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Aardvark, Apogee or RME?

I have a Aardvark Direct Pro. (3 years) Like it and think Aardvark is great. Track audio from accoustic rock to Hard Rock. Get good recordings but want to step it up so...

I've researched Preamps for 4 months. (Sytek, RNP w/ Grace 101,Sebatron 4000e ect...) I then find out that my Pres on the Aardvark will hinder any outboard pre I try and run into it.
True? Would the LX6 be a better unit to run w/ outboard Pres.

My friend told me a while back that he believes a more Pro sounding recording will only happen w/ better converters & suggested that I should get a Apogee Mini-Me. I don't so much believe that. I thought Aardvark were known for low jitter.?.

So now I'm trying to decide what to do in the best economical way.

Do I
A) Just get a Good Preamp and run it through my existing Aardvark Pre's and not worrie about the loss of signal ($600-$1500)

B) Get a Apogee MM, & run it through my Aardvark sPDIF. I'd still have 4 Ins (minimum for drums
and 2 great Converters ($1200)
(How are the MM Pres? Grace like?)

C) Get a Aardvark LX6 to go along with my Direct Pro... I'd have 8 ins, 4 of which I could run outboard Pre's through. ($250 + Preamp , $1000)

D) Sell my Aardvark and get a RME. From what I've read they have great Converters. (?) I think this would be very costly. I'd need a Mixer and Pre's and Comp.

Getting a LX6 was somewhat on my mind for the future anyway,(for more Drum Mics) But a Tech at Aardvark just tried to tell me to get a Q10 because they're a little better Converter than the DP/LX6. I was under the impression for the last 2 years that they were the same.

Thanks for any suggestions,



lorenzo gerace Mon, 05/19/2003 - 00:40


I never tried any of the Aardvark converters, but I do know they have a good reputation; that said, I think your best bet would be to go with the last solution, or something like that: a good recording starts with (a good source, but that's out of our responsability...), good mic, good preamp, good A/D converter; change anything in the chain and the following steps will suffer something, like if you record with a mediocre preamp and a good A/D you'll have a good representation of a bad sounding pre, I hope you get my drift. So, if you don't have preamps already I'd suggets you invest in a couple of good ones (that will last no matter how the trends in A/D converters change), some OK ones, and get the most you can afford in conversion, my suggestion is RME ADI8 pro or Lucid, excellent boxes for the price; the Apogee MM is excellent, but it's quite pricey for a 2CH box with pres; altough it could allow you to have a good 2 "money channel" recording chain, you'll be stuck for the rest of the tracks, if you need to record more than 2 at a time.
As I read from your post another option could be to get the LX6, but I cannot comment on it since I don't know it.

Whenever possible is better to stay away from built in preamp/soundcards: they can be usefull in the beginning, but become a burden when you acquire some real pres; at least one should make sure that the soundcard has some straight line ins that accept line level from outboard pres that go straight to the A/D (like in the Diggi 001).

Unfortunately upgrading always means $$$ :roll: .

Hope this helps


laptoppop Mon, 05/19/2003 - 08:55

Its all about the sound.

Get your preamp(s) of choice (the RNP has an especially nice price/value ratio) and give it a try through the Aardvark. I believe the line in connection will give you a different signal path (bypassing the preams), but I could be mistaken. I know Aardvark warns about NOT connecting a line in signal to a XLR connector, which would make me think that the signal path is slightly different.

Anyway - before dumping the Aardvark, get the preamp (which you are doing anyway) and give it a listen!


Sidney Mon, 05/19/2003 - 10:48

Thanks guys!
I would say that I'm leaning more towards plan C)
Get a RNP or something and wait for a good deal on the LX6... then compare.

I can always upgrade the interface later (RME ect.) I somewhat feel like Pres won't lose their place or value, where as The Mini-Me and such... new products are coming out all the time.

One thing I've read a few times is someone who got a Grace 101, thought it sounded pretty decent through the Aark Q10 (same Pre as my DP) then ran different Converters through the sPDIF w/ the Grace and said it was like a Blanket got lifted off the sound. & as replied to them, it should for 3x as much $$$.

gerax- My Aardvark set up is a All in one unit. Seriously, all you need is a Microphone and Monitors. So if I started looking at those other converters... would I need to get AD and DA and a Word Clock and possibly more?

Thank you,

lorenzo gerace Tue, 05/20/2003 - 00:56

Originally posted by Sydney:

gerax- My Aardvark set up is a All in one unit. Seriously, all you need is a Microphone and Monitors. So if I started looking at those other converters... would I need to get AD and DA and a Word Clock and possibly more?

Well, I think it depends on whether you want to integrate the newer converters into the existing system or start from scratch: if the Aardvark has digital I/O in the form of ADAT you could just get the RME and acquire an 8 ch converter of great quality while still be able to use the rest of your setup for monitoring (I mentioned the 001 before because that's how I have it set up, and the setup works wonderful). If you are going to design the whole system around a new converter, be it RME, Lucid or whatever you'll need to use a stereo pair of its outputs to hook up to a monitoring device (in a worst case scenario something like a Mackie mixer) and speakers.

However the problem here is what do you use to get the signal from the A/D box to the computer: RME has its own PCI cards that work with the ADI converters, it depends on the Aardvark I/O capability.

You only need Wordclock if you have to make several devices talk to each other in the digital domain, though it's always wise to hook it up even in smaller chains.

Hope this helps


serious fun Tue, 05/20/2003 - 10:20

I used an Aardvark DirectPro 2496 for a year and a half, quite successfully. The mic preamps sound very good; if you plug in to them via 1/4" TRS, you will bypass the mic pre section, so don't worry about going in line-level from an outboard device.

I switched to an RME Multiface when I needed more inputs, and had sufficient outboard mic preamps (Neotek MicMAX, now discontinued). The RME sounds better subjectively, and driver development is always ahead of the curve (instead of a day late and a dollar short, as with Aardvark).

Better D/A converters can always help, but the RME is pretty darn good (I can't imagine the mini-me being significantly better here). Better mic preamps and better mics (not to mention better performances!) are often your first step; whether you are getting an RNP at $200 or a Martech MSS-10 at $2000, listen to see if it is exactly what you want.

Sidney Tue, 05/20/2003 - 11:22

Originally posted by serious fun:
Better D/A converters can always help, but the RME is pretty darn good (I can't imagine the mini-me being significantly better here).

Thanks for your thoughts Serious Fun.
A couple of things...
Did you mean A/D? I keep everything in the PC and then burn to CD, which is pretty much staying Digital. *Except for my monitoring... Are you saying it's good to have better D/A for Monitoring the Mix?

Your saying the Converters of RME and Apogee are about even? Did you notice a big difference when you went from the Aark to RME, & how would you describe it? More presence, detail ect... Or was the Aark about as good, you just needed more inputs?

You know what it's like to have a all in one unit w/ the Aark. It's kinda nice... But I am thinking of the RME Multiface set up. I would need a mixer right? I don't think it has a Mixer Controll panel like the Aark, correct? It does have a MIDI in/out like the Aark, right... I have a Roland Drum kit, that's all I use for MIDI, so I think I'd be set there.

Thanks and if this is too much for you to respond to I'll understand... many questions...