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Author Topic: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction  (Read 6146 times)

Adam The Truck Driver

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Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« on: June 21, 2008, 09:00:00 pm »

Does the Digi 003 table top version get any respect here? On it's own merits is it worth a damn at recording and mixing music?

I'm going to teach myself how to record and mix. I had initialy though I'd purchase a respectable collection of microphones, a rack of premium front end gear, premium converters, premium computer, premium DAW software and the rest of the required accessories, but was advised not to.

I then had the idea to get the microphones, but instead of seperate preamps and converters, something like the Apogee Ensemble would be the way to go for me, but thats still going to lead to major bucks for me to have to spend, before I even learn proper recording.

So now I'm on to the Digi 003 or it's competitors if there are any. I've read that M Audio gear leaves something to be desired in sound quality. I already own a Acer PC tower which I'd like upgrade the memory on if I used it as it only has 512MB I think, and this Acer Aspire 5920 Core 2 Duo, 1.66GHz,667MHz FSB, 2MB L2 cache, 3GB DDR2 laptop, both relatively new, and running on Vista. I am not looking to do this for a living/professionally, but do want something that can be capable of at least damn near professional sound quality if not pro sound quality. I want to do simple recordings i.e. 3 miked drums, DI/miked bass, DI/miked guitar cab, and vox. Might have a real horn come in too, or an electronic keyboard player. Might stereo, or 3 track a local church chior. Will certainly record myself on drums, and singing those sappy ballads I like to sing.

Anyway back to the Digi 003...any opinions? Experienced opinions? Options?
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Adam Brown

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compasspnt

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2008, 09:10:25 pm »

These units are fine as controllers, and allow you to do professional recording into Protools, with one exception:  the converters.

In my opinion, the A > D and then D > A converters are the weak link.

As far as operability, no problems at all, as long as you don't need more I/O or track count than they provide.

If you get one, try to also get something like a Lavry Blue rack for stereo I/O conversion.

Good luck.
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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2008, 12:07:37 am »

compasspnt wrote on Sat, 21 June 2008 20:10

These units are fine as controllers, and allow you to do professional recording into Protools, with one exception:  the converters.

In my opinion, the A > D and then D > A converters are the weak link.

As far as operability, no problems at all, as long as you don't need more I/O or track count than they provide.

If you get one, try to also get something like a Lavry Blue rack for stereo I/O conversion.

Good luck.



Thanks for the info Terry. I found after some clicking and then more clicking, and more clicking that the unit in question will have enough I/O for me and I would like to keep it to 8 tracks for now anyway. The 003's preamps get a pass?

Would the Lavry Blue rack be for the stereo mix you mean, or to track with in stereo? My brain is analog. I think in analog. Mic into micpre into console, out to track and back to console monitor channel yada yada yada. I have acess to a Tascam TSR-8 but can't get tape anymore. I'm not exactly certain where and when I need a converter in the chain other than initial input to PT and to monitor. Also it, the Blue, is on the pricey side isn't it? I need to go look it up now, but I thought all the Lavry stuff was true hibuck? Ah Shit! Can I just come intern at your place Terry? lol. I better get this semi paid for first. So I think you mean the signal would come out of PT in digital to be converted to analog by the Blue for monitoring/mixing? Or do you mean run preamp into the Blue and then into PT? If I need an aditional converter just for monitoring wouldn't then something like a Grace 901 or 902 with DAC, thinking budget, be more useful as DAC and monitor control? I mean hell if I know. The 003 probably has monitor control built in right?

Anyhoos Thanks. I'll be ordering the 003 in the very near future, like this week if this one place will do a payment deal.
with me. Well I'll wait first to see you next reply so that I can have some better understanding. Sorry about the flood.
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Adam Brown

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danickstr

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2008, 02:16:58 am »

what mic and pre do you have?
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compasspnt

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2008, 03:15:46 am »

Well, yeah, the pre's are not the greatest.  I was assuming you had one or more good external mic pre's.

So ideally you would go mic > good ext mic pre > any analogue processing desired > good external converter > 003 dig in.

Then for monitoring, in a perfevt world, you'd com e out of the 003 into a good D > A converter, into a monitor controller.
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Fletcher

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 08:12:37 am »

The API A2D will give you two great channels of mic-pre and two great channels of A/D conversion for a far better price than the Lavry... this should solve most of your issues [eventually, you should investigate a better D/A solution as the D/A in the 003 is also not very good.

Peace.
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CN Fletcher

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If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 09:41:22 am »

Alright gentlmen...I have a grasp now at what you're talking about, however it appears the only difference from my original thought would be the Digi 003 would be the DAW program instead of Logic, Digital Performer, Sonar, or Cubase in a Macbook Pro or other compatible 2-3-4 grand computer...I still need some additional and likely expensive outboard just to get signal into and out of my $700 Acer laptop wPTLE, and the 003 as a controller?

This is for me to learn on and I was advised here to do that as cheaply as possible. I now agree to that. Makes sense. So the answer is no to my original question? It will not handle the job with passable pro sound quality on it's own. I'm afraid I will need more options of lesser expense.

I've read great things about the RNP and RNC and RNLA. Would that suffice as front end preamp? With a Benchmark ADC-1 maybe? Whats that come to? Seems for not much more I could have the Ensemble, but then I'm advised it is best to have the 4K MacBook Pro/Logic Studio to go with it.

Dang. Seems there isn't a way to achieve the quality I want without spending hibucks. So I haven't any actual advantage.
Anyway...right now I gotta go to work. I'll check back later.

You all have a nice day.
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Adam Brown

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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2008, 12:22:05 pm »

I'll put it like this...alright i have my $700 Acer laptop here which has various types of inputs built in, and hopefully 1 or 2 will be relivant. It has 160GB HDD, and DVD Super Multi Drive. I get the $2200 Digi 003/PTLE system. Alright now what is the best preamp and the best AD/DA converters I can get for the least amount of money. Let's say at least 2 micpres, but would like 4 more better all for say not more than equal expense as the Digi 003/PTLE? So in theory I'd have the main body of the system for $4900 including the laptop I already own. Too bad the Ensemble is for MAC only.

Should I be over at Harvey's Forum since I too have no budget? All I have is some money to spend over some likely long period of time. At present $250-700 a month I can put into this project. Once I get the ex paid off I'll have up to $1200 a month for this, unless I go get a new car for myself.

Maybe I'd be better off just going down to ITRS every once in a while having the studio booked for a few days for me to play around in, and maybe take a few musician friends down with me and just record them? Hell that might be the best idea I've had yet.

Hey Harvey...ya mind teaching me how to properly engineer and record music and stuff in your studio? I can put in as much as 18 hours a week to learn it all.

I don't know what to do, but I won't give up.
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Adam Brown

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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2008, 12:31:47 pm »

Fletcher wrote on Sun, 22 June 2008 07:12

The API A2D will give you two great channels of mic-pre and two great channels of A/D conversion for a far better price than the Lavry... this should solve most of your issues [eventually, you should investigate a better D/A solution as the D/A in the 003 is also not very good.

Peace.


I like that idea Fletcher about the API A2D. However it's cost I'm not certain about if I still need DAC too. I have to figure something out cause I starting to get slightly discouraged. Only slightly.
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Adam Brown

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compasspnt

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2008, 02:14:03 pm »

Really, if you're just getting started, the 003 will probably do good enough as it is.

IF you keep levels reasonable low, and not try to push the thing to its ultimate limits, it should deliver reasonably professional output.

Really, it's much more about what music you put into it anyway.

I think I would start with the 003, and then add on as I improved myself enough to require the upgrades.

(Fletcher's API idea sounds like a good one, by the way...I've just never used that particular unit, so can't comment firsthand.)
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bilco

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2008, 08:02:24 pm »

If you are truly learning how to be an audio engineer from scratch, I don't think the Digi003 is a bad investment at all.  (I have a Digi 002 Rack and an Mbox, so no Control surface advice.)  The preamp and converters are going to be usable for you for awhile unless you are a particularly gifted and fast learner.

I am nowhere in the league of the gentlemen offering you advice, but I can offer you my experience.  I am a semi-pro weekend warrior musician and a songwriter, not an engineer, so bear that in mind.

I have been making multitrack home recordings since at least the late 70s with 4 track reel to reel decks and Portastudio cassettes.  I have been in the digital recording world since about 2001 and after throwing a pretty significant amount of money at this, here is what I have found.

*The person doing the engineering is really about 99% of the game.
*You have to have a great song and great musicians to record or the whole exercise is pretty pointless.
*You will make a much more profound difference in your level of skill by learning mic placement and how to listen than you will in spending lots of money on pro gear.
*Apprentice at a local studio for free as time permits if you are really dedicated to this.  Don't expect to be paid.  Empty the trash, make coffee, whatever they ask.  Keep quiet and watch and listen.
*Hearing the difference in preamps and convertors is apparently something that pro engineers and maybe animals can hear, but not me.  And I think that as a regularly working musician, I have pretty critical, albeit partially lost, hearing.
*You asked about Harvey's forum.  I think it may serve your needs better since you seem to be new to all of this.  
*Print the document out at this link and read it constantly.
http://www.itrstudio.com/MIC_CHAT.PDF The knowledge in that thread is worth way more than a $2,000 preamp.

I am not seeing anywhere whether this is just going to be a hobby for you or if you are recording yourself as a singer or songwriter or musician or whether you intend to do this as a business.

If this is just a hobby or you are a part-time musician like me, I say keep it simple and get something along the lines of the Digi 003 or even just an Mbox or the equivalent for learning the basics. None of the pros here are going to be using or recommending those preamps for making commercial release recordings, but for learning purposes and some really high quality demos, they are more than good enough.

In all my searching the web for samples of the differences the gear makes, I have concluded a couple of things:

*Based on many recordings I have heard from home recordists (not in this forum) who have spent a LOT of money on gear, those recordings still do not sound professional to me.  There is always a little something missing.  Usually it is the song or the voice because they are trying to do it all.  But the recordings do not sound like records to me, just really good demos at best.
*Recordings I heard done on a prosumer 1/2" 8 track Tascam by a pro audio engineer here in Austin back in the 80s have a more professional sound than many recordings I have heard done by home recordists with a lot of high end gear.  The difference is he did and still does recording for a living.
*It has taken me decades to know everything I know about writing a song and playing bass; I am far from the best, but I have grown because I love playing bass and I am obsessed with songwriting.  I have been recording for decades, but I have not progressed that much because engineering is not my passion. I spent somewhere around $5,000 to figure that out........ If I had it to do over knowing what I know now, I would have just bought 2 decent mics and an Mbox for demos and if and when I wanted to record a CD, I would take those tracks to a real studio with a real engineer and let them do what they do best.

Is recording your passion?

One last thought, not sure what kind of truck you drive, but - if I went out and bought the most expensive rig that money can buy..... would it make me a trucker?  What makes you a trucker, the years of time you put into it or the brand and quality of the rig you are driving?

bilco
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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2008, 08:34:07 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Sun, 22 June 2008 13:14

Really, if you're just getting started, the 003 will probably do good enough as it is.

IF you keep levels reasonable low, and not try to push the thing to its ultimate limits, it should deliver reasonably professional output.

Really, it's much more about what music you put into it anyway.

I think I would start with the 003, and then add on as I improved myself enough to require the upgrades.

(Fletcher's API idea sounds like a good one, by the way...I've just never used that particular unit, so can't comment firsthand.)



Thank you Terry, thank you very much. Thats pretty much what I was wanting to know right there. It will work for an entry level DAW on it's own with passable pro sound quality. As long as I'm not buying a $2200 total POS(Digi 003). Thats what I was wondering. Now if it is compatible with my exsisting computers I will soon be in business. I'll order one this week, or at least by July 1st.
I'll scratch this off the check list now.
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Adam Brown

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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2008, 09:01:09 pm »

bilco wrote on Sun, 22 June 2008 19:02

If you are truly learning how to be an audio engineer from scratch, I don't think the Digi003 is a bad investment at all.  (I have a Digi 002 Rack and an Mbox, so no Control surface advice.)  The preamp and converters are going to be usable for you for awhile unless you are a particularly gifted and fast learner.

I am nowhere in the league of the gentlemen offering you advice, but I can offer you my experience.  I am a semi-pro weekend warrior musician and a songwriter, not an engineer, so bear that in mind.

I have been making multitrack home recordings since at least the late 70s with 4 track reel to reel decks and Portastudio cassettes.  I have been in the digital recording world since about 2001 and after throwing a pretty significant amount of money at this, here is what I have found.

*The person doing the engineering is really about 99% of the game.
*You have to have a great song and great musicians to record or the whole exercise is pretty pointless.
*You will make a much more profound difference in your level of skill by learning mic placement and how to listen than you will in spending lots of money on pro gear.
*Apprentice at a local studio for free as time permits if you are really dedicated to this.  Don't expect to be paid.  Empty the trash, make coffee, whatever they ask.  Keep quiet and watch and listen.
*Hearing the difference in preamps and convertors is apparently something that pro engineers and maybe animals can hear, but not me.  And I think that as a regularly working musician, I have pretty critical, albeit partially lost, hearing.
*You asked about Harvey's forum.  I think it may serve your needs better since you seem to be new to all of this.  
*Print the document out at this link and read it constantly.
http://www.itrstudio.com/MIC_CHAT.PDF The knowledge in that thread is worth way more than a $2,000 preamp.

I am not seeing anywhere whether this is just going to be a hobby for you or if you are recording yourself as a singer or songwriter or musician or whether you intend to do this as a business.

If this is just a hobby or you are a part-time musician like me, I say keep it simple and get something along the lines of the Digi 003 or even just an Mbox or the equivalent for learning the basics. None of the pros here are going to be using or recommending those preamps for making commercial release recordings, but for learning purposes and some really high quality demos, they are more than good enough.

In all my searching the web for samples of the differences the gear makes, I have concluded a couple of things:

*Based on many recordings I have heard from home recordists (not in this forum) who have spent a LOT of money on gear, those recordings still do not sound professional to me.  There is always a little something missing.  Usually it is the song or the voice because they are trying to do it all.  But the recordings do not sound like records to me, just really good demos at best.
*Recordings I heard done on a prosumer 1/2" 8 track Tascam by a pro audio engineer here in Austin back in the 80s have a more professional sound than many recordings I have heard done by home recordists with a lot of high end gear.  The difference is he did and still does recording for a living.
*It has taken me decades to know everything I know about writing a song and playing bass; I am far from the best, but I have grown because I love playing bass and I am obsessed with songwriting.  I have been recording for decades, but I have not progressed that much because engineering is not my passion. I spent somewhere around $5,000 to figure that out........ If I had it to do over knowing what I know now, I would have just bought 2 decent mics and an Mbox for demos and if and when I wanted to record a CD, I would take those tracks to a real studio with a real engineer and let them do what they do best.

Is recording your passion?

One last thought, not sure what kind of truck you drive, but - if I went out and bought the most expensive rig that money can buy..... would it make me a trucker?  What makes you a trucker, the years of time you put into it or the brand and quality of the rig you are driving?

bilco


I haven't figured out how you reply with quotes to more than 1 quote.

Anyway I appreciate your input here too bilco...is that sgt. bilco...no that was with a (k) I think. Anyway, I started taking drum lessons when I was about 7 or 8 every week till I was 14 or 15. I was at one time one of the best drummers you could find around my area of operation unless you liked long drives. Then you could probably find someone better. I haven't really played drums now for probably 10 years, as 1 I burned out, 2 made no money playing where I lived and was too chicken shit to go out in the world and just do it, and 3 had to finally get a real job. 4 ended up in the Army and sold the kit I had before I left for basic. I'd spent about 7K on it at the time. It went out the door for $600.

I have always loved music, particularly the stuff my parents listened to. I have always wanted to be able to sing like some of those few vocalists I really liked. Well now I'm a way better singer than I ever was a drummer. But I drive a truck for a living. I have desired ,pretty much, to live in a recording studio for over 20 years and never did a thing of real significance to even get next to a studio, mostly for lack of funds but also lack of confidence that I could. Now I've got some funding and can at least get an entry level DAW rig. Here I am, though I still drive a truck for a living...thats where the funds come from.

Now...what sort of songs do you like to write?

Thanks again for your input here.
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Adam Brown

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Steve Hudson

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2008, 12:15:17 pm »

If you do plan to buy external converters and preamps, consider buying a used 002 instead of a 003. Very similar layout and feel. There are probably a bunch of NOS 002s out there at dealers, too, which would carry a warranty. If you're only using the unit as a giant Pro Tools dongle and control surface, the 002 works fine.
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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Searched Digi 003 without finding satisfaction
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2008, 03:13:20 pm »

I want the best of what one might call an "all in one box" as an entry level DAW rig for me to get my chops perfected on. From my understanding the 003 has improvements over the 002 with lower noise and improved input amps. At the most I will get some outboard pres for this 003 if that a few months later. I figure by the time I'm ready for some really choice converters I'll be ready to upgrade to an entirely new DAW rig. What I really want but am not ready for is a MacBook Pro/Logic Studio with Apogee Ensemble(S) and some 500 series outboard gear, and possibly an ATB to boot along with a top shelf monitoring system, and a microphone locker filled with mics worthy of use in any studio anywhere.

Thanks for your input here though. I want as many opinions as I can get. Terry answered my main concern here though.
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Adam Brown

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