Need good advice on conversion upgrade! Any insight appreciated!

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by DanielJameS, May 21, 2011.

  1. DanielJameS

    DanielJameS Member

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    Hey cats,

    I've done a BUNCH of reading and research on this, and am finally wrapping my head around the whole A/D - D/A conversion mystery that seemed so complex just months ago.

    I primarily do overdub work, and production for songwriters and am getting ready to make some upgrades to my project studio. I've determined the 002's converters/clock are just not cutting it for me, as many have stated here at TGP. I have a couple specific questions for anyone with experience on this...

    My question on conversion is...being that I'm only recording (at most) 2 tracks at a time with say a double-mic'd acoustic or electric guitar, after a bunch of reading I've determined that a 2-channel A/D - D/A is all I need.
    I'm currently looking at the RME ADI-2 which seems to get good feedback, I also like the fact that I can run my master output from pro-tools via SPDIF into the RME and monitor off it's outputs which should improve things a bit. Anyone using the ADI-2 with a 002? Can you use the RME's master output knob to control level of your monitors output? I also assume I can clock externally to the RME which would be an improvement overall?

    Also looking at Apogee Mini-me/Mini DAC combo, which even used will cost considerably more, but I've read that the conversion quality of these unit's is above that of the RME. Anyone who can chime in on experience with these units? How much of an improvement is the Apogee over the RME?

    I guess the only other high-end option would be a Rosetta 200 which is more expensive than both of the other two, but seems to get no mixed opinions whatsoever.

    BTW - I'm also in the market to upgrade pre's....looking at FMR RNP or a Golden Age Pre 73 (or 2) for my front end, and possibly an FMR RNC to play around with up-front and possibly outboard on a mix bus just to add some outboard punch.

    Used RME ADI-2, (2) Golden Age Pre's/or RNP would cost me roughly $1200 which is not that much in the scope of things. Wondering if this would be a significant improvement over my stock 002 converters/clock?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. KidArchitect

    KidArchitect Member

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    http://www.blacklionaudio.com/content.php?p=7

    You could look into the Black Lion mod for the 002s. Upgrades converters and pres. Or you could sell the 002 and get a 003, which has better converters and pres than the stock 002. And then eventually upgrade the 003.

    Or you could get some 2 chan ad/da converters and a 2chan pre. RME, apogee, black lion all make good to great converters. Are you going to be able to hear a difference between RME to apogee? Dono, it all depends on how well you can hear converters work in the first place. Are there other things to improve your sound? Room treatment, microphones, source instruments, etc?

    I personally find conversion one of the lesser things. It used to be a big deal, nowadays, even the really cheap crap still is passable.

    Haha theres a million different options. Other option is to upgrade to PT9 and get an RME interface.

    Good luck!
     
  3. DanielJameS

    DanielJameS Member

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    Location:
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    Hey thanks for the reply...

    I knew I was going to get the whole "Black Lion Audio!" response! ha ha...

    I am well aware and familiar with BLA's mod's and have heard some pretty convincing sound clips. My problem with that whole fiasco is your tying yourself to a piece of gear that is already becoming obsolete in the PT recording realm. Soon, the 003 will completely phase out the 002. Also, if I go with the external converter option, I will be able to utilize that gear not only on any other DAW I may decide to invest in down the line, but will in my opinion be useful to own no matter what. Some 2 channel units like the Mytek 96 AD/DA units which house the same converters as the Mytek 8x96 AD/DA (so I read) have sold used as a pair on eBay for under $1700, and will probally prove in-valuable long after the 002 is rubbish. I'm seen the RME ADI-2 go for under $650 on the bay, allthough inferior to Mytek's stuff, still would probally smoke the 002. Granted, I will be limited to 2 IO's, but I'm still researching whether that will even meet my needs. Can an SPDIF in be split to 2 mono channels? I have not experimented with it, for instance if I'm double mic'ing a guitar amp, run two mics from pre>2channel A/D via SPDIF, I'm not sure if I can select 2 mono SPDIF channels, it may be limited to SPDIF 1-2 as a stereo channel, which really leaves me hanging.

    Also, I went back and read about BLA and how little they used to charge, their prices have gotten a lot higher, I wish I would have caught onto their work back in 2006-2007 when things were still cheapish. It also looks as if they have done away with replacing the actual converters, and just upgraded the signal path with caps/resistors. The only thing that interests me is the internal clock upgrade which seems to make the biggest difference. I'm wondering if the tweak-head mod by them would suffice, and how much the difference in apparent audio quality would be.

    Very very interesting stuff, and always victim to very opinionated debate. To answer your other question, My room is treated, I have decent mic's...am going to be upgrading pre's....however, the majority of my sessions are Virtual Instrument based, lot's of Kontakt instruments and programmed steven slate drums. The only tracking I do is Elec guitars, acoustic inst, and vocals. I've done tests with just virtual instruments (no conversion going in) mixed a session with limited EQ and bounced to disk. On any source, it has the classic "blanket over the speakers" syndrome so prevalent with the 002's, my ears are very picky on what they want to hear, and it's painfully obvious there's a loss of clarity, punch and stereo field. I attribute this primarily to the 002's clock (especially) but the D/A conversion as well.
     
  4. DanielJameS

    DanielJameS Member

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    As a follow up, I can now scratch BLA off my list because I have a 002 console, not a rack....Major bummer...major, major bummer
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    If you're very picky, then why look at this midrange to low end stuff at all?

    Get some Lavrys, or some UA converters, or some Burls, or DADs or Prisms and be done with it.

    For the record, I use MOTU converters in my studio doing TV and ad work, and they're just fine for me. I run them into a Neve summing mixer and everything's AOK hunky-dory. But if you want to hear a significant difference and not just a tiny difference that doesn't amount to a hill of poop, you really have to go higher end.
     
  6. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    Upgrade your pres first. It will make a bigger contribution to a better sound. Converters are the last thing you should be worrying about when making a good recording. Order of importance tends to be Source->Mic->Mic position->Pres->EQ/Compression->Converters.

    Too many people tend to think they can't get good results with lower priced converters, and for the most part it's completely false. I've heard great stuff recorded on M-Boxes, and crappy stuff recorded on Lynx. The best converters in the world won't help you if you choose the wrong mic for the job, position it incorrectly, and then run it through cheap gear.
     
  7. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    Have you actually mixed and bounced the session through different converters? I say mixed here because you can mix to a converters weak/strong spots, which to me makes most converter changes moot.

    Sure they might sound different if you pump in stuff you've already mixed, the real test is if a mix comes out different and continues to sound different across multiple converters. I did some recent listening tests between the old Digi192 and the Apogee Sympony. While the apogee did make some things sound better, I found out after the mix was done they ended up sounding almost exactly the same when I took the mixes out to my car.
     

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