What A/Ds do you use on location?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by hughesmr, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    Hey all,

    Wondering what outboard A/Ds you use when out on location. My current ones (inside an Alesis Masterlink) leave, <ahem>, something to be desired...

  2. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    I use an Motu 828mkII. Probably much better than my mic placement so I have not really considered them as any weak part of the link. Sometime use an MBox. CanĀ“t say that is the weak link either.

  3. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    I became a HUGE overnight fan of the Presonus Firepod...much better pres than one would expect, plenty of gain...and the FW interface makes things pretty simple.

    I am toying with the idea of picking up a MiniMe, and connecting it to the FirePod via SPDIF...IF the AD is significantly better....

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I currently use RAMSA WZ-AD96 and WZ-AD96M.

    In the near future, I hope to pick up either Mytek or Prism conversion. Allthough, if the Lynx stuff sounds as good as I hope it does, I may find myself saving a little money.

  5. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I used the LynxTWO A/D til I got my Mytek 96-- the Mytek is a noticeable improvement in transparency and "ease" of sound-- reminds me of the Troisi I used to own.

    The Lynx, while an excellent value (esp the Aurora), does NOT equal either Mytek or Prism, IMHO.

    As for the Masterlink, I have found mine to sound better at 88.2 and 96.

  6. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    J...just how do those Ramsa units compare to...say...RME? Lavry? etc....
  7. Danju

    Danju Guest


    For acustic/ classical location-recording RME Fireface 800, together with Audient ASP008 Preamp (via ADAT) is a nice combination.

  8. Danju

    Danju Guest


    when I said ADAT I just mean it as an option if you want to connect more channels. The RME converters are probably better than the ones from audient.

  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I use an Apogee Mini-Me, which I think is very good indeed. Not everyone will agree with me that the preamps are great as well, but I really like them. I can't say why, but I feel they add something that I can't put my finger on. Care needs to be taken when monitoring, as high input gain with low monitoring sounds different from listening the other way around, which can make it quite difficult to judge what goes onto you hard disk. It takes practice to get this right, but when you do, it can do some great stuff.

    I never thought the day would come when cables would be the bulkiest part of my rig!


    BTW for anyone interested. Apogee are giving away the Mini-Pre on the website if you buy some other stuff. I don't think it ever took off -at least I have never heard of anyone buying one.
  10. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Depends on the gig really... My every day documentary/broadcast rig is either Ramsa WZ-AD96M digital mic pres. It is small and easy to use and sounds relatively decent. When I bring my analog pres, I go directly into my Lynx 2 card.

    Rich- Let's not talk about the Aurora as NOBODY has heard them yet. They are almost ready to be released, but still they aren't readily available. They will likely be a pretty substantial step up from the Lynx 2 card, however nobody can say how they will compare to the other stuff out there. Your Myteks, though, I'm sure are very good... Michael has always produced a top-notch product at a very fair price.

    When I do sessions, I borrow a set of Lavry blue converters that I use as my first 8 channels of conversion. From there, the rest of my channels are covered by the Lynx usually.

  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I would say they are quite nice. I can't say they are on the level of the Lavry. I've never done an A/B of the RME to the RAMSA, but I like the RME stuff. (probably more than I should.)

    I'm curious, does anyone out there who's using the Fireface have any strong opinions about it? I'm considering selling one of my RAMSA units in favor of the RME. (Though I might wait until the Lynx stuff is on the market...and the Mytek stuff is cheap too.)

  12. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    The Fireface is pretty decent sounding, but I would still prefer to have a PCI interface on a PC. From the bits that I've seen of it, I think it is too finicky about the Firewire interface it sees. It can work quite well, but I have to work a lot less to get my PCI card interfaces to work well. An AES-16 with the Aurora I could see being one of the best "bang for the buck" interfaces out there. We shall see when it finally hits the street.

  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Waiting patiently............
    Have the AES16 and just want something a little better to plug into it...
  14. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    I have not compared the two directly. Both have left me with the impression that, stock, they sound very reasonable for the price. I can offer some additional info about the Fireface:

    It's four mic pre's use a transistor front end which feeds a differential op-amp (a sort of discreet/ic hybrid approach). This feeds a buffer stage which drives an AKM converter chip. The main thing I like is the architecture of the unit, which offers plenty of hot-rodding and up-grade opportunities. I have not had any problems with getting its drivers stable.

    I am not excited about its switching power supply. If memory serves, the Ramsa also has a switching p/s (but I could be wrong). This, too, can be modified but then size increases and portability wains. Also, the first two mic pre channels go through an electronic (fet) switch, so that they can be swapped with the rear panel inputs. Fet switches are not consonant with audiophile practices. However this can easily be modified and bypassed, at the expense of (un-needed) flexibility.
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Thanks Zilla!! That's some wonderful information!

    I hope you are gonna stick around here, your input is sincerely appreciated!

    What kind of hot-rodding specifically do you speak of in regards to the RME? Would you mind going into details if you have the time?


    Jeremy :D
  16. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Ben: Since it appears you own one, maybe you would pop the top off of your Ramsa and confirm the type of power supply it has. If you see a healthy looking transformer, it is probably a linear supply. If you see something that looks like it would power a hard drive, then it is most likely a switching power supply.

    Cucco: I don't like to get too specific about mods that I do since I/we are in a competitive business. Generally speaking, changing out op-amps, caps, and resistors for higher quality parts is the bulk of the changes. Re-routing signal paths and power supply changes are others. Inside its chassis, the fireface is essentially a single large circuit board; the majority of which is populated with surface mount components. Surface mount=very difficult soldering. I would not recommend anyone but the most highly skilled try mod'ing such a thing, otherwise you may end up with a useless device and no warranty options.
  17. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Sure... My box is in the storage unit where I keep all of my gear right now, though... I'll try to take a look in the next day or so.

  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sure. I'll gut it this weekend.

    I understand the tight lips about the mods. How much would you charge to do the mods on a RME?

  19. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    I just acquired the fireface recently and am still experimenting with changes. Its nice because I can leave two channels stock, and mod only the other two for comparison tests. Since I have not finalized the mod yet, I don't know what the costs would be. Also it depends on how many aspects of the device you want changed. The fireface has a vast number of individual circuits (think: each analog and digital input and output), which can be adjusted or left stock. Do you only want the mic pres mod'd, or more? Guessing: $600-$2,400?

    Well, I kind of feel like this thread is getting hijacked. Email me if you have any further inquiries. Thanks for your interest.
  20. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Firewire interfaces (be it a card, or built into the mobo) are still sitting on the PCI bus. So it is certainly more direct to have your audio interface communicate directly with the PCI bus rather than add an extra layer of firewire protocol on top of it. But firewire is adequate for many circumstances.

    ...now for trying to stay on topic...

    As far as which converters I use: it varies on the profit margin of the project. For non-critical archival situations, something like an Apogee psx100se or the likes of a modified Fireface fit the bill. Recently I have been engineering for Bernie Grundman's "Straight Ahead Records" label. We mix and record acoustic jazz direct to multiple 2-track formats, simultaneously. For our LPCM 2496 and 1644 captures, we are using modified LAVRY Gold AD122-96's.

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