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The Hardware version of the L2
Old 15th March 2003
  #1
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Hardware version of the L2

Is it just me, or does it screw with the tone of what goes into it in a bad way?

I just got back from hanging with a mastering engineer friend, and we A/B'd a mix going through the box and not going through the box, and the tone was definitely better when the thing was completely removed from the signal path. We even had the unit in bypass and it sounded better just not going through it at all. The low end changes, and it seems brighter as well. I had noticed this before on another mastering session I did a while back, and this just confirmed my previous thoughts about it. Anyone else have this experience?

-John
Old 15th March 2003
  #2
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
A forum chum put me on to the fact that using the Normalizing section & over limiter (ONLY) of a TC Finalizer 96k sounds better than L1 & L2 SOFTWARE versions.

I have found this to be the case.

I use the TC now, for all level 'punching up' if I master material myself.

I had it bannished to mothballs for having a harsh EQ...

Good to get it running again..

Old 15th March 2003
  #3
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Jules --

this was in a pro facility, and my other experience has been in a pro place as well. you see these things in a lot of mastering engineer's desks. I'm not a fan of what it does to my mix. I'm a little intrigued as to how others feel about it...

thanks for the Finalizer insight. It may be something to have to send those CD's off to A&R folks...

-John
Old 15th March 2003
  #4
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Gie-Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: The Hardware version of the L2

Quote:
Originally posted by paterno
Is it just me, or does it screw with the tone of what goes into it in a bad way?
Anyone else have this experience?
-John
humn.. sounds kinda familiar...
But I always have the idea that it is the DA convertor of the L2 tha't's the weakest link.
In a digital domain (zo dig in / dig out) I think the L2 (hardware version!) is OK. But as soon as I use it's (DA) convertors, I think it screws up!
Old 15th March 2003
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Greg Heimbecker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For the past year or so my L2 hardware has been relugated to a 2 track location rig for it's ADC.
I also think the DAC is a bit of a weak link. I've been pretty happy with using the L2 plug in Pro Tools since it came out but a couple of days ago I did my first 176khz session recording our Yamaha C7 in well temperment rather than equal temperment for a demonstration to support a hypothesis that historic tunings may have lent color or moods to certain keys in, for instance, Chopin's writing. I did a set of quick bounces thru L2 and things got muddy and the relationships between harmonics seemed to change. Actually just instantiating L2 made an audible difference without the bounce/downsampling. I need to go back and poke at this some more when I have a few minutes to investigate further. Several interactive issues to unravel...

The musicologist who intends to present this info was going to record to minidisc had I not found time in the schedule. Methinks the EXTREMELY subtle color changes he was trying to demonstrate would have been very difficult to hear at low resolution. In fact I'd bet whatever system he has to try to demonstrate this on at the conference would all to obliterate the intended point in any case.

It's certainly not an easy gig for the tuner either and the piano starts pulling itself back towards equal temperment immediately. Subtle, tweaky **** to be sure.

I've been much happier with most material through L2 the last few years though than stuff I had mastered that employed the Finalizer in the past.

Then again how many devices do any of us have that are ABSOLUTELY transparent?yuktyy
Old 15th March 2003
  #6
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Albert's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
John, were you using the L2 AD/DA converters or going in and out digitally? Also, how hard were you limiting with it?

I've become less enamored of the L2 converters over time. I now use the Benchmark DAC-1 for DA conversion and am much happier with it. I've also found that limiting lightly with the L2 seems transparent.

However, I do notice a tone thing with the L2 that I don't like, and I think that is the converters. There's a certain lack of body or of "connectedness" to the sound. Can't really think of a better way to describe it. We are talking fine points here. However, I'll soon be substituting a new AD converter for the L2.
Old 15th March 2003
  #7
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
A forum chum put me on to the fact that using the Normalizing section & over limiter (ONLY) of a TC Finalizer 96k sounds better than L1 & L2 SOFTWARE versions.

That is exactly what I use in the sys6000 ... which I believe is very similar to the Finalizer 96.

I had the hardware L2 for a while .... I found it better then the plugin ... especially when 'abusing' the normalizing part. I dumped it after I got the sys6k
Old 15th March 2003
  #8
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Albert
John, were you using the L2 AD/DA converters or going in and out digitally? Also, how hard were you limiting with it?

Both. I have done this analog and dig in. Both times the unit has been in bypass as well. No limiting.

-John
Old 15th March 2003
  #9
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Heimbecker
Then again how many devices do any of us have that are ABSOLUTELY transparent?yuktyy
There aren't any. No such thing. That's why we choose certain pieces of gear to begin with -- because of it's sound.

I never expected the L2 to be transparent, I just expected it to sound pleasing, and to me it doesn't. And I'm surprised it is in as many mastering places as it is...

Cheers,
-John
Old 15th March 2003
  #10
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by paterno
Both. I have done this analog and dig in. Both times the unit has been in bypass as well. No limiting.
Then there has been something wrong with the unit(s) - in bypass mode it is a bit-accurate device...
Old 15th March 2003
  #11
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Brad Blackwood
Then there has been something wrong with the unit(s) - in bypass mode it is a bit-accurate device...
Sorry Brad -- bit accurate-shmit accurate. I suggest you try this experiment yourself. Send a mix through it, and then remove it completely from the chain and listen again. The guy I was with yesterday is pretty anal about his signal path, and he was surprised at the difference himself.

Let me know what your results are. I'm interested to hear another mastering engineer's opinion.

Cheers,
John
Old 15th March 2003
  #12
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by paterno
Sorry Brad -- bit accurate-shmit accurate.
Are you saying it isn't? Check it with a bit scope...

Quote:
I suggest you try this experiment yourself. Send a mix through it, and then remove it completely from the chain and listen again.
Actually, I've done one better - I assigned a stream in Sadie to two outputs, one going through the L2 then to the DAC, the other going straight to the DACs second input (I do this with any new dig gear to check it) and it is inaudible in bypass mode.

That's why I say he should have his unit checked.

Quote:
The guy I was with yesterday is pretty anal about his signal path, and he was surprised at the difference himself.
As am I. To be honest, any method of testing that cannot be switched instantaneously (as in the method I outlined above) is a poor method. In the time a person unplugs a unit and plugs it directly into the DAC, your 'ear memory' is easily fooled by the brain...
Old 15th March 2003
  #13
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
BTW, John, didn't you do Ted Hawkins 'Next Hundred Years'? I love that record...
Old 16th March 2003
  #14
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paterno's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Brad Blackwood
Are you saying it isn't? Check it with a bit scope...


Actually, I've done one better - I assigned a stream in Sadie to two outputs, one going through the L2 then to the DAC, the other going straight to the DACs second input (I do this with any new dig gear to check it) and it is inaudible in bypass mode.

That's why I say he should have his unit checked.


As am I. To be honest, any method of testing that cannot be switched instantaneously (as in the method I outlined above) is a poor method. In the time a person unplugs a unit and plugs it directly into the DAC, your 'ear memory' is easily fooled by the brain...
Hey Brad --

thanks for the Ted Hawkins compliment. That was one of the most interesting recording experiences I have ever had (in a good way!).

I'm not saying that the 'bit mapping' is not correct. It may very well look perfect on test gear. I'm saying that what i hear coming out of the box (even in bypass) vs. what goes into the box is noticeably different, and I think detrimental to the original audio signal. And it may be a 'true bypass' bypass switch on paper, but it is screwing with something.

I wouldn't be making these comments had it not happened to me before. I understand the caveats of switching gear in and out, and of the testing methods I described, but I can't say that I think I was being fooled by anything either. And considering the response from several others to this post, I seem to not be the only one who has come across this. Yesterday, we did in fact use a digital switcher to switch the L2 in and out of the signal path, and the tonal changes were there.

I'd be really interested to hear what you discover if you just run a mix through it as I did. It may not be the most scientific test, but it may be revealing nonetheless. Let's face it, any piece of gear you run signal through changes the tone of the audio in some way.

Cheers,
John
Old 16th March 2003
  #15
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by paterno
Hey Brad --

thanks for the Ted Hawkins compliment. That was one of the most interesting recording experiences I have ever had (in a good way!).
Cool! More records need to be made like this one, imo.

Quote:
I'd be really interested to hear what you discover if you just run a mix through it as I did. It may not be the most scientific test, but it may be revealing nonetheless. Let's face it, any piece of gear you run signal through changes the tone of the audio in some way.
Though it flies in the face of everything I know, I am going to try it - you've piqued my interest.

And though I would agree that most gear changes the tone, I would add that that should only be true with analog gear - any digital gear should be able to accurately spit out the input as if it were not in the chain. And quite frankly, a well designed piece of analog gear (utilizing high-quality, hard-wired relays on the input to output) should have the same detriment as a piece of wire...
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