Wednesday, December 31, 2014

96k world... a year plus into my adventure.

By Tim Dolbear -

So my entire world now seems to be at 96k. I even just did a Voice over session for a film company in London who attended via Skype and I tracked it all at 96K. I am loving it! Loving the sound stage or stereo field, loving the sound, the accuracy, the way plugins work, everything. But Sample Rate Conversion (SRC) using A/D/A loopback has gotten old... Run a mix for a client and have to add 15 minutes of my time just to SRC it down to 44/16 to send to them... a necessary evil I thought...

In December I was at and with the amazing Alan Silvermans' at his ARF Studios in NYC  ( ) and we talked about SRC.  He brought up the point that running a SRC out a D/A then back into a A/D still has software SRC happening as the A/D converter runs at a higher SR and then SRC down to 44.1.  Good point!  So what does he use and what do the other big guys use. Whats considered he best?

SARACON by Weiss. Weiss ( ) is a big player in Mastering hardware and he also was part of the 4 person group behind the development of POW-r dithering and NS.  So he knows his stuff.

I set out to get my hands on a copy both to use myself but also to preach  about when I travel teaching Sequoia, because if there are others who don't know about Saracon, as I didn't, they need to know. I got my copy last week and started comparing it in every way. I ran mixes off at 96k/32bitFloat and then SRC by Analog loop conversion, Sequoia's built in SRC, and using Saracons. I SRC to 44.1 32bitFloat, to 44/24bit and to 44/16bit. Using POWr-1 for the 16bit files.

There was a noticeable improvement in all the Saracon conversions. The mid held together so much better, the 44/32bit float was not even detectable in its difference from the original and the 44/16bit versions all sounded great. A huge improvement over Sequoia's built in SRC (set to its highest settings) and a noticeable improvement to the analog loop. Saracon is fast too, in fact 2x the speed of Sequoia's SRC and it does batch processing and it does every SR and bit rate, even DSD. I am truly happy!

Its not cheap, but its also not a slight improvement. Its worth every dollar in my opinion. So now I mix to 96k/32bitfloat and quickly SRC with Saracon to 44/16 and upload to the client.  ( I have also changed over this year to sending 44/16 mix references to clients instead of MP3 320s. The internet is fast enough now that MP3 and AAC just needs to go away)

That all for now,  now.... go make some music!