1. We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.
    Dismiss Notice

Focusrite 18i20 I/O sound quality

Discussion in 'Rigs and Routing' started by stink, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. #1 stink, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
    stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    Hopefully I’m posting this in the correct forum. So I recently upgraded from an AxeFX IIXL+ to the III. One thing that bugged me about using the XL+ as a centerpiece for the sound card for the DAW (Reaper) was that I couldn’t control the playback volume properly of either the previously recorded tracks to newly recorded ones. I solved the issue by getting a Focusrite 18i20, which worked out great. But one thing I notice, by switching back and forth between the Focusrite and the Axe III, the sound quality of the Focusrite doesn’t sound as clear nor as defined as it does if using the Axe III solo. I tried this by plugging the monitors directly into the Axe III vs. the Focusrite OUTS. It just doesn’t sound as pristine.

    I have it configured as such:

    Axe III to Focusrite via S/PDIF I/O AND Axe III OUT1 to Focusrite channels inputs 3/4 (so I can record the dry signal, wet signal, and the re-amp signal simultaneously).

    Axe III USB to PC, Focusrite USB to PC

    Focusrite OUTPUTS to a pair of Event Opals

    I’m using the mix software provided by Focusrite and it does work properly

    Anyone else experience this? If so and the situation is rectified, what was the fix?

    Edit: @chris any ideas?
     
  2. APOGEE123

    APOGEE123
    Expand Collapse
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    313
    Location:
    M-assholechusetts
    I'm sure they may have got better but Focusrite is an ok converter.
    I'm sure Focusrite users will contest.
    Have you tried going into the Focusrite
    Analog?
     
  3. #3 stink, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    Yes. The sound quality seems the same whether going full analog or S/PDIF. Recording dry and/or the re-amping signal is OK but when using the AxeFX III reverbs, delays. etc., the depth and clarity goes to hell. I suspect the preamps and converters just plain old suck.
     
    APOGEE123 likes this.
  4. simonp54

    simonp54
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    117
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Its interesting... i feel the same (using analog to Focusrite). When I first got my III I plugged it straight into my monitors and was really blown away... since then i have gone back into my Focusrite setup because of similar recording / workflow benefits... but I don't think it sounds as good.
     
    stink and APOGEE123 like this.
  5. APOGEE123

    APOGEE123
    Expand Collapse
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    313
    Location:
    M-assholechusetts
    Universal Audio is a great converter.
    I have Apogee Symphony myself and I run my AX3 analog into it and it sounds stallar .
     
  6. stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    I fully agree. At first I just thought it was a placebo effect but since I have, what I believe, are really good monitors, it clearly isn't imagined. I thought the Focusrite may be a descent I/O by looking at the specs and reading a lot of the user reviews but I just can't get past the "dull" sound it installs in the recording process.

    I was hoping to get by without spending another metric ton of cash but I suspect it's either deal with it or pony up the extra $$$. :(
     
  7. stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    Yeah, I'm sure it does but that means coughing up another $3k. I know you get what you pay for but man, that Focusrite sounds terrible - to me anyway YMMV
     
  8. APOGEE123

    APOGEE123
    Expand Collapse
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    313
    Location:
    M-assholechusetts
    A used Apogee Rosetta 800 is a great set of converters. There's definitely options if your willing to do your homework
     
    stink likes this.
  9. trixdropd

    trixdropd
    Expand Collapse
    New here

    Joined:
    May 4, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have a UA Apollo twin. It sounds GREAT. I added an 8 channel mic pre via adat and both my axe fx 2 and m3 sound like poo in comparison. I did a test recording to verify and sure enough. My 8 channel mic pre is widely regarded as clean and transparent. it's an audient ASP008.
     
  10. Zedhed

    Zedhed
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2018
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    140
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I assume you're not using this when comparing the two right?
    In other words, not using it on the Axe but using it on the Focusrite for comparison purposes.
     
  11. stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    Correct. The Focusrite software is ONLY used to setup routing with the 18i20 (actually you have no choice, you must use the routing SW). The comparison is Axe III straight into Reaper vs Axe III into Focusrite then into Reaper. There most certainly is a signal degradation.
     
  12. stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    I’ll have to start looking around, thanks for the tip
     
    APOGEE123 likes this.
  13. Pettymusic

    Pettymusic
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Florida
  14. lqdsnddist

    lqdsnddist
    Expand Collapse
    Fractal Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 10, 2013
    Messages:
    4,152
    Likes Received:
    4,134
    I use a $150 native instruments Komplete Audio 6 and hear zero differences. I’m kinda glad I don’t have the ears some of you guys do and it would surely cost me lol
     
    stink and ChristThePhone like this.
  15. stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
     
  16. Pettymusic

    Pettymusic
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Florida
    If I understand you correctly, I use the “level” knob in the AMP block to control the volume going to my tracks. I’m also only using the USB cable to my computer.
     
  17. Pettymusic

    Pettymusic
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Florida

    Geese, I gotta stop posting from my phone. That got all crapped up, lol. Let me try this again:

    Sold the focusrite for the zen tour. Got the Axe, sold the zen tour. Still though, the zen tour was a top notch interface. Hope that makes sense and my apologies for the jumbled up mess.
     
  18. stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    Yeah but the "level" knob in the amp affects recording levels too. I haven't been able to both keep the recording level where I want it and the volume simultaneously when using only the Axe IIXL+ or the III. The interface allows you to balance playback/overdubs much better IMHO
     
  19. Pettymusic

    Pettymusic
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Florida

    I don’t seem to have that issue. If my tracks are all balanced like I like them, I can control playback volume with either the master fader in my DAW or the physical Output 1 knob on the Axe Fx. Then control recording level with the amp block’s level knob. I like hot signal (not clipping but, close)when recording guitars. I also have a limiter setup on my master fader which helps control playback. The end mix will have a limiter, might as well throw it on there to see where I am at, right?

    Just curious, what style of music are you tracking most of the time?
     
  20. #20 stink, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
    stink

    stink
    Expand Collapse
    Inspired

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    198
    Location:
    Columbia, Maryland
    Maybe I wasn’t clear, I want the recording level fairly hot (-6) but I don’t want to hear it loud in comparison to the other tracks when overdubbing. By using the interface I’m able to control this easily, the problem is that the interface sucks tone out of the signal. Like I mentioned in my OP, when using the Axe III (or previous renditions) as THE sound card, I can’t balance the sound how I like it during playback. If I physically use the OUT 1 knob for overall sound, it raises or lowers ALL tracks the same. Same with using master faders in Reaper. Am I missing something?

    BTW, this is how I have it configured (minus the separate controller to the main monitors. Mine are connected to the Focusrite) https://forum.fractalaudio.com/thre...n-to-rme-fireface-ufx-ii.142411/#post-1703165

    To answer your question about type of music, it’s generally hard rock, with the occasional acoustic or melodic stuff thrown in.
     

Share This Page