Ordered this Tascam Hi-Resolution Converter Yesterday

Bob Boyer

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#1
Just on a whim yesterday, I got to looking at DSD converters as a lot of hi-resolution downloads are headed that way (along with 24/192). I've been listening to 24/96 downloads through my Focusrite converters (a Pro24 and a Scarlett 2i2) and also digitized some of my albums through them. But with costs coming down, I thought I'd poke around. Came upon this gem, even though it's not DSD:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UH7000

Street price is normally $600, down from list at $800. At the $400 sale price, it looked like a no-brainer for a 24/192 converter. No affiliation, yada, yada, other than as a satisfied customer over the years. Am expecting delivery tomorrow and will let you know how it stacks up against my Focusrites. This review from TapeOp makes me think it's going to be an improvement:

http://tapeop.com/reviews/gear/103/uh-7000-mic-preamp-usb-interface/

If you have a system that can delineate the differences between vinyl, tape, CD and hi-resolution digital, this could be the bargain of the century. I'll find out tomorrow night but in the meantime, I thought I'd tip folks to the deal.
 

Bob Boyer

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#2
Okay, so this thing plays with the big boys. Lower, tighter bass and more "depth" to the music compared to the Focusrite converters. Hearing more detail on reverb tails, plucked strings, that sort of thing. Not a quantum leap, but worth the price. Set up was fairly easy, though you'll have to download the software to set it up. Once you use the native Tascam software to get the unit up and running, your music server or recording software can set the sample rate and off you go.

The 24/192 downloads of Allison Krause/Union Station and Chicago are pretty spectacular. Now to try to record something through it to the computer.
 

Bob Boyer

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What's your impression of the headphone amp section Bob ?
Lemme check that out tonight. Warning, though - I'm not a huge headphone user so haven't sampled other outboard amps and such, and while my cans are Sennheiser 280s and certainly good, they're not $1000 Grados, either. About all I can do is let you know how it compares to the internal amps on my Ampex ATR-700 and my Tascam mixer...

While I'm reporting, I'll say recording at 192 kHz is a slight improvement over 96 kHz. Not earthshaking, but the aforementioned better bass and "richer" sound is a little better upon playback of a track I recorded from a Cannonball Adderley SACD compared to my 96kHz downloads. For $400 right now, hell, even at the normal $600, this thing is an incredible buy when compared against $1k - $2k DACs because the Tascam goes both ways, allowing you to copy your vinyl or live recordings over to your computer, which the audiophile DACs don't do.
 

BlazeES

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280's are a solid point of reference plus sound is subjective, so it's casual.

I read that review that you posted and then started Googling.
This unit looks killer for the price point vs. performance.


Lemme check that out tonight. Warning, though - I'm not a huge headphone user so haven't sampled other outboard amps and such, and while my cans are Sennheiser 280s and certainly good, they're not $1000 Grados, either. About all I can do is let you know how it compares to the internal amps on my Ampex ATR-700 and my Tascam mixer...

While I'm reporting, I'll say recording at 192 kHz is a slight improvement over 96 kHz. Not earthshaking, but the aforementioned better bass and "richer" sound is a little better upon playback of a track I recorded from a Cannonball Adderley SACD compared to my 96kHz downloads. For $400 right now, hell, even at the normal $600, this thing is an incredible buy when compared against $1k - $2k DACs because the Tascam goes both ways, allowing you to copy your vinyl or live recordings over to your computer, which the audiophile DACs don't do.
 

Bob Boyer

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Uhm... I may start listening to headphones.

Quite, quite clear and detailed. Dan Tyminski's gentle mandolin chop on Allison Krauss & Union Station's Paper Airplane is really nicely placed - the banjo finger work is well delineated, bass lines are just, well, right. The snare skins of Chicago's drum set on Beginnings sounds like I'm sitting there 5 feet away. (And damn, I'd forgotten just how those guys could swing when Terry Kath was alive...) I can definitely hear that the reverb on Waylon Jennings' voice is a late '90s digital unit - there are some artifacts there that get lost in the room when listening to Goin' Down Rockin' on speakers: the spoken Q&A between Waylon and his bass player/engineer before Belle of the Ball particularly demonstrates this. His fingering on rhythm guitar comes through nicely. The depth I spoke of last night is there, but maybe more (just the headphone experience?)

The best I can describe it is that's there's more "there" there. Tito and Tarantula's The House That Love Built (from the Desperado soundtrack) has the spooky feel to it I remember from seeing the movie on the big screen with the full-on Dolby surround system.

Like I said, I have no idea how it stacks up against dedicated $1000+ headphone amps, but it's a significant step up from the circuitry in the Ampex and in my little Mackie mixer, even with new caps in the Ampex. To what extent the headphone amp circuitry contributes and to what extent the digital processing contributes (nothing works through this unit without going through the converters) to the sound, I don't know. But if all you're looking for is a headphone amp, this box is priced competitively and you get hi-res processing and a pair of mic preamps (with 48v juice for condenser mics) for live recording thrown in for free. Or you get a killer A>D/D>A converter with a great headphone amp and some boutique mic preamps for free. Or a nice set of custom mic pre's with conversion and headphone amplification for free. And have you checked the price of some of the boutique mic pre's these days?

This thing's a steal - however you want to slice it, dice it, and use it. It's a keeper.

Edit: BTW, BlazeES, I've actually got Sennheiser HD 380 Pros, not the 280s I thought I had.
 

BlazeES

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Nice detailed feedback. Thanks.

380 Pro's are solid too.

I like these new genre of converters with various functions. And those meters are sweet too.

Uhm... I may start listening to headphones.

Quite, quite clear and detailed. Dan Tyminski's gentle mandolin chop on Allison Krauss & Union Station's Paper Airplane is really nicely placed - the banjo finger work is well delineated, bass lines are just, well, right. The snare skins of Chicago's drum set on Beginnings sounds like I'm sitting there 5 feet away. (And damn, I'd forgotten just how those guys could swing when Terry Kath was alive...) I can definitely hear that the reverb on Waylon Jennings' voice is a late '90s digital unit - there are some artifacts there that get lost in the room when listening to Goin' Down Rockin' on speakers: the spoken Q&A between Waylon and his bass player/engineer before Belle of the Ball particularly demonstrates this. His fingering on rhythm guitar comes through nicely. The depth I spoke of last night is there, but maybe more (just the headphone experience?)

The best I can describe it is that's there's more "there" there. Tito and Tarantula's The House That Love Built (from the Desperado soundtrack) has the spooky feel to it I remember from seeing the movie on the big screen with the full-on Dolby surround system.

Like I said, I have no idea how it stacks up against dedicated $1000+ headphone amps, but it's a significant step up from the circuitry in the Ampex and in my little Mackie mixer, even with new caps in the Ampex. To what extent the headphone amp circuitry contributes and to what extent the digital processing contributes (nothing works through this unit without going through the converters) to the sound, I don't know. But if all you're looking for is a headphone amp, this box is priced competitively and you get hi-res processing and a pair of mic preamps (with 48v juice for condenser mics) for live recording thrown in for free. Or you get a killer A>D/D>A converter with a great headphone amp and some boutique mic preamps for free. Or a nice set of custom mic pre's with conversion and headphone amplification for free. And have you checked the price of some of the boutique mic pre's these days?

This thing's a steal - however you want to slice it, dice it, and use it. It's a keeper.

Edit: BTW, BlazeES, I've actually got Sennheiser HD 380 Pros, not the 280s I thought I had.
 
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