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Audio interface conundrum

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:59 pm
by morpheus555
Hello everyone.

I apologize for posting a question i suspect is already answered in here, but I'm on a slight time crunch.

I recently purchased a Focusrite 18i8 so I could simultaneously record a handful of hardware synths. But what I've found is the 4 line-ins on the back are fixed gain, and I can't get decent input levels compared to the 4 inputs on the front that have built in preamps. I Currently need 6 audio inputs, so I have to use 2 of those wimpy line-ins.

It looks like I can boost the levels using Ableton's external instrument and/or external audio effect device. And fancy routing , but I couldn't figure it out very quickly. I'm still new to this.

So I'm wondering if I can efficiently use the DAW to do what I want, or would I be better served by exchanging the 18i8 for the 18i20 which has 8 preamps. If I should exchange the 2, i have only 6 days to do it before the sale on the 18i20 ends.

Your input is greatly appreciated.

Re: Audio interface conundrum

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:24 pm
by Mark Williams
Are you using the Focusrite software, as the mixer controls are within that for all the inputs....

Re: Audio interface conundrum

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:49 pm
by morpheus555
I am. The software faders default to most of the way up. I can crank them the rest of the way but it seems to make little impact. My korg minilogue, for example, runs in at about -20 db with the volume on the synth cranked. I have an outboard compressor pedal (for guitar) in between. That helps a lot but starts adding noise.

The audio waveform, if I record something, has pretty small peaks which makes manipulating audio visually difficult.

I am having some success using Ableton's utility device, but I'm still wondering if I should just get the other audio interface for the sake of simplicity. There's a roughly 50/50 chance that I'm just doing it wrong, vs having the wrong interface, lol.

Re: Audio interface conundrum

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:11 pm
by fishmonkey
what kind of cables are you using to connect your synths? if you are using TRS (balanced) cables and the synth outputs are unbalanced (most likely), then that can cause level loss.

also, guitar pedals are not made to handle line level signals. ... g-solution

Re: Audio interface conundrum

Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:01 pm
by morpheus555
Just TS cables. Guitar fx pedals work fine as long as you don't crank the synth's volume.