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The ADC Conundrum: For studio and audiophiles looking for the right features

Blumlein 88

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Not sure what you really want. An RME would seem to fit your needs perfectly, but you don't want to spend that much and oh yeah, for some reason you want Win 7 capable even though you'll be building a Win10 production system. Since that would enlarge possibly candidates greatly you probably should do that first. And RME even with an old Fireface is almost sure to work with your old Win 7 system. But you want it cheap. Bottom line is I think the market for this is too small and you aren't getting it cheap even though you can do so on the DAC side of things.

Than you wrote the following:

In which case, many went to older generation Cirrus chips which are fantastic...if someone knows how to build around them it is nearly as good as the Sabre and I am totally cool with that. In fact, most of those who know how to build around the AKMs are fantastic too. But... they DO impart a sound, and I prefer the ESS when the analog settles in, it is wide, dimensional, airy, and sensitive to levels which means if you are extremely picky and the analog is made extremely well...you can dial in YOUR sweet spot and it takes perfectly.

Respectfully, no the chipset doesn't impart a sound. The performance achieved while maybe not SOTA is not an identifiable sound via chip brand used. As long as you believe such things it will limit your options unnecessarily.

So if you want to make headway, get onto Win10 or 11. The best interface meeting what you describe for cheap currently is the Topping Professional E2x2. Much better than average ADC, much better than average headphone output power, and a good enough DAC though presumably not a priority for you for $159.
 

Hemi-Demon

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The Cosmos uses the best spec'd ESS chip. The Audient ID14 is said to use the same chip, but they only switched to it I think last year. I don't know of measures of that version. Some have said the ID 4 made that switch as well, but I'm not sure. Previously Audient used Burr-Brown.

Julian Krause has measured the latest release(s)

 

GXAlan

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@bbgma1234

The E1DA Cosmos ADC *and* scaler (which acts as a buffer to address the input impedance issues for a capacitor coupled line out) are available from Audiophonics in France. They stock the units in France and it’s pretty fast going to the US.

The E1DA measures superbly, but the RME line is generally the go-to option when you want actual customer support/warranty, etc.
 

MadMaxx

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I switched from using dacs to an audio interface a couple weeks ago. I got the Apogee Duet 3 LE bundle (Duet 3 + dock) and couldn’t be more pleased with the performance. My speakers are Adam Audio A7V and SVS SB-3000. They integrated seamlessly with the Duet 3.

 
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bbgma1234

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The Cosmos uses the best spec'd ESS chip. The Audient ID14 is said to use the same chip, but they only switched to it I think last year. I don't know of measures of that version. Some have said the ID 4 made that switch as well, but I'm not sure. Previously Audient used Burr-Brown.

The Cosmos uses the best spec'd ESS chip. The Audient ID14 is said to use the same chip, but they only switched to it I think last year. I don't know of measures of that version. Some have said the ID 4 made that switch as well, but I'm not sure. Previously Audient used Burr-Brown.
Been doing a lot of reading and comparison audio listening. I'm leaning towards giving the ID14 mk2 a try and comparing line source to optical in. Same for Clarett. I'm not certain what exactly they changed on the ID4 and 14 from v1 to mk2, there are a lot of things about people's anecdotal response to how the mic pre's layer well in dense mixes compared to people testing against the Scarlett gen 2, 3, 4, and Clarett. Most of that can speak to whether the gimmicky vibe on things like the volt and Clarett are being used or simply masking other shortcomings of a pre. I'm much more interested in a line-in that simply provides an excellent source through a chip that is designed not to mask anything. These units seem extremely close, but I'll know when I listen (as long as the drivers allow). Thanks for your input Blumlein!
 

Nutul

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I am still not hire sure what you actually want in terms of functionality, but I have used the RME ADI ‘pro’ extensively that measures well ,
There is a new version of the Lynx ‘Hilo’ on the horizon, ( original version measured here) and just recently I have been using the new Eversolo ‘preamp the A-8 no measurements for that unit yet. though.
Keith
His point is the price. Here you're bringing to the table two products that are in the 1K5 / 2K range. While (his main point) SOTA DACs (DAC-only) are available at 1/4 of those prices (hence the "Add a SOTA ADC and you are at 2K in the blink of an eye")...
 

m8o

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will be building a Win10Pro online studio production computer.
Word of warning ... Microsoft already has Win 10 in their End-of-Life crosshairs. So you may want to target Win 11 now. As your Win 10 system may be in the same boat as Win 7 the day after you finish with it. ;)
 
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bbgma1234

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Word of warning ... Microsoft already has Win 10 in their End-of-Life crosshairs. So you may want to target Win 11 now. As your Win 10 system may be in the same boat as Win 7 the day after you finish with it. ;)
Yep once I finish testing installations on the Win 10 machine I plan to clone it and upgrade to win11 and test for the dll issues that shall ensue, since I already have colleagues unable to use some of their critical programs on 11. "Progress".
 

sm5

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It seems that something like this would let someone in my situation get in and out via spdif with USB, class compliant, using any external AD/DA:
Am I reading it right?
Does anyone make a stripped down version of this? And importantly, fewer ins/outs but highest quality chip?
I'd suggest just picking up a Motu Mk5 (or new 828) then instead of the older versions. Mk5 has +24dBu inputs actually unlike the newer 828! I'm using mine mostly as ADC but mostly as digital I/O on windows/mac *need Win 10.
(Optical in from tv, Digital out to DX5 & digital out to TC-BMC-2 for digital volume control of Neumann speakers)

If you're recording or using pro-level +24dBu gear: you might be better off with this or a pro interface than a more consumer level 'SOTA' DAC or ADC anyways. (For example trying to reamp with my DX5 doesn't get much output whereas the MK5 pumps out enough to be able to reamp more easily)

Just look at the review/measurements done by Amir here vs some of the TOTL interfaces and it's pretty close to RME anyways and better than Lynx Hilo DAC. You can output 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos on mac with it + hook up an external DAC/HP output if you need more power. The low latency mixing actually works great. Preamp is quite clean. I had a Merging Anubis and Hilo and 828ES and Prism and E1DA ADC and Mixpre 10ii among many others and just have this now.

Look at my measurements of the Motu mk5 vs the E1DA ADC into Motu. *might not be completely correct as who knows how exactly RMAA works or if I had all settings right :p

But the difference isn't that huge (at least going through the Mk5 DAC) Yes, maybe I'd get another version if there was a SPDIF version or 2 in and out version or something similar - but would maybe still prefer +24dBu I/O for certain preamps/pro gear.

But yes, I agree that more standalone ADC's that are reasonable prices would be nice to simply even expand a current interface. (Combo ADC/DAC would be nicer!)

*I'd also suggest Cranborne EC1 or 2 for a really clean input/front end and it has 0 latency monitor mixing for headphones which will be lower latency than any interface. The headphone output is also quite loud. (Much louder than Mk5)
 

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PortalKeeper

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I’m a bit confused, why not just buy the Cosmos E1DA ADC? It’s under $400. Isn’t that the solution to this conundrum?
 

Guermantes

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I get your point about Windows legacy software. I sometimes need to use 32-bit applications that really only run on XP. Or some older version of MacOS.

If you want current Win 7 drivers and USB/FW I/O, then the RME Fireface series is pretty much your best bet, IMHO. I have an RME UFX that is still solid as a rock over FireWire after switching from Win 7 to 10. It's fine over USB, too. There's a reason you pay a premium for their stuff and it's not just about the converter or preamp specs.

I'm also running an old Apogee Rosetta 200 as an extra AD/DA/digital format switcher. Great unit but probably the E1DA ADC has a much better A/D spec.

Would the Focusrite Octopre suit your use case? Do you have an older audio interface that can be configured to run as a standalone AD? There are some units that have been pressed into service in this way, even though their driver support has dried up. E.g. :
 
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