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Author Topic: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe  (Read 9122 times)

Halfway Competent

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Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« on: September 24, 2009, 12:59:01 pm »

I've got a Digi-002.  To shove more mic inputs into it, I bought a Presonus DigiMax LT preamp that feeds 8 mic signals via lightpipe to the Digi.  This setup has worked for me for a few years now...  Except I've come to hate the way that pre sounds.  It's thin and lifeless (but clear).

I made a recording using direct outs from my Mackie Onyx console and found the pres to sound a lot thicker, warmer, and clearer than the DigiMax.  Heck, they sound pretty decent!  Better than the Digi-002's pres, better than the Digimax.

Presonus' new crop of 8-packs have a supposedly different preamp design, with discrete-component op amps (they make a big hoopla about this), etc.

Here's my question.  I want to sell the Digimax LT (Hey, anyone wanna buy a Digimax LT? Wink ), and get something else.  My options, near as I can tell:

- New Digimax.  Maybe the pres are better now?
- Mackie Onyx 800R preamp
- Some sort of 8-ch A/D converter (Apogee Rosetta or Lucid), and some form of nice outboard pres (APIs, Hardys, Daking, Forssell, etc).

The last option is really expensive, but probably the best-sounding and most versatile.  But I'm on a budget, here.  Smile  So...  Anyone use the new crop of Digimax pres?  The Onyx pres?  Is it just not worth it to consider these all-in-ones?
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cameron_k

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 11:38:16 pm »

Hey Halfway, I've been tweaking the 002 for years, trying to wring every last bit of sonic goodness out of the thing.  My current setup is built around external A>D and D>A.  It sounds great, allowing me to produce pro quality recordings.

If I were in your situation (assuming you need 8 channels of mic pres and A>D conversion), I'd get an 8 channel mic pre unit (the JLM Audio TMP8 is hard to beat for the dough) AND.... wait for it..... a Behringer ADA8000 converter.  

Wait - hear me out! The Behringer unit uses Alesis converter chips.  These units are in use in pro studios around the world, and for good reason.  They sound good, and they're cheap. A group of buffs over at Prodigy Pro investigated whether the ADA8000 could be improved by circuit redesign, component swaps etc.  They eventually decided that there was no point messing with it at all as it works just fine out of the box.

You could get more spendy and go for an Apogee or similar converter, but in the hands of a decent engineer an ADA8000 is capable of producing pro results.  Don't forget that ADAT restricts you to a maximum sample rate of 48k though.
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C.Cash

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2009, 08:04:42 am »

I recently switched from a PreSonus to a Rosetta.

Absolute night and day difference.
It sounds incredible.
There is no comparison.

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Future_One

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2009, 06:43:17 pm »

I've got API pres but I've used the Mackie Onyx ones and they aren't bad.
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Halfway Competent

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2009, 07:15:37 pm »

cameron_k wrote on Thu, 24 September 2009 20:38

Hey Halfway, I've been tweaking the 002 for years, trying to wring every last bit of sonic goodness out of the thing.  My current setup is built around external A>D and D>A.  It sounds great, allowing me to produce pro quality recordings.

If I were in your situation (assuming you need 8 channels of mic pres and A>D conversion), I'd get an 8 channel mic pre unit (the JLM Audio TMP8 is hard to beat for the dough) AND.... wait for it..... a Behringer ADA8000 converter.  

Wait - hear me out! The Behringer unit uses Alesis converter chips.  These units are in use in pro studios around the world, and for good reason.  They sound good, and they're cheap. A group of buffs over at Prodigy Pro investigated whether the ADA8000 could be improved by circuit redesign, component swaps etc.  They eventually decided that there was no point messing with it at all as it works just fine out of the box.

You could get more spendy and go for an Apogee or similar converter, but in the hands of a decent engineer an ADA8000 is capable of producing pro results.  Don't forget that ADAT restricts you to a maximum sample rate of 48k though.


Hey Cameron,

I hadn't heard of the JLM unit.  Hey, another contender!  

I wasn't aware that Alesis even made their own A/D/A chips.  You say that the ADA8000 "in the hands of a decent engineer" sounds pro...  Thing is, I'm tired of having to compensate for my gear.  I did a pretty decent sounding recording thru the Mackie Onyx board, as I mentioned, going through the 002's A/D...  Would you say the Behringer A/D is at least as good?

I recognize the limitations of the ADAT format.  Smile  I'm hoping that in future LE products, Digi includes at least S/MUX over optical.  I know, wish in one hand...  Hah.  All the same, I need it if I want to record, say, a live show, or more than 10 simultaneous mics.  

You know, in my statement of "I'm tired of having to compensate for my gear" it sounds like I've pretty much presented an argument to stop compromising with the likes of the Mackie or Presonus units.  

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cameron_k

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2009, 02:15:25 am »

Yeah, I hear you.  You know, there's the ol' saying that goes something like: if you've got a good sounding room, you can pick up that sound via great mics and great preamps.  Great mics are relatively affordable these days.  A step or two down the food chain you'll find a range of very good mics at more affordable prices: e.g., Heil PR40, Shure SM7, ADK Hamburg and Vienna, Joly-modded Apex ribbon mic, etc etc.  Great mic pres still cost decent amounts of dough.  Converters are important of course, but you can lay your hands on very usable converters for not much loot these days.

Only you can decide this of course, but if I were in your shoes I'd be looking at getting a high quality 8 channel mic pre, the best you can afford.  I'd check out the ADA8000, knowing that it will not prevent you from making great sounding records.  If you aren't happy with it or if you decide you want better converters, you can always trade up to an Apogee or Lynx or similar unit later.  NB:  the ADA8000 is $199 NEW.
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cameron_k

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2009, 02:24:20 am »

Here's a quote I copied from Jacob (Gyraf) over at Prodigy Pro:

gyraf
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WWW
   
   
B*erhinger ADA8000 Mods thread
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Tom L

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 10:13:27 am »

Looking for more inputs on a budget, I went with the Mackie 800R.  At the time, I needed something in a hurry for an upcoming gig so I had a bit of "oh no, what did I do" impulse buyer's remorse set in.  That was before I started putting it to good use.

I have to say, it's been indispensable since.  I use it on almost every basic tracking session.  It's a quick & easy setup and sounds great. Sure, there are better sounding options but at that price I have no complaints.

Tomas Danko

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2009, 02:27:16 pm »

Halfway Competent wrote on Sat, 26 September 2009 00:15

cameron_k wrote on Thu, 24 September 2009 20:38

Hey Halfway, I've been tweaking the 002 for years, trying to wring every last bit of sonic goodness out of the thing.  My current setup is built around external A>D and D>A.  It sounds great, allowing me to produce pro quality recordings.

If I were in your situation (assuming you need 8 channels of mic pres and A>D conversion), I'd get an 8 channel mic pre unit (the JLM Audio TMP8 is hard to beat for the dough) AND.... wait for it..... a Behringer ADA8000 converter.  

Wait - hear me out! The Behringer unit uses Alesis converter chips.  These units are in use in pro studios around the world, and for good reason.  They sound good, and they're cheap. A group of buffs over at Prodigy Pro investigated whether the ADA8000 could be improved by circuit redesign, component swaps etc.  They eventually decided that there was no point messing with it at all as it works just fine out of the box.

You could get more spendy and go for an Apogee or similar converter, but in the hands of a decent engineer an ADA8000 is capable of producing pro results.  Don't forget that ADAT restricts you to a maximum sample rate of 48k though.


Hey Cameron,

I hadn't heard of the JLM unit.  Hey, another contender!  

I wasn't aware that Alesis even made their own A/D/A chips.  You say that the ADA8000 "in the hands of a decent engineer" sounds pro...  Thing is, I'm tired of having to compensate for my gear.  I did a pretty decent sounding recording thru the Mackie Onyx board, as I mentioned, going through the 002's A/D...  Would you say the Behringer A/D is at least as good?

I recognize the limitations of the ADAT format.  Smile  I'm hoping that in future LE products, Digi includes at least S/MUX over optical.  I know, wish in one hand...  Hah.  All the same, I need it if I want to record, say, a live show, or more than 10 simultaneous mics.  

You know, in my statement of "I'm tired of having to compensate for my gear" it sounds like I've pretty much presented an argument to stop compromising with the likes of the Mackie or Presonus units.  




If I'm not mistaken, the converters in the Alesis units were being made by Frontier. And that's apparently what Behringer uses, one way or the other.
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Halfway Competent

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2009, 01:41:28 am »

Haven't heard of Frontier...  Is it good stuff or crap?  (Or somewhere in between?)
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cameron_k

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2009, 09:32:50 pm »

Frontier make good quality mid-range converters.

I have seen no proof that Frontier licensed their converter technology to Behringer.  Frontier did provide converter technology to Tascam however.
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craig boychuk

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2009, 04:50:54 pm »

I'll second the ADA8000 vote.

I would normally never use behringer gear, but ended up with one when a rental fell through... I was very surprised at how not bad it was. ha ha. Nothing stellar, but very usable.

Another option that hasn't been mentioned is the alesis AI3, an 8ch analogue to adat interface. It can do both AD and DA. There are no preamps so you can use whatever you want, which is nice. A used unit can be had for a couple hundred bucks.

-craig-
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Ian Visible

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 09:15:40 am »

I very much like the M-Audio Octane:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Octane.html

But I'm no expert.

James Craft

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 09:28:29 am »

The M-Audio 2626 isn't that bad, it has the newer Octane pres. If your waiting on Digi to add S/MUX to the 00x line, forget it, the 2626 has it already though. One other thing about the 2626 is the line ins are NOT padded/routed through the preamp like 99.9% of the other cheap units out there, straight to the A/D. Also read the sticky in the" Whatever Works" forum about lower levels being better. The thing is if you put a +4 tone into a DAW interface such as the 002, 003 or whatever it will read -12 to -15 on the DAW's meters. If you try to record at a level anywhere close to "0" you are seriously stressing the capabilities of whatever interface you have, particularly the cheap stuff. Keep your levels low, just try it, no increase in noise will occur, trust me. You might find you already have a new, better sounding interface without spending a penny.

The Apogee route is probably the best, but again you're talking a lot of coin. My goal is to have a HD 2/3 system with couple of Aurora interfaces, but more important to me now is a new room on my property (the guy who's tearing down some old out buildings, clearing brush & such for the new building just walked in the door as I type). In the meantime I'm sticking with a pair of the 2626's and PT M-Powered, gives me 16 analog I/O @ up to 96 KHz, can't complain for the dough.
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mdbeh

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2009, 12:53:12 pm »

craig boychuk wrote on Sun, 18 October 2009 15:50

I'll second the ADA8000 vote.

I would normally never use behringer gear, but ended up with one when a rental fell through... I was very surprised at how not bad it was. ha ha. Nothing stellar, but very usable.


It's good for the money, but I think it's gotten overrated on the 'net.  I compared a friend's ADA8000 to my Myteks a while back, and the difference wasn't subtle.

That's to be expected, but on places like g***s**** you'll read that it's essentially a  high-end converter for 1/10 the price, and that's not what I heard at all.
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craig boychuk

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2009, 02:52:03 pm »

mdbeh wrote on Tue, 10 November 2009 11:53



...That's to be expected, but on places like g***s**** you'll read that it's essentially a  high-end converter for 1/10 the price, and that's not what I heard at all.



No, I certainly wouldn't call it high-end.


-craig-
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AlexVI

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2009, 07:53:59 pm »

Sorry this is late to the party - but have you considered the RME Octamic? Good pres, and a flexible array of outputs. The digital outputs (2 x ADAT outputs, mirrored, and AES) all work simultaneously, too...

AVI
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ssltech

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Re: Mic inputs into Digi-002 via Lightpipe
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 08:18:14 am »

On the subject of the Behringer ADA-8000 and it being not worth "modding", that's not quite the final verdict.

They tend to fail in a common way, and in the end, I did come up with a solution, though it takes someone with some basic tech-ing/solder-slinging skills to make it all happen.

This is NOT designed to improve the sound in any way, it is intended to prevent the all-too-common power-transformer failure, which tends to give up after a year or two.

Details here.

Looking on eBay, you'll find plenty of these things which "just wouldn't power up one day..."

Myself, I've used (and repaired) the ADA-8000, but I presently use the Rosetta. I have to say that I'm 100% in agreement with Clifford; while the Behringer gives you 8 inputs, 8 mic pres, phantom power and functions very well for about $185 street price, the Apogee is the one which sounds good!

And as for using external mic pres with the Behringer to improve the sound... don't bother. The Behringer just resistively pads down any line level signals and feeds it through the same Behringer mic preamp circuit, so there's no way to "bypass the damage"...

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..
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