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51 years 4 months

I'm purchasing a UA 1176 compressor, Great River ME 1NV pre, and an Avalon M5 preamp, and API plug-ins as well, just wondering what is the best a/d converter to buy for my setup. I'll be recording acoustic guitar, vocals, piano, strings.

Right now i have a M-Audio profire 2626 and planning to use it as a converter only. It runs at 192kHz. or am i better off getting a better converter?

if so, which ones would you recommend?
and i'm using Cubase 4.

Member for

51 years 4 months

Greener Thu, 11/13/2008 - 23:29

Whilst searching, because I don't care.
I found this.

http://www.abcviolins.com/blindlistening.html

"To quote pianist James Boyk, any such test might just be a case of 'the double-blind leading the double-deaf'."

I will add that I have no experience with any ADC considered "pro" and I am not one of the "professionals" you speak of. Just a loud troll. :)

Member for

51 years 4 months

fmw Fri, 11/14/2008 - 00:26

A properly conducted double blind, bias-controlled listening test can remove all subjectivity from the results. The hearing of the testers is immaterial and particularly unimportant if you use a number of testers. There aren't any value judgements in these tests. We don't ask "does this sound better than that?" We ask "is this A or B?" We aren't looking for qualitative judgements. We are looking for audible differences.

In my experience blind wine tasting still involves qualitative judgements and that is subjective. Is this one more tannic or acidic or fruity than that one? That's doesn't apply well in audio testing because the subjective parameters aren't well defined.

I have no expertise on the sound of violins but I would assume that there are measurable sonic differences between them. If that weren't the case they wouldn't be able to get $15000 for one instrument and $500 for another. I read somewhere that the late 17th century Cremona instruments were so good because the climate at the time caused the trees to have thinner annular rings. Who knows? What I do know is that if a violinist were to play two instruments for a judging panel and the panel knew which instrument was which, the test would be invalid if their sonic characteristics were subtle to non existent when compared to one another. It takes a "gross" sonic difference to obviate or overcome placebo effect.

My opinion is that audio equipment should be as neutral and accurate as possible. If the engineer wants a result that is something other than linear, it makes more sense to use something that is adjustable or defeatable like an effect plug-in or an equalizer than it is to have some sonic characteristic built into the equipment itself. Why? Because you can't defeat it when you want to.

With some things like monitors and microphones, you will find plenty of gross sonic differences. It is the nature of the beast. So you have a collection of mics and you match the microphone to the job at hand, as an example.

With something like an ADC or a mic preamp, it makes more sense to me to have a linear performance because they can be linear. Then you can adjust sonics to whatever result you want outside the box. You don't have to match a preamp or an ADC to a particular project. You adjust the sound in the mix.

Why have an analog stage in an ADC that introduces a non linearity to the process? You are an audio engineer. You should be able to achieve any non-linearity or effect you want in your mix. That's what you do. You make things sound great, right?

Member for

51 years 4 months

Greener Fri, 11/14/2008 - 00:58

"You are an audio engineer. You should be able to achieve any non-linearity or effect you want in your mix. That's what you do. You make things sound great, right?"

I'm a drummer. :P

How does a digital volt meter work?

Member for

51 years 4 months

fmw Fri, 11/14/2008 - 03:43

Greener wrote: "You are an audio engineer. You should be able to achieve any non-linearity or effect you want in your mix. That's what you do. You make things sound great, right?"

I'm a drummer. :P

So am I. Or I was back in the 1960's. Now I'm a pianist and guitarist.

How does a digital volt meter work?

Very well indeed. ;)

BobRogers Fri, 11/14/2008 - 08:10

One of the huge problems with violin (or other musical instrument) tests is that the experience of the player is so different from the experience of the listener. Players have a very hard time separating their impression of how an instrument feels from how it sounds. So a player can think that one violin is clearly superior than another and someone (another player) can't tell the difference if they are played behind a screen. (There was an academic paper on this phenomenon on line - I look a bit but could not find the link.)

I was in a wine club for a couple of years with an enologist from Virginia Tech. We did various bias controlled sensory evaluations all the time. If you haven't done anything like this, it is a humbling experience. Even a/b/x (which wine is x?) is much harder to evaluate than most people realize. It is really important to be skeptical of what you think your senses are telling you about subtle things. It is very easy for bias to creep in.

Related note: One of the best pieces of advice that I've ever read on the internet was when someone on this board recommended that "if you can't make a really informed decision - buy the unit the looks the coolest. Most of these units sound good and if you really like it you'll make better music." Sometimes bias can work for you.

Member for

51 years 4 months

fmw Fri, 11/14/2008 - 09:47

Bob, I was a high end audiophile once. I got started doing the bias controlled testing when I started reading comments by people on the audibility of digital cables and power cords. Common sense told me they didn't and couldn't have a sonic impact so I tested it and found out that common sense was correct. One thing led to another.

I had a dozen guys from an audiophile society get involved with me in the initial tests which lasted for several months. Every single one of them gave up high end audio from the experience. I don't think I would describe it as humbling. It actually made us frustrated about the beliefs that run rampant in consumer audio. They still run rampant.

The one thing I know for sure is that great recordings are made by people, not by equipment.