DAD AX32: test in progress in my studio – part Two

Ok,

after first approach based on comparison listen (see DAD AX32: test in progress in my studio – part One), I verified frequency and phase response with Metric Halo SpectraFooCompleteX.

All settings are controlled by DADman software (see figures bottom) like matrix or Mic/line switch. When you change Mic gain or Line out level you can hear the relay click on.

All audio connections use DB25 with Tascam pin-out.

In front AX32 has four buttons to change sample frequency and clock master, a little screen to check settings and a double series of sixteen leds to visualize carrier (digital signal) and audio presence.

Here DAD AX32, it look very nice 🙂


After I installed Dante controller and  Dante virtual sound card both by Audinate and I created an audio network where my computer (with audio application) and DAD AX32 are two clients.

Dante virtual soundcard has to work necessarly without a Dante PCI card compatible. It uses ethernet in your computer gateway. With Dante controller you can manage a flush of 64×64 channels audio at 48kHz@24bit or 32×32 channels audio at 96kHz@24bit with 1Gbit of bandwidth. You find all specific here.

I created a multicast and I managed audio interchange to and from AX32 with virtual routing.

Well, I opened SpectraFoo and I changed soundcard with Dante (it appears on available audio cards) and I ran signal generator with pink noise to test AX32.

I used Transfer Function window to visualize the difference between original signal (reference) and it after AX32 AD/DA (response). In this window it’s possible to visualize Power vs Frequency and Power vs Phase.

I tested AX32 at 96kHz and 48kHz.

At 96kHz I checked a bandwidth very width (8Hz to 43kHz) with an excellent phase response.

Also at 48kHz I checked a bandwidth very width (8Hz to 22kHz) although with a slight drift phase response at high end.

Also I tested Ax32 with FuzzMeasure, an audio and acoustical measurement application, and it confirmed SpectraFoo audio bandwidth analisys.

Here all SpectraFoo graphics:

My conclusions on the DAD AX32 is that it’s the best converter I’ve ever heard. It’s very valuable into mix and fundamental into mastering because very wide bandwidth with clean mid frequency and extended low and high frequency are a necessarly conditions to work fine.

Have a nice day,

Lorenzo


Disclaimer: I tested this gear with care, nevertheless this test is inevitably affected by my opinion and possible analyzer gear and software imprecisions.


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

Technical backstage: microphones that I chose

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


Microphones is a delicate questions, they are a pressure transducer and realize the passage of the sounds from air pressure to electric signal. Ok, this is a early assumption of the tecnologies about microphones(*) but what we want from them?

Several stuff like:

– wide frequency response

– wide dynamic range

– perception

– off-axys rejection (directional mic)

– no coloration (are you sure?)

– robust construction (when possible)

…and with a beautiful design (why not?).

I didn’t include cheapness because the quality is not cheap (in any field).

(*) to take a deeper look into microphone theory – Brüel & Kjær Microphone handbook vol.1


Searching for the best audio recording I work with a different brands of microphones, models and tipologies in relation to the kind of instruments and sound I’m looking for.

Condenser

Schoeps

I bought eight amplifier Colette series (CMC5 and CMC6) with different microphones capsules, in detail:

MK4 – cardioid

MK8 – bidirectional or eight figure

MK21 – wide cardioid

MK5 – mechanically switchable cardioid to omnidirectional figure

I use Schoeps to record many situations like choral ensemble, symphony orchestra, any acoustic instruments (guitar, strings, harp, double bass), several parts of drumset (toms, cymbals, hi-hat).

Here an example of studio recording what I made with close-miking techniques.

Schoeps MK4 + MK8 are perfect to made Mid-Side techniques, sometimes I use MK21 in lieu of MK4 to take a central’s large-scale section.

Here an example of live recording what I made with Mid-Side techniques with Schoeps.

Also MK21 is a very interesting solution to capture mainly low frequency in close miking.

I bought two MK5 (matched pair) to obtain major flexibility and to try spaced techniques. I use them omnidirectional in close-miking to record percussions like djembe or bongo.

I worked many times with Schoeps on stage to amplifier acoustic ensemble (classic and jazz) without problems.

I like Schoeps, they are a finest microphones with amazing and useful sound reliable for any situation. They are my high quality set.

Neumann

I bought two used U87ai, they work very well.

I use them to record vocal (typical) and sometimes with Shoeps to make mono coloured low-end.

Here two examples of acoustic guitar recordings what I made Secondamarea and Manuel Consigli.

AKG

I own only old microphones models: C414 B-ULS, C414 TL-II, C451E and C391 (C300 + CK91) . I bought two C414 XLS (first series) but I don’t liked them because their sound were knock-off and lifeless.

C414 B-ULS is very flexible microphone, it works fine with acoustic instrument (acoustic guitar) and percussions.

I used for many time C414 B-ULS for snare bottom and lately I use it very close to kick drumhead.

C414 TL-II is a transformer-less version of C414 B-ULS, with a slightly mid-high frequency presence. I own a stereo matched set and I use often them to record choral ensemble, symphony orchestra (here an example of record what I made with C414 TL-II Mid-Side array), acoustic piano and acoustic guitar.

I have been lucky to find a C451E, original version, because it sounds amazing, Shoeps like, with an amazing off-axys rejection. In studio I use it to capture hi-hat and in live recording it’s a nine microphone of my high quality set.

C391 is a good microphone with a good price. It’s not a cheapness choice. It’s useful on-stage and good alternative in live recording.

Crown

I bought two PCC-160, a boundary microphone, to capture speech on theatre.

Three years ago I tried to use them for drums overhead (what? But they are a floor microphones!). Wait, I fixed them tip over on ceiling in front of drumset in stereo spaced array. I was very impressed for very wide and smooth sound without wall reflections problems.

Dynamic

Electrovoice

RE-20 is a cardioid fine broadcast microphone, very good for voice. It’s construction minimize proximity effect and place in-face vocal record. You can see and listen his neodynium-equipped brother RE27N/D in “A Prairie Home Companion” movie.

I used it on voice for special effect, like speech into songs, to make a superior warmth and presence.

I used it sometimes to record bass drum and I tried it to record guitar amplifier.

Sennheiser

I own three old MD 421, two black and one white (with tuckel).

I use them to percussion and brass. Very good and warmth sound. I like it.

I found three years ago one MD409 (dates back to the 1975). Actually I use it on snare bottom and to record guitar amplifier.

AKG

D112 is a successor of D12 (very acclaimed microphone for vocal in the seventies). D112 is manufactured to use with instruments with a depth low end like bass amplifier or bass drums. I use it to record bass drum in out position with AKG C414 B-ULS  positioned very close to the kick drumhead.

Pearl

DX98, I bought this microphone many years ago and it’s perfect to amplifier tenor and baritone saxophone.

Astatic

A77, it dates back to the fifties and it’s a broadcast microphone. I used it on stage with a singer to enhance his nasal voice, very cool.

Ribbon

DoReMi

A ribbon oldest microphone (dates back to the thirties) which I bought in 1998. I fixed it and occasionally I use it to record voice with oldest flavour.

Cloud microphones

I tried JRS-34 model for a newspaper and I like it, but I haven’t unfortunatly. I guess probably I’ll be buying it pretty soon because I’ve been very impressed by its vocal presence and smoothed sound.

Cheers,

Lorenzo

Here a gallery of my microphones:


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

DAD AX32: test in progress in my studio – part One

Hi,

today mr. Mauro Piatti, manager of Te.De.S., and Laura Lionti delivered in my studio the new DAD product: audio converter AX32.

This is a modular system which manage many options: eight to thirtytwo channel AD/DA/DD, AD Mic pre, DA gain control and sample rate from 44.1 to 384 kHz. Connections avalaible AES3, MADI coax/optical, ProTools interface and Dante (TM) protocol (ethernet IP).

Ax32 is controlled by a simply hardware interface (sample rate and sync) or by DADman software to manage internal I/O routing.

I chained AX32 with my Apogee Rosetta 800 by AES/EBU and we compared them in real time.

We listed (me, mr. Piatti and ms. Lionti) my live recording at Memo restaurant recorded at 96kHz@24bit and several master finalized in my studio.

We agreed that DAD AX32 has a superb and depth sound and in particulary a better mid-low frequency detail (very important for intelligibility) and a superior presence of the high frequency.

Tomorrow I’ll test further and get back to you.

Lorenzo


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

Technical backstage: Harrison Mixbus – an interesting alternative DAW

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


“Other DAW mixers are designed by companies with experience in computer sound, but no pedigree in world-class recording facilities.  The Mixbus mixer is designed by Harrison: the maker of consoles used in the world’s most demanding music, film, and live performance facilities.” (from harrisonconcoles.com site)

When I read this statement (early 2010) I was very impressed and I thought “it’s true, I want try this software”. It was very low price (approximately $75 as I remember) and I bought Mixbus immediatly.

The first time I listened my records by Mixbus I perceived a better sound of mid and high frequency. Less harsh, more body and a superior depth. Wow, it’s ITB Valhalla? (ITB = In The Box otherwise audio mixed on computer)

Harrison implemented his digital summing algorithm (the same of their digital consolle) into a very cheap but powerful DAW Ardour, an open source project by Paul Davis.

He worked on another application too, available for Linux and OS X, named Jack (Jack Audio Connection Kit). It’s a virtual router and it can manage soundcard inputs and outputs and all virtual connections into computer. Also it can re-direct audio flush from an application to another without leave it from computer.

Features of Harrison Mixbus mixer are three band EQ and dynamics on every channels and busses, eight busses (from the version 2.x) with tape saturation and tone control, auxs and inserts freely assignable to pre or post fader, all parameters automation, freely assignable routing and master equipped with K-14 Meter(*), tape saturation, control tone and dynamic processor.

Unfortunately at that time Ardour and Mixbus too (obviously) wouldn’t managed MIDI narrow down their application.

(*) K-14 meter is a method to monitor audio level into digital system, Bob Katz made it and here he explained about it: part 1part 2


The first time I used Mixbus 1.x to summing tracks from Logic Pro. It was a live recording of acoustic ensemble composed by drums, double bass, strings quartet, piano, key synth, acoustic guitar and voice. I created a several group (drums, strings and keys) and I routed them with single tracks (double bass, acoustic guitar and voice) to Mixbus by Jack OSX to summing them without add other processes.

After I compared the same mix from Logic bounce and Mixbus record and the last sounded better.

I noticed better mid vocal frequency, a snare superior body and less harshed hi-hat and cymbals. Otherwise a natural, better acoustic sound.

About editing I like Ardour/Mixbus for his tools, clear graphics design and easy automation.

One year ago I mixed my band RSVP album (you can listen it on Youtube) with Mixbus 2.x, the project’s tracks included two acoustics drums, electric guitar, electric bass, keyboards, saxophone, trumpet, voiceover, movie audio sample, a pico-paso (analog oscillator) and other tools (like a drill).

I worked like an analog consolle (with automation) with few plug-ins unlike other DAWs. It sounded GREAT!

At the same time I suggested (and I taught) Ardour to my friends for record, edit and mix their latest news podcasts (www.radiocane.info) or Mixbus with Jack OSX to my customer Andrea Fedeli to make virtual summing from his DAW (with no added costs buiyng expensive brand analog gear).

Mixbus and Jack are availables for Linux, Mac OSX (PPC and Intel) and Windows.

Today Mixbus 2 still don’t manage MIDI but next major update surely will do it because Ardour 3 has already been implemented.

Cheers,

Lorenzo

Below: Mixbus mixer


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.