Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP16x

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Joepno
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Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP16x

Post by Joepno » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:31 pm

Hi,

I am making my first attempts in recording. Just vocals and Nord Stage ac. piano.

I have the impression that the piano sounds better when I plug it into the yamaha mixer rather then plugging the piano into the Focusrite 18i20 and going with the interface outputs into the mixer. No Fx, no comp, no processing in the mixer.

Should I expect the preamps of this mixer to sound better than those of the interface?

If this were the case does it make sense to plug instruments and mic's into the mixer and then go into the interface for recording?

tx
Joepno

Chaosinside777
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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by Chaosinside777 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:53 pm

If you have the One knob compressors activated on the Yamaha Mixer, the comparison is a Little unfair, you may experience more Loudness this way.
The Focusrite Preamps can easily take it up with the Yamaha-Preamps, but the dsp Mixer has no Fx like the Yamaha to shape the Sound...

dominicperry
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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by dominicperry » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:07 am

I think you said that the compressors were not engaged, so it's not that.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if you can hear a difference. It's not really a pre-amp issue (if you are using line-level, then the pre-amp isn't really doing much or any work, depending upon the circuit configuration). It's more likely to be about the output circuitry. I can't speak about the specific devices you have here, but my experience of Focurite kit is not good. The iTrack Dock sounded particularly lousy - just the output stages, playing back from iTunes at 256Kb/s AAC, and from SoundCloud at 320Kb/s OggVorbis. Their top end kit is undoubtedly good, used by many pro studios, but the cheap stuff is, well, cheap.
Yamaha is another story. I had an AW1600 for a short while, which sounded terrible, but mostly because the mic pres were weak and noisy. The output circuitry was good. I've had my hands on a number of other bits of cheap Yamaha kit, mixers and PAs, and generally it's quite good. Never outstanding, but generally good for the money.
It has to be said that I'm not entirely clear what your signal path is. It's very easy to overload or 'underload' the input stages of consumer gear. Pro gear, working at nominal +4 dBu levels will usually take +20 - +24 dBu and output at +16 dBu or more. Consumer kit is much more variable. You may find that altering output levels from the keyboard and changing gain levels on the receiving equipment make a considerable difference to the sound.
In conclusion, if it sounds better to you one way or the other, then do the thing that sounds better. For all the endless talk on forums about what can and can't be measured and what is and isn't imagined, the people who record and mix and master all day use their ears and their judgement, without continual recourse to theory, physics, maths and test results. Life is too short. Do what sounds good!

Dominic

Chaosinside777
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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by Chaosinside777 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:51 am

It really depends on the right gain staging, to set the levels right, the Focusrite for expample has no line-inputs. Every analogue signal runs through the mic pre's, as explained in the focusrite answerbase. Even if you use line-plugs and not XLR-Plugs.

I had several Yamaha-Mixers in the past, (Promix 01 & 01V) and all of them were very clean and with very low noise-level.
It's very solid built quality, but the Mic pre's always seemed a bit "dead" to me.

But if you want to hear a real difference, you should try the new SPL Crimson, which has outstanding preamps and a fantastic headphone-monitor-section with tons of headroom. BTW, it also works with ipads.

Matt.Focusrite
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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by Matt.Focusrite » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:18 pm

Just to clarify, the 18i20 has 3 input modes. The XLR input is Mic level only, but the when connecting via 1/4" you are accessing a line level input. These do share some circuitry, but the 1/4 input is a true line input stage and is very transparent. Inputs 1 and 2 also have an instrument mode on the 1/4" portion of the input.
Last edited by Matt.Focusrite on Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Chaosinside777
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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by Chaosinside777 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:36 pm

Hi Matt,
Any news about the spdif-Sync problem with the 18i20 , when using with IPad?

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Joepno
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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by Joepno » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:00 am

Thank you, all.
dominicperry. I like your comments, in particular: life is too short. just do what sounds good. however, for a newbie like me it sometimes takes up a lot of lifetime to find a setup that sounds sufficiently good. There is so much you could do wrong. I actually go into the Yamaha Mixer and use the inserts as direct outs to go into the 18i20. So I have two gain stages before the signal enters Auria. (saves me some plugging in plugging out efforts) Is this not recommendable? Should one rather go directly into the 18i20?

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Re: Quality of preamps Focusrite 18i20 vs. Yamaha mixer MGP1

Post by Chaosinside777 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:38 pm

If you don't use or need the periphery of the Yamaha Mixer (EQs, Compressors, Reverb) i would suggest to go directly into the 18i20.

And if you don't use too much tracks live with Auria, I'm sure you can handle all of the above mentioned Features with better quality and Low latency in Auria.

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