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To Apogee or Not To Apogee


Hey Everyone,
First time poster here, hoping to get your feedback and input on my next purchasing decision.
I'm looking to upgrade my studio and have a budget of approximately $2,000 to $3,000. I've been told by my sweetwater salesman that the weak link in my chain is my A/D D/A conversion and that I should consider buying an Apogee Rossetta (either the 200 or 800).
Currently, my conversion is being done by my Octopre and being piped into the Digi 002 Rack.
My main question is...will I (and more importantly my clients) be able to tell the difference in the Apogee converters vs. the Octopre converters?
Here's a run down of my gear list. If you see any other weak links in the chain other than A/D, I'd love to get your input!
ProTools 8
Digidesign 002 Rack, Producer Pack Upgrade
Mics - Neumann U87 (1) Rode NT5(2) AKG 414 BXLS (3), Sennheiser 421 (2),
Sennheiser 609 (1), AKG D 112 (2), SM 57 (5)
Preamps/Compressors – UA 2-610, UA – LA 610, Focusrite Octopre.
DI – Avalon U5
Thanks Everyone!
October 12, 2009 @10:31pm

I can not speak to the Octapre converters as I have not heard them or used them.
Will you hear a difference in A/D/A conversion with Apogee -vs- Pro tools?
I run a Logic Symphony System with the Rosetta 200. Fantastic sound! Upgrading to the rosetta was once of the best purchases I have made for my studio. I did not realize how much of an impact the converter would make.
Never regretted it.
PS - Your signal chain looks very solid. You might want to consider a few different preamps to have some different tonality. Grace 101 is a suprizing very good preamp for it's price range. Very clear. I also like API for pop and rock tracks.
October 13, 2009 @04:32pm

Thanks for the response. I'm going to do an A/B tomorrow with the converters in the 002 to the converters in the octopre. That will at least give me a baseline to determine whether or not the octopre conveters are significantly better than the 002's. If they're not better, then I'll head up to a local boutique shop/studio here in Durham, NC and do an A/B b/w the apogee and the octopre.
Thanks for your input on the signal chain. Preamps was the another area I was considering investing in for exactly the reason you mentioned, variety. I'm considering either the Avalon 2022 or 737. Since I have some tube pre's already, I'm leaning towards the 2022. I'll check out the Grace 101 that you mentioned.
October 14, 2009 @07:16pm

I use a Benchmark DAC-1 on the back end of my 002R. The internal converters are horrific-sounding in comparison
I use Rosetta 800s in the HD1 rig I installed at a studio for a local public radio station. They also sound wonderful.
I'm sure not the absolute best but converters aren't limiting me in either studio.
October 16, 2009 @01:07am

good idea to compare the octaPre to the rosetta's. I have to admit i'm a little biased towards apogee but the sound improvement was shocking to me.
another benefit to apogee gear is the dithering. I used to use the standard Pow-r3 dithering, which is very good, but for the past years i've been using the apogee UV22r dithering, which i think retains more sonic quality when reducing from 24/96 to standard .wav or .aiff files.
good luck. defintely give the grace a shot. I recorded at session at a remote studio with a grace 101 and AT-4055. results were great.
October 16, 2009 @01:57pm

I have had the Rosetta 200 for a long time. Most often used signal path Neumann TLM 193 > Focusrite ISA 220 > Rosetta > S/PDIF 002R.
Frankly, of all the many pieces of equipment I have, awesome guitars, nice keyboards, drums, and Waves plugins. The Rosetta is one thing I think may be a bit over rated. Don't get me wrong. It does sound a little better. The highs are more clear, but only a little bit. When all is said and done, I wonder if it makes any difference at all in the final mix. I'm really not sure.
It's not the single big thing that will set you apart, and it ain't cheap.
The pre amps on the 002 are really not bad at all, and the converters aren't bad either.
November 16, 2009 @05:15am

It's very common for Pro Tools HD studio engineers to opt with the Rosetta conversion quality over that of the Pro Tools HD conversion itself. So you can only imagine the difference between the 002 and the Rosetta.
IMHO, stay away from all the transfer options except AES/EBU and Firewire. S/P coax, toslink & Adat just don't ever seem to sound as good to my ears.
December 11, 2009 @05:42am

I would think that all types of digital transfers sound the same if there is an external wordclock locking both machines. Wouldn't ADAT (etc) jitter only affect the sound if, for example, it feeds a DAC where the DAC is locking via that same pipe?
December 11, 2009 @03:54pm

They shouldn't sound any different, even if there isn't a special word clock connection (in most cases, there are some exceptions here). Jitter, unless extreme, only wrecks audio at A/D, D/A, and during any asynchronous sample rate conversion. Other than those cases the bits show up in order and are transferred in order, which for a transfer is all that matters. If the timing gets far enough off to mess with that then you have bad problems. Now, once you need to listen to the transfer you're involving a D/A conversion. Jitter matters there.
December 11, 2009 @04:29pm

I can only speak for apogee! I dont' have a rosetta but I do have an Apogee Duet and the quality is very very very good. It's sounds great! I heard a big difference in that. I used to use a Boss BR-864 and later using the Apogee Duet with a Macbook Pro was a big change.
December 11, 2009 @06:01pm

To clarify my point above....I was responding to yeahforbes that indeed the type of digital transfer shouldn't effect the sound quality of the file at its new destination. There is definitely a difference in sound between different converters.
December 11, 2009 @06:19pm

Do upgrade you will never look back!!!! Best investment you can make for that amount of money!!!
December 12, 2009 @09:04pm