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Does your D/A converter matter if you mix Only In The Box?
Old 10th February 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Does your D/A converter matter if you mix Only In The Box?

Hi!

I know the Analog to Digital converter needs to be high quality.

But if you mix, ONLY, in the box- does your Digital to Analog converter need to be quality?

I would understand if you mixed OUT OF the box- you'd want a really great D/A converter so the sounds sent to the board were quality.

But, when you bounce your mix, are the D/A converters doing anything?
(other then for monitoring purposes)

The bounce is still in digital format and burnt to CD...

Explain to me what I'm missing.

AND- If the D/A really matters if you mix in the box.

Thanks so much!

-JohnBob
Old 10th February 2009
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBobAudio ➑️
if you mix, ONLY, in the box- does your Digital to Analog converter need to be quality?
No, except for what you hear while mixing etc.

I'll add that D/A conversion is much simpler to design and make than an A/D. At the most basic, a D/A can be as simple as a bunch of resistors with a single amplifier stage. Versus an A/D that is hugely complex. Most D/As sound fine in my experience.

--Ethan
Old 10th February 2009
  #3
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBobAudio ➑️
Hi!

I know the Analog to Digital converter needs to be high quality.

But if you mix, ONLY, in the box- does your Digital to Analog converter need to be quality?

I would understand if you mixed OUT OF the box- you'd want a really great D/A converter so the sounds sent to the board were quality.

But, when you bounce your mix, are the D/A converters doing anything?
(other then for monitoring purposes)

The bounce is still in digital format and burnt to CD...

Explain to me what I'm missing.

AND- If the D/A really matters if you mix in the box.

Thanks so much!

-JohnBob
Anyone who cares about the art of digital audio, cares equally about both AD/DA processes. There is no way around the fact your ears are analog. If you don't know what your hearing, how will you be able to make the proper decisions about the audio. This has been discussed in GREAT lengths on this forum. Do a search, I bet you'll find some interesting debate.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


If your DAC is so bad that you can't hear your mix well, then it matters. But, the only time you are going through the converter is when you listen to something.

The difference between a modern, cheap, rot-gut DAC and a really good DAC is a lot less than the difference between good and excellent speakers....



-tINY

Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Max The Dog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Today i had cause to plug in the m-audio box i used to use to monitor, before i got my Apogee da16x to monitor through. I was SHOCKED at the difference i heard after using the Apogees for a few months. using the m-audio usb box sounded like someone had LITERALLY put a sweater over my monitors.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY ➑️

If your DAC is so bad that you can't hear your mix well, then it matters. But, the only time you are going through the converter is when you listen to something.

The difference between a modern, cheap, rot-gut DAC and a really good DAC is a lot less than the difference between good and excellent speakers....
-tINY
yes & no,
new DACs sound verry nice, true, spacially new ASRock motherboards
but...
wordclock is even more important. and wordclock cable is even more important.

when you have bad/digital wordclock like RME or Lynx,
you are not hearing all the harmonics, not even half.

there is a harmonic cancelacion with a bad wordclock in any DAC.

when you dont hear accuratelly the harmonics, you over do the EQ in the plugins, and limiters to compensate subcounciously the lack of harmonics and 3D image.

when you have a good wordclock +-50ppm Alesis Ai-2 or better Lucid Genx192 +-25ppm, or TCXO <1ppm like Drawmer M-Clock, Mutec iClock, dCS 995, and OCX like antelope ocx, or atomic clocks like 10M, and teac esoteric.
+ a 99.997% OFC cable, you hear things naturally, bassier, louder, more 3D, more truer.

listening: bob marley - 1 - is this love,
extracted from the: legend CD to .wav or .wmaL
in WMP,
hdsp with DDS off, listening in FF800 the diference is incredible.
Alesis Ai-2 vs. RME SteadyClock(TM)
bass gets BIGGER, and some bells allmost dissapear with the RME clock.

the more accurate you hear, the more accurate your mixes & masterings will be.

good speakers are nothing without a good amplifier, and good x-over.
and those are nothign without a good room,
and those are nothign without a good EQ/correction.
and those are nothing without a good wordclock.

drivers, software, plugins, clean AC power, everything affects.
better DACS have more DEPTH, some have less mudd.
for example:
SoundBlaster Live 5.1 pci, vs. Roland MMP-2
the soundblaster sounds like 10-Bits, half the low level sounds are missing.

yes, you can make a 1million record song with any soundcard, bad room, bad speakers, etc...
but.. it will sound verry strange or wrong to you, every time you hear it in other speakers, other DACs, other rooms, cars, clubs, radio, etc...

I have Drawmer M-Clock + 99.997% OFC cables and Furman AR-15 Series II, is makes any DAC sound AMAZING!.
BIG 3D, Accurate Sound, blows away Alesis Ai-2, and any other ive heard so far.

heres some youtube videos about people talking about the diference of wordclock sound.


go to 5:58

Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by space2012 ➑️
yes & no,
new DACs sound verry nice, true, spacially new ASRock motherboards
but...
wordclock is even more important. and wordclock cable is even more important.

when you have bad/digital wordclock like RME or Lynx,
you are not hearing all the harmonics, not even half.

there is a harmonic cancelacion with a bad wordclock in any DAC.

when you dont hear accuratelly the harmonics, you over do the EQ in the plugins, and limiters to compensate subcounciously the lack of harmonics and 3D image.

when you have a good wordclock +-50ppm Alesis Ai-2 or better Lucid Genx192 +-25ppm, or TCXO <1ppm like Drawmer M-Clock, Mutec iClock, dCS 995, and OCX like antelope ocx, or atomic clocks like 10M, and teac esoteric.
+ a 99.997% OFC cable, you hear things naturally, bassier, louder, more 3D, more truer.

listening: bob marley - 1 - is this love,
extracted from the: legend CD to .wav or .wmaL
in WMP,
hdsp with DDS off, listening in FF800 the diference is incredible.
Alesis Ai-2 vs. RME SteadyClock(TM)
bass gets BIGGER, and some bells allmost dissapear with the RME clock.

the more accurate you hear, the more accurate your mixes & masterings will be.

good speakers are nothing without a good amplifier, and good x-over.
and those are nothign without a good room,
and those are nothign without a good EQ/correction.
and those are nothing without a good wordclock.

drivers, software, plugins, clean AC power, everything affects.
better DACS have more DEPTH, some have less mudd.
for example:
SoundBlaster Live 5.1 pci, vs. Roland MMP-2
the soundblaster sounds like 10-Bits, half the low level sounds are missing.

yes, you can make a 1million record song with any soundcard, bad room, bad speakers, etc...
but.. it will sound verry strange or wrong to you, every time you hear it in other speakers, other DACs, other rooms, cars, clubs, radio, etc...

I have Drawmer M-Clock + 99.997% OFC cables and Furman AR-15 Series II, is makes any DAC sound AMAZING!.
BIG 3D, Accurate Sound, blows away Alesis Ai-2, and any other ive heard so far.
Ok Space,

I'll drink the kool-ade! I believe!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by space2012 ➑️
yes & no,
new DACs sound verry nice, true, spacially new ASRock motherboards
but...
wordclock is even more important. and wordclock cable is even more important.

......
I disagree.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


How much are you charging for your 75ohm coax for a 44.1-128kHz clock, Space?

Do I need to specify the whole topology of my clocking system to order the ones in the correct color?




-tINY

Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 
usamike's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY ➑️


If your DAC is so bad that you can't hear your mix well, then it matters. But, the only time you are going through the converter is when you listen to something.

The difference between a modern, cheap, rot-gut DAC and a really good DAC is a lot less than the difference between good and excellent speakers....



-tINY

That is really hard to quantify. I've made some pretty great sounding records (that were engineered and mixed by others) on garden variety NS-10s and Events 20/20s.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY ➑️


How much are you charging for your 75ohm coax for a 44.1-128kHz clock, Space?

Do I need to specify the whole topology of my clocking system to order the ones in the correct color?




-tINY

Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Mike Brown's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by space2012 ➑️
yes & no,
and wordclock cable is even more important.

Hahahaha!

Make sure you buy one of those 100$ IEC cables too.... because the last 3 feet matter so much more than the previous few miles.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by space2012 ➑️
yes & no,
new DACs sound verry nice, true, spacially new ASRock motherboards
but...
wordclock is even more important. and wordclock cable is even more important.

when you have bad/digital wordclock like RME or Lynx,
you are not hearing all the harmonics, not even half.

there is a harmonic cancelacion with a bad wordclock in any DAC.

when you dont hear accuratelly the harmonics, you over do the EQ in the plugins, and limiters to compensate subcounciously the lack of harmonics and 3D image.

when you have a good wordclock +-50ppm Alesis Ai-2 or better Lucid Genx192 +-25ppm, or TCXO <1ppm like Drawmer M-Clock, Mutec iClock, dCS 995, and OCX like antelope ocx, or atomic clocks like 10M, and teac esoteric.
+ a 99.997% OFC cable, you hear things naturally, bassier, louder, more 3D, more truer.

listening: bob marley - 1 - is this love,
extracted from the: legend CD to .wav or .wmaL
in WMP,
hdsp with DDS off, listening in FF800 the diference is incredible.
Alesis Ai-2 vs. RME SteadyClock(TM)
bass gets BIGGER, and some bells allmost dissapear with the RME clock.

the more accurate you hear, the more accurate your mixes & masterings will be.

good speakers are nothing without a good amplifier, and good x-over.
and those are nothign without a good room,
and those are nothign without a good EQ/correction.
and those are nothing without a good wordclock.

drivers, software, plugins, clean AC power, everything affects.
better DACS have more DEPTH, some have less mudd.
for example:
SoundBlaster Live 5.1 pci, vs. Roland MMP-2
the soundblaster sounds like 10-Bits, half the low level sounds are missing.

yes, you can make a 1million record song with any soundcard, bad room, bad speakers, etc...
but.. it will sound verry strange or wrong to you, every time you hear it in other speakers, other DACs, other rooms, cars, clubs, radio, etc...

I have Drawmer M-Clock + 99.997% OFC cables and Furman AR-15 Series II, is makes any DAC sound AMAZING!.
BIG 3D, Accurate Sound, blows away Alesis Ai-2, and any other ive heard so far.

heres some youtube videos about people talking about the diference of wordclock sound.


go to 5:58


Ok. So what are you suggesting after all your personal experiences and info? My API A2D has a great clock. Why would I need something like an Apogee Big Ben? What exactly does it do? I am in the market for a good D/A so I can accurately monitor what I'm tracking, compressing, and/or eq'ing. So given my current gear- I have several great preamps, a few great but fairly inexpensive mics, and a FMR Audio RNLA for tracking compression. Could you advise me? I'm under the assumption that I need a much better D/A than my ****ty MBOX2. But I have a clock on my A2D, what about something like a Big Ben? Do I need one as well as a good D/A? Could you explain in more detail please? Thanks
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
SO basically:

IN THE BOX:

The D/A is only used for monitoring.

Thus, if you wanted to REALLY hear the best version of what your digital file is- the D/A matters.

But, many are saying general D/As work well.

So, if I'm just using an 003r, the stock D/A isn't that big of a deal.

The 003r's D/A for monitoring will be sufficient?

Correct?

Thanks so much for all your responses!!!!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBobAudio ➑️
SO basically:

IN THE BOX:

The D/A is only used for monitoring.

Thus, if you wanted to REALLY hear the best version of what your digital file is- the D/A matters.
Pretty much.

Quote:
But, many are saying general D/As work well.

So, if I'm just using an 003r, the stock D/A isn't that big of a deal.

The 003r's D/A for monitoring will be sufficient?

Correct?

Thanks so much for all your responses!!!!
This could and likely will be debated for days... The 003 D/A may or may not be good enough for you. Compare it to a Lavry DA10 or a similar high end 2 channel D/A and find out if it is good enough for you or not.
Old 11th February 2009
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
throws a wrench into the mix...

what if you go out digitally to monitors with a digital input. you're just listening to the monitor's d/a converters? would it be beter to have the monitors playing the digital signal or xlr analog from a so-so d/a conversion?
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
*Old post by me*

Watched the videoes above. gave me the answers.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by avanturb ➑️
what if you go out digitally to monitors with a digital input. you're just listening to the monitor's d/a converters? would it be beter to have the monitors playing the digital signal or xlr analog from a so-so d/a conversion?
Then you are relying on the Monitors D/A converter.

RE: Whats Better? Depends on THE SOUND that those DAC's have. Better is ONLY defined by you.
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