisons, and feel I can hear a subtle difference in clarity between external and internal, but am undecided whether or not the purchase was really worth it. Curious to hear what some of you guys would do, keep it or return it? Improvements I'm hearing might just be a placebo effect kind of thing, as well, so I'm really not sure. For anyone that's interested, here's the wav files (10MB rar file):

http://www.sendspace.com/file/wbphwd

Acoustic Guitar signal flow: CAD M177 > EH 12AY7 > Delta 1010

Drums: MC012's (Glyn Johns OH) > M-Audio DMP3 pre > Delta 1010

Voice: MXL V67 > EH 12AY7 > Delta 1010

Recorded at 88.2/24 with no effects

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Post by Seamonster » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:37 am

Palinilap,

I listened closely to your examples. BTW, thanks for doing that. For all the opinion about gear that floats about (here in the TOMB and elsewhere) it?s always nice to have actual ?data.?

With each of your three examples (voice, guitar, drums) the ?internal? versions are clearly cleaner, to my ears anyway. (For perspective, I get paid to mix and master by folks who tell me my ears are pretty good -- so they?re at least prolly better than average, anyway.) Listening in A/B mode, I hear the jitter in the external versions. I want to describe it by a visual analogy: I hear the ?pixelation,? particularly in higher frequencies; it?s a grainy sort of harshness. I was listening on Sony MDR-7506 phones, FWIW. On monitors, you might be perceiving that as ?enhanced? high freqs, but if you listen on decent phones you should be able to hear that edgy brittleness.

So I?d say: Definitely sell that box, unless you have a pressing need to clock multiple devices simultaneously, in which case it could *conceivably* help. Otherwise, your examples confirm what is the best truth out there: an internal converter will likely be better, barring the possible exception of a really crappy interface clocked by a super-excellent external box.

Now that you?ve made the examples, you might be curious to follow through by summing one wave with the opposite polarity of the other wave, to hear what the actual difference is between them. You may have to adjust the relative gain to get the max cancellation. The result will be very quiet, so if you turn up your monitors enough to hear it, realize that you?ll also be hearing the residual noise of your system. And then turn your monitors down before you play anything else! You might also see the difference attributable to the two different jitters if you can magnify the waveform enough on your DAW. Let us know if you do follow up.

My two clock cycles,
Hoagie Hill
www.seamonstersounds.com
"May my silences become more accurate." -Theodore Roethke, poet

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palinilap
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Post by palinilap » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:04 am

hoagie wrote:Palinilap,

I listened closely to your examples. BTW, thanks for doing that. For all the opinion about gear that floats about (here in the TOMB and elsewhere) it?s always nice to have actual ?data.?

With each of your three examples (voice, guitar, drums) the ?internal? versions are clearly cleaner, to my ears anyway. (For perspective, I get paid to mix and master by folks who tell me my ears are pretty good -- so they?re at least prolly better than average, anyway.) Listening in A/B mode, I hear the jitter in the external versions. I want to describe it by a visual analogy: I hear the ?pixelation,? particularly in higher frequencies; it?s a grainy sort of harshness. I was listening on Sony MDR-7506 phones, FWIW. On monitors, you might be perceiving that as ?enhanced? high freqs, but if you listen on decent phones you should be able to hear that edgy brittleness.

So I?d say: Definitely sell that box, unless you have a pressing need to clock multiple devices simultaneously, in which case it could *conceivably* help. Otherwise, your examples confirm what is the best truth out there: an internal converter will likely be better, barring the possible exception of a really crappy interface clocked by a super-excellent external box.

Now that you?ve made the examples, you might be curious to follow through by summing one wave with the opposite polarity of the other wave, to hear what the actual difference is between them. You may have to adjust the relative gain to get the max cancellation. The result will be very quiet, so if you turn up your monitors enough to hear it, realize that you?ll also be hearing the residual noise of your system. And then turn your monitors down before you play anything else! You might also see the difference attributable to the two different jitters if you can magnify the waveform enough on your DAW. Let us know if you do follow up.

My two clock cycles,
Hoagie Hill
Thanks for the reply, hoagie. I sort of felt like I'd lose objectivity somewhere in the process...

As far as the test with summing waves, wouldn't the performances have to be identical? These are in fact different performances, but played as similar as possible. Or, am I just not following?

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Post by @?,*???&? » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:28 am

I've found each clock source can present a 'frequency contour'.

The Universal Audio wordclock sounds grainy, but could help a saxophone. Bottom is not solid or strong.

Apogee Rosetta sounds mid rangey, but not smooth like their older converters. That said, the high is clear.

Clocking internal with an LE system your bottom end will be very good, but the top slightly fizzy. Not enhanced, just grainy. Perhaps more silvery but not brighter.

A Behringer ADA8000 has a clean top and more lean bottom. Cymbals sound good with this device.

This new ART likely has some 'character'. What is it and is IT useful?

Instead of relying on someone to tell you what to do with the box, use your ears. Find value in it that way.

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palinilap
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Post by palinilap » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:51 pm

@?,*???&? wrote:I've found each clock source can present a 'frequency contour'.

The Universal Audio wordclock sounds grainy, but could help a saxophone. Bottom is not solid or strong.

Apogee Rosetta sounds mid rangey, but not smooth like their older converters. That said, the high is clear.

Clocking internal with an LE system your bottom end will be very good, but the top slightly fizzy. Not enhanced, just grainy. Perhaps more silvery but not brighter.

A Behringer ADA8000 has a clean top and more lean bottom. Cymbals sound good with this device.

This new ART likely has some 'character'. What is it and is IT useful?
Good Point. A Friend of mine did some comparisons clocking his 002 to an ADA8000, and to my surprise it actually worked better for what we were recording.
@?,*???&? wrote:Instead of relying on someone to tell you what to do with the box, use your ears. Find value in it that way.
I honestly had fun doing the comparisons and posting them, and was genuinely curious to hear what others thought. I also ask, "what's good on the menu," when I dine out. I am a sad, needy man.

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Post by Seamonster » Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:36 pm

palinilap wrote: As far as the test with summing waves, wouldn't the performances have to be identical? These are in fact different performances, but played as similar as possible. Or, am I just not following?
Ooh, I didn't focus on the performances; I blindly assumed that for purposes of this test they had to have been the same, and that you were splitting the signal before hitting the converters. (I guess I didn't listen*that* closely!). So, no, you can't sum them for useful info.

While I haven't gone back to listen again, I imagine that some of the differences could conceivably be artifacts of each take: slightly different mic distance/position, change in atmosphere/noise floor, or whatever. Though I don't think anything like that would account for all of the difference -- the external versions all share that edgy, brittle quality I mentioned.

As for having different converters for different colors, it's hard for me to imagine wanting to keep that external box around just for its particular distortion. More broadly, I'd want to stick with the most *transparent* converter available to me, and find color in different mics, pres, FX, etc. But then I also don't keep different sets of reading glasses for the various fonts on different web sites...

Hoagie Hill
www.seamonstersounds.com
"May my silences become more accurate." -Theodore Roethke, poet

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palinilap
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Post by palinilap » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:26 pm

hoagie wrote:
palinilap wrote: As far as the test with summing waves, wouldn't the performances have to be identical? These are in fact different performances, but played as similar as possible. Or, am I just not following?
Ooh, I didn't focus on the performances; I blindly assumed that for purposes of this test they had to have been the same, and that you were splitting the signal before hitting the converters. (I guess I didn't listen*that* closely!). So, no, you can't sum them for useful info.

While I haven't gone back to listen again, I imagine that some of the differences could conceivably be artifacts of each take: slightly different mic distance/position, change in atmosphere/noise floor, or whatever. Though I don't think anything like that would account for all of the difference -- the external versions all share that edgy, brittle quality I mentioned.

As for having different converters for different colors, it's hard for me to imagine wanting to keep that external box around just for its particular distortion. More broadly, I'd want to stick with the most *transparent* converter available to me, and find color in different mics, pres, FX, etc. But then I also don't keep different sets of reading glasses for the various fonts on different web sites...

Hoagie Hill
I tried to keep the dynamics and orientation to the mics as consistent as possible, which is especially challenging with acoustic guitar.
hoagie wrote:As for having different converters for different colors, it's hard for me to imagine wanting to keep that external box around just for its particular distortion. More broadly, I'd want to stick with the most *transparent* converter available to me, and find color in different mics, pres, FX, etc. But then I also don't keep different sets of reading glasses for the various fonts on different web sites...

Hoagie Hill
Yeah, I think I'd be better off focusing on a converter upgrade rather than worrying about clock. One of these days...

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Post by i am monster face » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:09 pm

Smitty wrote: and ART isn't doing anything to explain to me why I should buy one of these, besides throwing a bunch of meaningless marketing terms at me.
Hey, welcome to the world of prosumer audio.

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Post by evengangstersreadtapeop » Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:11 am

gosh, word clock seems like such a lush and unnecessary piece of gear for most people buying gear these days. i hope i never get to the point where i listen to a word clock and think "this will sound great on a saxophone!". moving a mic 1 inch in any direction will have a much bigger impact on sound than a word clock, and the chinese can't manufacture mic placement and sell it to me in a magazine.

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Post by John Jeffers » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:59 am

evengangstersreadtapeop wrote:gosh, word clock seems like such a lush and unnecessary piece of gear for most people buying gear these days. i hope i never get to the point where i listen to a word clock and think "this will sound great on a saxophone!". moving a mic 1 inch in any direction will have a much bigger impact on sound than a word clock, and the chinese can't manufacture mic placement and sell it to me in a magazine.
Moving a microphone won't help with jitter, pops, clicks, smearing, and other problems associated with a bad clock.

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Post by Chris_Avakian » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:34 am

well jeeze guys, now im sorry i even started this thread....

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Post by @?,*???&? » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:34 pm

John Jeffers wrote:
evengangstersreadtapeop wrote:gosh, word clock seems like such a lush and unnecessary piece of gear for most people buying gear these days. i hope i never get to the point where i listen to a word clock and think "this will sound great on a saxophone!". moving a mic 1 inch in any direction will have a much bigger impact on sound than a word clock, and the chinese can't manufacture mic placement and sell it to me in a magazine.
Moving a microphone won't help with jitter, pops, clicks, smearing, and other problems associated with a bad clock.
So true!

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Post by leigh » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:03 am

@?,*ƒƒƒ&™ wrote:When you come to realize that 7 to 8 db of signal can be gained through having good word clock, then you'll start having more open sounding recordings.
Care to explain yourself here, @?,*ƒƒƒ&™???

As it stands, your statement reads as techno gibberish.

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Post by jeddypoo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:30 pm

Leviethan wrote:
Why does a Drawmer pre-amp cost 2500, but an ART costs 300? Because the Drawmer is better made and sounds way better. Why does a Mercedes cost four times as much as a Ford Escort? Because the Mercedes is a better car in every way. But they're both cars right?
That's a specious argument. The price of most things is significantly affected by the cost of advertising them. That's the whole purpose of generic and no-ad products. Yes, there is a difference in quality between, say, an Mbox and an Apogee, but it's not a hard and fast rule.
I find adherence to fantasy troubling and unreasonable.

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