Hugh Robjohns wrote:It's not a perfect indicator of perceived quality by any means, but it does tally pretty closely with my own perceptions...
So, here are my A-weighted AES17 dynamic range measurements (in decibels) for tested A-D converters, ordered from best to worst. Although these are all nominally 24-bit converters, the equivalent conversion word-lengths run from 20.6 down to 17.1 bits...
RME ADI-2 Pro 124.0
Lavry AD11 123.0
Universal Audio 2192 122.0
Lynx Hilo 121.3
Current Focusrite ISA card 121.3
Merging HAPI 121.0
Grace Design M108 120.5
Apogee Symphony 120.0
Orignal Focusrite ISA card 119.5
Prism Lyra 2 118.0
For A-Ds, I would categorise converters below 106dB as using antiquated technology or having a compromised or poor design. A-D converters measuring between 105-111dB are decent project and semi-pro level, while anything devices achieving 112-118 dB can be categorised as an excellent professional-quality A-D converter.
Anything in the 120dB region is a genuine flagship high-end product, but A-Ds exceeding 121dB define the current state-of the-art.
Here are the A-weighted AES17 dynamic range figures for tested D-A converters (in decibels). Again, the equivalent word lengths run from 21.4 down to 17.4 bits.
Apogee Symphony 129.0
Merging HAPI 126.3
Benchmark DAC2 HGC 125.0
Universal Audio 2192 125.0
RME ADI-2 Pro 121.0
Antelope Eclipse 384 121.0
Lynx Hilo 120.5
RME ADI-2 DAC 120.1
Grace m905 119.7
Focusrite RedNet 119.0
Crookwood M1 119.0
Focusrite Forte 118.0
UAD Apollo 118.0
Benchmark DAC1 117.6
Drawmer HQ 117.0
Prism Lyra 1 116.0
For D-As, the AES17 numbers dynamic range are generally a little higher, but anything managing more than 125dB is exceptional. 116-122dB is genuine top-notch professional quality, while 110-116 is good solid project studio fayre. There's no excuse these days for anything achieving less than 110dB...
My beloved UAD 2192 has served me well for 15 years, but this summer’s extreme heat in Europe has killed it (melted caps and burned matrix board).
According to my technician, there’s nothing we can do to repair it. He also suggests me to look for something else since the UAD 2192 is not made anymore and most parts are very difficult to find (PSU is a well known exemple of potential disaster to come).
At first I was aiming at the Prism Lyra and the Lynx Hilo, but then I found your review of the RME ADI-2 Pro (pre-FS)... and needless to say that I’m very tempted by this (much) cheaper option.
As you know the UAD 2192 was not the most neutral converter by design... and I might say that’s probably why I liked so much and I didn’t look for any replacement until my unit dies.
I’ve read some ADI-2 Pro’s filter options are more "musical" than others... at some point I was also considering adding a Portico 5042 (at 15 IPS with the saturation knob fully counter-clockwise) in my signal flow in order to get a fuller character overall (more "analog").
What would you suggest to help me to get a sound closer to my late and sorely missed 2192.
Any other ADDA converter I should look at ?
Thank you for your attention.