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Signal to DAW not hot enough

I was thinking that if I keep my 18i20 preamps as low as they go, that it would keep any coloration from my 18i20 as low as possible and the primary conditioning would be from my ART Pro II that's connected to my 18i20.
I find that I must use the preamps in the 18i20 in addition to the ART preamp to get my input signal to my DAW up enough.

Any advice is appreciated.

Comments

pcrecord Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:08
The problem you live is that you are sending the signal from a preamp to another preamp.
The 18i20 is not very colored but the inputs still have a fair amount of physical electronic parts on the signal path before it gets to the converters.
One clue to get if an interface has direct path to converter is if it has inputs which doesn't have gain knobs. If they do, they will mostly color the signal.
One option would be to buy a separate digital converter and connect it to the spdif input of the 18i20 but this comes with extra cost.

I did live the same thing when I had my Focusrite liquid 56 as my many interface. I bought some High-end preamps and always was on the impression I was wasting the best of them by going through another, cheaper preamp. So I bought a used Mytek AD96. It made a huge difference...

Without changing gear, you could just set things to healthy levels.. Max 50% gain on the 18i20 and aiming -18db average level on your daw.

pcrecord Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:57
Makzimia, post: 463242, member: 48344 wrote: pcrecord Marco, long way round to say what I did :p. Lol.
:ROFLMAO: hey hey !!

I just felt the need to say that I was there a few years ago and what I did.
Since then, all my external preamps go to line ins, either in my interface or other converters (AD 96 or UA 4-710 which has 4 extra inputs)

Boswell Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:25
bob savage, post: 463239, member: 51830 wrote: I was thinking that if I keep my 18i20 preamps as low as they go, that it would keep any coloration from my 18i20 as low as possible and the primary conditioning would be from my ART Pro II that's connected to my 18i20. I find that I must use the preamps in the 18i20 in addition to the ART preamp to get my input signal to my DAW up enough.
Looking at the specs, the maximum output of the ART Pro II is +27dBu and the maximum input (at minimum gain) that the Focusrite 18i20 can handle is +22dBu. The maximum gain available on the ART from the mic input is 70dB (40 front end, 20 back end, 10 boost), so you would think that with most microphones the ART would be capable of over-driving the Focusrite by 5dB.

Are you sure you have the all the ART gains set up correctly?

Marco (pcrecord) and Makzima both have good points about not daisy-chaining pre-amps, but this may be something to consider once you have got your existing setup working as well as it is capable of.

bouldersound Thu, 01/23/2020 - 23:18
bob savage, post: 463239, member: 51830 wrote: I was thinking that if I keep my 18i20 preamps as low as they go, that it would keep any coloration from my 18i20 as low as possible and the primary conditioning would be from my ART Pro II that's connected to my 18i20.
I find that I must use the preamps in the 18i20 in addition to the ART preamp to get my input signal to my DAW up enough.

Any advice is appreciated.

I would bet that any coloration from the interface preamps is fairly static until you start approaching their limits. I would probably run the output of the MPA in the -10dBv setting (switch on the rear panel) and start with the output knobs straight up. Then I would put some signal into the MPA and get the needle to around the 0VU mark, then set the interface preamps so that 0VU corresponded to -18dBFS. Leave the interface preamps in that position and set the gain as desired (for example, to drive the MPA or keep it clean) and set the output to get a proper recording level (averaging -18dBFS for most things, peaking not over -6dBFS for impulsive sounds like drums).

bob savage Sat, 01/25/2020 - 07:05
bouldersound, post: 463248, member: 38959 wrote: I would bet that any coloration from the interface preamps is fairly static until you start approaching their limits. I would probably run the output of the MPA in the -10dBv setting (switch on the rear panel) and start with the output knobs straight up. Then I would put some signal into the MPA and get the needle to around the 0VU mark, then set the interface preamps so that 0VU corresponded to -18dBFS. Leave the interface preamps in that position and set the gain as desired (for example, to drive the MPA or keep it clean) and set the output to get a proper recording level (averaging -18dBFS for most things, peaking not over -6dBFS for impulsive sounds like drums).


Thanks for your reply, that's seems to be the best route to go with.

bob savage Sat, 01/25/2020 - 07:10
pcrecord, post: 463241, member: 46460 wrote: The problem you live is that you are sending the signal from a preamp to another preamp.
The 18i20 is not very colored but the inputs still have a fair amount of physical electronic parts on the signal path before it gets to the converters.
One clue to get if an interface has direct path to converter is if it has inputs which doesn't have gain knobs. If they do, they will mostly color the signal.
One option would be to buy a separate digital converter and connect it to the spdif input of the 18i20 but this comes with extra cost.

I did live the same thing when I had my Focusrite liquid 56 as my many interface. I bought some High-end preamps and always was on the impression I was wasting the best of them by going through another, cheaper preamp. So I bought a used Mytek AD96. It made a huge difference...

Without changing gear, you could just set things to healthy levels.. Max 50% gain on the 18i20 and aiming -18db average level on your daw.

Yes, that is what I will have to do. That is what I arrived at and I will have to use that as my plan. I am grateful for all the replies.

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