[linux-audio-user] External DAC for mastering use?

R Parker rtp405 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 22 13:08:57 EST 2004

--- Daniel James <daniel at mondodesigno.com> wrote:
> > Why do
> > you want to do D/A. I would maintain digital all
> the
> > way unless I've got some external analog gear that
> is
> > very high quality.
> Well, in your mastering room I know you've got
> Mackie powered 
> monitors, so I'd expect you're using a digital input
> on those and the 
> D/A I'm talking about is taking place on a board
> inside the speaker.

My method seems to change everytime I turn around but
I've always got a consol in the chain. My thing is to
trust the JAMin meters, burn to file, and then to CD.
I have been taking the stereo out from the Tascam
DM-24 and routing it to an external CD-R. I do not
trust the metering on the DM-24. For monitoring
purposes a mixer is fine but it's not ideal for
sending the final signal. In fact, it simply creates
alot of doubts for me. 

> In my case, I already have some good amps and
> passive speakers - I'm 
> intending to use a Cyrus Two amp and a pair of
> Tannoy Cheviots, which 
> have the 12" dual concentric HPD drivers, a later
> version of the 
> Monitor Golds.

I'm not familiar with those monitors. Someone I know
that has been mastering for years uses Tannoy. I
forget the model.

These are much better than most
> target listening 
> devices, and since my house isn't very big the
> mastering suite has to 
> double as the lounge! (Some acoustic treatment will
> no doubt be 
> required, as I can hear flutter echoes at present.)

Is the studio in the house? If yes, maybe you could
run cable from the mixing and printing setup to the
mastering room. That could eliminate the need for any
new audio cards.

> The source material is recorded on a Delta 1010, so
> I'm now thinking 
> an appropriate setup on the mastering machine would
> be an Audiophile 
> PCI, with maybe an external DAC upgrade later.

I'm not familiar with the 1010. Does it have A/D with 
a pair of A and D for I/O? If yes, I wouldn't worry to
much about upgrading it.

Everything in the recording chain matters. To add
budget mastering into your chain is a huge payback.
>From an investment of time and money, upgrading A/D
could pale in comparison with your budget mastering
setup. I'm not saying A/D doesn't matter, it does. I
am suggesting that you look for an investment that
will give the equivalent bang for the buck that the
mastering has.

A good preamp is a fine example of bang for the buck.
If you record with overdubs then it can be used on the
kick drum, bass guitar, guitar, vocals, etc. It's
probably equal in value to having mastering
capabilities. BTW, good preamps are expensive. It
costs ardound $250.00 to test componentry and assemble
these types of devices. You can purchase DIY preamp
kits. I've seen what appear to be good kits at $500
per channel.

If you do any accoustical design on the room,
definitely post a message. I can probably help you
understand the challange--obviously many people on
this list can. Hidden away in my empire of crap, I
have spreadsheets with formulas for simple cube shaped
rooms. You can specify the desired reverberation time
and calculate frequency absorption based on sabin
value from the total square footage of existing
materials. In my simple requirements, the objective is
to achieve flat frequency response from 20Hz to 4kHz.
I'm sure the million dollar rooms require much more
intesive calculations than the rooms I've been
involved with.

If you build the treatment as panels that hang or
stand on walls, they can be moved. Owens Corning
accoustical insulation, the primary material, is

> plan is to make 
> the mastering box (which will be an Opteron 240 with
> 1GB RAM) run 
> headless with a wi-fi card, so the display is on a
> laptop or tablet.

> Then I'll be able to sit on the sofa and listen away
> from the 
> nearfield, and tweak settings without having a large
> noisy machine 
> between me and the speakers. That's the theory,
> anyway... 

Makes sense to me.


> Thanks for all the advice!
> Daniel

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