BLA "sparrow" A/D Converter - anyone have/use one?

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BLA "sparrow" A/D Converter - anyone have/use one?

Post by pixeltarian » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:23 pm

http://www.blacklionaudio.com/micro_adc.html

I'm thinking about picking one up, but I can't find any reviews on it whatsoever. anybody own one or use one? any thoughts on this device?


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Post by palinilap » Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:53 am

It stood up to a Benchmark in comparison tests, so either the Benchmark is overated, or the BL Sparrow rules.

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Post by @?,*???&? » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:41 am

Or, there's little to no difference between chips and electrolytic caps contained therein...

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Post by pixeltarian » Sat Jul 05, 2008 2:27 pm

@?,*???&? wrote:Or, there's little to no difference between chips and electrolytic caps contained therein...
at first I was like "wha?" but I think you're saying that there is not much of a difference between analog capacitors and digital chips... right?
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Post by @?,*???&? » Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:46 pm

pixeltarian wrote:
@?,*???&? wrote:Or, there's little to no difference between chips and electrolytic caps contained therein...
at first I was like "wha?" but I think you're saying that there is not much of a difference between analog capacitors and digital chips... right?
There are really only a few stages where a design changes.

singal-> input-> function-> output

The manufacturers try to carve their own niche of cleverness within those areas. The components, depending on raw material cost, can vary. Each stage can change the sound.

The user would be well educated to find out how each piece varies.

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life aint nothing but caps and chips.

Post by calaverasgrandes » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:21 pm

if this was the case than why do so many converters sound different with the same damn AK chips in them?
There is obviously more to it than just caps and converter chips.
which op amps, how many and so on.
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

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Re: life aint nothing but caps and chips.

Post by palinilap » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:34 am

calaverasgrandes wrote:if this was the case than why do so many converters sound different with the same damn AK chips in them?
There is obviously more to it than just caps and converter chips.
which op amps, how many and so on.
ditto!

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Post by @?,*???&? » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:42 am

How many stock equipment suppliers are there out there?

Is the genius the chip itself that does the work or how it's utilized in a design?

In 2008, the guys designing these things are working with components made by people much more clever than themselves.

20 years ago, the designs would be the similar- just utilizing hardware (chips, etc.) from different manufacturers.

There is continuity in the design-work, but I would hazard a guess that the real genius is in the chip design.

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Post by cgarges » Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:17 am

@?,*???&? wrote:Is the genius the chip itself that does the work or how it's utilized in a design?
It's all related. It's not simply a matter of picking a bunch of "good" components and throwing them together. It's finding out what kind of results happen with different combinations. Putting the one kind of chip into a design that was meant to utilize a different one to achieve specific results won't necessarily yield an improvement, just like putting the same kind of head that Bonham used on a 50s Gretsch kit won't give you that sound, either. Smart design utilizes the right components for a given situation. Even within those designs, there's a large amount of art and personal taste that goes into making something work a certain way.

I've been told a bunch of times that the SM Pro preamps are cool because they use the same opamps as the Focusrite stuff. Now, there probably is some kind of similarity in the chip set used in the SM and Focusrite Platinum series stuff, but those SM preamps don't sound anything like the multitude of Focusrite Red Series preamps that I've used. And even though the Amek Angela that we just bought for the studio has 5534s in it, the EQs don't sound a thing like the Neve 33135As that I've used.

It's a total package.

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Post by pixeltarian » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:24 am

so um.... no one has used on then?
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Post by dynomike » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:10 pm

pixeltarian wrote:so um.... no one has used on then?
Yeah, one guy, but he's dead now. I heard that *competitor x* hired the hit.
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Post by jaguarsg » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:00 am

there are sound samples, at the bottom of the page, comparing the 002 Signature mod to the Sparrow.

http://www.blacklionaudio.com/002_signature_audio.html

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Post by nclayton » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:41 am

I don't know anything about Black Lion, but I was just directed to this through someone with a question on another forum:

http://www.blacklionaudio.com/digi003_mod.html


Now, if you read this, you'll see a couple of claims about headroom. First, they say the stock 003 has 15dB (?!?!) more headroom than the 002 largely because of higher voltage rails. OK 15 dB means the 003 has a minimum of 5.6 times higher rails than the 002. Unlikely, but possible I guess.

Later they say their mod gives the 003 another 12dB headroom!!!!!!!

That means their claim is that their modded 003 has 27 dB more headroom than an unmodded 002. That means their analog section power supply is over 22 times higher voltage than that of an 002. That means that if the 002 is, say, running from +/- 12 volts (which I think is correct), then their supply is.....drum roll.....

+/- 250 volts!!!!!

That's right, BLA puts runs opamps off a total of 500 volts.

Just kidding, I'm sure they don't, they just apparently don't know enough about electronics to even know what a decibel is.

So, I surmise that no one at BLA knows anything about EE. SO I surmise that whatever company makes the A/D chip that BLA uses in their converter also had an application note where they explain exactly how to hook it up, and that must be what BLA used to design their Sparrow.

It probably works great, but I think that's more or less what the other guy meant by chips and capacitors being the same. It's probably a totally generic design that relies one big chip and a few external circuits that no one at BLA would have any hope of designing or even understanding on their own.

Ned

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Post by bantam » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:46 am

wow thats alot of assumptions about someones lack of knowledge. Did you watch the BLA videos? Matt worked in the RF field as an EE.

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Post by nclayton » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:15 am

Well....to give the benefit of the doubt, MAYBE they mean dBm. I think the 5532 is only spec'ed to drive 2K, so if they do a chip swap on the outputs with something that can drive 600 then they would only need to, like, almost triple the voltage to get the numbers they're talking about, so it's more conceivable, but still severely stretches my personal credulity.

Still, if they mean dBm, they should say dBm as anything else is deceiving. In reality there won't be any situation where you actually get 12dB more signal voltage headroom before clipping (unless they quadruple the power supply voltage which no int. opamp would handle).

Maybe I'm judging to harshly, maybe they're the smartest guys in the world, but it's their fault they put something that LOOKS patently false on their website, not mine, and I'm going to go ahead and judge them harshly for it! You decide for yourself.

Ned

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