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Author Topic: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?  (Read 2673 times)

ALLEN WRENCH

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My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« on: February 24, 2005, 10:58:22 am »

Ok, before you guys start bitching, I am one of the very few rock-punk musicians that has turned his back on DAW recording? although I do write music using Digital Performer.  

I've recently converted my home studio to a fairly cool Analog set up, having recently purchased a 1978  MCI JH-16  2 inch 24 track.

Now to the 2 track question.  I was planning on using my Manley SLAM (with digital option) and AES/EBU into my MasterLink for my final 2 track.  But I was recently surprised when I was at the last NAMM show and the people at the ALESIS booth didn't seem to know (or care) about the MasterLink.
I'm seriously doubting how long the MasterLink format will exist.

Recently I've seen ads for the TASCAM DV-RA1000 High-Resolution Audio/DSD Master Recorder.

Do any PRO/EXPERIENCED engineers have any opinion on this?

I'm not planning on using any of the 'MASTERING' features on either of the units.  My project will be getting mastered at Bernie Grundman by Chris Bellman.  At Grundman I'll also be using the Manley SLAM's DACs off of whichever device I end up using, so the stock converters are of no concern.

My latest record is also going to be released on 12 inch vinyl in Europe, and I'd like to get them a hi-res format to deal with.

And yes, I would just love to have a big 'ol hunking Ampex 1/2 inch machine to mix down to, but I just don't have the room, or money.  And NO, I don't think digital sounds near, like, or as good as a 1/2" 2 track.


- ALLEN WRENCH
international superstar


PS:
Hey George, thanks for taking the pic with me at NAMM!  I,m a huge fan of your work!
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Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2005, 12:06:29 pm »

I'm not suprised nobody at alesis knew anything about the masterlink.  They were a great idea, but had very poor quality control.  It's a crapshoot if the one you have even works correctly.  One of the big problems was the sound.  Even using AES out the sound from one Masterlink to another could be different.  

We noticed it here in our studios.  We mixed 3 albums to the masterlink before we decided to stop using it.  Ours had a noticeable loss in low and low mid frequency response and a narrowing of the stereo image.  Even when we made a CD24 and loaded it back into the protools session and compared the mix to the Masterlink AIF file, there was a noticeable difference.  So we stopped using it.

You might be better off using your computer as the mixdown deck.  Get a half decent I/O for it and plug the SLAM's AES out into it.  Record the files back into the computer...take a CD of WAV files over to Bernie's and have them use that to master off of.
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Derek Jones
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"I always say I can teach anyone HOW to get a great snare sound, I just can't teach WHAT a great snare sound is.” -Dave Pensado

ALLEN WRENCH

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2005, 12:13:23 pm »

Hey Derek,

Did meet you at Rich Mouser's - Mouse House Studio, last month?


- ALLEN WRENCH
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howlback

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2005, 12:17:35 pm »

I've used the Masterlink for the last 4 years.  I have found many disk combinations to be unreliable for CD audio, although maybe CD 24 is more reliable(provided you can change the header to be read by whatever is used at the mastering house).  Personally, I think that electronic distribution using error detection is a much better way of going than optical media.  I wouldn't choose either of these recorders.  I would look at some kind of computer based solution that would allow me to create either an optical disk or send a file over the internet.  

-kw  
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bobkatz

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2005, 10:16:08 am »

Etch-A-Sketch wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 12:06

I'm not suprised nobody at alesis knew anything about the masterlink.  They were a great idea, but had very poor quality control.  It's a crapshoot if the one you have even works correctly.  One of the big problems was the sound.  Even using AES out the sound from one Masterlink to another could be different.  

We noticed it here in our studios.  We mixed 3 albums to the masterlink before we decided to stop using it.





Sounds like urban legends to me.

Did you mix analog or digital, with external converters or with the Masterlink's converters? My tests of the masterlink reveal that it is a reliable storage device and that the AIFF files it creates from an external converter reflect the identical digital output of that converter. No frequency anomalies, nothing.

However, never use the DSP in that unit, and capture 24 bit files in the Masterlink from an external converter.

If you used an external converter and you suspect problems I suggest the following:

1) Use an AES distribution amplifier and feed the external A/D converter simultaneously to the Masterlink and to a DAW such as Wavelab, Cubase, Pro tools, etc.
2) Take the AIFF file from the CD 24 from the Masterlink. Bring it into the same session and null it out against the direct route.

You will find the two files to be identical.

I do agree that it is far more convenient these days to be using your computer as the mixdown deck. If you are mixing digitally. However, if you are mixing analog, I suggest using an A/D at 96 kHz, EVEN IF THE MULTITRACK IS AT A LOWER SAMPLING RATE, as there is a small advantage in my opinion to moxing down to a higher resolution. Postpones those losses, maintains a wider, larger stereo spread; minimizes losses in subsequent mastering, etc.

BK
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Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2005, 01:16:52 pm »

ALLEN WRENCH wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 09:13

Hey Derek,

Did meet you at Rich Mouser's - Mouse House Studio, last month?


- ALLEN WRENCH


Oh Hey Allen!!! That was me!  You were Rich's friend that brought the Manley SLAM over for him to check out?!  How are you?  Glad to see you on the forums!
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Derek Jones
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"I always say I can teach anyone HOW to get a great snare sound, I just can't teach WHAT a great snare sound is.” -Dave Pensado

Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2005, 01:34:06 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Fri, 25 February 2005 07:16

Etch-A-Sketch wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 12:06

I'm not suprised nobody at alesis knew anything about the masterlink.  They were a great idea, but had very poor quality control.  It's a crapshoot if the one you have even works correctly.  One of the big problems was the sound.  Even using AES out the sound from one Masterlink to another could be different.  

We noticed it here in our studios.  We mixed 3 albums to the masterlink before we decided to stop using it.





Sounds like urban legends to me.

Did you mix analog or digital, with external converters or with the Masterlink's converters? My tests of the masterlink reveal that it is a reliable storage device and that the AIFF files it creates from an external converter reflect the identical digital output of that converter. No frequency anomalies, nothing.

However, never use the DSP in that unit, and capture 24 bit files in the Masterlink from an external converter.

If you used an external converter and you suspect problems I suggest the following:

1) Use an AES distribution amplifier and feed the external A/D converter simultaneously to the Masterlink and to a DAW such as Wavelab, Cubase, Pro tools, etc.
2) Take the AIFF file from the CD 24 from the Masterlink. Bring it into the same session and null it out against the direct route.

You will find the two files to be identical.

I do agree that it is far more convenient these days to be using your computer as the mixdown deck. If you are mixing digitally. However, if you are mixing analog, I suggest using an A/D at 96 kHz, EVEN IF THE MULTITRACK IS AT A LOWER SAMPLING RATE, as there is a small advantage in my opinion to moxing down to a higher resolution. Postpones those losses, maintains a wider, larger stereo spread; minimizes losses in subsequent mastering, etc.

BK


This has all been discussed before over in Brad's forum.  Look it up in the archives.  I'm not going to sit here and debate whether the masterlink is viable or not.  Like I said, some people have good experiences...others don't.  This would SUGGEST that the quality control of the manufacturing is poor.  You yourself may very well have gotten one that works and sounds great!

But, just to let you know...We mixed analog through a console back to a custom built A/D converter from Dave Collins into the masterlink.  

We Also have a Prism ADA8 and a dB Technologies AD122 (the gold series)...  We tried a bunch of different combo's.  It's not urban legend, because that would imply I haven't heard it with my own ears and I am posting this information second hand, which I am not.  If I remember correctly Dave even heard the difference when we sent him the files.  Some of the album was mixed back into Protools, and some of it was mixed to the Masterlink.  Anyway...it was probably about a year and a half ago now.  There were a lot of other people chiming in on that thread saying how they've heard the difference between masterlinks as well, including a few engineers over at Sony Studios.  I'm not the only one to encounter this.

We were too busy to sit with it and try to figure out why it wasn't sounding right...we just decided to move on and sold it off.  We now run Dave's converter back into one of the AES ins of Protools and it sounds great!  
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Derek Jones
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"I always say I can teach anyone HOW to get a great snare sound, I just can't teach WHAT a great snare sound is.” -Dave Pensado

Bob Olhsson

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2005, 09:58:33 pm »

ALLEN WRENCH wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 09:58

...I'm seriously doubting how long the MasterLink format will exist.

The MasterLink records .AIF files to a standard data CD-R so there is no reason whatsoever to worry about the format. It couldn't be more standard or in more widespread use.

Brent Handy

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2005, 02:47:40 pm »

You are one of the few that thinks that.  I have had a couple in use for about three years now and have not had a problem.

The deal with Alesis is that since the purchase, they are leaner staff wise.  They are owned by Numark, hardly a company that knows how to interface with pro audio community.  

Etch a sketch suggests a computer.  Funny.  Masterlink boots from ram, a bit more reliable than booting from a drive like a computer, has a proven drive inside, etc.  I would rather take this out (and have) for a show than a laptop.

If you do not want to debate about what YOU said, then maybe you shouldn't post about what you do not have personal experience with.

To me the whole Tascam DSD unit does not make any sense, unless you are only going to record live.  Mastering to it sounds like a lost cause when the front side DAW/convertors have done their damage.  Maybe I am wrong and I am willing to debate what I just said.
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Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2005, 12:32:05 pm »

Brent wrote on Sat, 26 February 2005 11:47

If you do not want to debate about what YOU said, then maybe you shouldn't post about what you do not have personal experience with.



I'm sorry, do you know me? Do I know you?  Then STFU! Why are you in such a pissy mood?  And why do you think I don't have any personal experience with the masterlink?  And lastly, why do you feel I need to justify myself TO YOU!?

Allen wanted people's opinions.  I have had negative experiences with the masterlink and had a very long discussion about it a while back. For Allen's sake, I posted a brief synopsis of my negative exeriences for him to weigh against other peoples positive experiences.  

And by the way, how do we know you aren't having problems?  For all we know, you could very well be having the same problems I encountered, but you just don't have the ability to hear it!!!!!!!!!

Allen good luck in deciding what you are going to use.  But whatever you choose, I'm sure it will work out fine.  If anything, you should check with Chris Bellman to see if he has a preference.  Whatever he prefers is what you should ultimately use.


Quote:

Maybe I am wrong and I am willing to debate what I just said.

Some people like to debate...not me.  I like to make music.  Good luck to you and your career as a professional debator (maybe you should go into politics).  I hope it works out for you.

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Derek Jones
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"I always say I can teach anyone HOW to get a great snare sound, I just can't teach WHAT a great snare sound is.” -Dave Pensado

ALLEN WRENCH

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2005, 09:37:56 am »

From: Etch-A-Sketch -  Fri, 25 February 2005 10:16

Oh Hey Allen!!! That was me! You were Rich's friend that brought the Manley SLAM over for him to check out?! How are you? Glad to see you on the forums!


-------------------------------------

Hey Derek how's it going?  Yes, I dragged my SLAM! and one of my Massive Passives down to Rich Mouser's to see what they sounded like in a 'pro' studio.  

Rich is a bad ass and his main room is really incredible.  He really pulled off some great tones and is really helping me sound like the superstar that I am!

I record in one of the rooms in my house and don't have a ton of experience recording.  I bought a shit load of new gear that I'll be 'growing into'.  Right now I'm a total dumbass.

Rich has a full analog set up (we both have MCI JH16 2 inch machines) but for a particular project he wanted to use the DACs on the SLAM! back into ProFools for his final 2 track.

OK guys my last 2 records were recorded on ADATs and through my Mackie 24x8 board, just to give it that final 'icy/cold thin and completely undesirable sound' so take my assessment with that in mind.

With the Manley Massive Passive kicked in on the final 2 track, there was an appox 20% increase in 'soundstage' (sound width) and audio density.

The SLAM! was notably superior when compared with the ProFools HD converters.  The biggest and most desire able difference with the SLAM! DACs were the sharp increase in 'attack' on all instruments/tones across the board.

As far as using my computer and SLAM! as my final mix down, I'm not really sure what to do about that.  Instead of going with a ProFools rig, I went with an analog set up.  I do use MOTU Digital Performer but that's ONLY to write music, so I'm not really set up or really wanting to go back into Digital Performer and send off to some unknown mastering house with mystery converters.

If I opt to stay with my MasterStink, or go with a Tascam DV-RA1000, I'll be dragging the SLAM! (to use the DACs) and whichever box I use to Grundman's.  Now when my master is sent off to Europe to be put on 12" vinyl, I don't want them going off of a 16/44.1 master.  I'd much rather have the lathe going off a 24/96 2 track.

My feelings on that are if I send out a MasterStink formatted disk and they just put it in a MasterStink using the onboard converters, and my master will end up sounding bad, not that it'll be sounding great coming right off the 2" or anything.  

As of right now, I'm leaning towards the Tascam DV-RA1000 because I would expect the QC and Converters to be better and more consistent, although I'm only expecting the Tascam converters to be used some place where my SLAM! DACs are not available.

After all my guitars were tracked in my bathroom and I don't wont my fans to miss out on any of my audio engineering glory!

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Bob Olhsson

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2005, 10:02:58 am »

ALLEN WRENCH wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 08:37

....My feelings on that are if I send out a MasterStink formatted disk and they just put it in a MasterStink using the onboard converters, and my master will end up sounding bad,
I frankly have never heard of any mastering facility doing that. Masterlink formatted disks are readable by any computer and mastering facilities rarely use the built in converters in anything.

Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2005, 01:57:41 pm »

Hi Allen,

Is having Rich send your mixes to 1/2" out of the question?  I did a comparison over at his studio for the album he did for us.  We compared the HD converters, a Lavry AD122-96mkII Converter (I wish your SLAM was there at the time! Smile and his 1/2" deck.  

The 1/2" deck won, hands down.  but the Lavry sounded better than the HD converters so we went with the Lavry AND 1/2" at the same time.  We eventually used the digital mixes instead of the 1/2" because we needed to do some editing before mastering.

But in your situation...You never know if the Vinyl plant in Europe will have a Tascam or Masterlink.  Are you planning on shipping your unit over there for them to cut the master with?  I guess they could probably rent a piece of gear if they need to.

I think this whole situation really depends on what the facilities have at their disposal and which would sound best for your project.  I mean, you could ship them your converters and your 2-track deck (whatever you decide to get) but that seems a little overkill.  Renting might be the best option.

Also, just curious...have you looked into a Genex unit yet?  That might be an option for you as well.  Possibly renting one for your album instead of buying because they are pretty expensive to buy one.  Check 'em out www.genexaudio.com  The 9000 is the latest series but most rental places will probably have the older 8000 or 8500 series (both of which are good).  I've used the 8500 for a couple projects and it's cool.  I had problems with one of the rental units but after they switched it out with another one it worked great and sounded really nice.  I was using Meitner converters at the time.  But it should still work just as well for you with your Manley SLAM.

Take care!


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Derek Jones
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2005, 10:05:58 pm »

Anybody who hasn't heard the SLAM really should check it out. It's more than just another converter built into a channel strip. Seriously more.

compasspnt

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Re: My digital 2 track: MANLEY SLAM!+Tascam DV-RA1000 or MasterLink?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2005, 10:39:08 pm »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 22:05

Anybody who hasn't heard the SLAM really should check it out. It's more than just another converter built into a channel strip. Seriously more.

Bob, are the A>D and/or D>A converters that the SLAM uses available anywhere without the comp/lim/pre?  Somewhere I thought I saw a different brand name of the converter they use...

Or is the charm of the unit "the whole being greater than the sums of the parts?"

Thanks,

Terry
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