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Apogee Rosetta 800 vs RME Fireface

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by braker, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. braker

    braker Guest

    Hi,

    I would love to hear any advice regarding the difference in sound quality between the Apogee Rosetta 800 and the RME Fireface.

    I'll explain my use of the converter: I'm a DJ who is used to playing vinyl for the last 13 years. Recently I switched to the digital domain DJing with a laptop running Ableton Live, however I am greatly concerned about the sound issues since I love the warmth of my vinyl collection and hate to loose that.

    At the moment I'm using my RME RPM (similar to the RME Multiface) to record my vinyl (not using the RPM phono preamps which I didn't like, but instead using the phono preamps on my old Numark DJ mixer which sound very warm IMO) onto my computer and than play it back using Ableton Live.

    Although I retain some of the warmth and three dimentional sound of my vinyl that way, still some is obviously lost.

    Even though I think I have a very sensitive pair of ears with regarding to sound quality and timbre, I have to admit that the difference between 44.1kHz to 96kHz recording of the vinyl (that's the maximum with my RME) is hardly noticable. And while the difference between 16bit and 24bit is more apparent (especially in the low end), it is still not as dramatic as I would have hoped.

    Anyhow, I'm considering an upgrade. Also because of the quality of the converter and the resolution and also because I realised I need at least 4 stereo outputs. That's because of the difference between digital summing and going into one or two analog channels on my DJ mixer (playing 4 layers from my software) and between sending 4 individual outputs into 4 different channels on the DJ mixer and doing analog summing. To my ears the difference is huge, not to mention the difference between EQing the different layers using my software EQ or EQing them using my analog mixer 4 different EQ strips - again a huge difference.

    I am not an expert in converters but from what I have checked so far it seems that two viable options for me are the RME Fireface and the Apogee Rosetta 800.

    So - having in mind that I only need this for recording my vinyl collection and than playing back using Ableton Live on my laptop (which has Firewire), and that playback will be maximum 4 outputs at the same time: Do you think these are the units for me and which one sounds better (forget about the money issue for the moment, I want to know what will sound best)?

    Also, do you think the higher resolution of 192kHz might help me retain more of what I like in my original vinyl?

    Thanks alot and sorry for the long post, any opinions will be welcomed.

    Braker
     
  2. Thinkbox

    Thinkbox Guest

    File sizes in different audio formats

    A 1 minute audio track recorded in the different audio formats yields files of these approximate file sizes:

    * 44.1 mono: 16-bit: 5.1 MB, 24-bit: 7.6 MB
    * 44.1 stereo: 16-bit: 10.2 MB, 24-bit: 15.2 MB
    * 48 mono: 16-bit: 5.5 MB, 24-bit: 8.3 MB
    * 48 stereo: 16-bit: 11.0 MB, 24-bit: 16.6 MB
    * 88.2 mono: 16-bit: 10.2 MB, 24-bit: 15.2 MB,
    * 88.2 stereo: 16-bit: 20.4 MB, 24-bit: 30.4 MB
    * 96 mono: 16-bit: 11.0 MB, 24-bit: 16.6 MB
    * 96 stereo: 16-bit: 22.0 MB, 24-bit 33.3 MB
    * 176.4 mono: 16-bit: 20.4 MB, 24-bit: 30.4 MB,
    * 176.4 stereo: 16-bit: 40.8 MB, 24-bit: 60.8 MB
    * 192 mono: 16-bit: 22.0 MB, 24-bit: 33.2 MB
    * 192 stereo: 16-bit: 44.0 MB, 24-bit 66.6 MB

    Source: MOTU.com
     
  3. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Braker
    There are many complicated issues surrounding sampling rates. The step up to 24-bit is an important one, and the change to 96 kHz is quite big too, but it depends on your equipment. I remember been knocked out by the difference in sampling rates on a rather cheap Edirol interface, but I now believe that it was a case of 44.1 on that particular unit just happening to sound crap. I think it is often overlooked that some units are not designed to be at their best at all of the available sampling rates, but RME is primarily a converter company, so it's not surprising that the differences would be less noticeable.

    Many people think 192 is a waste of time, but the differences depend on what equipment you are listening to, but a really good system at 44.1 kHz will beat the crap out of a mediocre one at the higher sampling rate.

    As far as capturing your records digitally is concerned, you'd have to buy some seriously expensive conversion to do that to such a degree that you wouldn't notice the difference, and chances are no system is going to do that completely. However, if you get a really good DAC, you might be surprised at how well your records have been captured.

    John Stafford
     
  4. Thinkbox

    Thinkbox Guest

    Have a look on this site:

    http://www.merging.com/2002/html/pyradsd.htm

    It´s great!
     
  5. braker

    braker Guest

    Thanks everyone for your advice,

    Thinkbox, I guess your point in your first post is that 24bit 192kHz for archiving my whole vinyl collection would mean a huge amount of hard disk space. I'm not sure how big are the good external hard disks nowadays (at the moment I'm using only my laptop), but I guess that even with a large one I will be limited to only a few hundred songs in this resolution - that is indeed something to consider.

    Also after getting some more advice and doing some more thinking, I realised there might be a few problems with my line of thought about this whole issue:

    You see, what I'm doing at the moment is using my DJ mixer phono preamps to get the sound into my RME converter, and then when I play it back it goes again into my DJ mixer. I chose my DJ mixer phono pres because IMO they sound better than the RME phono pres (I have an RME converter called RPM which has two phono pres), but something here doesn't make sense because what I'm doing is actually colouring my signal twice through the same circuitry of my DJ mixer. Maybe this double colouring thing is the main reason for the difference between the orginal and the recorded file?

    If so, I guess what I really should do is try and get the sound into the converter with as little colouring as possible, so it will be as close to the original as possible, and then - if I like the colour of my DJ mixer - let it do the colouring when I play it back from the computer.

    So maybe what I really need is the best dedicated phono preamp I can find.

    You see, I was blaming the resolution or the make of the converter for the fact I didn't get a close enough sound to the original, but maybe I got it wrong - and I should check other stages of my signal flow.

    What do you think?
     
  6. Thinkbox

    Thinkbox Guest

    If you think about Rosetta or RME you should consider the clock. You get much better results when you using an external clock. This is equivalent to the converter-quality. The sound is quite nice and have more air.

    Link removed
    http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/bigben.php

    My favorite produces Low-jitter Word Clocks up to 768.0kHz!

    http://www.iclock-net.de/ or
    http://www.mutec-net.de/content.php?lng=e&pg=scl
     
  7. Thinkbox

    Thinkbox Guest

    http://www.mutec-net.de/downloads/TheDigitalGearbox_Xound_sechs04.pdf
     
  8. The RME Mystery

    I've been scouring forums for the past 2 weeks looking for a single review on an RME A/D D/A converter and am thoroughly convinced that not a single soul has ever purchased one. Seriously, how long can people converse over the mysterious RME/Apogee shootout if no one has ever written a single word about the former!!! I give up. Maybe I'll take that as a sign and save up for a Rosetta 200. [/i]
     

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