Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Arpangel »

ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:36 am "All interfaces sound differently"
Ooo! Ooo! Can we have an AI and mixer "shoot out" on the same lines as The Great Pre Amp Expose'?

Dave.

Yes Dave, bring it on, but I think we know what everyone would prefer, no point in doing it really.

:D
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Mike Stranks »

Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:38 am
ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:36 am "All interfaces sound differently"
Ooo! Ooo! Can we have an AI and mixer "shoot out" on the same lines as The Great Pre Amp Expose'?

Dave.

Yes Dave, bring it on, but I think we know what everyone would prefer, no point in doing it really.

:D

Eh?

In a double-blind assessment - which I think is what Dave is suggesting - then no-one involved has any way of knowing what they were listening to until after they've made their preferences clear.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by ef37a »

Mike Stranks wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:43 am
Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:38 am
ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:36 am "All interfaces sound differently"
Ooo! Ooo! Can we have an AI and mixer "shoot out" on the same lines as The Great Pre Amp Expose'?

Dave.

Yes Dave, bring it on, but I think we know what everyone would prefer, no point in doing it really.

:D

Eh?

In a double-blind assessment - which I think is what Dave is suggesting - then no-one involved has any way of knowing what they were listening to until after they've made their preferences clear.

Indeed Mike but at the time the SoS instigators were at great pains to point out that the pre amp tests were not true, 'scientific double blind tests'.

For those that don't know...A 'robot' piano played the same piece of music and several different pre's of varying price were recorded. The readers were then invited to list their preferences/guesses. IRRC the results were no better than chance?

Dave.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by The Elf »

ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:55 am
Mike Stranks wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:43 am
Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:38 am
ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:36 am "All interfaces sound differently"
Ooo! Ooo! Can we have an AI and mixer "shoot out" on the same lines as The Great Pre Amp Expose'?

Yes Dave, bring it on, but I think we know what everyone would prefer, no point in doing it really.

Eh?

In a double-blind assessment - which I think is what Dave is suggesting - then no-one involved has any way of knowing what they were listening to until after they've made their preferences clear.

Indeed Mike but at the time the SoS instigators were at great pains to point out that the pre amp tests were not true, 'scientific double blind tests'.

For those that don't know...A 'robot' piano played the same piece of music and several different pre's of varying price were recorded. The readers were then invited to list their preferences/guesses. IRRC the results were no better than chance?

Ahem... Some of us got pretty close... ;)
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by ef37a »

The Elf wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:57 am
ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:55 am
Mike Stranks wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:43 am
Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:38 am
ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:36 am "All interfaces sound differently"
Ooo! Ooo! Can we have an AI and mixer "shoot out" on the same lines as The Great Pre Amp Expose'?

Yes Dave, bring it on, but I think we know what everyone would prefer, no point in doing it really.

Eh?

In a double-blind assessment - which I think is what Dave is suggesting - then no-one involved has any way of knowing what they were listening to until after they've made their preferences clear.

Indeed Mike but at the time the SoS instigators were at great pains to point out that the pre amp tests were not true, 'scientific double blind tests'.

For those that don't know...A 'robot' piano played the same piece of music and several different pre's of varying price were recorded. The readers were then invited to list their preferences/guesses. IRRC the results were no better than chance?

Ahem... Some of us got pretty close... ;)

Maybe but it was still a guess!

Dave.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Arpangel »

If any "quality" tests are so close, that a guess is required, then AFAIC I’d probably be happy with any of them, it seems a lot off folks these days are getting a bit too obsessed with things on a microscopic level, that don’t really matter in the real world.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by tea for two »

Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:21 am I’ll be honest, my budget is virtually unlimited

In which instance, just in case you haven't considered this already, haven't done this already :
purchasing music gear for deprived Schools in London.
There are so many deprived Schools in London they would be over the moon to receive just a few bits of music gear.
Also for deprived community centers in London.
In the approx 200 towns in London pretty much most of them have a community center with plenty of them deprived.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by James Perrett »

Just about every audio interface can give you acceptable sound quality these days. The differences are down to:

1. Whether it can handle the inputs and outputs that you want to use. Some people need full professional level capability to connect to older gear but not many audio interfaces can output +24 or +28dBu. Another issue seems to be a lack of headroom in mic preamps with certain interfaces.

2. Whether the drivers are reliable and capable of low latency. Check things like is it easy to change sample rate or change clock source?

3. Is the manufacturer well established and are they quick at supporting new operating systems for their old interfaces? Many manufacturers rely on third parties to write the core of their drivers so don't have the expertise to support their products if that third party no longer wants to support them.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by ef37a »

" Another issue seems to be a lack of headroom in mic preamps with certain interfaces."

I agree James and this is always going to be a bit of a problem with 'simple' AIs with a single mic gain control. The designer then has to strike a balance between enough clean gain for a dynamic mic or decent headroom.
Most seem to plump for higher gain on the basis I guess that many home bods will, initially at least, go for a dynamic mic. Should they aspire to a hot capacitor they can buy XLR pads.

FYI I checked my M4 and it has a max (min gain) input level of +10dBu or 2.5V rms for jazz. Pretty good methinks and it certainly has the low noise and gain for a '58.

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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by James Perrett »

ef37a wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 12:24 pm FYI I checked my M4 and it has a max (min gain) input level of +10dBu or 2.5V rms for jazz. Pretty good methinks and it certainly has the low noise and gain for a '58.

That seems very respectable - equivalent to around 143dBSPL from an AKG C451.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Arpangel »

James Perrett wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 11:47 am Just about every audio interface can give you acceptable sound quality these days. The differences are down to:

1. Whether it can handle the inputs and outputs that you want to use. Some people need full professional level capability to connect to older gear but not many audio interfaces can output +24 or +28dBu. Another issue seems to be a lack of headroom in mic preamps with certain interfaces.

2. Whether the drivers are reliable and capable of low latency. Check things like is it easy to change sample rate or change clock source?

3. Is the manufacturer well established and are they quick at supporting new operating systems for their old interfaces? Many manufacturers rely on third parties to write the core of their drivers so don't have the expertise to support their products if that third party no longer wants to support them.

I can put up with poor support, "if I have to" if sound quality is good.
What some people are "suggesting" is that that’s up for compromise, if driver stability and customer support are priorities.
In the heady world of pro recording, these issues occur all the time, how many times have we been told quality is unquestionable, it’s an "industry standard" bit of kit, industry standard? It’s rare you get something that ticks all the boxes, including the one that seems to be way down the priority list for some users, and that’s sound quality.
I’ve paid a lot for interfaces that have great driver support, great build quality, great compatibility etc etc, but they sound awful, I can’t sit there and listen to them for more than a couple minutes before I want to throw them through the window.
Of course, it is possible to have it all, and most of the interfaces that I like are plug and play, no drivers required, and they never break down, so a lot of these issues just don’t apply.

tea for two wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 10:46 am
Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:21 am I’ll be honest, my budget is virtually unlimited

In which instance, just in case you haven't considered this already, haven't done this already :
purchasing music gear for deprived Schools in London.
There are so many deprived Schools in London they would be over the moon to receive just a few bits of music gear.
Also for deprived community centers in London.
In the approx 200 towns in London pretty much most of them have a community center with plenty of them deprived.

I’ve given away more gear than I can remember, and if you can show me an individual, that has talent coming out of every orifice, and the only thing holding them back is money, I’ll be there.
But just like foreign aid, you can never be sure it gets to where it’s intended.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by James Perrett »

Arpangel wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:39 am I’ve paid a lot for interfaces that have great driver support, great build quality, great compatibility etc etc, but they sound awful, I can’t sit there and listen to them for more than a couple minutes before I want to throw them through the window.

Tony - I think what you are trying to say is that you disagree with everyone else here when it comes to RME.

What you seem to ignore is that RME interfaces have plenty of digital connections so no-one is forcing you to use their convertors although most people's reaction to their convertors is very different to yours. The only rational explanation that I can think of is that you heard the analogue output from one of the original Hammerfall cards which was intended to be used for convenience rather than quality.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The Elf wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:57 am Ahem... Some of us got pretty close... ;)

As I recall a few people did identify most preamps correctly, but it was only a few, and no one got them all right.

The results of the 'preferences' survey are here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/preamp-post-mortem

The really striking thing was just how widely spread and inconsistent the reported views actually were.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Drew Stephenson »

My main take from that article was that there were a host of other things I needed to get on top of before I started worrying about the pre-amps in my interface. ;)
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

... is the correct answer! :D:thumbup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:39 pm My main take from that article was that there were a host of other things I needed to get on top of before I started worrying about the pre-amps in my interface. ;)

:clap::thumbup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

James Perrett wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 12:10 pmThe only rational explanation that I can think of...

I can think of lots of rational reasons. The bottom line is that none of us know the circumstances under which Tony used an RME interface. We don't know what interface it was, how it was set up, what the clocking arrangements were, we don't know what input levels it was dealing with and what I/O levels it was configured for, etc etc...

It's not hard to make something sound terrible by mis-using it and, with the very best will in the world, Tony does have an extensive track record of 'operational difficulties'.

On the other hand, maybe he can hear unpleasant artefacts that no one else can... At the end of the day, you pays yer money and makes yer choice and his choice is for other than RME.

For balance, though, I'm a very happy long-term RME user.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Martin Walker »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:49 pm For balance, though, I'm a very happy long-term RME user.

Same here :thumbup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Chet Leeway »

blinddrew wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 5:41 pm So I'd probably look at something like an Audient EVO16 and then expand via their EVO SP8 (or similar).

Not a bad suggestion for a drummer. One of the selling points of the EVO range is SmartGain, which sets the levels for you automatically. Potentially a time (and ass) saver if you like to change drums and/or mics. Just swap gear as you wish, then sit down and play for a bit to let the interface set the levels.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by sonics »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:49 pm On the other hand, maybe he can hear unpleasant artefacts that no one else can... At the end of the day, you pays yer money and makes yer choice and his choice is for other than RME.

I've never heard "unpleasant artefacts" from any RME interface, and neither has any other pro I know that uses them. It must have been wired or configured incorrectly, or broken. Or perhaps it exposed the unpleasant qualities of the audio material because of it's accuracy. That happens! :)

There must have been an issue somewhere, and these experiences do colour our memories in indelible ways.
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