midrange ad/da converter recommendations

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by trackinDude, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. trackinDude

    trackinDude Guest


    I'm new here... just wondering if anyone might want to share their views on 'real world' converters. I do full band recording, rock and metal...usually 8 tracks for drums, plus scratch vocal, guitars, and bass. So I need 16 in, minimum. Here's my setup right now:

    Pair of Aark24s (16 in/out)
    3ghz P4 PC, windows XP
    Cubase VST and SX
    Antares, Waves, Timeworks plugs
    Mackie 1604 VLZ pro (i know, i know...)
    Variety of decent mic's, AKG C414, etc.
    Pretty nicely treated rooms

    Yeah, the gear is modest... started this studio commercially on a shoestring budget... but don't let that give you the idea that this is amateur hour. I have squeezed pro sound out of this setup... a claim which many of you will undoubtedly be skeptical. But the fact is that good performance, good ears, good editing, good mic'ing technique, good room, good mixing... well, moderate gear just means you have to work harder to get a good result. Rock and metal is a 'noisey' environment anyway. Bottom line, though, I would benefit greatly with some nice pre's and better converters. But really, that's not even the primary reason for the upgrade.

    The truth is I'm just SICK and tired of the lousy software support... bugs that never got fixed. I just spent another full day of fresh installs, only to find I still get intermittent garbled noise from the 2nd Aark24. Sometimes a reboot fixes it, sometimes not. The cards don't sync together reliably. If they worked reliably, I'd probably just get some nice mic pre's and call it a day. The Aark cards really don't sound too bad. A little thin by way of too much 2k presence, but decent. But the frustration of things not working reliably is intolerable. When I called the Aark tech support line Monday I found it's been disconnected. I also see their website is down... so it looks like the bastards are finally out of business.

    My dream for the last 2 years has been to get a nice, reliable set of converters with great software support... then take these aarks out, hang 'em high, blast em with a few 12 gauge slugs, douse them with lighter fluid and while they are burning, snap a few pictures... then I could post "I solved all my Aardvark converter problems!" I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll REALLY do that, as they are probably worth $150 each, even with them being out of biz (For anyone who wants a decent 8 in/out, they work okay. Just not reliable working together in pairs in my experience.) But the photos alone might be worth $300... we'll call it therapy.

    So, I'm looking at the Yamaha O1X maybe with the extra inputs... might be nice to have a controller as well. Or go cheaper with EMU or something. But it has to have a proven track record of reliability. Or maybe I should just pick up a used Apogee AD16 or something. I'd much rather prefer a single 16 unit to a pair of 8s... as the monitor outputs of each 8 have to be summed in the Mackie into a stereo/CR out to monitor, which is doable, but another complicating hassle. It would be nice to be able to tap several different submixes (a different headphone mix for each player) off of 1 central software mixing panel... so I'm thinking any 16 in setup is gonna beat any pair of 8s.

    All suggestions are welcome! Thanx...

  2. BarefootStudios

    BarefootStudios Active Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Ark 24 Cards

    Hey there. I use a pair of AArdvark Ark 24 Converters, and they are rock solid and sound great. To correctly sync the 2 together you must use the work clock bnc connectors. Barefoot (I should say Brrrrrrfoot, as it is 5 degrees, and I am looking at 2 feet of icy snow!)
  3. trackinDude

    trackinDude Guest

    Aark's sync problem

    Barefoot... 2 ft of snow? Sounds like you must be in the Midwest. I'm just a bit north and escaped the mess...

    Regarding the rock solid Aark 24s: What OS are you running? What version Aark drivers? What multitrack program? What motherboard?

    I am running XP pro and Aark 7.13. They are connected correctly via the bnc word clock. The master card is set to 44.1 or 48k, and the second card is set to WC, and correctly shows the same clock rate as card 1. Cubase is set to 'Internal' clock, and also picks up the correct rate properly.

    The bug I have noticed: In the Aark advanced tab on card 2, there is a drop down menu for 'master card'. I set both cards to the same 'Master: Aark 1". But if I switch to the Aark 1 card display and then back again to card 2, Card 2 will have reset itself to be its own master card. It doesn't remember that particular setting. Cubase then freaks a bit and says ASIO drivers have changed and it asks "Save, Proceed, Cancel". The result is that I cannot open the Aark panel and switch back to card 2 while Cubase is open.

    Still, this bug appears to be independent of the noise issue. On occasion, card 2 records with horrible popping/drop outs. Any thoughts?

  4. qveda

    qveda Guest

    Troy, did you ever end up getting an O1X ? if so, how does it sound, compared to a Mackie? espcially the preamps, EQ, compression ?

  5. Barkingdogstudios

    Barkingdogstudios Active Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    It's not 16 but 8 .... Frontier Designs Tango 24
    8 analog in, 8 analog out, lightpipe ADAT in and out, plus clock.
    Have a look.
  6. yodermr1

    yodermr1 Guest

    Hate to butt in but just wanted to say that I have a Q10 and Aark24 running together.

    Trackindude - when you say switch display you just mean toggle between the two control panel applications?

    I don't have your bug. Once in a while my clock switches and I have to switch it back. SOmetimes it needs a reboot to get it right.

    Barefoorstudios - I assume when you say word clock BNC you meaning 75ohm BNC cable. Just makin sure I got the right one.

    BTW Troy - The Aardvark stuff does sound great!

  7. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    rme fireface 800!!!
  8. stonewall40

    stonewall40 Guest


    How are you liking the fireface?
  9. p0llen_p0ny

    p0llen_p0ny Guest

    hi trackinDude,
    Have you checked out the MOTU gear? You can get a MOTU 24io core system for around $1200 now. Used for even cheaper. Has 24 ins and 24 outs.
  10. DISK

    DISK Guest

    what about two Layla 3g's?

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