November 2010: Some of the industry's leading producers and engineers meet up at Metropolis Studios, London, to listen in a blind test to four of the popular A/D converters.
UK pro audio specialists, MediaPros.co.uk, arranged the sort of blind listening test at Metropolis Studios that many of us would like to carry out ourselves, getting four of the regular convertors and letting producers and engineers with keen ears see how much difference there really is - A blind test made sure that people didn't vote for the systems that they already own!
The golden eared producers and engineers in question belonged to top producer Stephen Street, mix engineer Cenzo Townshend, Abbey Road engineer Sam Okell and engineer Donal Hodgson (Sting'sengineer). The four converters: The latest Avid HD IO, a Digidesign 192, a Prism Sound ADA-8XR and the latest Apogee Symphony I/O (using beta Pro Tools HD drivers).
Outputs from each unit were brought back through ext monitor returns on the SSL and level-matched to within 0.1dB. To test both A/D and D/A conversion, the analogue output from an HHB CD player was routed to the analogue inputs on each converter (again calibrated to within 0.1dB). Later a couple of Pro Tools Sessions were used for playback through the D/A stages of each converter. The tests were conducted 'double blind', with no-one in the studio knowing which of the four groups on the desk represented which converter.
Special thanks to everyone who helped make this such a great day:
Metropolis Studios, Media Pros, Cenzo Townshend, Stephen Street, Sam Okell, Donal Hodgson, Yan Gilbert and many, many others.