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  • #16
    This seems like a good stopping point, as we’ve covered the major gozindas and gozoutas, as well as a bit of the physical construction. The next step will be to feed the ADAT out into something with an ADAT in, crank up those mic pres, and see what they sound like.

    And as always, remember this is an interactive review format. Got questions? Got answers? Care to illuminate us all about how the master clock thing affects slave units? Is there a a schematic online somewhere? Stay tuned!
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    • #17
      Originally posted by Anderton
      The DigiMAX FS has word clock in and out, and is meant to be daisy-chained with other systems. PreSonus makes a big deal of their “JetPLL” technology, which supposedly gives extremely low jitter. I’m assuming that might make some sonic differences with the conversion process; as to using the DigiMAX FS as a master clock, I’m a little less clear as to how that process works…when it’s a master clock, do the slave clocks re-clock internally based on what they receive, or follow the master clock exactly? Hey, I don’t know everything…


      Craig,

      I won't attempt to pretend to know everything on this subject but there are a few things I know. The JetPPL in DigiMAX FS is developed by TC Applied Technologies, a division of TC Electronic. Its the same technology found in the DICE II chip. This chip is used in the TC Electronic's Konnekt 24D interface as well as Presonus's new FireStudio. I'm not certain that this product has the DICE II chip, since it doesn't have 1394. I suspect is just has a component of it for JET (Jitter Elimination Technology).

      In the case of the Konnekt 24D, I've been told that any incoming digital source will be "corrected" to have the same jitter spec as the Konnekt regardless of which of the units is the master clock. In our own tests, the jitter spec of the Konnekt 24D and likewise the DigiMAX FS will be very hard to beat even compared against dedicated clocking products.

      Mike Martin
      TC|US
      -Mike Martin
      Casio America, Inc.

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      • #18
        <<In the case of the Konnekt 24D, I've been told that any incoming digital source will be "corrected" to have the same jitter spec as the Konnekt regardless of which of the units is the master clock.>>

        That's a neat trick. Just to make sure I understand...so you don't have to use the DigiMAX FS or Konnekt 24D as a master to gain the benefits of the JetPLL technology?

        <<In our own tests, the jitter spec of the Konnekt 24D and likewise the DigiMAX FS will be very hard to beat even compared against dedicated clocking products.>>

        BTW I think it is extremely cool when a "competitor" paticipates in a Pro Review in a neutral, helpful manner. And yes, I'm looking forward to starting the Konnekt 24D Pro Review next week

        Now excuse me while I get out my ADAT cables and set up my mixer for testing with the DigiMAX FS....
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        • #19
          Originally posted by Anderton
          That's a neat trick. Just to make sure I understand...so you don't have to use the DigiMAX FS or Konnekt 24D as a master to gain the benefits of the JetPLL technology?


          That is correct

          Originally posted by Anderton
          BTW I think it is extremely cool when a "competitor" paticipates in a Pro Review in a neutral, helpful manner. And yes, I'm looking forward to starting the Konnekt 24D Pro Review next week


          Presonus makes great stuff! I've known those guys since my Kurzweil days. Plus the DigiMAX FS would make a great expansion for the Konnekt 24D.
          -Mike Martin
          Casio America, Inc.

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          • #20
            Even though I couldn’t take the unit apart completely, this shot shows the insides behind the front panel,


            I think it would be interesting to see what's going on there. I have been thinking about cracking open my Firepod (now that they're not quite as expensive to replace) to see the possibility of upgrading opamps, but of course, I should probably talk to Rick Naqvi first... does he hang around these forums?

            I'm interested to hear how the preamps stack up against the Firepods... apparently, the Firestudio sounds significantly better, which would be impressive for a sub $100-per-channel pre amp. Obviously, the improvement in AD/DA is of interest as well.

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            • #21
              <<I think it would be interesting to see what's going on there.>>

              That's one vote. If I get a dozen votes, I'll get out the nutdriver and camera!

              <<I have been thinking about cracking open my Firepod (now that they're not quite as expensive to replace) to see the possibility of upgrading opamps, but of course, I should probably talk to Rick Naqvi first... does he hang around these forums?>>

              He posted a lot in the Inspire 1394 thread, and was very helpful I might add...maybe he'll put in an appearance here when he gets a chance.
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              • #22
                <<Plus the DigiMAX FS would make a great expansion for the Konnekt 24D. >>

                One more thing to put on the "test with" list!
                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                • #23
                  I have been thinking about cracking open my Firepod (now that they're not quite as expensive to replace) to see the possibility of upgrading opamps, but of course, I should probably talk to Rick Naqvi first... does he hang around these forums?


                  Upgrading opamps on the Firepod will be a bit more challenging than on our transformer balanced pres (Eureka, MP20, M80, VXP) because the opamps on the Firepod are not socketed. However, that challenge hasn't stopped some from trying....

                  However, since this ProReview is on the Digimax FS, we should probably let Craig do his thing. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions relating to your Firepod.....

                  Carry on Craig!
                  Rick Naqvi
                  www.presonus.com
                  800.750.0323 x0641

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                  • #24
                    I figured I'd test out the ADAT connections next. So, I hooked up a light pipe cable from the DigiMAX FS ADAT out 1-8 (not the 96kHz SMUX out) to the E-Mu 1820m ADAT in, and the E-Mu 1820m ADAT out to the DigiMAX FS ADAT 1-8 in. So far so good.

                    I wanted to sync the 1820 from the DigiMAX FS clock at 44.1kHz, so I just hit the DigiMAX FS internal clock button until the 44.1kHz light came on.

                    Next up: Setting up the 1820m. I called up the PatchMix template for 48kHz ADAT transfer, which opens up four stereo ADAT strips for the eight tracks, and also four stereo strips for ASIO for good measure. I set the PatchMix DSP external source to ADAT, which seemed like the right thing to do

                    Then I booted up Sonar 6, and did the proper input enabling routine to recognize the signal coming in from ADAT channels 1/2. Success! The mic sound came through clean and clear.
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                    • #25
                      I also tried running off the 1820m's internal clock, and synching the DigiMAX FS to it. Again, the DigiMAX FS operation was obvious: When you hit the External Sync button, it's either unlit (which means that internal sync is on, or with successive presses, it glows red (ADAT sync) or blue (word clock sync). I also set the PatchMix DSP's clock to internal sync.

                      I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that switching sample rates around didn't produce horrible pops or clicking sounds. What's up with that? There was something beneficial happening somewhere, because Sonar's input channel would mute as soon as the sample rate changed, and wouldn't carry signal again until I re-enabled direct monitoring. Does the 1820 mute when it doesn't see a clock, maybe? That seems unlikely, because I assume it would just switch over to its internal clock. Or does Sonar lose direct monitoring when its clock goes away? I don't know if this was the result of conscious thought or just a happy accident, but it was nice to know that if I forgot to down down the monitors before changing sample rates, my ears (and monitor) would survive.

                      So, could I hear a difference between running off the 1820's clock and the DigiMAX FS's clock? Well, doing an A-B comparison just doesn't hack it because of the time required to switch over from one mode to another, and there was no hugely obvious difference. So, I think I'll record a track with the first part done with the 1820's internal clock, and the second part synching off the DigiMAX FS clock. Stay tuned, I'll be back in a couple of minutes...
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                      • #26
                        I recorded two different takes, but really, there wasn't any significant difference using a single mic. Perhaps complex material would show off any differences. Or, it just may be that the 1820m has a pretty stable clock anyway.

                        So, you might ask, why didn't I set up rigorous test conditions? Because if the difference is that subtle, it's time to move on to other things (like testing with program material or whatever).
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                        • #27
                          Now, let me make it clear that I believe there are basically three types of mic pres in this world:

                          * Cheapo pres. This is what you find in budget gear. They tend to be somewhat harsher and don't feel as "flat," but even cheap pres aren't all that awful these days. We won't even consider the pres you find in consumer sound cards and such.

                          * Middle-class "designer" pres. These are what you find in better quality mid-class gear, like the Mackie Onyx preamps, those in the 1820m, and the PreSonus. These are basically preamps that people would have killed for back in the 70s, when for this kind of price you usually ended up buying a white noise generator.

                          * Big-bucks "designer" pres. A good frame of reference here is the PreSonus ADL 600, or products from Manley, Demeter, etc. You don't just buy these because they're accurate, you buy them because they have a certain "character" that enhances the source.

                          So I recorded two tracks, one going through the DigiMAX FS preamps, and one going through the E-Mu 1820m preamps. Remember that the 1820 gets its "M" designation from having better quality pres than the regular 1820. I also used the PatchMix DSP application to listen to just the 1820 mic pre and the DigiMAX FS mic pre, by balancing levels and closely as possible, and

                          This time, I definitely noticed a difference. The 1820m pre was more "midrangy" whereas the DigiMAX FS seemed more "balanced" over the frequency range. However, my sense is that this had much more to with how the dynamic mic interacted with the front end in terms of impedance, because a tube condenser mic didn't exhibit the same kind of difference. Once again, this drives home the point that it's the synergy among various pieces of gear that make a "sound," not a particular piece of gear.

                          Having said that, though, the fact is that the DigiMAX FS has eight pres vs. the two in the 1820m or two in the Onyx Satellite (which I used as a comparison). The fact that they sound very "honest," and balanced across the spectrum, is pretty cool given the price. Bottom line: You get eight very fine mic pres in the DigiMAX FS that I would file under the "middle class designer pre" category...actually, maybe even upper middle class.

                          Just for kicks, though, I think I'll use an averaging, peak-holding analyzer to see if any visual differences show up between the two tracks. Excuse me for a few minutes...I'll be back.
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                          • #28
                            Mission accomplished...download the attachment to see the two spectrum analysis plots.

                            I used the new Analyzer plug-ins in Sonar 6 and played the two tracks using the "max" setting until the settings stabilized into what you see here.

                            The top image is of the 1820m, and the bottom image, of the DigiMAX FS. Interestingly, it shows that my ears weren't lying Remember, each horizontal line represents 10dB, so even a small difference in the graph translates into several dB.

                            Between 80 and 160Hz, the rolloff on the DigiMAX FS is clearly gentler, accounting for the fuller sound in the bass range. In the midrange, you can see that the 1820 dips a bit more between 640Hz and 1.3kHz, but has more energy between 2.6 and 5.1kHz. This probably accounts for the "midrangey" effect I heard, which reminds me of the kind of sound I associate with a transformer (although as far as I know there's no transformer in there).

                            To summarize, I'd say that both are very "clean," so I'm assuming that comes from using quality converters and preamps (the 1820m uses TFPro preamps). The timbral difference I'd chalk up to different loading of the dynamic mic; the input Z on the DigiMAX FS is listed at 1.6k, whereas on the 1820m, it's 1.5k. Can that make a difference? Probably, given the subtlety of the tonal difference...i was only sure of its existence when I could do a direct, A-B comparison.

                            As to which is "better," I'd use the FS preamps for when I wanted an accurate vocal quality, but the 1820m preamps when I needed the vocal to cut a bit more. Or really, just use a little midrange boost on the FS when I wanted to sound like the 1820m, and a little bass boost and a slight dip at 1.3kz if I wanted the 1820m to sound more like the DigiMAX FS!

                            Anyway, the bottom line is the limiting factor in a DigiMAX FS-oriented system will most definitely not be the mic pres. They're clean, quiet, and faithful to the signal source.
                            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • #29
                              As a current owner of CreamWare SCOPE system, I'm lacking mic pre's and have been looking for one for some time now.

                              I would be very interested in finding out how DIGIMAX FS interacts with SCOPE system via ADAT lightpipe interface, both @ 44.1kHz and @ 96kHz SMUX.
                              Also, I wonder which one would work better as the clock source.

                              Looking forward to a wonderful review!

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                              • #30
                                <<As a current owner of CreamWare SCOPE system, I'm lacking mic pre's and have been looking for one for some time now.

                                I would be very interested in finding out how DIGIMAX FS interacts with SCOPE system via ADAT lightpipe interface, both @ 44.1kHz and @ 96kHz SMUX.>>

                                As you may or may not know, I'm a huge Creamware fan. My next test is going to be expanding a digital mixer for extra aux outs, and then I'll be checking out how it works with the SCOPE system. Stay tuned...

                                BTW are you running 4.0 or 4.5 with your Creamware system?
                                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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