Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

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BGR
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Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by BGR » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:45 am

I am interested in the iTrack Dock.

But I am concerned about one thing before I buy one.

The specs on both the Scarlett 2i2 and the iTrack Solo say that:

-MIC PREAMP GAIN RANGE: +10 to +55dB

In my personal recordings of mainly acoustic intruments with no pickup, I usually need to turn the gain knob towards the end of the dial to get a nice recording -on my 2i2-.

Now, the specs from the iTrack Dock state that:

-MIC PREAMP GAIN RANGE: -4 TO +46dB

In practice, does this mean that the iTrack Dock would provide 10dB less gain than the 2i2 or iTS?

dominicperry
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by dominicperry » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:47 am

Yup, that's what it means.
46dB is a feeble amount of gain for a mic-pre. I have no idea why they thought that would be enough.

Dominic

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richardyot
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by richardyot » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:28 am

That's pretty disappointing. I was hoping for an interface that could be used without a powered hub (which the 2i2 requires), but it seems my wait is set to continue.

BGR
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by BGR » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:47 am

Some similar interfaces are pretty straight forward about the gain range:

-Avid Fast Track Duo
Gain range: 48 dB, minimum gain to maximum gain

-Apogee Duet for iPad
Microphone Preamp Gain: up to 75dB

-Apogee One for iPad
Microphone Preamp Gain: up to 62dB

-Echo 2
Up to 75dB of gain


But other interfaces state it another way:

-PreSonus AudioVox 22VSL:
Gain Control Range: -15 dB to +65 dB Does this mean 80dB?

-Roland Duo Capture Ex:
Nominal Input Level XLR: -60 to -12 dBu Does this mean 48dB?

-Roland UA-25EX:
Nominal Input Level XLR: -60 to -20 dBu Does this mean 40dB?

-Scarlett 2i2:
Gain range: +10 dB to +55 dB Does this mean 45dB?

-And, iTrack Dock:
Gain Range: -4dB to +46dB Does this mean 50dB?

dominicperry
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by dominicperry » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:27 pm

No, a minus figure means attenuation. And a positive figure for the low number jut means you can't reduce the gain below that level.

Dominic

BGR
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by BGR » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:36 pm

@dominicperry

Thank you. Now I know what that means. I am looking for another interface. I have the 2i2. And I am looking for an interface that can give me a bit more gain. Of course, for my personal recordings and on a very thight budget. Thank you again.

dominicperry
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by dominicperry » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:43 pm

If you are happy with the functionality and reliability of the 2i2 (ie if it has enough channels and works at low enough latencies for you), then perhaps the best thing to do, as long as you aren't too fussed about portability, is to buy a dedicated mic-pre (one or two channels) and feed the line level output from the mic pre to the line level inputs on the 2i2.
Things like the Focusrite ISA One are hard to beat at that price level. You won't get such a good mic-pre if you spend the same on a whole interface.
What are your constraints (size/portability - wise) and budget?

Dominic

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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by BGR » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:17 pm

@dominicperry

I really like the 2i2. I am looking for something similar. And maybe bus-powered. Or battery powered.

After following fgplayerx post about mobility, I got a external 5v mobile phone charger. And I can remain wall socket free for at least 5 or 6 hours of recording -even with 2 phantom powered microphones.

I just got myself a pair of Line Audio Design CM3. And I started to like them since my first tests.

I also have to add that I am not a professional producer or audio specialist. But I know my way around computers and hardware.

And even though I like the 2i2 a lot, there is a boost in gain around the 90% gain mark that sounds a bit digital to me. Not analog anymore. The boost is so pronounced, that if you compare the iTrackSolo and the 2i2 side by side, you can hear how the 2i2 boosts the gain a few good decibels more at the end of the dial.

And for my personal recordings, around that 90% mark is where I usually need my gain to be to get some nice sounding recordings. So I am now insecure about the position of the gain knob every time I want to record something. I go all the way to MAX position and slowly turn the dial down until the HISS ends. And then I record. So it is not an exact science to find my favorite recording level everytime.

You could say that it is a "personal taste" issue.

The ISA One looks very nice in the pictures and in paper. But, mobility is something that I am looking for.

The Apogee One (62db) and Duet (75db) look very appealing. And the Mackie Onyx Blakjack (60dB) also.

I am trying to steer away from the Roland ua-22, ua-25 and ua-55 not because I dont like them, but because I did not understand their gain attenuation statements. Now I do a bit, but still not entirely.

The Sound Devices MixPre-D (66dB) and USBPre 2 (80dB), look incredibly nice on paper. But, in my area of Europe, they are just too expensive for my type of personal projects.

So, I'll be on the look out still.

Thank you again for helping me understand a bit more about preamp gain specifications.

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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by dominicperry » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:58 pm

I have the original 'One'. It's good, but apart from being only one channel, so no good for your stereo recordings, it isn't very clean at the top of the gain range. No idea about the new 'One'.
The Duet needs an external power supply. Never heard one, but lots of people have good things to say about them.
RME Babyface has poor micpres above about 50dB gain. Very noisy.
The Roland stuff is all cheap and nasty.
Battery powered is difficult. Not many things are.
Bus powered is hard to get good, without being expensive - Usbpre2 being a good example.

You are after what we all want - cheap, small, portable, high gain with no hiss, reliable. Hard to find!

Dominic

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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by BGR » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:18 pm

@dominicperry

I just read your last replies here and in the self-powered audio interface topic.

You really know your stuff.

And I agree with you that we are all somehow looking for the same type of interface.

Because you have experience with them, would a Sound Devices interface be worth the investment?

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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by supanorton » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:45 pm

@BGR What kind of mics are you using? I just picked up a CloudLifter to use with my Shure SM7b and my 2i2. It's designed to give clean gain to low output dynamic and ribbon mics. Sounds pretty damn good. I've got my 2i2 at about 50%, and my vocals are so much more alive and present. I expected good results and wasn't disappointed. The CloudLifter will add +25 DBS of clean gain, but you can't use it with condensers as the phantom power never reaches the mic. I find the 2i2 to have plenty of gain for my condensers, but we may not have similar needs. They go for about $150 for the single input (CL-1) and $230-$250 for the dual input (CL-2).

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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by dominicperry » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:07 am

BGR is using Line Audio Design CM3. Good mics. Condensers.

Cloudlifter sadly not appropriate for them.
Last edited by dominicperry on Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

dominicperry
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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by dominicperry » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:12 am

BGR wrote:@dominicperry
would a Sound Devices interface be worth the investment?
Hard to say. The USBPre2 needs a powered hub to work. The MixPre-D is, I'm sure, very good (based on my experience with the MixPre (1st version) and the USBPre (1st version). But it won't give you zero latency monitoring for overdubs, which I personally find essential. If you're recording performances in one hit, that won't matter. But if you want to overdub then latency is an issue for most drummers and vocalists. MixPre-D can run off batteries though. However, you won't be able to charge the iPad while you are using it.

Dominic

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Re: Question about Focusrite PreAmps.

Post by BGR » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:03 pm

EDITED

@supanorton
@dominicperry

As Dominic stated, I just bought a couple of CM3, and I am starting to love them. Light, mobile, great sound.

The two WAV files attached are a side by side comparison of the two CM3 I have.

Each one connected to a different mobile option that I copied from user "fgplayerx".

Since I had to keep the comparison as clear and equal as possible -and because I don't have two iPads-, I used MultitrackDAW to record in 24bit, 48kHz on both an iPad 4 and an iPhone 4S. In an untreated bedroom :)

Equipment 1:
-an iPad 4
-The CCK
-a pasive USB hub -YES, pasive-.
-an INTENSO MobyPack -5200mAh, 5V, max 2.1A output- mobile phone charger.
-a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (+55dB).
-a Y cable to connect the 2i2 to the hub and to the charger -believe me, this works; and extremely well-.
-and, one of the CM3 +48v phantom powered.

Equipment 2:
-an iPhone 4S
-a Line 6 Sonic Port
-a Rolls LiveMix MX34c (+70dB). Battery powered by 2x 9v batteries. With output set to LINE -the other option is MIC-.
-a 3.5mm mini jack stereo cable to connect the LiveMix to the Line In input from the Sonic Port.
-and, the other CM3 +18v phantom powered.

No latency issues on either option. I have tried both extensively.

"opened in" original files in SoundShare to rename them and not get lost with the long original bin names from MultitrackDAW.

Imported them into Auria and made basic edits to try to sync them and to add silence between the takes. But no Fades, Effects, EQ or Volumen changes.

The most important thing is that since they were side by side, the signal that they received -my voice- is roughly the same.

I am around 80cm-31.5in from the microphones.

Please feel free to comment once you hear the samples.

On both files:
-Second 00, the dial knobs from both interfaces are at the 12 o'clock level.
-Second 17, the dial knobs from both interfaces are at the 3 o'clock level.
-Second 33, the dial knobs from both interfaces are at MAXIMUM level.

Line Audio Design CM3; to Rolls LiveMix MX34c; to Line 6 Sonic Port; to iPhone 4S.
CM3->MX34C->SP.wav
(7 MiB) Downloaded 324 times
Line Audio Design CM3; to Focusrite Scarlett 2i2; to iPad 4.
CM3->2i2.wav
(7 MiB) Downloaded 316 times
The only equipment you wont see in the picture is the iPhone 4s with which I took the photo.
2i2vsMX34c.jpg

NOTE:
http://www.sounddevices.com/notes/usbpr ... #more-1482
In this page, it say how to connect the USBPre2 to an iPad.
But you should force it to be USB Class 1 compliant.
What would is the difference between Class 1 and Class2?

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