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Advice needed- selecting A/D - for use w. archival recordings
Old 21st January 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Advice needed- selecting A/D - for use w. archival recordings

Greetings!
I’m brand new to the gear game and in desperate need of help!

I’m a grad student working with old analog recordings that are suffering from sticky shed syndrome and need to be archived before they really start to degrade. The recordings are underwater recordings of whales and dolphins, and I’ll be using the digitized recordings for detailed acoustical analysis and research purposes, so I need a really good A/D D/A. Unfortunately my budget is limited to less than $1000. Can you recommend any that will work within the budget and following parameters? Which brands are good for natural recordings?

The specifics I’m looking for are:
4-channel (though, please feel free to recommend good 2-channels as well)
24-bit
At least 96kHz
At least 100db
Internal high-precision clock accuracy ±5ppm
Little to no distortion, crosstalk etc. Need as clean and clear a signal as possible. If possible, no added color.


Thank you so much for your help with this!
~Juliette

Last edited by DreamofOrcas; 22nd January 2009 at 12:59 AM.. Reason: Cleared up some of the spec confusion.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
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tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


I think you are going to have trouble finding anything that really meets your specs... manufacturers claims aside.

The crosstalk specs are way beyond any magnetic recording aparatus that I am aware of... Why such high spec? Seems to me that a tape old enough to get flaky/sticky is not going to warrant specs like that. Do you even have a handle on the S/N of the mic that was used?

What about frequency response - do you need more than 20kHz?

Look at Apogee, Lavry Engineering, and Benchmark media.




-tINY

Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the reply!
The tapes we'll be able to bake, to eliminate the sticky problem, but really the main idea is to get an A/D that gives us as clean and clear a sound as possible.

Crosstalk and other more detailed specs listed there are taken from a paper by the Cornell Bioacoustics lab, who had to go through the same process. Their needs were of a broader range than ours, so there is some flexibility there. We need at least 4 channels, 24-bits, 96kHz, and 100db given what we've been using in our lab- the rest of the details can be hashed out depending on the sound quality.

As for the hydrophones used, these recordings have been taken by various scientists using various equipment over the last 30yrs.

I've looked at the brands you suggested, but they're all several thousand dollars out of my price range. We've got <$1000 to put towards this aspect of the project
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Proggm's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
For a “very good converter”, I think that a 1000usd budget may be low.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Deleted ff086b4
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Just rent a professional studio with great converters for a day and do it there. Seems like a much simpler solution to be honest!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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GTQO's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The LynxTWO-A (PCI audio card) will get you 4 in and 4 out and is within your budget. (These are about $1000. Obviously you need a computer with an available PCI slot as a host for the audio card.) The manufacturer specs (signal to noise, crosstalk, THD) are available here:

LynxTWO

(Click "LynxTWO Specifications" on the above page and/or download the PDF users manual for the card.)


Your requirement of 5ppm clock accuracy might be tricky. The Lynx cards use a quartz oscillator (CTS CB3 series.) The standard tolerance for this type of oscillator is 50ppm. (There is a premium 20ppm unit but I don't know if the Lynx card is a standard or premium tolerance part.) To get 5ppm you need a TCXO or OCXO.

The Lynx has a word clock input so you could feed the card from an external high precision clock. However, a high precision clock, such as the Antelope Isochrone, will cost as much as the audio card itself. (The Isochrone has an internal OCXO or, if you need extra high precision, you can feed the Isochrone from a 10Mhz atomic reference.)


I have used my Lynx L22 (2 channel card) at 200kHz to capture baseband radio signals for FFT spectrum analysis. (So there is at least one person crazy enough to use these audio cards for "scientific" applications, for what thats worth!)
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Deleted 37a7726
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTQO ➡️
The LynxTWO-A (PCI audio card) will get you 4 in and 4 out and is within your budget. (These are about $1000. Obviously you need a computer with an available PCI slot as a host for the audio card.) The manufacturer specs (signal to noise, crosstalk, THD) are available here:

LynxTWO

(Click "LynxTWO Specifications" on the above page and/or download the PDF users manual for the card.)


Your requirement of 5ppm clock accuracy might be tricky. The Lynx cards use a quartz oscillator (CTS CB3 series.) The standard tolerance for this type of oscillator is 50ppm. (There is a premium 20ppm unit but I don't know if the Lynx card is a standard or premium tolerance part.) To get 5ppm you need a TCXO or OCXO.

The Lynx has a word clock input so you could feed the card from an external high precision clock. However, a high precision clock, such as the Antelope Isochrone, will cost as much as the audio card itself. (The Isochrone has an internal OCXO or, if you need extra high precision, you can feed the Isochrone from a 10Mhz atomic reference.)


I have used my Lynx L22 (2 channel card) at 200kHz to capture baseband radio signals for FFT spectrum analysis. (So there is at least one person crazy enough to use these audio cards for "scientific" applications, for what thats worth!)
+1. The lynx converters don't roll off highend past 20k.. Many converters only focus on 20-20k even @ 96k or higher rates. Highly recommend any current lynx product.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James_Avery ➡️
Just rent a professional studio with great converters for a day and do it there. Seems like a much simpler solution to be honest!
This would be nice, but these tapes are part of the data I'm analyzing for my thesis and unfortunately it's not a simple one day event. We have all the other parts of the puzzle, and already have a Creative (I believe?) A/D that we use for other sorts of analysis. We haven't tested how that one alters the sounds, but we'd like something a little bit above that, to be safe.

Thank you guys for the input so far, it's helpful!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proggm ➡️
For a “very good converter”, I think that a 1000usd budget may be low.
It is, but it's out of pocket for us as we don't have funding for a new A/D. So what would you recommend as the very best of the A/D's for under $1000?

I'll run the Lynx options by my supervisor, that sounds good. Rhythm - I read your other thread about the higher end Lynx products and they sounded good. But in case we can't do that one - are there any other suggestions out there?

Thanks again!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Deleted 37a7726
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamofOrcas ➡️
It is, but it's out of pocket for us as we don't have funding for a new A/D. So what would you recommend as the very best of the A/D's for under $1000?

I'll run the Lynx options by my supervisor, that sounds good. Rhythm - I read your other thread about the higher end Lynx products and they sounded good. But in case we can't do that one - are there any other suggestions out there?

Thanks again!
echo interfaces perform well.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Deleted ff086b4
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamofOrcas ➡️
This would be nice, but these tapes are part of the data I'm analyzing for my thesis and unfortunately it's not a simple one day event. We have all the other parts of the puzzle, and already have a Creative (I believe?) A/D that we use for other sorts of analysis. We haven't tested how that one alters the sounds, but we'd like something a little bit above that, to be safe.

Thank you guys for the input so far, it's helpful!

For 1000 dollars you could probably get 2 days in a great studio. Man, how many recordings do you have that can't be simpley sample rate converted in a day? It's not a big process and you can take the converted .wav files home, import them into any program you want, and do all the analysis you want then in your own time. What are the other parts of the puzzle that do not allow you to do this? I'm interested!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Deleted ff086b4
Guest
And I'd stay well way from a Creative A/D converter by the way. That would be a consumer level converter rather than a professional level converter for something as important as archival material.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
Got $149?

PCM4222EVM

Analog Technologies, Semiconductors, Digital Signal Processing - Texas Instruments

Just add a + - 15 and + 5 volt supply and go....

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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aleatoric's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James_Avery ➡️
Just rent a professional studio with great converters for a day and do it there. Seems like a much simpler solution to be honest!
Or, depending on where you are located rent a really nice converter for a day (benchmark, prism, lavry).
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James_Avery ➡️
For 1000 dollars you could probably get 2 days in a great studio. Man, how many recordings do you have that can't be simpley sample rate converted in a day? It's not a big process and you can take the converted .wav files home, import them into any program you want, and do all the analysis you want then in your own time. What are the other parts of the puzzle that do not allow you to do this? I'm interested!
Hehe, well... our data spans across the last 30yrs, so because of the sticky shed, we need to bake them before we can digitize them. The effects of baking lasts only a couple weeks, and we can only do small batches at a time, so, it's unfortunately going to take quite a bit of time to get it all processed. Add to the equation that a good amount of this data is being sent by different sources at various times... and well, you get the idea.

Good to know about the Creatives. We were just discussing the other day that we should test it to see what it actually does to the sounds, but now I'm rather afraid to.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Benchmark and Lavry come to mind.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamofOrcas ➡️
So what would you recommend as the very best of the A/D's for under $1000?

Mytek Stereo 96 ADC $850
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
RME ADI-2

RME: ADI-2

It costs around 800 $ last time I checked it on ebay.

hope this helps!

denny
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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NorseHorse's Avatar
Try contacting Cutting Archives and see what they have to say. They may also have helpful tips.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
EDIT - just spotted your budget of sub $1000 ...

There is a point of diminishing returns, but frankly it doesn't sound as though the original recordings justify exotic A/D converters.

If you can get a second hand Lucid AD9624 you would be very happy. I don't believe they are made anymore, but they are extremely good value. Do you really need four channels? Obviously that raises the price and adds compatibity issues - how will you get the digital into your box?

You might be fairly happy with a Mackie Onyx or similar firewire box ... there are plenty to choose from if you drop your expectations a little. Seriously - I doubt you would hear the difference - most modern converters exceed 100dB dynamic range, and cross talk is really a non-issue in practical terms.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Proggm's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamofOrcas ➡️
It is, but it's out of pocket for us as we don't have funding for a new A/D. So what would you recommend as the very best of the A/D's for under $1000?
I would go for a used Rosetta 200.
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