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PreSonus 1818VSL interface question

Member for

4 years
I recently picked up a PreSonus 1818VSL interface and while I'm able to record, everything sounds a little "cheap" for lack of a better word. I've been reading and finding that some folks are using a preamp before the interface. Is this common and do the PreSonus preamps suck? Thanks in advance for any information.

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Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Wed, 12/27/2017 - 06:41
Unless it is defective, the 1818 is a nice interface. Altought there's always better preamps we can use, those in the 1818 are good enough for day to day recording.
Where it get's tricky is when you use low level mics like a dynamic or ribbon mic. On loud level sources you can get good results but if you push the gains of the 1818 you'll get out of their sweet spot and might get noisy and not so good results.
Now of course if you get a Focusrite ISA preamp or a millennia or UA 610 etc.. they are in a completely different ball game.
Highend preamps will either be more transparent or have more mojo but they will usually do it without noises.

In your case, I would start thinking about the room sound, the mic choice and the placement before pointing at the 1818.
Could you post an exemple for us to evaluate ?
Also please specify what you don't like about the sound and how the signal path goes. (mic or direct, amp or not etc..)

One of our experienced member has the same interface and will surely shime in (@DonnyThompson )

Member for

4 years

TheWeez Wed, 12/27/2017 - 06:51
pcrecord, post: 454739, member: 46460 wrote: Unless it is defective, the 1818 is a nice interface. Altought there's always better preamps we can use, those in the 1818 are good enough for day to day recording.
Where it get's tricky is when you use low level mics like a dynamic or ribbon mic. On loud level sources you can get good results but if you push the gains of the 1818 you'll get out of their sweet spot and might get noisy and not so good results.
Now of course if you get a Focusrite ISA preamp or a millennia or UA 610 etc.. they are in a completely different ball game.
Highend preamps will either be more transparent or have more mojo but they will usually do it without noises.

In your case, I would start thinking about the room sound, the mic choice and the placement before pointing at the 1818.
Could you post an exemple for us to evaluate ?
Also please specify what you don't like about the sound and how the signal path goes. (mic or direct, amp or not etc..)

One of our experienced member has the same interface and will surely shime in (@DonnyThompson )
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I actually bought the Presonus interface based on reviews, many of which said the preamps are pretty good. I've been using a 4-port PCIe card for years with a Mackie 16-channel board and my Windows 2000 computer finally died so I bit the bullet and got a new PC, interface, and other various items. It's been a long time since I actually recorded anything so this is all pretty new to me. It seems like I just need to keep experimenting until I get the sound I'm looking for. The room I record in is terrible so I'm certain that has a lot to do with my sub par results.

Member for

21 years 3 months

audiokid Wed, 12/27/2017 - 12:42
pcrecord, post: 454741, member: 46460 wrote: When the room isn't good sounding, doing closed mic setups are the best way to go..
Often, just putting some moving blankets around will help the room greatly.
If you mic your guitar cab, just moving by an inch will change the sound.
Experimentations is the key.
Jim stone, post: 454730, member: 51060 wrote: Hi everyone, I'm new to home recording. How does one go about getting the warmth, and clarity in the higher frequencies of vocals as heard in this session?

a great example of what pcrecord is talking about. Likely some blankets, gobos around these two would help a lot.

Member for

19 years 5 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 12/27/2017 - 13:01
the Mackie doesn't suck any more than the PreSonus or vice versa. they are just different flavors from each other.

unless you want to invest at least a few hundred dollars for a better pre amp what you're getting is what you will get. as AK and PC said, some moving blankets to tame the high reflections would be the best investment you can make for the moment.

Member for

9 years

DonnyThompson Thu, 12/28/2017 - 02:23
You've mentioned that your room isn't the best environment for recording, but what you didn't mention is the mic(s) you are using.
While I certainly don't think the 1818 is the best pre ever made, for its feature set and decent sound it's the best in its price class. But, your fidelity also depends on what mics you use, what monitors you are listening through, the sound of your room...and your expectations, too. It's not an ISA, Grace, Millennia or other upper level pre (which all essentially costs as much for one channel as the 8 channel 1818 does), nor do they have built in converters or digital connectivity, word clock, SPDIF or Optical outs for expansion, so you really are paying for one channel of pro level fidelity, as much as you paid for the 8 ch VSL, with all it's bells and whistles, so your expectations need to be reasonable with the Presonus and the money you spent for it...
I've done plenty of "good" work on the 1818, have recorded and mixed whole album projects with it, and with favorable results...but, I've also got some pretty nice mics, and my space has been treated to both mix and record in with favorable results....and at risk of bragging, like most of the other regular guys here on RO, I've been doing this for a long time, too...35 years + ...and experience is a factor. Things like Mic technique, knowledge of room treatment, monitoring, gain structure, EQ and GR does count.

You're not going to do any better for an 8 channel pre with built in conversion than the money you've spent on the VSL.
You should be able to get good results. As Marco ( @pcrecord ) mentioned, unless there's something actually wrong with the unit, I think you need to look at other potential issues... Mics, monitors, room...
Provide us with a little more detail about your other gear, what you would like to do, and your expectations, and we can all talk about it more.
-d.
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