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bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

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bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby whoateallthechips » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:15 pm

For my purposes, Ableton plugins are fine. I don't need to run something like UAD plugs on an Apollo. Is there a bare bones two-channel interface with quality converters? Want to spend my money on the converters, and not all the bells and whistles like the Apollo.
Running 2015 MacBook Pro.
Thanks in advance.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby fatbenelton » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:50 pm

Apogee Ensemble 24.....not as good as the above Lyra but superb for the money with tight integration with Logic in terms of controlling preamp and direct monitoring.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby fatbenelton » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:00 am

fatbenelton wrote:Apogee Ensemble 24.....not as good as the above Lyra but superb for the money with tight integration with Logic in terms of controlling preamp and direct monitoring.

Sorry, I meant the ELEMENT 24!
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby forumuser840717 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:35 am

Sonosax SX-M2D2
Merging Technologies Anubis
RME ADI-2 FS
RME ADI-2 Pro FS
RME ADI-2 Pro FS R Black Edition

Or, for a lot more i/o and flexibility perhaps try a Merging Technologies Hapi It has it's issues but the sound quality of the Merging kit (or the Sonosax) is about as good as it gets at the moment.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby whoateallthechips » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:38 am

fatbenelton wrote:
fatbenelton wrote:Apogee Ensemble 24.....not as good as the above Lyra but superb for the money with tight integration with Logic in terms of controlling preamp and direct monitoring.

Sorry, I meant the ELEMENT 24!

Would the Element's converters be noticeably better than the Apollo Twin?
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby fatbenelton » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:04 pm

Perhaps but more realistically on a par or not noticeably better in most circumstances. To be fair the apollo are supposed to be very good.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:16 pm

whoateallthechips wrote:For my purposes, Ableton plugins are fine. I don't need to run something like UAD plugs on an Apollo. Is there a bare bones two-channel interface with quality converters? Want to spend my money on the converters, and not all the bells and whistles like the Apollo.
Running 2015 MacBook Pro.
Thanks in advance.

Nothing wrong with aspiring to the best converters provided absolutely everything else in your recording chain is top notch and you have fantastic monitoring in a professionally designed acoustic space - otherwise - most decent gear, including Apollo, will have converters that you are unlikely to be able to differentiate from top end converters costing many times more.

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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby whoateallthechips » Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:57 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:
whoateallthechips wrote:For my purposes, Ableton plugins are fine. I don't need to run something like UAD plugs on an Apollo. Is there a bare bones two-channel interface with quality converters? Want to spend my money on the converters, and not all the bells and whistles like the Apollo.
Running 2015 MacBook Pro.
Thanks in advance.

Nothing wrong with aspiring to the best converters provided absolutely everything else in your recording chain is top notch and you have fantastic monitoring in a professionally designed acoustic space - otherwise - most decent gear, including Apollo, will have converters that you are unlikely to be able to differentiate from top end converters costing many times more.

Bob

I’m still trudging through the learning curve on converters and signal chain. Presuming decent mic and room treatment, which do you think would be most biggest improvement:
1. Run a 500 series (looking at Neve 511 or API 512c) preamp into my existing Scarlett 2i2 at line level (not true bypass, but brings down the color of the internal pre a bit).
2. Apollo Twin. Its preamps are supposed to be better than the 2i2, and I believe you can completely bypass its internal preamps if using an external pre.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:36 pm

whoateallthechips wrote:Presuming decent mic and room treatment,

You mean you have a bunch of vintage Neumanns and AKG's at your disposal? ;)

Performance is the most important part of any recording with acoustics second and mic choice third. Mic preamps and convertors come well down the list of priorities. If you are recording yourself then the question to ask is what is getting in the way of you giving a great performance? Yes, an unreliable interface which drops out regularly might be a factor but the interface sound quality is unlikely to be an issue.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:45 am

Quite!

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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:01 am

Perhaps you could explain the reasons for wanting a very high end converter. Is the converter the current weak link? In what area(s)?
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:10 pm

Remember that the “interface” is simply the part that translates the digit audio signal into an usb (or thunderbolt or whatever computer-based protocol) data stream.

The average interface offers pre amplification and AD conversion but it’s only a useful packaging, not mandatory.

So if you want the best possible conversion, it may pay off to use a separate box and simply connect it to any interface which accepts the digits audio protocol produced by that box.

That said, I very much subscribe to what others have said, the couple meaningful bits that you can squeeze from top converted with respect to your run of the mill ones aren’t likely to make a huge difference unless you work In a top space and a very good chain.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Watchmaker » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:02 pm

From personal experience, the Apollo is a distinct class above the Scarlett, so is the Clarett for that matter, both in terms of "quality" of the sound, and - at least for the Apollo - in the richness of the feature set.

Plus the Scarlett ain't got no street cred.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby whoateallthechips » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:08 pm

Watchmaker wrote:From personal experience, the Apollo is a distinct class above the Scarlett, so is the Clarett for that matter, both in terms of "quality" of the sound, and - at least for the Apollo - in the richness of the feature set.

Plus the Scarlett ain't got no street cred.
Interesting how post above yours says higher end converters don’t make much difference.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:32 pm

Yes but the differences most likely come from the preamps not the convertors (and even the preamps in modern kit make very little difference if used appropriately).

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pick-preamp
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:38 pm

They don't make much difference... It's a case of diminishing returns and you have to spend increasingly large amounts to get decreasingly small improvements -- and improvements that you can only perceive with the very best of monitoring conditions and equipment.

If you're looking to improve the quality of your recordings, the priority list is the recording room acoustic, the position of the mic, the type of mic, and the mic preamp, in that order... And that's assuming the source is a quality instrument being played skilfully. The converter quality plays a very small role in the overall sound.

So it largely depends on what your budget is, and what the rest of your system comprises (including the room acoustics), as well as what you're trying to achieve.

I say that because while most interfaces and converters are designed to be as accurate and neutral as possible, some are designed to intentionally add some colour or character. the latter is fine for an A-D stage because everyone gets to hear whatever they add, but a colourful D-A is not clever as only the users gets that flavour and everyone else hears something else... Which might not be such a clever idea!

And as mentioned above, the very best converters are often standalone designs, rather than integrated into computer interfaces.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And as mentioned above, the very best converters are often standalone designs, rather than integrated into computer interfaces.

My personal preference is to separate the audio interface from the convertor. That way you can use the interface with the best driver support while going for the convertor that sounds the way you want it to.
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Re: bare bones interface with emphasis on converters?

Postby Chevytraveller » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:52 pm

The new SSL offering looks very tempting.. especially at the price

https://www.solidstatelogic.com/interfaces

:bouncy:
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