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Assembing a PC-based system...
Old 27th January 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Assembing a PC-based system...

Up to a few weeks ago, I used the following:
  • Pair of Neuman TLM103 microphones (I record acoustic guitar)
  • Manley Dual Mono Microphone Preamp
  • Apogee Rosetta 200 AD-DA converter
  • Dell XPS Windows XP (sits in a soundproof closet (computers back then were noisy)...connects to Rosetta 200 via 15 foot X-Firewire)
  • Sonar 5
The Apogee was connected via S/P-DIF to a high quality home theater receiver and speakers...this allowed me to playback anything from my PC on the home theater system (yes, I was bypassing the Apogee's (higher quality?) DA converter in favor of that used by the home theater system). The theater system is also hooked up to Blueray player, cable-TV, X-box, etc., so it controls all audio playback in my home office.

All this stuff was set up ten years ago...I am not familiar with current technology. Recently, the Dell XPS failed (likely motherboard, I will not fix it). I am purchasing a new Windows 7 Dell...it will have PCIe slots available, but no factory installed soundcard. APOGEE NO LONGER SUPPORTS WINDOWS, I WANT TO ADVANCE TO WINDOWS 7 (I also use this computer for work, and need seemless PC compatibility (Mac will not work)).

How much of this system can I salvage and what PCIe card or other hardware will allow me to complete/modernize my system? I will likely purchase ProTools to replace Sonar 5 (I never learned it very well...and woud likely get more help from others if I used the more popular ProTools). A retailer has advised I ditch the Apogee Rosetta 200 (seems a shame, as it was supposed to be VERY high quality AD converter) and purchase a RME Fireface UC and hook up to the new Dell Windows 7 machine using USB. Anybody have any advice or direction?

In terms of technical abilities, I know I need to translate A into D and get it into the computer, also know I need to get D (and possibly A) signals out of the computer. Unfortunately, I just don't know what's out there these days. Has technology advanced sufficiently that a good PCIe card can replace the Apogee Rosetta 200? I am an audiophile and I want to make sure I don't degrade the high quality sound capturing capabilities of the Neuman and Manley equipment.

My apologies in advance for the newbie post.
Old 27th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
IMO, ditching Rosetta and buying Fireface UC is not really a good advice, since you already have a good preamp for your microphones. I'm not saying UC is a bad interface, and in fact, UC is an excellent USB interface (with low latency performance), but it comes with preamps. So basically you'll be paying for what you don't necessarily use.

In this case, since you'll be buying a desktop computer with PCIe slots, my suggestion goes to RME HDSPe AIO card. It accepts SPDIF (or AES) In and Out with extra-low latency, which means you can still use Rosetta's digital inputs and outputs. AIO card will simply pass the digital data from and to the Rosetta unit.

One thing with RME card with Dell computer, you need to check with RME's support because I remember Dell PCs had some troubles. Otherwise, it's a fantastic card, with solid driver, and will work in Win 7 64 bit environment.

BTW, I'm assuming your Rosetta can work as a 'standalone' AD/DA converter without going through setup by a computer, which may not be the case. If you need to change some parameters, like sample rate, bit depth, output format (AES/ADAT/SPDIF), etc through the computer (requiring a driver), then the lack of Windows driver support might be a deal breaker. In that case, you really need to consider selling the Rosetta (or buy a Mac instead).

If Rosetta can't work as a standalone AD/DA converter, you can still use HDSPe AIO card's converter. That means, you can directly hook up Manley's outputs to the AIO card. AIO is interface with AD/DA converters, and that's why I can recommend. The quality of AIO's converters may not be as super-excellent as Rosetta's, but IMO, those cards sound pretty good (I use HDSPe AIO and HDSP 9632).
Old 27th January 2013
  #3
XI-MACHINES
 
DAW PLUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with Masaaki, the AIO is the best card for this.
The Rosetta can be set up with the front panel buttons and is a great converter, so I would stick to it.
Old 27th January 2013
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Rosetta 200 as standalone DA AD converter

Masaaki,

Apogee support has told me that the Rosetta 200 can still connect to a Windows 7 PC using ADAT, S/P-DIF or AES...I'm not entirely sure of what they meant by that, but it may be a clue to make sure we're communicating. I'm assuming Apogee's assertion regarding ADAT, S/P-DIF and AES addresses your querry regarding using the Rosetta 200 as a "stand alone" DA AD converter, right?

In other words, it seems it is the Rosetta's X-Firewire software that is no longer being supported by Apogee (i.e., they now only build for Mac/Apple); whereas (and this is just a guess on my part) ADAT, S/P-DIF and have hardware specific standards that don't require software support (or, maybe they do require software support/drivers, and that would be part of what the RME HDSPe AIO card offers???). So, as I'm begining to understand, the Rosetta 200 still works, it just can't connect to a Windows 7 machine via firewire, because firewire requires software support (at least in the case of the Rosetta 200, very special firewire support that only Apogee can provide).

More to the point, I need some way to get a digital signal into and out of a new Dell Windows 7 machine. If the Rosetta 200 is still capable of making the crucial AD and DA conversion, a simple (but high quality) PCIe card seems the most eloquent solution (given the equipment I already own), if that's what you've recommended. I further assume the RME HDSPe AIO card is accompanied by some type of software, right (of course, I will look into this)?

Again, I'm making this stuff up as I type and I'm not yet comfortable with the technical apects. Most importantly, I don't know if what I've written is correct, so please bear with me and feel free to correct my assertions where needed. Also, thank for the reply...I will look into the RME HDSPe AIO card and see if I understand how it will connect, if it comes with a software module and whether or not RME advises connection with a new Dell Windows 7 machine.

Again, Masaaki, I welcome any further input from you or any other forum member on this subject.
Old 27th January 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Your understanding regarding Rosetta is indeed correct, and you have a good guess. SPDIF/ADAT/AES ins/outs are digital data format, independent of OS platforms. As [email protected] asserted, Rosetta has front 'hardware' switches that allow you to change parameters of AD and DA conversions. So, RME AIO card will be a simple 'interface' passing these digital data to and from OS. As long as RME AIO works in Win 7, you don't need to be worried about the Rosetta's compatibility with Win 7. The data are already in the universal digital format before coming into the computer (via AIO card). And again, if you decided to sell Rosetta, you can use AD/DA converters on the AIO card. And you can choose later to do so, by comparing the sound quality between Rosetta's converters or AIO's converters.

In the case of the software for RME cards, they come with a 'virtual mixer' called Total Mix. This will allow you to route signals from and to Rosetta, and your DAW Sonar. Total Mix is considered one of the great virtual mixer for the audio interface, because of the flexibility of signal routing.
Old 27th January 2013
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Now I'm really confused...

I looked at the RME HDSPe AIO...while I can afford $800, it seems like a lot to spend if my need is simply to create a AES, ADAT or S/P-DIF computer connection. Again, I'm to some extent trying to salvage use of my Rosetta 200 since it was so expensive (and, I assume, comprised of high quality components). Moreover, the RME HDSPe AIO includes its own DA AD converters (I assume that's why it's so expensive)...so I wonder why I'd even use my Rosetta 200 along with the RME HDSPe AIO. Please explain.

If I were to purchase an RME HDSPe AIO, why wouldn't I simply connect my Manley Dual Mono Preamplifier directly to the RME HDSPe AIO??? That seems the most eloquent solution. I guess that presupposes that the RME HDSPe AIO incorporates high quality AD DA converters.

Is it that the Rosetta 200's AD DA converters are that much better than one's I'd find in a $800 RME HDSPe AIO? If so, why would I spend $800 for a RME HDSPe AIO only to use its S/P-DIF, AES or ADAT connectors?

As you can see, I'm apparently missing some basic understanding of how these systems connect to computers these days. Further help is greatly appreciated.
Old 27th January 2013
  #7
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
You guys are posting faster than me...so I'm getting replies to some questions before I even post. But I think I am learning. Basically, it seems time to let the Rosetta go, as you've even suggested that I once I install a RME HDSPe AIO, I should compare its DA AD converters to those in the Rosetta.

Is the RME HDSPe known to contain higher quality electronics than a Fireface UC? A few hundred dollars one way or the other does not matter to me. Is there any compromise going to an internal "sound card" (as that is really what the RME HDSPe AIO seems to be) versus and "external sound card" (i.e., the Rosetta or the Fireface UC)?
Old 27th January 2013
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Maybe this is the next best question...

Does any manufacturer offer a low priced ($100-250) PCIe card that features a variety of S/P-DIF, AES and ADAT connectors and omits other expensive components (i.e., AD DA converters).

Isn't that all that I need? Again, maybe I'm missing something...maybe a lot of the value offered by the RME HDSPe AIO is embedded in its software...if so, please let me know...this may be an important point that I do not comprehend.

Maybe I'd gotten off easy with the Apogee Rosetta so many years ago, as its X-Firewire offered a cheap ($300) way to connect (both from a hardware and software perspective) to a PC. Please school me on this...is this the puzzle piece that I'm not comprehending? And now it is time to pay the piper?
Old 27th January 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I understand you don't need AD/DA converters on the interface card, but unfortunately manufactures don't make such 'pure digital' interfaces. Lynx may have something, but I can't remember they discontinued or not.

Alternatively, there are bunch of USB interfaces that have SPDIF In/Out in that price range. I just believed you are looking for mid- to high-end interfaces, because you asked PCIe cards, and mentioned about the plan for Pro Tools transition, and other higher end gears (Neumann, Manley, and Apogee).

As you learn the current product lines, you'll get the picture, so be patient to do more research.
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