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  #1  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:51 PM
O.G. Killa's Avatar
O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
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Default Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

This is also posted in the "BLA Mod????" thread. But with all the conversations going on in there I figured I'd give this it's own new thread for people to post their comments about their listening experiences with the files in the link...


OK, so I did a comparison recording between the 003+ and the 003+ with the Black Lion Audio Signature mod. This link below will take you to the yousendit page where I posted the files. The link expires Sept 1st, 2009 (14 days from today) or after 200 people download it. If we actually get 200 people to download it, I'll repost it. roughly 2 weeks or so from now I'll post the official "answer key" as to which file is what along with some pictures of the whole process. So in the meantime, download the files, listen to them and post comments.

I'll let you know there are 16 (SIXTEEN) audio files, all 24bit/48KHz, Labeled "A" through "P". each pass is a unique recording. And I didn't necessarily split them evenly between the devices. It could be that 10 of the files are recordings from the BLA modded device, or maybe only 2 are from the bla modded device... All I will tell you is it is NOT split evenly 8/8 between the devices. Also, I had mentioned in a previous post that I was going to try and include an M-Audio 2626 in this test. Someone was kind enough to let me borrow one over the weekend, but they gave me a PT8 authorization iLok for MPowered instead of 7.4. I'm on Tiger (still) at the studio so I couldn't launch Mpowered with the PT8 Ilok and there was no way for me to get a PT7.4 ilok in time. So the 2626 ended up watching this test from the couch at the back of the room :-( Maybe next time...

This subjective listening experiment is completely blind. Actually double blind to be technical about it. There is no "right" answer. It's for people to listen to the recordings and try to honestly pick which they like the best. One person may end up liking all the recordings, another may hate the sound of all the recordings. That's ok.

Instead of just trying to guess which one is the BLA and which one isn't... try to post comments on which ones you like the sound of, which ones you don't like the sound of and why. You can also try to guess which is which if you want.

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/727589775...2af492959463af

The process of recording:

I did multiple takes of the same 1 minute song on each device. I got sounds dialed in on one device, then using a tone generator (actually a metronome generating A440) and a ruler (or in some instances, a fixed point on the instrument itself), I matched the levels of the mics to a tenth of a decibel on the second system. At first I tried using an electrical tone generator to compare the levels of both preamps, but the mics were very noticeably different, most likely due to impedence matching or some other electrical difference between the mic preamps. So that's why I used the metronome's "tone" since it's constant, repeatable and acoustic. Doing it this way made the levels very consistent from one device to the next since I'm level matching not just the preamp but the mic in conjunction with the preamp.

Both systems used 8 channel snakes to connect to the mic tie lines in our patch bay. I never moved or changed any mics. I simply unplugged the snake from one device and plugged in the snake from the other. Then matched the levels of the preamps using the tone generator in front of each mic.

All the faders in PT are set at unity. None of these files have been mixed at all. There is no compression, no EQ, no reverb, no effects whatsoever on any of the tracks. What you hear is what I tracked. I did pan a little to make room for the different instruments. But all the faders are at unity. In capturing the output of the units, I used the our studio's Prism ADA8 connected to a PTHD system. Those stereo recordings from the prism are what you are downloading. When I post the "results" answer key, I will also post the original multitrack protools sessions so people can look at the individual tracks themselves.

I would like to thank Dan Cross for his guitar playing and being roped into helping me run protools while I played drums. And I'd like to thank Daniel Ford (aka Dr. Ford) for swinging by and lending his skills on piano.

This song is very simple on purpose. Dan and I "wrote" it (if you could call it that! LOL) in about 90 seconds. We purposely made it very simple so it was easy to repeat the parts somewhat consistently.

This is a cumulative test of the whole system involved. We are testing the mic preamps, the converters and the line outputs as a "real world" user experience. This test is NOT designed to tell us WHAT we like or dislike, but more to show us the summation of the differences. Since "like" or "dislike" is subjective, there is really no point in trying to figure out WHAT is doing "what" to the sound. You either like it or you don't.

Finally, this is by no means a perfect test. I had quite a few technical problems going through this and had to redo some of the parts a few times because of faulty connectors in one of the snakes, and TT cables not seating tightly into the patchbay. But while I can't say I caught 100% of the problems and reconciled them, I can say with certainty that I caught 99% of them.

So enjoy, have fun with this and post your comments about the different files.

I'm going to try and do a "mix test" between the boxes sometime soon (not sure when I'll have time yet), where I take the exact same mix (plugins, automation, etc) and open it up with each box and record the stereo analog output to see how much of a difference there is.
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:52 PM
peppertree peppertree is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

Background on this test can be found in this thread, from which the above is a cross-post:

http://duc.digidesign.com/showthread.php?t=248174

In that thread and others I have strongly questioned the Black Lion operation's bona fides, specifically their unwillingness to publish reproducible, industry standard specs for the effects of their modifications, and their unwillingless to allow demo units to be evaluated risk-free. Weasel words from BLA about "NDAs" preventing them from publishing specs have been quoted on this forum, e.g. in this thread:

http://duc.digidesign.com/showthread.php?t=248468

OG Killa has spent several months on a mission to discredit me personally here, because of my criticism of Pro Tools HD, and started his interest in this BLA subject by accusing me of "trolling."

I would suggest that he has sacrificed impartiality on this subject and I recommend that you discount any results he posts.
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  #3  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:32 PM
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O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.G. Killa View Post
There is no "right" answer. It's for people to listen to the recordings and try to honestly pick which they like the best.
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppertree View Post
I would suggest that he has sacrificed impartiality on this subject and I recommend that you discount any results he posts.
Contrary to what Peppertree might want to believe (conspiracy theories and all), this experiment has really nothing to do with him. I did this for the owner of the studio I work at, so he can decide if he wants the mod or not for his home studio. It's as simple as that. I am sharing the files with all of you so you can listen and see what you think.

so pepper, how 'bout we both let the listening public decide for themselves? Try giving it a listen and see what you think. With the way the experiment is designed, I am not a factor in the results, nor is there any definitive, global thumbs up or down for either device. The answer/conclusion is unique to each listener that downloads the files and listens.
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:37 PM
guitar486 guitar486 is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

Loading files into PT right now to take a listen, I'll get back here in a bit...Thanks OG!
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----I was thinking of taking a solo in the bridge.
-Nah, I don't think that would sound good.
----Ok, well how about just a series of cool riffs?

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  #5  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:39 PM
oulablank oulablank is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

I'll accuse you of trolling if that makes you feel any better. OG , I'm downloading as we speak. I appreciate your testing as I was in the middle of weighing in on the same topic with friends. This will help my opinion big time. MY OPINION based off of MY EARS. results may vary obviously
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:40 PM
peppertree peppertree is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.G. Killa View Post
With the way the experiment is designed, I am not a factor in the results
How are we to know that for certain?

We would have to trust you, and given your quite overboard and irrational efforts against me personally, I wouldn't.

I myself will only listen to shootouts that I have faith in. I don't want my mind cluttered with anything else.
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Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:44 PM
guitar486 guitar486 is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

Quote:
Originally Posted by peppertree View Post
How are we to know that for certain?

We would have to trust you, and given your quite overboard and irrational efforts against me personally, I wouldn't.

I myself will only listen to shootouts that I have faith in. I don't want my mind cluttered with anything else.
Hahaha. Ah. Well if you're not going to listen then please stop posting here as this thread is for people to listen to and discuss the files.
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----I was thinking of taking a solo in the bridge.
-Nah, I don't think that would sound good.
----Ok, well how about just a series of cool riffs?

Mac Pro 2008 (Harpertown) -- OS X 10.8.2 -- 16GB RAM -- WD Black Drives -- UA Apollo Quad -- Pro Tools 10 w/ CPTK
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  #8  
Old 08-18-2009, 02:19 PM
oulablank oulablank is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

Quote:
Originally Posted by peppertree View Post
How are we to know that for certain?

I don't want my mind cluttered with anything else.
Have you checked some of your previous posts. From my pov it looks like you habitually clutter your mind with unnecessary blather . If you don't like the test , don't take it ! Don't come to this thread ! If you are correct than others will see that it is biased . Without your BS disclaimers or updates about other threads to start ( like I would subscribe to the soap opera that is you duc life)
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  #9  
Old 08-18-2009, 03:03 PM
guitar486 guitar486 is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

First off thanks again for doing this OG. One thing I must mention before getting into my thoughts is that it sounds like you are playing the hi hat a bit differently on some of the tracks (a little more open on a few and more closed on most others). Just wanted to put that out there for people to be aware of so it doesn't affect your judgement. And lastly, I'm no "professional engineer" and I have little real world experience so you can all take my opinions with a grain of salt if you like.

I'll start off by saying "J" sounds the best to my ears in my room. Over all it is crisper, has more depth and is more full sounding than the others. The close contenders with "J" are "I" and "M". "M" sounds almost exactly the same as "J" but "I" seems to flatten the mix out just a bit when comparing between "J", maybe due to the low end being a bit tighter on "J". I suspect "J" and "M" are both the BLA unit because of the trademark "brightness" that everyone claims BLA achieves.

Pretty much all of the others have that "cheap preamp" kind of sound, just plain duller and flatter. I can't say for sure that none of the others besides "J" and "M" are BLA but those are the only two I'm fairly certain of. Can't wait to see the results.
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----I was thinking of taking a solo in the bridge.
-Nah, I don't think that would sound good.
----Ok, well how about just a series of cool riffs?

Mac Pro 2008 (Harpertown) -- OS X 10.8.2 -- 16GB RAM -- WD Black Drives -- UA Apollo Quad -- Pro Tools 10 w/ CPTK
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  #10  
Old 08-18-2009, 03:16 PM
oulablank oulablank is offline
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Default Re: Black Lion Audio Mod Comparison Experiment

C M and O are my guess so far for BLA. I'll post tomorrow b/c I'm going through S@#T Behringer monitors right now. Thanks again OG . Fun
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