One interface to replace three !?...

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by nuno1959, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. nuno1959 macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Hi guys

    i currently have a 27'' iMac 2013 connected to a Cambridge Audio DacMagic via optical + a FiiO Qogir E09 headphone amp, the lot then plugged into my Roksan Kandy K2 amp/B&W floorstanding speakers - this is mainly used either playing back music from iTunes or GarageBand after i recorded something

    On the other hand when i record my bass or guitars to GarageBand, i use my Zoom B3 which besides being an effects box is also a USB audio interface

    The whole thing sounds rather nice to be honest but, since my FiiO has developed a flaw & Amazon is refunding my purchase + i have someone who would buy my DacMagic for a reasonable price, it would be a golden opportunity to upgrade all these bits & bobs AND reduce the number of cables & wall warts at the same time, without spending a gazillion £,$ or € & preferably while getting a better audio quality at the same time

    The Interfaces i'm considering as replacements are :
    1 - Apogee Duet 2
    2 - TC Electronic Impact Twin
    3 - Lexicon iOnix 42

    - Portability IS NOT san issue - it will all stay put at home
    - Good, powerful headphone amp IS important - the headphones i use are Sennheiser HD215
    - As a replacement for my Zoom B3 effects i have a TC Electronic Nova System which despite being aimed at guitars, i have tweaked to provide REALLY GOOD quality effects for my active basses - both Spector ReBops in 4 & 5 string
    - Driverless would be best ? Second best would be Driver's quality/stability

    Any help/suggestions would be MOST welcome & if it's class compliant even better !?

    Thanks in advance for your patience
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Some others to look at that I like better are

    1) Anything in Focusrite's "Scarlett" series. Pick the model by selecting how many inputs and outputs you need. These all have audio quality about equal to the Apogee but much better ergonomics and no dongle cords and cost less. I much prefer having one knob per function.

    2) Presonus makes products comparable to the above that are sonically at least as good as your #2 and #3. Their $150 "audio box" likely does what you need. It has a good headphone amp inside too.

    Think through how many inputs and outputs you need. Having many outs is good it you need to give a headphone mix that is different from what you send to a monitor. Maybe a vocalist wants a guide track or you might have two guitars? Or maybe you have a real physical guitar effect you want to patch in. It is easy to justify having quite a few inputs and outputs but it starts costing a lot too. The two product lines above have many options
  3. nuno1959 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Hi ChrisA

    & thanks for chipping in ! ;-)

    As far as inputs go all i need is one for my basses/guitar & might as well have one for a mic but that's all… 2 inputs will do fine !
    What i REALLY need is that when playing my music through iTunes the DAC section is AT LEAST as good as my DacMagic ( PRETTY good.. ) & the headphone amp section also at least as good as my FiiO

    Everything else being equal ( preferably a bit better even.. ) just the fact i'd get rid of at least 1 wall wart + a handful of cables would be perfect

    I'm going to look at the Focusrite & Presonus ranges you mention too

    again many thanks & yes, whatever i end up buying, i'll post back how it works ;-)
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Then you are looking at the lowest end of each line. If you don't need MIDI, fiber optic I/O or to run multiple speaker sets.
    I'd go with this
    The above is a good place to buy, notice the free warranty extension.
  5. nuno1959 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Hi ChrisA

    just dropping a line to say that after LOTS of reading, searching, etc….i ended up buying the SPL Crimson

    It sits on my desk as we speak & is VERY unobtrusive despite being quite big & i LOVE it's form factor plus the fact it is Class Compliant, meaning no drivers to install to get it to ''play nice'' w/ my iMac !! :rolleyes:

    One thing though :

    I don't know exactly how to describe this but i find my Cambridge Audio DacMagic was ''more musical'' than the Crimson just playing music from my iTunes library - or could this be just a more ''revealing nature'' as in more unforgiving of not so perfectly recorded albums ?
    The sound is DEFINITELY fuller than the DacMagic, bass having plenty more weight & ''body'' but very controlled, not all over the place however the DacMagic made everything sound…..''musical'' is the only word that occurs to me to describe it…

    Comparing it to my FiiO headphone amp, it just wipes the floor w/ the FiiO : despite the FiiO's generous power & nice, musical sound, the Crimson is steps above it in everything - power, detail, finesse, no treble harshness, full bodied & controlled bass - real nice !! My Sennheiser HD215 sound GREAT through it & NOT fatiguing at all...
    All in all, i'm pretty happy & can't wait to start recording, i'm SURE it WILL BE MUCH, MUCH BETTER than my Zoom B3 interface… ;-)
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Wow, an expensive solution. In these forums I always try and recommend the lowest price thing that can still be good enough. You kind of went the other way. That's good.

    Many times the word "musical" means that distortion is added. For example a certain about of second harmonic distortion sounds exactly like doubling each note an octave up. There are other harmonics that correspond to notes on a major scale a major third or fifth up. People like the sound of single ended tube amplifiers for this reason, the distortion products are "musical". Of course most distortion simply sounds bad. But we like the sound in some cases.

    Good studio gear can sound dry. It is made for recording so it is accurate.
  7. nuno1959 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Hi ChrisA

    You're right & to begin with i aimed at getting something a bit cheaper BUT…. ended up considering how ''little'' money separated me from a more refined, capable & better built machine so I decided to take the plunge…

    This way i KNOW i have a machine that WILL last me for many ( knock on wood ;-)…. ) many years & fulfil completely my needs
    At least here's hoping…LOL...
  8. koban4max macrumors 68000

    Aug 23, 2011
    If you want to buy one time only interface....apollo's expensive..yes..but once you get that you won't need anything else...(pretty much)
  9. nuno1959 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Hi Koban4Max

    Thanks for your advice - appreciated !!
    That was definitely one of the candidates but…i ended up getting an SPL Crimson & so far….so good ! Fingers crossed.. ;)
    The clincher was not only the rave reviews it gets from reviewers & owners alike but the fact it was a bit cheaper AND needs no drivers
  10. koban4max macrumors 68000

    Aug 23, 2011
    then wish you well with it
  11. nuno1959 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Thanks man

    & as i get deeper & deeper into it & manage to suss out how it works, i'll make sure to post a ''review'' with my findings ;)
  12. nuno1959 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2009
    SPL Crimson...

    Hi guys

    After much thinking, reading & researching i finally decided for the SPL Crimson as my interface so as promised, here i am to post my impressions on using the Crimson..
    Im NOT an experienced home recorder/mixer, am a Mac user & since what i do is pretty basic stuff, i'm more than happy using GarageBand…

    The pros :
    1 - If not interested in using the higher sample rates, you don't need to install drivers on your Mac…
    2 - The Crimson's pres sound incredible - even though i must admit i haven't lots of experience with many other interfaces
    3 - The headphone amps are ACE - way better than my Roksan Kandy K2 Hi-Fi amp… & drive effortlessly my Sennheiser HD215 to WAY LOUDER than i'll EVER NEED ! But…. loud AND crisp, defined- PERFECT !
    4 - It's DEAD EASY to use…
    5 - LOVE the form factor…

    If curious have a listen at some recordings i made. The basses used are Spector Rebop's 4 & 5 string , the 4 stringer w/ Emg BQC preamp running at 18V & Emg 35DC pu's, the 5er uses standard Spector TonePump preamp & Emg 40TW pu's
    The effects board a TC Electronic Nova System which i tweaked for my basses
    The whole then recorded in GarageBand, just a tad of compression, sometimes a little EQ & basically that's it…
    On the website it's all in .mp3 & i can assure you at home on my stereo using the Crimson as an interface between iMac & Hi-Fi, it sounds easily 20 times better, if that's possible that is ;-)

    One major niggle though even if easy to solve :
    It happens at times that you launch GarageBand & when you record something, you can hear quite a bit of pops & crackles !
    All you need to do is to delete what you recorded, quit GarageBand & re-launch it & PRESTO no more pops & crackles !

    Now i laugh about it but when it first happened i went ******* checking EVERY cable, every bass, effects, wall sockets, USB cables, you name it…

    Mind you, this DOESN'T happen often & i couldn't be happier w/ my purchase

    Cheers guys...

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11 July 8, 2014