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Author Topic: Is A Converter Really Necessary?  (Read 2008 times)

Trumpetman2

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Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« on: February 07, 2006, 11:19:14 am »

Guys:  I'm tracking 8 channels w/a vintage RAMSA board going into a Tascam DA38.  Would a A/D converter make a worthwhile sonic improvement in my tracks?  If so, how does it work?  Is it an interface between the mixer and the DA38?  Thanks
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John Ivan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2006, 12:36:18 pm »

Yes. It could make a difference. You would need a box with 8 analog input's and one TDIF port. This is tascams digital I/O. Ya know, I have two 88's and a 38 and the converters don't bum me out to bad. I don't know what's available with TDIF that sounds better than the 38 converters. Perhaps a new MOTU 2408 would sound better? I'm not sure.

What you would be doing is bypassing the tascam converters and doing the conversion in the new box. The 88 and 38 limit you to 16 bit but converter quality is a bigger issue than bit depth.

Keep in mind, just as general info, that the TDIF interface is bidirectional and does NOT carry word clock info. If you were to do digital transfers into a DAW for example, you would need to send word clock separately.

Ivan......................................................
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Trumpetman2

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 01:46:05 pm »

Ivan:  Hey, we meet again!  I got some real great advice from you way back when I started recording.  Thanks again.  If I'm reading you correctly, you are saying that the converters in the DA38 are already pretty decent?  Also, I don't do DAW; the tracks from the 38 go to another board (Mackie) and from there via analog to the final step in my Masterlink.  Maybe I should do the conversion between the Mackie and the Masterlink?  Make sense?
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John Ivan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2006, 05:21:15 pm »

Well, I would just use it the way it is. That's what I'm doing and it seems fine. I know a guy with the 2408 MOTU and it sounds fine too. I would not say the 2408 sounded noticeably better but I have only heard it in passing/while working. I did not compare them. Look, unless there is something you really DON'T like about the 38, just use it the way it is. I do find the 38 to be slightly noisier than the 88's{not sure why}. It was there cheaper unit but it's never a problem.

The bottom line is this. There might be a unit out there that will convert analog to a TDIF port that sounds great. The question is, how much better is it going to sound under the conditions it's being used? Will the small,or even not so small improvement be worth the couple grand you might have to spend? I don't know..

best of luck.

Ivan.............................
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Gunnar Hellquist

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2006, 01:16:53 am »

In my ears there is a definite difference between different AD converters. It is less difference than between different mic placements and less than the difference in different rooms. But once you have those two parts in place, using good mics and mic pres it is sort of the next step.

If you check around a bit on the net you will find quite a few different AD converters to choose from. My suggestion is that if at all possible you go out and lend one from a retailer or rent one from a renting company for a few days. That will give you a lot of knowledge about the difference and whether it is worth it to you. Some of us mortgage our homes to be able to by the converters we want.

Just a small correction to an otherwise good advice.
ivan40 wrote on Tue, 07 February 2006 18:36

the TDIF interface is bidirectional and does NOT carry word clock info. If you were to do digital transfers into a DAW for example, you would need to send word clock separately.



Each TDIF cable is one-directional, you need one cable per direction. And it does carry clock-info, although you might get a little better quality using a separate word clock cable. Just remember to set you most important AD converter as master and you will be fine.

Good luck

Gunnar
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John Ivan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2006, 04:12:01 am »

Gunnar Hellquist wrote on Wed, 08 February 2006 01:16

In my ears there is a definite difference between different AD converters. It is less difference than between different mic placements and less than the difference in different rooms. But once you have those two parts in place, using good mics and mic pres it is sort of the next step.

If you check around a bit on the net you will find quite a few different AD converters to choose from. My suggestion is that if at all possible you go out and lend one from a retailer or rent one from a renting company for a few days. That will give you a lot of knowledge about the difference and whether it is worth it to you. Some of us mortgage our homes to be able to by the converters we want.

Just a small correction to an otherwise good advice.
ivan40 wrote on Tue, 07 February 2006 18:36

the TDIF interface is bidirectional and does NOT carry word clock info. If you were to do digital transfers into a DAW for example, you would need to send word clock separately.



Each TDIF cable is one-directional, you need one cable per direction. And it does carry clock-info, although you might get a little better quality using a separate word clock cable. Just remember to set you most important AD converter as master and you will be fine.

Good luck

Gunnar




Hi Gunnar,,

The TDIF Protocol was developed by Tascam {Tascam Digital Interface} and only requires One Multi Pin connector per device for I/O.  My DA-88's for instance have one port Labeled "Digital I/O". This allows one to freely transfer the Audio to and from connected devices , without re-patching.

Also, while the TDIF interface does carry some Digital clock information, it does not carry the Word Clock information needed to properly synchronize a digital transfer. ADAT does but TDIF does not.


Ivan.............................................
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Gunnar Hellquist

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2006, 11:37:17 am »

Sorry. I was totally wrong and mixing interfaces up. Good there are people here who knows what they are talking about (not me in this case).
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2006, 07:26:59 pm »

You'd be better off spending your money on better front-end gear...mics, and pre's...before you really need to worry about the esoterics of converters. You'll certainly notice the difference.

Eventually, you'll have to replace the 38...either you'll outgrow it, or you'll junk it. If you blew your cash on a converter, then there's a very strong chance that you'll actually be retiring two bits of kit when that time comes...

Good mics and pre's are things that will always have a place in your arsenal - whatever you are recording on - whereas an equipment-specific AD converter... Rolling Eyes


Cheers,
Tim
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Trumpetman2

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2006, 08:50:05 am »

Tim Halligan wrote on Wed, 08 February 2006 19:26

You'd be better off spending your money on better front-end gear...mics, and pre's...before you really need to worry about the esoterics of converters. You'll certainly notice the difference.

Eventually, you'll have to replace the 38...either you'll outgrow it, or you'll junk it. If you blew your cash on a converter, then there's a very strong chance that you'll actually be retiring two bits of kit when that time comes...

Good mics and pre's are things that will always have a place in your arsenal - whatever you are recording on - whereas an equipment-specific AD converter... Rolling Eyes


Cheers,
Tim


Tim:  I agree w/that...I have been looking at what would replace the 38.  Thought of the Mackie 24 channel hard disk, but I absolutely DON'T need 24 channels....if there was a reasonably priced super high quality 8 or even 16 channel recorder....?????
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2006, 09:29:17 am »

Trumpetman2 wrote on Thu, 09 February 2006 21:50


....if there was a reasonably priced super high quality 8 or even 16 channel recorder....?????



Genex.

However, it might be stretching your idea of "reasonably priced" somewhat.

I think you may be searching for the proverbial needle if you want something that is "reasonably priced" and at the same time "super high quality".

Next...

When you said:

quote


Thought of the Mackie 24 channel hard disk, but I absolutely DON'T need 24 channels...



Do you NEVER see your needs growing beyond 8 tracks?

What about potential clients? What about their needs?

Have you seriously considered going the DAW route?
External pre's/comps...
External AD/DA...
Built-in mixing...
Effects...
Editing...
Upgrade-able...
Expandable...

I'm sure you're aware of the usual suspects in this case...


Cheers,
Tim





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John Ivan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2006, 03:57:14 pm »

Hi All,

Tim makes a very good point. Do you NOT see your needs growing? Perhaps not. If you are doing demo's of your own work and are happy with working 8 tracks, by all means keep doing it that way.

IF however,you see some limitations and/or see that you might need more tracks down the road or some editing, I would look into a DAW solution.There are some great deals on Computers these days.

I personally like both ways of working,{not that there are only two...}I love mixing on the big old boat of a console because I'm just so used to it and love how the gain stages sound. I also love composing in Cubase and really dig some of the editing and Comp plug's that one can use in a DAW.

Only you can answer whether or not you need to edit or have more tracks.


My final advise is, as always,, go buy a 2" machine and a big old space heater of a console.. Razz

Ivan...............................
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floodstage

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2006, 04:20:50 pm »

I picked up a Mackie SDR to use for remote recording.  Only cost me $700 (used) and it works great.  Pretty inexpensive when comparing it to a lot of audio toys.  It will record up to 24 tracks at once but you don't have to use more than 8 tracks if you don't want to.
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Trumpetman2

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2006, 07:52:59 am »

 Razz Guys:  Great points...but I only do demos of my own stuff.  Have never recorded anyone else, but, you are right- who knows what the future might bring...so, if I went w/the Mackie SDR, would that be an increase in sonic quality from the 38? Rolling Eyes
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Is A Converter Really Necessary?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2006, 07:56:46 am »

Hmmm...24 bit.

But really, you are limited by whatever you plug into it...


Cheers,
Tim
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"Don't forget, we are all engaged in a battle to the death against mediocrity." - J. Whynot

"You can tune a room only with a bulldozer." - Andy Peters
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