New Interface? DI Box? Or both

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by jruivo26, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. jruivo26

    jruivo26 SS.org Regular

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    Hi everyone

    I've been using a Scarlett 2i2 (1st gen) for 6 years now, and I decided to upgrade my home studio. Bought a new dedicated pc and I'm planning to upgrade my audio interface as well.

    The Scarlett clips very easily, and I'm still not satisfied with the tracking quality (recorded guitar sounds muffled, lifeless). My question is: should I get a DI like the Radial JD48? Should I invest on a better interface (like the 3rd gen Scarlett, but I'm personally looking at the Audient i14 or even better, the SSL 2)? Or should I get both?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mike_R

    Mike_R SS.org Regular

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    I can't speak to the instrument input quality on the Audient or SSL 2, but I bought a Clarett 4Pre (which I think is supposed to be an upgrade from the 3rd Gen Scarlett) and I can clip the instrument inputs pretty hard. I have a Countryman 85 and that gives me great signal quality with no clipping on the Clarett or my old MBox 3. You may need to play with gain staging between preamp and VST, but I get a better result out of the DI box than the instrument inputs of either interface. I've heard some of the instrument inputs on high end interfaces are indistinguishable from a DI box, but I don't know at what price point/which models that would kick in- I just know my Clarett wasn't adequate for that purpose (at least with hot bridge pickups- it can do neck pickups without clipping).

    I think some of the passive DI boxes can be used either backwards or with custom cables to reamp as well if that matters to you. I think a DI box is worth having, but whether that purchase comes before or after the next interface is going to depend on what you prioritize. Having recently bought the Clarett, I will say the MBox 3 with a DI box works better than the Clarett instrument input so if I were doing it over again I would buy the DI box first. If your interface works well (drivers stable, decent latency) I'd probably recommend the DI box first.
     
  3. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    That SSL 2+ looks pretty sweet for that price point. I’d start with that, and add the J48 if you’re still not satisfied with the results.
     
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  4. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Fwiw I have an older Scarlett and I never run my 1/4" inputs as "instrument" inputs because the gain is way too high. They work fine at line level. I would give that a try.
     
  5. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    I'd go for a better interface. The end result quality is only going to be as good as the weakest link in the chain. You can have a nice DI box to transform the signal, but it will still being going into the mediocre inputs of the 2i2.

    DI box is essential if you're going to do stuff like reamping etc. But if you're just tracking DI guitars, running plugins etc, you only need a good quality interface.

    Apogee Element with 2, 4 or 6 inputs could do the job. Or they have a new thing, Symphony Desktop, which is the supreme quality desktop solution.

    UAD is the other big name in the interface world, with an excellent reputation. The "Arrow" is their simple guitar rig type interface. After that, it's the "Apollo" lineup.
     
  6. jruivo26

    jruivo26 SS.org Regular

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    I bit the bullet on the new SSL 2, after all I need a better interface with good preamps, I'm sure it will be better than the Scarlett!
    As for reamping, it won't be my thing, as my current living situation only allows me to tinker with amp sims.
     
  7. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

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    Upgrade to an Audient.
     
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  8. jruivo26

    jruivo26 SS.org Regular

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    I chose the SSL since I was in a hurry, but the Audient was my other option!
     
  9. Mike_R

    Mike_R SS.org Regular

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    Ola just did a shootout on DI quality between the Apogee Ensemble, the UAD Arrow, and the SSL 2.

     
  10. 4Eyes

    4Eyes SS.org Regular

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    Get an interface with good DI input, having pad works as well. I had Audient iD22 and had no problems with clipping. They're supposed to use same DI input design across entire range
     
  11. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

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    I found this helpful when I was contemplating my eventual upgrade purchase.
     

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