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Upgrading my Home Studio Recording equipments

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Greenest, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. Greenest

    Greenest Active Member

    Greetings.
    I want to change my current setup to the one FOCUSRITE SAFFIRE PRO 24 sound card mainly for improvement in recording Vocals and Acoustic Guitar.
    The problem is i have no idea that this change does really affect my recording quality.
    My current setup:
    - Infrasonic Quartet 4x4 Pci interface (I just use Line-in and not Its own preamp)
    - Behringer xenyx 1002 fx ( for its preamp)
    - Akg perception 400 Condencer mic.
    - SM pro MC01 Condencer Mic.

    Please tell me what you think, and any other recommendation.
     
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The Focusrite SAFFIRE PRO 24 is a good unit and you can also consider the DSP version but other than the spdif input/output, there is not a lot of expension possibility (like adat or other digital inputs)

    My Idea about the spdif is that you can get various high end preamps with integrated converters that you can output to the saffire. But you can only add one unit to the pro24.

    Also, the Perception 400 and the MC01 are not the most hi quality mic available. You could go for a match pair of small condensers for the guitar and investigate mics that will more accuratly capture your voice.

    Now, I'm not throwing names of gear yet because you didn't say what kind of music you do and how is the room in which you record (treated or not)
     
    Greenest likes this.
  3. Bluesmoods

    Bluesmoods Active Member

    Presonus 44VSL or Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 Flat out. Or are they about the same quality?


    I have the 44VSL and have used it for several years. I have been extremely impressed with the quality and features overall. However, When I disconnect the unit from my PC and perhaps reinstall, I get a whole bunch of "pops" and "crackle" with an occasional changes in speed so it sounds like a warped record. When I remove it and do an entirely new download and reinstall several times or make other adjustments that I still don't know exactly what they are, it resolves and I get a great clean high quality sound once again.

    I am very impressed with the quality, it is just the darn Popping and so forth that sems to re occur on occasion that ruins the experience for me.
    My understanding is that those who have used the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 have not encountered these issues. Is the Focusrite a better product? Will I experience a better sound reproduction through better Preamps? Am I correct in that you can also capture or reroute audio lets say from Soundcloud or Youtube back to the Focusrite and lay down a DAW track from that captured sound? (Understanding copyright restrictions and all as a singer songwriter). Can't do that with 44VSL. That feature would be cool to tweak an existing audio track to your liking.

    Do tell...

    Thanks
     
  4. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    Buy a Mac, just saying ;)
     
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Have you made sure your drivers and firmware are up to date?
     
  6. Greenest

    Greenest Active Member

    Thanks for quick reply. :D
    My room is treated, I do more Rock music, Space Rock/Progressive rock.
    I heard a lot about Quality of Focusrite Saffire 24 Microphone Preamps, but have no idea about quality difference between my Current Xenyx preamp quality and Focusrite one in real world!
    The spdif input/output is also available in my infrasonic quartet sound card.
    and my budget is limited too! (about 300$)
    I think my current preamp has not good signal to noise ratio especially in high gain and i have no idea about its details/ quality compare to focusrite one.
     
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member


    Xenyx is Behringer, no?

    I think you'll find that your experience with them regarding noise and gain is not all that uncommon; most people whom I've talked to who have used Behringer gear pretty much have the same complaint, in that they can be quite noisy, thin-sounding, and lacking of gain.

    To the contrary, I've never used any Focusrite gear that I didn't find to be exceptional - nor have I ever spoken with anyone who has owned any Focusrite gear who didn't feel the same way. Focusrite preamps are well-respected, both in gain and lack of noise.

    Now, to be fair, I have no experience with the newer line of Behringer I/O -pre's, which are apparently now using Midas Preamps, which are also respected by engineers, or at least Live Sound Engineers. But, as far as studio use, I've not used them, so you would have to ask others who have to get a fair answer.

    As far as the money you have to spend, I'd be looking at either Focusrite or Presonus, which - as long as you are comparing them to other solid state models in the same price range - are both going to give you nice, clean, transparent, quiet, powerful preamps.

    I have a Presonus VSL, and find it very transparent, clean, and powerful. I am able to use ribbon mics through it with no problems at all. Ribbon mics are a good test of a preamp, because they traditionally have very low output, and require much more gain than many dynamics and condensers do, so if you use a ribbon mic with a preamp, and that pre is able to "gain up" the ribbon mic to acceptable levels without noise or distortion, then it's a safe bet that it will also be a good pre for dynamics and condensers, too. I have had similar positive experiences with Focusrite as well. I don't think you're going to go wrong choosing either one.

    At this point, you are better served by getting a nice 2 - 4 channel preamp with very good preamps, than you are getting a 8-16 channel I/O with cheap preamps.
    The other nice thing about many Focusrite and Presonus Preamp I/O's, is that they are expandable through optical I/O (Adat/Light-Pipe), so you can add additional pre amps for more inputs as you need them, or as money allows.

    As an added suggestion - At some point, when you can do it, you should also look into one very nice, high end, single channel preamp. There are many pro models out there - Millenia, Focusrite, Neve, Grace, Pacifica, Presonus, and others who make high end pre amps... that sound terrific on vocals, guitars, acoustics instruments, etc.

    FWIW

    d.
     
    Greenest likes this.
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I think they are not made by Midas but they are of the same design. We will surely see some comparaisons in a near future.

    One thing to be carefull about when buying a highend preamp is to be sure you have a clean input through the audio interface converters.
    It make no sense to put a 2k preamp in an audio buddy's preamp that will degrade the signal. You may want to research the units that interest you before buying. For exemple, the saffire 24 can receive a spdif digital signal. You could easily buy a Focusrite ISA one with its digital card and get to more track to record (mic preamp and instrument input) The ISAs are not the best pre out of Donny's list but they are definitively a worth step up from the onboard saffire pre. (I have the saffire 56 and also 4 ISA preamps (2 ISA two)) A lot of preamps don't come with any converter. In that case you need a external quality converter to get good use of them.

    Expendability comes to a price but you'll save on the long run.

    So yeah ! the saffire 24 or the Presonus Firestudio which is at 300$ promotionnal price right now.
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FireStuProj
     
  9. Greenest

    Greenest Active Member

    I don't need more than 2 inputs at the same time, cause that i think, if the Focusrite saffire 24 pres has the same quality as the other high-end focusrite standalone pres, so it's enough for me. am i wrong or not? but the important part for me is the real quality that be different from my current setup.
    please let me know ur opinions.
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Marco has it spot-on.

    It doesn't make much sense to buy something like a Neve or a Millennia Pre, and then bus it through a lower quality preamp - like an MBox, Sapphire or Presonus VSL - to get the signal into your DAW; because your ultimate sound - in both preamp and conversion quality - will only ever be as good as the best that the cheaper pre amp can offer.

    If buying a high end pre, I would strongly suggest either getting a model with built-in digital I/O , or, adding a good stand-alone converter to handle this critical link in the chain.

    I'm not saying that the above cheaper preamps are bad - to the contrary, for the money, they are great - very clean, transparent, quiet and powerful. But, they're not a Neve, or Millennia, (they're also not $1800 per channel, either ;) )... nor are they as good as the few higher end pre amps that both Focusrite and Presonus also offer at the top of their lines.

    Having at least one channel of high-end preamp and conversion will make a big difference in your sound, even if you end up only using it to track vocals. Of course, microphones matter quite a bit, too.. but I suppose that's for another thread. ;)

    If you do end up looking at a high-end pre at some point, and it doesn't have built in I/O connectivity, then using something like this with the pre would be a great place to start:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ADI2

    Just do the math carefully, and make sure that going with two separate units - one for the preamp stage and one for the conversion stage - doesn't end up costing you more than buying a nice high-end pre with built-in digital I/O.

    FWIW

    d.
     
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think you are wrong. Focusrite, like most any other audio equipment manufacturer, will have different lines with varying qualities and calibers, depending on cost.

    Factors that would make a difference in price are things like gain, mic input transformers, dynamic range, clock/converters, connectivity (different I/O's.. SPDIF, AES/EBU, Optical), etc.

    Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. ;)
     
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I don't think he's wrong, I know he is wrong !! ;) You see, I use both and while saffire preamps are ok, the ISA line give more fuller sound with higher noiseless clean levels. I wouldn't use my cascade ribbon mics with the saffire but the ISAs make them rock ! Also the impedance switch makes it possible to have different dynamics/textured sound.

    I didn't compare them but I believe the RME preamps are better than the saffire's. Not an ISA yet but much closer. A RME Fireface UC would give you 2 clean preamps and 2 line/instruments. I know it's out of your budget but with a UC you would get better result right away and make sure you can expend with the spdif and ADAT inputs.

    If you don't want to go that far, the saffire 24 still give you a spdif input..

    It's hard for us to describe hi quality audio. but just know that pro studio don't fight for it, they just use the right tools and get better sounding and easy to mix tracks.. ;)
     
  13. Bluesmoods

    Bluesmoods Active Member

    Yes. When I completely remove Studio One, I do a reinstall and upon launching, a message comes up to update firmware and I do. Then, snap, crackle, pop.
    Should I upload a clip?
     

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