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Neutral DAC for audio mastering

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

greetings everyone
i wonder to know what DAC used in professional mastering studio, is there some kind of "universal weapon" that beats all other or there's no ultimate choice of neutrality? and also what about prices, where is that pragmatic choice when the difference between dacs are miserable and unnoticeable? what do you guys think? L3000.gif

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

any ideas?

post #3 of 18

Off the top of my head I would say that the Weiss products are considered pro-level gear.

 

http://www.weiss.ch/dac2/dac2.htm

 

Also Lavry Engineering...

 

http://www.lavryengineering.com/products.html

 

and certainly products from Lynx (Aurora, etc.), Metric Halo, Apogee and RME.

 

 

I hope that helps.

 

Hi-Five
 

post #4 of 18

Buy an ODAC and save some money. :D

post #5 of 18

I suggest you give a listen to a Lynx Hilo and a Dangerous Music "Source," the latter of which I'm listening to as I type.  Both are used in mastering studios, give excellent sound, have great headphone amps, and are very well built.

Rich

post #6 of 18
Ill second the recommendation on the Hilo. I brought one home on Friday to evaluate, and it's not going back to the dealer.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

thank you for your answers

am i correct when i think that there's no reference source for studio and all of them uses different models?

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGA1 View Post

thank you for your answers

am i correct when i think that there's no reference source for studio and all of them uses different models?

 

That is correct to my knowledge.  The only thing like that I can think of is how many studios did (prob still do) have a pair of Yamaha NS10 speakers as a secondary reference to their main monitors.  The idea was that if you could make it sound really good on those monitors that it would sound okay on most sources.  In my opinion they sound terrible, but that is the challenge in getting the mix right.  Others were of the opinion that there were other virtues this speaker had to offer and were valuable as an "accurate" monitor.

 

I can't think of any single amp, DAC, or even console that is considered "the reference" for all to follow.  There is certainly only a handful of real top performers in each category and I'm sure others could elaborate.  I've been out of the studio for awhile now.

 

I hope that is helpful.

post #9 of 18

  The Pacific Microsonics Model 2 was considered something of a  standard for ad/da wasn't it?  They don't make it anymore but people are still using them.
 

post #10 of 18

Most pro-audio digital gear tends to do both A/D and D/A conversion. Almost DACs are, frequency-response-wise, flat. The issue when mastering, as I understand things, comes down to the speakers used as their frequency response will change depending on how they are placed in a room. 

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Most pro-audio digital gear tends to do both A/D and D/A conversion. Almost DACs are, frequency-response-wise, flat. The issue when mastering, as I understand things, comes down to the speakers used as their frequency response will change depending on how they are placed in a room. 

 

Absolutely, and then control room acoustics/treatments become the most important component after speakers.

post #12 of 18

My dad just picked up a Mytek DAC for his home system, and I heard it for the first time today.  Extremely detailed, transparent, excellent rhythm and timing.  No colorations that I could hear.  They may be worth a look:

 

http://mytekdigital.com/hifi

 

It also has the ability to handle DSD if that is one of your requirements in the future.

post #13 of 18

The nearest products I know of which could be considered 'industry standard' and are affordable are those made by http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php

 

They have been making professional grade audio interfaces from the beginning of the industry. There will of course never be a total agreement which is the absolute 'best' but RME would be on most short lists and no one would hesitate to use RME for commercial work.

 

Advantages include legendary driver, software and customer support. For example they were the first manufacturer to provide true backward compatability for USB 2.0 on USB 3.0 only laptops. They also have a, so for exclusive, deal with Microsoft whereby their drivers are not only signed but so trusted that the RME install can and will examine your configuration and settings then, if you want, optimise them auto matically. They also offer the lowest latency of any devices in the class.

 

Mac users also rate Metric Halo and Apogee but for Windows users RME is the obvious chooce before you get to eye wateringly expensive and bespoke solutions.

 

I'm not associated commercially with RME in any way. I just admire their philosophy. You don't really need to spend that much money to get clean and flat conversion these days but if you can it's probably a worthwhile investment.


Edited by RonaldDumsfeld - 1/8/13 at 5:52am
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

okay then, no more opinions left? =)

post #15 of 18

In my view the studios have become intoxicated by the sound of S-D DACs which are far from being neutral. The Mytek uses an ESS DAC which, according to measurements has appreciable noise modulation. I'd say the most neutral sounding DACs are the NOS ones - Metrum Octave being an example. However it does need some upsampling to overcome the NOS droop.

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