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ARSCLIST  December 2020

ARSCLIST December 2020

Subject:

Re: Digitizing Audio Interface recommendations

From:

Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 Dec 2020 17:14:08 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (52 lines)

Another $0.02, or less :^)

I have used two of those devices, the Delta 1010 and Fireface 800, not for transfers but for concerts and sessions. I found the Win7 Delta driver somewhere. That doesn't work on Win10? Pity, as I still have that interface. Should have sold it when I could.

But, I want to amplify(!) Corey's point and add my own observations. I used the Fireface 800 at 96k for some years for live ensemble recordings. Hundreds of unique events and I never lost a note, so the unit met its first requirement with flying colors. This is a different application than most of you guys do, but for concert work I always found the sound to be a little dull, in dynamics and transparency. This with an outboard preamp, so I wasn't using the FF pres. Even more, when I would use multiple pickups, say accent mics for soloists and such, strange phase effects would appear. Comb filtering, especially weird when an organ was involved. My guess is that the converters weren't quite in sync, so pairs of channels would not line up with others. That probably wouldn't show up on isolated, multitrack studio work, close micing, or simultaneous ingest of multiple stereo programs, but for multiple mics in ambient spaces it was a hassle.

When I switched to a costly, self-contained unit (Sound Devices, practical for the work I do), all that went away. No more phasiness and dullness. Recently several clients wanted older projects revisited for comps and fundraisers, so I was reminded of how the older system compared. I needed to do eq and dynamics work, and with effort got good mixes. The 788 files often need nothing at all in those regards.

The thing is, input and converter chips are cheap. It's the circuitry around them that can cost a lot, and that's where corners are cut and quality is lost. Clock sync is very delicate and as Corey says, critical. I know in your business there are specs to be met (96/192), but given the choice between high bit rate at lower sound quality, and the opposite, I'd go for good redbook. Fortunately, that's not a choice we really need to make.

Every time I've gotten a newer digital device, even of similar price, it brought an improvement in sound. It seems that it was the late 2000s when the technology was really coming together at reasonable price-points. My experience of newer cheap interfaces, say $500, even just for voice-over work, is okay for reliability but not good for sound quality. Do your ears get tired or you can't find a volume that isn't annoying? That's artifacts messing with the audio, baked in and unremovable.

So, yeah, you get what you pay for. But, you may not realize just how good the results are with the better stuff that's available now. I didn't until I could. These investments are with us for years and are still quite modest compared to analog gear of the past. And that extra thou or two can be the difference of matching the game of the best facilities or not quite reaching that standard. Sucks to be forced to replace something that works, but as Homer Simpson said, it's a crisatunity!

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Corey Bailey
Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 5:21 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digitizing Audio Interface recommendations

Hi Martin,

Buy the interface with the best clock because that will be the lowest jitter. BTW, the Fireface 800 is excellent. For example: M-Audio products have sample clocks that typically are about 10 times less stable than RME. That said, I still have an M-Audio Firewire 1814 that is ready as a spare.

To put it another way: "You get what you pay for."

My $0.02

~CB

Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
www.baileyzone.net

On 12/8/2020 8:13 AM, Martin Fisher wrote:
> Hey Folks,
>
> It appears I'm in the market for an interface to replace a piece of legacy equipment which is "on the fritz"/"gives up it's useful life with the demise of Windows 7." This unit would replace a Midiman Delta 10 X 10 with rack mount break out box for use on a second computer. I'm looking for recommendations and am having a hard time making sense of the ads I'm seeing from most retailers who aim their information at the live music crowd. I'd like to keep the price somewhere in the $700 and under range. Below is my short list of requirements and wants. If anyone has any thoughts I'd be grateful to hear them.
>
> Although I usually cap projects at 24 Bit/96 kHz I'd like it to be
> capable of 24 Bit/192 kHz resolution
> 8 discreet level adjustable line inputs (mic/line capability is
> preferred but not essential) Would also be nice if all level controls
> and input jacks were front panel accessible
>
> I've been running a Fireface 800 on my main record computer for several years now with excellent results but this one doesn't have to be quite as high end.
>
> Thanks! :-)
>
> Martin
>
>

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