OB (Rytm) A/D Conversion vs Duet 2

I remember when Overbridge was announced there were concerns about the quality and usability of the analog to digital converters. The first time I heard my tracks through Overbridge, I thought that it sounded good enough to work with (monitoring on Genelec 8030as through an Apogee Duet 2 in a very well treated and ground up constructed control room).

But I was curious to see how it specifically compared to my Duet 2 so I did some tests recording a track through the stereo Rytm Overbridge A/D feed, and my Duet 2 both with line input and with 25dB preamp gained input (the latter as I was curious if the Duet 2’s preamp could impart any vibe).

I found that there were differences, but primarily in the low end. Whether the difference is better or worse is purely subjective.

Below is a graphic that demonstrates the different frequency response measurements of the same musical phrase recorded with Overbridge, Duet 2’s preamps, and Duet 2’s line level input. This is not an overall measurement of either interface’s response. It only establishes a comparison.

Audibly I noticed that the low end was not as pronounced on the Duet 2 (both preamp and line in). Some would call it “tighter” or “flatter”, though I didn’t find the Overbridge recording to be boomy. Again, it was just different.
Response on the Overbridge recording is tighter below 30hz than both Duet recordings, however not as tight as the Duet 2 between 40hz and 150hz.

Keep in mind that Rytm’s balanced output amps may also be doing something here to the Duet 2, and that there is more at play than just the conversion.

I’ll continue to use Overbridge for multi-track recording my Rytm. It is indeed good enough, and I can work with the differences which are much less pronounced than the differences I found a couple years ago when I swapped out my Audiofire 4 for the Duet 2.
One thing I will probably change, however, is how I track in the 9th and 10th channels from Rytm, the stereo FX returns. As the conversion and stereo field sounded fairly comparable between OB and Duet 2, I will experiment with running Rytm’s stereo main outs carrying the FX returns only into my A4’s two inputs and recording those into Overbridge on the back of the A4, instead of into the Duet 2.

Do you use the Rytm in 24bit mode?

All was recorded in 16 bit to DAW, and OB was in 16 bit mode., as I will always seek to get the highest track count with Overbridge.

Interesting… the Duet pre seems to smooth it all out a bit but as you say, it’s not an overall measurement that one should really judge on.

So far, I haven’t needed to multitrack the RYTM but that’s mostly because I haven’t really produced for print yet. It’s only gotten a healthy amount of live use and many hours of writing and sounddesigning at home…

I hope OB will be reliable enough under Logic to really put it to work someday soon so I can create some intricate sounds with lots of automation like I do with my synths… :slight_smile:

Thanks for posting Adam! Could you also post a link to the recording?

I´m thinking about opening a thread “Elektron A/D vs. your soundcard” … just to collected differend comparsions between recording via Overbridge and different soundcards. I guess this will bring out, how good (or worse) the converters are … and how much voodoo it is =)

So the basic idea is to record a track simultaneously via overbridge and via the soundcard master-out. What do you think about the idea?

I’d rather not upload the recordings as that wasn’t really the purpose of this post. It was more of an anecdote based on evaluation of loose, non-critical measurements, and real world use. Hardly the vacuum of a laboratory. :wink:

I’m sure there are many who would like to see such critical tests and comparisons that you propose. But, for my own subjective experience, I’m done comparing. It’s good enough (for me).

It’s been a while ago that i did some listening tests between the Octatrack and Apogee Duet 2 & Symphony I/O, Sound Devices USBPre 2, SSC Capybara 320, Akai S1100 and a Lexicon DC-1 surround preamp.

The listening tests are not based on measurements so only by listening to music. My reference list in sound quality of music are:

Grace Jones - “Don’t Cry - It’s Only The Rhythm” from Slave to the Rhythm
Laurie Anderson - “Speechless” from Bright Red
John Williams - “Invading Elliott’s house” from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial soundtrack
Trentemøller - “Chameleon” from The Last Resort

The DA conversion that i like the most is:

  1. Sound Devices USBPre 2
  2. Apogee Symphony I/O
  3. SSC Capybara 320
  4. Akai S1100
  5. Lexicon DC-1
  6. Apogee Duet 2
  7. Elektron Octatrack

Thanks for sharing your findings.
I’m curious as to what monitors and/or headphones you’re making those judgements with?

Also, I’m a big fan of blind tests for such comparisons. Whether we care to admit it or not, we are influenced by the knowledge of what we are listening to, when we know.

Thanks for sharing your findings.
I’m curious as to what monitors and/or headphones you’re making those judgements with?

Also, I’m a big fan of blind tests for such comparisons. Whether we care to admit it or not, we are influenced by the knowledge of what we are listening to, when we know.[/quote]
I forgot the SSC Capybara 320 from Kyma.

  1. Sound Devices USBPre 2 - because of it’s analog character
  2. Apogee Symphony I/O - because of the width and depth in the stereo image
  3. SSC Capybara 320 - sounds very precise in a scientific way
  4. Akai S1100 - I grew up with it and it’s still sounds perfect
  5. Lexicon DC-1 - there is something about the Lexicon, very musical sounding
  6. Apogee Duet 2 - sounds great but less dynamic compared to above
  7. Elektron Octatrack - sounds less phase coherent to my ears

The monitors that i use are the Driade 103 MKII and no headphones are used on this test.

I’ve had the same experience with the Babyface. Though it is actually how the Babyface is designed to sound. Something to do with sounding like a mixing desk. So for that reason I was quite pleased to hear the OB conversion, as a (good sounding) alternative to the babyface.

Maybe the Duet is designed in a similar way.