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Need conversion into Protools! What to use?

THE DEAL IS. I have been using an octopre to get into Pro Tools until now through optical lightpipe. The ADAT card fried on the darn thing. Im looking to find the best way to get into Pro Tools through Pro Tools from external preamps. I dont need the device to have preamps in it, I have plenty of nice pres I just need analog line level conversion into ADAT lightpipe. I saw a berhringer unit for cheap but I'm afraid that would turn my amazing sounding front end into sh*t balls for signals. What is your recommendation?


RemyRAD Sat, 07/28/2012 - 03:30
The 2408 requires a desktop machine and an empty PCI slot. Something that's harder to come by today. As a standalone unit, it won't offer up much help for you. And although it utilizes a FireWire cable it is not a FireWire device. It's very misleading in that respect. They only utilize that FireWire cable for its throughput more than 10 years ago more like 15 years ago. And you won't be getting the latest converters unless you get a new unit. As mentioned I think the Behringer would do you fine. On the other hand you might want to look for a toasted Alesis HD 24XR? One that might have broken caddies?

I like mine working.
Mx. Remy Ann David

studio33 Sat, 07/28/2012 - 07:42
its going to be lightpipe into a Digi003 board. I have vintech x73 and UA610 pres that I got a good deal on but still spent a bunch of money on regardless. It was a huge upgrade for my sound. I dont want to move backwards though, I'm just afraid ill be compromising the quality of the chain. That price is soooooo tempting though. You guys really think it will be goo enough? No I dont have a ton of money but I would rather hear bad news than "something I want to hear". Im almost sold keep talking. :)

RemyRAD Sun, 07/29/2012 - 19:58
Knowing that MOTU, having a better-known reputation than Behringer, their 2408 in standalone operation may in fact be viable. Though I wouldn't necessarily go for an older generation unit like my mark 2. Their latest release may be a better choice assuming of course, that their latest release has better converters. Either way, I don't believe any of those units from theirs to Behringer can accommodate any input greater than +20 DB. Your analog units have the capability of a minimum of +24 to +30 in Headroom capability and transient response. So now what do you think about that? Will you lose quality? Probably not. Will you lose Headroom? Most assuredly.

Personally, I think you would do better by just taking your analog preamps and going into your 003. From Washington DC to New York why go via Chicago? Because their bars are better at Chicago's O'Hare airport? When the bars are just as good at Ray Gun National Airport? You are making life inordinately more difficult for yourself and for no good reasons. Why not just get your 003 modified by Black Lion Audio or Jim Williams? You are talking about trying to install Scully playback electronics onto an Ampex. Simply because you wanted a transformer less playback head preamp.

Coming back from Hawaii during the United Airlines strike of 1985 took me to LA then Houston then Chicago to Philadelphia and finally back in DC. And that wasn't fun. You're trying to do the same thing. Go direct, you'll live longer.

Almost 57
Mx. Remy Ann David

hueseph Sun, 07/29/2012 - 21:34
studio33, post: 391972 wrote: I might as well just send the octopre in and get the card replaced. Heck its a platinum w/ dynamics thats another eight class A pres i can use as another option in the tool box. Remy I dont think Black lion works on the 003 factory boards. They only do mods on the rack units.
Yup. Probably the best bang for the buck you're going to get. Anyway, I got confused. For some reason I was under the impression that the 003 might have db25 connectors and totally ignored the fact that you're looking for lightpipe.

RemyRAD Mon, 07/30/2012 - 00:20
While you might consider preamps that are indicated as Class A to be superior to a preamp that is not marketed as Class A, that's not necessarily true. If Class A was that important, recordings would have never been done on API consoles. And Class A/B consoles might actually sound better in their preamps than someone's marketing hyped Class A designs.

Class A is actually part of most preamplifier designs. It's simply their output that may in fact be Class A/B. And those can actually have a better "edge" in their sound. Because it doesn't matter what Class you have or utilize, it's really only talking about certain kinds of distortion components. Class A generally offers up more second or even order distortion components where Class A/B, offers up more odd or third harmonic distortion components. And for rock 'n roll, that can be more desirable sounding. Because it gives you the " Edge ", over something that doesn't. Tubes which are all class A provides a different kind of softer overload than a Class A transistor design can offer. Tubes a rounding of the distortion components were even Class A transistor designs can still clip. And a clip has odd order/third harmonic distortion components were a tube does not. The difference really lies in the very narrow area where the amplifier begins to go nonlinear. In that respect a transistorized Class A design can have a " magical " affect on the sound but so can a Class A/B on the verge of its nonlinearity of transference. And you have bought into that misrepresentation of hype. Having the limiters built into your device simply means second even order distortion components where the amplifier is never allowed to actually go. Smoother doesn't mean better. It only means different. If it's a difference you like? Then it's good for you. If it's because you don't know how to set your levels properly, it's a beginner safety net. If you use your seatbelt, you might still be fine in an accident? If you don't use your seatbelt, even an airbag may not prevent your death? The seatbelt keeps you in place and the airbag ensure your nose and your teeth may be left intact. It may also prevent a concussion from your head slamming into your driver side window? We would all do better if our cars had rubber baby buggy bumpers.

Rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers. One smart feller, he felt smart, two smart feller's, they felt smart and what are you smelling?
Mx. Remy Ann David

studio33 Mon, 08/20/2012 - 21:57
If you arent already you should be paid to write Remy. I have been reading on the Behringer unit. Its biggest flaw seems to be that its gain starts at -10 for a line input so you have to set it on the +4 setting on the gain knob on each channel before you get a decent signal to use thus forcing you to use the preamps anyway. So its not a clear drawbridge for signal to pass through into a converter. HOWEVER! I listened to some tests on headphones and as I read people opinions and then listen and then read and then listen some more I cant find any significant difference between the Ber unit and the "oh my gosh I cant believe I just spent that much money unit". Im beginning to think stuff like. "these people are nuts it sounds good darn it!!"

Im not seeing anything about headroom talked about anywhere. The only thing I am seeing is the stuff about the line input levels not being hot enough without gain. This might be dangerous; but would you elaborate?

RemyRAD Wed, 08/22/2012 - 12:00
studio33, I don't think you're quite understanding what's actually going on? Many of these Pro-consumer units have to offer -10 & +4. When you select -10, there's a simple and straightforward buffer amplifier. Simple buffer amplifiers rarely screw up a signal much. They are usually operating at relatively low gain levels.

When switching to +4, sometimes the buffer amplifier is simply eliminated. Other times it's gain is cranked back to a more unity gain mode of operation. And without operating with any amplification gain, most buffer amplifiers become more linear, lower in noise and distortion components. Not to mention a broader bandwidth/frequency response.

The clearest indication that you have some headroom working for you is the output capability rating. The best IC chips can't usually deliver much more than +18 into a 600 ohm load. Whereas more professionally designed studio equipment frequently meets or exceeds +24 to +30. So you get 6 to 12 DB more head room. And that's significant. That's what separates toy equipment from real equipment.

The only time you'll experience line input levels "not having enough gain", are line inputs, generally designed for +4 inputs rather than from consumer equipment that only delivers an output level of -10. Which would then not have enough level to drive a +4 input, such as an original 1176 LN which only have 600 ohm inputs which are terminated with 600 ohms. Consumer Pro equipment will then clip terribly when trying to drive a 1176 or, any other 600 ohm terminated input. And it's this professional rating that allows for the true transference of incredible transients. Semi-professional equipment frequently flattens out transients in a less than flattering way. This is another reason why I really don't give a damn about recording at 24-bit. 24-bit does not instill professional level performance if the active audio electronics in front of the converter cannot handle or deliver that load of active dynamic range. Which is another reason why the best professional equipment always seems to outperform the best semi-professional equipment.

That's not to say that all semi-professional and semi-proconsumer isn't usable. It is, when proper levels and precautions are taken. Along with the requisite proper settings of gain so as to take full advantage of its broad ranging but lower delivery levels. In some of those instances, you may want to swap a little gain and noise for a little more headroom response? And especially since noise can be dealt with, much more effectively in the land of digital recording and software use. So having an output device not capable of more than +18 may require the requisite input buffer amplifier designed for signals whose nominal level is -10 for its input source. There is nothing detrimental about this when used correctly. It's just a different concept in gain staging powered by less capable amplification stages. I've used both types of equipment without worry or fear of increased noise or reduced headroom since I understand gain staging. Though it may become a factor if the equipment is not adjustable and designed for -10 inputs. Feeding that kind of an input with +4, will generally ensure some kind of input overload distortion, which could facilitate the lowering of the output level of the +4 device. And it's there, that additional noise may be realized since gain staging would be a bit lopsided.

Unfortunately a lot of people are making this mistake and don't understand why they are getting such an increase in noise and/or distortion. Another example would be utilizing something like a API microphone preamp and plugging its output into a line input, designed to see a device that is only -10 at its output. A professional piece is pushing out more than 20 DB extra level that the -10 input device does not want to see. And that's why a lot of professional boutique pieces of equipment now feature output level controls. Not only do you need that output level control to match to lower input rated line level inputs, you need it when you are over gaining the preamp for its " character sound ". Setting the output gain control to its nominal position will provide a more than overloaded output. So you need to lower its output level before feeding a more sensitive input level device. Then you can glean what that preamp really has to offer. But not without taking the appropriate measures. Without taking the appropriate measures, people end up blaming their equipment and wondering why it is so awful. The equipment isn't awful but their understanding of gain staging is. Gain staging is a bit of the art combined with the science. And it's a bit confusing for folks who don't understand the art of gain staging. It's something that makes a difference between what sounds like a professional recording and one made by an amateur.

So that is correct, you will not hear much of a difference between a properly utilized and gain staged device such as a Behringer even in comparison to an Apogee and if you don't overload it. The Behringer that is. The rest of the differences are subtle nuances. If that's subtle nuance is worth the extra money to you, great! If it isn't, you can still make effective professional recordings without dropping too much of a load of dollars. However proper gain staging must be effected to glean the maximum out of a less than stellar piece of equipment. And that's why a person like myself can make a good recording on a broken, 30-year-old piece of Peavey PA mixer crap. I know exactly what it can and cannot do. Sure, it still offers a +4 output but nothing more than +18 worth of peak headroom. And channel strip inserts designed for -10 inputs and outputs. So, no, 1176's on those inserts. DBX, no problem. No I don't want to feed an API microphone preamp into the Peavey line level inputs. It's not designed for that. And you won't glean much by trying. Sure you might hear a sweeter sound but at what level does all of the distortion kick in? And I generally wouldn't waste my money with a setup like that. I would just rely on its substandard microphone preamps and deal with it.

Headroom is as headroom does.
Mx. Remy Ann David


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