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Old October 19th, 2007, 02:47 PM
Gary Boggess Gary Boggess is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: North Tampa, Florida
Posts: 28
How well does Krystal & D/A-A/D external stack up to pROtoys specs today?

I still use the MicroSound with success and pride. I've done my own comparisons... but am not sure if ProTools published specs are MEASURED and TESTED the same as was MicroSound's. I understand the differences in features, outputs and etc. But I've been challenged by potential clients about the quality of the D/A I/O.

Here is an excerpt of what I've written to potential clients who have inquired:

Gary's Comparisons between MicroSound & ProTools HD3 & other notes:

Needless to say, 100,000 tracks is a pretty good bonus. But, who cares right? ProTools is like Paris Hilton... popular.

#1) MicroSound has more useful sample rate frequencies to choose from. The highest being 48Khz... which is still considered to be more than adequate for all kinds of recording from broadcasting, orchestral recordings and etc. My conclusion is that 48Khz is still more than adequate for recordings. The benefits of 96-192Khz are academic and NOT practical... and it's like writing checks your ears can't cash. The market place will never HEAR the benefits of 96-192Khz sampling rate...especially NOT on I-Tunes!!!!

#3) ProTools may have higher sampling rates... but ProTools and MicroSound BOTH have 24-bit encoding D/A converters. That's that for that. TWENTY FOUR BIT ENCODING IS TWENTY FOUR BITS. But lets' look closer at some other factors that ARE NOT THE SAME:

a) The Krystal DSP audio card analog A/D and D/A converters provide excellent quality. The Krystal's THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion+Noise) is 0.006%. Krystal's noise floor response below 1kHz is quite flat giving a very clear sound. (See the chart above). Now here's BOMB DROPPER:


PROTOOLS INPUT THD+N> THD+N: 0.00056% (-105 dB); -1 ' @ 997(1000) Hz (Note 1: Measurement made using +4 dBu inputs or outputs) plus PROTOOLS OUTPUT>>>THD+N: 0.00056% (-105 dB); -1 ' @ 997(1000) Hz; see Note 1 >>>INPUT AND OUTPUTS ADDED TOGETHER EQUALS 0.00112

MICROSOUND THD+N> The chart shows the THD+N distortion to noise in both the input and output analog circuits TOGETHER or combined at 0.0121%. So when the channels are rated ONE at a time like ProTools rates their specs, MicroSound comes in at a THD+N for ONE input channel = really 0.006%!!! ProTools wins by 0.00038. So MicroSound comes out fairly well considering MTU nearly MATCHED ProTools TEN YEARS AGO!

The major POINT IS>>> ProTools specs are measured ONE input and ONE output channel AT A TIME where MicroSound measured theirs as a TWO CHANNEL measuring the entire card... for a actual per channel input or output 0.0015 THD+N rating each... which is just a tad higher than ProTools as of 2007. Hardly anything to argue about! And it's certainly no reason for me to go out and spend $40,000 or more... for 99,744 LESS TRACKS than ProTools total of 256! I mean... duh!

#4) MicroEditor mixing computes with 24-bit precision. Even projects using 16-bit sound files can output digitally as valid 24-bits after fades, gains and mixing, sounding better to human ears than many competitor's 24-bit sounds! So even though MicroSound is recording in 16-bit @44.1Khz... EVERYTHING; editing, fades, mixing, processing, and ALL AUDIO processing is ALWAYS HAPPENING at 24-bit, using 56-bit accumulators to ensure bit depth and bit word accuracy!

#5) ProTools advertises their "2007 FLAGSHIP" D/A I/O module to have the (Dynamic SNR) SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO of 115 dB

From the Krystal card manual: MicroSound's ten year standard for (Dynamic SNR) SIGNAL TO NOISE is 110 dB averaged across all frequencies, not just at 1K... so again, hardly anything to argue about.

#6) ProTools bandwidth is listed at >> Sample Rate = 48 kHz, Noise BW = 22 Hz – 20 kHz unless otherwise noted

Page 210 in the MicroSound manual states bandwidth specs at @48Khz sample rate to be a reported bandwidth of 0 Hz to 23,400 KHz. Saying that "MicroSound achieves a -3db down (half-power) point at 48% of Nyquist... one of the highest bandwidths available in a computer DAW"

So much for specs... MicroSound's over sonic integrity stands neck to neck with ProTools and EXCEEDS ProTools in BANDWIDTH.

And when you consider that it offers:

* instant fades (unlike ProTools process of writing each fade to a file)

* accurate fade ramps (unlike ProTools' quantized group sample or step zipper fades)

* 100,000 tracks (unlike ProTools' 256 max)

* Zero occurrences of audio file corruption (unlike ProTools historic issues)

To list a few major benefits... it's just STUPID to say MicroSound can't compete with ProTools. While all my friends are STILL (one last month) loosing projects due to corruption on their $40,000 plus ProTools HD3 systems... I relax and get work done! AS for 24-bit, I don't worry about it because between microphones that top off at 16K and guitar amps that still buzz and hum, and end product increasingly selling as I-Tunes MP3s... it's rediculous to talk high sampling rates. And in according to Moultan below, we can't hear 24-bit, and if we DID we'd be hearing it at the LOW END of the dynamic range.... well below the noise floor of 90% of the listening environments and playback levels. READ THE FOLLOWING!!!!

Dave Moulton, with his son Dr. Mark Moulton, provide subjective measurement of audio systems and devices for companies such as Lucent Technologies. Moulton is a monthly columnist for TV Technology Magazine and has regularly written for Recording Magazine since 1992.
Moultan says: "In fact, double blind tests often seem to show that listeners can’t reliably distinguish between 16-bit audio and 20-bit audio! When we increase the resolution of the signal to 20 bits, we don’t change the magnitude of 0 dBFS, all we do is push the magnitude of the Least Significant Bit further down toward the grunge and noise floor, so that for a 20-bit word, the LSB is equal to .012 milliVolts. We’ve increased the overall magnitude of the signal by only .18 milliVolts! Going to 24 bits from 16 bits only gains us .2 milliVolts of signal resolution!! we have a serious mismatch of reference levels here, and it unreasonably diminishes any benefit we might expect from the enhanced resolution of 20 or 24-bit digital signals, relative to our venerated 16-bit signal. Failure to reasonably manage the relative headroom of analog and acoustic realms vis-a-vis our digital signal has painted us into a serious wastage of dynamic range. It also means that the resolution benefits of 20-bit and 24-bit signals are not only hard to hear, they’re, well, inaudible as we currently do it. Uh-oh!"

Checl this data out yourself at:

So, I am posting to invite Admin (Dave Cox) or someone who KNOWS, how much better, if any, is the new HD3ProTool HD3 192 I/O???? Especially in the THD+noise measurements. -Gary
ProTool HD3 192 I/O $ 3,995.00

Overview Features Specifications Download

192 I/O, the flagship of the Pro Tools|HD interface family, is the best-sounding audio interface ever offered from Digidesign, rivaling similar products costing more than twice its price. In addition to support for up to 16 channels of analog and digital input and output, 192 I/O features a wide range of analog and digital I/O options to choose from, including 8 channels of high-definition, pristine-quality analog I/O, 8 channels of AES/EBU, 8 channels of TDIF, 16 channels of ADAT, and 2 additional channels of AES/EBU or S/PDIF digital I/O.

192 expansion cards
Along with its outstanding sonic specs, 192 I/O includes an additional I/O option bay, allowing you to add more inputs or outputs, and making it one of the most unique and flexible audio interfaces on the market. To expand the analog I/O capacity of 192 I/O, you can add either a 192 AD card, providing 8 more channels of high-definition analog input, or the 192 DA card, which gives you 8 additional channels of analog output. 192 I/O can also be outfitted with the 192 Digital card, which adds 8 channels of AES/EBU, TDIF, and ADAT I/O connections.

192 AD Expansion Card
192 DA Expansion Card
192 Digital Expansion Card

2001 Junipero Serra Blvd.
Daly City, CA 94014

In designing the Pro Tools|HD environment, we didn't just stop at supporting up to 96 kHz sample rates — we decided to go all the way and support up to an astonishing 192 kHz. As the flagship audio interface for Pro Tools|HD, 192 I/O supports 192, 176.4, 96, 88.2, 48, and 44.1 kHz sample rates.

With 192 I/O, you're prepared for both working with the latest standards in the world of professional audio production as well as for the emergence of future standards. The new, higher sample rates and 24-bit resolution you get with 192 I/O mean you're able to capture every nuance of sound with the utmost clarity and precision.

50 possible inputs and outputs (yeah... for about $35,000+ with interest)

Supports up to 16 simultaneous channels of high-definition I/O

Extremely flexible analog and digital I/O

Card option bay for analog or digital I/O expansion with 192 AD, 192 DA, or 192 Digital cards

World-class 24-bit/192 kHz A/D and D/A conversion

Comes with a wide range of digital I/O, including 8 channels of AES/EBU I/O, 8 channels of TDIF I/O, 16 channels of ADAT I/O, and 2 additional channels of AES/EBU or S/PDIF I/O
Word (1x) and Slave Clock (256x) input/output

Switchable, real-time sample rate conversion on digital inputs on the 192 Digital card, which allows easy streaming of digital signals at any sample rate

Soft-Clip Limiter that allows higher levels to disk for punchier, hotter recordings

Expansion Port that allows for direct connection of another 192 I/O or 96 I/O

Legacy Peripheral port that allows for connection of 888|24, 882|20, 1622, or 24-Bit ADAT Bridge I/Os*

* At 48 kHz or lower sample rate

Width: 19 in / 48.26 cm

Height 3.5 in / 8.89 cm

Depth: 15.19 in / 38.58 cm
Weight: 20.17 lbs / 9.15 kg

Sample Rate: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz ±10%

Dynamic Range: 120 dB (A-weighted), 118 dB (unweighted); see Notes 1 and 2

THD+N: 0.00035% (-109 dB); +21 dBu @ 997 Hz; see Note 1

THD+N: 0.00035% (-109 dB); +21 dBu, 20 Hz – 20 kHz; see Note 1

Frequency Response: ±0.05 dB @ +2 dBu, 20 Hz – 20 kHz; see Notes 1 and 3


Sample Rate: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz ±10%

Dynamic Range: 118 dB (A-weighted), 115 dB (unweighted); see Notes 1 and 4

THD+N: 0.00056% (-105 dB); -1 ' @ 997 Hz; see Note 1

Frequency Response: ±0.05 dB, -20 ', 20 Hz – 20 kHz; see Notes 1 and 3

Sample Rate = 48 kHz, Noise BW = 22 Hz – 20 kHz unless otherwise noted, Tambient = +25 C

Note 1: Measurement made using +4 dBu inputs or outputs
Note 2: ADC measured with analog input at -38 dBu @ 997 Hz
Note 3: Measured relative to level at 1 kHz
Note 4: Measured with digital input at -60 dBFS @ 997 Hz
G. Boggess

Last edited by Gary Boggess; October 19th, 2007 at 03:16 PM. Reason: sanity
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