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  #1  
Old 12-14-2008, 10:59 PM
windsongstudios windsongstudios is offline
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Default AD/DA Conversion question...

I know many of you on this board are longtime PT users and have tremendous amounts of knowledge on a wide variety of topics. I have been a protools LE user for about a year and a half and am now finding it to be the time to upgrade my stock converters. I am a little confused on how I would set such a thing up with my rig. I have a Digi 003 control and a Mac Pro. Currently I am using the Presonus Digimax 96 as my multi channel pre which I also understand has better conversion than the stock converters on the 003. I have been looking at some Apogee units and would like to know what you guys use with your LE systems and how this "next step" will benefit me sonically. Please don't laugh but I'm not quite sure how i would hook up such a device and if I would still be able to use my digimax as pre's or if the Apogee would replace it. From what I've heard this is a very important step for me and I would appreciate any insight you all could give me so I make the right decision the first time. Thanks guys :)
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:28 PM
OddsAre OddsAre is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

Basically if you are looking to beef up your conversion, you would want to think about beefing up your Mic Pre selection as well. If you are going to move into the Apogee world, then you would want to toss out or sell the Digi Max. The mic pre's on the Digmax are not the greatest, and if you are gonna have great conversion, you gotta have great pre's in front of it. I guess it would be like having a Ferrari and then putting wagon wheel on it. Or buying a new 60" HD TV and plugging a VCR into it...

So essentially if you are thinking better conversion, you have to start thinking better mic pre's. Now you don't have to go out and buy it all at once, but start thinking about it. A good inexpensive Mic Pre to get started with is the Studio Projects VTB-1 mic pre, which would be a great starting point, then you could slowly start replacing them with better stuff. I get my VTB's from Full Compass for less than $90 per channel and they would blow the Digimax and 003 pre's out of the water. I own four of them.

Back to conversion. Basically the "Go To" Apogee unit for PT LE is the Rosetta 800. While a sizable investment, the conversion and clocking is stellar. I can tell a considerable difference. It would connect to your 003 the same way your Digimax does, using optical cables. The Apogee would use 2 cables (In to Out and Out to In) going from the ADAT optical ports on the Rosetta to the ADAT optical ports on the 003. You would go into the Hardware Preferences of Pro Tools and choose to clock using an external source, and then Choose ADAT as that source. Then the Rosetta is the clock and the I/O for inputs 9-16 and outputs 9-16. You would probably have to go into the I/O preferences as well to setup ins and outs 9-16. Hopefully that all made sense.

While there are other 8ch ADAT options on the market, the Apogee Rosetta 800 is a great box. I have always been happy with mine.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2008, 01:00 AM
RussUK RussUK is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

Don't forget these guys...
http://www.blacklionaudio.com/digi002_mod.html
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:31 AM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

The pres on the Digimax are actually pretty decent. I have one that I use in my live system for recording tracks I don't need to route through the FOH console (Venue) but DO need for recording. With that said, there are other pres that would do something like a Rosetta800 justice. While I am HUGE fan of Apogee and strongly advise the Rosetta800, this is actually a case where I recommend to consider a Focusrite ISA828 w/the AD Card. This will be more money, however it will give you near Apogee-quality A/D conversion--but also upgrade your pres significantly keeping it manageable and reasonable.

I'm a big fan of this box, bought one myself although I personally don't use the A/D option (I have a 192I/O w/16-channels of A/D). What I enjoy most about the Focusrite ISA pre is that it has its own sound, but it doesn't interfere with the sound of the microphone. In other words, a TLM103 sounds like a TLM103 where a TLM149 sounds like a TLM149.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2008, 06:45 AM
pguy pguy is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

Another vote for Apogee.

I have the 2 channel Rosetta 200.

Great quality. Very noticeable.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2008, 09:36 AM
OddsAre OddsAre is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

the only reason I would go with the Rosetta over the ISA is that if you chose to, down the line, you can change the flavor of the mic pre's and have a more diverse selection of Mic Pre's, instead of 8 channels of the same pre all the time. With that being said, I have been looking at the ISA428 to possible replace the VTB's that I have right now. I would undoubtedly keep the VTB's for utility stuff, and certainly to keep using on bass guitar where they are really great.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:40 AM
OddsAre OddsAre is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

I see that the ISA828 does have line inputs that go directly into the ADC via DB25, never noticed that on the unit. Maybe Brad could shed light on how that works and whether it bypasses the ISA's analog gain stages or not...
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  #8  
Old 12-15-2008, 09:45 AM
anothercolour anothercolour is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

I have the ISA428 with 828 digital card and love it;
Four good sounding pres and four open digital converters for other pres. Very versatile.
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  #9  
Old 12-15-2008, 04:46 PM
windsongstudios windsongstudios is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

These options are good ones. I also should mention that I am doing most of my tracking "in the box" meaning using Superior Drummer 2.0 for drums, Line 6 Gear Box software for guitars as well as the Ampeg SVX and a D.I. for bass. I am a licensing artist who only uses mics for vox and acoustic guitars. Currently I am using a Universal Audio LA610 for these purposes although I plan on picking up a Vintech pre and possibly some others soon as well. Dont know if that changes any recommendations but I though Id share.
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2008, 04:56 PM
OddsAre OddsAre is offline
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Default Re: AD/DA Conversion question...

well you would only need the Rosetta 800 if you really needed 8 superior inputs at a time. If you use no more than 2 at a time then there is always the Rosetta 200. Or there are a number of great 2 ch A/D D/A converters out there... Cranesong HEDD 192, Universal Audio 2192, etc... then you would have 2 great inputs and two great outputs for monitoring. If you got the Vintech, another single channel compressor and had the LA610 as your two inputs, going through something like the HEDD 192 or UA 2192 you'd have a great 2 input chain and a beautiful Monitoring path.

Then again if you ever see yourself tracking drums in the future, then the Rosetta 800 of previously mentioned ISA828 would be a better bet.
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