Terry Howard and Ray Charles

Every day producer/engineer Terry Howard relies heavily on the superb sound and operation of Lucid converters at his personal studio and also at Ray Charles’ private studio.

Lucid technology has played an important part in the production of local artist Ellis Hall on Ray Charles’ Crossover Records label; Ray’s vocal contributions on the new Poncho Sanchez album; Howard’s Duran Duran work for music.com; and again over at Hollywood’s Ocean Way Studios for a song called “Sinner’s Prayer” for Ray’s latest album on Concord records featuring BB King, Billy Preston, Jim Keltner, Tom Fowler and Irv Kramer.

Photo caption: Producer/engineer Terry Howard and Ray Charles find Lucid converters sweet!

Three years ago Howard was intrigued enough to try the first version of Lucid’s 24-bit/96kHz D/A and A/D converters. After extensive listening and A/Bs at his favorite mastering studio, Howard comments on the sound of the Lucid converters. “I already own or have tried just about every digital converter there is and there seems to be a ‘sweet sound’ with the Lucid converters. It’s hard to exactly describe, but when you get down to the nuance level, there is something that makes me lean toward the Lucid’s sound. It just sounds like good analog to me.”

“Working with Ray in the studio, I’m always thinking analog. It’s the recording process I’ve used for thirty years and Ray for more than fifty. Recording quality always has to relate back to our own analog standards, and sorry, you can’t convince me that analog is bad word yet,” says Howard. Most final mixes at Ray’s studio are carried out in analog domain on one of the last Quad Eight consoles manufactured. Either a two-inch analog 24-track or Studer digital 48-track machine is still used to track all recordings.

“I’ve got three Lucid ADA 8824 converters connected to the Studer’s analog outputs. When I do transfers from the Studer, I want it in real-time so I’ll make two passes to get all 48 tracks in my computer DAW, ready for editing,” continues Howard. The ADA 8824 is an eight-channel 24-bit A/D and D/A converter designed to get analog and digital audio in and out of any DAW. The 8824 has eight analog and eight AES/EBU digital inputs and outputs plus stereo S/PDIF in/out jacks that all operate simultaneously and connect to your computer’s I/O card via an ADAT Lightpipe(tm).

After multi-track editing within the DAW, Howard will transfer the 48 tracks back to the Studer in analog for mixing on the Quad Eight. “If I mix internally within the DAW,” Howard further explains, “sometimes I’ll come out analog to add a Manley Variable Mu compressor across the mix, then I’ll use the Lucid DA 9624 stereo digital-to-analog converter for this stage and then the AD 9624 to feed the Manley’s analog output to my second DAW. The second DAW is for stereo mixing, editing and pre-mastering and runs at 24-bit/96kHz. In all cases, the final mix is recorded to a Studer MO disc recorder at 24/48kHz for mastering. Stereo Lucid converters are used again here for D/A and A/D and sample rate conversion at the same time.”

The stereo Lucid DA 9624 digital-to-analog and AD 8624 analog-to-digital converters both support sample rates of 96, 88.2, 48, 44.1 and 32kHz and use AES/EBU and consumer S/PDIF (coaxial and optical TOSLINK) digital connectors for true 24-bit operation. The DA 9624 has a front panel headphone jack and monitor level pot while the AD 9624’s noise shaping function enhances the clarity of low-level material for superior imaging and realism when creating 16-bit masters.

Between Ray Charles and Terry Howard, over a dozen Lucid converters including six DA 9624s and a CLKx6 Audio Clock Distribution Amplifier are used everyday. The CLKx6 receives incoming clocking from the Word clock jack or from the AES input, and distributes it to six other word clock inputs around your studio. Obviously sold on Lucid, Howard exclaims: “When something is this good, what can I do? I recently bought another set of high-end converters to interface a new digital reverb to the console. They were supposedly the next ‘big thing’ – yeah right! I wound up going back to the store and swapping them for two more Lucids.”

Lucid is a division of Symetrix Inc. dedicated to producing sonically superior digital audio hardware for recording, mastering, and audio post-production. Lucid’s critically acclaimed converters can be found in studios worldwide and were nominated for a 2000 TEC Award.

For more information, please phone the company at (425) 742-1518 or refer to its website at www.lucidaudio.com.

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