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Hardware Thread: Recording Quad to the Desktop PC - What do you use?

JonUrban

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#1
I think we've done this before, but it's almost 2009, so let's do it again. I know I've upgraded a few times since the last tread on this topic.

I'll start:

I use a MOTU 828mk3 which I purcahsed a few months ago, replacing my older MOTU. This is probably considered a high-end box to use for quad conversions when compared to a PCI card or Sound Blaster type board (I'm sure there are also many more expensive options out there), and maybe it's a bit "overkill", but I really like the flexibility I get with it. In the past, I've used boards from the likes of Yamaha, M-Audio and a few others, but this one takes anything I throw at it. It works perfectly with Vista as wel as XP, and all of my recording apps fit the MOTU ASIO driver without issue.

This device plugs into a firewire port on your PC, so if you don't have one, you have to add one. Using firewire makes passing the HiRez audio signals to the PC a breeze, and this box can do multichannel 24/192 if you want it to.

It comes with a control app called the CueMixFX applet. This allows you to do a ton of stuff with the incoming audio. I have yet to even try anything but adjusting the levels of the incoming sound by channel, and this is the main reason I went to my original MOTU in the first place. Back when I had my Yamaha and M-Audio boards, there was no way to adjust the incoming audio level by channel. Today's apps may allow that, but it was the selling feature for me that sold me on the unit.

As you can see from the jpeg of my desktop below, if you look closely at the CueMixFX applet sitting on top of Vegas 8.0, the level controls for the first 4 channels are all different. That's because I'm putting to HD a reel that I recorded 30 years ago from a Q8 that, at the time, I did not pay attention to the recording levels. (What the hell was I thinking!! ;)) Anyway, by being able to adjust the audio on the PC, it allows me to do each channel on its' own. I can't do this on my AKAI 630DSS, because the fronts and rears are grouped together on two output level controls.

So, for those interested in a higher than average priced sound solution for recording quad tapes and discs to your PC, I can highly recommend this device. It's also a great way to make 24/192 stereo DVD-Audio discs of the recent audiophile LP releases that seem to be making their way back to the market.

Now, how about some of you other guys posting about what you're using so the membership can get an idea of what they can use. You'd be surprised how many PM's I get from members asking "What can I use to do quad conversions?"
 

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sukothai

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#2
Jon,

I remember when you sold your MOTU 828mkII a couple months ago. I have an 828mkII and I seriously considered upgrading then as well. It is the extra space required to save 5 channels (I create an LFE channel real time through the MOTU) of 192Khz sampled audio that is holding me back. As you know, the mkII does 96Khz and I'm having trouble keeping enough disk space available at this sampling rate. While sampling at 192 appeals to me, I wasn't sure the higher rate would make a enough of a difference to justify doubling my disk capacity.

I don't want to turn this into a debate about which sampling rate is best (or sufficient), but I would like to know how you archive all of your songs. Storage strategies have also been discussed before, but technology is changing. It's relatively cheap to buy 1TB disks now. Do you use a RAID array? Is anybody using Blue-Ray for backup yet?

Thanks, - Ben
 

Bob Squires Jr

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#3
Jon,

I remember when you sold your MOTU 828mkII a couple months ago. I have an 828mkII and I seriously considered upgrading then as well. It is the extra space required to save 5 channels (I create an LFE channel real time through the MOTU) of 192Khz sampled audio that is holding me back. As you know, the mkII does 96Khz and I'm having trouble keeping enough disk space available at this sampling rate. While sampling at 192 appeals to me, I wasn't sure the higher rate would make a enough of a difference to justify doubling my disk capacity.

I don't want to turn this into a debate about which sampling rate is best (or sufficient), but I would like to know how you archive all of your songs. Storage strategies have also been discussed before, but technology is changing. It's relatively cheap to buy 1TB disks now. Do you use a RAID array? Is anybody using Blue-Ray for backup yet?

Thanks, - Ben
I use the M-Audio Delta 1010 LT with Audition 3 and although it's nowhere near as good as the MOTU unit, I get by OK! :phones

I DO have a blu-ray recorder that I use for backups of the rarer stuff.
(I've never watched a Blu-Ray movie on it though!)
Other than that I have 2 1.5 TB drives... one is almost full of MCH stuff! :eek:
50 Gb BD-R Discs are a bit pricey yet but I found that ordering them from Japan is cheaper than going to Micro Center up the road from me.
I think a 50GB disc at MC is like $45.00 where I can get 5 Panasonic or Sony discs for $65.00 with shipping from an ebayer in Japan (and have had great dealings with him).
Do the math...eh??
I've never watched a Blu-Ray movie on it though!

-Bob
 

georgeshannon

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#4
Back when I had my Yamaha and M-Audio boards, there was no way to adjust the incoming audio level by channel. Today's apps may allow that, but it was the selling feature for me that sold me on the unit...

...Now, how about some of you other guys posting about what you're using so the membership can get an idea of what they can use. You'd be surprised how many PM's I get from members asking "What can I use to do quad conversions?"
Nice looking gear Jon. You're right about today's version of the software accompanying the M-Audio 1010LT. It does allow adjusting the incoming (and outgoing) audio level by channel. (Hardware Settings/Variable Signal Levels/Sliders/Inputs Outputs).

Am currently using the M-Audio 1010LT with Acid Pro 6.0.

Happy holidays,
George
 
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#5
My QUad to PC experience so far has been Akai CR80DSS quad 8 track deck > Teac 3340S Quad reel to reel deck to use as a preamp > Tascam DA-88 digital multitrack recorder > TDIF cable > M-audio Delta TDIF sound card > CEP 2.0 Mulitrack Session. While not the best solution, it's the way I could make it work wtih my exsisting gear. The results are not bad, and I have succsefully made a few Hybrid DVD-audio/DVD-video discs this way.

A_L
 
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#6
My QUad to PC experience so far has been Akai CR80DSS quad 8 track deck > Teac 3340S Quad reel to reel deck to use as a preamp > Tascam DA-88 digital multitrack recorder > TDIF cable > M-audio Delta TDIF sound card > CEP 2.0 Mulitrack Session. While not the best solution, it's the way I could make it work wtih my exsisting gear. The results are not bad, and I have succsefully made a few Hybrid DVD-audio/DVD-video discs this way.

A_L
Why the DA-88?
DTRS tape is 16/48 resolution only - not even 24-bits. (Unless you got a DA-98, which is 24/48 resolution)
What I do from my 3340S is this:
3340S > Midas Venice 320 > RME ADI-8 DS @ 24/96 > RME HDSP9652 > Nuendo 4.22.
Same chain for discs, from a Denon 3910.
 

kap'n krunch

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#8
Recording- Apple: Technics Linear Tracking sl-dl1 w ortofon OMP-20 > Akiyama MX1 > MOTU 828 mkII > Logic Pro >>>> Encoding PC- Adbe Audition > surcode dts pro

Found out the L'Art du Son Wet cleaner works wonders towards a pristine LP surface (1st the fluid and then rinse it w plenty distilled water).

I also leave the LP wet while playing.

The 96/24 setting makes the LPs sound EQ'd (boost <100 Hz and Hi freq 10K+ shelving).
 
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#9
Why the DA-88?
DTRS tape is 16/48 resolution only - not even 24-bits. (Unless you got a DA-98, which is 24/48 resolution)
What I do from my 3340S is this:
3340S > Midas Venice 320 > RME ADI-8 DS @ 24/96 > RME HDSP9652 > Nuendo 4.22.
Same chain for discs, from a Denon 3910.
Currently this is my only option to get multi-channel audio to the PC. Both sound cars I have for the PC only have stereo input. I've tried using the stere input on each card, but get sync problems. Of course my next move would be a 4 or 6 channel input sound card so I could sample direct to 24/96.

A_L
 
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#10
Currently this is my only option to get multi-channel audio to the PC. Both sound cars I have for the PC only have stereo input. I've tried using the stere input on each card, but get sync problems. Of course my next move would be a 4 or 6 channel input sound card so I could sample direct to 24/96.

A_L
Ah. I see.
That's a sod, as the DA-88 ADC are not all that much cop.
You will definitely hear a serious difference with a new soundcard......
 

Key

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#11
I am using a Delta 1010 on the older computer but I just got a Mackie Onyx 400f for my new computer. The 4 mic pres, 64-bit float internal dsp, and 192kHz AKM converters were the selling point but I haven't even unboxed it yet so no comment on how well it does. I was eyeing a used Motu around here but decided against it.

Anyway the price has actually gone up since I bought my first delta 1010 ($320 new) to the point where I could buy the Mackie at close to the same price. I figure the Mackie analog stages have to be light years better
than M-audio's and they have newer AKM converters than the Delta - so I hope to hear a bit more clarity. I'll let you know how it sounds.
 

JonUrban

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#12
I am using a Delta 1010 on the older computer but I just got a Mackie Onyx 400f for my new computer. The 4 mic pres, 64-bit float internal dsp, and 192kHz AKM converters were the selling point but I haven't even unboxed it yet so no comment on how well it does. I was eyeing a used Motu around here but decided against it.

Anyway the price has actually gone up since I bought my first delta 1010 ($320 new) to the point where I could buy the Mackie at close to the same price. I figure the Mackie analog stages have to be light years better
than M-audio's and they have newer AKM converters than the Delta - so I hope to hear a bit more clarity. I'll let you know how it sounds.
That looks very nice. Is this based on the Layla?
 

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Key

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#13
I guess it's a joint effort between Echo and Mackie. Mackie seems to be in charge of the overall quality control and analog components while Echo handled the digital end.

Haven't done any recording yet but so far the playback sounds very nice. Not really much of a percievable frequency response shift or anything but the music seems to
breathe a little better. Reverbs seem more pronounced. I have been using AKM converters forever - even before I got into any production - and they all
seem to have that AKM sound that I am used to.

The biggest jump in quality is the onboard headphone amps. They are dead quiet compared to the outboard units I have been using. Seem to be pretty accurate as well.

Anyway it's exactly what I need to resume mixing down my album. I hope to give the mic pres a try soon. Been looking into getting a matched quad set of mics for the pres
but not exactly sure on what I am going to get. Right now I pretty much use a BLUE baby bottle and an RNP+RNC combo for everything.
 

Bob Romano

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#14
I have been using a Terratec Phase 88 card and breakout box as my IO device along with Sound Forge 9.0e for recording. It probably isn't the best card in the world but it seems to do a pretty nice job and for the $350 it cost when I bought it it has served me well.

Also for cleaning, delicking and any NR needed I have been using programs from here:

http://www.maths.anu.edu.au/~briand/sound/

To my ears the best declicking and denoising programs I have found... and I have tried them all.
 

jdmack

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#15
I'm a low-end guy.

For CD-4: Technics SL-1500 with AT440MLa > Marantz CD-400B > Tascam M-30 mixer > Maya 44 > Adobe Audition 1.5.
For SQ and QS: Fisher MT-730 Linear Tracking TT > Tascam M-30 > Soundblaster Live 24 bit USB > Adobe Audition 1.5

The Maya 44 is the old first version of this card, not the spiffy new one. The Marantz CD-400B is borrowed. My JVC 4DD-5 has noisy outputs.

I used a stereo test record made by the Command label to set the EQ on my mixer channels. Even though I only have three bands of EQ to work with, I can get the -10 db test tones to be fairly flat (as indicated by the vu meters on the mixer). I am happy with how this sounds for most records. It certainly helps tame the brightness of the AT440Mla. I do wish there was a CD-4 test record with tones at various frequencies, but this will have to do.

J. D.
 

sukothai

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#16
I use a MOTU 828mk3 which I purchased a few months ago, replacing my older MOTU...
Jon, How's the mk3 working out for you? I'm thinking seriously about upgrading for the better DACs, but wanted to check now that you have had more time with it. Hard to believe it has been a year already since your post.

Anybody else who has experience with a Firewire based converter -- please chime in as well.

Thanks, Ben
 
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#17
Hello, I have a question. These devices (Motu and the Mackie) use 1/4" inputs (instrument inputs). How do you convert the RCA type outputs of standard quad equipment (reels/cd-4/Q8) into these units?? Is an RCA to 1/4" adapter used?
 

Old Quad Guy

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#18
Hello, I have a question. These devices (Motu and the Mackie) use 1/4" inputs (instrument inputs). How do you convert the RCA type outputs of standard quad equipment (reels/cd-4/Q8) into these units?? Is an RCA to 1/4" adapter used?
Yes. And Radio Shack or other places online sell cords that are RCA to 1/4" jack. Perhaps there are better places to go, but Radio Shack has always been a best friend throughout the years for any type cord or adapter for just about every type device.
 

JonUrban

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#19
Jon, How's the mk3 working out for you? I'm thinking seriously about upgrading for the better DACs, but wanted to check now that you have had more time with it. Hard to believe it has been a year already since your post.

Anybody else who has experience with a Firewire based converter -- please chime in as well.

Thanks, Ben
Wow! Sorry Ben, looks like I missed this post back in March. UGH!

The MK3 is working fine. I'm currently using it with Windows 7 x64 and Sony Vegas and everything recorded has come out great. The CueMix ap is great for leveling out the recording of multiple channels in the recording process so you don't have to do it after the fact in the software.
 

WayneR5

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#20
I'm a newbie to QQ. But, as I read this thread, I wanted to share my adventures in hardware.
I started out with a laptop PC with Firewire port. At that time the best solution for me was MOTU 828MkII, which has a Firewire interface. It's been a great interface for my needs: many inputs and outputs - since I record entire bands in the studio with multiple mics and DI boxes. Over time, my PC has become overwhelmed and under-performing due to several factors. I finally researched upgrades and decided that Firewire was not becoming a widely used standard in that market segment. So I changed horses and bought a MOTU 828x Thunderbolt. It has dual interfaces, USB and Thunderbolt (which I'm not yet seeing quite a lot of PC adaptation of to date). I'm very happy with this new interface since I also bought a newer generation PC laptop with USB3 port. Another positive aspect to my choice is that both MOTU's have digital Optical in/out so I actually can run both from the USB port side and have effectively 2x channels available to me! I have run numbers of MIDI keyboards and external effects units, so with 828x (and 828MkII) MIDI in/outs I'm also able to record and playback MIDI program changes of these items for use with my recordings including reverb, compression and limiting.
 
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