A/D: Why the large gap?

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ott0bot
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Re: A/D: Why the large gap?

Post by ott0bot » Thu May 14, 2009 7:45 am

@?,*???&? wrote: Are you building a 'professional' studio or a 'project' studio?
I think thats really the question....and why there is the gap. The higher end convertors are really geared toward professional studios and all the other stuff is generally made to be affordable by the average guy. Thus the price difference. I just with companies like digidesign would have spend just a little bit more on making their convertors and clock a bit better so you wouldn't have to mod it to just to have it sound good. I'd pay an extra couple hundred for that.

rwc wrote: Just think about the cost of what's in the lynx unit before declaring it crazy expensive.

$3000 for 32 channels.


Let's say the power supply costs them the cases and buttons and lcd and all the other shiny shit costs them $100

2900/32 = $90/channel

Would you call a mic preamp that was $90/channel "expensive" ?
that makes sense. it's just that I can't afford it and i'm bitter. :shock:

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Post by weatherbox » Thu May 14, 2009 5:07 pm

The Lucid 8824 can be found $600-800. 8 channels of good conversion and good metering. SSL Alphalink offers 24 channels for not a ton of cash. And the Auroras... they are not cheap, but they are absolutely worth the money they cost. The difference between them and an 002 or Motu thing is not subtle. I'm planning on getting another one when cash flow allows it.

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Post by rwc » Thu May 14, 2009 5:15 pm

I am not surprised at all that most gear is disposable crap, seeing as the consensus is something under $100/channel is expensive for a semi-advanced piece of kit.

Is $100/microphone expensive?

Is $100 for a channel on a console that doesn't say Mackie or Behringer on it expensive?

Is $100/mic pre considered expensive? Half the posts I read here are about what mic preamp goes best with a purple mandolin on a sunday, so I am guessing these people have spent more than $100/channel for the express purpose of feeling extra special about their "colored" mandolin sound.

i've seen the 16 i/o one for $2400 b-stock many many times. Better deals can be found on the 8 channel one. Good stuff costs money.
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Post by jaguarsg » Fri May 15, 2009 1:51 am

darjama wrote:Alesis AI3 - balanced connection, but only 20 bit.
some AI-3s are 24 bit. the ones that are 24 bit say so either on the back of the chassis or on the PCB.

man, that last sentence was awkward.

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Post by Artifex » Mon May 18, 2009 3:52 pm

I never debated the worth of the higher priced items, I'm just frustrated there is isn't anything functional at a low level. As it was said above though, it comes down to marketing. Most people in my situation wouldn't think it worth it to have a dedicated box for conversion when they can get a box with all the 'bells and whistles' and more. Never mind that half of it dosen't work or sounds like crap.

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Post by roygbiv » Mon May 18, 2009 5:20 pm

Artifex wrote:I never debated the worth of the higher priced items. I'm just frustrated there is isn't anything functional at a low level.
Don't feel bad about being frustrated, and I think you should ALWAYS debate the relative worth of higher priced items.

Quality is often a non-linear function - you do NOT always get 10X more quality by paying 10X more.

There, I said it.
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Post by JWL » Mon May 18, 2009 5:53 pm

I agree that in general good stuff costs money. But I wonder if premium conversion (Apogee, Lynx, Lavry, etc) is overblown.

Ethan has an interesting test: try playing a CD into the line inputs of your soundblaster, and record the audio. Does this recorded track sound different from the original CD? If you can't tell which is which in a blind test, then soundblaster converters are good enough.

I think that's a very interesting point. That said, every time I've worked with great converters I've loved the results, but there were definitely compounded causes going on (better mics, pres, etc. also). Maybe it would have sounded the same with soundblaster converters, maybe not.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue May 19, 2009 3:33 pm

JWL wrote:Ethan has an interesting test: try playing a CD into the line inputs of your soundblaster, and record the audio. Does this recorded track sound different from the original CD? If you can't tell which is which in a blind test, then soundblaster converters are good enough.
i've seen him mention that test before and, well, i dunno. i've run a cd through focusrite, lynx, and lavry converters and the only one where it was tough to distinguish a difference from the source was the lavry. and even there i could hear a slight difference. so i would argue that if you can't hear a difference betwixt the original and the soundblaster, then maybe your monitoring is not really all that.

also, unless you're strictly doing live to 2 track recordings, i think maybe a better test would be to copy the original 15 times ITB, lower all the gains enough to where you're not clipping the master...then run the original out and back in through whatever converters 16 times and compare that. obviously that's kind of way too much of a pain to really bother doing, but i feel like the difference good converters make really become apparent when you start adding up the tracks...

that said, last night i mastered a couple songs that were recorded on cassette and had been transferred into the computer via the 1/8" in on a mac, and they sounded like music. and also in the past i made some records that were done all through either an m-audio 1010 or a digi 001, and they sounded fine, people liked them. i think most of the 'problems' with cheaper converters can be ameliorated a lot just by tracking at lower levels...

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Post by grockvt » Tue May 19, 2009 4:42 pm

space - what are you using for converters again? I'm back on the gear train...
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue May 19, 2009 5:17 pm

i have 6 channels of lavry blue a/d and 4 channels lavry black d/a. so 2 channels of the d/a feed the monitors and the other 2 feed the analog loop for mastering. if i'm tracking a full band at once, usually the lavrys get kick, snare, stereo OH and stereo room, and then everything else goes through either the converters on the focusrite ISA428 or the lynx2. and then all overdubs through the lavrys.

the lavrys are 'spensive, but they're modular so you could start with two channels and add on as you had the budget. to be honest i mainly got them for mastering...once i had some decent analog outboard i felt like i would be doing people a disservice charging them for mastering and running their stuff through anything less than Really Freakin' Good converters. so i got 2 channels of a/d, was like damn those sound good, bit the bullet and got another 4 more so i can at least get my main drum mics into the computer in an elegant fashion.

if you're on a budget, and i think we all are, i would say the first thing to do is get a really good 2 channel d/a and use that for monitoring. it makes a BIG difference, and what you hear via the d/a affects every decision you make when mixing/mastering, so i feel like that's the best place to start. and then figure out your a/d situation as you go.

and although i think good converters make a big diff and are really important, honestly....for tracking they are kind of last on the list. i think your instruments/room/mics/pres are all more important in the end. i mean, i think the 001 converters are pretty shitty, they seem to have a characteristic dullness to them, but it's not like they're in any way unusable. i used to record a ton of live stuff to an old tascam portable dat, the converters in that thing had to be terrible by lavry standards, but i listen to those recordings and they make me happy. they sound like an accurate representation of a band in a room....

sorry, way more of an answer than you wanted! i blame coffee.

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Post by grockvt » Tue May 19, 2009 6:29 pm

Thanks space...I'm looking a lot more seriously at conversion...I too now have some nice outboard gear (Hammer, TK BC-1, Drawmer 1968, API A2D for final A/D and make up gain)...I'm still using my Tascam 1884 and Aphex 141 D/A to feed the chain...16 D/A into the folcrom passive summing mixer...into the API make up gain over to the TK BC-1 bus comp (which is pretty awesome by the way) into the hammer EQ into the API A/D section into Sonar via SPDIF and then over to the Central station for D/A monitoring...geeze...

Lately, I have been feeding the chain with 2 track material for "mastering" as well...

I am looking at the Prism Orpheus only because that seems like a no questions piece of gear and is not a ton more expensive (if you had a good payment plan!) than say a UA 2192 or CraneSong hedd which are 2 x2...

damm...not sure what to do on this one...lavry boxes look like they are $850 each...not bad really....
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue May 19, 2009 7:05 pm

yeah the modules for the racks are like $850...a basic rack with the clock card and 2 channels of a/d or d/a is like $1350 i think. the black d/a is a standalone box, they're just under a grand. it's a lot of bread but man they sound good.

if anyone's looking for a good deal on a 2 channel d/a, look for a used benchmark DAC1...that was the first "real" d/a i got and i was amazed at how much better it sounded than the maudio 1010 i was monitoring through previously. i definitely think the lavrys are better, no question, but not by leaps and bounds, the benchmark is a really solid d/a, and i bet you could find them used for like $600 if you look around. i'm tempted to sell mine but i keep it around cause i figure eventually i'll have some sort of OTB summing/mixing scenario where it'll be useful.

again, a really good d/a is money well spent. if you're used to prosumer quality d/a's you will be soooo psyched. you'll put on all your favorite records and hear all this stuff you never heard before...you'll be working on some dense, complex rock mix and be able to spot a tiny vocal lip smack amidst a thick wall of guitars....

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Post by Artifex » Wed May 20, 2009 8:49 am

JWL wrote:I agree that in general good stuff costs money. But I wonder if premium conversion (Apogee, Lynx, Lavry, etc) is overblown.

Ethan has an interesting test: try playing a CD into the line inputs of your soundblaster, and record the audio. Does this recorded track sound different from the original CD? If you can't tell which is which in a blind test, then soundblaster converters are good enough.

I think that's a very interesting point. That said, every time I've worked with great converters I've loved the results, but there were definitely compounded causes going on (better mics, pres, etc. also). Maybe it would have sounded the same with soundblaster converters, maybe not.
The law of diminishing returns applies here for sure. I'm sure the difference is subtle between Larvy and Apogee, but I can easily hear a difference between my old M-Audio interface, my new presonus, and the firewire on my friends Mackie Oynx board.

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Post by ott0bot » Wed May 20, 2009 9:19 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:yeah the modules for the racks are like $850...a basic rack with the clock card and 2 channels of a/d or d/a is like $1350 i think. the black d/a is a standalone box, they're just under a grand. it's a lot of bread but man they sound good.

if anyone's looking for a good deal on a 2 channel d/a, look for a used benchmark DAC1...that was the first "real" d/a i got and i was amazed at how much better it sounded than the maudio 1010 i was monitoring through previously. i definitely think the lavrys are better, no question, but not by leaps and bounds, the benchmark is a really solid d/a, and i bet you could find them used for like $600 if you look around. i'm tempted to sell mine but i keep it around cause i figure eventually i'll have some sort of OTB summing/mixing scenario where it'll be useful.

again, a really good d/a is money well spent. if you're used to prosumer quality d/a's you will be soooo psyched. you'll put on all your favorite records and hear all this stuff you never heard before...you'll be working on some dense, complex rock mix and be able to spot a tiny vocal lip smack amidst a thick wall of guitars....
Do you know how the RME ADI-2 holds up to any of the higher end convertors? I'm using a stock 003 and a Digimax D8 if I need more channels. I'm looking for an affordable ad/da for monitoring and stereo micing right now but it seems like it might just serve me better to save up for a lynx aurora 8 and get an adat card to replace the Digimax. That way I'm buying something that will always be useable. Or then again getting my 003 BLA modified...is the other option.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed May 20, 2009 9:48 am

i've never used any RME stuff, sorry. people always seem to speak well of it though.

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