Front End to digi002 for Drum Kit

Discussion in 'Drums' started by michael_midfi, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Greetings RO:

    While I was tempted to post this on the 'Studio' board as well since mic selection and technique are factored in, I think it makes the most sense here on the Gear forum.

    Here goes: which eight channel mic pre would one select for best quality (and value) to record a rock drummer? Will have a mix of SM57 and AKG condenser mics direct - plus a stereo pair of Rode condensers as the OH mics. Poss another condenser on the room.

    My shopping 'wish list' now includes the Mackie Onyx 800R (front runner), PreSonus Digimax LT 48, and the Focusrite Octopre.
    The latter two A/Ds include some form of compressor/limiter in the chain along with the usu. 48V HPF and other 'standard' options on each channel. Was also thinking that the Mackie 1620 console is a good value since I could use its post-EQ and channel direct outs to my 002R and also use the board for creating up to four cue sends to headphone amp via the AUX sends.

    Thoughts comments, questions, flames all appreciated. Thanks!
  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Check out the Studio Projects SP828 also.
  3. miks

    miks Guest

    what about using optical/spdif? are there any 8 ch pres like that?
  4. Thanks to David French... looks like a nice piece of kit. And if the pan pots don't alter the direct outs, then there are my sub-group / monitor mix outs ... Sold!

    To miks: all of the 1R units I mentioned including the new Mackie offer ADAT lightpipe outs, AES digital, and I think the PreSonus is switchable over to the pro-sumer S/PDIF.

    A/D conversion in the 002R is known to be less than stellar (crap :)), but I'm not sure if the others are much better in that Dept. It's a matter of convenience, too, since the 002 only includes four (4) mic pres and I'd need more than that for live drum and bass.
  5. Aziel

    Aziel Guest

    i have an 002 and a ISA428...just 4 pres but 8 A/D converters (with optional card) so, you can add another 4 pres from other devices...around 2300$...but i can tell you it´s a BIG step... :cool:

    PD: like the converters too...above 002s
  6. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I'm not sure exactly what you're saying here, but the direct outs on the new mixers are pre-EQ.

    I'd agree that its conversion is less than stellar, but I wouldn't call it "crap". It's decent.

  7. Thanks to Duardo. I should have checked the specs on the Onyx I was used to the signal path on the 1604.

    Think after all of these suggestions I am going with the SP828. I'm maybe one or two channels short but I can make that up by using the S/PDIF out of an existing mic pre.

    Now all I have to do is figure out if the 002 can handle this much audio reliably. I'm already looking at another FW bus. Cheers, mm
  8. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    The 002 can easily provide 18 tracks of audio to your computer. The question should be can your CPU keep up.

    What do you mean by another FW bus?

  9. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    I've been using the 001 and an Ai3 for track laying on location for a couple of years now.

    It's all good on a simple XP1800 based machine.
    Editing can also be peformed on the XP machine with reliability,
    Then tracks are transferred to a OSX TDM HD system for mixing.

    I tend not to use the 17 and 18th input as it means another device needs to clock.
    The Ai3 is quite well behaved and reliable. I'm sure there are now a couple of other units that can perform as well and I don't see why the newer 002 and a newer XP based machine wouldn't perform just as well.

    the move from PCI to Firewire could have some issues.
  10. Kev, do you have some more information on the Ai3? Sounds like a reliable unit.

    I should have mentioned in my orig post, I'm on a PowerBook G4 1.33GHz with 1GB mem.

    What I'm going to buy soon is a second FW interface to create one bus for incoming audio and one for the external hard drive(s).

  11. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Less than stellar? deffinately!
    Crap? no way! They are a big step above the 001..... now THAT is crap ;)
  12. Market update: Gear I want isn't even on the market yet! The Studio Projects SP828 is not in dealer's hands and manufacturer's delivery dates are "up in the air".

    Also, Mackie's Onyx 800R is nowhere to be found.

    Choice seems to be down to the OctoPre versus the Digimax LT (since I don't need 96K).

    Someone at scam ca$h suggested I use a Venice 160 PA desk for recording which I thought was a fine idea solving the issue of enough channels with EQ and aux sends for monitoring *until* I saw it's nearly $3,000 price tag!
  13. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    like what sort of info ?

    It has ligthpipe in and out and this allows it to chase the incoming clock signal and so the computer is the master. I prefer this as it keeps things a little more simple. Simple often leads to reliability.

    The audio I/O is on TRS and the front panel is switchable -10 and +4

    Not sure I completely believe their headroom specs and so I often end up at -10 so my mic-pre's can easily clip PT.
    Long explaination but I have made my mic-pres so I can do some internal trimming to get the desired result.

    As with many of the Alesis units there is a certain hyped sound but I find it useful and does contrast with the 001 analog inputs.

    I use this for locational recording and sometimes in the studio with my old 888-24. I haven't used it with a 96I/O yet.

    As with all things there is a compromise but I have never been sorry I bought the Ai3.
  14. Markd102, you are correct I think I should take back my "crap" comment above.

    My point really was, do you think that the mic pres inside the 002R could stand out compared with, say, a Mackie 1402-VLZ Pro?

    Those are pretty transparent high headroom and while they'd be no one's premier choice on here, I think they would do the job for recording drums with < 6 mics.
  15. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    "Kev, do you have some more information on the Ai3? Sounds like a reliable unit."

    and i would like to add.... one of the few 16bit converters claiming to be 24bit!!!!!

    pretty respectable!!! :? :? :? :shock: :shock: :-? :-?
  16. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    This is the second thread where you have tied the 16bit / 24 bit and signal to noise ratio in such a way.

    Seems as you only have part of the story. There are many factors when making any recommendation.
    I have said repeatedly that the Ai3 has given reliability and been well behaved on a few ligthpipe devices.
    Most of the new ones will probably sound better but you will need to wait for 2 years before you can give an opinion on reliability.

    Second hand this unit will be cheap and leave money to buy better Mic's and Mic-pres. These will be in use long after the Ai3 and the next generation of AD's is long gone.

    we will then be arguing over the merits of 192k ... fascinating stuff over at PSW in Dan Lavry's forum
    and many others
    like word clock
    this has a direct bearing on how the unit performs in a chase mode

    all too complicated to for a simple Lightpipe interface question ... especially when it is for a unit at the bottom of the food chain.

    As for the signal to noise and operating levels ... and bits ...
    we could go around in circles
    flip the lid and tell my what chip is being used ... then flip the lid on a few of the competitors ...
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The performance of the AI3 (or any other converter) is reliant on whether or not it is in slave mode or clocking on it's own. The internal clock is not very good but when the AI3 is clocking off computer at 24 bits the performance improves. Much of what makes some converters better than others is the clocking. On the other hand, if I had an Apogee converter that could send clock, I would slave the computer to that. Use whichever clock is the most stable.

    Almost all converters that utilize the ADAT lightpipes, uses the same proprietary ADAT chip from Alesis ... I believe that was what Kev was saying at the end of his last post ...

    When you look at what Kev wrote as to cost and obsolescence, the argument for the AI3 gets better. My feeling is that mics and pres really make much more of a difference than converters and I concur with Kevs observations. I've made some pretty successful albums with 16 bit ADAT and at the time those machines were at the edge of the technology, I was asking myself, "How much better does it need to be?"

    My take on converters is the same as mic pres, the mid priced products are still a compromise in one way or the other. The best are expensive. The rest are pretty much samo sameo excluding clocking. So if you clock a cheap converter with a better source, the performance improves to that of something that might be two or three times the price. But why pay for better clocking in a converter that you are going to sync to a computer?
  18. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    Converters does always utilies the least jitter when used with it's internal clock. By using an external clock in a converter the best performance you will get will always contain more jitter than the internal clock... unles you have a funky designed unit.

    Best Regards
  19. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    And this means...?
    Do you believe that they sound the same then?
  20. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Oh ! ... this is just too simplistic to say sound is better or sound is the same ...
    the application of a chip ... any chip digital or analog can have great bearing on both sound and associated performances.

    Lets leave the Ai3 just for a minute and look at another very popular budget ADDA.
    yes it is a B unit ... :shock:
    ... even so this is fun to look at
    It has been said by some that, it is a direct copy of an RME.
    It might only be that both companies have looked at the application notes for the relevant Wavefront AL1101 and 1201 chips and landed with similar results.
    it could be more devious, it is not for me to say.

    get to the point Kev.

    One of these units have a TL074 chip at both the input and the output. This TL074 could have great bearing on both sound and ultimate signal to noise ratio. It might also be interesting to know what operating level the AD and DA chips run at and how both companies chose to apply this to the outside world.

    I think this is where Alesis made some choices and ended up at lower that what many of you would call pro. ... -14 or -13dB or there abouts.

    side step
    another relatively unknown converter from :
    Digital Audio Denmark ADDA 2402 24-bit Audio Converter
    they don't tell the whole story in their brochure but they do go a bit deeper that some

    A/D conversion is 24-bit, and the resolution can be decreased to 20, 18 or 16 bits by adding psychoacoustic dither. This is done by implementing the algorithms and coefficients derived in Robert Wannamaker's Psychoacoustically Optimum Dither AES paper, which a friend of mine who designs converters read when it came out and described as a mathematical nightmare. This advanced dither feature is ‘free' with the CS5397 — fortunately there are talented individuals who are able to transform advanced psychoacoustic research into silicon, and manufacturers who are willing to implement it, as it adds a great deal to the 2402's capabilities.

    Robert Wannamaker's Psychoacoustically Optimum Dither AES paper ... :shock:
    No I haven't read it and had no idea it existed.

    bottom line is
    ... now I have no idea whether to describe this unit as 24 bit, 20bit ,18 bit or 16 bit.

    but the Crystal Semiconductor CS5397 does support 96k 24bit.

    what other features are lurking inside these chips and do manufacturers make use if them ?

    All of this and the original question was how to get more inputs for drums to a 002.
    there are many possibilities
    a second hand Ai3 might be cool and cheap

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