Author Topic: Digital to analog converters  (Read 40607 times)

Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2013, 01:21:32 PM »
I decided to start read through the Lexicon Alpha manual today to see if I overlooked anything and I think I overlooked two things: the monitor mix and the line-outs.

What I don't understand completely is how it works as an external soundcard if I'm working only within my laptop itself.
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APK

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2013, 02:04:58 PM »
I decided to start read through the Lexicon Alpha manual today to see if I overlooked anything and I think I overlooked two things: the monitor mix and the line-outs.

What I don't understand completely is how it works as an external soundcard if I'm working only within my laptop itself.

I think what you are missing is that the Alpha (and soundcards generally) is simply an AD/DA converter. It is the interface between your computer and the real world. All it does is convert analog input (from a mic or external synth for example) to the digital signal required by the computer. You work with that digital material in the laptop, but when you want to actually hear the result of what you are doing it has to be converted back to analog (D/A) again to be fed to headphones or speakers. You listen to your work either by its headphone out, or you feed the line outs to an amp and then speakers (or to amplified speakers).


« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 02:17:21 PM by APK »
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APK

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #42 on: November 22, 2013, 02:08:52 PM »
Little addition.
That is what was odd about your very first post in this thread. You spoke of wanting a D/A converter, when you actually already have one in the Alpha. I assume you have been listening to your work using the headphone out on the laptop, when you should be using the headphone (or line outs) on the Alpha.
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Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #43 on: November 22, 2013, 02:49:33 PM »
Yeah, I actually didn't realize that when I first made the topic. That's my big mistake I guess but if it wasn't for me making this thread to begin with, I wouldn't have figured out that I was even making this mistake.

Now it's starting to make sense to me.

Thanks.
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APK

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #44 on: November 22, 2013, 02:52:02 PM »
 :)

I wouldn't have discovered the Valhalla plugins if not for this thread.
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Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2013, 05:21:09 PM »
I decided to record today after figuring out how to properly use the Alpha and I noticed an improvement in the sound quality already. I think I'm going to stick with my setup for now.

Also, Toraverb is great.
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Ekstasis

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #46 on: November 22, 2013, 05:22:11 PM »
I decided to record today after figuring out how to properly use the Alpha and I noticed an improvement in the sound quality already. I think I'm going to stick with my setup for now.

Also, Toraverb is great.

Remember one important thing to change the quality to "highest" it is useless in it's default setting

ffcal

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #47 on: November 22, 2013, 09:43:26 PM »
"Also, how much are you ready to pay for a more "effortless" experience when creating music, or do you prefer to work really hard
to make your cheap gear sound expensive, personally for me I am tired it, I want an inspiring setup that sounds amazing, not spend endless
time and energy to make something as I want when I can do that the on the fly with good equipment, that is the thing for me I want an effortless
way of expression and not have to deal with "crap"  just to save some money, cheap gear and most plugs does not inspire me I want that extra..."

Ah, but that's the rub.  For each new piece of complex piece of gear you add to the system, you steepen your potential learning curve and things can become harder, not more effortless.  It's much like the difference between going into a neighborhood grocery store that chooses its items wisely and going into the Costco warehouse.  I hope you're able to find your own bliss with your new aggregation of gear, but I would think that at some point, you would run the risk of getting diminishing returns out of the complexity of your setup.

Forrest

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2013, 06:14:25 AM »
You have come to understand and know the sound and its quality from this high end gear and this is not something that is base on how much money a person has to spend....Burl converters on uneducated  ears within the home project studio would be a colossal waste of money.  This sound has to be learned.  Sort of like asking a person to taste a Chateau Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux when they are use to drinking sweet blush zinfandel wine.  Odds are they would spit it out.

I will always push the envelope for my self and go for the best gear I can afford and sometimes more than I can afford.  The complexity that Forrest suggest can be  an issue.  A great converter feed by a crappy pre amp or front end signal path will give what on the other side.....exactly.  So generally if say Burl which is the converter most talked about in this thread is your choice then the rest of the signal path should be of a similar quality or it is a pointless venture.  There can be a good deal of maintenance involve as well.

Ive mentioned this story before and like to when too much lofty high ended - ness dominates.   Bruce Springsteen's Fans consider his album "Nebraska" his best which was recorded on an 4 track cassette deck will the "Boss" was on tour way back when.  What the fans heard was not the tape hiss and poor quality record but the heart felt words and emotion he expressed. Certainly anyone would want to be able to capture every single subtle nuance of a performance that brilliant gear can do so well but the listener at the other end will be moved by the emotion not the the converters, pre amp or microphones used.

P.S......Great post Paul!
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Altus

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2013, 08:04:02 AM »
What the fans heard was not the tape hiss and poor quality record but the heart felt words and emotion he expressed. Certainly anyone would want to be able to capture every single subtle nuance of a performance that brilliant gear can do so well but the listener at the other end will be moved by the emotion not the the converters, pre amp or microphones used.

This right here hits the nail on the head for me. I know of musicians who have studios bristling with gear, yet rarely do I hear actual music output from them. I personally know a few people who fall into this category. They enjoy collecting the gear, building and perfecting the studio, yet don't use it for its purpose. When they do, I find myself rarely moved by the music.

Other musicians with limited budgets who rely only on software to produce their music (or simply prefer the simpler workflow of software-based solutions), or just play guitar with some reverb/delays, can produce some amazing music. Music that deeply moves me. They don't care about perfection. They're just using the tools they have to express themselves through music, and that passion shines through brighter than any music created in a pro studio.

Immersion: I'm sorry, but I'm going to single you out here. El culto called you out on this as well. Your advice is good and well-meaning, but in some of your posts you come across as elitist, which I think is fair to say, nobody really appreciates. The impression you give is: "If you're not buying top of the line gear, why bother make music at all? You're wasting your time." or "I suppose you could buy that budget-priced gear, but it's going to sound like shit." I'll blame this impression partially on the fact that we're missing vocal intonation, which makes a world of difference.

All that said, as I was reading through this thread, your clear passion for sonic perfection was obvious. I thought to myself: "I really want to hear this guy's music." (I'm assuming you're male, correct me if I'm wrong)

I suppose I wasn't terribly surprised to find out that you've never actually released anything . . .

Then you go on to say you're mostly using software, which you were poo-pooing earlier. Kind of hypocritical, don't you think?

I applaud you for not releasing the first thing you ever completed. Too many people do that now, resulting in a glut of mediocre content. (I started in 93 and didn't release anything to the public until 98 with a tape release.) You're working toward perfection in your sound design, and no one can judge you badly for that. This is what YOU want. Excellent. Go for it!

But until you can provide proof to your words, you need to dial it back a bit. Realize that not everyone has tons of cash to spend on high-end gear. And if you judge music or the musician purely by the tools that were used, you're missing out!
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APK

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #50 on: November 23, 2013, 09:11:06 AM »
I just want to say that I like analog as much as the next guy.
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Castleview

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #51 on: November 23, 2013, 09:29:02 AM »
LOL at that picture.

I actually do have access to reel-to-reel tape recorders at my university but I'm not sure if they even work because that studio they're in is garbage. The computers are well over 10 years outdated and barely even work.
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chris23

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #52 on: November 23, 2013, 09:46:22 AM »
I haven't done anything serious with music in over 20 years, but I'm really enjoying this thread. There is a lot to learn here even for those of us who are mere listeners and fans of ambient music.

mgriffin

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #53 on: November 23, 2013, 10:07:07 AM »
I'm pleased to see how many people feel as I do, that the endless pursuit of the most expensive gear is actually a distraction from the preferable goal of understanding your gear, and doing something interesting with it.

My photography professor in college used to talk about his friend who spent all his income on Leica and Hasselblad and other exotic cameras, and had all the available lenses of the highest specifications. The guy kept them in perfect condition, and gradually stopped taking photographs. For him, the point became the collection of camera gear, rather than the art of photography.
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El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2013, 05:20:11 PM »
Quote from: Immersion
But I can't simply find any driving force to create the music I have in my visions unless I get that dream sound I want my driving force is to take things one step further and the general production is for me for my own inner satisfaction a lot in the sound itself, ..and I am very close now in my studio where the equipment gives me really all the tools I need to realize my visions.  This was the only way for me..

Do you have some examples of music/albums on the market you would call it has this "dream sound", "clean" and "great production" you are looking for? Just 2 or 3 example i would like to hear from you so I can understand it better.



Quote from: Immersion
One of the main reason I bought my H8000 was cause I play guitar and it is just easy and inspiring tool.. one of the reason I want more outboard gear is cause I want to be less dependent on plugins I just want to be able to record more easy in real time and have things ready to record all the time, not dealing with plugs more then I have too, when I record I am always more of guy who prefer to record longer takes in real time. I am not a cut and paste guy.  Cause I want to sit down and express myself and let my mind drift away with the music.

So, you are saying you can´t record in realtime without hardware? As you have to setup software for that first, the same goes for hardware.

Quote from: Immersion
I prefer the analogue sound I use almost only virtual analogue plugins, and it is quite obvious that the real thing will sound even better then these plugins.

You should really bring concrete examples (so we can listen to the differences) instead of claiming facts all the time…."it is quite obvious" is such a meaningless phrase for instance.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 05:23:17 PM by El culto »

El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #55 on: November 23, 2013, 05:41:43 PM »
Quote from: Immersion

To hear any difference you need first of all get the best monitors possible, I think no one can really can deny that expensive monitors sound better then cheaper ones, and I am telling you, that my new HG3 speakers have open up new dimensions. Difference that was very very subtle before now gets very clear...I think the better monitors you have the more picky you will automatically become with the rest of your chain, and maybe the stuff you have now does not sound as good as it did before.

I just have some Neumann´s and they aren´t expensive….but they are more expansive than Behringer…..but not as much as expansive than yours. So it seems like expansive is relative - right? So in your theory your monitors are better then mine just because they are more expansive - thats a funny logic….I always thought monitors are working tools and not a replacement for libido fixation  ;D

mgriffin

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #56 on: November 23, 2013, 05:48:04 PM »
I'm pleased to see how many people feel as I do, that the endless pursuit of the most expensive gear is actually a distraction from the preferable goal of understanding your gear, and doing something interesting with it.

Or maybe we all have different bars of sound quality ?
I do not buy your argument that cheap equipment can sounds as good as expensive (more good equipment) it is nothing then a plain lie and that is attitues like that
I think is the last thing ambient artists needs...


WTF, who are you talking to?

"A plain lie?" First of all, I never said cheap equipment sounds as good as higher-quality equipment. Nobody else said that, either -- the closest was Paul saying it's possible to make good-sounding recordings with less expensive gear if your really know what you're doing.

The nearest thing I said was that it's more important to use good equipment and understand how to use it, than to endlessly chase the most expensive item in each category. I guarantee you haven't heard a decrease in the sound quality of recordings I've mastered since I sold the Cranesong and started using a Presonus Firestudio as the interface with my computer. One box cost $4,000, the other was less than $1,000, yet the switch from one to the other does not result in worse-sounding recordings coming out of my studio, either my own work or the albums I master here. You might argue that the newer recordings MUST sound worse, because they went through a less expensive converter, but that simply isn't how it works in the real world.

Seriously, Immersion, I appreciate your intention to argue in favor of using good gear, but your tone is extremely condescending toward several people who certainly know more about audio recording than you do, and who have been using that knowledge to release ambient recordings into the world for many years. You're entitled to your opinion, but philosophies dreamed-up in a studio that doesn't actually record or release any work, no matter the price tag, simply don't match up to philosophies derived from practical experience.
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El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2013, 06:40:51 PM »
Quote from: Immersion
Why I have not released anything is ONLY because of economical reasons I would say, it has taking me a lot of time to save up, first for a new computer 2009, I had a really slow computer before…

Well, then it´s definitely time for a new computer also….i mean, a machine from 2009 isn´t really the BEST!

Sorry, but I couldn´t resist  :D

BTW: Releasing music isn´t depending on economical reasons - plenty of labels out there!

El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2013, 07:26:23 PM »
Quote from: Immersion
I am very sorry that I stood up to defend good sound quality.
 I understand most people have tight budgets I have too but I prioritize..
But it is really sad that one have to defend himself about good sound quality, it is sad that it is only about getting away as
cheap as possible, it is ok but what is not ok is when they say that it sounds as good as more higher end equipment.
To compare soundtoys with the H8000FW is like night and day..
I stand what what I say that soundtoys is more of sound mangle tools. But with that said it can still be useful..just don't say compare with the H8000..
that can be seen like an insult to some I can imagine...the same goes with all other equipment that is "nonsense" to buy it is also and insult of people
who invested in it... 

And it is too much talk about converters, pre amps, microphones, summing, and effects all make more difference then converters,
there are marginal difference, unless you buy a BURL which I intend to do it has a transformer which you can drive with optional level..
This kind of converter makes difference but it is really the transformer that makes the difference, but some converter might ad some kind of colours while
most are made to be discreet.

Alright I am tired now, of defending myself and sound quality as I said I find it sad that people do not have more respect for the sound and treat it as the cosmic phenomenon  it is... and try picture it on a sub atomic level in your mind...it is beautiful.

Immersion, i think you have a fundamental misunderstood about what people complaining!

Nobody is saying, that good quality isn´t appreciated - but it might be helpful to re-read your posts again and to understand how you express yourself! The problem is, that you speak about FACTS (!!!!) to whatever issue it comes. Examples from your latest post?

"To compare soundtoys with the H8000FW is like night and day.."

"I understand most people are more interested how to cheat the best possible sound with cheaper stuff and mask it in different ways with mixing technique"

As long as you speak only for your opinion then express it this way and don´t include ALL the others with your FACTS…you know as it is…opinions are like assholes…anybody has one  ;)

If you believe in what your are searching for…go for it but it´s a mistake to tell others what is the BEST, as the BEST does´t exist AT ALL….you can have the "best" gear but may fail to make music or to end up to be just a gear collector. At the end of the day, no one of the audience cares if you have Lexicon, Avaton, UAD or whatever…..for them ONLY the whole content, message and mood of the music is important - they give a shit about converters, bit rate and if the source is analogue or 100% digital. The only person who has a problem with this is actually YOU as you claim to be the "sound police".

Here are plenty people with enough experiences and they know very well what and how to archive results….if you talk ultimate about X or Y then at last prove it in some ways…either by audio examples, links or whatever…but just speaking ultimately about something without any example isn´t valuable - neither for professionals nor for starters in this forum.

El culto

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Re: Digital to analog converters
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2013, 07:33:47 PM »
Quote from: Immersion

Regarding albums it is simply too much to mention  and what style of music are we talking about ?

I don´t mind at all - i´m open to many styles!

If there are so many to mention, then it´s very easy for you to tell me just 3!