What's A Boy To Do?: New Interface or Preamp w/AD

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by superliquidsunshine, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    I have been for the past three or so years been using an RME Babyface which has a great driver, the sound quality is way good and it has a small footprint. I however would like to begin recording my singer/songwriter compositions, get back to my roots and the thing that I probably do best, drive nails into wood using just my forehead (pun intended). My auditory vision consists of a mid/side on the hog and one mic on me mug. There lies my problem...the Babyface has only two mic inputs. It does have digital ins though. Should I buy a preamp with an a/d or buy another interface? I can't afford both, shouldn't even buy one OR the other right now, but...just trying to at least hash it over in my tortured mind.

    The interface must have two headphone outs for when and if I am working with another plus the ability for at least two line ins in addition to at least one great, clean preamp that lets me do my intended thing. I have been looking around but haven't seen anything that fits the bill without a ton of line ins or mic preamps. All that is overkill. I want that second headphone jack even if it can't get its own mix. The UCX would be OK but has no other headphone jack. But with the UCX could I send a mix via adat to the Babyface to get a second headphone? Is there a less expensive solution? The Focusrite Isa with a/d is the least expensive pre option, I think.

    THANKS.
     
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  3. kostovas

    kostovas Member

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    I have a very different setup at the moment but have you considered the option of just having more line outs instead of the dedicated headphone outputs?
    And maybe use a cheap headphone amplifier like this https://www.thomann.de/gb/millenium_hp_4.htm?sid=81a45d81780aee9e5d6f972309518072 to have separate mixes.

    If so you could aim for a better/bigger interface.
    The Fireface UCX seems nice plus you can always buy an AD converter with better mic pres at a later stage since it has ADAT.

    I am also thinking of changing my setup(downgrade in a "smart way") so I am interested too.
     
  4. rhythmatist

    rhythmatist Rock Star

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    No SPDIF on the Babyface? That would get you more inputs from another device (pre-amp, etc.). And for more cans, this thing may not sound like a Grace Design, but it will probably serve your purpose. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/QH4
     
  5. TK

    TK Member

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    Sounds like the SPL Crimson is exactly what you're looking for.
     
  6. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Thanks for the time and the replies. I will get back when time permits. We are preparing for my daughter Emma's family birthday party, sooo...later for you allllllll:wink:
     
  7. TW

    TW Kapellmeister

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    I was in a simillar situation.
    I tested the mentioned crimson and i tested the audient. Both are great products. The sound quality is compareable of all of theese interfaces. They sound all really good. The driver and latency however of the baby face is superior to both of theese interfaces.
    Its really a huge difference.

    I went with an adat conection of another interface. In my case I went with a Macki Onyx Blackbird. But there are some older Presonus - Motu interfaces that are really cheap on ebay that work as well in stand alone mode.

    Through adat i have now 8 or 4 (smux 96khz) inputs/preamps more. I dont regret it, I added a GAP Pre -73 and a ISA to the line ins of the Onyx.
    It is a real nice setup now and way more flexible than a new interface or a preamp via spdif.

    - I have ultra low latency if i need it
    - I have 2 super clean 60 db RME preamps. And total mix.
    - 8 useable surprisingly good sounding Mackie Preamps if needed.
    - A 80 db ISA for my SM7b and a great coloured pre 73

    I do mostly Songwriting with this set up. 2 Mics for my guitar, 1 for voice (smux 96khz). Works very well. So my advice keep the babyface, cause of the latency and total mix. Get a adat (smux) connected device. And add preamps if you think you need to. Like i said i could totally work with my "onboard Macki preamps".
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  8. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    @TW ..

    - I have ultra low latency if i need it
    - I have 2 super clean 60 db RME preamps. And total mix.
    - 8 useable surprisingly good sounding Mackie Preamps if needed.
    - A 80 db ISA for my SM7b and a great coloured pre 73

    That is what I have been thinking, but the relatively inexpensive adat output preamps are all 8+ which is overkill. I wish there was something on offer with half the preamps, but....The Focusrite Octopre MKII I can get for CH379 which is a great price or less if I find it used, and might though very well be my best bet. I have a few other preamps, a Warm Audio Tonebeast and a Daking Mic Pre One, the two which I am happy with. My first interface was a Saffire 6 and I really liked the preamps and how they softened the high end without loosing detail, and if the preamps are similar on the MKII I will be happy to use them when I feel them apt with the microphones I have in combination on certain sources. The Babyface is one cool baby and I wouldn't feel comfortable swapping it out with any other brand as the driver's top notch. As long as the combi Neutric inputs give me a line in if I decide to get a new and additional preamp at a different time, everything should be hunky dorry.
     
  9. TW

    TW Kapellmeister

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    I only went with 8 channels because i got the Mackie cheap 120 €.
    But a year ago as i build this setup i noticed there are some "smaller older interfaces" that can run in Standalone mode via adat. Not the typical 8 channel preamps - real interfaces. Like the TC konnekt 24d - in my area its used around 100€.
    You dont get smux. But as far as i remember you get Preamp/line 1-4 and outputs 1-4 through adat. That was my initial plan. Getting a cheap 2 or 4 input output firewire interface that can run standalone mode and connect it via adat to the babyface. So i can add preamps.
    Than i got like mentioned the Mackie cheapo. It is an over kill for me too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  10. Seedz

    Seedz Producer

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    I'm pretty sure the UCX could send a mix via adat to the Babyface to get a second headphone without a problem moosh, I've not tried it but I read it in manual many moons ago.

    Might be an idea to check the manual for yourself to be sure tho.

    http://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface_ucx_e.pdf
     
  11. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    I thought I'd never use all 12 inputs in my MOTU HD192. Then the drummer got some more toms!
    Seriously, though, the extra ins and out come in real handy when using external hardware as an external insert. I've got several pieces I use and can use them in the same chain, and if I decide to reorder them in the chain, it's just dragging around as opposed to rewiring.
     
  12. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    You just read my mind. Literally a moment before checking in here. However moosh, the cost differential of copping a Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic for example at CH 519 vs. buying the UCX @CH1149 is quite substantial. I would buy the regular Octopre without dynamics if I could still find one locally new for like 130 less. Heck, the Focusrite Clarett 4pre would be also cool and wayyy cheaper but it is Thunderbolt and I would have to buy a card. The latency is supported to be good on it. This is all pretty much a mind fuck for me.
     
  13. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    I don't envy you looking for a solution that fits. There are so many different ones to choose from. Maybe AS is helping narrow the list some?
     
  14. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    @digitaldragon .. It certainly helps a good bunch to dialogue, to exhale from time to time even if it comes from my own voice speaking. Truth be told, I've had a shit two years after injuring myself and being in lots of pain. The "medication" I have taken in pursuit of at least shaving down the transients to help let me deal have tapped all if my endorphins making it almost impossible my ability to be creative and to express myself musically. I have a million notes stuck in my throat with seemingly no way to tap them. I might be fooling myself, but I would like to feel again, be one with my music, and in order to help arrange a proper habitat to foster my delivery, wish to make it feel comfortable in some small degree in regard to the hardware that will capture the onslaught if and when it begins it's outward trajectory from its present inward captivity, I have bought a somewhat proper desk with a hideaway draw for my keyboard controller, rack space for the few bits of outboard gear I use (as well as a little room for a few well chosen future pieces, and if all goes according to plan, nothing over the top though) as well as the shelf where my monitors, the two speakers and the screen can live in front of me, I know that the new tidy will help foster my pursuit. I really would like to have at least that 3rd live input happening so to firm the mid/side guitar plus the vocal for the foundation of my imagination, the tonic of my ground.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  15. NicoDPS

    NicoDPS Kapellmeister

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    I hope that you'll achieve your goal and get back to music! :winker:
     
  16. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Thanks NicoDPS.
     
  17. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    Too bad there isn't a MacGyver fix for your current hardware situation. :)
    Only other option I could recommend would be separately tracking vocal and instrument. That doesn't help, though, if you're trying to catch inspiration.
     
  18. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Exactly...as well, as my playing and singing work off of each other and my performance is only enhanced by performing them together. Another which I wish to experiment with which might be a different solution for capturing my best performances is...not using headphones but rather monitor with my speakers as I sing. I much prefer my "anatomical" voice, hearing it as I normally do with my whole body instead of artificially through the cans. I also have an ever so slight tendency to sing sharply with headphones. I would of course need to do the guitar bit sans singing. What I would do is flip the polarity of the vocal/guitar capture, and as long as I haven't strayed from my physical mark, inot so doing would erase the guitar leaving only my voice. This technically should work. That or/in conjunction with using my ElectroVoice RE-20 which isn't nearly as sensitive to the room (as is the MG UMT70S) could be pretty cool. I always like the RE-20 on my voice and have a Triton Audio FetHead for clean boost if I use the preamp of the Babyface (the Baby looses it after 55dB and literally puts up a hissy fit, LOL).

    Has MOTU finally gotten it together with their drivers for PCs. They come closest to a solution for me with something like their Moto 624 which has everything going for it and closely competes and maybe even tips the scales of the UCX (though also no second headphone out). The preamps are Motu's best and I haven't doubt that they are the solid clean variety and perfect on certain sources.

    But after all is said and done it really isn't the mechanical tools that I am worried about, heck, an SM57/58 pairing along with my old Saffire6 USB would be more than adequate to finally lay down most if not all of my old songs that I never recorded if I could muster, prod out some hotshit performances. That is my real concern, that after my not the best last couple of strolls around the big yellow ball I can rally my molecules to play as a team.

    Thanks, digitaldragon for keeping the dialogue alive aso well as my focus on the task at hand.
     
  19. NicoDPS

    NicoDPS Kapellmeister

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    Maybe should you get back to work with the gear you have, "only" one mic for the guitar and the other for the voice , and then, when you are reassured that you're back in business (I'm sure you will!) it'll be the time to decide wich piece of gear you need to record the "real stuff".
     
  20. martel80

    martel80 Producer

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    I know youre a deadpan comic.
    Your RME is pretty much the best audio interface you could get for those amount of in/out.
    Of course the new audients iD22 came out but this wont make any difference because you want 2 headphone jack and theres only 1 on it.
    Theres a spdif connection on your ''Super all-star MVP greatest of all time'' RME ( dont try to hide it, I know you wanted some compliment :P )
    Get yourself some proper pre's for your babyface and connect them in SPDIF. You'll get an extra headphone jack , theres no doubt.
    I know you already knew the answer big shot !!
    :rofl:
     
  21. martel80

    martel80 Producer

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    God damn i wish I was rich like @superliquidsunshine to get myself an RME aswell.

    Canadian misery under 4 feet of snow with tax to pay and a son that im not allowed to see in a third world country :suicide:

    See , me too I can play that game
    :rofl:
     
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