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When building a digital recording rig, it is very important to find the best converter to fit your budget. You can have the best microphones, preamps, cables, compressors, etc, but if they are all going into a low quality converter, all the processing in the world won’t make the audio sound as good as it did before entering the computer.
The A/D converter is what sets the sample rate and bit depth of your digital recordings, and determines the accuracy of your recording. The sample rate is how many “snapshots” of audio the computer takes in a second. The standard sample rate is 44.1 kHz, but can range all the way up to 384 kHz with the highest end converters. The higher the sample rate, the more accurate the digital recording will be to the analog source. Bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample, and directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample, the higher the bit depth, the clearer the audio will sound, also allowing more headroom and less signal to noise ratio.
A/D converters come in all shapes and sizes, from two channels, 16 channels, and beyond. When looking for which is best for your studio setup, be aware of how many channels of audio you want to record at one time, or how many channels you will want to send back to an analog desk. It is often preferred to match the number of inputs and outputs. Some converters work as an audio interface such as the Apollo Twin, which have built in preamps as well as AD/DA conversion. Others will just work as a converter such as the Avid HD I/O, allowing you to convert up to 16 channels at a time with the use of external preamps.
Connection type is also really important, if you are working with multiple forms of digital audio such as ADAT and S/PDIF, you will want to find a converter that has the ability to work with a variety of connections. If you are strictly working with XLR and Hi-Z inputs and outputs, a converter with D-Sub connections might be the choice for you.
If you have any questions on finding the right A/D converter for your studio setup, contact your Vintage King sales rep, who are highly trained on every option we carry, and can surely find the right fit for you.