The Music & Work of Eric Beam
A/D Conversion, can you hear the difference?

In my downtime I decided to do a in-depth comparison between the A/D converters I have at hand. With the amount of “Night & Day” reviews you read about it’s easy to question if converters are drastically different from box to box, It got me questioning at-least. The technical converter specs over the last 10years or more out perform most sound sources, processing, & environments. I have done my share surgically analyzing the THD+N, frequency response, Jitter, & so on, But that never answered the question if one can audibly hear the difference? Time for a real-world test I say.

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Drums + Synth + Coffee

The result of testing out the D5100 video capabilities. Everything is shot thru a 18-200 with marco ring, no post processing (other then time manipulation).

Audio = Discarded crap drum tracks+Grendel+a lot of coffee. I was feeling a bit guilty that the Grendel Drone Commander was collecting dust, this was a perfect excuse to fire it up. Amazing what a little #ValhallaÜberMod adds to a bunch of BS.

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Music From A – Musical instrument.

From the numerous inspirational “Music From A” videos, I was inspired to make a light-heartedly sarcastic “tribute” to the creative method. Recording each element individually & spontaneously, The outcome is this ridiculousness below “Music From A – Musical instrument”.

Complete admiration to Diego Stocco for the inspiration & his contribution to our world of audio.

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Hardware gain staging (with the DAW in mind).

For many when confronted with the terms dBFS, dBu, +4/-10, VU, etc their eyes gloss over. Without understanding a few simple concepts, integrating your DAW with external hardware can be a game of trial & frustration.

To properly drive & take full advantage of hardware in the analog realm, you need to 1st understand what signal level the device is designed to receive. This is when dBu comes into play.

  • dBu – (dB in reference to 1 mW at 600 ohms, equal to 0.775 V) All you really need to know is this is a measurement standard for audio signals.

Most professional audio gear is made/calibrated to function in a +4 dBu = 0VU environment. This means when a +4 dBu signal hits the hardware input, it will read 0 VU on the hardware’s VU meter.

  • VU – Unit of measurement originally developed in 1939 by the combined effort of Bell Labs and broadcasters CBS and NBC for measuring and standardizing the levels of telephone lines.

The question that often comes up is “How do my DAW levels relate to my hardware?”

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