Converter for PC?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Converter for PC?

Post by ShaneAnthony »

I recently purchased a used Yamaha PM-2000 32 channel analog console to use with Pro Tools, in place of my MIDAS M32 Live digital console.

Can anyone recommend what would be the best converter/interface for me to use with my Windows PC?

I want to be able to record at-least 20 tracks simultaneously into Pro Tools, and mix down 32 on my Yamaha console, analog summing a master back into ProTools.

I need to be able to monitor the input through PT while recording, without noticeable latency.

I was looking at the Ferrofish A32 Pro. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks, Shane
ShaneAnthony
New here
Posts: 6 Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:37 pm

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by The Elf »

The Ferrofish A32 , in all its guises, is a lovely piece of gear. I have a pair of them hooked up to an RME MADIFace XT. I get 64 line ins and outs, all with gain controls.

The mixer will give you mic pre's, but... do you really want to throw all of this back out into a mixer? Your choice, of course...
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 18475 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by Zukan »

Elf's suggestion is foolproof but if you want to go down the budget route think pre strips and ADAT.
User avatar
Zukan
Moderator
Posts: 9597 Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:00 am
'Shaka. When the walls fell. Zukan...with his arms wide.'
Eddie Bazil
Samplecraze 
The Audio Production Hub

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by James Perrett »

Zukan wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:12 pm Elf's suggestion is foolproof but if you want to go down the budget route think pre strips and ADAT.

Yes, if you are happy with standard sample rates you could go for a Digiface USB with your choice of convertors but if you want to work at 96kHz then MADI or Dante starts to look more attractive.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 12398 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by ShaneAnthony »

James Perrett wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:16 pm Yes, if you are happy with standard sample rates you could go for a Digiface USB with your choice of convertors but if you want to work at 96kHz then MADI or Dante starts to look more attractive.

Thanks for the replies! I have also been looking at the Lynx Aurora (n), but they offer 3 connectivity options.

I want high quality, and also to be set for the future, for upgrading, or anything else down the road. I'd like the converter to be something I don't worry about for a long time in my studio.

I also want to run each recorded track out to my outboard gear (Pultec EQs, Tube Compressors, Bricasti M7 reverb, etc...) and then back into Pro Tools, then send everything back out to analog sum through my Yamaha PM-2000 and my stereo Zener Limiter, then print the master back into PT. So with going in and out a couple times, I want the best conversion quality, so I'm not degrading sound each time.

I also want to input monitor through Pro Tools while recording. I know the Lynx is more expensive, but that's why I was wondering if the the new Lynx Aurora (n) would be better for me.

Regarding connectivity, I'm not sure which way would be best to go.

My PC has USB 3.0, and 3.1, but no Thunderbolt. I could get a Thunderbolt card for it, and get the Lynx Aurora w/Thunderbolt 3.

Or, if I bought the Lynx Aurora Dante version, could I connect it by plugging straight into one of my ethernet inputs on my PC?

I'm not sure how MADI works.

Lynx also offers an HDX version with Digilink, but I'm not sure how that connects to my PC either.

What would be best?
ShaneAnthony
New here
Posts: 6 Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:37 pm

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by jaminem »

Hi there as you've probably already guessed asking which is 'best' is probably not as simple as you thought.
In reality most modern converters will do a decent job and you are unlikely to find that at the sort of budget you are considering (Lynx Aurora's are expensive things) they cause you any noticeable problems.

To that end I never define 'best' as being just related to sound quality - in my world there are other important things that go towards making a product the best:

- Reliability
- Ease of use
- Expansion options
- Future support

These are all just as important as sound quality IMHO.
So some things to consider.
The converters on the Lynx i'm sure are fabulous, I heard the previous version and they were amazing so I have no doubt the later version will not disappoint, for me though the thing thats critical is the connection to the host PC, and the protocol used to do it. Yes there is a Thunderbolt connectivity option for the Aurora, but I would be wary of this. PC's and thunderbolt can still be a fairly flaky thing - its still not just a case of adding a thunderbolt card to your PC and off you go. Its better than it was for sure but its not a given, dependant on the age/type of your current device

This also means you would be at the mercy of Lynx's drivers. I would want to satisfy myself that these drivers worked well, were updated regularly in response to Microsoft's constant OS meddling, and have a decent projected lifespan.

If not I'd be looking at other options of a way to connect the Lynx to the Host PC - for me unless you are 100% wedded to PT at which point HDX (which I admit to knowing nothing about) seems sensible, the 2 options you have here are Dante and MADI.

Now, I have never used Dante, but If I was starting from scratch like you appear to be, I would 100% be looking at how to make that work - and if whatever I chose supported AVB, even better. IMHO network based audio is the future, its infinitely scalable, massively flexible and best of all, uses very cheap cabling which is proven in multiple applications.

Personally I went the MADI route, Dante was still a bit new and pricey for me (you say you don't know what this is - its a digital audio connection protocol much like ADAT in that its based on optical technology but it carries up to 64 channels of audio, and as long as you have the appropriate devices at each end of the chain it just works) Like Elf I have a Ferrofish A32 but mine is connected to an RME Fireface UFX+

The sound quality of both RME and Ferrofish is perfectly sufficient and is never an issue for me, despite using lots of outboard gear so lots of conversion, but more importantly the RME drivers are rock solid, frequently updated and RME have an amazing track record of legacy product support - this is my 3rd RME product yet they still support the 1st one I ever purchased

To summarise, choose whatever converter you wish, make sure it has Dante/AVB/MADI capability but build it around an RME core.
jaminem
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1259 Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 12:00 am

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by ShaneAnthony »

jaminem wrote: Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:08 am Hi there as you've probably already guessed asking which is 'best' is probably not as simple as you thought.
In reality most modern converters will do a decent job and you are unlikely to find that at the sort of budget you are considering (Lynx Aurora's are expensive things) they cause you any noticeable problems.

To that end I never define 'best' as being just related to sound quality - in my world there are other important things that go towards making a product the best:

- Reliability
- Ease of use
- Expansion options
- Future support

These are all just as important as sound quality IMHO.
So some things to consider.
The converters on the Lynx i'm sure are fabulous, I heard the previous version and they were amazing so I have no doubt the later version will not disappoint, for me though the thing thats critical is the connection to the host PC, and the protocol used to do it. Yes there is a Thunderbolt connectivity option for the Aurora, but I would be wary of this. PC's and thunderbolt can still be a fairly flaky thing - its still not just a case of adding a thunderbolt card to your PC and off you go. Its better than it was for sure but its not a given, dependant on the age/type of your current device

This also means you would be at the mercy of Lynx's drivers. I would want to satisfy myself that these drivers worked well, were updated regularly in response to Microsoft's constant OS meddling, and have a decent projected lifespan.

If not I'd be looking at other options of a way to connect the Lynx to the Host PC - for me unless you are 100% wedded to PT at which point HDX (which I admit to knowing nothing about) seems sensible, the 2 options you have here are Dante and MADI.

Now, I have never used Dante, but If I was starting from scratch like you appear to be, I would 100% be looking at how to make that work - and if whatever I chose supported AVB, even better. IMHO network based audio is the future, its infinitely scalable, massively flexible and best of all, uses very cheap cabling which is proven in multiple applications.

Personally I went the MADI route, Dante was still a bit new and pricey for me (you say you don't know what this is - its a digital audio connection protocol much like ADAT in that its based on optical technology but it carries up to 64 channels of audio, and as long as you have the appropriate devices at each end of the chain it just works) Like Elf I have a Ferrofish A32 but mine is connected to an RME Fireface UFX+

The sound quality of both RME and Ferrofish is perfectly sufficient and is never an issue for me, despite using lots of outboard gear so lots of conversion, but more importantly the RME drivers are rock solid, frequently updated and RME have an amazing track record of legacy product support - this is my 3rd RME product yet they still support the 1st one I ever purchased

To summarise, choose whatever converter you wish, make sure it has Dante/AVB/MADI capability but build it around an RME core.

Thanks for the reply.

I'm not starting from scratch, just making another transition in the studio journey. I've been doing this for 30 years, and love making music for the Lord. I'm a pastor, and a worshiper. I started out as a kid recording from one cassette tape to another to be able to do 2 tracks! Then I bought a 4 track cassette recorder when those were out, and it was unbelievable. From there I eventually transitioned to a Mackie board with a Tascam 8 track digital recorder and I was in heaven. Then a ProFire Lightbridge with Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo. Lately I've been using a Midas M32 Live digital board, and at this point, I'm married to Pro Tools. I'm excited to use my new Yamaha PM-2000 with a high quality converter. We feature a lot of guitars in our music, need the ability to record a full band at one time, and I love the vintage gooey 70's/80's warm sound.

One of the advantages of the Lynx Aurora (n) is it has exchangeable modules in the back, so if I need Dante in the future, or something else, I can switch out the Thunderbolt module for a different connection. That seems pretty future proof.

Also, I've read that Lynx support is superb. Everyone who has the original Aurora only has good things to say about it, and everyone who has the new (n) say they'll never use anything else. The sonics are supposed to be amazing. I have a question into Lynx to see what they recommend for my situation regarding connectivity.
ShaneAnthony
New here
Posts: 6 Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:37 pm

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by ShaneAnthony »

I ended up purchasing a Thunderbolt card for my motherboard, and bought the Lynx Aurora (n) 32 channel TB3, which will arrive by the end of this week. I pick up my Yamaha PM-2000 console out of state next week.

I had contacted Lynx directly about the different connectivity options on their new (n) converter, and they were great in answering all my questions. I thought this info might help someone else. Here is my communication with them. You can see my questions, and then the responses below:

Question #1.
Do you sell the 32 channel with USB?

No, the channel maximum for USB is 16 channels. On Windows you can only use one AuroraUSB at a time

Question #2.
Is there less latency with Thunderbolt over USB? I use Input Monitoring in Pro Tools, so latency matters a lot to me.

Thunderbolt is MUCH faster than USB. It is generally considered the best choice for software input monitoring. TB starts at <1ms, USB closer to 6ms

Question #3.
Should I buy a Thunderbolt card for my PC and get the Aurora (n) 32 channel TB3 version?

That would be great, but this is only an option if your motherboard is already thunderbolt ready. There is not a universal PCIe > Thunderbolt card, since thunderbolt is actually more bandwidth than PCIe.

Question #4.
I've never used Dante before, and don't know anything about it. If I bought the Dante version, would it simply connect via one of the Ethernet ports on the back of my PC?

Dante is similar in latency to USB. Not particularly fast. It does get close to thunderbolt speeds with a Dante accelerator card, like the ones sold by Focusrite, SSL and Yamaha. That will get you under 2ms of latency. With the Dante Virtual soundcard, you would still be start at @ 6ms.

Question #5.
Should I buy the HDX version along with a Lynx LT-HD2 card? Keep in mind, I only have Pro Tools Studio

That would also be a low latency option, but I believe you would need to upgrade to ProTools Ultimate for that to work.

Of the four options, and considering latency is important to you, I would suggest the thunderbolt option or HDX option as your best performers.
ShaneAnthony
New here
Posts: 6 Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:37 pm

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

Thanks for the update ShaneAnthony!

I've slightly edited your post above to make the distinction between questions and answers clearer, and also to remove the name of the Lynx support staff member who signed off at the end.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 7574 Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works | The SOS Forum Album projects
 

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by ShaneAnthony »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Thu Jul 07, 2022 12:42 am Thanks for the update ShaneAnthony!

I've slightly edited your post above to make the distinction between questions and answers clearer, and also to remove the name of the Lynx support staff member who signed off at the end.

Thank you!
ShaneAnthony
New here
Posts: 6 Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:37 pm

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by The Elf »

I use Input Monitoring in Pro Tools...

I'd urge a re-think on this. Monitoring through your DAW is adding latency from square one. That's why I use RME, and that's why I'm devoted to TotalMix.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 18475 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Converter for PC?

Post by resistorman »

The Elf wrote: Thu Jul 07, 2022 10:17 am
I use Input Monitoring in Pro Tools...

I'd urge a re-think on this. Monitoring through your DAW is adding latency from square one. That's why I use RME, and that's why I'm devoted to TotalMix.

^^
Yes
User avatar
resistorman
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2049 Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:00 am Location: Asheville NC
"The Best" piece of gear is subjective.
Post Reply