Friday, October 24, 2008

MOTU 828mk3 vs. Presonus Digimax FS Clock and Pres

I just recently bought a Presonus Digimax FS. I have been happy with results Ty (Studio Evil) and I are getting with Presonus gear. My hope was to use the clock and the better pre's for drums and some general use. Mainly to put my Behringer ADA8000 on a further backburner.

Now my MOTU mk3 is pretty decent. It was a significant upgrade in sound and features compared to my MOTU mKII. But I had read that MOTU's clocks aren't that great. I personally have never had a problem, but people buy Big Ben Clocks and such for a reason. The Digimax FS clock according to several reviews is supposed to be pretty good. They are using JetPLL which is now used in M-Audio and TC Electronic devices. I wouldn't be surprised if Digidesign started using it too.

Anyway upon attaching the Digimax with BNC and ADAT, I immediately noticed a difference in sound. And that was just playback. So I decided to do a shootout.

I used my cheap acoustic guitar miced with basically a DIY Panasonic WM-61A microphone in a Behringer ECM8000 body. Essentially flat. It was placed at the 14th fret angled towards the soundhole.

Unfortunately these are different takes. So take that into consideration. But I think performance aside you can hear some definite differences in tonality. And it is pretty consistent between the different clocks and preamps. In my own testing, I did do performances multiple times to make sure that my opinions were the same and not dependent on performance and probably some slight changes in sitting position.

While I was at it, I also used my Modded SMPro Audio PR8 (one channel modded with TI NE5532's and another with TI BurrBrown OPA2134's) and my Behringer ADA8000. The SMPro I only used the MOTU clock and converters.

I look forward to hearing your opinions. I can definitely hear differences, but I can't really make out which is better/worse. Maybe in a few weeks I will listen again, or randomize the tracks and see if I can pick them out blind.

Ok... Enough talk... here are the clips.

You can Right-Click to download any of the tracks.

Download a ZIP with all the Files.


Stergz said...

The examples with the digimax clock sound a touch smoother but with less detail. The detail sounds crunchier with the MOTU clock. Not the most scientific labelling but there is definately a sonic difference.

flakca said...

Thanks for the samples I have been looking for just this sort of recording, acoustic guitar on the MOTU. The MOTU with the MOTU clock sounds like it has more of the low-end than the others. I don't know about the detail, I'd have to think about it some more. The lack of low-end in some of the clips make the highs shine a bit, but that could be deceptive.