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Hello guys!

I'm planning to buy some quite decent converter (DA mastering preferably, but AD/DA would be also good!) for orchestral production.
Also, if possible that the converters are high end inside price range of lets say 3500$.
Number of channels aren't too much important, so the converter can have only 2 of them too.
So my question goes: What are your best converters for orchestral production?
All in all, any advice or shared experience would be highly appreciated!

Thanks in advance guys! :)

Rafael
 

germancomponist

Senior Member
Convertors are only one step! How well is your room treated to be able to hear the differents? I think, 90% and more listeners do not notice any different between a best or a not so best quality.
 

Noam Guterman

Active Member
I can not agree more with germancomponist.
Room acoustics and also your monitors are -by far- more important than all the ADA converters you will ever purchase. Once you have all those stuff set up, AND have a trained ear, adding a high end converter will make the purchase worthwhile. And it will be worth it.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Hi Rafael,

I spent a long time on this topic. Most of what I found was subjective, really just opinions with no objective data to support them. Many brands that are advertised heavily use testimonials -- user praise -- as their main vehicle for promotion.

I think the reason is that there actually may be no scientific way to prove the reproduction of acoustic material is "good." You can check an oscilloscope sine wave, but how about a guitar or a voice or a French Horn? Tough.

So one is left with subjectivity.

My impression from actually listening to a lot of them was that the $2,000 converter was noticeably better than the $800 converter, and the $5,000 converter was noticeably better than the $2,000 converter. While I agree with Gunther and others that your entire setup -- mics, cables, converters and so on -- all matter, a good converter makes a meaningful contribution.

I chose Lavry's "Blue" series, but they also have a much higher end unit. I also like Lynx and RME, both of which I've used a lot over the years.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
I have a Ferrofish MADI that sounds like an expensive unit.
For live work I bought a piece of Crap Behringer ADA8200 for 225 $.
When I A/Bd it to the Ferrofish I was using ADAT w/ the AKG C414 and noticed a big difference.
Sent it to Black Lion Audio and replaced the opamps and capacitors for 450 bucks.
I think the AD is impressive.
The DA is unchanged but this is 675 total for a fantastic sounding unit that offers simultaneous AD/DA of all I/O.
 

germancomponist

Senior Member
Hi Rafael,

I spent a long time on this topic. Most of what I found was subjective, really just opinions with no objective data to support them. Many brands that are advertised heavily use testimonials -- user praise -- as their main vehicle for promotion.

I think the reason is that there actually may be no scientific way to prove the reproduction of acoustic material is "good." You can check an oscilloscope sine wave, but how about a guitar or a voice or a French Horn? Tough.

So one is left with subjectivity.

My impression from actually listening to a lot of them was that the $2,000 converter was noticeably better than the $800 converter, and the $5,000 converter was noticeably better than the $2,000 converter. While I agree with Gunther and others that your entire setup -- mics, cables, converters and so on -- all matter, a good converter makes a meaningful contribution.

I chose Lavry's "Blue" series, but they also have a much higher end unit. I also like Lynx and RME, both of which I've used a lot over the years.
The weakest link in the chain is the boogeyman. :)
 

synthpunk

Senior Member
Best and most musical converters I have ever used are the UA 2192 which is discontinued now. The designer of the piece, Rich Williams runs and designs Burl Audio and his Bomber B-2 is even better.

http://burlaudio.com/products/b2-bomber-adc

Also, do not underestimate the impact of a good digital clock in your rig. The clock in the UA and Burl is top notch.
 
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jononotbono

Luke Johnson
I use a Motu HD192 which has been discontinued now. I bought it secondhand because I needed 12 inputs for tracking some drums and kind of kept it since buying. I don't have any complaints to be honest (as I got it quite cheaply) but I will definitely be changing over to a UA Apollo when I can!
 
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eqcollector

Member
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Thank you guys so much on your advice and your replays!
Really appreciate them! :)
Well, I thought to start from somewhere so converter seemed as a quite good idea to be the first step hehe
I am aware of room acoustics, monitors etc. planning to get them too quite soon. I just wanted to see your experiences about converters and your opinions how the stuff works to get some picture about the quality because, as JohnG said, lot of companies are heavily advertising their products and in the end you end up not being sure what would be best solution for real (which applies to the most of other studio equipment too).
Definitively going to take a look at all of your examples and check them out!
Thank you once more for all of your answers and shared experiences! :)
 
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eqcollector

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Well, mostly I'll use it for samples - D/A, but I'd like to have one decent for A/D too if possible.
 

wbacer

A Work in Progress
I started with an Apogee Rosetta 800, which sounded great. Then I added an Apogee Big Ben and wow what a difference, much wider sound stage. I've since sold both and now own an Apogee Symphony IO which has the Big Ben clock technology build in. Sounds great to my ears but as others have stated, unless you treat your room and have decent monitors you may not hear the difference.
 

germancomponist

Senior Member
In the very past, I used the AD convertors from my Sony Dat-Recorder, because they did a better sound as my soundcard did. But, this was/is maybe more my personally sound feeling, no mathematics. :)
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
eqcollector, if you're just using it for samples, I personally would just get a good audio interface rather than stand-alone converters.

The post about stand-alone digital clocks... you should hear mastering engineer Bob Katz go off about that. He'll tell you to yell at the manufacturer of your audio interface if it sounds better with an external clock - any external clock, Big Ben or whatever - because it's a sign of something being very wrong.
 

synthpunk

Senior Member
The UA Apollo series and RME are good choices. Both have very good internal clocks.

eqcollector, if you're just using it for samples, I personally would just get a good audio interface rather than stand-alone converters.

The post about stand-alone digital clocks... you should hear mastering engineer Bob Katz go off about that. He'll tell you to yell at the manufacturer of your audio interface if it sounds better with an external clock - any external clock, Big Ben or whatever - because it's a sign of something being very wrong.
 

benatural

Active Member
I chose Lavry's "Blue" series, but they also have a much higher end unit. I also like Lynx and RME, both of which I've used a lot over the years.

I'm not an expert, but I can second the Lavry blue. I was using an RME multiface 2 at work and an m-audio interface at home for a few years before I decided to upgrade. Did a ton of research and settled on the blue because of Lavry's reputation, and also because the unit is modular so I can expand as needed when I'm ready to.

The improvement from the m-audio to the rme was very noticeable, and the step up to the blue was even more pronounced. Overall clarity and depth improved significantly. Frequency response was flatter at least to my ears. My mixes seem to translate better.

That said good converters won't suddenly make a bad mix better, if anything they call even more attention to issues. Good mixing is the most important part of a good mix, gear just helps get there a little more reliably. But even if your mix sucks, at least you'll know it's not your converters!
 
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Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Aesthete, Katz' point is that you're best off with the device doing the A/D using its own clock. He argues that you're going to introduce more jitter as soon as you have to recover the clock (using a phase-locked loop).

If you're not using A/D - as in playing back samples - then the device doing the D/A would want to be the master, for the same reason.

I'm not a digital design engineer, but I have a strong feeling he's right.

Also, I have a strong hunch that any interface that sounds decent has a good internal clock. And that everything has a good internal clock these days, because everything uses the same chips.
 

Noam Guterman

Active Member
About using external clocks... It's really simple. Do you have a lot of digital connections going on in your chain? Using one will improve your studio. Do you have 1 or 2 digital connections going on in your chain? Don't worry about it (that is assuming you have at least a mid-high end interface / ADA)
 
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