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A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:43 pm

:thumbup: :thumbup: :lol:

We thank you, Max!
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:57 am

Jack Ruston wrote:
hobbyist wrote:How do you measure how 'quality' <<improves (y)our work>> when the vast majority of consumers cant tell and dont care ?

I don't know how many more ways I can say it...The conversion changes the decisions I make - The eq points are different, the compression time constants, reverbs etc. The balance changes. Hugh has explained this too.
Jack, there must be reasons why the different converter changes the eq points, compression time constants, reverbs etc. What would they be? How does it relate to the performance specs of the respective converters?
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby johnny h » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:11 am

If you’re obsessively looking for better sound, nothing is “good enough”. No mic placement, no eq, no monitor, no ADDA converter. You work with the best possible options you can but you strive for more. That’s the only way you can push forward.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby hobbyist » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:30 am

Aural Reject wrote:
hobbyist wrote:But if you are doing this for the public or some other group then do you really need to be so picky for them or are you being picky to boost your own ego.

This is a problem so many engineers have. They want perfection but management wants it done on time on budget while being good enough.

The second point answers the first.

Jack, using him as the constant example, knows his gear and that facilitates him delivering a high quality product within the parameters of the project commissioner. The people that pay him - and keep coming back for the next gig and pay him again - want the best possible product for their market / purposes.

I fall into a fairly grey area within the forum population...there are many more qualified than me but I’m quite successful in my chosen arena, I’ve won awards, had a CD in the Sunday Times Top 100 CDs of the year and similar...and as I said previously I didn’t use very high end converters for any of those projects...but I did point £25k of microphones at them...because I know where to put them...and the result was a CD that the public and the critics liked. We use the tools that work exactly as Hugh said.

Given that you understand the market so well, who’s the target for your output?

at my age the only audience for anything I might do would be me.

my time left is short, I sleep a lot, so I have no interest in working for anyone or putting in a big effort to make money.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby hobbyist » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:37 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
hobbyist wrote:But if you are doing this for the public or some other group then do you really need to be so picky for them or are you being picky to boost your own ego.

Actually some members of the public do appreciate good sound, others don't care - so why cater for the lowest common denominator?

hobbyist wrote:This is a problem so many engineers have. They want perfection but management wants it done on time on budget while being good enough.

I haven't worked for a client yet that simply wants a 'good enough' job - they have always wanted the best I could deliver.

And here's the rub - which you do not understand - when a professional has good tools at their disposal, they get the job done more efficiently and can more easily deliver on time, on budget and with excellent product. End of story.

Bob

Most people cater to making the most money with the biggest market they can satisfy.

And good sound is TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE. Who is to say your sound is really any better. I admit that it may be different but there is no logical way to prove that it is better.

Of course clients want perfection. And for little or no cost too.
It is up to management to also manage their expectations. In the USA we use contracts that spell out what is to be down, how you can show it was done, along with deadlines, fees , and other items.

I understand quite well that a professional can do better faster and easier with great tools. But when you only have good tools that mangement provides then you use those or look for another job.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:44 am

hobbyist wrote: at my age the only audience for anything I might do would be me.

my time left is short, I sleep a lot, so I have no interest in working for anyone or putting in a big effort to make money.

That's really sad, you have my sympathy - but I'm concerned you're placing your (unfortunate) world view on others.

I'm sorry you feel the way you do, but I think it's fair to say that those of us who do subscribe to a more positive outlook find your negativity challenging.

Something to think about?

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:25 am

Tim Gillett wrote:
Jack Ruston wrote:
hobbyist wrote:How do you measure how 'quality' <<improves (y)our work>> when the vast majority of consumers cant tell and dont care ?

I don't know how many more ways I can say it...The conversion changes the decisions I make - The eq points are different, the compression time constants, reverbs etc. The balance changes. Hugh has explained this too.
Jack, there must be reasons why the different converter changes the eq points, compression time constants, reverbs etc. What would they be? How does it relate to the performance specs of the respective converters?

That's the big question. I don't know. And I don't know if they know, but that they just can't do it at the price point, or if they don't know, and just continue to champion frequency response at 20k, and noise floor, as a way of saying 'look, it's perfect'.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:30 am

As an aside, on the quality Vs consumer issue...Universal are now demanding that all material is tracked at 96k. You're not supposed to just upsample your deliverables, but to start all projects at 96k. That's their new spec. They're worried about future formats, and how standard rates might be found lacking in future. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether that's useful, practical, easy to get around etc. The point is that that is the requirement. Not quite the same issue as the quality of conversion at standard rates, but it indicates a market demand for higher fidelity.

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby ef37a » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:57 am

Jack Ruston wrote:As an aside, on the quality Vs consumer issue...Universal are now demanding that all material is tracked at 96k. You're not supposed to just upsample your deliverables, but to start all projects at 96k. That's their new spec. They're worried about future formats, and how standard rates might be found lacking in future. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether that's useful, practical, easy to get around etc. The point is that that is the requirement. Not quite the same issue as the quality of conversion at standard rates, but it indicates a market demand for higher fidelity.

J

That makes some sense Jack. Back in the day the hobby recordists usually ran tape at 7.5ips and the quality was very high with a good machine. Professionals always ran at 15ips even though the difference in quality would have been hard to hear.

44.1kHz IS easily good enough for almost any musical task but there are situations where it might be found wanting and so it makes sense to go to 96kHz for safety? "Pros" will not be fazed by the size of the files just as they coped with the shorter running time of 15ips. (we will NOT mention 30ips!)

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:14 am

Well it's not that it can't be done, but it is actually a pain. Firstly, some sessions are huge, and you can wind up close to the limit in terms of horsepower, even with a big computer (there are workarounds of course), and secondly, it now makes sense to have cloud-based archival of everything, for long-term confidence in the integrity of the backups. When we're talking about many terabytes of material, even at standard rates, there's a cost involved. I pay a few hundred a year for online storage into multiple terabytes, and a few hundred more for the physical drives I keep here. This sort of requirement will push more users into the territory where they need to upgrade not only their machine, but also their online storage, to remove the quantity limits. It's a sensible requirement going forwards, but it will affect people a bit.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby ef37a » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:34 am

Ah! I had not envisaged QUITE such large files Jack!

Yes, I can see the problem. On a related but piddling example, son in France wanted a chunk of stuff he had recorded over a couple of years whilst at home. Fortunately I never delete anything, dad just keeps buying hard drives! I found it on a NAS drive, 89G.
That would have taken ages to send at 9MBS upload even if I had the paid up version of We Transfer. I therefore bought a cheap 160G USB 3.0 drive and posted it to him on that.

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:37 am

Yes, those little sticks can be so handy - but the reason the cloud storage is so crucial, aside from the relative reliability of that whole paradigm vs a box full of ancient hard drives, is that typically, these days, the scenario looks like this - I'm in a studio somewhere, or you know...on the school run...and a client texts or calls needing an instrumental of a track from three years ago for a sync pitch that's come their way, delivered within the hour, or they'll lose out. I can go into my Dropbox and access everything I've ever worked on, locate the relevant file, if it exists, and send them a link. I can send them the full stems, or even the whole project. Obviously, they sometimes need a 'custom' stem that we don't yet have, and that will require access to the studio, but that will come - sooner or later we won't be using our own CPU's...we will just outsource our processing and stream the material in real time from whatever device we have over 5g, 6g whatever. We'll just pay an annual fee for our processing use.

Anyway, needless to say, if I had to go up in the loft and find the right drive every time this happened, it would be touch and go, not to mention stressful, often damaging to the progress of whatever I was working on at the time.

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:41 am

Jack Ruston wrote:Well it's not that it can't be done, but it is actually a pain.

It's a similar situation for video, only worse as there's a plethora of different formats and ever increasing data amounts due to current practice of heavy post. We were doing a job for a local broadcaster here and they have switched to X.AVC at 100Mpbs - had to buy a new disk just to make sure I had enough working space - my usual 6-7Gb of raw footage per minute of final sequence have tripled overnight! You can do beautiful things in post, however.

And yeah, thank goodness for Dropbox :)
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby blinddrew » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:45 am

I'm just wondering how long it takes to back up a reasonable sized project to the cloud at that kind of sample rate? Especially if you're doing the whole project not just mixes and stems.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Dave B » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:02 am

Studio Support Gnome wrote:you can thank me and DaveB later for making mass market manufacturers up their game

;)

honest it was all mine and DaveB's doing.... :D

FTFY. ;)

Typical guitarist - wants all the glory himself .... :bouncy:
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Arpangel » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:19 am

All I can say to all this, is that "all" converters have a sound, every interface I've ever owned sounded different, and I could clearly hear those differences. I went from an M-Audio which I loved, to an RME which I didn't like, there clearly was a difference, because I sold it.
I then bought a Focusrite, which was better than the M-Audio, and the RME "for me"
I needed more inputs, so a friend gave me a Motu, which is still here, it's "OK" not quite as nice as the Focusrite, but it's not bad enough to bother about replacing.
As for high end interfaces, I really don't know, but I bet they all have their own sound, and price isn't an indicator that something is going to be better or not "you" just have to listen and see if it's worth spending the extra, and don't take any notice of what others say or the hype.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby ef37a » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:30 am

CS70 wrote:
Jack Ruston wrote:Well it's not that it can't be done, but it is actually a pain.

It's a similar situation for video, only worse as there's a plethora of different formats and ever increasing data amounts due to current practice of heavy post. We were doing a job for a local broadcaster here and they have switched to X.AVC at 100Mpbs - had to buy a new disk just to make sure I had enough working space - my usual 6-7Gb of raw footage per minute of final sequence have tripled overnight! You can do beautiful things in post, however.

And yeah, thank goodness for Dropbox :)

You should both thank your lucky stars (Boom! Boom!) you are not searching the centre of the galaxy for a super massive black hole!

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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:44 pm

I'm trying to make a living out of music production. If the sale of all my gear, unnecessarily extravagent as it apparently is, would yeild enough lucre to buy a big enough telescope, you could count me in tomorrow.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 pm

I remembered an interesting post from a few years back, and found it again, so I'll do the unthinkable and link here a post from the other forum :-D

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/geekslu ... isted.html

Besides the list itself, it made me think of how many separate factors affect the result and why published measurements often don't really scratch the surface of what's going on.
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Re: A-D & D-A converters, budget vs high-end

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:03 pm

ef37a wrote:You should both thank your lucky stars (Boom! Boom!) you are not searching the centre of the galaxy for a super massive black hole!

That box would be drop an never return :mrgreen:
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