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Author Topic: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44  (Read 5238 times)

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Offline bhadella

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A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« on: January 15, 2011, 11:45:11 PM »
Since I recently got my USBPre 2, I've wanted to create a comparison of the a/d stages of the Sound Devices USBPre 2 and Edirol R44.   Last night I was able to send signal to each (via a splitter cable) to test this.   The source is DPA 4023 into a Sonosax SX/M2 preamp.   Here's the link and the textfile I created describing how I setup the comparison.


http://www.mediafire.com/?z8tc0fyvy2lb3


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Details of the text file I included:

"Here's my comp of the USBPre 2 a/d vs the R44 a/d.

Source file is from the 01/14/2011 Railroad Earth concert at The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC.  The song is Walk Beside Me.
I ran a cable splitting the signal from my DPA 4023 (5' LOC at FOH, 8' up, DIN) > Sonosax SX-M2 source to both the USBPre 2 and R44.   
Both a/ds were set to unity gain on the R44 (+4db on outer ring, 12:00 on inner ring) and USBPre 2 (line in via 1/4TS, 12:00 on gain).
Post processing was only adding gain till the Average RMS Power of each channel was -16.50 dB.
I will post the sources in a few days but feel free to PM or email me for the results.

Brian Hadella
bhadella@yahoo.com
01/15/2011"
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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2011, 12:34:14 AM »
Thanks, interesting.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

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Offline acidjack

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2011, 11:51:04 AM »
Brian,

Have you tried the DPAs running straight into the USBpre2 (i.e., using its pre as well)?  Any thoughts on that?
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

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Offline bhadella

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 06:24:01 AM »
Brian,

Have you tried the DPAs running straight into the USBpre2 (i.e., using its pre as well)?  Any thoughts on that?

My next comparison posted (probably next week) with be Sonosax (pre-only) vs USBPre 2 (pre-only). 
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Offline bhadella

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 06:24:56 AM »
I'm shocked by the lack of comments.   Anyone listen to the files and have any guesses of which source is which?
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Offline fmaderjr

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 08:55:04 AM »
As I expected, both recordings sound great to me. I guess it's just me but even the ADC in an iHP-120 sounds fine to me. My ears just aren't that good at my age to tell the difference.
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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 04:01:19 PM »
There seems to be a difference of more low end in Y and more mid to highs in X.  Just guessing to be interesting that Y is the SD pre and X is the R-44.   The difference is IMHO probably due to the PRe amps in each unit and not the A/D conversions

Offline bhadella

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 04:25:13 PM »
What do you think page?
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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 04:26:19 PM »
For those of you (ok, it's only been a few folks) dying to know which is which, I'll post the results on Monday morning. 
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Offline rastasean

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 05:55:40 PM »
Well you picked my favorite RRE song so it will be easier for me to listen to over and over to see what differences I can hear.

I also think that they will sound very similar. What would be interesting next would be the usb2 xlr with the mixpre xlr.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 10:28:34 PM »
What do you think page?

I still stand with my initial thoughts that I can't ABX differences between the two. Every time I think I've found something, I re-listen on the other set and i can't confirm a difference between them. I've done something to my left ear so there is no point in listening a third time until it clears out or whatever is wrong with it...  :-\

So I'm going to guess that X is the usbpre based on other evidence/assumptions.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2011, 08:32:05 PM »
And the results are:














Edirol R44 = Source X
USBPre 2 = Source Y

I slightly preferred the USBPre 2; more clarity in the highs and less muddy bass.  They are very close and shows that the R44 is no slouch. 
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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2011, 09:16:48 PM »
I didn't realize that the results were posted until I just visited this thread.  (I found the link to this comparison over on Page 18 of the USBPre2 thread without realizing that this comp had been posted separately.)

My listening was through my sound card and a pair of Audio Technical ATH-M50 cans. 

The high end detail is retained and more pronounced on Source Y.  The decay on the snare can be heard much better on Source Y.  Source X in comparison sounds understated and muted after listening to Source Y for awhile.  I felt that Source Y has a more pleasing overall sound and honestly after listening to both for a good while (letting them both 'sink in' so to speak), I did feel that there was quite a large difference between the two sources which caused me to PM Brian and tell him that my preference was hands down in favor of Source Y.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 09:25:14 PM by tonedeaf »

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2011, 10:50:38 PM »
Ok, I'll bite, who can point point a section (say, a bass hit or something) where they were like "ah HA! that's the difference" (I've had my ears worked on courtesy of the audiologist today, it's as good as it will get). I'm looking for something I could listen to and pinpoint here. For the one that john did between the 722 and the M10, there was a bass note about 10 seconds in that I could point out a detail difference, and something else later in the piano section I could pick out (and I correctly got that one).

On that note, the reason I thought they were backwards is because X lagged Y by about 19 samples. I was guessing that lag was the usbpre2 being in the chain and the lag was in writing the digital signal, but it was evidently the other way around.

btw for clarity sake, as steve noted, my playback gear is: optical > grace 901 > denon D7000 (markl mod damped and recupped).
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2011, 07:43:44 AM »
Ok, I'll bite, who can point point a section (say, a bass hit or something) where they were like "ah HA! that's the difference"

First another note of explanation to set the stage for how I do listening comps...whenever I do comps like this, I load the samples into Audition and then lay the tracks side-by-side so that I can listen immediately without any time delay whatsoever between the two listening samples.  I go back and forth from one to the other and back again listening to the very same passage over and over.  Then I'll mentally isolate all different types of sounds...I concentrate separately on lows, then mids, highs, vocals, guitars, drums, etc.

For me, these samples weren't necessarily an 'AHA there's the difference'.  However, I did notice a clear winner when I selected Source Y in my blind listening test. 

Through my phones, Source Y has an overall better shimmery sound that is pleasing and sounds more realistic to me, like it sounds when you're listening live.  That was my 'aha' difference that made Source Y for me the winner.

If I'd have to choose a specific 'aha', the biggest technical difference I heard was on the drum kit.  I'm not a drummer, but I think it's called the snare drum that I focused on...it's the drum that's the most treble-y in the kit.  The sound of the drum hit happens and then there's a momentary decaying of the sound of the drum hit.  On source Y, that decay sustains clearer and with better resonance.  In comparison, on Source X the sound is more thud-like with less pronounced decay.

Obviously, I'm not saying that Source X's drums sound like a 'thud' to me, but this is a comp and I'm simply trying to provide a word description of the differences I hear.  While I did hear clear differences that lead me to choose Source Y fairly quickly, I'd of course never say that Source X sounds bad.  The differences I hear are definitely subtle, but enough to kinda make me alot more excited about hearing the forthcoming promised preamp comps on the USBPre2.  :)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 07:52:28 AM by tonedeaf »

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Re: A/D Comp: Sound Devices USBPre 2 vs Edirol R44
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2011, 09:50:54 AM »
Ok, I'll bite, who can point point a section (say, a bass hit or something) where they were like "ah HA! that's the difference"

First another note of explanation to set the stage for how I do listening comps...whenever I do comps like this, I load the samples into Audition and then lay the tracks side-by-side so that I can listen immediately without any time delay whatsoever between the two listening samples.  I go back and forth from one to the other and back again listening to the very same passage over and over.  Then I'll mentally isolate all different types of sounds...I concentrate separately on lows, then mids, highs, vocals, guitars, drums, etc.

For me, these samples weren't necessarily an 'AHA there's the difference'.  However, I did notice a clear winner when I selected Source Y in my blind listening test. 

I was right there with you until you picked one.  :)

At least I don't have something horribly wrong with my process.

Through my phones, Source Y has an overall better shimmery sound that is pleasing and sounds more realistic to me, like it sounds when you're listening live.  That was my 'aha' difference that made Source Y for me the winner.

If I'd have to choose a specific 'aha', the biggest technical difference I heard was on the drum kit.  I'm not a drummer, but I think it's called the snare drum that I focused on...it's the drum that's the most treble-y in the kit.  The sound of the drum hit happens and then there's a momentary decaying of the sound of the drum hit.  On source Y, that decay sustains clearer and with better resonance.  In comparison, on Source X the sound is more thud-like with less pronounced decay.

Part of my problem is if I cant say "listen to the first three snare hits, now listen to the cymbol decay on the third one and compare the length and crunch effect mid-decay" then I generally don't mark something down as a difference. If I can't attribute a sensation to a repeatable and defined difference, it's not a difference to me that escapes an ABX effort. I remember listening to that shimmer on the 722/M10 comp and falling in love with one of the sources, but I could never pinpoint why, so to me that's psychological. It wasn't until I sat and listened to a few specific bass notes that I started to really hear differences I could repeatedly pick out. I'll go back and listen to the drums specifically tonight and see if I can find an isolated hit to compare. Thanks for the notes.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

 

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