Skip to main content

Are D/A Converters worthwhile?

Member for

21 years 2 months
Im just starting to acquire some high-end gear in my Project Studio. Im slowly weeding out the names like Alesis and Mackie, and Replacing them with names like Pro-tools and Focustrite. . Anyways. One thing Im not sure of is my D/A Converters. At the moment Im running Pro-tools Le (the digi 001) set up. If I buy a stand alone D/A converter, will I notice a different. I just bought a Focusrite ISA 430 producer's pack so I have a great pre, but Am I degrading it's final sound quality with the cheap converters in my Digi breakout box?. .
if so, should I go with Lucid or Apogee?.. Im sitting around the $2000US price-range..
Any advice on this subject would be awesome...

Comments

Member for

21 years 1 month

lwilliam Fri, 07/20/2001 - 13:07
I just bought the Nuendo 8 i/o (which is the RME ADI8-Pro with a Steinberg faceplate) for my Digi001.

I haven't even recorded anything with the a/d yet, but the difference in the d/a was immediate and easily noticeable. I kind of went, "Wow, what a difference!", when I heard my pre-recorded tracks.

You'll get improved d/a converters as well as a much more stable clock. What I noticed was that the sound opened up and became much more 3D (depth) and the definition of each instrument was much easier to hear. I know it will make mixing much easier since I can hear detail (especially hf detail) that was lost before. I can hear "into" the mix a LOT better. Listening back to the 001 converters, I would call them a bit "cloudy" and, if I was kind, possibly "warm", but not particularly revealing or detailed.

I'm sure using the a/d will improve the sound that much more...

You can get the Nuendo 8 i/o for under $1300 in a lot of places. The hardest part of getting it working was moving stuff around in my rack to place it directly under my 001. Otherwise, it was pretty much plug-and-play; you do have to set PTLE to sync to optical and use the optical in/outs, which takes about 30 seconds.

Whether the Lucid is audibly better, I can't say, but this upgrade made as big a difference as switching from 16 to 24 bits.

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Mon, 07/23/2001 - 03:10
Thanks for Your replies..... Im really leaning towards the Lucid.... I know Apogee is the best, but it seems Lucid offers a better unit in the $2000 range, which is what Im prepared to spend......How will this hook-up to my Digi 001.... Will I plug it in to the SPDiF inputs and then run all of my mics and guitars, through the d/a converter first?.... (I've never seen these set-up before, so sorry if I appear dumb)

Member for

20 years 9 months

Bob Olhsson Mon, 07/23/2001 - 05:49
FWIW there are people who consider the Lucid D to A as being better than the current Apogees although they still consider the Apogee A to Ds to be better than the Lucids. I've never had a chance to compare but I suspect the Lucid D to A would be well worth seriously checking out.

Because of the latest generation of significantly better converter chips, there could be a lot of surprises in new digital products as manufacturers learn to use them or even "luck out."

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Mon, 07/23/2001 - 05:51
Your set up will work like this --

Inputs [mics, instruments, etc...] -> Lucid A/D/A via various connections depending on your inputs.

Lucid A/D/A -> Digi 001 via ADAT Optical [aka: lightpipe]

The ADAT connection will allow for 8 channels to go back and forth between the Lucid and your Digi 001.


-----
Samara Krugman
Mercenary Audio
"this is not a problem" [url="(dead link removed)[/url]

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Mon, 07/23/2001 - 08:33
Awesome!.... Thanks everyone.. Im at a point in my recording career, where I have graduated from porta-studio's, moved on to adats and a Mackie 32/8 graduated from that, and Now im trying out the Digi 001... (never used DAW before, so I wanted to make sure it's for me..... Now Im phasing out all the old stuff, and I want to eventually end up with the "big" pro-tools, a control 24 console, and good converters and pres....
Oh and of course Sting and his bandmates for clients *LOL*.........

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Tue, 07/24/2001 - 09:04
Joe, I'm in your boat. Learning at the steep end of the curve. I'm using YamahaAW4416.. but wait. Recently bought Apogee psx100 "Special Edition". I a/b'ed it with their original psx100, and it is substantially better than even that. The difference is spectacular spatial hologram of clarity in your face sound with a slightly compressed tape sound, verses the psx100 very clean, open, airy lilt.(Hey.. it's just my opinion) You can get these for way under retail if you shop around. By the way, it will run you around $3000 but believe me, it's THE MOST important piece you will own, because nothing sounds professional without it, or the like (to my ear). You should really evaluate if you need 8 channels in, because they're saving money somewhere. Apogee has an 8 and 16 in also, but they're more expensive.
Secondly, the cables you use are critical. Don't use Apogee's Wide Eye, they suck. For equiptment interconnects, Monster Studio Prolink 1000 mike cable is best for clarity and detail(flat across all frequencies), their Prolink 500 is great for a short run from your mike box (I have the Neuman M149 and take it to bed with me to make sure it stays comfortable I love it so much)to the AD because it introduces a slight mid boost and roundness to the tone, but for interconnects, I'd go with the 1000. Also, I have a Mogami 8channel breakout cable from Apogee to the Yamaha MY8AES (25pinDsub connector) card in the AW4416, and it sounds better than my own sodering efforts with AES cables from apogee, by far (theirs are dead, and despite gold foil, the inner wires appear to be aluminum?).
Finally, don't believe these engineers at companies that tell you the SPDIF (now 24 bit) connectors are just as good as the AES. I've done major perfect A/B testing and the SPDIF is raspy and harsh by comparison, to the AES smooth as a cucumber, open, and just plain pretty. Do your own testing.
It may be that Mogami cables across the board are better, and that's my next test. Anyway, this is all so much fun, painting with sounds. A concept I read from an engineer that stuck with me was you want to color sound going in, but once you get that sound the way you want, you want transparancy for the rest of your gear, thus, the Monster Prolink 1000. It's your pallet of paints, so only you can decide what you like.
Finally, the Front End is your voice, so that's where you spend the most money first. If you like that, it will always be usable, no matter what digital manipulators you use thereafter, like an old favorite guitar. Good luck.
PS Their seems to be an acknowledged deficit in the quality of sound you get with a lot of the computer recorders like Pro---. I've read it from pro musicians and engineers, but who knows? Radar gets a lot of good writeups...

Member for

20 years 9 months

atlasproaudio Tue, 07/24/2001 - 11:20
Originally posted by Paul Larisey:
Apogee has an 8 and 16 in also, but they're more expensive.
Secondly, the cables you use are critical. Don't use Apogee's Wide Eye, they suck.


Paul, so Apogee has released their 16 A/D??? What is the street price on that?

Secondly, wide eye cable doesn't suck, that is a rediculous notion, mmmmkay??

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Wed, 07/25/2001 - 06:09
Joe,

I must concur with many here....I was back and forth between the Apogees and the Lucids for my Sonic Solutions setup and after checking out both, the Lucid 8824 was my choice. Economically and sonically they were the obvious choice. I've got two of them now and they're just awesome....no question for me - the Lucid is the way to go.

Good luck and happy converting! :D

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Wed, 07/25/2001 - 07:33
Marco, did you try the Apogee Special Edition, or the regular. It's horseshit, because they should just make 1 great box, but I suppose it's transition time. Glad you like your Lucid. I'd try it if I wern't so happy.

Nathan, I repeat Apogee Wide eye sucks. You're a great sage addition to this board, but I bet you haven't a/b'ed like a proper little sound scientist. They are deadening used both as AES digital cables (as compared to Monster Prolink 500 or 1000, and it's not a taste thing, it's just wrong), as well as using them for analog connects. When I say my comparisons are excellent a/b'ing, what I mean is back to back time wise, through the exact same channels with no changes in between, recording to tracks digitally, then listening back in "repeat" mode to snippet after snippet of piano and drum synthesizer pre-recorded music, and then the less standard vocal testing where you can't get a repeatable "live" test, but you do the best you can. With the vocals, and the piano drums, their is a substantial flattening, dead sound, (analog or digital use) So I opened the cable on apogee, and looked down below the solder. Silver colored wire. They don't advertise using silver cable, only gold foil. Therefore, I conclude Aluminum. The sound matches the characteristics of the cable. Admittedly, it shouldn't matter in digital use, but it does, and the difference is large. I love Apogee psx100 special edition. They're big on expanding their line now, even offering their own branded CD's, so they've probably had some company make these cables up for them to expand their line. They (two engineers) also "think" the SPDIF should be equal to the AES, and maybe better if you're using the famed Wide Eye cables. I checked the SPDIF with another cheaper brand cable, which was worse than the Wide Eye,just in case there was something wrong. I tried a second apogee wide eye coaxial. I then had great results with the AES route. Many of these guys are not musicians. They don't all have practiced ears like someone who has spent years trying to produce exacting sounds (like vocal pitch, timbre, feeling, or lead guitar that's bright, but not piercing). They are simply wrong, and I'd say.. you very nice man you.. you are.. ..wrong on this one little issue, of great importance. You can spend thousands on a piece of equiptment, and ruin it's ability with the wrong cable. All the best.. Ps. I would call, but got started with Guitar center, and the ability to try out, the prices, and now the endless chain of credit left on account etc, makes it hard to switch until I zero my balance. Will call on the next bout, as I respect your opinions on so many of your contributions to this board.

Tags

x