2017 - 16 channel ADDA converter choices and why?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by audiokid, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I need a new high quality 16 channel ADDA converter for my hybrid DAW system. I would also be looking for the best matching interface for this as well. Stability and sound quality is the goal. What would you choose and why?

    Thanks for chiming in.
     
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  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Chris ! You know what ? I'd probably ask you if I was looking for one ;)
     
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  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Assuming you mean 16 A-D line-level inputs plus 16 line-level outputs, there aren't that many boxes available that will fulfill that spec. You didn't say what range of interface types you would entertain.

    I'm sure you know the several of the ranges from various manufacturers, but here's a couple of examples:

    The Lynx Aurora is one of the standard boxes for this sort of work, and is reasonably priced for the number of channels. They also have new 24 and 32 channel versions, and the boxes can be fitted with Dante cards. I find the Aurora a very good but not spectacular converter.

    I've been very impressed with the Prism ADA-8XR modular kit. You would need two chasses, probably set up as one box with 16 A-D and one box with 16 D-A. There are optional interface types, including FireWire, various PT boards and (amazingly) DSD. Not cheap.

    Not really in the same league, but I recently used my A+H Zed-R16 mixer as a 16-in, 16-out interface, and was surprised by the quality of what came through it.

    What have you been considering for this task?
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Thanks for chiming in Bos and Marco, for the vote of confidence. You made me smile.

    Bos, excellent start to this, thanks.

    The OP is ultimately for me but I would like share this thread for others heading this way too, so please feel welcome to deep in deeper on hybrid converters, should others have questions.

    Back to me.

    Yes!
    To clarify, these converters will be racked for studio tracking and mixing (not mobile) and no preamplification is needed. The ideal specs would be something like this:
    • Input level for 0 dBFS: +24 dBu, +19 dBu, +13 dBu, +4.2 dBu, each adjustable in steps
    • Output level for 0 dBFS: +24 dBu, +19 dBu, +13 dBu, +4.2 dBu, each adjustable in steps
    • Output level global: 0 down to -96 dB in 48 steps
    • Sample rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz, variable (sync/word)
    DA 16 channels > analog summing console

    Pre 2016, I've been most impressed with either AES EBU or MADI interfacing but expect this will change and include USB 3.1 or newer and Thunderbolt.

    The interfacing will include Midi because I produce electronic tracks using an array of vintage and modern controllers.
    The workflow will be for full band tracking and piece by piece overdubbing with mics or midi production. So basically I need rock solid interfacing that can do the lowest latency.

    So far Antelope Audio Orion 32/ RME MADI PCIe has been the most solid but the sound quality of Orion 32 are less quality than Prism or Lavry but could live with less quality to gain performance.
    I'm spoiled from Prism and Lavry but I find Prism and Lavry better for capturing a mix apposed to tracking and production (low latency overdubbing in larger sessions).

    I've read Lynx Aurora's are quick like Antelope but have also heard them to not sound quite as sweet. Those opinions are based on hearsay, pre 2016 back though.

    I am expecting the next crop of converters to sound and perform better to what I just sold off.
     
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I did a bit of searches and a lot of highend stuff doesn't have realtime mixer, which I guess meens they would work well with a mixerboard or we'd need to use the DAW realtime monitormix fonctions. Using the DAW mix for headphones kinda make me fear computer crashes or latency. I think I'd be missing RME Totalmix a lot if I had to change...
    The Red product and SSL seems interesting as well.
    But it will be hard to reach prism or Lavry.
    Mytek does some nice stuff but no 16 ports..
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    If I understand you Marco, I would use external monitoring like the Dangerous Monitor ST. This converter would feed the DA to the Monitor controller. Once I set up the converter channels on RME, Prism or Antelope I never use the converter mixers again. All they do is establish L/R path which is simply the stem channel of the buss lanes of the DAW, the rest of the configuring happens in either the DAW or console then. All analog hardware routing is passed onto SSL Xpatch.
    I don't know anything about either Red or SSL. I haven't heard any upper praise about SSL though.
     
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    What I meen is, I use Totalmix which is a software that controls the internal realtime mixer of my Fireface 800
    I can do as many mixes as outputs with this software.. ;)
    but if you have external multiple monitor controler your set.. For exemple if your 16 inputs are patch to the outputs and somehow you send that to headphone controlers, the musicians could do there own mix live.. Me, I just do it for them on the screen...
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Gotcha! A better monitor controller would be nice. I currently use the Little Red Cue box which allows the talent to adjust the volume but that's all. Can or could your talent actually adjust the mix individually using TotalMix? If so, that is something I completely missed ever knowing or doing!
     
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    As I said, with totalmix, I'm the one doing the mix for the talents.
    But would it not be nice if we could send all the seperate track to a system which lets the talent make their own mixes.. I know some live mixers can do that.
    The Yamaha tf5, if I remember, can even let the talent modify their mixes with their iphones via wifi !!! :)

    So with a 16 in 16 out , the outs could go to some kind of splitter or split snake. One path could go to your second DAW and the other path to a mix by talent system,,, ;)
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    exactly!

    I was thinking a StudioLive might work well as a talent mixer.
     
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    what happened to the converters you had?
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    We had a family crisis and I was forced to liquidate things I knew I could replace. Converters are the one thing I feel are evolving to the better.
     
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    sorry to hear that Chris. i hope things are better now.
     
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  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    How intricate do you want the performer's mixes to be - that is, what is the degree of control you want them each to have?
    Obviously, you'll want to provide each of them controls for track volume(s)... but... do you also want them to be able to adjust for Stereo/Mono? Panning? Tone Controls?

    If you've got enough outs ( discreet or submix) to send each performer at least the important tracks (or sub-mixes/stems) of the mix - and it sounds like you do - then maybe you should look into something like the Aviom system?

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...duct_id=A320&gclid=CJnfu4vhqNICFYmVfgodPKUGQw

    You would need one of these for each performer, which isn't cheap ( $300 per mixer U.S.) but would seemingly give the talent a great deal of control for each of their monitor mixes.

    Dave ( @dvdhawk ) has this system - maybe he could chime in with pros and cons ? ...

    FWIW
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Thanks Donny,
    I'm not needing anything elaborate to monitor talent right now. I have looked into other methods over the years including the Aviom system which looks very nice. I use the Little Red Cue Box for now which is okay. Marco brought up the subject of a more advanced monitoring method using TotalMix and I simply extended the idea that a Studiolive console might do that.
     
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  16. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

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    If you can rent one check out the Motu 16A.. I was never a Motu fan... I called it the Motu mud.. But the AVB line sounds solid.
     
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  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    The big question is always budget. Then there's getting something high spec but in only two channels for the capture rig. I'm finding high spec is usually more than stereo i.e. Overkill channel count. The high end stereo stuff is both a high cost per channel as expected, but I've not come across one that has full adjustable adda levels. The RME stereo converter offers selectable choices of like 4 levels I believe.

    The other thing is modular or not... I'm interested in DAD comverters, which are card based in a rackmount chasis. They have various io cards and 2 and 5 card chassis. Not cheap, but modular which opens things up financially. And overall not more expensive than any other botique converter. Not sure on adjustability of adda levels

    In Bang for the the Buck (on paper) I think the lynx e44 Pcie converter cannot be beat. It's not perfect but quite good. It's pcie so latency is as good as any system out there, it's got the ability to digitally select between 3 levels on the adda , -24, -20, -18, if I remember correctly. It's also got continuously variable trim pot on each as well. So you can have some practical options for level easily selectable. I guess you'd have to run and it print a test tone or something w the manual option for repeatability.

    The design is essentially a lynx aurora in pcie form. They did some updates to the e44 card in 2015 as the aurora is about 12 years or so old.

    With pcie chassis it makes it easy to move cards around between computers or external pcie chassis and also lynx has various cards like the aes 16 and others that work side by side with each other's.


    Burl mothership is a contender for 16ch adda. The focusrite rednet stuff is intriguing. Even if it's not something you decide on its worth looking into becuase it's got unique features that open interesting configurations and workflow options. I don't think either of those are adjustable.

    The thing about thunderbolt and and USB 3.x from a latency perspective is they are only good as they're drivers. In that case a company like RME shines with reliable low latency performance. I'm going pcie new even now, becuase I think it's a more mature technology and TB/USB3 isn't outperforming pcie even unstabley, so I'm not seeing any benefits unless it's a rig without pcie slots like a laptop.

    If the new mytek 8ch unit can be linked up it could be the perfect marriage of quality vs price be ch count. They had myteks over at sears sound, where they literally could use any converter innhe world.

    This is a rough time to be shopping for a flagship unit. The cutting edge stuff has few options, and the rest is all somewhat re hashed conversion, with a focus on dsp and connectivity type.

    as far as midi goes the motu rackmout midi io seems like a reliable choice.
     
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  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    From what I can find the RME adi-8 is the only one that meets the criteria of for I/o level adjustment. @audiokid was that you in another thread here that said the ADI was among the best you've heard?

    Other than that is seems like most converters levels are fixed or offer less adjustment options.

    It also seems that chassis / card type units are the only ones breaking the 8 ch barrier in a single unit. Those and the pcie based stuff.
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Yes, I owned two ADI-8 QS' , thought 24 channels was necessary so I sold them because I couldn't justify another $3000 for 8 more channels ($9000.00 for 24 channels of ADI 8 QS')

    I sold both ADI-8's for an Orion32 which was a step back but the remainder of my money went towards a Bricasti M7 which I soon discovered was a really good trade-off because of what Bricasti's do for imaging.

    The top RME converters coupled together with their PCIe interfacing is second to none.
     
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    One thing that RME didn't do well was change SR (88.2 vs 44.1) without a reboot to the converter. In a two DAW workflow I often switch SR during sessions for various reasons. RME ADI 8 QS' would freeze, require a converter reboot where the Orion 32 , Prism Orpheus, Prism Atlas and Lavry Blacks would do this no problem. Most people don't switch like that so its not really a big deal.

    The ADI-8 QS' were AES EBU (including 110 ohm digital Mogami cabling) interface (They didn't have the optional MADI $800 cards added).
    After using USB2, Firewire 400 and 800, MADI and AES EBU interfacing, I also noticed MADI PCIe interfacing to be the most stable interface of all. From these experiences, MADI is my choice for larger channel workflows but would settle on AES EBU as a second.
     

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