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Mytek ADC 96

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ManicMonkey3, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    I've been recording for fun for a few years and was a little frustrated by how inferior my stuff sounds to real pro studio stuff. I have a Firebox, GT55 condenser, Shure beta58a, sm86 condenser, pg58, Cubase sx3, waves plug-ins, Joe Meek vc3 and Presonus tube pre. I stumbled across a deal on a UA LA610 pre/compressor/eq channel strip for $800 and thought I'd take the plunge and try to upgrade my sound- basically get a better signal into the box in the first place. I am pleased enough so far with the LA610 but I still wonder if new converters would help me out. I see I can get a Mytek adc 96 for $500 on eBay. I mean it is starting at that and that's about all I'd be willing to pay for something that I don't know the true condition of. Anyway, could I buy this and hook it up with an S/PDIF in to my Firebox and suddenly have a pro interface? I doubt it is this easy. I mean, it sounds like the converters in this thing are even better than the RME Fireface. Can I just bypass upgrading to a Motu or RME, grab a deal on used converters, hook them with a simple cable to my Firebox and be in business?

    I'm a little confused about "clocks". I understand they are important. I guess this thing has one built in while the Firebox uses the clock in the PC? I read the manuals to the Firebox and this Mytek, but I still don't totally understand if they can work together or if the Cubase s/pdif is all I need or whether I should have an optical cable or something- which the Firebox doesn't have anyway.

    The Mytek can convert two channels? I guess since it is digital, I can get two channels in through the S/PDIF in cable even though it is only one cable in? Would the Mytek be a 1/8 S/PDIF pin out to my female S/SDIF in on the Firebox? Yes, I've looked at the diagrams? I just have never seen this stuff in operation before.

    Would a vocal recording setup look something like this: mic to UA LA610, mic cable out to Mytek ADC 96, S/PDIF out of Mytek into back of Firebox into computer.

    If I have a second pre, can I play an acoustic guitar and mic that and put it into the other Mytek channel and record it simultaneously? Obviously, ideally, I'd record guitar and vocals at separate times, but basically, could I record two channels at once through the Mytek? That's all I really need.

    I've heard some comparisons between a Digi 002 with the built in converters and a Mytek adc 96 with vocals and acoustic guitar on this forum or another and I thought the difference was quite clear.

    I really have simple needs but I want a single recording channel that is as clear and with as much headroom as I can get.

    I don't have any true pro recording gear except the LA610 and I like my GT55 just fine, but my friends all record on Behringer crap and usb 1.0, soundblasters and the like and really have no advice to give. I, sadly, am the expert of our little group- which is like saying you're taller than Danny DeVito. Not a big accomplishment. But I'm a tryin' to learn me some recording. I've made two CDs for my own enjoyment so far with guitar, bass, drums and vox- several tracks of each. I want to up my game a little.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Yes, the Mytek would work pretty much as you describe.

    Upgrading equipment is not easy. The truth is that until you can make good recordings with what you already have, you are not in a position to know what your weak points are and what you should do about them. Throwing money at more gear does not necessarily result in improvement.
  3. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    You are correct.

    I agree that I don't know what I don't know, which is a lot. You can hear some of my recordings at http://www.myspace.com/manicmonkey3 Some of these were recorded on an Emu 0404 a Joe Meek VC3 and GT55 mic with free Cubase VST4 and use no plugins at all except reverb. They are not the best examples of what I record like now. The newest recordings that use Cubase and Waves plugins, eq'd vocals, software compression and such are "J.T. Rock King", "The Ballad of John Rambo", and "Psychopath." Even these were uploaded before I started using Waves L2 limiter to prevent clipping.

    Another change I've made since getting a better pre - quite recently- is to really cut down on my use of the Sonic Maximizer plug-in. On my oldest stuff I really found this essential in making it clear on those first recordings because they were sort of muddy. I use it now on vocals- just a little and on the master track- just dialed up one notch = 7 o'clock.

    I record getting the strongest signal I can, stand 6" to 1 foot from the mic when singing and mostly record guitar and bass directly through a Sansamp or PODxt or GTR3 software although some of these recordings have real amps in them.

    My point is that I am direct recording almost everything (except vocals) and using midi drums so mic technique is not a big issue. I use good software and don't hype the EQ or do anything really radical- don't compress the living $*^t out of everything. I think I get a decent mix, so I don't know where the next improvement comes from except for AD converters.

    Maybe I don't need them and the improvement will be subtle. That's what I'm trying to find out before I spend the money.

    I am a little confused by the S/pdif output on the Mytek converters. It's just a 1/8" hole. Is there some sort of splitter cable in there? Is there supposed to be both an in and out so the clock in the unit can sync with the computer clock in Cubase SX3? I'm not sure about what the clock does. Does it synch with the tempo of a recording program?

    Anyway, can a hobbyist like me get dramatic differences in clarity from pro converters?
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    The equipment you already have is pretty good. You will likely hear no benefit from the Mytek. While it is a great AD converter and a definitive step up from the PreSonus, it isn't the biggest weak point in your recording. Proper utilization of your existing tools and reliance on weaker tools is the biggest weakness. This weakness is likely (making HUGE assumption here) superceded by the quality of your monitoring chain.

    First things first - drop your reliance on the sonic maximizer. In general, these tools destroy any resemblence of quality and put an artificial hardness or edge to the sound that further muddy the mix, not enhance it. IMO, these tools were created for folks who were unsure of how to use the equipment they have to get the sound they want. Instead of using the proximity effect, boost the bottom. Instead of either using a mic with a little lift in the 8-12kHz region, or placing the mic in front of the face properly, use a HF "enhancer."

    I don't know the GT55, however, I did own a pair of AM51s (their predecessors) and found them to be relatively flat or even slightly rolled off in the top register. This is probably working against you. Have you considered using the Beta 58 as your vocal mic?

    Update -
    I just listened to your tracks on myspace...well a couple of them. It's not just a mic problem. It is a monitoring problem as well as a composition problem. Your lead guitar parts are often doubling your vocal parts in the exact same octave. This is creating the muddiness and otherwise indistinctness of your vocal parts in the tracks. Also, my assertion about monitoring is even more so now. I'm assuming that you're mixing on "small" speakers, maybe even computer speakers. You've boosted your mixes in the extreme high and low (a la Sonic Maximizer) in such a way that, if you were using "traditional" monitors, you'd hear a bit too much low and high and a muddy, indistinct mid.

    Don't waste your money on the converters. Spend some money on the monitoring chain (monitors and some room treatment) and get 1000x the benefit over a simple component change.

  5. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Thanks for the in depth listen and criticism Jeremy. Some of those songs are really old (up to three or four years), but they were mixed on Yamaha 5" monitors. Until a couple of months ago though, I had no subwoofer. The bass was a real blind spot for me and I had a tendency to hype it since I was listening on speakers with little bass at all.

    I have cut way way back on the amount of Sonic Maximizer I use. I have just been adding a touch to the vocals and no other instruments unless I found them muddy and then just one or two notches. These changes are not reflected in the online stuff- neither is my use of the L2.

    I'm kind of crammed into a tiny home office here, so I don't know if I'll ever get the acoustics right. I record vocals in a closet with lots of coats and carpet to absorb echo.

    Some of the oldest songs used the Joe Meek VC3 and I used the vocal presets recommended in the book. I now see the vocals were compressed at a ratio of 7:1 going into the Emu 0404 soundcard and I can see why they sound sterile. The newer songs used no compression going in and the Waves VComp at 4:1 for most songs.

    So, where is a good source on how to treat a room? I mean, I don't have a proper studio room. It's a home office with an oak desk with a bookshelf built in as a PC desk. Another problem is escaping my loud PC fans by singing in a closet. If I make it totally dead, is that good? Then add reverb back with plug-ins? I've read things where you don't want echo, but not totally dead. I could put up photos.

    I recorded almost everything except vocals with Sansamps, amp direct outs into a DI, PODxt or GTR3 to avoid the headaches of having to worry about mics because I knew that complicated things a lot. I have four tube amps, but setting them up takes a long time and often isn't practical. I use them to jam with bands. Sometimes I use a 20 watt Marshall JCM200 DSL 201 tube amp to record. Even then I often use direct out.

    Did you mean my vocals had proximity effect because I was too close to the mic, or you thought the bass was too hyped with Sonic Maximizer bass? Actually, I think I only used SM for treble, so I must have been too close or had the signal too hot. It wasn't clipping or anything though.

    I did EQ the vocals up 3db at 3-5kHz to increase presence and again a little 1or 2db bump to increase air or brightness. I also bumped guitar at 2.5-4 kHz to make them sound more aggressive, bring out attack, and a little at 7 to increase brightness. Perhaps this did more than the Sonic Maximizer to give the vocals too much treble and the upside down scooped sound you criticize.

    I have tried the Beta 58 for vocal recording and did like the eq of it although I definitely found it less crisp and sensitive than the Groove Tubes GT55. I also have a Shure SM86 live condenser. Now that I have a nice preamp, I might want to try them again. I am guessing you don't like cheap Chinese condensers. I've never tried anything else except a Neumann TLM103 at a guys house the other day. How about the AT4040? I've heard that is very similar to the TLM103. I don't mind buying nothing either and sticking with the Shures. I've heard good demos on recording sites of SM86s with nice preamps.

    OK, regarding EQ, I really didn't pump bass, but I definitely tweaked treble in a bunch of places that were recommended in several books and forums- never more than 3 db.

    My hope with the new LA610 was that I could get a better signal in and do less tweaking because it would sound good already.
  6. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Since I have the UA LA610 do you think I should just sell off my Presonus tube pre and Joe Meek VC3 as total junk or could they still have some use? I don't usually need a second channel, but it could happen. I thought the Tubepre actually sounded decent. I haven't had the LA610 long and have not recorded an entire song with it, just redid a few vocal track on songs I hated my vocals on both for the singing as well as recording quality.
  7. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    NY, USA
    Home Page:
    also- note with the mytek clock- cubase sx3 has a problem changing its clock source to anything other than "internal"...i have a mytek adc and cannot use its clock due to this hang up

    just a heads up if you are on the fence
  8. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Thanks. I've decided against the upgrade for now, but I might be tempted if I see some high end converters for cheap on Craigslist. I won't be actively hunting though. Interesting about Cubase SX3 clock.
  9. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    I'm not sure what an example of a high frequency enhancer is. I thought that is what a Sonic Maximizer does. I used a plug-in by the way, so the SM can be undone. I did not use a hardware unit- although I do own one in my PA.

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