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ok, eff the out board preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by bobbo, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    i just want a straight decent sounding console that i can use with pc based recording, forget right now about the a/d and d/a boxes i'll need, i was wondering if there's anything in the 3000 range, i want at least 25 faders 24 for the channels and 1 for the stereo bus, i want 24 mono inputs, has a control out with built in talkback mic, i mean theres got to be some thing,

  2. uhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    first of all why do you think you need A/D converters? are you planning on recording to an analog reel to reel tape recorder first then going to digital? i don't know why anyone would need A/D converters when using analog outboard gear, if there is a valid reason would someone tell me?

    digidesign has some good interface style consoles in i think the $7,000 range. other than that you could try find and old Neve console, not sure of anything as to how you might obtain that. also mackie has some large decent consoles i believe.

    if you arent caught up on having an interface, alesis hd24 has 24 ins and outs and you could still use pro tools at the end of the day
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Because he wants to record into his computer. At some point either via sound card or external interface, the analog audio will need to be converted to digital data.

  4. hmm isnt it converted to "digital data" when the interface goes through the firewire, optical, s/pdif, ethernet, etc. cable?

    if you have an analog piece of outboard equipment, which is basically almost 90% of all outboard stuff. with exceptions of stuff like the liquid channel, and some tc electronic digital stuff. why would you need an A/D converter? you just run your interface's outputs to the outboard dynamic processing inputs and run the outputs of the processing back in to your interfaces inputs. otherwise with the case of preamps, you just run it straight into your interface.

    not completely sure every in and out of the pcm cards, i know they have four inputs (at least in the case of the audiophile by m-audio) and then when youre using your software you can probably designate certain of those 1/4inchers to be inputs or outputs. the only time i think you really need a/d converters is in the case of recording reel to reel, then wanting to transfer it to digital. to say you need an a/d converter for that would be like saying you need an a/d converter for converting your guitar pedals simply because they are "analog."

    but hey if im wrong please explain it in terms better than "you need an A/D converter because you need to change analog data to digital data"
  5. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    When the original post was made, the comment was made telling us to forget about any AD/DA boxes. I think he was trying to say that when we recommend a console, he wanted us to focus on the sound and channels and other features of the console and not whether or not it had any AD/DA capabilities or how it would connect with any AD/DA devices.

    To me it sounded like he may be looking for an analog console which wouldn't have any AD/DA converters. Then I read your post asking why he would need A/D converters. From my perspective, the answer to that question is so that he could get the audio from his console to his computer. He didn't really mention anything about outboard gear or inserts or that sort of thing. Also no mention was made of firewire, optical, s/pdif or other sort of digital connection to the computer.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Anyway, to answer his question...Here's a pretty good deal...

    (Dead Link Removed)
  6. no i mean i'm asking you. if you use A/D converters with your outboard gear, i'd like to know how exactly you do it, why you do it, and what the process is like. i'm aware that numerous items contain built in converters. the only time i've ever really thought that A/D converters were to be used was when recording to analog tape then wanting to change it over to digital.
  7. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    What you said in your earlier post is completely correct. That's the way it works. The A/D converter IS the interface. I wasn't taking about a separate device. It's the interface, whether it's a sound card or external device.

    I have a MOTU 828 MKii and it is my computer interface/analog-to-digital converter. If I'm using outboard effect I hook it up exactly the way you described.
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    What the hell is happening to this site? I just read a post that recommended "an old Neve" console if you wanted to stay in the "3000" range!!! BTW, the original poster did not state whether it was 3000 dollars, euros, yen (!)...

    I just sold my "old Neve"...a 1978 Melbourne broadcasting console with 12 buckets, re-capped front-and rear-ends. Certainly not Rupert's best, but not shabby. $12K + truck rental and I drove it downstate to a dentist in Tampa. A "real" recording Neve can easily fetch 10 to 20 times that!

    Mackie's biggest "large format" analog is/was the 8-Bus, which is not a bad option for the feature set the poster listed. I wouldn't qualify a board based on whether it had a talkback mic... Just get it checked out and make sure all of the functions operate as claimed. There have been versions with bad ribbon cable problems plaguing them.
  9. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    The problem with your philosophy is:

    If you buy a great board (100K) and your A/D converters suck you'll end up with bad sounding tracks. Period. So, you MUST consider the price of GOOD A/D converters in your budget since you are recording to *PC*.

    If you mix entirely inside the PC you *may* get away without multi-D/A converters but, the summing on ALL software doesn't sound as good (this is why people send multi-track out of Pro TOOLS into SSL- or whatever they use- when they mixdown to stereo. Summing makes a huge difference in your final mix.

    That being said, you can get started with a budget very close to yours IF you are willing to make some compromises. I can tell you for sure that you CANNOT get a GOOD sounding mixer as you describe AND GOOD sounding converters.

    To clarify the issue of converter/interface:

    the word conversion refers to the mechanism of rendering anlog sound into digital data, period. Doesn't matter who or what does it.

    In real-world recording it means that if you want GOOD conversion you get an OUTBOARD (usually rack mount) unit. This can be 2/8/16ch.

    AFTER the sound is converted it is then, sent to your PC via an interface of your chosing. Depends on your system/sound card/etc... For example, if you were using a MOTU 2408MKIII you'd have a rack mount unit with 8ch of conversion and the 424 PCI card which connects to the rack unit via Firewire-like cable. If you have a PCI card with only a STEREO SPDIF you could use a STEREO A/D converter (like an Apogee, etc...). Budget plays a huge role in this. Good sounding conversion is NOT cheap.

    You would then, need to send your digital tracks (on your DAW/PC) back to your analog mixer for summing/mixing thus, you now need a GOOD D/A converter. Again, something like the MOTU 2408 would give you 8ch of A/D/A conversion.

    Since your budget is low you could get a used 2408MKII with an expander or two and that would give you up to 24 ch of A/D/A. Those can be had on EBay for about $200-250 including the PCI card. The expanders even cheaper. That would be my suggestion since you are obviously starting out and need something decent that won't break the bank but, still allow mulit-track A/D/A to/from your PC.

    As far as the analog mixer MACKIE is where to look. If you spent $700-75- on the used MOTUs you could have about $2,300 for a mixing board.

    Digital clock woudn't be an issue since your ONLY converters would be the MOTUs and you would set them to INTERNAL clock.

    You would then, need to have a way to mix down to stereo from the mixer.

    Since the MOTU would be you only converter you'd need to RESERVE 2 CH for the stereo mixdown.
  10. arlight cool digit that was pretty helpful, so youre saying even without outboard gear if you want good frequency roll off and more of the analog, less of the digital you use high quality converters. can you recommend me the best of the best in A/d converters.

    i am well aware the interfaces and what not usually have built in converters but it makes sense that they are about as good as their built in preamps.

    so also let me get the process straight, during tracking with simply preamps going to my interface i would not need conversion would i? or would i indeed have to stick a converter in between the preamp and the interface?

    during processing/mastering of outboard gear i would need to stick a converter before the processing hits the interface? just tell me on both processes what the setup would be please thanks man
  11. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    I am not sure your interpretation of what I said is panned properly :)

    With respect to the original poster's question I was trying to give an overall view of what he would need and how to 'split' the budget so to speak. I think the issue of summing has been discussed at lenght on various sites. It's not a matter of freq. roll off.

    The need for A/D/A conversion (2ch or multi-track) has to do with the following:

    Usually, a separate converter sounds better than a converter/interface box. There are many AUDIO interfaces (how most manufacturers like to call them) that will connect to your PC/Mac via Firewire and/or USB. Some of them offer faders, mic pres, etc... I am sure you know what I am talking about.

    Whereas those may be convienient clearly, cost-cutting measures had to be taken to market them at the price point at which they are sold. Usually, the A/D/A converters AND mic pres are those 'cost cutting' items. So, my suggestion is to stay away if possible.

    SIDE NOTE: One of the many advantages to having a good A/D/A box is that you can re-record a track, for example, by BUSING it from the PC to your A/D/A converter, process it as you wish then, re-record it. One use for this would be a vocal track that is a comp of many takes and which may require a little extra processing (compression, etc....). You would then have ONE file with the edited vocals, instead of snippets all over the place. Of course, you could MERGE it within the DAW but, I was trying to illustrate the process and usefulness of a decent multi-track (or 2ch) A/D/A converter.

    If you are traking with a mic pre you WILL need conversion (if I understand your Q correctly). For example: I go from my STT-1 into one of my converters then, send the coverted, digital signal to Logic via the MOTU's TDIF interface. My DAW communicates via TDIF so, everything stays digital once its converted.

    If I need to re-record a track, I simply BUS a TDIF bus to one my converters and now the signal is back into ANALOG domain. Once it's analog I can then patch it into any of my tube pres, compressors or other outboard gear I want to use. Once I get the sound I am looking for, I patch that chain into the A/D converter and I have the finished track. I do this often times to put some beef into drum samples: let's say you are using your favorite drum plugin for a project. You could send the snare and/or kick sounds from your plugin into an external TUBE pre/compressor and get a more finished, unique sound.

    I am not sure I understand your last question. Specifically the words "processing/mastering of outboard gear". I'll assume you meant processing a recorded track WITH outboard gear, which I have illustrated above.

    If you are doing MASTERING then, the need for a good quality A/D/A converter is equally important. Perhaps more so but, I am NOT a mastering engineer.

    You can do some pseudo-mastering totally in the digital domain using Wavelab and good plugins (like Waves-not cheap!). If you wish to send the stereo mix back into the analog domain you'll need to have the digital signal bused into the D/A converter and then, patch the processor of your choice (like a TUBE EQ, Limiter, etc...). once you achieve the sound you like you'll send that back into the A/D converter and record that file.

    Not all converters allow simultaneous A/D/A conversion.

    To recap simply: when you track you go from your pres into the A/D converter, into your interface (or digital mixer), into your PC.

    To send any signal back into analog you'd go from PC, into the interface (or digital mixer) into the D/A converter then, patch whatever analog processor you wish.

    This varies according to how your system DIGITAL routing is setup, of course.
  12. yeah its pretty simple thanks for your help. thats a quality post man.
  13. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    well damn, this kinda got out of control, haha, but after searching different posts and from this one, i'm thinking about just getting good converters, and getting some nice pres for drum tracking and overdubing instead of getting a new board, and using my old digital board for controlling my "in the box" faders through midi, and i just saw that new rme, which looks like pretty good deal, and i reallly want the api pres, i don't which way i'm gonna go with them though. I was looking at the ghost LE console but after reading a post on it, it seemed like i could put my money towards better things and just mix "in the box" I just want good easy to use automation, and easy to use plugins like drumagog, and filters.

  14. JamesG

    JamesG Guest

    HAHAHA, I wish I read that about 5 days ago, but ya from what I have used of my recently repair shoped 8 bus it sounded pretty good, my ribbon cables were bad and it's getting fixed right now, and yes the 8 bus does have a talk back mic
  15. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    Good thinking!

    My point is: if you spend more on mic pres and A/D converters you WILL have very good sounding tracks (if the engineer knows what to do...:)). Once you have good tracks to work with you can mix them elsewhere or re-mix them as you get better mixing equipment. One way or another you'll be better off.

    If you have cheap sounding mic pres and A/D converters NOTHING that can be done later can save your sound.

    It's always easier to get a good mix from good sounding tracks (even with limited mixing board, etc...) than it would be get a good mix with a kick ass mixer and lousy sonding tracks.
  16. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    hows that rme stuff sounding, or what would be a brand that i should be looking at that would be worth it, quality wise, and preamps i pretty much know what i want,

  17. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    I am not sure what you mean by "me stuff"... :?
  18. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    I am not sure what you mean by "me stuff"... :?

    DUH! RME...too early in the AM for me :)

    RME is good but, I would still use an outboard A/D/A converter...if that is what you were thinking.

    I only use my RME for VST Virtual instruments playback into my Digital mixer.

    IMO, the conversion of the MOTU 2408MKII sounds better than RME. That is why I was suggesting a used 2408 MKII (very cheap). Unless you are going to use a separate A/D/A converter. In which case you could use the RME for you tracks playback and to record/send the converted signal from/to the A/D/A converter.

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