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View Full Version : AD DA best bang 4 the buck



Bud Johnson
03-05-2008, 02:53 PM
I know the ada2000 are very economical-acceptable.
But for 8 channels of a "lil better breed" converter, what would the next rung be? In any config, meaning maybe 8 channels of AD in on one box, and 8 channels of DA out in another. If they have mic pre s cool. OK if not.
I can spend $2-10K as easily as the next guy, but I'm hoping there are options in between?
Are there?

Bruce Callaway
03-05-2008, 03:26 PM
I am contemplating buying one of these for some upcoming live recording via SAW using a laptop http://www.echoaudio.com/Products/FireWire/AudioFire12/index.php

No digital inputs or preamp however 12 in and out channels via firewire interests me.

IraSeigel
03-05-2008, 04:06 PM
The first converter I purchased was an Echo AudiFire 8. I was not happy with its feel at all - the knobs felt less than high quality, and there were some other things I didn't like about it, too. So I sent it back.

You'll be able to do fine with PreSonus, M-Audio, RME, Focusrite, and others.

Ira

Bruce Callaway
03-05-2008, 04:45 PM
The first converter I purchased was an Echo AudiFire 8. I was not happy with its feel at all - the knobs felt less than high quality, and there were some other things I didn't like about it, too. So I sent it back.

You'll be able to do fine with PreSonus, M-Audio, RME, Focusrite, and others.

IraThanks Ira, I shall check them out

Perry
03-05-2008, 11:59 PM
24 I/O at a bargain?


SSL-Soundscape iBox 48-TA (AFN-022) 24 inputs and 24 outputs Digital - 24 balanced analogue inputs and outputs $1875.00 USD

Details:

Versatile multiple input/output and format conversion unit. 1 x TDM expansion port for connection to a Mixpander. 3 x TDIF ports providing 24 inputs and 24 outputs at up to 48kHz, and 12/24 inputs and 12/24 outputs at up to 96kHz. 24 x balanced analogue inputs and outputs at up to 96kHz on sub-D connectors. 1875.00 USD

http://www.ssl-soundscape.com/ (online shop/products)

You can add the Mixpander soundcard for $1495.00 USD and with that you have the full 24 digital I/O (via TDIF) PLUS 24 analog I/O and an incredible amount of versatility. Otherwise you will need a TDIF based soundcard and/or lightpipe to TDIF conversion to hook up the Soundscape iBox and you'll have 24 analog I/O available.

OR.. you can go for the full SSL version that has lightpipe built in.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AlphaLinkAX/

24 I/O in one box! :eek:

Cheers,

Perry

Bill Park
03-06-2008, 10:19 AM
You might look at the Lynx Aurora .

Bill

strat1376
03-07-2008, 04:49 PM
If you dont mind firewire, the RME fireface 800 is the best you can find in that range and runs $1500 give or take a little. The converters are as good as any and its pretty much glitch free with any program.

IraSeigel
03-07-2008, 04:56 PM
If you dont mind firewire, the RME fireface 800 is the best you can find in that range and runs $1500 give or take a little. The converters are as good as any and its pretty much glitch free with any program.

Ditto. And their user forum and newsgroup are very good, with active participation from the lads at RME. Can't go wrong with RME.

As opposed to TOFU... er, rather MOTU.

Ira

Naturally Digital
03-07-2008, 05:35 PM
I second the Soundscape box. If you would rather have 24 ADAT lightpipe you may still find some of the pre-SSL branded ones. Contact Sydec directly if you want to go that route (it would be cheaper than the SSL version but SSL have tweaked the product).

You could consider the SonicCore (formerly Creamware) A16 Ultra or A16 XLR. They are a good buy for 16ch ADDA. http://www.sonic-core.net/en/products/proaudio.html

For bang for buck I think the new Profire 2626 looks good: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/ProFire2626-main.html

If you are interested in used converters, I have some Swissonic ones I may sell but they are 4ch AD (AD96) and 4ch DA (DA96). They have ADAT and AES/EBU. I also have an older 8ch DA (Swissonic) you could have for $100. It's the DA24 mkII with ADAT to 8 balanced XLR. PM me if you're interested in any of this.

Bud Johnson
03-08-2008, 12:21 PM
Thank You everyone for providing a plethora of options. I quickly ran down them all and got myself thoroughly confused.
What I'm planning to do is replace my D8b that has been functioning as 24 channel ADDA, and a big headphone mixer, and a huge paper weight since I stopped mixing OTB 6 yrs ago. That is least once SAC is stable.

Planning ahead, I want something I can take live also. I don't see myself needing more than 16 trks live, but I always plan for expansion.
I think I have it narrowed down to M-Audio and/or RME. That was until David mentioned the Sydec option, and I totally forgot about Creamware. I actually own a couple of Pulsar cards.
I need to get out a pen and paper and do a comparison chart. I also found an out of production 8 channel AD (no pre s) from RME. Around $300! Behringers may remain the best $/convenient option for live. Not what I want in the studio though.
Presently in the studio I go from D8b > Z-Sys > RME-9652. For live, I'll cross that laptop when I come to it.
David, I'll PM you if that's the way I go.
Thanks to all, I'll advise when I'm smarter!

Perry
03-08-2008, 03:14 PM
Thank You everyone for providing a plethora of options. I quickly ran down them all and got myself thoroughly confused.
What I'm planning to do is replace my D8b that has been functioning as 24 channel ADDA, and a big headphone mixer, and a huge paper weight since I stopped mixing OTB 6 yrs ago. That is least once SAC is stable.

Planning ahead, I want something I can take live also. I don't see myself needing more than 16 trks live, but I always plan for expansion.
I think I have it narrowed down to M-Audio and/or RME. That was until David mentioned the Sydec option, and I totally forgot about Creamware. I actually own a couple of Pulsar cards.
I need to get out a pen and paper and do a comparison chart. I also found an out of production 8 channel AD (no pre s) from RME. Around $300! Behringers may remain the best $/convenient option for live. Not what I want in the studio though.
Presently in the studio I go from D8b > Z-Sys > RME-9652. For live, I'll cross that laptop when I come to it.
David, I'll PM you if that's the way I go.
Thanks to all, I'll advise when I'm smarter!

Hi Bud,

Just to possibly add to your confusion ;) ...though hopefully not... I went from a d8b as well and the Soundscape card and software mixer had a lot to do with that. And something (I think) worth considering with the Soundscape cards is that you get the Soundscape mixer.... and that's no trivial thing. This can function as a 'live' mixer very much like an 'actual' mixer expect for the mic pre amps. Of course that's all also the point of SAC so you might be into duplicity here.. but, regardless, it does give you even more options and flexibility and that can't be be bad thing I'd think.

I loved my d8b when I was using it but the Soundscape mixer is a big reason why I got rid of it. I essentially can do all of the things with the Soundscape mixer that I could do with the d8b in terms of live monitoring and any sort of routing that I could ever want or need. The d8b essentially became unnecessary. I wouldn't look a the SSL/Soundscape soundcard as 'JUST' a soundcard, as it's much, much more than that. I'd think of it more along the lines of a scaled down Digidesign Venue or something of that sort; obviously not as feature laden as that but at a fraction of the cost. If you're going to be talking with Dave he can fill you in more on the possibilities if you like and/or feel free to contact me as well if you want more info along these lines.

At any rate... best of luck and I hope you find what you need.

Perry

Bruce Callaway
03-10-2008, 06:32 PM
Going on previous comments, this bundle looks good, up to 32 channels of I/O at 96Khz http://www.sonic-core.net/en/products/bundles.html

Does anyone have experience with the latency claims of Sonic Core/Creamware. For example, are they are good as RME for Live Mode?

Naturally Digital
03-10-2008, 06:50 PM
Does anyone have experience with the latency claims of Sonic Core/Creamware. For example, are they are good as RME for Live Mode?Bruce, I'm afraid that my experience says not. Having said that, I'm using a Pulsar I card and a Luna II and I've never tried the Luna II on it's own. I believe there are significant differences between the I and II hardware versions. It also may be chipset dependent and I've never tried these cards in my mainstream system. Perhaps one of the other creamware users can chime in here.

Now, OTOH, I quite enjoy the Scope software and it IS a 'zero' latency dsp solution with mixers, effects etc. I've used it on live gigs with no issues at all and it's been quite stable. I'm just not sure the driver gets along well with SAW. I've been meaning to try the Luna II card by itself in case the Pulsar I card is pulling it down somehow (I know there's a latency difference between running a system with a II card and not).

I wish I could give them a glowing review because I like the product and I hope Soniccore kicks things up a notch. Only reason I can't is due to sometimes glitchy performance in SAWStudio. I've only ever used these on dual processor machines and that could have something to do with it.

If you're serious about trying them, I'd happily mail you my Luna II card to try. If it works for you and you want to get the ADAT expansion for it (it's the same card as the 'Scope Home') and keep it, I'm sure we could work something out.;) I'm not using it much and mainly keep these around for the DSP processing and sentimental reasons. I've been thinking of upgrading to the latest software to see what Soniccore is bringing to the table since taking over the product line but can't justify the cost just to have some fun. In any case, I'd just as happily see the card go to a good home.

From my experience, if you want the RME stability you really gotta get the RME card. There's no reason you can't use the Creamware converters with the RME however.

Bruce Callaway
03-10-2008, 07:42 PM
From my experience, if you want the RME stability you really gotta get the RME card. There's no reason you can't use the Creamware converters with the RME however. Thanks David, good advice.

I am trying to plan a new AD-DA solution that will fit both studio and mobile recording with the ability to scale up to 88.2 or 96 Khz sampling. At the same time, I am trying to maximise my investment, the bang for buck factor.

I would most likely have to buy RME anyhow to augment the Sonic Core A16 for laptop based mobile/live recording using ADAT. My first thought was to combine the Sonic Core A16 with an RME Multiface or Digiface using a Cardbus laptop interface.

The only benefit from using the Sonic Core PCI card (in the studio only) was the ability to have support 16 x 96Khz channels using their Z-Link connection. Using ADAT interfaces via RME, this number would be halved (at 96Khz). This would mean mobile recording would remain at 44.1 Khz assuming more than 8 channels were required. The A16 would reduce the size of the mobile rig. Any Sonic Core latency issues may not be much of an issue in the studio if I don't use Live mode that much in that environment.

Naturally Digital
03-10-2008, 09:36 PM
The only benefit from using the Sonic Core PCI card (in the studio only) was the ability to have support 16 x 96Khz channels using their Z-Link connection. Using ADAT interfaces via RME, this number would be halved (at 96Khz). This would mean mobile recording would remain at 44.1 Khz assuming more than 8 channels were required. Gotcha.

Bill Park
03-11-2008, 04:54 AM
I have to say that I've been an RME supporter ever since my big problems with MOTU so many years ago. And it isn't that I don't run across other options, but to my experience, NOBODY provides the level of support, the constant useful upgrades, and a rock solid audio interface product line like RME. I am also a fan of Lynx and Frontier, but RME has gotten the closest to the old DAL CardD+, in that I plugged it in, it worked, and it stays working invisibly unless I need to make a change.

I bought the original Hammerfall 9652, which worked like a dream but had routing issues that I did not care for. When they were released I upgraded to a Multiface and Digiface combo with both the PCI and PCMCIA cardbus cards so that I could have a mobile rig and a studio rig, with the mobile rig capable of 24x24 simply by dragging the Digiface out of the studio along with extra converters. The "standard" mobile rig was 16x16 via the Multiface + an extra set of converters.

I got the Fireface when I knew that I was going to be leaving the studio and embarking on a more limited variety of work. The Fireface is limited to 20 channels of I/O, but for practical purposes, I look at it as 16 (as I have 16 channels of Mytek converters). The firewire I/O was just easier at the time, as PCMCIA verses PC Card was still in the air.

By the by, not only is TotalMix handy, but the DigiCheck software tools (also free with RME) are similar to SpectraFoo, and can be quite handy.

Lynx offers less cool routing, but arguably 'sweeter' sounding converters, though both companies are constantly upgrading and refining their designs... I know that the Fireface has had at least two different converters in its product life. (and no, I never hear anyone saying, "...geee... I wish I had the second week of November 2003 vintage..."... for the most part, people don't even seem to know or care about this, though they will argue converter chip specs forever.) But I find the total RME experience to be well worth any sonic differences I might hear bewteen the two.

In terms of the other budget offerings, they are pretty much 'also-rans'. You can save a buck, but if you do, plan to pay for it in increased agrivation, support hassles, or questionable performance. When you amotise the cost difference over your projected lifetime ownership of the product, it usually pays to buy the better piece. For example, the Digiface that I bought for the studio back when it was first released is still going strong in the studio. The current owner has no need or intention to change it out. He bought the Behringer converters everyone here seems to use, and is quite happy.

This brings up another point... when I go out to record solo piano or strings or somesuch, I always take the Myteks. But if your work consists of rock bands, industrials and such, there is little to be gained by dragging out anything much more upscale than the Behringers. You won't see or hear the value in live situations. Instead of buying some low-mid converter set for 24 channels of live work, why not buy a 'gold' pair for mixdown?

Just my thoughts,

Bill

Richard Rupert
03-11-2008, 10:58 AM
I can say that I've had great dependabilty from Frontier Designs products. Until very recently I was using a Montana, a Dakota and two Tango converters. I get response to e-mail questions the same day in most cases. I recently built a new computer and switched to an M-Audio ProFire Lightbridge, but am still using the Tangos.

Im_If
03-13-2008, 03:22 AM
Believe it or not, but an old Layla 20bit sounds great. It uses an older PCI interface but the sound is better than a Mini-me, DIGI002 or mBox. Mixes really translate well over any system. The difference is not subtle and mine has worked with no problems for almost 9 years. You can crank in some 10k eq and it adds a kind of sheen to the sound. I've used the other ADDA's but they never sounded right... even the mini-me was kinda flat and lifeless... The Layla DA is a little noisey but the AD is clean and fat. Not PHAT like an MCI 24 track, but putting on weight. Contact Echo audio for PCI motherboard specs. It'll set you back 50-100 bucks, so spend wisely....

Bruce Callaway
03-13-2008, 03:53 AM
I also used a Layla20 and had good results. I must add that the 2 x Layla 24s I use now are better IMHO however I have run into latency and higher sample rate issues with them. But they are very dependable, never had a problem. My reason for change is to incorporate live (via laptop) and studio recording, enter RME :)

Im_If
03-14-2008, 01:16 AM
Cool. Try www.mercenary.com (http://www.mercenary.com) and/ or http://www.mercenary.com/contact.html and get their advice. They're pretty cool and like to talk gear.
Cheers

strat1376
03-14-2008, 03:03 AM
One last thing about the Behringer. Im not sure if you,ve noticed this, but they use the same converters as the RME fireface. Rack them and be a little carefull and they shoud be fine. 16 channels for the cost of a couple gigs. I know of quite a few people who use those both live and studio and are actually quite happy with them, for "bang for the buck" they would have to be about as good as it gets. They are only 44.1 and 48k though so if your wanting higher sample rates they wont do it. Behringer makes a lot of boat anchors, but the ada8000 isnt one of them. Good luck with your choice!

Cary B. Cornett
03-14-2008, 05:31 AM
One last thing about the Behringer. Im not sure if you,ve noticed this, but they use the same converters as the RME fireface. Rack them and be a little carefull and they shoud be fine. I use the Behringers and they indeed do a good job for the money. Still, not all converters that use the same chipset are equal. In fact, using the same chipset it is possible to build converters that are anything from truly excellent to just barely passable. I've heard it said that it's the "glue" that makes the difference. Things like component layout, power supply quality and isolation (analog from digital), clock stability and what sort of buffer amps are used can all make an important difference to the quality of the result. The better/more expensive designs pay careful attention to ALL of these details.