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Anyone using Aardvark Pro Q10

Discussion in 'Recording' started by limited, Nov 15, 2002.

  1. limited

    limited Guest

    I am thinking of buying this piece of gear with CUBASE SX.

    Anybody have opinions?
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    From what I have heard it's a great piece to use...also from what I see on other forums and from word of mouth is that the drivers can be a bit didgy at times...I'm sure it's system to system though and YMMV(Your Mileage May Vary...for James! )
  3. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    TYSMO (Thank You So Much Opus)
    EKIAAIWICTA (Everyone Knows I Am An Idiot When It Comes To Acronyms)

    Here is a new one to use on this forum from now on:

    UNA = "Use No Acronyms" !!!! :)

    OK...back on topic!

    The Q10 works great with Cubase SX from what I've heard, but as Gary (Opus) mentions above, they have a reputation of having driver problems. The reviews on their mic pres were pretty positive, but once again, the total overall experience is not as good as it could be...

    All this, once again, from other forums that I hang out in, NFMPE (not from my personal experience), (ROFL!).

    Have you looked at some of the Echo products?


    The Layla is similar, it just has line inputs rather than XLR mic pres. I have also heard good things about the Gina, but it only has 4 inputs, but great ones!

    All of the Echo stuff sounds really good, and their drivers are pretty reliable!

    Good luck, and DTAWN

    ("Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels") Hehe..
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    What I can add is Aardvark has a stellar reputation in regards to their digital clocking. IMO this is one of the most important things to consider when buying a digital converter. Good clocks make everything better... if it works good with Cubase I'd say go for it. I would think the Q10 would be vastly superior to any of the ECHO products. Nathaniel Kunkel (James Taylor) uses Aardvark clocks and converters for his PT system ..... Fats
  5. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Actually Fats, that is not necessarily true, unless you just referring to the clock. I respect your opinions greatly, but kind of disagree with your statement. I agree that Aardvark has a great reputation for their clocks, but they have obviously put one of their lower-end models in the Q10, still I would agree that the clocks are probably superior (vastly???) to the Echo products. However in other areas, I would think that the Echo products are at *least* as good as the Aardvark Q10. The A/D converters in the Echo Layla and Mona have always got great reviews for thier price range. They obviously can't compare to the Apogee or Lucid stuff, but imho, sound superior to anything in their class. The Q10's mic pres have got good reviews, but then again so have the Monas, and of course most people will agree that Echo has the Q10 beat *hands down* when it comes to software drivers.

    Let's also look at the economics of the situation a bit here:

    The Q10 and the Echo Layla and Echo Mona are all three of a very similar price point.

    The Layla has 8 channels, but no mic pres

    The Mona has 4 channels, with 4 mic pres

    and the Q10 has 8 channels, all 8 with mic pres.

    It sounds like the Q10 is the deal of the century, and it may very well be, but they certainly cannot manufacture a product and *lose* money, so in order to make a profit, something has to give...my understanding is that the Echo products always have used superior components, and their quality stands for itself. They have been a market leader in this area for a long time for good reason. That is not to say that Aardvark does not use quality components, I have just read reviews where they purposely point out the quality of the construction and components in the Echo stuff.

    The old adage (one of my favs) says "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is..."

    and of course:

    "You get what you pay for..."

    Now I am not trying to put down the Q10, far from it, but I am just voicing my opinion on the comment that they Q10 was "vastly superior" to the Echo products...here I have to disagree.

    They are *both* good products, and are made by reputible companies, and I'm sure both will give you great performance. The Q10 sure looks appealing "on paper" when you look at the features for the price...I was tempted myself a little over a year ago, but after a bit of research, decided on the Echo Layla/24, and I have never been sorry. I added a nice set of mic pres, and voila! Instant killer setup!

    Bottom line, give them both a look and a listen, and then make your decision!

    Good luck!
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I figured I would get a rise out you on this! :D But really, I think the clock issue is the main real difference in lower end converters. The less jitter the better the conversion sounds. I have a friend who had a 20 bit Layla and he loved it! As far as the drivers go I agree with you better drivers are a plus but if it works good with Cubase then that's all I need….And good clocking makes anything else that is hooked up to your system via digital sound better. You should hear a 16 bit ADAT synced to Apogee clock.
    …… Fats
  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Yeah Fats, I have often wondered what a really good external clock would do for my system...Pretty pricy to get one of the good ones though, and I'd really need to be convinced that I would notice a *huge* difference before spending that kind of cash. I think Opus could get us a good deal though, right Gary??? hehe...
  8. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    External high quality clocking can have quite an impact on a digital system. But depending on the digital system, even lower end ones, adding a top quality clock make very little difference.

    However, I would disagree that clocking issues are the real difference in lower end converters. The are many differences between lower end converters and high end ones but the most obvious is the filters employed.

  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Thanks for the info... what I was referring to was an experience I had with ADATS and how I heard a marked improvement of an ADAT system when it was clocked by a Yamaha O2R...it was very surprising how much better they sounded. When an Apogee Rosetta was used to clock the ADATS and the 02R things got really good! ......... Fats
  10. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Fats,

    Yep, the ADATs had notoriously poor clocking. They were also often a nightmare to get sync'ed up with other equipment. The ADC's were also a pile of .... Been around for a long time though.

    Generally speaking, the more bits of equipment in the digital chain, the greater the impact of adding an external clock.

    Note of caution, ignore manufacturer's jitter specs, they're not worth the paper they're printed on.

  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yeah, ADATS suck! Always did, always will...Hiigh quality clocking will however make a even cheap converter sound better. The difference in stereo image and depth is remarkable, even with cheeso filters. Fats
  12. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    << Hiigh quality clocking will however make a even cheap converter sound better. The difference in stereo image and depth is remarkable, even with cheeso filters. >>

    It's difficult to argue with this because it's easy to plug in a quality external clock and listen to the difference but it's not possible to A/B test an ADC with different filters. IMHO though, if it were possible, you would be even more blown away by using high quality filters than you are by adding a high quality clock.

  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Sure, you are correct...but high quality converters are very expensive and I seriously doubt that anyone looking for this type of solution (The Q10) is interested in $1000 per channel, especially when converter technology is changing overnight. I submit that dollar for dollar quality clocking is a more effecient way to yeild an improvement in sound quality. I am speaking directly about Aardvark products, and I was mentioning their reputation for exemplary clocking. The Q10 also has excellent facility for sending and receiving clock signals. I wish the Dakota card I have had as good of a clock interface as the Q10. Personally I don't like box's that have converters and pre amps packaged together. That's why I chose to go with the Frontier card but for some, an all in one solution is the way to go. If that's the case, I think because of the clock, the Q10 may be the best of the bunch if you ignore the driver issues. Just make sure you other components will run well with the Aardvark and you should be fine. ........ Fats (edited once)
  14. Sonic dB

    Sonic dB Guest


    I work for Aardvark, handling West Coast Sales. This is an interesting discussion so I thought Id drop a couple of points in.

    Yes, clocking IS important in any piece of digital audio gear. We use the same clocking technology in our Q10 that is in the famous AardSync II. I say "same technology" because it is based on the same digital jitter-shaping technology which was invented by our CEO Igor Levin. This technology goes into every Aardvark audio card, and is the basis for which the A/D and D/A converters base their timing.

    How is this important? Very simply put...the more accurate the converters are in timing, the more accurate they capture and reproduce the audio. Innacurate clocking (jitter) leads to reduced stereo imagery and increased "digital harsness" (someone mentioned ADATs?) as well as lack of clarity in highs and low frequencies.

    The AardSync II solved all of that and help make Pro Tools hardware bearable for use in the late 90s. So... it was a no-brainer to utilize our clocking technology in our audio cards. They really do sound fantastic. No other audio card manufacturer has anywhere close to the clocking technology available...so they are at a disadvantage right from the start.

    The Q10 has 8 Class A, discrete mic preamps as well, which are very transparent and perfect for digital recording. These in combination with our low-jitter clock and shielded PCI card allow you to make professional-quality recordings to Cubase, Nuendo or Sonar... on the PC and soon to be Mac as well.

    Drivers are constantly being upgraded and revised. Our current XP drivers are very stable and included ASIO2 and our proprietary A|WDM for Sonar. Look for a new driver to come out shortly which will add GSIF for XP as well.

    OK. Nuff said. I didnt come to this forum to promote Aardvark, but really to just hang out and discuss audio.... but Im proud of this company and the many innovations that we have introduced to the digital audio world... so Im here and also available by email too.

    Oh... someone mentioned the Q10 "cutting costs"... Nothing could be further from the truth.

    We manufacture everything right here in the USA
    (not in ASIA like everybody else) using only the highest quality components. We are the ONLY audio card company using Class A, discrete mic preamps as well as putting shielding on our PCI cards. Believe me, those things dont come cheap.

    Thomas Adler
    Dir. of West Coast Sales
  15. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Fats,

    It is "relatively" cheap to create an ADC with decent clocking but virtually impossible to create high quality brick wall filters cheaply, esp. @ 44.1kHz & 48kHz. At the more budget end of the market manufacturers always have to make compromises in filter implimentation as well as in analog components and other areas. How much of a compromise they make in clocking depends on the manufacturer and their price point. If Mr. Adler is to be believed (no insult intended) for example, the clocking in the Q10 is pretty much identical to that in the Aardsync and therefore little or nothing is to be gained in the ADC stakes by externally clocking a Q10.

    In short I believe that external quality clocking can have a great impact on overall sound quality in some or even many cases but this advice should be taken on a case by case basis. If anyone out there has read this thread and thought to themselves, "I must go and buy myself a quality external master clock". My advice is Don't! Hire or borrow one first and give it a good testing with your own setup, to make sure that you really are going to get a noticable improvement.

  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Not only does the Q10 have great clocking but it also has great facility for distributing clock to other devices in your studio. I have no personal ax to grind here, I don't have an Aardvark and I don't own or work for the company. I personally don't care for the preamp and converters in 1 box solutions but for those who need that, I think it would seem it's hard to go wrong with the Q10. It seems to be the best piece of hardware of this type in the marketplace today. Most of the inquiries I see here at RO are of the nature how to get the most for the least and if that is the goal I would say Aardvarks clocking is one of the most efficent ways of getting good sound for low buck expenditure. ........ Fats
  17. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    If this were to be the only piece of Digital hardware in the system, how big a difference would the converters be? If I am just using the Aardvark into my computer, or the Layla into my computer, and won't be syncing to anything else. I see something in this thread, about the Adats being muddy and coming up short reproducing the high end, is that because of the clock?
  18. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    I just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents here since I've used a Q10. First of all I know of no problems with their drivers. In fact Aardvark has done well IMHO with their beta programs. They seem to test things very well before releasing their drivers to the public. I think most of the driver issues were reported on the betas (XP) before their final release. Another important issue is customer service. Aardvark is to be commended for answering all my questions in a timely and professional manner. Looks good, sounds great, less filling, and I love the front mounted XLR inputs as I hate reaching around the back to plug a mic in. I'm with Fats on this one. I'd go with one of these or one of the RME units if you're on a budget.
  19. at the beach

    at the beach Guest

    Hi, dudes,
    Before I bought a Q10 I researched all the crds that were available at the time (about 1yr ago) I don't have any experience with any other card so I really can't compare the Q10 with anything. I bought it for 2 main reasons and a few minor reasons. I wanted 8 mic ins not line ins, and I wanted them on the front, 2. its made here in America. Now, how does it work and sound? Excellent, I have had no problems with the drivers, using Sonar (WDM drivers) and SX using ASIO drivers. The sound is pristine even using cheap mics it sounds good. I am convinced I made the right choice.

    (time is what keeps things from happening all at once)
  20. Robertibi1

    Robertibi1 Guest

    I also own the Q10 and for my needs, it is perfect. I have an analog keyboard, drum machine and sound modules. I play electric guitar (2 hi-z inputs) , acoustic guitar and try to sing (4 phantom powered xlr mic inputs) so the Q10 suit my needs. I can plugin all my gear, have a few friends over and we're making and recording music. My suggestion is, if this is the 'kind of card' you are looking for then you can't go wrong.

    fyi, I don't work for Aardvark.

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