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Thread: blown away

  1. #1
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    blown away

    Wow, I am totally blown away by the 3D ADCD. Listening to the CD was very revealing, and a little disheartening.

    Off the bat, I don't know if my monitoring is good enough to tell the differences between the converters. I use a Digi 002 rack for my monitors, so I'm necessarily limited by its DA converters.

    I'm also using an Alesis Poweramp into Passive Event 20/20's, so I don't know if this poweramp, speaker cable, and monitor combination is true enough to reveal the differences.

    Third, my ears aren't very trained. I've done some listening exercises, and I've been mixing for a little over a year, so I'm very much a beginner.

    But still, I was way off on some of my estimates! For the acoustic song, I gave the Digi 001 a high rating, and on the big band, I gave the prism a low rating! Going back and listening to the prism again made me change my opinion a little bit, but I don't know if that's because I just wanted to feel better about my ears. This listening test is HARD. I was pretty upset, to say the least. Upset at the situation, mainly. I have read so many times that the stock digi converters suck. I was able to A/B and hear the difference between the AD122-96MKII (lavry) and the M-Audio. But still, it was only slight. Now, I KNOW there has to be a problem here.

    The problem could be me - I'm at least part of the problem, I'm sure. And yes, I am a home studio guy and haven't been at this very long. So, please be compassionate and do not flame me - but please be honest. I am not saying, "Oh, it's the gear's fault, because I'm so scary good." I am wondering if the equipment I'm using with the monitors I've got are enough to hear the differences of the converters. And also, if I can't tell the difference on my monitors, would I - or the end user - be able to tell in a car?

    Further, I was really hoping that buying new AD converters would be a big improvement to my sound. I wanted to get the Lavry Blue 2 channels AD/DA, so I could at least have 2 really good channels, for vocals, guitars, drum OH's, etc. But now I am totally questioning if that's the case, that it will help my sound. I want to believe that it would improve my monitoring and recording. Should I? I am going to buy one and test it at one point, but please give me some advice.

    This also makes me wonder if I should just get some good microphones, rather than the AD converters first. I'm going to be buying very few things this year, because I've made a choice to only buy really high quality stuff (so I can't buy much).

    So, to narrow down to some questions:

    1) Do you need a great monitoring chain to tell the differences in the converters?

    2) Will new converters (Lavry Blue 2 ch) or new microphones make a larger impact in the sound quality of a modest home studio? Improved AD/DA would make for better monitoring, microphones would be better at the source - but which to go with first?

    (man, I know that second question is awful; very vague without knowing the detail of my whole setup, but I still want to ask it).

    I usually am very wary of posting in any 3d forum, because I feel like an absolute newbie on this site, but I did buy the CD and spend the hours listening to it, so hopefully you won't mind my basic questions.

    Any advice, reactions, thoughts, would be very appreciated. I feel like my whole world has just been flipped around. It is exciting, though, because I feel it's pushing me to a new level of understanding and education!

    One last question - Perhaps I should invest in some ear training, e.g., Dave Moulton's Golden Ears?

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    First things first. Did you happen to listen to the Pre CD or Mic CD as well? I'm assuming that since you didn't mention them you did not.

    I'll await this answer first.

    (BTW, I'm not trying to sell CDs here.)
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  3. #3
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    Wow, what a quick response.

    I didn't listen to either of the other CD's, although I'm going to buy them this year. I think I would like to get the microphone CD first, since I'm more likely to buy a good microphone this year than a good preamp.

    Thank you,

    John

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by funkafize:
    <STRONG>Wow, what a quick response.</STRONG>
    (I have no life.)

    ;-)

    You will hear a greater difference between the mics, than the preamps or the ADCs in that order. But only if you are listening to the ADCs with a uniform clock, like off the CD as you are. If you listen to the ADCs each using its own clock, then the order changes to mics, ADCs, preamps.

    I think mics is a better place to start. Personally, I'd rather have a great mic and an average ADC than the other way around. What's the point of having a great ADC if all it shows you are the failings of the rest of your signal chain?
    (Actually, I'd rather have a great mic, great preamp(s) and a great ADC, if I had my druthers. But I figured most everyone would know that by now!)

    Take heart in that you started with the single most difficult CD to distinguish differences. I've no doubt that if you'd been in the room with us as we were testing, you'd have been able to tell. Even the wife of one of the engineers commented on the differences. It's not that subtle, just more prone to outside influences and influences after the fact than the others.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  5. #5
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    Lynn, that response just proves why you're the man. Thank you.

    I really question my monitoring now, if it should be easy to tell differences. Either that or my ears. Well, both really. I am going to start some serious ear training. This CD is a useful tool already, but it is really hard for me now. I'll work at it.

    Originally posted by 3D Audio Inc.:
    <STRONG>I think mics is a better place to start. Personally, I'd rather have a great mic and an average ADC than the other way around.</STRONG>
    I am glad you mentioned that, because I think I might pursue that path instead now. I don't want to buy 1K converters, because I'd end up selling them and losing money. I'm gonna wait til I can afford the 2.5K converters I want. It's challenging.

    So, getting some good mics will be a priority now. It's a slow process building up good gear.

    Originally posted by 3D Audio Inc.:
    <STRONG>It's not that subtle, just more prone to outside influences and influences after the fact than the others.</STRONG>
    Since it's not a very subtle difference, I feel like I should be able to notice the differences more. Would the outside influences making the biggest differences be my DA converters and monitors? Do I need to step up my monitoring setup, so that I can actually hear the differences on the CD, clearly and definitively.

    Also, I tried listening to the width, kick drum, cymbals, and vocals to mainly hear the differences. Any advice on what to listen for in particular during the listening?

    Originally posted by 3D Audio Inc.:
    <STRONG>
    (Actually, I'd rather have a great mic, great preamp(s) and a great ADC, if I had my druthers. But I figured most everyone would know that by now!)</STRONG>
    Hopefully business goes well enough this year and I'll have my first good mic/pre/AD combo..

    Thanks,

    John

  6. #6
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    John,

    One thing I noticed that made things difficult for me to hear in a mix was my mixing enviornment/acoustics. Read some stuff about that. Consider a great pair of headphones (which won't cost all that much) if you can't afford the rest. Mixing in headphones isn't typically considered a great idea, but it should allow you to hear quality differences. I got myself a pair of the ultrasone headphones to 2nd check. Listen in a great pair of headphones and then go back to your speakers...you might notice the differences in your speakers more then.

    If you have no acoustic things set-up, you might not be able to hear much in your monitors because of the reflections bouncing off your walls or low-end peaks or nulls where your head is sitting in reference to your speakers. Check out the john sayers forum for acoustic info. There's also a lot of info on the www.realtraps.com site. Some of those solutions can get kinda expensive though, so first I'd personnally recommend getting a great pair of headphones.

  7. #7
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    Tom,

    Thanks for the reply. My monitoring does need work - not enough LF absorbtion / bass trapping. I posted this same question on another forum and the first (and only so far) response said my monitors are pretty poor quality.

    I'm going to do some more listening with headphones, and I expect that I will hear some more pronounced differences. I agree with what you said about the headphones.

    Thanks,

    John

  8. #8
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    I have the 4 cds (pre, mics, ad, dawsum).
    And I can tell you I spent a lot of time litening to the ADCD and I was only able to distinguish slight differences with the big band session (that is recorded like most of us won't ever be able to ...). So right now I think that a M_audio 1010 sounds most alike a manley Slam that cost 10 times more ... I guess you just have to buy decent converters or sound card and mostly concentrate on mic and preamps where you can hear differences quite easily. One aother thing that surprised me is the lack of difference I could hear between the 001 and HD192

  9. #9
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    Default

    after initial listening i agree with funkafize. either i'm deaf, there's a problem in my monitoring chain, or both.

    all my notes while listening 'blind' were subtle. never was there a 'this is terrible' or 'this is sublime'. i asked a friend to play the 001 against any high end converter for me (Weiss, Prism or DB Tech - can't remember which now) on the acoustic track, and i did pick out the 001, but the difference wasn't huge at all... listened in my living room on NS10s, and in the studio through S3As and BM15s. pretty much the same results. both times on consumer CD players though. i figured the differences between the high end stuff and a 001 would be very obvious, even on low en DAs.... NOT.

    will do more listening through decent DAs later, but for now, i can only say i suck... i was so smug and certain i'd be able to pick out huge differences immediately...
    Last edited by raal; 04-23-2006 at 11:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default

    I just got the ADCD on Friday and yes the differences are more subtle than the also recently acquired Preamps in Paradise.
    I also found it difficult to hear the differences on consumer grade cd player.
    Once I loaded it into a DAW session, the differences became more obvious.
    This also gave me a chance to load all the song files in separate tracks, all with the same start position so that I could loop
    certain sections of the song and (mute all) solo one at a time with the ability to quickly hear another converter instantly
    in the same spot.
    This proved very useful for detailed comparisons.

    I also found that this AD comparison required a different kind of listening than the kind of listening I used for the preamp comparsion.
    When I first started listening I was using my "preamp comparison mode" which somehow didn't work for this comparison.
    So rather than listening for colors and eq zone representations (like for preamps) I found I had to focus my attention
    on listening to the 3D musicality of the whole spectrum of the sound.
    (if that makes any sense???)
    Although, like with the preamp comparsions I was listening for how much body a converter revealed,
    there was some other element of difference which I would describe as either "more in focus" or "less in focus."

    My first detailed listen was of the first group of the Bob Mintzer recording with each converters' own clock.
    I ended up liking tracks 27, 16, 22, 8, 19, 15, 30.


    ~ mike
    3D VIP

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