Add external converters to HD24
I've just got an HD24 (stock version, non-XR) and thinking about adding some external converters for at least 8 tracks.
My current setup is the following one :
- Synths / Samplers / drum machines go into a patch bay, then into an A&H Zed14 mixer
- From the Zed14, inserts / aux are going into the HD24 analog inputs
- The HD24 is then linked via ADAT to a RME Digiface USB (this way i can monitor all via the A&H)
- Monitors are a pair of Genelec (small 8020D)
For the moment, i am not yet into the mic pre-amp / 500 format rabbit hole. ;)
From my first tests with this setup (using the HD24 to record), I can already feel the difference in terms of sound definition when i playback the recorded tracks.
So, I'm searching for ways to improve this, which can be :
- Adding an 8 external converters unit (hooked to the HD24 with ADAT) :
- RME FF800 (used only for its 8 converters)
- RME Audio ADI-8 DS
- Adding some "quality pres" to the tracking chain before the HD24
Since i'm just a passionated Home-studist, recording my analog synths & samplers, budget is a concern, so I tend to search for used second hand units.
So few questions here :
- Which move would be the smarter one ? Adding correct converters or stay with HD24 stock ones and add some quality pres ?
- Does the RME FF800 & ADI-8 converters still considered ok in 2022 ?
- Any proposition for a good 8 voices converter box under 1000€ ?
Comments are welcome ! Thanks!
Your chain mentioned are imho average converters which are good enough. To step up to better AD you need to spend a lot more money.
If you feel you have enough converters for your session requirements I'd look for a really good preamp. Good preamps would be my move.
My suggestion for making a substantial improvement to your recording quality is to use an Audient ASP880. This unit has 8 channels of high-quality pre-amps and converters, and punches well above its weight. It can be got for under your €1000 figure.
The pre-amps and ADCs in the ASP880 can be used together or separately on a channel-by-channel basis, as it has both analogue outputs and ADAT lightpipe outputs. A single lightpipe would feed your HD24 recorder with 8 channels at rates up to 48KHz, or up to 96KHz using two lightpipes and switching both units to higher-rate sampling mode. The analogue outputs and ADC direct inputs are available via the balanced inserts.
I have had an RME FireFace800 / HD24XR combination for over 10 years, and they continue to give me great service, especially the FF800 as an electronic patchbay. I thought the FF800 pre-amps and converters were above average quality, but was amazed by the improvement when I got an ASP880 a few years ago and put my "money" channels through it.
I have never found the HDR24 converters to be 'lacking' in terms of fidelity. When I had an HDR24 and I was moving into Pro Tools I used the Alesis as my converters until I moved into an HD PT system. As has been mentioned the addition of quality preamps will improve noticeably anything you wish to capture on your HDR24. I'm unsure, but I don't think you ever bypass the converters in the HDR24???? Boz? If thats the case then it seems counterintuitive to put another set of conversion after the Alesis.
Thanks for you comments !
I've made some tests with my inline level machines directly in the HD24 inputs, the recorded tracks seems to sound a bit more accurate and nice.
Bypassing the gain level stage of the mixer (which were badly set i guess) seemed to resolve my issue.
No other converters needed (for the moment)! ;)