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Why is Motu considered the orphan stepchild of A/D/A's?

Greetings all. I'm new here. I was on this board quite a while back and took a hiatus for a long time, but I've gotten into recording again.

Anyway, so I was looking to upgrade my small home studio to 24 I/O's, so I can make a go at running a small profesional recording facility because I really need the spare money. I looked at all the high priced options... and thats totally out of my budget. No Lavry's, Prisms, Myteks, Genec, or even Apogees for me.

So I'm kind of looking more towards the midrange. Looking for equipment that I can run a semi professional studio with, that won't basically cause a potential client to laugh his ass of when he sees the equipment. Kind like saying, yeah come down to my studio, I have an awesome Behringer mixing console.

I'm an electrical engineer, so I know how to read specs quite well... but it seems that a lot of time, peoples opinions on A/D/A's don't correlate at all with the specs. Some of the best supposed ADAs have pretty average specs... and some of the midrange ADA's have great specs. This kind of confuses me a tad.

As an electrical engineer, I understand that specs do not necessarily correlate with human hearing perception... still its confusing to an extent.

Its kind of like comparing the HD24XR versus the Radar Nyquist. They both have almost identical specifications (I think they might even use the same ADA, not sure)... and even though people seem to give the HD24XR the due credit that it deserves for the price... despite the nearly equal specs, the Radar is considered so much better. Why don't the specs make for a good evaluation of a units potential sound quality?



Anyway, so I was looking at MUTU HD192 and the MOTU 24I/O... leaning towards the HD192 as I was thinking its 192 sampling rate would be better for a mid range studio. The specs on the HD192 seemed to be virtually equal to that of the Apogee Rosetta AD/16-X and DA/16X... as it has 120dB of Dynamic range, and an excellent distortion figure rivaling that of the Apogee.

So... I do a bit more research. and I find that hating, or at least mildly disdaining MOTU is a sport among gear enthusiasts.. I kind of new this for many years. but before I went and plopped down money on this piece of gear, I wanted to check all the usual forums for opinions... and sure enough. disliking Motu seems to be only slightly less of a sport than picking on Behringer.

My question. Why?

Why can MOTU's specs be so good, rivaling that of some of the better units, but yet be considered such a medicore sounding piece of equipment?

I am aware that MOTU has always had driver issues for many people... but thats not the subject of my question... and its a problem unique to all units... thats just the nature of computer based recording. I'm more interested why people find the sound so mediocre. I trust peoples judgement, but sometimes I think that theres a whole lot of unfounded gear snobbery going on... that people just dismiss midrange units without really giving it a fair shake.



Anyway. Now that MOTU seems to be such a laughing stock among so many people, I kind of decided its a bad business decision to put that in my studio... which is a shame... because it seemed like a good unit... and I'm going to have to go with something else.

Over at Gearslutz, a lot of people have been touting the AudioFire 12 by a company called Echo, as the cats meow. Not a well known or distributed brand. but a lot of people over there seem to think its the best mid ranged converter on the market (price per channel), and consider it a definate step above MOTU.

It looks like a nice unit, and in facts its cheap as hell (half the price of MOTU)... some people at Gearslutz swear its the "best kept secret" in the A/D/A midrange market. . but after looking at the units specs... I am once again confused at why specs don't correlate to sound. The distortion on the unit is a bit higher than the MOTU (though still good), and the Dynamic Range is only 113/114dB (A-weighted) versus 120dB (A-weighted) for the MOTU HD192. so I'm confused.

Comments

Cucco Tue, 01/30/2007 - 06:14
That's our Ol' School Remy!

I would LOVE to have a 24 track studio with an Alesis HD24 and a mixing console with automation. I would completely and totally ditch the computer and live happily ever after. I think the industry is heading in the other direction though. I'm constantly reading about this and that famous producer or engineer who gave up their SSL-G and moved to a Mac IBook...it's insane!

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 01/30/2007 - 08:03
Cucco wrote: That's our Ol' School Remy!

I would LOVE to have a 24 track studio with an Alesis HD24 and a mixing console with automation. I would completely and totally ditch the computer and live happily ever after. I think the industry is heading in the other direction though. I'm constantly reading about this and that famous producer or engineer who gave up their SSL-G and moved to a Mac IBook...it's insane!

Pffftt. Yeah, but how do you edit things then without the computer?

I dig doing things the 'old fashioned way' to some extent... I do like analog consoles and I prefer high quality outboard gear to crappy or even average or decent computer plug-ins... but I dont see how you do serious editing in such a manner to produce a polished song.

Most of those outboard hard drive recorders like the Alesis HD24XR, Mackie and Fostex probably have some primitive editing capabilities, but I think it was only the Mackie outboard HD recorder which allowed for "real" editing because it had an attachable computer monitor to the Mackie unit with a built in editing program, but even that was probably simplified editing capabilities at best.

I dont see how you could possibly do any kind of advanced editing on these things.... like doing sophisticated panning and cross fading, or whatever else that software programs lets you do.

I'm not that 'old school'when it comes to recording, so I kind of don't have the perspective to see how certain things were even done before computers. The very fact that people even spliced tape manually still blows my mind.

The only way I can see producing a finished song using strictly an outboard HD recorder and a mixer is by 'mixing down'. Running the multitracks you previously recorded into the mixer... and then doing all the panning and necessary volume control of each track there, and then taking that mix-down and recording it stereo for your final mix. But that sucks! Thats primitive at best, because if you needed to make even one itsy bitsy change, then you have to go and do the whole entire mix down over again....because you cant just go and change one little part like you can on computer DAW software.

Boswell Tue, 01/30/2007 - 08:27
Cucco wrote: I would LOVE to have a 24 track studio with an Alesis HD24 and a mixing console with automation. I would completely and totally ditch the computer and live happily ever after. I think the industry is heading in the other direction though. I'm constantly reading about this and that famous producer or engineer who gave up their SSL-G and moved to a Mac IBook...it's insane!
Insane, I agree. But it leaves the field wider open for the rest of us who do have a 24/48 track studio with HD24s and a mixing console with automation! How many of the problems with modern recordings are due to the performers struggling to deal with computer-induced latency issues, or the engineer carefully crafting a DAW-Eq'd sound from an instrument that then sits badly in the rest of the mix? Too many engineers I encounter love to wallow in their comfort zone of plugin driving plugin driving plugin to make a manufactured sound that is so far removed from the original that you often wonder what was being played in the studio.

RemyRAD Tue, 01/30/2007 - 09:40
Believe me, I'm from the older days. I have cut so much tape! There's almost nothing you can't do if you are imaginative, creative, talented enough and understand how to use your tools like any professional does. But I have synchronized numerous recorders together without time code, without sprocket holes, just a real flange and my finger! Here you can have my finger! Not that finger!! That's my editing finger.

Computers make other things easier and keep the cost of tape down substantially. But who cares about the cost of tape if you had a $40,000 budget? Nobody, right!

Doing the double whammy of combining both analog and digital will continue for quite some time ad infinitum, until a truly high-quality actual digital microphone, that is affordable, is created. But I think it will have to utilize lasers and how many people want to point lasers at their vocal cords, nose and eyes? I mean it sounds and looks like many have?? Do you suppose that the lasers would burn holes in the drumheads? Or perhaps burn holes through the soundboard on the Steinway? It could certainly helped to give you that Jimi Hendrix sound by burning holes through your guitar amplifier speakers! And I know everybody wants that!

Zaaapppppppp hey! I just got rid of that unwanted hair!
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 01/20/2007 - 22:04
Anyway.... Now that MOTU seems to be such a laughing stock among so many people, I kind of decided its a bad business decision to put that in my studio... which is a shame... because it seemed like a good unit... and I'm going to have to go with something else.



i know this one producer that use to work at the hit factory . when i went to his house he strongly recommended his MOTU ada to me and told me the importance of having an ada of such high quality. after hearing that i was convinved that this was a better piece of converter than my tascam fw1084, then i went back in my room and forgot all about it until now.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 01/30/2007 - 11:32
oh remy, so witty. i think conversion is important, not necessarily using 192kHz bit sampling, 96 is fine and most everything you have heard has been done on it. you could just get small stereo converters if you are interested in saving money, since that is what most of your signal paths are going to be comprised of anyways.

you don't want to be at the mercy of a BS little interface's noiser and relatively shitter conversion. most everything in this realm is a matter of nuance, but think about everytime you do outboard dynamic processing, you are at the mercy of the interface

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 02/12/2007 - 21:29
Cucco wrote: That's our Ol' School Remy!

I would LOVE to have a 24 track studio with an Alesis HD24 and a mixing console with automation. I would completely and totally ditch the computer and live happily ever after. I think the industry is heading in the other direction though. I'm constantly reading about this and that famous producer or engineer who gave up their SSL-G and moved to a Mac IBook...it's insane!


The industry has no clue whatsoever where they are heading other than where their noses lead them where they can smell money. There is no gameplan. Its all a random crap shoot. They are abandoning the SSL because market demand cannot justify it anymore. Too much mantenance overhead. They now think that God sent his only begotten son to earth aka - 'Duende the Savior' - to replace the 4000 E/G console. Yeah dream on ...

The HD24XR is a fine machine and huge bang for the buck but fraught with peril and has a MFG that has closed out its product life cycle for all practical purposes. If you go this route, join the yahoo hd24 group and find out what you should do, what you should not do, what to buy interms of hd's and how to not get caught in the pitfalls that are real showstoppers -- like file size, inadvertent power offs etc. Huge bang for the buck, but get Jim Williams to do the mods he does and you'll not need a RADAR.

I've been using these for some time in mobile units, and these sumbiches take a lot of beating. Would I crate up my RADARs in a shock rack and tout the world as we do with the Alesis stuff. Hell no. These RADARs are for fixed facilities even though I have mine in shock racks and cocasionally move them around CONUS but not OCONUS..

The AKM converters in most MDMs are the same crap everybody else is using. The rest of the circuit makes the diff. The Nyquist and S-Nyquist are very sweet, in fact even at 44 & 44 on the S-Nyquist nobody comes close as being so musical. I record everything now at 24/88.2 or 24/96 as I found this to be my zone. 24.192 is just too much data for the computer, and even though most of my work is OTB thru mixers and analog outboard, the files are still too much data and have to be thinned out if you will. A nightmare for ITB heads out there.

I am thinking of upgrading my HD24XRs (8 of them deployed ready for retirement) and getting 8 new ones and get Jim to mod 4 with Burr Browns and the other 4 with the $100 more mod for classical recording. The only thing holding me back is the Tascam X48. I had a meeting with my crews in Dec and they all advised me to wait. Its been a year and Im still waiting on these folks. Maybe it will worth the wait after all maybe not. I saw their video and was not impressed on their lack of enthusiasm of their own product. (See: http://tascamforums.com/index.php?s=9be326dbae086e8b1efbd7d3aa5c1cb8&showtopic=15069&pid=99380&st=0entry99380 )

I dunno. MOTU is ok for a small laptop getupandgo config. RME IMO is great and very well engineered and has a gerat software interface. Lynx and Apogee and and Mytek and Lavry and all the rest are at the top of the heap so they say. I dunno. I don't record anything directly to a desktop computer -- thats retarded but people do it evceryday. But I do use RME products for playback from the computer when I do do ITB Nuendo and Logic stuff in lieu of crappy soundcards. What makes these better than the others I guess is the engineering and components. But then you read what Fletcher said at: ( http://tascamforums.com/index.php?s=9be326dbae086e8b1efbd7d3aa5c1cb8&showtopic=15069&pid=99380&st=0entry99380 ) to which I have to concur, and one asks why would anybody record on anything else in a fixed facility? Money? Sure. But folks like us who need an analog tape player archetype at our fingertips because that is the way we work we just cannot live without MDMs.

How people work ITB and work one track at a time and sit in fron of a computer monitor all day long and sit there and tweak digital parameters and say they are making music is beyond me. I and they are obviously from different planets.

And how about this promised Mackie D1200F coming soon? This might throw a bloody tampon into the converters mix market for everybody to grab the string with their teeth and jerk it out and suck on foir a while huh? TDIF, AES, ADAT, 12 channels of Onyx grade mic preamps @24/96 and if these work duplex can be a very nice duplex ad/da -- da/ad conversion back and forth as a front end into existing DAWs, MDM, Yamaha Mixers, etc

I like analog boards, analog mixes and analog mixdown and mastering. As much as ITB will ever emerge and evolve, that will always be my preference. Don't think for a minute that OTB mixes are ever going away. Folks are abandoning the ITB world daily for forever when they come out and do a mix in realtime and hear the diff and say to themselves "OMF God! what was I thinkng all this time?"

Well. What the hell were we talking about again? Oh yeah ...

Its all good. Life is hard and then we all die. Hopefully when we all get to heaven, St Pete'll have a MegaStudio for us all to get into to record mix and master the heavenly choir. Will it be ITB or OTB? Live or Memorex? Time will tell ...

~skygod~

hueseph Sun, 01/21/2007 - 00:59
You gotta know that specs aren't everything. At best they could be made up and who's to question it? Are you going to do all the tests to confirm the specs? At any rate. I know at least two people who use or have used MOTU interfaces without complaint. In the end it's not the gear anyway, it's the ears behind the console. As far as recording at 192kHz sample rate, buy a large hard drive. Make that several large removeable hard drives.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 11/29/2007 - 06:46
Very useful X48 reviews to date:

Very useful reviews to date:

Neither review hopeful for me anyway. Tascam also seems inaccessible. I think I'll stick with HD24XRs for live/remote recordings into the near future. Look out Jim Williams, here I come. These puppies seem the only real game in town left where these can be shockproofed easily in a rack and go and get the job done! So I'll have to live w/12 ch loss at 4/88-96 Oh well...

BTW non-related - rec'd an interesting email the other day, but don't know if this is true or not. The jist was that Fox news did a national telephonic survey to get the folks' feedback on the out-of-control immigration issue impacting the nation -- large population sample called.

Apparently 26 percent of the respondents said "There definitely exists a national crisis and demands the central government step up to the plate and fix it NOW!"

Then the remaining 74 percent responded with "No es una prolema in Estados Unidos!"

Whether true or not, I thought it was humorous regardless lol.

Remember the Alamo - :)

~skygod~

bwmac Thu, 11/29/2007 - 08:17
I hate to limit myself to hardware like the HD24.
I use a PC with sonar-6 produce edition
spec it out here
cdrecordingsoftware.com/sonar3pe.html

It has unlimited recording and tracking and editing

I use the 64 bit version of sonar and the motu 828 mkll 64 bit installed drivers (now there are some freaking tempermental drivers)

All in all...... unlimited, It has OMFI & Broadcast Wave import/export for collaboration with Digital Performer, Logic, Nuendo, and Pro Tools studios
but I like to just say I can swap files with
the others.

Debunker Mon, 12/14/2015 - 14:46
Although inconvenient the engineering way is to do a fair test. That would be done by recording the right hand piano keys above middle 'c' and comparing the time smear from the a/d.
At 192khz 5 microseconds is possible but less than 10us is good,
The test can be done by just listening if you know what to listen for.
The HD has a great reputation if used with a good. Rendering engine where ProTools is the undisputed leader. Comparing unlike interfaces or drivers is uncertain and in fact the use of FireWire is also rumored to be an orphaned interface all by itself. The fact that Tascam only made an internal card for DM24 for six months is one reason why.

Debunker Mon, 12/14/2015 - 19:31
Don't confuse change with progress. point: XP is still widely tauted as the best operating system in the world in polls by IT managers; hearsay perhaps but worth noting. 2nd this new usb-C can stream two 4K signals with audio, but you need a 64 bit operating system, and those bios chips won't run 32 bit XP, so that means only old laptops have the ports all there and thankfully you can upgrade from 2.0 usb (that uses usb 1 as a sampling rate) to 3.0 or 3.1 that can do 192Khz. This thread may be old but its still the case where no downloads except CD special codec 192Khz are buyable online. That leaves this thread really of interest only to recording studio folks. And for those folks the progress you point to is just making already miserable market trending even worse. Note what I mean partly is that at 192k rate, the 10us is 'good' and that means that really you get effectively half that rate so the USB 2.0 (90-100) khz interface likewise if it is likewise prone to playback at twice the time smear is really an effective 44 to 52 Khz resolution for certain instruments like the piano or other loud sources (drums?). It depends upon your point of view.
If you are trying to buy medical grade glass optical ADA cable, it's no longer buy online ready. Hardly possible to get glass which is the only 192khz capable cable in the Toslink connector - and with 8 years of DVD and HD video too!

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 02/13/2007 - 10:24
skygod wrote: The only thing holding me back is the Tascam X48. I had a meeting with my crews in Dec and they all advised me to wait. Its been a year and Im still waiting on these folks. Maybe it will worth the wait after all maybe not. I saw their video and was not impressed on their lack of enthusiasm of their own product. (See: http://tascamforums.com/index.php?s=9be326dbae086e8b1efbd7d3aa5c1cb8&showtopic=15069&pid=99380&st=0entry99380 )

~skygod~


Don't hold your breath waiting on that mythical TASCAM X-48.

TASCAM has got to be one of the most pathetic god awful disreputable companies of all timein the audio market.

Not because their products are not good... but just because they are the archetypical example of a megaconglomo business model who operates on a "cut our losses and abandon the product" type philosophy.

If the product didnt generate X Dollars as they projected.... they just abandon the product line. They did that to all their DAW controllers, and they'll probably do it to the X48.

Tascam is your classic example of an uber efficient company that is run by "bean counters" who have no loyalty whatsoever to their customers and do only for themselves.

They introduce products (or claim to introduce mythical products). They string customers along for years on end with vile lies they know to be not true, making false promises [X-48] about release dates, and then when and if they do actually manage top release the products... they seem to abandon them as quickly as they release them. They "hang their customers out to dry".

The way I see it, when a company like TASCAM strings potential customers along for years on end, by making knowingly flase claims of release dates, they are essentially screwing customers over. They are costing people money, a potentially tortable offense which wouldprobably stand up in civil court. They are screwing studio owners over who have made major life altering choices which affect that studios 'bottom line'. A great many studios have been waiting for this mythical X-48, and they have forstalled other gear purchases in expctation for the X48's release. TASCAM is thus hurting studios by knowingly lying about their mythical products release date.

I would not be the least bit surprised if they ever do release the mythical X-48 albatross, that it was not abandoned within 2 years.

Mark my words. Remember what I am saying now. They will abandon that product within about 2 years time, just like they have done with every single DAW controller they have released within the last few years.

The X48 may be a great useable product even if they do abandon it.... but still.... the fact that they dont stand behind their products long term shows you what a disreputable company they are. It illustrates what kind of an anti-customer bean-counting business model they operate on... Screw the customers or supporting customers who dropped 7 grande on their products. Wham bam thanks alot mam'. Thanks for your 7 grand...now your on your own because we're no longer supporting that product.

Debunker Tue, 12/15/2015 - 03:54
Ha! If you do not keep a copy of both 64 and 32 XP with a copy of service pack 3 AND remember never to install a more recent verizon of windows then if you use laptops to dj / record / remix you will be sorry especially when 192khz of NOT codec but raw file steaming becomes the audio standard. Why? Similar to DOS THE MICROSOFT SYSTEMS ATE TRIJAN HORSEF TO DESTROY ALL PRIOR DISKS OD DOS, in XP' case they chose to rewrite the bios chip so you will never be able to uninstall the newer operating system much less have a chance at reinstall action of XP on that chipset. Jeez we have to get you guys on recording.org up to speed, newbies. What a pain in my ass.

audiokid Tue, 12/15/2015 - 07:24
Debunker, post: 434477, member: 49593 wrote: Ha! If you do not keep a copy of both 64 and 32 XP with a copy of service pack 3 AND remember never to install a more recent verizon of windows then if you use laptops to dj / record / remix you will be sorry especially when 192khz of NOT codec but raw file steaming becomes the audio standard. Why? Similar to DOS THE MICROSOFT SYSTEMS ATE TRIJAN HORSEF TO DESTROY ALL PRIOR DISKS OD DOS, in XP' case they chose to rewrite the bios chip so you will never be able to uninstall the newer operating system much less have a chance at reinstall action of XP on that chipset. Jeez we have to get you guys on recording.org up to speed, newbies. What a pain in my ass.
I don't know... I'm still not seeing your rational. Most of us move along with progress. As an example, I can't use the preferred DAW system on XP, nor would I want to. Its old now.
Living in some dark corner so you can keep the 20th century still alive in your box might seem like a wise and noble thing for you but to anyone else progressing along in this business would disagree. Why? I'm pretty certain I'll still be working and learning how to adapt while guys like you are coming on forums like this trying to convince people you no wtf you are talking about.
Why would I care to stay in a dated OS where there is no business or culture? Sounds like you are one of those guys who worries about the wrong things.

We move in the direction of the ADC.

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