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PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

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PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby JustPlainJay » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:50 pm

Finally getting back to recording after ~6 years off. My old setup was an MXL 990 with a PreSonus Audiobox USB, nothing impressive.
After watching and reading reviews, i decided on the AT 2035 for my mic, but am having a hard time finding the right preamp in my price range. I've narrowed it down to the PreSonus Studio 26c and the Focusrite 2i2. They seem very comparable, but I can't quite decide which would be better for my situation.
Looking for any advice on the topic, and feel free to recommend any mic you think may be better than the AT2035 in that price range.
Will be recording vocals mainly.
Thank you!
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Re: PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:49 pm

Welcome to the forum Jay :thumbup:

I'm going to give the standard advice (which I wish I'd taken years ago) and suggest any 'decent' mic and audio interface will give excellent results if you are recording in a good sounding room. I use an X32 in the studio* with a variety of modestly priced mics** each performs much better since I spent £300 on acoustic treatment in my home studio.

There was a 'mic preamp shootout' in the mag a while ago which concluded that even budget mic preamps are capable of producing great recordings.

Content and performance are more important than the gear (and even the room, a great song well performed will still be a great song/performance recorded in a living room on an iPhone, a mediocre song/performance will never be great even if you record it in Abbey Road. What I mean is spend time on producing the best song and performance you ar e capable of and just do the best you can with the rest (unless you can blag a couple of days in Abbey Road of course ;) )

* I also have Focusrite Saffire which sounds fine, I suspect the Scarlett has the same or very similar (and excellent) mic preamps.

** the best mic will be the one that sounds best on your voice, maybe a U87 or an SM58, or it may be the AT2035. What 'better' mics seem to do is produce decent results on a wider variety of voices .
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Re: PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby JustPlainJay » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:51 am

Thank you for the advice Sam! :bouncy:

I'll definitely keep working on my craft, that was actually really nice to read. I won't be able to treat the room much since i live with my wife in a single room apartment, but I'm definitely looking for a place with 2 rooms when we move in a few months.
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Re: PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby Arpangel » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:37 am

Changing the microphone will make a bigger difference than changing preamp, the trouble is, finding a mic that suits your voice, as microphones tend to be expensive, and hard to build up a collection for experimentation. Depending on where you are, I'd say it's worthwhile hiring a few, or spending a few hours in a local studio, it's worth paying them to just to try out mic's.
There are a few "industry satnadard" names that get banded about but you just don't know until you try them, hiring, and going into a studio may seem costly, but it isn't compared to the scenario of buying a U87 or something when you've just found out that an SM57 actually sounds better on your voice!
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Re: PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby blinddrew » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:23 pm

Trying out a bunch of stuff in a studio is a great option, the only thing to make sure of is that you understand that some mics, like ribbon mics or aShure SM7B, sound lovely but put out a low level signal. In a proper studio they're likely to have a pre-amp that has enough gain to handle this but if you're running a typical budget interface you may find you're having to max out your gain on the interface. This can result in introducing a bit of unwanted noise, so if you do find yourself favouring something like that, budget for a gain boosting device as well.
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Re: PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby Arpangel » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:45 pm

blinddrew wrote:Trying out a bunch of stuff in a studio is a great option, the only thing to make sure of is that you understand that some mics, like ribbon mics or aShure SM7B, sound lovely but put out a low level signal. In a proper studio they're likely to have a pre-amp that has enough gain to handle this but if you're running a typical budget interface you may find you're having to max out your gain on the interface. This can result in introducing a bit of unwanted noise, so if you do find yourself favouring something like that, budget for a gain boosting device as well.

These things are the reason you pay more, there may be small tonal differences, but it's the headroom, low noise, and gain you're paying for on more expensive preamps.
I find most interface and low/mid price mixer preamps awful in this respect, plug a ribbon or a dynamic in and you're already up at 5 o'clock on the gain knob, with a ribbon you might run out of steam.
I've got a pre with 70dB of gain and that seems fine for ribbons etc.
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Re: PreSonus Studio 26c vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:28 pm

JustPlainJay wrote:Thank you for the advice Sam! :bouncy:

I'll definitely keep working on my craft, that was actually really nice to read. I won't be able to treat the room much since i live with my wife in a single room apartment, but I'm definitely looking for a place with 2 rooms when we move in a few months.

That sounds like a good case where a live vocal type mic which you can work close up to minimise room sound might give better results than the usual LDC at a distance. What do you have now? If nothing then I'd consider a Sennheiser E835 or even an SM58 until you have a room where you can at least hang duvets around your recording position if not install 'proper' acoustic treatment.
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