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Author Topic: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.  (Read 16659 times)

tom eaton

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The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« on: September 14, 2008, 10:08:51 am »

Following my thread about my experiences with Symphony, Digital Performer and a Mac Dual 2.7 G5:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/24864/2571/

And a recent thread about failing power switches:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/24873/2571/


Rick Welin suggested starting a "holding bin" here for user comments on the Apogee AD16x and DA16x units and the various interfacing options available.  I'll start.

tom eaton

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2008, 10:23:28 am »

So, I replaced my Radar II/Motu 2408/PCI424 with an Apogee Symphony system.  I'm a die hard mac guy and have been using Performer for more than 20 years.

Installation of the Symphony system was incredibly easy.

I compared the conversion of the Apogee units to my Radar (classic converters), my CraneSong HEDD192, and a MOTU 1296.  I felt the Apogee a/d was right there with the HEDD, which is the best a/d converter I own.  The Radar lacked midrange detail and the 1296 lacked midrange period.

The d/a side was harder.  The HEDD sounded better than any other option.  The Radar "clasic" converters sound great to me.  Absolutely soft on the top end in a way that's pleasant.  The Apogee d/a's (and to some degree the 1296) have the open top end of the HEDD, but don't have the same low midrange, bloom or reality (your choice) of the Radar or the HEDD.  I could see using either the RADAR or the Apogee da16x depending on the project.  I mix analog, so converter sound "pile up" is definitely an issue. No clear d/a multi-track winner for me.

All this digital listening was done with all gear clocked to an Isochrone, and checked out via my hand-made (ooh!) passive monitor switcher and attenuator.

tom eaton

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2008, 10:41:21 am »

The Symphony system.

I need direct, zero-latency monitoring.  The Symphony system can do this if you are using a MacPro and Logic and you keep your buffers at 32 or 64.

That's a pretty specific situation, and one that I am not in.

The Symphony cue mixer (Maestro) allows two stereo zero latency mixers.  For a basics session on an analog console, four direct outputs are insufficient.  I typically need 16 inputs and direct outputs.  Sometimes more.  Radar did 24 quite handily.

Apogee feels that the job of providing cue mixers should lie with the DAW, and Maestro is an intermediate program that operates with Ensemble, the 16x units and Duet.  It's hardware control software as much as it is a cue mixer (or more).

I have had a conversation with Roger at Apogee about my issues with Symphony (detailed in the first thread linked above) and he appeared to be receptive to the notion that Symphony/Maestro could become more comprehensive.  

At the moment, given my computer (the last and fastest dual G5 with an Apogee Symphony PCI-x card in it) and choice of DAW (DP, Nuendo and PTle all get used here), the Symphony system can not give me a direct monitoring solution that works for me.

tom

rankus

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2008, 02:19:11 pm »



Thanks for starting the thread Tom.

Fire wire and the Apogees:

I am running a AD16x and a DA16x on PC using Nuendo (3) as a main DAW.

Since installation I have been suffering minor bugs as well as some lack of functionality due to the Firewire interface. Had I known there were other interface options (with an RME AES32 pci card) I may have gone that route.

First here are some of the issues we have noted running FW:

1. The DA outputs are offset by two digits:
 
If the daw is setup to output on channels 1+2 you will hear no playback.  The outputs must be set to send out 3+4 in the software in order to get physical outs on the DA's hardware channels 1+2.  This is across all 16 outs... they are offset by 2 digits...

Workaround:
Thankfully this bug also includes adding outputs 17+18 allowing us to setup the software end by relabeling and re-routing the software outs to Apogee's number 3 through 18 (which actually now come out of the hardware on 1-16)

2.  Snap Crackle pop:

Rice crispies. The DA unit crackles upon startup of the DAW or during opening (not closing though) of song "projects" as well as crackling while waiting for the host computer to power off during shutdown.

Workaround:
Hit Mute buttons on the console when making these operations.

3. Dropping WC Sync:

When using FW the units do not have memory of the WC settings and need to be reset manually in the software applet.  They also tend to drop the sync when closing and opening another song/project.

Workaround:
Always check the WC light on the DA before hitting record. Tell the client to wait a sec, hit mute on the board to avoid crackles, change the setting on the software... continue the session.

4.  Can't set the input levels when running on FW:

Due to running the FW option the cards cannot be calibrated to run levels other than the the default.  IIRC they default to -20 and I would REALLY like to change to -18 to better accommodate my system. (2 db's hotter please)

5. Metric screws on the d-subs:

Minor gripe: The D-Subs on the converters use metric threads... I purchased my d-subs from digi to save some $ and found them incompatible with the Apogees due to the fact Apogee uses metric threads... Apogee was kind enough to send me some metric screws.

In Closing:

I contacted Apogee within days of my purchase and gave them this bug/gripe list.  I talked with Brett and Jay in their tech dept. who were very friendly and helpful.  Jay set up a machine running the same config as me and confirmed he could replicate this behavior at their shop on a similar system. He said they would pass the info on to the engineering dept the following Monday.  This was in January, it is now Sept. No word on how that went.

I would like to state that I am pleased as punch with the quality of the hardware, and that I am putting up with these bugs due to the fact the converters sound awesome.  I also feel that Apogee is a good company and stand behind their products 100% My only motivation in posting this is to help others decide which interface suite them best.  Had I known the was another PC option with the RME AES32 card I would have probably gone that route.

Great hardware. Need to hire better coders…



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rankus

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2008, 02:50:39 pm »


Power Switch Issues:

Many have been reporting issues with the power switches not functioning, or becoming intermittent.  

My units are starting to get intermittent in this regard as well.  I plan to open the boxes and set the internal jumpers so that the units power up when they see AC at the cord.

Perhaps a recall or service bulletin is warranted.

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Andres Gonzalez

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2008, 10:43:10 am »

Here is another issue with Apogee converters.

The little stand-offs they use are VERY poor. There are 2 places where these stand-offs are used. (1) they are used to connect the db25 connectors to the back of the unit. The metric screws on the d-subs screw into these stand-offs. (2) to secure the digiHD card into the options slot on the main circuit board.

When I installed the digiHD card, I used a small hex hand tool to secure these stand-offs. I did not use very much pressure but the stand-off broke off leaving the screw part of the stand-off in its receptacle. Consequently, I was VERY careful when I install the 2nd digiHD card--again, the stand-off broke off. The same thing happened when I install the cables on the back.

After 3 broken stand-offs, I used only my fingers to secure them. When I was at AES last year in NYC, I mentioned this to Apogee but I do not know if they have changed the stand-offs they supply with their products. These stand-offs appear to be aluminum, but I know there are other harder metal stand-offs available.

-Andres
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2008, 12:28:11 pm »

I have both 16Xs and a Rosetta 800.  The Rosetta seems to have a different power switch, where I have not experienced this problem.  The power switch continues to be a problem, even though I have had them replaced, in the 16Xs.
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marcel

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2008, 10:32:35 am »

I was wondering about that, too.  I've had one of my Rosettas for going on 6 years without issues (mind you, it rarely gets turned off).  I'm about to buy a AD and DA-16x, so I'll be sure to switch to the 'always on' jumper setting right away...

Funny that the cheaper box would have a better switch...  Must be a physical layout issue.
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marcel

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2008, 02:38:52 pm »

The little doors on the TOSlink I/Os break out pretty easily, too.  But that's not really specific to this product, rather they always seem to be cheap, flimsy plastic.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2008, 04:14:33 pm »

I forgot to point out something very important with the 16Xs: VENTILATION.

Make sure you have space between your units, as well as ventilation.  These will get hotter than any piece of gear in your studio, pretty much.  


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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Fibes

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2008, 05:09:40 pm »

Wow, given the fact that I send individual channels to personal headphone mixers quite often I'm saddened to hear that they don't have that issue worked out as well as what I'm used to on what some would call a Prosumer card: The MOTU HD192.

Keep me in the loop Tom, I'll take any info offline...



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tom eaton

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2008, 07:12:58 pm »

If anything does come of the requested Maestro/Symphony overhaul... well, I had hoped they would have commented here already... but if anything does come of it, I'll post here.  

I think the specific attention I got was more of the "put out an internet fire" type.  

There has been no follow up, no particular concern about HOW I'm making it work... nothing at all since Roger called me on the September 13th.

As it stands, Symphony is useless for me, and apparently for most people not using Logic.

tom

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2008, 01:30:17 pm »

tom eaton wrote on Tue, 30 September 2008 16:12

 well, I had hoped they would have commented here already...



Yes, it was my sincerest hope that Apogee would participate in this thread.  It would be good for them to get some real world user feedback on their interface options. We could help them better understand users needs. Confused

Perhaps we can get the thread title changed to "Issues with Apogee Interface Options"

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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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tom eaton

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2008, 03:07:18 pm »

Getting ready to shell out for two RME cards so I can use my Apogee converters with my G5.  Not at all what I expected when I got on the Symphony boat.

edit:  or, after some pondering... perhaps four motu 2408mkIII units running s/mux for 48 i/o at 96k via my one motu pci424 card.  that would keep me using the motu cue mix software which I like.  

this is way more complicated than it should be.

t

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Re: The Apogee Converter thread. 16x unit care and feeding.
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2008, 03:49:50 pm »

tom eaton wrote on Mon, 06 October 2008 15:07

Getting ready to shell out for two RME cards so I can use my Apogee converters with my G5.  Not at all what I expected when I got on the Symphony boat.

edit:  or, after some pondering... perhaps four motu 2408mkIII units running s/mux for 48 i/o at 96k via my one motu pci424 card.  that would keep me using the motu cue mix software which I like.  

this is way more complicated than it should be.

t



I think the RME HDSP 9652 needs a daughterboard for three adat I/O's and wordclock. With the base HDSP9652 you get two ADAT I/O's, a couple MIDI I/O's, and no wordclock I/O....

If you plan to clock the system via WC I would confirm the design, requirements, and available slots in your G5.

Of course the benefit of the 424 card is that it uses a single card and the audio wire connections. Plus, it sounds like you already have the 424.

Cheers,
jonathan
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