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How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
#3054310 07/15/20 11:08 PM
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Just wondering after reading all these user reviews of high-end converters saying it's a night and day difference. What's your experience, if any? Is it night and day, or more like early morning / late morning?

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Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054336 07/16/20 03:00 AM
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When it comes to audio gear, unless something's broken or just poorly designed, I'm a more early morning / late morning guy. I can hear a difference and most of the time I can hear an improvement when I've replaced a device (it doesn't have to be a converter) with an improved version. I'm happy about that, but happier about the increased functionality that I wanted or needed from the replacement.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054338 07/16/20 03:23 AM
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A friend had all the latest fancy-schmancy stuff in his studio but I had no basis for comparison. Could have been the convertors, could have been the mic-pres, could have been the monitors, could have been the room or the mics or or or...

I've always used all in one interfaces and nothing truly high end. Started with a MOTU 896, first version. Always felt the mic pres were sort of flat sounding but maybe the convertors?
Got a Mackie Onyx thingie, forget the model number but a single rack space. It sounded better until it didn't, all controls were pots and they got scratchy. It was not designed for maintenance. No firmware update, ever. The world left it behind, so did I.

Next up, a MOTU Audio Express. I liked that pretty well, there were no pots passing audio, all digital controllers. I could dial it in on the computer screen. The monitor outputs were unexcusably hot, I had to turn my speakers WAY down and all I had to "balance" them was the meters on my Tascam DR-40. I measured and placed carefully but there is only so much precision available. Still, better than getting your head blown off!

Then a MOTU 896 MKIII Hybrid came up on craigslist, Mommy bought the rich kid a fancy new toy so he sold the old one cheap. I liked it pretty well too. Not fond of MOTU's software, not very intuitive.

Last but not least, the Presonus Quantum. Best of the bunch so far. The mic preamps sound good and the playback sounds good and I am happy with it.

Gimme a few hundred thousand dollars and we'll talk about convertors!!!

I think it's a "gotta have all the goodies" sort of deal, great convertors with so so mic preamps and an SM57 probably sound fine but not gonna change your world, especially played back through pretty OK speakers.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054349 07/16/20 03:55 AM
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I don't have an outrageous setup like a dedicated clock, a dedicated A/D, and a dedicated D/A, but I did jump from an M-Audio Delta 66 to my current RME Hammerfall / Multiface II combo when I re-did my hardware. I did it to take away excuses and because I could. I don't know if I could honestly say that the audio is dramatically different.

There is no change to conversion hardware that is going to translate through my 700-dollar monitors and 13'x11' bedroom (albeit well-treated). There are other weaknesses in my chain, including my ears.


Sundown

Just Finished: Condensation; Two Button Press
Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; Fishing in Kingsbury
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DAW Platform: Cubase
Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Sundown #3054350 07/16/20 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Sundown
I don't have an outrageous setup like a dedicated clock, a dedicated A/D, and a dedicated D/A, but I did jump from an M-Audio Delta 66 to my current RME Hammerfall / Multiface II combo when I re-did my hardware. I did it to take away excuses and because I could. I don't know if I could honestly say that the audio is dramatically different.

There is no change to conversion hardware that is going to translate through my 700-dollar monitors and 13'x11' bedroom (albeit well-treated). There are other weaknesses in my chain, including my ears.


I have long been of the opinion that microphones and speakers are the best things to upgrade and will make the most difference. Until you get up into the Burl or Grace stuff I am not sure any convertors are bad enough that some will sound much better.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
KuruPrionz #3054355 07/16/20 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
speakers are the best things to upgrade

yeahthat


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
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Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054390 07/16/20 01:58 PM
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I've gone from a Roland Quad-Capture to a UA Apollo Twin X.

It certainly sounds a lot better overall - things sound a lot more nailed down in the mix, and yeah, the ancient phrase "crystal-clear" comes to mind.

But I can't tell exactly what part of the improvement is from the converters and what part is from the rest of the signal chain and processing.

And what part of the improvement is due to how jazzed I am to have the new interface smile

nat

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054393 07/16/20 02:20 PM
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I'm about to upgrade form a TASCAM DA3200 FW interface to an Apollo 8x. WIll let you know...

dB

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054413 07/16/20 03:17 PM
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One thing that makes for a better converter [the box] is better analog circuitry. For an all-in-one interface, it could be a better designed mic input. Many audiophile and some pro "mastering" D/A converters have a particularly well designed headphone output stage that strives to get the best performance out of a set of headphones that it can by providing sufficient current to drive low impedance 'phones as well as sufficient voltage to drive higher impedance 'phones. This can make a significant difference. And for a line level output, you want the lowest distortion possible.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054421 07/16/20 03:28 PM
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I use both a Radar system and a Roland OctaCapture. I would say it makes very little difference, if any.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3054952 07/20/20 04:22 AM
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I have always upgraded converters to get more I/O or other flexibility. Once out of the "8ch Firewire/USB/Thunderbolt/whatever" interfaces, its all professional gear, professional prices, and presumably professional sound. I am not of the opinion that conversion quality is holding back my music making or capture quality. At some point you just buy enough "goes intas" and "goes outtas" and you get on with making music.

On the analog side, the best recording interface I have is a Sonosax SX-R4+ recorder. This integrates very high end, very clean preamps and state-fo-the-art dual-gain range ADC conversion with something like 135dB of dynamic range. The dynamic range is not practically useful, but I can say that the resulting files are exquisite. They are slightly different from Rupert Neve pre's into Focusrite Rednet2. I can prefer them on solo piano, but I don't think about it. If using the DAW, everything goes through the Focusrite stuff. If I'm recording the piano "raw", I'll often use the Sonosax - it is really, really clean and sounds so good.

On the DAC side, I did get a big bump in quality in removing analog monitor control from my studio. I went from a Grace 902 (a very high quality unit) to direct digital feed into the Genelec 8351a's. I got a significant improvement in imaging, reduced noise, etc. So, I'm listening to whatever DAC Genelec has in the monitors. It is a better sound than feeding them analog. I do not second guess this, and have no plans to purchase some uber-DAC. I can fully believe that I might have DAC preferences given a great amp feeding mastering grade audiophile speakers. But for me, the benefits of digital DSP and room correction far outweigh any minute benefit I might gain from different DAC and analog monitoring. Today, output of my DAW goes digital (Dante) to an SQ-5 mixer. The master fader there feeds the Genelec's (again across the Dante network). So I have a physical fader, but it's 100% digital math. I am now used to an essentially noiseless system - so much so that when turning on a plugin that tries to fully emulate some old piece of gear, I'll often notice the increased noise floor first and often remove the plugin.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055026 07/20/20 08:52 PM
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I think the difference between low-end and high-end converters was far greater 10-20 years ago than they are today.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
KenElevenShadows #3055045 07/20/20 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I think the difference between low-end and high-end converters was far greater 10-20 years ago than they are today.

True that. I'll be adding a Dangerous Music Source to my system tonight, and will report back...although it's hard to do A-B comparisons sometimes.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055051 07/20/20 11:51 PM
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It is, but you have good ears. I look forward to hearing your opinions.

Even a modest audio interface nowadays sounds surprisingly good, in my humble opinion.

I began using Apogee converters because I couldn't stand the way the Digi001 and Digi002 sounded. I doubt we would get that disparity in sound quality now. Those Digi units, especially the 001, were grim sounding, almost like you stuffed your ears with cotton. I mean, that was not subtle at all. After I got the Apogees, my band noticed the difference right away!!

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
KenElevenShadows #3055065 07/21/20 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I began using Apogee converters because I couldn't stand the way the Digi001 and Digi002 sounded. I doubt we would get that disparity in sound quality now.

To confirm, I thought the original MBoxes were horrific. It's really unfortunate that the last generation of MBoxes was exceptionally good, but for whatever reason, they were saddled with the same name as interfaces that sounded horrible.

It reminds me of when Ensoniq was doing a follow-up the Mirage, and there was a big debate in the company whether to call it the Mirage II or the EPS (Ensoniq Performance Sampler). I urged them not to call it a Mirage II. Sure, the Mirage was cheap, cheerful, and decent for its time, but the world had moved on...so the name needed to move on, too.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055081 07/21/20 07:24 AM
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Agreed.

And yes, the last generation of MBoxes sounded great. They should have had a name change there, something to indicate that it was extra special.

I sold my Apogee converters and am currently using an older RME Fireface UFX, which I purchased used. It sounds quite good, and I am satisfied with the sound. It's also rather easy to install and is quite stable.

Sounds like you've got some great equipment as well.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055122 07/21/20 04:06 PM
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Okay, I got the Dangerous Music Source set up. First of all, sound aside, it's a very convenient control center for driving speakers, headphones, etc. I'm running SPDIF out to it from my PreSonus 1824c interface (which in turns syncs via ADAT to an older PreSonus Studio 192 interface to provide mic preamps).

The bottom line is there is a difference in terms of detail. But it's more about having a good listening experience than being different enough to influence how I'd mix a song. I spent some time mixing with just taking the 1824c analog out to speakers, and then set up the Source. I'm definitely leaving the Source set up because of the sound and convenience, but I wouldn't consider it essential. It's kind of like the difference between having brand-new strings on your guitar vs. strings that are a couple weeks old.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055809 07/26/20 05:05 PM
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For convenience, I have had my bass running into my Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixer. I run my bass through a Rupert Neve Portico II channel strip, so I am not using any pre-amp gain on the SQ-5 - it is effectively a line-in interface. Yesterday, I moved this input channel back onto the Focusrite Rednet2 interface that it normally lives on. I immediately noticed the difference. The Focusrite converters deliver more detail/better transients. There is an immediacy to the sound that the SQ-5 doesn't offer. While I'm sure there is no frequency response difference between them, there is a "tighter" quality to the bass on the Focusrite. I had been playing the bass almost every day for months through the SQ-5, so I noticed from the first test notes when I made sure everything was connected and routed correctly.

I prefer the sound of the Focusrite, but it wouldn't make or break an album if it was recorded through the SQ-5.

That said, my experience is that every time I remove circuitry, the sound quality improves. The Sonosax integrated mic pre/AD/recorder is exquisite. The Merging Horus or Avid/DAD MTRX are where I would like to end up in the studio. One box, everything running over short internal traces, with all signals at optimal levels - and Ethernet output. I do think the future of high-end preamps is to digitize them immediately - like the new Grace M108 or Rupert Neve 8ch preamps with Dante. All of the output circuitry of the preamp, and the input circuitry of the A/D converter can be eliminated. And whatever noise or degradation they contribute is eliminated. When the design engineer knows EXACTLY what the impedance and other characteristics of the signal from the mic pre to the AD are, they can be optimized instead of having to accommodate a wide range of unknown inputs on an XLR jack. This same principle is already implemented on the DA side by speakers like those from Genelec (and others) that accept a digital input, and have an internal DA that directly feeds power amps optimized for each physical driver.

I believe we are at "terminal audio quality" from the standpoint of human perception. We have audio recording technology that is better than our physical hearing mechanism, whether you believe that is at 20 KHz, 40 kHz, or 100Khz or beyond. Human auditory perception is not improving. Better technology at this point just drives the cost down, which we have seen in the proliferation of lower cost interfaces that sound good - a thing that wasn't generally true 20 years ago. The implication of this is to put the focus on the quality of the notes, the performance and the human element. Great mics and great speakers (the analog elements that cannot be eliminated) still cost, and may always do so, but even there excellence has crept into lower price points. Our hearing is not improving, and manufacturing is - see the proliferation and cost curves for CNC machining. But the recording medium is something that is no longer a concern.

Digital photography has been at this point for ten years. Innovation in dedicated camera equipment has slowed - the megapixel races are over. Responsibility for innovative images is 100% in the hands of the photographer - the gear is largely unimportant except at the level of personal preference. Video recording will get there over the next five years - once 8k/60p video is easy and clean, we will be at the practical limit of human perception. Blackmagic Design just announced a 12K/60p video camera for under $10,000 USD, so it won't be long before dedicated creators and artists have access to tools that exceed everything our visual and auditory senses can process. Theatrical and stage lighting designers already run light shows that utilize the limits of our visual system, so we are entering an age that won't be defined by better/faster/more quality gear. Creativity will push in other directions.

In audio, the next big innovation will be how immersive audio finally takes us beyond stereo. But this will not affect most captures at the level of recording individual instruments. It is more about production and mixing innovation than capture/recording innovation.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Nathanael_I #3055816 07/26/20 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
That said, my experience is that every time I remove circuitry, the sound quality improves.

i agree. Back in tape days, when recording classical guitar I fed the mic pres directly into the tape recording input and bypassed the mixer.

Quote
So, I believe we are at "terminal audio quality" from the standpoint of human perception. We have audio recording technology that is better than our physical hearing mechanism, whether you believe that is at 20 KHz, 40 kHz, or 100Khz or beyond. So, better technology at this point just drives the cost down, which we have seen in the proliferation of lower cost interfaces that sound good - a thing that wasn't generally true 20 years ago. The implication of this is to put the focus on the quality of the notes, the performance and the human element.

[Cue applause smile ]

Quote
In audio, the next big innovation will be how immersive audio finally takes us beyond stereo. But this will not affect most captures at the level of recording individual instruments. It is more about production and mixing innovation than capture/recording innovation.

I really do wonder when immersive audio will catch on, so far all attempts at surround have failed. I think it's going to take VR becoming commonplace for interest to tick up.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055820 07/26/20 05:40 PM
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There is a lot of work going into headphone/personal immersive audio. I think you are correct in that personal VR driven experiences will drive immersive audio adoption at the consumer level. Over the next several years, I think this will be a solved issue. Manufacturing is already cheap. Consumers are already migrating to higher end headphone experiences vs. buying big room systems.

At the level of entertainment, any facility with multiple speakers will become immersive to some degree. Movie theaters are already well on their way. Broadway theaters are pushing the edge of immersive audio used as a creative tool. They change audio "space" as part of the experience, audio follows actors on stage, etc. Its very sophisticated, and only possible with advanced digital tools, processors, and automation. Even some DJ type club systems are experimenting with immersive elements - they generally already have speakers deployed all over the room. It's just buying a digital processor box to enable it.

For creators, there will be a push towards delivery in immersive formats. All the vendors: DAW, speaker makers, ambisonic mics, etc. will all see an opportunity to upsell us on being a part of this move. Note that the Dolby Atmos software is another $300 on top of DAW license. 7.1.2 (the standard Atmos "bed") is more speakers than even a composer with a 5.1 system uses. The bedroom creators won't bother buying a bunch of speakers - they will wait for the headphone stuff to mature and participate that way. But because we hear more than stereo delivers, there will be a push to immersive. We can hear the difference, and it is way better, so all the marketing muscle will push that direction.

Avid is already doing this - their pro seminars in Nashville and LA are pushing immersive audio, Dolby Atmos, the desireability of their hardware consoles with surround panning, etc. If all you want to do is record great audio, you don't need any of this. An Avid S1 and a Dock will fully get you there...

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Nathanael_I #3055825 07/26/20 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
So, I believe we are at "terminal audio quality" from the standpoint of human perception. We have audio recording technology that is better than our physical hearing mechanism, whether you believe that is at 20 KHz, 40 kHz, or 100Khz or beyond...Digital photography has been at this point for ten years.

In audio, the next big innovation will be how immersive audio finally takes us beyond stereo. But this will not affect most captures at the level of recording individual instruments. It is more about production and mixing innovation than capture/recording innovation.

I'd be slow to declare the end of improvement in audio quality. Not to say the technology at present isn't amazing and, according to various measurements, nearing the point where future improvements in the gear along the lines it's developed, are approaching "beyond hearable" territory.

It does seem logical that the next step will be to tackle the 3D experience. But the public has been resistant to this move - first the Quad failure, and now the compartmentalizing of surround as a "movie thing", not of much interest as an enhancement to music.

The arc has been all these years, of improvements in accuracy, clarity, flat response, full representation of the source material as measured by instruments. But there's another constant out there, which is the well-known preference among an important sector of the musically-interested public, for a certain amount of inaccuracy, of distortion, of chiaroscuro, a bit of fog and indeterminance and fuzziness in music. I'm not really interested in media that operates in, as it were, a perfect vacuum. I'm interested in the media that becomes an internal experience from a subjective viewpoint.

The science of sound reproduction that captures the source and delivers it into the air waves that agitate the ear drum, has been taken so very far. But the real thing, humanly speaking, happens from that point on. I think there is a difference between accurately reproducing a sound, and accurately reproducing an experience. I don't mean immersion necessarily - but that could be part of it. I don't think I know precisely what I mean - and in that mystery, I suspect there is a world of possibilities in the improvement in, for lack of a better term, the quality of the experience. Which, in the long view, is all we really have that makes music of interest at all. There are always engineers to say "a sine wave is a sine wave is a sine wave" - but a sine wave + a human receptor with a subjective experience is the full picture, and science, for the most part, is pretty clueless as to what in the world subjectivity is and what consciousness is.

nat

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Nowarezman #3055826 07/26/20 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
The arc has been all these years, of improvements in accuracy, clarity, flat response, full representation of the source material as measured by instruments. But there's another constant out there, which is the well-known preference among an important sector of the musically-interested public, for a certain amount of inaccuracy, of distortion, of chiaroscuro, a bit of fog and indeterminance and fuzziness in music. I'm not really interested in media that operates in, as it were, a perfect vacuum. I'm interested in the media that becomes an internal experience from a subjective viewpoint.

We do not have opposing viewpoints. This is true, and we have a limitless supply of distortion boxes, plugins, etc to mangle signals in all kinds of ways. Digital, analog, it really is limitless. But none of this changes the fact that our recording medium is capable of storing and reproducing whatever distortion human perception likes beyond our ability to hear it.

Instruments will continue to evolve, sound preferences and what we consider to be emotionally relevant will evolve. We don't generally find the songs of the 1830's emotionally relevant anymore. What we find in good taste, and preferable will never be static.

My point is only that recording technology is no longer meaningful in this dialog. Early in the technology lifecycle, the medium itself had limits and pushing them yielded a change in meaning. The technical limits no longer do that. So the search for human meaning through exploration will simply move in different directions. It may be more complex rhythms, harmonies, different pitch organization, new timbres... Whatever result someone wants can be had up to the limits of human perception. What things we perceive we want is a limitless field of exploration - but it is a separate thing.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055827 07/26/20 06:14 PM
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I think part of the problem with surround is it's difficult to think in terms of recording projects that way. Certainly some of the music I do would be relevant, but I believe the point of reference for most people is live performance. Although in theory you could say it's immersive because you're in a big acoustic space, in practice there's a stage in front of you with speakers...just like a home stereo system.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Nathanael_I #3055830 07/26/20 06:20 PM
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Nathanael - Really good synopsis, particularly the part where you acknowledge that the difference between the A&H rather than the Focusrite wouldn't make or break the record. Not enough people accept this and move on.

Today's gear is really very good, and it will get better if you want to spend the money. I think that there might be a difference when you get into contemporary big bucks productions like 200 tracks of Lady Gaga, but none of us here have that kind of budget.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Anderton #3055832 07/26/20 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
I think part of the problem with surround is it's difficult to think in terms of recording projects that way. Certainly some of the music I do would be relevant, but I believe the point of reference for most people is live performance. Although in theory you could say it's immersive because you're in a big acoustic space, in practice there's a stage in front of you with speakers...just like a home stereo system.

Low cost Ambisonic mics solve this for all acoustic music. People will once again realize the space affects sound, and that not everything is well-served by close micing. Classical recordists already think this way. But for others, who don't think acoustically, it opens a wonderful world of possibility. The music mixers who have done even urban rap/hip-hop in Atmos comment that the best thing is how little they use compression. Because there is more "room" for every signal, a lot of the EQ and compression used to "carve out space" simply isn't needed and the overall presentation is richer and more dynamic.

The interesting thing about surround is that once you experience it properly, stereo is no longer that neat as an effect. We hear continuously, not from two points. The adoption issue has been cost and the effort to align a system properly. The surround effect also does not "scale up" well using simple analog amps and speakers, this has kept it from being used in venues.

This is why the headphone advances will be what leads to broader adoption. The problem is bounded in useful ways.

At the very high end of the live experience, beam steering and other things are making true immersive audio possible at the level of 2000+ people in a Broadway theatre, so the game is changing rapidly. None of this is relevant for bar band kind of music making. But that environment has never led audio quality.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Mike Rivers #3055835 07/26/20 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Nathanael - Really good synopsis, particularly the part where you acknowledge that the difference between the A&H rather than the Focusrite wouldn't make or break the record. Not enough people accept this and move on.

Today's gear is really very good, and it will get better if you want to spend the money. I think that there might be a difference when you get into contemporary big bucks productions like 200 tracks of Lady Gaga, but none of us here have that kind of budget.

Interestingly, Sound on Sound is featuring Lady Gaga's engineer and latest album this month. She has a U47 that she loves (score one for the continued relevance of great transducers). It goes into a vintage 1073 (making Nowhereman's point about distortion), a Tube-Tech CL-1B opto-compressor, and then straight into ProTools. Her engineer takes those three things everywhere Lady Gaga goes. She records in her house, on the tour bus, in studios, hotels, etc. In production, it is all plugins.

So, for a huge name, we have : $15-20k for the U47; $3-5k for the 1073, and $3.6k for the opto-compressor. He uses a laptop and an unspecified interface to get into PT - the interface isn't even important to the sound. (I suspect it is a UAD interface since he makes heavy use of their plugins). So an international level artist with unlimited money has an optimized input chain for less than $30k. You can get a nice piano for that, but are nowhere near the high end.

So even the high end budget isn't all that high. The democratization of audio quality is real. Cutting that real U47 down to an excellent modern mic would put the whole chain under $10k. There would be some difference in audio - the right U47's do have magic - but the album would still get made and go platinum.

Last edited by Nathanael_I; 07/26/20 07:02 PM.
Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Nathanael_I #3055847 07/26/20 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Interestingly, Sound on Sound is featuring Lady Gaga's engineer and latest album this month.

It must be making the Press rounds. I have the current issue of Mix on my dining room table, which is where I got the horrendous number of tracks of Gaga vocals.

Quote
So even the high end budget isn't all that high. The democratization of audio quality is real. Cutting that real U47 down to an excellent modern mic would put the whole chain under $10k. There would be some difference in audio - the right U47's do have magic - but the album would still get made and go platinum.

The equipment budget is shrinking, and of course there aren't very many high dollar studios any more. But somebody's got to pay the vocal producer who goes everywhere with Gaga, and the mix engineer. I'm sure that easily exceed the equipment budget. I suppose they think that's what makes the record what it is. I suspect that if I heard it with a reasonable vocal take and a few backgrounds, I wouldn't be any less sold on the song.

But that's a different topic.

What's interesting is that in a couple of articles I've read in the pop recording mags, there are a few (assumingly famous based on their quoted credits) engineers who aren't really sure what equipment they're using. One that sticks in my head is the mixer who didn't know what the monitors in his own studio were.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Nathanael_I #3055853 07/26/20 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Digital photography has been at this point for ten years.

Great post Nathanael!!!!

I am nitpicking - especially since this is a recording forum. In the last 10 years there has been tremedous progress in reducing noise in high ISO settings, allowing photographers to take great looking images that were not possible previously. What my full frame Canon 5d from 2006 could do at 800 ISO, my humble Rebel T2i from 2011 could do at 1600 but with less pattern noise. Newer cameras can easily deliver quality images at 12,500 ISO and very acceptable work at 25,000 ISO. Photographers can now shoot in "available darkness" without unacceptable noise issues. The sensors and the processors have improved. The refresh rate of an electronic viewfinder has improved by orders of magnitude as well, making mirrorless cameras a viable option for professionals. There is better tech for lens coatings too, the Zeiss Otus lenses came out 7 years ago and are ridiclulously good but newer lenses at much lower prices are starting to catch up.

So, I disagree.


Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
That said, my experience is that every time I remove circuitry, the sound quality improves.

Since you are discussing the quality of a recording capture I can't disagree with this, even though my tragic affliction (electric guitarist) has me sort of going "but, but, but..." laugh
Still, point made and very well.

I am just hugely grateful that I have tremendous options several steps down the ladder from your vantage point.
I was so dissatisfied with the results of Tascam Porta-Studio quality work that I gave up on recording for decades.
A few minutes sitting in the engineer's seat at Maximus Studios in Fresno and listening to 2 synced up Studer 24 tracks running 2" tape at 30 Ips ruined all my fun!!!!!

Can't make up for lost time but I love the gear I can afford now!!!! Cheers, Kuru

PS, that didn't happen to me with photography because 4x5" and 6x7cm were affordable back then...


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
KuruPrionz #3055874 07/26/20 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Digital photography has been at this point for ten years.

Great post Nathanael!!!!

I am nitpicking - especially since this is a recording forum. In the last 10 years there has been tremedous progress in reducing noise in high ISO settings, allowing photographers to take great looking images that were not possible previously. What my full frame Canon 5d from 2006 could do at 800 ISO, my humble Rebel T2i from 2011 could do at 1600 but with less pattern noise. Newer cameras can easily deliver quality images at 12,500 ISO and very acceptable work at 25,000 ISO. Photographers can now shoot in "available darkness" without unacceptable noise issues. The sensors and the processors have improved. The refresh rate of an electronic viewfinder has improved by orders of magnitude as well, making mirrorless cameras a viable option for professionals. There is better tech for lens coatings too, the Zeiss Otus lenses came out 7 years ago and are ridiclulously good but newer lenses at much lower prices are starting to catch up.

So, I disagree.

You are quite correct as to the usefulness of these advances. I have enjoyed them too. From the standpoint of human perception vs. progress of tech, I'll nitpick back. These advances have increased the usable envelope, yes, but relative to human perception, the resolution, color science etc has remained perfectly adequate. People were shooting magazine spreads and gallery images that would fully stand up today. But I'll agree that I could have been more specific to make the analogy tighter!


Would I want to give up the noise performance and go back? Heck no. Same in audio land. Noise reduction in audio is now easy and almost artifact free, especially at modest settings.


Zeiss lenses... ah. Yes, things of beauty. I wish a set of CP3 cinema primes... But here too, those Otus lenses are so good, they are at the limit of what physics and even sensors can use. The larger point is still that we are at a place where the tech is definitely at the limit of human performance, but still subject to human preference. (I prefer Zeiss lenses too...but my $$ is in audio mostly). Video sensors haven't quite caught up. Our visual sense is the most bandwidth intensive sense we have, and the tech won't quite keep up there. But that will happen soon - within 5 years at prices many can afford in the first world.

Re: How Many Have Upgraded Their Converters & Hear a Difference?
Mike Rivers #3055894 07/27/20 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
What's interesting is that in a couple of articles I've read in the pop recording mags, there are a few (assumingly famous based on their quoted credits) engineers who aren't really sure what equipment they're using. One that sticks in my head is the mixer who didn't know what the monitors in his own studio were.

So is that shame on him for not knowing or good for him, he’s just gonna make it work with whatever?

Last edited by dboomer; 07/27/20 12:14 AM.
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