Audio Interfaces and DI Boxes:

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Stilicho, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    I've been thinking of replacing my Scarlett 2i2 interface recently. I'm not sure if it's the interface, the 707s I'm playing through, or the fact that I'm not using a DI box, but I've been noticing a lot of fizziness and harshness in my guitar tones - especially when I go to use a 5150 sim in TH3.

    Is there a go-to interface these days for recording guitars directly, or is there an interface+DI box combination that's generally recommended?

    Or if you've an insight into my problem, any ideas on what's causing the fizzy/harsh tone are welcome. It's not super-fizzy, but it's much more harsh than the tones in the TH3 tutorials I've been watching by people like ForTiorl.
     
  2. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

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    I pretty much just posted about the same thing with my Audiobox, and I'm using a DI box. It helps, get the cheap Live Wire one. I had my trim on 0 and still was overloading just instrument in.
     
  3. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    You'll need to describe "fizzy/harsh" better. Are you sure you don't have clipping on input? The 707s are pretty hot. You might need to turn the input gain level on the 2i2 down all the way to 0.

    Why don't you record a guitar DI track, post it here, and let us run it through our various amp sims and see how it sounds. If that fizziness carries across, we'll know it's your DI.

    I upgraded from a very cheap interface (iRig HD, £70) to a much nicer one (Apogee Duet, £500), and while there is a difference in the quality of the guitar DI, it's very subtle indeed. Nothing I'd notice once the track has amp sims, EQ etc applied.

    Personally, I've never been able to get my amp sims to sound like the demos on Youtube - even when using their actual presets. Those guys are applying post EQ, and of course double tracking the guitars, plugins on the master bus etc helps massively compared to the tone you hear when you just plug in and jam live. Not to mention they have different guitars, different picking style etc - it all makes a difference.
     
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  4. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    I'm getting Audient id4 tomorrow, which has got good sounding di-input that simulates real input of a guitar amp. I used Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 with passive Radial di-box before, but wanted to try something else with amp sims. With Scarlett di-box is highly recommended, and Radial boxes do sound very good.
     
  5. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Arch-Mage of Metal

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    Universal Audio Apollo MKII.

    As good as it gets. I also have a Scarlett 2i4 as well. The UA plug-ins are great too.
     
  6. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied Arium Addict

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    I did a bunch of research on interfaces before upgrading. I didn't want to upgrade again. It basically came down to Apollo vs RME. RME won. One of the big turnoffs with the Apollo unit was how quickly you can run out of DSP on it. SO, while the UAD plugins are great... you will be commiting a lot or looking to expand your power with the Apollo unit. TotalMix on the RME is amazing. You can add effects to your cue mix without it actually being recorded in your DAW. Very nice little feature. Also, DIGICheck is amazing for metering what you're recording. RME also has a reputation for having the best drivers in the game... and since I owned a Presonus Firestudio on a windows machine... good drivers were basically top of my list of necessary features.
     
  7. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    I'll record a quick DI track when I'm home. I'm at a friends for a few days right now.

    Yeah I have no clipping and the input gain is at 0, but I have to turn the volume knob down a bit - but that shouldn't affect the tone, the volume is usually just a saturation thing isn't it?

    I was looking at 707 demos and comparisons last night and the sort of fizziness I was talking about is better described as a lack of definition. So when I'm increasing my treble and presence to get more bite and clarity in the tone, it gets a bit harsh. I think this is a pick-up issue more than anything else after watching these demos.

    Still appreciate all these recommendations though since I'm getting a new interface either way so I can give my brother my Scarlett.
     
  8. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Arch-Mage of Metal

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    ... but the Apollo sounds better. :shrug:
     
  9. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied Arium Addict

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    Maybe if you're comparing it to the regular babyface. Also, very subjective. If you're looking for a great LONG TERM solution that you won't need to upgrade from. RME is hard to beat. They maintain their drivers for a very long time. The pre's and converters are super clean. They offer extremely flexible routing options. TotalMix is super powerful and very easy to set up. On paper the Apollo is super appealing with all the features. But, ultimately it all depends on how you want to use the unit and what you want out of it. Both are excellent choices.

    Also, I compared both units with someone who owned both and they also recommended the RME over the Apollo. :)
     
  10. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Turning down the guitar volume ABSOLUTELY affects tone.

    Is yours the old 2i2? I heard those had problems with the input being too sensitive to accept guitar, even with the input gain at 0

    Why not just get one of the new generation 2i2 models, where that problem no longer exists?

    If you're just plugging in a guitar to an amp sim, you don't need the £800 interfaces which these guys are recommending
     
  11. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    Will it affect the tone if it's just going through an amp sim? If that's true I'm going to be one happy man, I'd really prefer not to have to get new pickups :lol:

    Yeah I'm planning on getting the Scarlet second generation 2i2 and maybe a DI box, apparently they fixed a bunch of problems with it. (Though I've never really noticed any of them)
     
  12. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Yep, it definitely affects tone, even through an amp sim!

    The 707's are great pickups. No need to change them.

    And to be honest, if you get a second gen 2i2, you don't need an additional DI box. The DI box is really to bring the guitar level down so that it isn't clipping your audio interface. But the new 2i2 is designed specifically to take guitar input, so the DI box is a bit redundant. Some people like how it colours the sound, but again, it's very very subtle. You'd get a bigger sound difference from putting new strings on your guitar, spending some time setting it up, adjusting your pickup height, putting a new battery in those EMGs etc etc. No need to rush out and buy loads of stuff - a new gen 2i2 is all your need to jam through amp sims.
     
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  13. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied Arium Addict

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    Check out the Roland Rubix22 as well. Same price as the Scarlett with the added bonus of having MIDI I/O. I used to have a Roland Duo Capture EX and they are also built really solid. You can toss them around on the go and not worry about it taking a dump.
     
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  14. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    Just have to say that Audient id4 is really a bang for the buck. Drivers seem stable, but at least 2nd gen. Scarlett will probably perform with lower latency. And I think it's pre-amp is a pinch better or more clean sounding than in Scarletts. 1st gen. 2i4 got really noisy when pre-amp gain was dialed in higher levels.
     
  15. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the recommendations guys, I've done some reading and the Scarlett 2i4 has midi I/O and extra-headroom for hot pickups - they've even got the latency down a bit lower which is a nice bonus. Only 169 euro too which isn't bad.

    Can anyone explain why the volume knob would affect the tone though (through an interface I mean)? I don't understand that too well.
    I found this on UG, but I'm not sure whether I should trust it or not:
    "In terms of recording DI - all knobs up. The tone knob on a guitar is just a variable low pass filter - you're just losing high end information, same with the volume if you don't have a treble bleed circuit wired to the volume pot."
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  16. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    I'm not an electronics guru, but my understanding is that the volume isn't cut perfectly proportionally - i.e. preserving all frequencies in a relative manner, while only reducing the output level. You're going to lose high end and bass first.

    You could check for yourself by recording a couple of chords and looking at an EQ analyser in your DAW
     
  17. BigHandy

    BigHandy SS.org Regular

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    Hello!

    I'm asking about the mentioned Scarlets (2i2 and Solo), that if with the 2nd.Gen are really all of that clipping issues solved? Even with very high output pickups, no DI Box needed and no clipping at all? I've read some complains back than regarding the clipping issue even for the 2nd.Gen, somewhat after they've been released. Or were there any software updates fixing this?

    Thanks!
     
  18. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    From what I've read the clipping issue seems to be fixed by giving 8db of more headroom to the instrument input. My new 2nd gen 2i4 (which has the same preamps as the Solo and 2i2 I think) is on the way so I'll let you know if there's any clipping when it arrives during the week.

    I have emg 707s to try out and DiMarzio X2Ns so it should be interesting to see if they can handle the output.
     
  19. BigHandy

    BigHandy SS.org Regular

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    Thanks, all feedback is good, tho' i think the 2i4 is a different "species", as I'we read that even the first gen hadn't clipped as the 2i2 and the Solo.
    I'we searched the Gen2 2i2 Amazon reviews, and have read mixed infos regarding the clipping, some still complained, some wrote it's gone away. Maybe that headroom lifting just wasn't quite enough in some cases. Waiting for other responses to reassure...
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Even with a treble bleed circuit, it's often not perfectly transparent and even. But, the easiest way to demonstrate this is, plug into your amp, flip to your gain channel, and roll back your volume - it'll get cleaner, yes, but for most guitars you'll also hear the tone change (Ibanez, for example, already has a treble bleed circuit in line).

    EDIT - heck, youtube spam - this is my strat, with a treble bleed and resistor in line (which moderates the impact a little), and with just the treble bleed. The former is what Fender recommends, the latter is more akin to Ibanez, but you can hear the HUGE difference in tone between the two setups. Considering all I'm doing is changing the rate at which the knob lets a bit of extra treble bleed through, and in both cases there still IS treble bleed going on, you can kinda see the difference. :lol:

     
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