April 3, 2007

Prism Orpheus v. Apogee Rosetta 800 = Fatality...

by Chris Randall

Prism Sound, makers of ludicrously high-end A/D/A, are releasing a converter for the Rest Of Us. Assuming The Rest Of Us are sleeping on mattresses full of money, and for whatever reason find the Rosetta 800 to be something we can't get along with.

Product details here, but in a nutshell, it's an 8 I/O FW interface with four mic pres and some nice monitoring features. This is basically a much higher end iteration of the Apogee Ensemble feature set, only not OSX-centric. Of course, for the price (?2500 is the going rumor) you could buy two Ensembles, so there's that. But for a single rack space 8 I/O with four mic pres, FW, and ADAT I/O, this is going to be as good as you're gonna get. Costs about the same as a Rosetta 800 if you bought four mic pres to go with it, so the price is in line.

From the provided materials, and assuming it has the same quality as all other Prism converters, this might be the way to go for the top-flight home studio. (Or a small commercial room, post room, or jingle factory.) My way of thinking is thus: life is far too short to spend any time worrying whether your audio I/O is up to snuff. You might as well just start at the top of the market, which is de facto snuff.

EDIT: Actually, in thinking about it, this unit does have some problems. Like: S/PDIF? Yuck. I don't care about the lack of S/MUX ADAT, but the sort of person that would buy this unit (e.g. me) has top-end kit already, and S/PDIF is not in that equation. If I was Prism, I'd get rid of the entire existing digital section, and make it a card that could be either DSUB AES or ADAT S/MUX (since people rarely need both.) But I'm not Prism, so it's just left to ponder.



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Apr.04.2007 @ 8:20 PM
How do you measure latency? I've been trying to find an easy reliable trick for measuring the round trip through my digital outboard fx vs my AD/DA. Using Live as my DAW, It shows an estimate for the soundcard latency, but I know that is not accurate for the FX sends.

Apr.04.2007 @ 8:33 PM
Chris Randall
Easy. Connect an output to an input. Using your pencil tool, draw a 1-sample-long square wave. Send that to the output, record the input. Merge the two files, then measure the time between the peaks in whatever method your DAW provides.

If you use Cubendo, it's even easier. Just connect an output to an input, make a fake external effect assigned to that output and input, and then do the little latency test provided. This will tell you immediately what the round trip latency is.

When you're able to tune your system to the under-10ms round trip latencies, it opens up a whole new world; you can use external hardware as an insert effect on an input channel, for instance. The main plus is that you don't have to worry about having to figure out whatever stupid monitoring solution your sound card manufacturer came up with.



Apr.05.2007 @ 6:57 AM
Good lord, the thought of not having to figure out what the M-Audio software engineers were smoking is almost worth the four months salary that sort of setup would command.

On reflection, probably the sort of thing worth waiting until I'm actually making money from music, though.


Apr.05.2007 @ 8:53 AM
If you can get by with limited I/O, the Lynx2 is pretty sweet. Plus, if/when you need more I/O and can afford it, you can add an Aurora.

Apr.08.2007 @ 2:38 AM
When I first heard about this I was very interested as well as I've been looking at the Apogee stuff (both Symphony and Ensemble), but honestly, if it's priced as high as the rumors say then I can't really motivate the purchase. I hope the rumors are wrong, otherwise I think Prism is making a huge mistake and will miss an opportunity to catch quite a few new users.

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