Steinberg releases interface with Rupert Neve Transformers

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by kmetal, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I've seen this also.
    I've read no reviews yet, though.
    I think I'm becoming a little bored with the inference that in order to have any semblance of audio quality, that you "have" to have Neve, SSL, API or other well-known pro level gear to make a good record.
    There was a time when consoles ( or pres) by Neve, SSL, Trident, MCI and API, etc., was considered to be absolutely necessary to make a great sounding pro record.
    I think that's been proven to not be the case anymore.
    I'd say that with today's current technology being what it is, you could make a good sounding record with many of the currently available pres/interfaces, IF you know how to use the tools.
    It's fine to be picky about gear, or to want the best that money can buy, there's not a thing wrong with that...if a person has the loaded budget available to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to fill their studio with expensive gear, then that's fine, and God Bless 'em...
    But I don't think it's absolutely necessary to get a great mix.
    I've heard tracks that sounded awesome tracked through a Presonus SL, and just last week I heard a finished mix that a friend of mine did tracking through a $900 A&H ....I was blown away at how good it sounded.
    IMHO, a great song to start with, with great performances, is infinitely more important. ;)
    IMHO of course .
     
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  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Addendum...
    I wasn't knocking your post, pal. I'm sure the Steinberg with the Neve XFO's sounds good.
    I guess I've grown a little weary about the constant name-dropping marketing by manufacturers to fill the desire of so many people to obtain "that" sound...whatever we define "that sound" as being.
    Here's an example based on personal experience...
    I've used a real Telefunken U47 probably 4 times in my 35 years of recording...( I've never owned one myself, but did have many opportunities to work in very nice rooms over the years that had some very nice equipment in their inventory), and not ONE of those U47s sounded like the others. There was no defineable "sound" to them, no signature sonic fingerprint to them that was the same with all of them.
    So, when I hear someone say, "I need a U47 for "that" sound..." I can't help but roll my eyes a little bit, because there is no 'one sound' to those mics. I don't want to give the impression that any of them sounded "bad", because they didn't. They were nice mics ...But not one of those mics sounded like any of the others, and not one of those mics made the difference between recording and mixing a good record or a bad record.
    Truthfully, when I heard Marco's mic that he built from a kit last year, I thought that it was a fine sounding mic, and I'd be happy to use it on any session.
    Hell...I've done vocal tracks where a 58 was used for the lead vocal track - and with great results, too.
    I guess I'm saying that there seems to be a lot of hype out there these days... And manufacturers implement that hype in their marketing because, well, because they know it works more often than it doesn't.
    There's always going to be some young up and comer who thinks that they absolutely need gear with that "N" logo on it, maybe because they've read about it's contribution to recording over the years, or simply because they've been told that it's a "must have" if they want to get pro sounding recordings.
    Invariably, these are usually the same people who don't understand the tools of the trade, have no concept of gain structure, of dynamics, or EQ...
    And if you played them a vocal track recorded through both a Neve and an A&H, they probably wouldn't be able to hear the difference. They might get lucky on a guess - even a stopped clock is correct twice in in 24 hours, a coin flip will give you even odds, but it would likely be just that: a guess.
    There is no magic "make me not suck" piece of gear, and no magic bullet preamp (or mic) that will automatically make recordings sound awesome just because they run signal through it.
    IMHO ...again. LOL
    ;)
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    You're not alone Donny.
    Focusrite tried that with the Liquid saffire 56. The liquid channels were supposed to emulate different preamps (slam, neve, api etc) but it was just a guizmo. When I got my first ISA preamps, it just revealed that it served no more than marketing purpose. Sure, the sound changed but with the same level of noise and saturation as other onboard cheap preamps.

    So in the end, I let my ears decide instead of being biased by names.. I'm shure steingberg has done a great job, hopefully we will hear some results soon..

    BTW. What I liked about the microphone-parts kit I built was that they don't pretend of copying any mics but rather chose an easy circuit design and matched it with a good capsule and transformer...
     
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  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I think the mass of our middle of the road pro audio industry is nothing but repackaged hype.

    What I believe not to be hype are big rail preamps / gear... they are the real deal and everything less is just different repackaged mid level stuff with enough changes or gimmicks between each competitor to avoid copyright infringement.

    Then there is the low end stuff that is great bang for the buck that sounds ok when you aren’t comparing it to big rail.

    It’s not much different to comparing different shade’s of white. White looks white until it’s put beside true white or the white you really are looking for.

    High end converters fall into the same category as high end preamps.

    I wouldn’t normally buy combos like these for top studio work but for remote they get the job done.
     
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  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    We’re living in a world of - poor, good, better, best including out right deceitful audio and video filtering. But even that is just a creative tool, interesting and fun to play with.
    Companies are onto this and selling it to us like koolaid. Or crack.

    Avid (digidesign) and UAD come to mind. Smart companies at designing filtering plugs that require additional hardware to cook it all on one computer, that’s the plan anyway.
     
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    quality is the sum of many factors, not just one. transformers are great but i've heard transformer-less designs that were great also.

    what i'm thinking about this is it's going to be a pity to have to chuck this thing into a dumpster transformers and all in 5, 10 or 15 years when all the surface mount caps on one of these things go south or the software drivers are no longer compatible with current computers.

    (wadda you want to bet that folks will be ripping the xformers out of these things in a few years? )

    the dirty little secret is, as long as what you are buying is surface mount tech, it is temporary, disposable. real pro gear is built to "military standard". anything that is reliant on software to function will have a limited shelf life as well. so that's 2 strikes already for the MOTU.

    transformers are but one part of what makes a great mic pre. design, transformers or good electronic balancing design , components, serviceability as well as robust, clean power supply (hi volt rails) all come into play.

    they've been playing catch up for over 20 years now. they sold us all on the lie we didn't need a big console or tape machines and that we could do it all in a computer. many were feeling the 15k limit a lot of "semi pro" equipment offered so the 20hZ to 20k digital renders was a welcome progression, only to wind up with a delivery system (YouTube / MP3) inferior to even FM radio, resulting in more lofi production values.

    so here we are .... and the real "major" players are still using the traditional model (console, outboard, recorder, big studio).

    click me too!
     
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  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    In one of the contract designs I did of a microphone pre-amp, I carefully specified that the resistors in the audio path must be axial (through-hole). This included having the output feedback resistor made up of three 10K axial resistors in series to reduce distortion due to voltage-dependent resistance changes. The prototypes sounded great. When the production units finally came back from manufacture (in the far East), the three discrete 10K feedback resistors had been changed to a single surface-mount 30K. That wasn't the only change to my design, and the performance had dropped from great to very average. I refused to have anything more to do with that company.
     
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  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    so many well put statements in this thread. quote-0-rama:

    me too. it certainly makes it more fun, but im sick of all the re-hashed 50's-70's designs, especially since they seem to lack magic.

    yea man, once you hear something, its difficult to un-hear it. for better or worse. i wish i had booked some time in a decent studio when i was a few years in. i think i would have chased my tail alot less. i fell for the anyone can record professionally with budget gear advertising. i didnt realize that the project studios we had hired to record were really skilled, experienced engineers, who understood their rooms and gear. to me it was learning to work within the limitations of the gear. i feel like now im able to 'hear through' mediocre gears limits alot more acutely, in other words what the gear itself is adding, or missing. even crappy monitoring, i can compensate much better for now, after working in a really good room, as opposed to before. Gear definately can be the weak link, and does make a difference, but there's no substitute for experience.

    lol, its fine if you $*^t on any my posts, you surely would have good reason if you did. i can take it, they dont call us 'Massholes' for no reason. but yeah im sick of the "N" word. i think it's cool that Steinberg is forward thinking as far as onboard pre-amp design, its refreshing. Maybe a hi plate voltage tube design is next... lol they can use the "M" word, Manley.

    me too, that video changed my gear acquisition list permanently.

    that's an interesting point. its like people are afraid to be unique, and too impatient to get the real thing, should they want it. clones have their place, but despite having a nearly identical capsule, and switching the tube, the avantone copies never sounded brilliant as the c-12 at the studio. i suspect the psu played an integral role, as well as other things beyond my understanding.

    well said.

    id personally take a nice live board over most of the warm/fucusrite/avantone crap. there's some exceptions, like the presonus eureka, art mpa, at 3035, things like that, but their few and far between, and often go largely unnoticed, and fairly short lived. you'll see those type things in modest pro studios, live rigs ect, usually experienced engineers are involved.

    i wish more people, including myself, realized this. example, if you scooped an apogee rosetta for a few grand a decade-and-a-half ago, your still cooking with gas. its still relevant, and holds its own with todays high end converters, sonically, and still fetches 30-40% of its original new sale price. not a bad deal. use it for 15 years with delight, and get half your money back?! nevermind if you used it for paying gigs...

    to contrast, my decent value M-Audio FW1814 was $400 new, i got 6 years of daily use out of it, and like 50$ back from GC when i sold it a couple years ago. Firewire went extinct too. i got 60% less time, waaay less sonic quality, and a 12.5% return on my investment at salvage time.

    are you saying you like this model or no?

    so true.

    Grace makes some phenomenal sounding pres, and i hope tubes come back in style. there's a certain desnity and clarity they can bring. i personally dont think the newer xformer based stuff saturates well, they dont take creative abuse like the calrec does imho.

    again true. If motu tried just a little harder they really could be good. you see alot of surface mount and pcb even on stuff priced in the high mid range. it;s like boutique if there's anything discreet right now.

    Thats what was so cool about the Groove Tubes Vipre, they used overseas labour, but to build boutique stuff that was at a price point that could sell. 200+ resistors on a single switched dial, hand soldered, overseas. a Genius move.

    this is a gross truth. i went to buy an album the other day, and couldnt even find the cd quality one. it was mp3 or nothing. i chose nothing.

    at least they put their name on it, and not yours. im curious if you know how well the product did in the market?
     
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Normally in my contract work I keep in touch with the manufacturer and their design team, so at least I get some idea of how well a product I have had anything to do with is selling, and, crucially, what feedback they have had from users about the performance or features. With the company I referred to in my post above, I refrained from making any technical contact after the production versions appeared, so I have no idea how well it sold. What I do know is that a Mk II came out rather quickly, and that didn't last long before the product received its "legacy" status. I've never heard one of the Mk IIs, so can't comment on whether it was any better than the original.
     
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  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Well to my delight RME still sell some.. if I ever change my FF800, a UFX would be my go to... ;)
     
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  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Good video, thanks for posting that Kurt. Loved those boom stands and that old church. What a beautiful facility.

    I think its beneficial, essential to include as much vintage everything as you can get when running a world class commercial studio. Its expected to have the whole meal deal for studios competing in that market, including rarely used tape machines. But for the most part, a rack of lush preamps into top end convertors, a good DAW system and someone that knows how to use it all (understand acoustic space and what plug-ins not to use lol)... will get the job done just the same. You can mix everything on a laptop that no one would know or care about the differences.
    As he said the real magic happens when well rehearsed performances are tracked together at the same time in a live room. The mix happens in the air.

    How I hear it... the secret to great recordings that mix fat and smooth, is understanding how everything needs to blend acoustically together at the same time. Its all about phase.

    I can't imagine the costs to maintain a huge building like that. What do you think is costs at the end of a year? Its a game for only the rich. But what a fun game! Beautiful.




     
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    go to EBAY and see what a 10 year old digital recorder is going for, then look up a 30 year old Studer or MCI multi track and see what it's worth.

    digital gear has a limited shelf life. sooner than later, what you are buying is a doorstop. drivers become out of date, not upgradeable if you can find them making resale value moot, surface mount components fail and it costs more to repair than to replace. standards keep evolving in an attempt to achieve what we were already able to do years ago (in terms of audio quality and speed of light interfacing).

    personally, i couldn't care less about 75 tracks, editing or cutting 10,000 vocal tracks to get one that's acceptable. that stuff really bores me. if you can't play, get out of my face. 16 tracks is plenty, 24 is more than i ever needed.

    in the 90's when my facility was firing on all 8, we had a nut of 2 k a month. rent, utilities, insurance, tech support, advertising. i would venture it would be around 5 or 6 k a month now due to the increased cost of tape and tech time. now my place was not as nice as that but i had a real console, killer rack of outboard, a collection of great mics and two very nice live cutting rooms w/iso's. no chef but there was a great burrito bar in the same complex.

    i just don't agree that there's no difference in mixing itb or through a great console. one can get away with mixing VSTs and EM itb but the second you get into real music with real instruments and real people playing, a console and a large live room are desirable. yes, it can be done but one never knows what the difference is unless they can compare one to the other. there's a reason people still use SSLs and Neves.
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Well... Imho, most of the vintage gear value is no different to the vintage cars market. Example, vintage LA-2A's, Plutecs, those EMT plate reverbs... selling for thousands of dollars are imo a complete pile of nonsense. Its not the gear as much as it is the performance all happening at the same time in a good room that didn't sound like a box.

    Most of the vintage analog stuff (especially when it comes to mixing with it) is hype and silly to say it blunt. The problem people don't get, and where DAW vs console is being mislead... people using a console in a nice tracking room are stacking stupid reverbs and plugins that put everything into a mess of truncated out of time reflections. phasing bla... When you ran your studio Kurt, just like everyone back then, we weren't stacking and tracking everything like a puzzle. We all played together and recorded together. That's the difference.

    I know someone who I won't mention but you all know his work. He mixes everything from Broadway productions to billboard hits on a laptop. He has both Neve and Pro Tools. He uses PT and say he does not need the Neve to mix. I'm not saying one way is better than the other, I am saying a good recording can be mixed on a console or a DAW and neither would matter in the end.

    I believe the most basic gear will capture a great performance good enough that even old school guys would say, I like that. I believe a pieced together productions recorded in a terrible room through the best gear every made will still sound like crap.

    I believe the magic of yesteryear was less to do with vintage and more to do with the performance and the room. Bands in phase all playing together. ?
     
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    not true Chris. we did overdubs all the time. the normal MO was to track rhythm tracks and then overdub solos, horns, keys vocals. heck we even did punch ins! lol. :rolleyes: with Jeff Larsons records, i often would track him by himself, vx / guitar and then we overdubbed everything else.

    then why does he have the Neve? and mixing a billboard hit on a laptop isn't really a ringing endorsement imo. yes, a song like "All about that Bass" could be mixed on a laptop. FAKE music. FAKE instruments, a computer playing everything. lots of billboard hits are VSTIs, one guy programming everything, control freak stuff that i don't care for at all. even Uptown Funk was a MCI 500.

    i don't have a horse in this race. i'm not here to validate my own purchases or to sell my services. all i want is for people not to be misled. i only hope that i can pass my experiences on so others won't make the same mistakes i have seen others as well as myself make. also i have deep concerns for the harm i see excessive marketing doing to an industry that did me well for a long time. too much bs for the sake of a quick buck and with no concern for the long term well being of the business. i think that has a lot to do with what is wrong today. this was always my driving concern ever since i joined RO, starting with the "rack crap arguments" in 2001.


    while the concept that all you need is a laptop and a pair of speakers to make records might be true in a limited way, it is really more than less, marketing. i can paint my living room with a 1" paint brush but it's not going to look as good as if i had used a roller or better yet a spray gun.

    i have made records on Teac gear, on computers and on large format consoles with big tape. and all i can say is until one has lived with a large format console for a long time (not just used one a few times) it's difficult to appreciate what a good sounding console can bring to the table. as i have noted here before, i have heard an improvement over itb mixing vs. mixing on just a Mackie. a big ol' Neve or SSL / MCI would be soooo much better! what i know is that computers are no substitute for a LF console or a 2" tape machine when compared side by side. and as you're favorite politician is fond of saying, "Lot's of people agree with me." :love:
     
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Oh indeed, that's not my point here.
    We all did overdubs the moment that concept was possible . Less overdubs back then are no different to now. I think people tend to use way too many plugins and reverbs today. The better mixes I've worked on don't have stacked reverbs and mass amounts of bleed and transients flying all over the tracks swooshing and phasing everything all out of phase. Its just bad tracking and crappy rooms, methods.

    I think tape is more forgiving, less noticeable. Big topic. Its all about what you like and what you are good using.

    His group bought it before PT lol! But, they also love tracking with it because its fast and lush too. But he doesn't mix on it. They rent the studio out to bands and let them fly at it. Make great money with it. So, I'm told that is.

    I don't get what you are saying. There are thousands of songs today that sound absolutely amazing, that were printed directly to a hard drive. A tape machine is not going to make or break a great song or mix. You can't believe this?
     
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Gawd if I could ever type without typos...
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Kurt, you and I both know what high quality "analog" gear sounds like. We grew up in a wonderful generation of music. And all the gear we used was part of that. It all fit.
    I think digital is better sounding ITB. I think we can build analog front ends to our own specs that are every bit as good as the best consoles of the past. I have a UA LA-2A on order that I've been waiting 6 months for. I'm told it will be here the first week in Aug, 2018. Products like this are special to track with but I wouldn't waste a moment implementing it in a mix if I had digital compressors ITB.
     
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i think you are on to something here. phase is a big part of it. unfortunately most DAWs don't have polarity flips on the strips. we are expected to use delay to compensate for phasing issues. i used to spend about 20 minutes before a mix just going through the channels one by one checking which position the polarity switch made it sound better, checking against all other tracks with everything in mono. i suspect that latency from the DAW plays a part in this problem.

    to be clear, i am talking about consoles vs. itb, not digital vs. analog. i do believe tape is is the best sounding thing around but i have been completely happy recording on even ADATs.

    i think you may be drinking koolaide. it appears to me that if there's enough budget, producers will always wind up behind a console. since you and i have started going back and forth on this topic a few years ago i have been paying more attention to where and how the stuff i hear that i like is recorded. what i am learning is the majority of it is recorded in traditional studios on consoles. in at least half of those situations the mixes are on a console as well.

    i would venture a guess that the songs you speak of that are mixed on computers are POP records that are all soft synths drum machines or programs and VSTI's and that's not recording, it's sound design. most of those are all one uber producer dude usually a keyboardist* who is shut up in the studio by themselves. at the most they might have a vocalist or perhaps a horn or something like that but the bulk of it is canned sounds. nothing wrong with that, just not my cuppa .. fwiw.

    *side note: what is it about keyboard players that they don't want to work with other people?
     

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