Today we’re taking a look at the QES Labs PAD2 MKII converter and shooting it out against a converter (The Lavry LE 4496) that I have been using for years that I know and love!
You can download the files from the shootout here to compare them yourself!
QES is a brand new company based in Naples, Italy, founded and run by Val, a young designer and musician. Its mission is to manufacture the highest level of performing pro audio gear, handcrafted in only a few units, and totally customizable.
A friend of mine is part of the library of congress and they are taking all the recordings from Dax tape, to wax cylinder, to every different size of vinyl, and going through all these historic recordings and digitizing them.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, they did a shootout of all the different converters on the market and it turns out the liked the sound of one that was made in Italy the most! It seems like the Italians have a very good reputation when it comes to converters.
This QES unit is substantially heavy for one unit- you can tell there’s some serious engineering in it!
For the shootout, we have two songs! The first is “Shoot You Down” by Little Empire which is a combination of live drums, programming, minor EDM elements, and some indie guitars. The second is Dick Wagner’s song “If I Had the Time” which is the song featured in the classic rock mixing course that we’ve been doing for charity where all the proceeds go to St Jude’s. 100% of the profits are donated to support children in need.
Get Mixing Classic Rock for Charity here
I’m not an expert but I’m very very impressed with the amount of headroom we are getting from the QES converter!
For the shootout, we’re going to print all three versions, We’re also going to level match this for playback so your not being deceived because the one is a lot louder.
Firstly the Lavry Blue has been my staple for years and is a wonderful converter. One of the reasons I started using it is because so many people I admire use it.
I’ve heard great things about the QES converters and I am very excited to try out the QES, but I’m a little terrified cause I love my Lavry! I really do. But I’ve heard such good things about the QES!
During the shootout we had to do a blind test where we choose what one sounded better without knowing the converter it came from. The QES definitely has more front to back.
Listening to “If I Had the Time” on the QES Classic filter- I’m not sure what QES is doing but you can clearly hear so much more detail on the left-hand side, there’s more width.
It’s interesting the Lavry performs really really well on this, but the QES has the edge.
The QES is going to (as they say in the USA) it’s going to kill it! I’m very impressed. Thank you ever so much Val from QES for sending us this unit!
You can download these files so you can make your own decisions.
Bare in mind I am recording in a hybrid setup so nothing ever comes back exactly the same. That’s just a reality! So there’s going to be other things at play. We didn’t touch the console what so ever, but voltages vary and all this kind of stuff! There’s always going to be those different kids of discrepancies.
All I can say is we’re impressed it sounds great, really really great work QES.
Have you used one of these converters? Please let us know in the comments below!