Show 118 – High-end converter shootout and more

This week we have Ben Strano from The Sonic Valentine joining us for the discussion. We talk about high-end converters and the Glynn Johns drum miking technique (presented by listener Jonathan Roberts) and in the Rapid Fire section we do: Our mix template staples; latest trick we learned; and Best CD production

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16 thoughts on “Show 118 – High-end converter shootout and more

  1. Re Ear care.
    I went to an audio specialist to get my ears tested.
    I asked about ear cleaning.

    The comments I got was.. Gently pour a little warm (luke warm not hot) natural vegetable oil, ala olive oil, caster oil etc, into the ear and leave it for a while.. I was told that the oil soften wax etc and was a natural product and that is best.
    They said chemicals were not good although do work and for some situations may be a valid one off solution, and washing out using “low pressure” style systems where water is sprayed into the ears to “wash out” the gunge was also not that good..

    So oil is what I have done and it seems to work…


  2. I have stopped worrying about it and basically let nature do the work. Seems to work for me too.

    Great engineers don’t necessarily have better ears… they are just better at listening.

  3. Re converters ..
    SoundOnSound mag did a write up a month or two ago using blind testing similar to you Ryan. Apogee symphony did well in that.
    Also a mate (who is Nile Rogers engineer) also did a similar blind test. Below is a link to his brief notes on what he felt. Again the Apogee symphony did pretty well.. His notes are very similar to SoundOnSound Mags review.

  4. Hi guys. Thanks for playing my segment. Jon – regarding panning, my research found that the approved panning is hard left for the boundary mic and 3 o’clock right for the overhead. The snare is slightly off to the left and the kick in the middle.

    I’m going to try making the panning a little narrower as you commented that it sounds pretty wide.

  5. For ear cleaning, I have had a doctor spray lukewarm water into my ear and use a hard instrument to scrape away any hardened earwax buildup. He did this on his own, and admitted that it was an uncommon practice. After he finished it was an amazing improvement as to how well I could hear!

    I suggest asking your doctor to check (and remove if necessary) any excess ear wax buildup at your yearly physical or any other check up you might need to go to (or should go to and don’t).

    Great show! I’ve learned a ton.

  6. The real issue when you talk about AD converters is how those subtleties pile up when you record 20+ tracks. Little things get exaggerated when you multi-track with the same acquisition chain over and over again.

  7. Hi guys,

    Fun show; keep it up!

    I agree that Apogee converters sound different from other converters, but I don’t think that means that they are ‘colored’ or ‘enhanced’. I was using an Apogee DUET for mobile recording and was looking to upgrade the MOTU Traveler II in my studio. I auditioned Lynx and RME and Ensemble in a blind test, and for me the Ensemble was a clear winner. All the converters were great, but the Apogee was special. It sounded the most musically pleasing, and most faithful to the source.

    I took the test 1 step further. I took the source recording (which I had just chosen as most faithful) and ran it out the D/A and back into the A/D for 12 generations, and the Apogee best preserved the original. If there was a significant EQ-effect or enhancement being introduced by the converters, 12 generations of double conversion should have amplified that effect, but there was none. My conclusion was that that the Apogee is about as close to accurate as you can get.

    I keep trying to find an alternative to Apogee, but every time I try something else I seem to end up with more Apogee. Which means as soon as I earn another $5K I may have to buy a Symphony 🙂

    Gary Cable
    AuraTone Productions

  8. Hi guys,

    On the “minimalist” approach to drum recording, I started writing a comment here but decided to make it a blog entry, with clips at:
    (If you wish to use the clip on your show, you can contact me at my email address and I’ll send you the wave)

    The couple of times I’ve used this kind of “Kit-mics” setup, I’ve ended up panning the “main” kit mic (the one over the kit/snare/rack toms) center and the side mic hard left or right with the fader level lower than the main kit mic. I guess it might be a personal preference, but I tend to think stereo is a bit over rated (as far as individual instruments go) and don’t mind slightly mono sounding drums at all.

  9. In episode 117 you guys talked about using hardware compression on the way into the converters to prevent clipping. How do I dial that in? What ratio, threshold, attack and release settings should I start with? How much gain reduction should I be looking for?

  10. Hey guys, I love the show. I was wondering if you guys could share which reverb plugin you prefer for vocals, and what type of reverb is best suited for them (plate, convolution, etc). I am looking at Sonnox or possibly getting a UAD2 card and trying some of the reverbs from UA. I’m not crazy about the stock reverb plugs in Logic. Thanks guys, and keep up the good work!

  11. Totally unrelated post:

    The original Golden Agre Pre73 has been discontinued and replaced with a new version called the Pre73 MKII. It supposedly has lower noise, more gain and offers inserts for effects (such as eq).

  12. Hi guys. Imagine my surprise when I was about to turn show 118 off, and I heard my name (correctly pronounced) linked to a “generous” donation! Wow, I’m on radio – or podcasts! Anyhow, just wanted to say I love your show, learn a lot from it and my donation is less that any type of musical lessons I take. You might consider having a recurring monthly donation option. I would use it and it could increase your cash flow.

    Any chance you might do a segment on recording live and then mixing a live recording! I record my band through a Profire2626 to ADAT (8 tracks) and have many challenges in terms of mic placement, levels, bleed, etc. Mixing those recordings is a challenge. Also staying within 8 channels is tough with drums.

    Keep up the good work and good humor!

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