comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

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fraz
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comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by fraz »

Hello - about comparing 8 inputs boxes - Analog to digital conversions - Usually it's preamps that people compare and ask about but here I would like to ask about the line level conversions.

The reason for this I've got several old hardware sound modules which will require inputs into a mixer - After weighing up the best options I've decided at some point to use one of the older

Pulsar 1 PCI cards - 4 DSP - 16 ADAT I/O
Pulsar 1 DSP booster 4 DSP
Power Sampler with ADAT expansion 3 DSP

This would give 32 I/O + 16 I/O on Luna 2 boxes Z-Link (unbalanced RCA) = 48 I/O possibility with 16 unbalanced which I'm not happy about really but it is still I/O possibility.

Would 11 DSP be enough for all that I/O assuming there were enough outputs from hardware sound modules?

There is no way everything would be used at once but a solution is needed which I've found so each output can have it's own dedicated channel in a Scope mixer.

It would work out well on an I/O box that has gain on the front panel - Some modules can seem low in volume which gain can help ulleviate - Then there is a gain control in Scope mixers as well (OK it could raise the noise floor) so perfection isn't possible but workable is !!!

Behringer have an ADA8200 which is an improvement over the ADA8000 slightly - But I am not talking about the mic. preamps - I ask about the line level conversion and quality of compared to the likes of Focusrite Scarlett Octe pre - All of these boxes can be used as line level as well which is why I ask.

Sometimes someone can buy something and regret it later due to IT (what ever it is) not being quite good enough and Behringer tend to get slated for super-low level performance VS other main brands.

Usually it's not until you try something and judge the results to ascertain the outcome - eg - positive enough or not.

So how about it? - Focusrite Octe pre line level VS Behringer ADA8200 for external line level quality.

I thought this could work out OK - But am not 100% sure.

When an XP80 or similar has 4 outputs (two stereo) or 4 mono and a Roland JV2080 has 6 outputs - The outputs can mount up and the channel level can increase quite quickly.

People can use stereo output only but then not be able to use the full capability of their equipment when they need to but it does reduce channel count so it's all a trade off.

Patchbays can be used but add lots of extra complications - OK enough of me ranting on - I just thought I'd ask about these two items of DSP resources and high channel counts (potentially) and also the Behringer boxes vs Focusrite for line level quality - Thanks
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garyb
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by garyb »

generally, you get what you pay for. the best AD/DAs are much more expensive than that.
i don't believe that the less expensive Focusright is that much better thanb the Behringer, especially when not compared directly and side by side.
the A16 and other higher level AD/DAs using equally better quality pres will be a big step up in quality, but again, that will be most obvious compared side-by-side. without the direct A/B comparison, it might not matter.

it all depends on what kind of studio you want, and your real budget.

i love patch bays. they make things relatively easy, if they are set up correctly. they're not as good for calling up previously-used setups as a computer, but hardware doesn't really work that way, anyway. for pres into AD/DA, using normalled connections properly means that the pres never need to be disconnected or reconnected, but the i/o can still be used for other things, if needed.
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Bud Weiser
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by Bud Weiser »

garyb wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 8:59 pm ... for pres into AD/DA, using normalled connections properly means that the pres never need to be disconnected or reconnected, but the i/o can still be used for other things, if needed.
Correct,- but we can get it way easier today since most multi channel mic/line/DI preamps come w/ some digital out.
Even the cheapo Behringer comes w/ ADAT I/Os.
I guess the Focusrite budget Octopre(s) might be better under the hood ´cause Behringer´s weak point is often the PSU.
I learned the Behringer 8200 is still good enough for external hardware synths and modules when connected to a "soundcard" via ADAT out.
For hi quality mic recordings not so much.
I dislike the behringer has ALL it´s analog inputs on frontpanel which isn´t good for a racked device.

Anyway,- when Behringer OR Focusrite,- I´d go w/ the Octopre and connect via ADAT to SCOPE PCI or XITE.
Patchbay obsolete.
Scope routing is better than any hardware patchbay.

:)

Bud
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garyb
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by garyb »

it depends on whether you have hardware, and what kind of studio you want.
as far as i'm concerned, Focusrite is an expensive Behringer, but the next tier of AD/DA is truly a big step up. Fucusrite made their name with MUCH higher-end gear than they sell today. it used to be all handmade, one step from custom, now it's just consumer goods. look at the price difference between the bottom and top of the Focusrite line. that said, consumer goods are pretty useful these days, unlike 30 years ago.
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Bud Weiser
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by Bud Weiser »

garyb wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 10:03 am it depends on whether you have hardware, and what kind of studio you want.
as far as i'm concerned, Focusrite is an expensive Behringer, but the next tier of AD/DA is truly a big step up. Fucusrite made their name with MUCH higher-end gear than they sell today. it used to be all handmade, one step from custom, now it's just consumer goods. look at the price difference between the bottom and top of the Focusrite line. that said, consumer goods are pretty useful these days, unlike 30 years ago.

I agree,- and I don´t wanted to discuss what´s way better,- Behringer 8200 or Focusrite Octopre.
These are different tools anyway.
B 8200 is an AD/DA w/ low budget pre-amps,- bang for the buck for the masses.
Focusrite Octopre (not "Clarett +", not "dynamics") is also a low budget device for the masses,- but NOT AD/DA,- just only 8 (mic-) pre-amps w/ ADAT (and analog) Outs,- for about twice the price of the Behringer.
I´m aware the hi-end Focusrite gear was and is out of reach for these taget group of customers.

My former post was all about getting more inputs w/ adjustable gain,- mainly for line signals and to connect w/ a SCOPE system,- PCI or XITE,- AND if a patchbay is needed or not.
So,- in my system, I wouldn´t waste analog I/Os of A16Us to connect a multi channel preamp analog,- bought such device w/ ADAT-Out instead and connect directly to the PCI-card or XITE via ADAT-IN, which consequently keeps the related PCI´s / XITE´s ADAT-OUT free for other purposes and all the analog inputs of the A16U as well.

As a keyboardist, I don´t need many mics simultaneously even I recorded some vocals and acoustic guitar here and there ...
For mics, I´d use a higher end device like the Audient 880 https://www.thomann.de/de/audient_asp_880.htm, or RME Octamic II https://www.rme-usa.com/octamic-ii.html , but these are already overkill to connect p.ex. a (noisy) Yamaha TX-816 FM synth or an ancient 8-track reel-to-reel MTR.
I guess, even the Behringer would be good enough for.

And yes, I have patchbays,- but I try to avoid more and more since these toys make trouble when aging,- cheapo TS, TRS or "tiny telephone" (TT) as well.
XLR = the best, but need way more rackspace.

And,- any Scope system w/ 1 or 2 A16U connected is a way better patchbay IMO, last but not least because I don´t have to pull cables in/out all the time, mechanically stressing the connectors.

As XITE-1 owner, for my RODE condenser mic or "instrument" input, I´m fine w/ the 2 mic/DI inputs.
For PCI system, I´d use a quality single channel mic pre/ Hi-Z In / Line-In combo w/ SPDIF / AES and bal. XLR Out.

:)

Bud
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by fraz »

Hello - Thanks for all the replies - And you personal views / and how you use these boxes !

Is 11 DSP enough for 32 I/O on line level - The main purpose of bringing in 32 channels into Scope mixers?
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garyb
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by garyb »

yes it is enough.
fraz
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by fraz »

garyb wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 4:43 pm yes it is enough.
Wow, that is good news - It vindicates a purchase of a Pulsar 1 card with a Pulsar 1 DSP SRB along with my own Power Sampler and ADAT expansion port - :)
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by valis »

Gary, I didn't scan the thread fully as I'm time limited. Has anything been said about higher end interfaces and recording multi-mic'd or with enough bleed from another microphone? My understanding was that it's best when using multiple interfaces to stay on the same interface in this case UNLESS you have proven the gear to be phase coherent across multiple units. And this wasn't in reference to sample offsets, but subsample coherence before the interfaces even convert to digital.

Ie, one reason why high end still exists, in addition to quality of the D/A itself, is high end applications that many/most don't have a use for. I saw this in a discussion of recording a live orchestra where 256 channels of conversion where available (something like 180+ were actually used at any one time). Not sure if this was a VSL piece (viennna labs participating in the process) but for some reason that's what comes to mind. It was for a company's new MADI line, but the discussion included technical aspects that we would be unlikely to discuss here.
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Bud Weiser
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by Bud Weiser »

fraz wrote: Sun Nov 20, 2022 6:50 pm Wow, that is good news - It vindicates a purchase of a Pulsar 1 card with a Pulsar 1 DSP SRB along with my own Power Sampler and ADAT expansion port - :)
Buy a Pulsar-2 when you can.
2nd gen cards offer lower latency,- approx. 5ms (@96K even lower) vs. 13ms !

2 Pulsar-2 w/ Z-Link plate run 2 A16U via Z-Link (up to 96K SR) and leave the ADAT I/Os to connect to XITE bi-directional directly.
Since ADAT works w/ SMUX @96K, that would be 2x 4 channels ADAT I/O still.
Working w/ 44.1 / 48K offers full channel count via ADAT in addition to Z-Link.

I´m running 2 PCI card systems and XITE-1,- using ADAT for interconnection w/ XITE-1 and/or native DAW machine exclusively.
In addition to 2 A16U (1 Creamware, 1 S|C "blackface") I have a Nuendo (RME) 8-ch (ADAT / TDIF) AD/DA in the ballpark, andI use a master-wordclock syncing all.
That way, it doesn´t matter where I connect the converters on demand an how,- all are slaves.

It´s the best system for ext. hardware integration,- synths, keyboards, drummachines, ext. outboard (dynamics & FX).

Once I´ve sold my Roland MPU-101 (4-ch. MIDI>CV interface) and Steini Midex-8 because I need the cash for investment,- I´ll buy a iConnectivity mio10 to run all MIDI over LAN via rtp-MIDI.
That´s the task for this winter while still waiting for SCOPE 7 update.

:)

Bud
fraz
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Re: comparing AD DA 8 input boxes & DSP resources

Post by fraz »

Hello - I do have a Pulsar 2 - and also Pulsar 1 but I must get the best out of the Pulsar 1 and work around any deficiencies - I'm sure this is possible isn't it? - especially for line level ?

Regarding A16 Ultra S|C "black face" - I have one of these with Z-link - So this is reserved for Xite-1 - Adding more would be dependent on availability, cost and condition of unit - This would be quite difficult.

Also I do have an A16 AE "Ferrofish" - Slightly cheaper than Ferrofish A16 Ultra
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