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Old 01-05-2019, 06:28 AM
Joshstile Joshstile is offline
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Default 003 + 11R + ISA428 optimisation

Hello!

I’ve recently purchased the 828 AD card for the ISA 428. I planned to run it via ADAT to my 003 so I can take advantage of the better conversion/clock a lot of people in the forum claims it has. I’m super excited to try it out :)

Saying that I have a few questions that I was hoping someone could help me with.

Firstly I haven’t really been able to suss how the conversion works. To my understanding setting the ISA as the clock source (i.e ADAT) will bypass the 003 convertors and so that it can use its own. Is that just for whatever I track through the ISA? Will any of the 003 preamps get any benefit from the ISA convertors?

Secondly I also have an Eleven Rack connected to the 003 via SPDIF. Is there a way to connect that to the ISA so that it can also get better conversion? There is an AES/SPDIF on the ISA but from what I can tell it’s only an output.

Lastly...if anyone can give any input to what the ADC inputs on the back of ISA do that would be much appreciated. Been trawling this and the gearslutz forum the past couple of days and haven't found a direct answer. At a guess they serve the same purpose as the channels 5-8 on the 003.

Any help would be much appreciated

Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:44 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: 003 + 11R + ISA428 optimisation

You are confused on a few things here(but its not a big deal). You don't bypass the 003 converters(they still convert eh 003 inputs to digital, and the 003 outputs back to analog). You substitute the 003 clock for the ISA clock(any time you connect things via digital, you must designate one master clock). I used to have pretty much the same setup, but I didn't have the 11R, which may require some futzing, depending on if you use it via analog or via digital.

Connecting the 428 and 003 is done with just a single lightpipe "cable", but there are several ways to clock the system. Set clock source(in Pro Tools) to Optical and the ISA will act as the master(make sure the sample rate on the ISA matches the sample rate of your session!!!).

Alternately, connect a wordclock cable from the ISA wordclock output to the 003 wordclock input and then select(in Pro Tools) Wordclock as the clock source. 3rd option, connect a wordclock cable from 003 out to ISA in and leave the clock source set to internal(so the ISA slaves from the 003). You might try all of these options to see if you can hear if one scenario sounds better(my own 2 cents, it sounded fine either way).

As for the 11R, if you connect it via analog, everything above should be fine. If you need to connect via digital, it gets a whole lot more complicated because it only has SPDIF connections and no wordclock. Here is how I would TRY it:
SPDIF cables connecting 11R out to 003 in and 003 out to 11R in. Set the 11R to sync to SPDIF and send 003 wordclock to the ISA. The ISA would be set to external clock and Pro Tools would be set to internal clock(the 003 is the master).

I can't think of any way to use the ISA as the master with the 11R connected via SPDIF

Re the extra inputs on the ISA(5 thru 8), these can be used to connect most any external mic preamps that have a line-level output(I used mine for 4 preamps in an API lunchbox)
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:53 PM
Joshstile Joshstile is offline
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Default Re: 003 + 11R + ISA428 optimisation

Hi Dave! I’ve seen a lot of your helpful posts in this forum and am honoured you have came to my aid. Thank you!

So basically the AD card has given my ISA the potential to become a more elaborate ADAT octopre then? Recording quality wouldn’t be any different if I was to just run the analogue outputs into channels 5-8 on the 003?

That totally makes sense if that is the case..however other threads have debated the digital conversion qualities of the ISA vs. 002/003 which is now the confusing part. If 003 does all the conversion before it goes to your DAW then how would they know?

11R is already being ran to my 003 that way so will look into getting a wordclock cable :)

This is all super helpful. Thanks again. I really appreciate it!
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Old 01-05-2019, 05:09 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: 003 + 11R + ISA428 optimisation

Well, audio that comes in over SPDIF or lightpipe(the ISA428) does bypass 003 converters going in. Does it sound better? That's a question you ust answer for yourself. Does the 003 sound better when clocked from the ISA(or any external) clock? Once again, you have to make that decision. For me, I was never certain I heard a significant improvement, no matter how I clocked my 003 setup(including clocking via a Lucid GenX 192 external clock).



At the end of the day, I am way more interested in a decent recording of a great performance of a great song. That is more desirable(to me) than a perfect recording of crap I felt a more certain improvement by moving all my work to 48K over 44.1K(but, YMMV). Also, choosing the best combination of mic and preamp matters more than using "better" converters("better" often being subjective). That's one reason I really liked the 428/003 setup as I used those 4 extra line inputs(on the 428) to patch in a pair of Neve clones and a pair of API 312 clones. Vocals thru the 312 was clearly better than even the ISA preamps, as was guitar/bass thru the Neve clones. BTW, I still have my 428 today and it handles overheads, ride and hat mics in my drum room
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