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Thread: Built in Converters.....

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    Default Built in Converters.....

    Hi all, I have another question about AD/DA's.

    When using monitors with onboard AD/DA converters (JBL 6300's, Genelec 8130's, etc), what's the best signal to feed into them? Being that you're stuck monitoring through their converters, does it make much of a difference?

    1) Digital, to avoid unecesary extra conversions in the monitoring chain?

    2) Analog from mediocre converters, since the signal is going to be converted again anyway, or

    3) Analog from great converters in an attempt to keep all the conversions high quality.

    4) Does it really matter?

    I'm mixing ITB, wishing I could hear the signal that is coming out of my converter, not the onboard converters in my speakers. Clearly, there's no way to do that (I don't think...), so what's second best, or is it a wash?

    Thanks for your help!

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by pfo View Post
    Hi all, I have another question about AD/DA's.

    When using monitors with onboard AD/DA converters (JBL 6300's, Genelec 8130's, etc), what's the best signal to feed into them? Being that you're stuck monitoring through their converters, does it make much of a difference?

    1) Digital, to avoid unecesary extra conversions in the monitoring chain?

    2) Analog from mediocre converters, since the signal is going to be converted again anyway, or

    3) Analog from great converters in an attempt to keep all the conversions high quality.

    4) Does it really matter?

    I'm mixing ITB, wishing I could hear the signal that is coming out of my converter, not the onboard converters in my speakers. Clearly, there's no way to do that (I don't think...), so what's second best, or is it a wash?

    Thanks for your help!

    Pete

    Not sure what you intend to do exactly. Are you hoping to monitor through a different set of speakers? or monitor through headphones?

    Or are you just trying to discern if there is a difference in your options for converters?

    To answer your first question there is no extra conversion. Either the DA will happen at your regular converter on the way out, and from there it's all analog through either a mixing board, or amp, or directly to active speakers.
    Or,..as you said your speakers are still converting DA into the analog portion of your speaker's electronics (likely to an amp) which then goes to your speakers.

    These two routes though seemingly different are actually the same thing.
    DA,...>analog components,...>speakers.

    One happens outside the physical box of your monitors, the other happens within the physical box of your monitors. There are no extra conversions as far as i can tell from the info you've relayed.

    Is it possible your monitor converters and your other converters sound different?....yes that is likely,....however how different???....that is something you'd have to test to find out if you think there is a difference and if that difference is worth routing your DA signal in a different manner.

    If it is obvious that you have a high end converter, then my advice would be to use that DA. If you're monitors are high end monitors and you feel that the company put in high quality converters then I would go with those.

    My 2 cents anyhow.

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    Default

    Hey Mike, thanks for the response!

    I may not have been clear enough in my original post, so let me try to make sense of it.

    Speakers like the ones I mentioned have onboard DSP that adjusts the speaker's response to measurements of the room taken by a calibration microphone. All of those adjustments are done digitally inside the speaker, so any analog signal going into it must first be converted to digital, where the adjustments are applied, then back to analog and to your ears (or at least, that's become my understanding of it -- someone please correct me if that's not right).

    Until I realized that, I had been thinking I could connect them to the analog outs of my Apogees, assuming those converters would be better than whatever was onboard the speakers. I thought the digital inputs to the speakers were there for convenience, but now I'm realizing that if you go analog into the speakers, you're actually adding an extra A/D conversion to the signal path, along with the (apparently) unavoidable final D/A conversion done by the speakers themselves.

    So basically, my question is, would it be better to go digitally into the speakers to avoid the extra A/D conversion? And perhaps more importantly, does it really matter? I set up the A/B test, and found that my only S/PDIF cables are bad, so I have to buy some more before I can do it myself, so I'm off to the store, but in the meantime, does anybody have any thoughts (theoretical or experiential) on the subject?

    Thanks!

    Pete
    Pete F. Overton

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    ok, yup I understand now what you are asking.

    I think the first thing you should determine is whether or not your monitors are in fact taking an analog signal and converting it to digital for processing for the onboard DSP and back out for the speakers.

    I'm not familiar with how these companies have set this up.
    You may want to contact your manufacturer for details on how they designed the audio path.

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    Yeah, I'm pretty much certain that's how it works. Who knows how much of a difference in the sound that makes?

    I was never able to do an A/B test -- it turned out there was nothing wrong with my S/PDIF cables, but rather the signal was being degraded some other way on the trip from the left speaker to the right, and all I could hear was the left channel. The point is somewhat moot in my case anyway since I use my S/PDIF outputs to feed a reverb unit, and would rather not alter that setup.

    I wish there was a way to get the speaker calibration without going through the onboard converters, but then I guess that would be having cake and eating it too.
    Pete F. Overton

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    FWIW, I use the JBL 4328's. I go digital in to avoid AD conversion at the speakers. I've done it the other way, too, analog in. Couldn't really hear a difference. And the JBL's have pretty good DA converters, too. No complaints.
    Eliott James
    "When it's all said and done, not even the best of us can pick out what was used on what when listening to the record." LF

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