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How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:01 am
by the19thbear
Hi! It's been years since i have posted here. Great to see that the forum is still alive an kicking. Hope all of you are doing great:)

I got my hands on a creamware A16 NON ultra.
How bad is it? I cant really find any reviews etc only, because this thing pretty much predates the internet;)

I could buy the behringer ultragain 8200, but then I have to get new cables etc, and I would rather save the money.
I'm sure this convert is pretty bad. Pro-sumer stuff from the late 90s.. but well.... any first hand experiences? Reviews etc?

Thanks:)

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:25 am
by garyb
the converter sounds very good.
it's "only" 18bit, though. it also does not like a unbalanced cable in the balanced i/o.

really, it's a good-sounding device. you may or may not like it better than the 8200, it is probably a bit smoother sounding than the 8200, but the 8200 is more useful.

some of the best sounding AD/DA converters ever made were some of the original 1bit DSD converters, but that type of converter is sooo expensive compared to current crop of 24+bit devices, that they are impractical. also, there is a lot of controversy about which is better, PCM or DSD. PCM is much, much, cheaper and so it is the standard. PCM certainly offers lower distortion, but a good many people prefer DSD, thinking it sounds more like analog circuits. the point of all this is that these things are pretty subjective.

unless you are recording classical instruments playing very dynamic material, the old A16 should be ok. just beware of shorting out the outputs with unbalanced plugs. you should make some patch cables with the shield lifted on one end.

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:27 am
by the19thbear
Cool Gary, thanks:)

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:54 pm
by astroman
The converters and the digital filter set are among my favourites - it digitizes 18 physical bits, but uses only the high 16 bits, so the result is much better than a regular 16bit converter. The lower 2 bits are always uncertain by nature.
But the unit may suffer from heat wear over the years, so check the channels.
The internal regulation does NOT like some types of cheap switching PSUs (in case someone replaced the original adapter by such a thing) - it gets way too hot. I run mine on a classic Thinkpad PSU (original IBM), which keeps the A16's regulation less engaged, so the box stays much cooler.

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:43 am
by Bud Weiser
astroman wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:54 pm

The internal regulation does NOT like some types of cheap switching PSUs (in case someone replaced the original adapter by such a thing) - it gets way too hot. I run mine on a classic Thinkpad PSU (original IBM), which keeps the A16's regulation less engaged, so the box stays much cooler.
Does that rule for the A16 Ultra too, or are these different design in regards of (switching) PSU regulation ?

:)

Bud

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:09 am
by Marco
:D the A16 is the much better one in contrast to the stupid behringer, because I always lost sync and I hat many crackles. At last I sold the behringer shit! Today I went back to the end of the 90ties and got the the original A16 with scope and a perfect Sound!

So if you want it for scope, then use the a 16 non ultra for best 16 bit sound, really really good enough for my homerecording and for my mixing skills.

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:05 pm
by astroman
Bud Weiser wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:43 am

Does that rule for the A16 Ultra too, or are these different design in regards of (switching) PSU regulation ?
Both units are likely to be very (!) different in design, but I never had an Ultra myself.
The original A16 has a very unique regulation layout - I don't have any clues about how it works.
Someone more knowledgeable explained it here years ago iirc.

As mentioned it doesn't apply to switching PSUs in general, but to certain budget types. Heard about the heat issue by a fellow in need for a replacement PSU who had just tried a 'matching' cheapo.
Repeated his 'test' and within 5 minutes you literally could fry eggs on the box. :o

While I was at it I picked my Thinkpad A21's PSU which delivers slightly less voltage and it worked great.
Made a couple of recordings with both the original and the IBM and couldn't tell any difference or flaws in sound.
So I sent off my PSU as a replacement to him and used the notebook one from then on. The A21 was more or less a geek purchase anyway (1600x1200 screen, orginally almost 10 grands... ) iirc It cost me 100 bucks or so :D

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:29 pm
by Bud Weiser
astroman wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:05 pm
... I never had an Ultra myself.
O.k., thx for reply.
astroman wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:05 pm
The A21 was more or less a geek purchase anyway (1600x1200 screen, orginally almost 10 grands... ) iirc It cost me 100 bucks or so :D
Well ... Pentium III,- IIRC ...

:)

Bud

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:49 am
by valis
I believe the a16 non-ultra was 18bit not 16bit? As in the spec of the physical converters was 18bits, which is really all you can get until you hit thermal noisefloor anyway, regardless of how well spec'd and modern any converter is. Ie, if you record to 24bits from an 18bit, 20bit or 24bit converter, the result is pretty much the same. How much resolution do you need for your noisefloor after all?

Now where things do differ is in peak performance attributes and how well overages are dealt with, both on the AD side and on the DA side.

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:28 am
by the19thbear
Thanks everyone. I ended up getting the behringer 8200.

Re: How much does the Creamware a16 NON ultra suck?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:40 am
by t_tangent
In which case you might be interested in the following

https://www.blacklionaudio.com/store/mo ... r-ada8200/

I believe a few users on this forum have spoken great things about their mods, so perhaps they can comment. But just figured you might find this of interest.