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Thread: Analogue - digital conversion

  1. #1
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    Analogue - digital conversion

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    Hello again guys/gals.

    I started up a thread on here recentley concerning myself starting up a recording setup, hybrid analog/digital. So to update anyone thats interested I got a place in a local college to get some engineering basics but turned down the offer in the end as a lot of what they were going to teach me I really don't need to know (MIDI/advanced DAW...). Plus with my job & other things like a social life it would have restricted me to much...Anyway I've got a short list of some good books to teach myself some essential engineering techniques (mic placement/EQing etc). I should be able to make use of some good local spaces so I'm not restricted to much by my house/basement.

    ANYWAY...

    I've carried on researching all the seperate parts of the setup & also now have a good idea of the budget I'm working with: anything up to, at the very most if it was required, £10,000 GBP. I don't want to waste money like anyone & I will be buying most things second hand if possible.

    SO...

    Looking at depth into all the seperate components something has started troubling me. Most things, such as: microphones / monitors / headphones / tape machine / tape / mixer / leads / laptop/pc / effects boxes all seem to be easy to research & gage what you'll need for your desired setup. One thing though...the conversion from analogue to digital requires a piece of kit called a converter. Now these converters/interfaces/mixers with built in interfaces range from £100 to £5000....

    SO...

    It's really hard for me as a relative novice to get a good understanding of the real difference in the quality for price. Of course i'm very interested in retaining as much of the 'sound' I will be getting on my reel to reel machine when (reluctantly) converting to digital. Whats the deal guys? I'm very serious about this but do I really need to fork out 2 or 3 grand for 'high-end' converters? I've looked at everything it seems from M-audio to Lynx to Prism Orpheus to Apogee...One thing that jumed out recentley was the new Allen & Heath mixer with built in FW conversion, link: http://www.allen-heath.com/zed/zed-R16.asp I know A&H are a highly regarded company when it comes to mixers & this seems like a good solution to my digital conversion problems....But...Again its so hard for me to gage how good the converters will be...This area just seems SO vague. Samples/websites with samples would help loads to...

    Aside from this I've made really good progress & am excited about getting the equipment in & learning how to use it properly. Going in depth into microphones is really expanding my knowledge & it seems they are A LOT more important than I first realised (along with the room your using of course)

    Help me guys/gals!!

    Regards,

    Rob

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    I'm thinking this might be a better topic for a different forum...not trying to pass the buck, but we're mostly interested in the pre-conversion arena...

    Y-M-M-V, but you get what you pay for. You are typically going to get "better" converters in a stand-alone box, and don't discount the importance of a good digital clock. I could noticeably hear a difference in clarity when I started clocking with the Jet PLL clock in my Presonus Digimax FS vs. using the clock in my Yamaha 01X/i88x setup. Less smear-ey and better staging. Can't really recommend a high-end converter unit or clock...Big Ben is a long-standing standard as far as clocks go. But again I'm happy with what my Digimax FS does for me. You can ask for opinons all day long but there is no substitute for being able to A/B gear especially when you get into these kinds of decisions...really. If I were you I'd go to a local retailer and try the stuff out on your ears. Can't hear the difference between an all-in-one preamp/converter/clock box? What's the point in spending more then? Hear the difference? Then think about your budget and balance it. I think I'd be more concerned with a good clock first and then upgrade converters later (if necessary) because everything in your digital system is going to reference that thing (the clock)...it will become the weak-link of the whole mess if its not decent, and as far as converters go, there is some of the same "which preamp is better" debate, or "which is better, analog or digital?" Oi. Some converters that are "grainy" to some do cool things to certain source material. Find a way to do a taste test, blind taste test if possible. Go with what is in your budget and gets you jazzed.

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    Like Mr. Sweet said, if you can't hear the difference, don't spend the money on it. I started out my setup as cheap as humanly possible. I went through a behringer preamp into the onboard sound card. Back then I couldn't really hear the difference.

    I have since upgraded my setup, and when I hear my old recordings, they sound like complete crap, because now I can hear the difference. That tells me that if back then, I had really good gear, my songs would have sounded just as crappy, because I couldn't tell the difference (although my music would have been more accurate recordings of crap).

    My approach may be different than most people, but I always start out on the cheap and get lots of stuff, figure out which stuff I need and which stuff I don't, then upgrade my gear accordingly. Once my skill level is beyond the limitations of the gear, then it's time to upgrade. I'm sure I'll get ripped to shreds for saying this, but it's worked pretty well for me.

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    i just got the Apogee Rosetta 800 to dump my 8 track analog into the pro tools and i can definitely hear a difference compared to the digi 002 alone. the first thing i noticed was the depth and richness of the bass.

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    Very well put, bozmillar...they'll be ripping me to shreds too then.

    Yup, somewhere I read up on what's under the hood of an 002 and it is nothing to write home about, whereas the Rosetta 800 has been praised.

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    wow, that Allen & Heath mixer looks cool.

    I don't have much experience with high end A/D converters, but I think its a fair bet that like most of what you get in the audio world, there is a point of diminishing return.

    Its probably also dependent on whether the rest of your signal chain is good enough to reveal the improved A/D.

    For a guy that is just getting his feet wet in the recording game, I bet that Allen & Heath board would keep you happy for a long time.

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