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Another Behringer tale of woe
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:44 pm    Post subject: Another Behringer tale of woe Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I hate to tell this story because it gives a lesson that costs me money.

For years I've been using the Behringer ADA8000 Mic/Line 8 input/output device to feed RME Fireface 400 and Babyface audio interfaces through an 8 channel ADAT light pipe. These are very inexpensive units that have seemed to work well for me. I never noticed any severe sound problems, at least that I attributed to the Behringers. That is, until Rob Hordijk visited me earlier this month and hooked up his Hordijk Modular System.

All went well until Rob fed a very hi frequency sine wave into my system. We both heard an odd ticking sound. Rob immediately said, "You have a problem with your converters." "Nah", I said, "couldn't be my system". To make a long story short, it turns out that Rob was right, the problem was in my ADA8000s, both of them! When we hooked up his synth to the RME audio inputs, this artifact was not there.

After Rob left, I did a lot of very careful listening tests comparing the inputs of the Behringers to the RMEs. I should have done this years ago, but I was complacent because the Behringers sounded pretty good, and I didn't want to believe I had to pay several times more money to get the sound reproduction I wanted. Alas, they aren't pretty good. Compared to the RME, the clarity and definition of the sound is much poorer.

I recently - 4 months ago - purchased a Nord Stage 2. I plugged it into my Behringer and fell in love with this instrument. In the past few days, I switched from the Behringer to the RME Fireface 400. OMG, the difference is immediately obvious. Not only obvious, but dramatic. Why didn't I do this before?

Well, if I find Beheringer to be unsatisfactory, I need to replace them with some devices to give me more inputs. I've learned my lesson, and I'm a bit embarrassed that it has taken me so long.

So have ordered a RME UFX to use as my synth line mixer. It should arrive this week. Based on my experience with my other RME gear, and the fact that RME's software is light years ahead of anyone else's, I'm looking forward to it, but it is costly. "Expensive, but a great value", is what Robin Miller says.

I know there is a new Behringer ADA8002 with supposedly better preamps and converters, but for me, life is too short.

Here are two wav files and you can listen to for youself. Both are a MIDI file of Chopin played on the Nord Stage 2 using the sampled Bosendorfer Imperial Grand. I tried to get the levels to match and all settings are exactly the same, except one is recorded through an RME input stage, and one take is via the Beheringer.

I hope this is informative; at least it's good music. Smile

EDIT: I found some errors in the files. I have uploaded new ones. Sorry.


Chopin-RME_1003.wav
 Description:
Chopin played on Nord Stage 2 thru RME Fireface 400 input

Download
 Filename:  Chopin-RME_1003.wav
 Filesize:  63.87 MB
 Downloaded:  308 Time(s)


Chopin-BEH_1017.wav
 Description:
Chopin played on Nord Stage 2 thru Behringer ADA8000 input feeding RME Fireface 400 via ADAT light pipe

Download
 Filename:  Chopin-BEH_1017.wav
 Filesize:  64.56 MB
 Downloaded:  278 Time(s)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Behringer is an ADA8200, "coming soon."

The web page says:
"The ADA8200 builds on the proud legacy of our ADA8000, which is one of our all-time, best-selling products. Now, you’re probably thinking, “If they sell so many ADA8000s, then why are they changing them?” The short answer – we improved it, by upgrading to reference-class Cirrus Logic converters and MIDAS-designed Mic Preamps, making the ADA8200 the natural choice for musicians and audio engineers alike."

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

While the "improved/upgraded" Behringer ADA8200 is not available yet for evaluation, I too can speak from experience as a user of both an ADA8000 and RME UFX. To be fair, it is comparing a unit costing a few hundred $ to one costing a couple thousand. Both are one rack unit and weigh about the same, but sorta like beluga caviar v shad roe, while you might enjoy both eggs on different occasions, each audio interface is an appropriately cost-effective solution for two different applications.

The Behringer is very cost-effective for the hobby-level musician, or for low-level PA (where distortion artifacts are masked by room noise, or are below the threshold of audibility). On the other hand, the UFX is one of the best digital audio solutions available for serious performance or recording: its excellent main inputs are comparable to the company's Micstacy preamp, each feeding dual best-of-class converters to squeeze an additional 3dB of dynamic range from more commonly used one-converter-per-channel. How does the UFX achieve less than 1/10 the distortion, both in and out, of the ADA8200? The UFX's dedicated balanced line inputs are not just padded signals fed to mic channels, which the Behringer and most other low-cost mixers use, but which cost in quality terms of distortion & noise from subsequently re-amplifying the attenuated signal, resulting in the ADA8200's A-to-D dynamic range of 103dB, compared to the UFX's 113dB. The UFX's analog outputs' dynamic range are -115dBA feeding 75 Ohm balanced driver stages, compared to the ADA8200's 100dB and 1,000 Ohms (too high a source impedance if driving a wire longer than 10ft). Also importantly, the UFX's clock synchronization is the best implementation by anyone, eliminating dropouts and the awful time-based distortions from not smooth sample-to-sample data in both capturing and reproducing sound.

Three more useful biggies come to mind that only the RME UFX has: 1) stand-alone 30x30 mixing via front panel controls and color display, and using DSP built in the hardware for EQ, compressor/limiter, FX, and 6 setup presets; 2) complete DAW 30x30 digital mixing software (free) with EQ, compressor/limiter, FX, 8 setup presets, and remote-controlled via MIDI or via USB or FireWire with a laptop (or soon by USB with an iPad); and 3) directly recording without any connected PC of any of its 30 input and 30 output channels to a panel-connected flash or hard drive.

The bottom line for me was to rebuild my DAW based on the RME UFX after decommissioning my 8x8 ADA8000 for lesser duty.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the detailed comments, Robin. I didn't know about the dual converters in the UFX. Ever since my first RME, I've known that the software is light years ahead of any other, but now I'm realizing the the hardware is equally as important.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hard to go wrong with RME products. I've been using their cards for quite a few years and have been very happy with them. Besides making great hardware their drivers are very good and, at least for me, have been stable. I've been using three ADA8000 since they first came out and they are a compromise, but they've been doing the job I needed them to do. Note that there was a change in the later 8000's that would allow channels to shut down if no signal was present. This caused some major headaches for people. One solution provided by RML (Saw Studio and SAC software) was to impliment a kind of stay-alive signal. The 8000's are also subject to heat issues due to their power supply. I believe Black Lion had some mods to upgrade these, but by the time you pay for that, might as well just buy a decent converter and be done with it.

Good luck with the new UFX! Looking forward to checking it out the next time I get a chance to stop by Smile

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have now had my new RME UFX for long enough to have given it a good examination and have used it in my studio. It is really a splendid device. The hardware is top notch, as expected, but it's the software that is truly special. Maybe I'll get around to writing a detailed review, but now I've got some more comments about the Behringer ADA 8000.

My impression of the ADA 8000 has actually improved now that I've rewired my entire studio around the RME UFX. DES is correct, these are a compromise, but better than I related earlier.

It seems, that I had a lot to learn about syncing digital audio devices. When I got the Behringers, I plugged them in and they just worked, so I didn't focus on sync issues. That, it turns out, was a huge mistake.

With the arrival of the UFX I spent a lot of time syncing the gear I have: two Behringer ADA 8000s, an RME Fireface 400, and the RME UFX. I learned:

1) There can only be one digital master clock in any setup.

2) The best sync is accomplished by a dedicated word clock coaxial cable (with BNC connectors).

3) The Behringers work much better at 48 KHz than at 44.1 KHz.

After syncing these 4 devices with Word Clock cables at 48 KHz, the Behringers are working much better. They don't sound as good as the RME inputs, but they aren't as bad as I thought. Now, in my setup, the Behringers are used for auxiliary inputs when needed.

There are now no clicks or ticking, and distortion is considerably reduced. Thanks to the help of Robin Miller, we have determined that the ticking we heard with Rob Hordijk's synth was probably aliasing. We suspect this is because the Behringers were running originally at 44.1 KHz. Our guess is that the "brick wall" low-pass filters in the converters were designed for 48 KHz, and don't change when used at 44.1 KHz.

Anyway, now I've closed the loop on this episode. I'm looking forward to reports on the new Behringer ADA 8200s with new preamps and converters. For over 10 years, the Behringer ADA 8000s have provided many people with a valuable tool at a very low price.

My opinion of the new RME gear with Totalmix FX is that these are superb. As Robin says, "Expensive, but at great value".

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Got me a new RME this week as the old one (multiface 2) needs a PCI(e) / PC Card interface which could not be used for my new laptop ... only USB there, so got me an UFX.

Tales of woe came to mind when it seemed to be performing pretty shitty. It boiled down to be a grounding issue in combination with my Behringer analog mixer (had a sort of a motorboating FX) and I ended up taking the Behringer out of the rack and and let the UFX handle everything instead.

Anyways .. as I went down from 18 to 6 rack spaces there is room for some new stuff, and as all analog I/O on the UFX is already full now, I will need some expander soon ...

And I may need some control thing too now .. totalmix is nice, very nice, but mouse mixing ... doing it for now, but dunno Confused

Anyways ... I'm happy with the UFX, but first hing I did was sticker over the LEDs .. way too loud those Crying or Very sad

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There is supposed to be a good UFX app for iPad, but I haven't used it. Congrats on the new purchase.
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