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Signal path question (I think?)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ILOVESOUND, Oct 22, 2004.



    In my current search to settle on the most simple yet highest quality I can afford DAW set up I need to understand how the signal path works from converters to software and back again. Having only had experience with my all in one PTLE (001)/G4 set up (no additional front end), I'm not sure if what I'm envisioning actaully works.

    Suppose I have a top of the line 2 channel pre into a top of the line 2 channel firewire AD/DA converter into the recording app. No mixer other than in the box. Here's the dumb question. If I mix in the box and bounce to disk, I'm assuming I only benefit from the AD conversion of my audio signal, therefore not even using the "top of the line" DA part of the converter? So would I get better sonic results utilizing the DA somehow? And if so, how would I do that? Mix to DAT? Here's where I'm not sure if my hope for a simple solution works. I realize I would use the DA to monitor and mix. It's just the mix down and mastering part I'm confused about.

    Any clarity to my unclear question would be much appreciated:)

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The goal is to keep the amount of conversions to a minimum ... so in theory it's best to mix in the box. I use a stand alone CDr through spdif to record my mixes. This keeps it in the digital domain but takes a load off the DAW.

    The D to A section of your converter can be used to monitor tracks and inputs while you record or to route 2 channels to the studio monitoring system if you wish.

    If you have some really good outboard processing gear you can use the D to A' s as sends, returning the processed signal into the DAW via A to D inputs ...

    As you see, there are many uses for the D to A outputs on your interface.


    Thanks Kurt. That really helps. So just to make sure I'm understanding. If I mix in the box and then bounce to disc and burn the cd on my computer not using the DA part of the converter it's better or just as good as running the mix out of DA to DAT or an external CDR? In other words, the bounce to disc in the box converts as well as a high end outboard DA. Is this correct?


  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    As long as the signal is kept digital through the spdif to an outboard CDr or to the HD in the computer, there is no additional conversion.
  5. slicraider

    slicraider Guest


    With all due respect to Kurt there is a huge amount of guys making hit records who will tell you that mixing in the box is not sounding good to them. They break out individual tracks to an analog board and mix combining the best of plugins and analog hard ware.

    I have done no processing and also plugin processing and I have bounced to disk and mixed in analog and compared all the mixes and each time I found that I was getting a more musical sound with a mix that had more depth from an analog desk than the mix in the box could offer.

    You should try it for yourself and let us know what sounds better to you.

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