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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
Black Lion Audio will take a crack at modding a Nord G2
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cebec



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Black Lion Audio will take a crack at modding a Nord G2 Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I spoke with Matt who runs Black Lion Audio and he agreed to take a look at a Nord G2 for possible modification of its analog stage and clock. He even does converter upgrades. He has a good reputation (on GearSlutz and TapeOp, at least) and his prices are reasonable for audio interface modifications.

I will probably get around to sending mine it but if anyone wants to preempt me, please feel free. He's friendly, fast, and definitely open to at least looking at and measuring the performance. I mentioned adding digital outs, as well, and he said he would consider that possibility, too. His prices go up Nov. 1st, though.

They're also interested in the E-MU audio interfaces and if anyone wants to send in one of those he could measure it and suggest mods, if necessary.

http://www.blacklionaudio.com/home.html
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13rian



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

this is great news. i thought of contacting them about this, but hadn't. they do amazing things with MOTU interfaces over there. i can't wait to hear his feedback.

- b
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dasz



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How much would he charge to do this to a g2?
/Dasz

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cebec



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i don't know. but if you go by the prices quoted for the other interfaces, i'd say it's in that ballpark or less. it seems like clock and analog stage upgrades for 8 ins and 8 outs is between 3 and 400 USD.

he said i could go ahead and send in either my E-MU 1616m or my G2 and they'd see what they can do. he's especially interested in the E-MU line but would be more than willing to look at a G2 and make measurements/suggestions.
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13rian



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

man, if i hadn't just spent so much money at ikea yesterday, i'd buy a new engine and send it to him myself. i run just about everything in my live rig thru my g2 and would love to improve the "non-modular" signal path.

- b
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cebec



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I know. I was thinking of buying an Engine, even a used one, to send to him, too.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Funny, I also have both of those devices Smile But I'm having surgery on my left knee meniscus today, so I'll need my toys around me for the next few weeks!

Be sure if you send something in, to record a few test cases first. Be nice to A-B them later.
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13rian



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ya, good point. the 'before' sample is so easy to forget in all the excitement.
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cebec



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yeah, certainly. when the time comes i'll check back and see if we can agree on a methodology for recording those 'before' samples.

good luck with your surgery! enjoy the R&R, though.
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13rian



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yes, good luck!
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astroid power-up!



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

does the clock mod mean that there could be the possibility of a tap tempo?
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13rian



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

clock in this case refers to the digital signal and conversion to and fro with external analog signals. better clocking leads to a clearer conversion, especially when using multiple channels. a good solid clock can keep all the channels marching in time together, but this is at the sample rate and not related to the tempo clock.

- b
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sebber



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sorry for being so clueless: what can I expect from such a modification?
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cebec



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sebber wrote:
Sorry for being so clueless: what can I expect from such a modification?


It's possible that a clock and analog stage upgrade could result in a more pleasing or measurably 'better' sound. The analog components that support the ADC/DAC are just as important to the perceived sound quality as the DAC itself... maybe more.

The clock implementation may also play a role in the raw sound of an instrument such as the G2 -- lower clock jitter (in the low picosecond range) may equal better sound.

A combination of a high-quality analog stage and a sophisticated clock implementation, as seen in a standalone DAC like the Benchmark DAC-1, for example, can cost as much as a G2 Engine.

Whether or not we'd hear or measure the difference or our signal chain warrants such a potentially costly/risky modification is another matter.

There's a ton of material on the www about jitter, especially. Here's one short article:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/appnotes-d/jittercu.html

I read that an RME Audio engineer claims their newer products use a technique called Random Spread Spectrum in their SteadyClock technology to reduce jitter in external clock signals, for instance, and that this is different from Benchmark's method which uses continuous SRC (sample rate conversion). The measurable jitter is higher in RME's implementation but somehow, according to this engineer, has a negligible effect on sound quality and may even be preferable because it doesn't use continuous SRC.

All of this goes to show, I think, that despite such low-level nitpicking and and engineering, things are not always 0s and 1s.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, just to add my 2 cents, all discrete math, which is the fundamental math behind "modern" digital signal processing, and most digital<->analog conversions, ASSUMES that a perfect sample rate, or clock, exists. This clock is not the "tempo" clock, but the clock that drives when each sample is taken, or operated on, or drive out through a DAC. It does not account for any jitter that is in that clock. Jitter causes the digital world to no be what it could be, destroying phase information, cause distortion (unwanted signal modification), and to the layman, makes things sound "flat" instead of "alive".

This would make the G2's clock, supposedly, closer to perfect (less jitter), and as such cause the audio produced to be better as well.


For myself, I'd prefer that a digital I/O solution be made for the G2, and see what additions could be made for the 1616 (I'd imagine the 1616 would be limited to capacitor upgrades, and maybe an op-amp or two. That thing was very well designed). My 1616 has finally hit the end of it's warranty period...hmmmmm.

I'll contact them and see if there's anything I can do to help, since I have nothing but time on my hands.
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13rian



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cebec wrote:

Whether or not we'd hear or measure the difference or our signal chain warrants such a potentially costly/risky modification is another matter.


yes, it is certainly a tough call. i would think that as far as the usual synth creations there would NOT be a significant improvement, although i could be wrong. i figure that the folks at clavia built the virtual analog engine based on the box as it ships and there probably isn't a whole lot of hidden audio treasure lurking in the tone generators. i am guessing that this type of mod WILL improve the processing of external audio though. then again it could make G2's burst into flames.

- b

ps - digital i/o would be cool in my book too.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:


For myself, I'd prefer that a digital I/O solution be made for the G2, and see what additions could be made for the 1616 (I'd imagine the 1616 would be limited to capacitor upgrades, and maybe an op-amp or two. That thing was very well designed). My 1616 has finally hit the end of it's warranty period...hmmmmm.


You mean the 1616m, right? the 1616 has the same DAC's as the G2, after all.

Do you think it would benefit from something like that? I myself can't find a fault with it aside from the atrociously bad test signal module, the converters sound the part to me.

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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I have the 1616m, but don't know if the analog front-end is identical between the two models (1616 vs. 1616m). I think it sounds great as well. I'm sure there are capacitors inthe signal path, and upgrades to those would be expected, maybe to opamps as well. I am perfectly happy with it as it is.

As for inputs, can't find fault there either. The mic pre-amps are very transparent, and VERY low noise. Never used the RIAA preamps though.

Because of this, I'm *interested* in what the Black Lion folks could come up with. Anyone who can take some this good & make it better, would be impressive. Although, maybe they want to look at one is because it has a reputation for good sound, and they want to learn a trick or two? Smile Smile
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MitchK1989



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hmm. I wonder how hard it would be to mod the G2 to have the G1 DACs... Twisted Evil
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dasz



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I simulate other DAC by using digitizer modules and dithering Smile

Just finished 7 patches this weekend.
/Dasz

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sebber



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dasz, do you happen to have a building block for the G1 DAC simulation? And, ahm, would you share it? Embarassed
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dasz



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was kidding, thus the Smile

Seriously, I do downsample with the digitizer module(s) and mix this with the raw signal to add something different to the Nord sound, but not to mimic a specific high quality DAC.

I am curious what the modded output stage of a G2 will sound like after black lion is done with it.
/Dasz

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Last edited by dasz on Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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dasz



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sebber,

Here's a patch which is essentially it's a DIY DAC with a digitizer going into LP for anti-aliasing, and an HP which passes the orginal sound and feeds it through a shaper. An "enhancer" effect, but you can do different processing after the LP or HP stages to get a different sound. the main knob is the light blue sample rate mod "amount" button. I have put in some A/B capabilities so you can compare the dry and processed sound.

I am not going after precision here (like Nyquist correct LP setting to sample rate ratio, or a DYI digitizer using a s/h which goes above 50kHz limit of the built in digitizer, or a dithering filter using noise going through a AM module), just that there are ways you can do to simulate other DAC using the g2 modules, and maybe get a different Nord sound. It's just an idea.

So, I really don't know where this post belongs -- here or the "I Love the sound of Nord" thread (http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-12879.html).
/Dasz


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sebber



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Didn't get the Laughing , but you being so friendly served me none the less. Thanks!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sebber,

The " Smile " was a happy idea/alternative to try a different DAC configuration internally if black lion audio does not go ahead with offering to do this mod commercially ...

jksuperstar wrote
[quote ]Although, maybe they want to look at one is because it has a reputation for good sound, and they want to learn a trick or two? Smile .[/quote]

Let me know if this patch is useful.
/Dasz

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