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Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby James Perrett » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:08 pm

Normonster wrote:I recorded once in a nice homestudio and the equipment there did indeed bring out the very best in what I had to offer.

That studio probably had decent acoustics, a decent mic and someone who knew what they were doing and how to put the performer at ease. These are all far more important than the choice of preamp and interface.

Allen and Heath know how to make good preamps - I use the ones built into my Sabre mixing desk for most of the things that I do and I have no complaints and I'd be surprised if the ones in your mixer are very different.

I'd be looking at improving your studio acoustics and investing in one or two decent microphones rather than going for an expensive preamp which won't make very much difference.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby ef37a » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:41 pm

Normonster wrote:Well call me stumped I guess.

@Humble Bee - That is a highly rated piece of equipment from what I read. It also has to built in pres, the digital ins and the line ins. A flexible piece no doubt. Thank you for pointing it out.

@Wonks - Yes, I think I found the thread where you describe having reviewed the diagram. I see your point, unfortunate as the indication may be.

@CS70 - Damn it man. The truth hurts. haha. I am actually planning to pick up, in addition to my NT1A, a SM7B. Or I was at least. Also planning to upgrade my Cubase from Elements to Artist which has many more plug-ins (and that cool vocal comping tool).

@ef37z - I supposed the truth could be that I just don't really know what a good preamp set should sound like. I do know that it takes about 3/4 of the gain to get a good solid signal even from my SM58 though, so I was assuming they're at the least, underpowered and probably not appropriate for the 7B which I read needs a lot of power.

The plan was to get a SM7B (along with my NT1A and SM58) and pair it with a ISA One and have a high quality single channel studio, but now I'm not so sure what I should do. I recorded once in a nice homestudio and the equipment there did indeed bring out the very best in what I had to offer.

If you are referring to the pre amps in the Z10 then I would say they would be fine. How far you have to advance a gain pot to achieve a desired level is no indication of the "power" or any other quality of a pre amp other than the law of the potentiometer (just because they paint an "11" on a guitar amp's VC does NOT make it any louder!) .

My NI KA6 AI needs the gain advanced to maximum for acoustic guitar with a '57 (yes, I know but son preferred it to a capacitor!) but even then the noise floor was around -70dB and much of that was the room.

Try it. Do not forget, on a mixer the mic pre might only have 60dB of gain but there is usually another 10dB or so on hand further through the circuits.

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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Normonster » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:01 pm

CS70 wrote:NT1A?

That explains everything!

:-D

Oah no, really? I thought they were supposed to be decent mics. Not the same class as the SM7B then, I suppose.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Normonster » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:03 pm

Wonks wrote:The SM7b's output is about 3dB down on an SM58, so it does work best with good clean pres with a lot of gain available, ideally 70dB but at least 60dB, so you don't have to push the preamp too hard and into its noisy zone.

The 10FX datasheet says is supplies up to 60dB, so I guess it'd work.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Normonster » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:06 pm


Thank you Sir, I will review those articles. The honest truth is no, I don't have good room treatment. I do need to work on that. On the other hand, no, that other guy's studio wasn't treated (at least where I recorded vocals) but his equipment was top notch.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Normonster » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:08 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Normonster wrote:I recorded once in a nice homestudio and the equipment there did indeed bring out the very best in what I had to offer.

.....

OK, thank you James. Seems to be consensus on this. In that case, I could go up from the SM7B in cost and stay within budget.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Normonster » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:40 am

@Sam Spoons

Oah wow, I didn't realized you guys were actually pros. I appreciate you and everyone else's input very much.

That is a compelling article. I suppose I'll try one upgrade at a time then, and save the preamp upgrade for a later date. Also see about some DYI treatment.

Thanks again all. I'll try to chime back in here if I manage to uncover a significant difference in quality after I go through the painstaking process of microphone selection. Something tells me you've all discussed it before. :)

Cheers!
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby James Perrett » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:52 am

Normonster wrote:OK, thank you James. Seems to be consensus on this. In that case, I could go up from the SM7B in cost and stay within budget.

Personally I'd go sideways - get yourself a couple of Line Audio CM3's for the acoustic guitar (they sound much more expensive than they are) and then go to a dealer and try a few different large diaphragm condenser mics to find one that suits your voice. It is also well worth spending a bit on acoustic treatment because it makes a huge difference.

Once you've spent the money take a bit of time to experiment with mic positioning. Acoustic guitars are very directional and just moving the mic slightly can change the sound dramatically.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby ef37a » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:02 am

"Oah wow, I didn't realized you guys were actually pros. I appreciate you and everyone else's input very much."

Not me Norm' I am just an old valve amp tech!

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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:34 am

Nor me :blush: certainly not WRT studio work (I've been involved in live sound since my teens and it generated 50%+of my income for a fair few years before I retired).

I have built my own home/project studio though and I like to think it qualifies me to give useful advice to those starting to do the same. The studio build taught me that the difference acoustic treatment makes way more than the difference between a budget and exotic preamp.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Normonster » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:09 pm

Side note here...this conversation got me thinking about a LR Baggs Venue I got a while back and could never get to sound good. I hooked it up and dialed in the gain on the LR and kept the gain on my 10FX turned (almost) all the way down and....oah wow! It sounds really great! When I tried to use it before I was "double preamping" I guess.

The only issue with this setup is that the preamp on that channel must be what gets the channel's signal into the digital USB mix. To record it I have to use an AUX send and select that input within Cubase.

What a fun process of discovery. I am definitely going to get a new interface and use the Zed for live jammin.
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Re: Interface for the Focusrite ISA One

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:43 am

There best acoustic guitar preamp I have ever heard is the Tone Dexter https://audiosprockets.com. It takes some effort but is simply stunning when you get it right. I bought one last year and posted some recordings comparing it to a miked recording of the same 'performance'. It is so close I can no longer remember whether the mic was the left channel and the TD the right or vice versa :headbang:

FWIW it works best on passive pickups but my active guitars still sound better than I've managed with 'normal' preamps.
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