Author Topic: Digital to analog converters  (Read 7075 times)

Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2013, 07:15:25 PM »
Also, everyone here can feel free to recommend me any other kinds of effect plugins that aren't reverb but are really nice (and preferably affordable).
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Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2013, 07:26:11 PM »
I had never heard of Toraverb before but seeing you mention Robert Rich's endorsement and the fact that it's a bargain at that price, I might buy that really soon. It seems like it would also probably be different enough from the ValhallaRoom.

The other ones seem like they would be awesome too but they're noticeably more expensive.

Why Robert Rich like it is because I think there is no similar reverb. It has an unique sound and I guess it does does complement his sony and lexcion reverbs



Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2013, 07:29:52 PM »
Hopefully some more people will jump in on this topic, with other recommendations too.

I will certainly look though my software tomorrow and see if I can suggest something in the reverb line. I think reverbs can be very personal, in the sense that they must, to your ears, fit your sound, and also operate in a way that makes intuitive sense.

It is not like there is an ocean of serious alterntives out there of software reverbs, for me it is important that they are transparent and true to the source and does represent the original audio and keep the audio details.  If you just want big lush dense walls with no audio details in them just a total "even" sound with no transients there is plenty of options.  A lot of people in ambient scene use "Aether" it is one of the worst reverbs I know. It sounds "big" but not detailed..

SSL X-verb is quite good too little bit more expensive but a lot cheaper then Lexicon PCM Native.
For ambient Ariesverb is still the most price worthy choice... it actually sound like a lexicon reverb for real..


Seren

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2013, 01:59:04 AM »
I think we have to be open to learning about 'stuff', but we all have to start somewhere and not all of us have the financial resources to launch into the high end products.

I have recently not bought something I really wanted that would have added range and quality to my music because I am trying to save for something that will enable me to do something different - not even sure what that difference will be yet, but that's for the exploring when I finally get it......this really was not a choice I was happy to make (throws toys out of pram type image).....

I first started recording in the late 70's with a cassette portastudio and the spring reverbs on my (I think) Marshall amp - the quality was not great by current standards, but the excitement was very high as it was the first tiime 'ordinary' people could record music rather than rely on the record labels, perhaps an apsect of music we have become too used to in some ways.

This time round I started with a second hand Korg D16 portastudio - then upgraded to a second hand Roland VS2480. Each of which has it's pluses and minuses as far as quality etc go - though the VS2480 does burn red book standard CDs and can record at high sample rates.

We also have to consider what we and our peers are trying to achieve in our music before making suggestions or decrying what facilities they have. If we are not wanting to create music that is 'true to source' then what we are looking at and why changes.

I don't record to a desktop or mac computer at all - just not my cup of tea. I only use my computer for certain things - import some sounds on Cdr and then 'flay' them with Sonar 5 and the odd VST - such as Glaceverb - then pass them back for further transformation...

We have sort of wandered into discussing reverb rather than the A/D (which I have to be honest and say I know nothing about as I rely on those in the Korg and Roland - assuming that as they were intended as recording equipment they will be up to the task). It is good to read other peoples experiences and preferences, even if I may never use them myself.

As for reverbs I managed to get a TCM3000 a few years back - not in the level of the Lexicon high end or Eventides, but once i got a sense of how I want to use it I can create the sounds I want on my other effects etc and then pass it through the TC to get the final quality and sound I want.

My sense within Hi-fi is that if you want to achieve a recogniseable increase in quality you have to treble the price of what you already have - I dont know if this is the same within recording equipment - unfortunately I've never had the money to try and find out.

petekelly

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2013, 02:47:17 AM »
On a recommendation note, Valhalla UberMod

Very deep delay / modulation / reverb plug-in. I liked it so much, I wrote a mini-review of it:
http://igneousflame.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/valhalla-ubermod-mini-review/
Very good for 'delay smearing' and general ambient goodness.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 02:49:55 AM by petekelly »

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2013, 06:12:03 AM »
I dont use software reverb much within the DAW.....if I were looking for good reverb plugin I would certainly check out the Lexicon PCM Native Reverb bundle.  Its not cheap at $600 but from what I have heard its the best of Lexicon sound without the hardware cost which is somewhere at $2000 new.  At one time you could buy individual plugins within the bundle, not sure if thats still available

http://www.lexiconpro.com/en-US/products/pcm-native-reverb-plug-in-bundle


I had the demo of Aether which I did like but never did buy it for the reason I mentioned but I was impressed.

http://2caudio.com/products/aether/#_overview


T.C. Electronics Vss3 reverb which was original part of their Powercore platform is a plugin ported over from TC's 6000 system.  I used it alot when I had a powercore pci card in my old Mac G5 so the software is no longer.   I miss it and would put it up against any high end reverb hard or soft.  For those in the Pro Tools dominion you can still get it as a TDM plugin

http://www.tcelectronic.com/vss3-tdm/


As for other software plugins for processing audio......the one and only Sound Toys native bundle.  I recall Paul Vnuk saying on this forum that a good software reverb and the Sound Toys bundle of fx plugins you can come very close to the sound palette of an Eventide Eclipse.  As an Eclipse owner and Sound Toys user I would agree with this.   

http://www.soundtoys.com


As to converters....the title of this thread.  There are so many options.  I dont think today there are really any bad converters out there.  It seems a very competitive market where manufacturers cannot afford to put out inferior products.  An all in one box would be my choice. Pre amps, converters monitoring etc under one hood.  Im actually looking at a Metric Halo ULN8 unit as a possible option for myself.  Its high end with a price tag to match but I would be selling high end gear to make the purchase as I consolidated my studio.

I would advise to buy right the first time and have it for life so to speak. :)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 06:39:11 AM by Julio Di Benedetto »

Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2013, 07:02:18 AM »



As for other software plugins for processing audio......the one and only Sound Toys native bundle.  I recall Paul Vnuk saying on this forum that a good software reverb and the Sound Toys bundle of fx plugins you can come very close to the sound palette of an Eventide Eclipse.  As an Eclipse owner and Sound Toys user I would agree with this.   

http://www.soundtoys.com





Regarding soundtoys, they are mostly good for adding color and saturation, but they are not true the source at all.
in fact you can use very little wet signal if you want to keep the source qualities and transient, one big

Phase Mistress can be good but remember it will completly destroy the source and transform to something different...
From there bundle I like Decapitator the most...

I have not tried Radiator yet unfortunately...

I would really like the Little MicroShift plugin..I think it can be useful to use on left and right channel with slighly different pitch.
I know robert rich have talked about the technique. but to use it you really need a really high quality pitch shifter...

ffcal

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2013, 11:35:12 AM »
Though this strays off of the D/A topic, I agree with Seren that it's important to have some sense of what you are trying to achieve, especially if you are just getting started, before accumulating too much expensive gear.  I actually stuck with open reel four-track recording for a very long time before I finally felt ready to make the shift into digital in the early 90s with the purchase of an ADAT.  The economics of it can also be a big factor if you don't have the means to maximize the potential of the gear you are acquiring or if the gear doesn't really address the core of what you sense you need.  Who hasn't at least once purchased an instrument or a piece of gear and later felt buyer's remorse?  Though electronics has been a big part of my sound, I've always been partial to acoustic instruments, so I've never felt the need to acquire the biggest and baddest modular synth or processor.  But everyone has different needs, so one size doesn't really fit all.

Forrest

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2013, 01:35:33 PM »
I agree with Forrest, and was also going to mention Seren's line:

"We also have to consider what we and our peers are trying to achieve in our music
before making suggestions or decrying what facilities they have. If we are not wanting
to create music that is 'true to source' then what we are looking at and why changes."


If you are recording a vocal or acoustic instruments, then pristine clarity and realism is what you probably need, and you need the gear that will achieve it (great mics, preamp,  etc), but not too many of us in the ambient-electro realm are actually doing that. So consider what it is you are creating and match the gear to the expected musical product. Not a lot of reasons for expensive purity if you are going to overdrive, lo-fi, or glitch it up later, for example. Why spend $2000 when $250 will do and leave you money for other things. Plus of course there is the old adage: having the best equipment in the world does not mean you will now create better music.

On reverbs, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I very rarely use the things except built in as part of a synth patch.
Way back I found Ambience to be a very good free one: http://magnus.smartelectronix.com/#Ambience
I have used Breeze by 2CAudio. It's great if you need some very long reverb. But has delicacy too.
My favourite is probably WizooVerb. It's very flexible. It was bought buy some other company, digidesign I think.

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2013, 01:44:11 PM »
On AD/DA converters, I also think that the technology has improved greatly over the years so that the basic integrated circuits used in even the inexpensive converters is now on par with what used to be considered top of the line. Such is the nature of electronic advancement. We see if with today's computers and cameras for example. What was once top of the line is now matched by relatively cheap lower-end electronics. And at some point there is simply not much to be gained by spending a ton more money on one piece. That gain may not outweigh putting the money to use buying more equipment or software you currently don't have.
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petekelly

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2013, 01:49:26 PM »
Very good advice here from Forrest and APK, I think this is one of the advantages of this forum, there are people here who know their onions and give informed advice on technical stuff.

I would go as far as saying these days, most modern gear is good enough (mostly), it's very easy (I speak from experience !) in trying to find the 'best' reverb or whatever. Time spent learning the things that you have is time well spent, in my view. 

El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2013, 01:54:27 PM »
My 2 cents about that…

Agree with most APK said before! Also use Wizooverb W2 and it´s great

But it´s really a matter of what you want to archive…for me any reverb work for ambient (even a lot of freeware…still use Sanford a lot). For me it´s quite funny making a fuss about reverb and then to look for plugins sounding like tape-emulations or trying to archive an old sound (i.e with bit reduction) :-D

Is anyone really believe the audience will hear the difference which reverb is used and judging then the music by this then in another way? In my opinion this is just a marketing gag of the audio industry…otherwise, how it possible to have great albums in the 80´s just made with a D-50 (incl the internal effects)?

Lets say it this way…the audio industry in today simply needs this "higher and better" just for selling their products. And beside that, most people starting with music today are just confused by all the "the best" options.

Cheers,
Tomas

Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2013, 02:36:27 PM »
Wow, I didn't expect this many responses. I think I'm still leaning toward getting a DAC for my main laptop in the near future since the quality probably isn't that good from the laptop but I'll stay within my budget on that. Also, I did buy Toraverb but I haven't tried it out yet.

Really appreciate all the responses so far.  :)
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Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2013, 02:38:12 PM »
My 2 cents about that…

Agree with most APK said before! Also use Wizooverb W2 and it´s great

But it´s really a matter of what you want to archive…for me any reverb work for ambient (even a lot of freeware…still use Sanford a lot). For me it´s quite funny making a fuss about reverb and then to look for plugins sounding like tape-emulations or trying to archive an old sound (i.e with bit reduction) :-D

Is anyone really believe the audience will hear the difference which reverb is used and judging then the music by this then in another way? In my opinion this is just a marketing gag of the audio industry…otherwise, how it possible to have great albums in the 80´s just made with a D-50 (incl the internal effects)?

Lets say it this way…the audio industry in today simply needs this "higher and better" just for selling their products. And beside that, most people starting with music today are just confused by all the "the best" options.

Cheers,
Tomas

It seem you are not a big fan of tape sound, and it sounds also like you have got wrong idea of what good tape sound is. Great tape sound will not in any shape or form destroy the audio it will just make it sound all better when it it is done right, it might just give the reverb the the final saturation which many reverbs lack,  Lexicon has beautiful satuartion and colour.   The highest quality converters such as  Crane song HEDD like Mike was talking about or BURL have both try to make the best from high quality tape sound.   It seem you worship the sound of cold sterile and "clean" digital sound.
problem is it is dead boring to listen to.. no interesting complex details and harmonics which you get from analogue sound by nature.
Especially synths in ambient need all saturating that you can get to make them sound good in my opinion,  tape saturating make everything sounds right in many cases and make beautiful harmonics so lets not talk down about tape sound, many of the absolute top producers use tape sound to summarize mixes, tape sounds does not need to be bad sounding "old scool" sound, it can also be super clean with just beautiful saturation and harmonics, this is the reason people adore the BURL transformers which is considered to be the best converters right now those transformers add "tape like" qualities.

will the audience here the difference which reverb is used ? if you asked me a couple of years ago, I would say no.  But since that time I have tried many different reverbs, and all reverbs have a different character same goes with synths,  I have some days ago received my Eventide H8000fw, looking forward to hear the reverb, but it is the pitch shifting reverbs with eventide that is very hard to not hear... if you have heard it.
I

I find quite often I hear what reverbs that is used,
But of course often it is really hard to tell.. some times more obvious...steve roach sound is unmistakably lexicon, I know he use eventide H3000 on some (darkest before dawn). But almost all of the time I am just surprised how bad reverbs people use, a lot of people use probably the internal effects of the soft synths which is always useless.  I have not heard one synth with good internal effects, omnisphere included.  Of course everyone decide what bar of sound quality they want.  but there is so many factors invovled if you have speakers that colour the sound that most people probably have a bad sounding reverb might sound beautiful,  all I can say is with my new Trident HG3 speakers I find it way easier to hear clear difference between good and bad reverbs.  The biggest problem with most reverbs is that they do not represent the full frequceny spectrum, they are capped ofteh the thigh end gets lost in the mud,  I am allergic to muddy reverb , and unfortunately this artifact is very common in the ambient scene today.


Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2013, 02:42:00 PM »
Wow, I didn't expect this many responses. I think I'm still leaning toward getting a DAC for my main laptop in the near future since the quality probably isn't that good from the laptop but I'll stay within my budget on that. Also, I did buy Toraverb but I haven't tried it out yet.

Really appreciate all the responses so far.  :)

well this thread is mostly off topic though :)

There was no demo of the Toraverb ?
unless you have a specific sound and do not want a big lush hall sound then I think you will like toraverb.
Personally even though I have access to the lexicon pcm native reverbs I still always use toraverb also in the effect chain cause it just give such beautiful saturation for ambient music. however I never use more then 9 o clock though.  I almost never use more wet signal on reverbs then that, cause I want to avoid the mudd, in some cases it can be better to use mulitple reverbs but use less wet on each..

good idea about buying a new DAC, if you can tell me your budget I might be able to help you...and do you live in usa ?

Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2013, 02:54:28 PM »
I've got my sights set on the Modi USB Digital to Analog Audio Converter:

http://www.amazon.com/Modi-USB-Digital-Analog-Convertor/dp/B00CICPN0K

It's made by Schiit Audio, which has a good reputation from what I've heard, and the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere are unanimously positive, which isn't always common for audio equipment that cheap. And it's well within my grad student budget.

Even if it's not the best on the market, it should still be an improvement over what I've got now.
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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2013, 03:00:54 PM »
This is home stereo DA converter, not for recording. It doesn't have analog-to-digital conversion, which is something you would get with a pro audio converter. This could certainly be a good device, but just for listening, not recording.
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El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2013, 03:01:57 PM »
My 2 cents about that…

Agree with most APK said before! Also use Wizooverb W2 and it´s great

But it´s really a matter of what you want to archive…for me any reverb work for ambient (even a lot of freeware…still use Sanford a lot). For me it´s quite funny making a fuss about reverb and then to look for plugins sounding like tape-emulations or trying to archive an old sound (i.e with bit reduction) :-D

Is anyone really believe the audience will hear the difference which reverb is used and judging then the music by this then in another way? In my opinion this is just a marketing gag of the audio industry…otherwise, how it possible to have great albums in the 80´s just made with a D-50 (incl the internal effects)?

Lets say it this way…the audio industry in today simply needs this "higher and better" just for selling their products. And beside that, most people starting with music today are just confused by all the "the best" options.

Cheers,
Tomas

It seem you are not a big fan of tape sound, and it sounds also like you have got wrong idea of what good tape sound is. Great tape sound will not in any shape or form destroy the audio it will just make it sound all better when it it is done right, it might just give the reverb the the final saturation which many reverbs lack,  Lexicon has beautiful satuartion and colour.   The highest quality converters such as  Crane song HEDD like Mike was talking about or BURL have both try to make the best from high quality tape sound.   It seem you worship the sound of cold sterile and "clean" digital sound.
problem is it is dead boring to listen to.. no interesting complex details and harmonics which you get from analogue sound by nature.
Especially synths in ambient need all saturating that you can get to make them sound good in my opinion,  tape saturating make everything sounds right in many cases and make beautiful harmonics so lets not talk down about tape sound, many of the absolute top producers use tape sound to summarize mixes, tape sounds does not need to be bad sounding "old scool" sound, it can also be super clean with just beautiful saturation and harmonics, this is the reason people adore the BURL transformers which is considered to be the best converters right now those transformers add "tape like" qualities.

will the audience here the difference which reverb is used ? if you asked me a couple of years ago, I would say no.  But since that time I have tried many different reverbs, and all reverbs have a different character same goes with synths,  I have some days ago received my Eventide H8000fw, looking forward to hear the reverb, but it is the pitch shifting reverbs with eventide that is very hard to not hear... if you have heard it.
I

I find quite often I hear what reverbs that is used,
But of course often it is really hard to tell.. some times more obvious...steve roach sound is unmistakably lexicon, I know he use eventide H3000 on some (darkest before dawn). But almost all of the time I am just surprised how bad reverbs people use, a lot of people use probably the internal effects of the soft synths which is always useless.  I have not heard one synth with good internal effects, omnisphere included.  Of course everyone decide what bar of sound quality they want.  but there is so many factors invovled if you have speakers that colour the sound that most people probably have a bad sounding reverb might sound beautiful,  all I can say is with my new Trident HG3 speakers I find it way easier to hear clear difference between good and bad reverbs.  The biggest problem with most reverbs is that they do not represent the full frequceny spectrum, they are capped ofteh the thigh end gets lost in the mud,  I am allergic to muddy reverb , and unfortunately this artifact is very common in the ambient scene today.

Before talking too much about "better" "best" etc…what about making an example on your side so anyone can hear the differences you are talking about? By seeing and haring all the gear you have I´m now really curious, so please give us the chance to understand the difference! So, can you please provide some examples/clips? Only that would be really helpful to understand what you are talking about!

Cheers,
Tomas

Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2013, 03:03:08 PM »
This is home stereo DA converter, not for recording. It doesn't have analog-to-digital conversion, which is something you would get with a pro audio converter. This could certainly be a good device, but just for listening, not recording.

Thanks for clarifying. It wasn't really clear at all to me from the descriptions.
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Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2013, 03:10:57 PM »
My 2 cents about that…

Agree with most APK said before! Also use Wizooverb W2 and it´s great

But it´s really a matter of what you want to archive…for me any reverb work for ambient (even a lot of freeware…still use Sanford a lot). For me it´s quite funny making a fuss about reverb and then to look for plugins sounding like tape-emulations or trying to archive an old sound (i.e with bit reduction) :-D

Is anyone really believe the audience will hear the difference which reverb is used and judging then the music by this then in another way? In my opinion this is just a marketing gag of the audio industry…otherwise, how it possible to have great albums in the 80´s just made with a D-50 (incl the internal effects)?

Lets say it this way…the audio industry in today simply needs this "higher and better" just for selling their products. And beside that, most people starting with music today are just confused by all the "the best" options.

Cheers,
Tomas

It seem you are not a big fan of tape sound, and it sounds also like you have got wrong idea of what good tape sound is. Great tape sound will not in any shape or form destroy the audio it will just make it sound all better when it it is done right, it might just give the reverb the the final saturation which many reverbs lack,  Lexicon has beautiful satuartion and colour.   The highest quality converters such as  Crane song HEDD like Mike was talking about or BURL have both try to make the best from high quality tape sound.   It seem you worship the sound of cold sterile and "clean" digital sound.
problem is it is dead boring to listen to.. no interesting complex details and harmonics which you get from analogue sound by nature.
Especially synths in ambient need all saturating that you can get to make them sound good in my opinion,  tape saturating make everything sounds right in many cases and make beautiful harmonics so lets not talk down about tape sound, many of the absolute top producers use tape sound to summarize mixes, tape sounds does not need to be bad sounding "old scool" sound, it can also be super clean with just beautiful saturation and harmonics, this is the reason people adore the BURL transformers which is considered to be the best converters right now those transformers add "tape like" qualities.

will the audience here the difference which reverb is used ? if you asked me a couple of years ago, I would say no.  But since that time I have tried many different reverbs, and all reverbs have a different character same goes with synths,  I have some days ago received my Eventide H8000fw, looking forward to hear the reverb, but it is the pitch shifting reverbs with eventide that is very hard to not hear... if you have heard it.
I

I find quite often I hear what reverbs that is used,
But of course often it is really hard to tell.. some times more obvious...steve roach sound is unmistakably lexicon, I know he use eventide H3000 on some (darkest before dawn). But almost all of the time I am just surprised how bad reverbs people use, a lot of people use probably the internal effects of the soft synths which is always useless.  I have not heard one synth with good internal effects, omnisphere included.  Of course everyone decide what bar of sound quality they want.  but there is so many factors invovled if you have speakers that colour the sound that most people probably have a bad sounding reverb might sound beautiful,  all I can say is with my new Trident HG3 speakers I find it way easier to hear clear difference between good and bad reverbs.  The biggest problem with most reverbs is that they do not represent the full frequceny spectrum, they are capped ofteh the thigh end gets lost in the mud,  I am allergic to muddy reverb , and unfortunately this artifact is very common in the ambient scene today.

Before talking too much about "better" "best" etc…what about making an example on your site so anyone can hear the differences you are talking about? By seeing and haring all the gear you have I´m now really curious, so please give us the chance to understand the difference! So, can you please provide some examples/clips? Only that would be really helpful to understand what you are talking about!

Cheers,
Tomas

My studio is incomplete my signal chain is not complete,  also I am going to sell my Lynx converter and buy a BURL converter instead, I am still need a pre amp, to plugin my guitars, synths and microphones,  I use mostly software right now.. the things I use in my studio so far is only my HG3 speakers and dangerous audio source monitor controller. Most people would probably just buy something cheap But I prefer to buy the good stuff direcely life is too short to waste time with gear you do not like I am tired of it.  I hope in a few months I will be able to show you some examples of my gear if you want.

I am 90% sure I will bu the Phoneix audio DRS-8 mkII pre amp,  with that I can also use the drive function to overdrive the signal to make it saturate beautifully and bring life to sounds/instruments,   I will buy both the BURL B2 bomber DAC and the ADC converters, the ADC converter have a transformer that will IF YOU WANT give mesmerizing tape like quality.  I will maybe buy the BURL MIX bus too.. But it takes time to save up to money for all I want. Some of it I will buy on installment, and I can pay it back within 12 months, I will also sell my Lynx Aurora, it will generate kind of a lot money and pay for almost one B2 Bomber,  I will also sell it for more then what I paid for, cause I got for and totally incredible price second hand from Finland.  In the summer I will probably work 2 jobs again, so I can afford everything I want to buy.