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dbx 386 and s/pdif soundcard

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Anonymous
November 24, 2004 1:56:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hello there,

I was reading a lot here before, cause I plan to improve and/or
extend my studio. I have several questions, today I start with
my maybe most critical one.

Right now, I have a Behringer MX8000 and run 16 direct outs to two
Terratec EWS 88 MT for D/A into my computer. For mixdown, I run them out
separately again and mix in the analog domain.
I know, this gives a bad signal channel because of the double D/A and
double A/D conversion, including double coloring by the Behringer.
What I got until now was not the best sound. Maybe I should mix
completely in the digital domain...
(studio pictures and songs I recorded see the link below this mail.)
But somehow I like the human touch of analog mixing in front of the
console, especially when I work with bands.

But put that aside, here's my actual question:

Now I got this dbx 386 mic pre amp that has digital out and I thought I
could leave out the console and go straight into the Terratecs. Both
units use RCA s/pdif connectors, should be no problem. I have read
that the dbx needs to be wordclock master or one has jitter problems -
is it true? If I would make it the master, does it mean it has to be
turned on when booting the computer? what about playback, since there is
no mic pre needed and I would like to switch off the tubes.

As I also have a laptop, I thought the best for future expansion plans
would be to invest into mobile equipment, so I could use it both for
live recording and studio, using USB or Firewire interfaces.
Terratec put out the new Phase88s, but now they use optical
connectors...are these units an option anyway (bad envy24 D/A)?
And what could I do about the possible RCA/Optical problem?

Thanks for any suggestions on whats probably best in my situation.

--
Nudge // PCS Records Studio Leipzig
http://studio.lieber-media.de

More about : dbx 386 pdif soundcard

Anonymous
November 24, 2004 1:56:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Nudge <big-chief@gmx.de> wrote in news:30gu04F300ma1U1@uni-berlin.de:

> http://studio.lieber-media.de

Are those egg boxes on your walls?
Anonymous
November 24, 2004 1:56:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <30gu04F300ma1U1@uni-berlin.de> big-chief@gmx.de writes:

> Right now, I have a Behringer MX8000 and run 16 direct outs to two
> Terratec EWS 88 MT for D/A into my computer. For mixdown, I run them out
> separately again and mix in the analog domain.
> I know, this gives a bad signal channel because of the double D/A and
> double A/D conversion, including double coloring by the Behringer.

Well, you have to use SOMETHING. A/D and D/A converters and cosoles
aren't inherently evil, but there are better and worse ones. I don't
know what your problem is other than that you have budget priced
equipment and you feel that you should improve it, but as we tell
people here over and over and over, few people who have questions
about problems with their sound that they can't answer (or at least
analyze and experess in technical or musical terms) themselves won't
solve their problems by buying more gear.

That's the lecture. Now let's see what you have in mind.

> What I got until now was not the best sound. Maybe I should mix
> completely in the digital domain...
> (studio pictures and songs I recorded see the link below this mail.)
> But somehow I like the human touch of analog mixing in front of the
> console, especially when I work with bands.

This makes a whole lot of sense. And I suspect that your recording
chain isn't all that bad.

> Now I got this dbx 386 mic pre amp that has digital out and I thought I
> could leave out the console and go straight into the Terratecs. Both
> units use RCA s/pdif connectors, should be no problem. I have read
> that the dbx needs to be wordclock master or one has jitter problems -
> is it true?

Well, once you have more than two digital devices in a system, you
need to worry about data clock synchronization. Actually you have to
worry about it even when connecting two devices, but that's usually
pretty easy. You're probably doing something now (though perhaps not
consciously) to synchronize the clocks in your two Terratec
interfaces. At least you should. If you have them synchronized, and
can set one up so that it receives its word clock from the incoming
S/PDIF device, the dbx could be the master, synchronize the clock of
the interface to which it's connected, and the second interface could
synchronize to that (perhaps internally).

> If I would make it the master, does it mean it has to be
> turned on when booting the computer? what about playback, since there is
> no mic pre needed and I would like to switch off the tubes.

If your system is set up so that it's the clock source, then it has to
be on. Perhaps not when booting the computer, but to record or play
back. But once your tracks are recorded, you could then switch things
in your system setup so that one Terratec uses its internal word clock
and the other one syncs to it.

> As I also have a laptop, I thought the best for future expansion plans
> would be to invest into mobile equipment, so I could use it both for
> live recording and studio, using USB or Firewire interfaces.
> Terratec put out the new Phase88s, but now they use optical
> connectors...are these units an option anyway (bad envy24 D/A)?
> And what could I do about the possible RCA/Optical problem?

There are a number of companies that make coax/optical S/PDIF
adapters, for, as I recall, as little as about $30. No problem.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Related resources
Anonymous
November 24, 2004 5:59:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Yes, these are egg crates.

This room serves as a rehearsal room, too.
One guy we know, he works in a super-market,
so we got tons of egg crates, and we have still so many over.
In another room not pictured on the website, there is carpet
on every wall hanging on wooden lats leaving about 1 inch to
the wall. This gives more attenuation.

Yes, I should do something about it!
:-)

But this is another big, big question and I don't know if I
will have the power to face it...

S.D. Curlee wrote:
> Nudge <big-chief@gmx.de> wrote in news:30gu04F300ma1U1@uni-berlin.de:
>
>
>>http://studio.lieber-media.de
>
>
> Are those egg boxes on your walls?

--
Nudge // PCS Records Studio Leipzig
http://studio.lieber-media.de
Anonymous
November 24, 2004 6:31:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks for the lecture, Mike. :-)

I got your point.
Well, at least I know that my budget doesn't allow me
to solve my problems buying more and more gear anyway.

I started the studio because I wanted to record my band. We have so far
released 2 CDs and 1 LP and several tracks on samplers, and lately I had
recorded these tracks. I felt its time to switch from outside studio to
our own when I had made my experiences (that means mistakes, of course). :-)

In the beginning I focused on drum recording, that seemed to me the most
critical point. So I got me a lot of cheap gear. I wish I had been a
solo guitar player and had bought one good microphone, but I ended up
with a lot of bad ones. Of course, over the years, my equipment as well
as my understanding improved. With my console and the terratecs I can
now record the whole band "live" and my AT4033 sounds quite OK.

From now on, I want to focus on quality instead of quantity. Lately I
made some drum recordings with only four or even 2 mics and I liked the
natural sound.

I can describe my sound as very flat and uninteresting. I bought a $40
behringer tube preamp and even the difference between this unit and my
console (my voice on the AT4033) clearly states this is sad but true.
This little thing impressed me. I'm sorry guys! I can imagine some of
you will rotfl but it is at least for me the best preamp I got until
now. OK, next week I will be back in germany and I will test my new dbx.
I hope it will impress me again.

About the sync: One terratec controls the other. That's a simple setup.
I don't worry about the setup even with the dbx, but I don't want to
have the jitter. Maybe it will work even as wordclock slave, then I
don't have to switch the master everytime recording with the pre.
And it feels good to know that buying new gear with optical connectors
will not be a problem. Thank you.

I will sure get back on your help,
I have tons of questions... ;-)

Kind regards
Nudge


Mike Rivers wrote:
> Well, you have to use SOMETHING. A/D and D/A converters and cosoles
> aren't inherently evil, but there are better and worse ones. I don't
> know what your problem is other than that you have budget priced
> equipment and you feel that you should improve it, but as we tell
> people here over and over and over, few people who have questions
> about problems with their sound that they can't answer (or at least
> analyze and experess in technical or musical terms) themselves won't
> solve their problems by buying more gear.
>
> That's the lecture. Now let's see what you have in mind.
>
>
>>What I got until now was not the best sound. Maybe I should mix
>>completely in the digital domain...
>>(studio pictures and songs I recorded see the link below this mail.)
>>But somehow I like the human touch of analog mixing in front of the
>>console, especially when I work with bands.
>
>
> This makes a whole lot of sense. And I suspect that your recording
> chain isn't all that bad.
>
>
>>Now I got this dbx 386 mic pre amp that has digital out and I thought I
>>could leave out the console and go straight into the Terratecs. Both
>>units use RCA s/pdif connectors, should be no problem. I have read
>>that the dbx needs to be wordclock master or one has jitter problems -
>>is it true?
>
>
> Well, once you have more than two digital devices in a system, you
> need to worry about data clock synchronization. Actually you have to
> worry about it even when connecting two devices, but that's usually
> pretty easy. You're probably doing something now (though perhaps not
> consciously) to synchronize the clocks in your two Terratec
> interfaces. At least you should. If you have them synchronized, and
> can set one up so that it receives its word clock from the incoming
> S/PDIF device, the dbx could be the master, synchronize the clock of
> the interface to which it's connected, and the second interface could
> synchronize to that (perhaps internally).
>
>
>>If I would make it the master, does it mean it has to be
>>turned on when booting the computer? what about playback, since there is
>>no mic pre needed and I would like to switch off the tubes.
>
>
> If your system is set up so that it's the clock source, then it has to
> be on. Perhaps not when booting the computer, but to record or play
> back. But once your tracks are recorded, you could then switch things
> in your system setup so that one Terratec uses its internal word clock
> and the other one syncs to it.
>
>
>>As I also have a laptop, I thought the best for future expansion plans
>>would be to invest into mobile equipment, so I could use it both for
>>live recording and studio, using USB or Firewire interfaces.
>>Terratec put out the new Phase88s, but now they use optical
>>connectors...are these units an option anyway (bad envy24 D/A)?
>>And what could I do about the possible RCA/Optical problem?
>
>
> There are a number of companies that make coax/optical S/PDIF
> adapters, for, as I recall, as little as about $30. No problem.
>
> --
> I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
> However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
> lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
> you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
> and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo

--
Nudge // PCS Records Studio Leipzig
http://studio.lieber-media.de
Anonymous
November 27, 2004 10:50:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> I can describe my sound as very flat and uninteresting. I bought a $40
> behringer tube preamp and even the difference between this unit and my
> console (my voice on the AT4033) clearly states this is sad but true.
> This little thing impressed me. I'm sorry guys! I can imagine some of
> you will rotfl but it is at least for me the best preamp I got until
> now. OK, next week I will be back in germany and I will test my new dbx.
> I hope it will impress me again.

Cheap "tube preamps" are generally op-amp preamps (like typical mixer
preamps) and the token tube gain stage with a "starved plate", meaning a
critical power supply element for the tube is well below the appropriate
voltage. The ART and Behringer ones operate at 25V, where 150V is generally
considered bare minimum.

The DBX 386 has a dual-servo class A solid state preamp like higher-end
preamps, and the tube circuit is a proper tube gain stage with its own power
supply and 200V across the plates. It will definitely impress you. Still,
the problem with the DBX silver series is that they use electrolytic
capacitors where metal film would sound significantly better. So something
like an FMR RNP or Presonus MP20 offer a cleaner sound in the same price
range, but the tube stage and A/D converter make the 386 a very good value
since there's no inexpensive way to get a converter of that caliber.

> About the sync: One terratec controls the other. That's a simple setup.
> I don't worry about the setup even with the dbx, but I don't want to
> have the jitter. Maybe it will work even as wordclock slave, then I
> don't have to switch the master everytime recording with the pre.
> And it feels good to know that buying new gear with optical connectors
> will not be a problem. Thank you.

There's two ways to deal with sync:
- connect the 386 to the master interface and set the master to sync to
S/PDIF
(the 386 becomes master for the whole system)
- connect master and 386 via wordclock
(master interface remains master clock)

I recommend connecting all three units via workclock, it's just more
trustworthy.
Anonymous
November 29, 2004 2:00:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Sugarite wrote:

> The DBX 386 has a dual-servo class A solid state preamp like higher-end
> preamps, and the tube circuit is a proper tube gain stage with its own power
> supply and 200V across the plates. It will definitely impress you. Still,
> the problem with the DBX silver series is that they use electrolytic
> capacitors where metal film would sound significantly better. So something
> like an FMR RNP or Presonus MP20 offer a cleaner sound in the same price
> range, but the tube stage and A/D converter make the 386 a very good value
> since there's no inexpensive way to get a converter of that caliber.
>

The FMR RNP is indeed the next one that is on my list.
After reading a lot, I found that they might be a good team,
one for the clean (FMR) and one for the tubey sound.
The dbx was of course charming with its converters.
I'm really looking forward to check the tape-saturation feature.

Another question: If I would go crazy about the unit and would
buy more of them, how could I connect to get the digital signal
out of them since the S/PDIF is just a 2-channel dig-out and
I have just two terratecs with one S/PDIF i/o each?

>>About the sync: One terratec controls the other. That's a simple setup.
[..]
>
> There's two ways to deal with sync:
> - connect the 386 to the master interface and set the master to sync to
> S/PDIF
> (the 386 becomes master for the whole system)
> - connect master and 386 via wordclock
> (master interface remains master clock)
>
> I recommend connecting all three units via workclock, it's just more
> trustworthy.

The terratecs have no wordclock i/o AFAIK. would it still be
more trustworthy if that means to install an extra wordclock i/o card?
Maybe that would be best fitting my situation as I would like
to turn off the dbx's tubes when not in use.

Sincerely,
Nudge


--
Nudge // PCS Records Studio Leipzig
http://studio.lieber-media.de
!