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Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 vs. Presonus FireStudio Project
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Sushiglobster
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#1
2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 vs. Presonus FireStudio Project

I currently have a Presonus FireStudio Project. It's worked well, but I'm itching for an upgrade, something that is better than the FireStudio Project.

I took a look at the Presonus's latest offering, the USB based AudioBox 1818VSL which seems like it would be an O.K. upgrade because of it's super low latency allowing me to do effects/EQ etc... in real-time.

Then I came across the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. It visually looks much better than the FireStudio Project and seems to have slightly better offerings.

Would the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 be a good upgrade from my current FireStudio Project?

Is the latency low enough were I can also do real time effects/EQ with it just like the AudioBox 1818VSL?

Lastly, how are the pre-amps with the Focusrite compared to that of Presonus's? Seems like people really like Focusrite's pre-amps.
#2
2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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kingjoakley is offline
I think it would be a sideways step. I would save up for something a little more high end like RME or Apogee.
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2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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Kingjoakley is not painting the full picture correctly for you.

This is possibly only a sideways step in terms of sound quality.

Other than that it's a huge upgrade in terms of I/O capability, synchronization offering and effects, the metering is better and you get two headphone outputs on the front. It's also USB not firewire so you've got to take that into consideration.

I'll say that I owned a Presonus Firepod previously to my MR816csx and while the XMAX preamps weren't the best or smoothest I'd ever heard they were quite clean and not noisy.

$100 dollar difference in the two, and while I'm not a fan of Focusrite's lower end stand alone preamps their interfaces get plenty of love around here.
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Sushiglobster
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2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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I understand what you guys are saying. I guess such a decision to "upgrade" to the Focusrite should be purely based on the whole..."do I really need it" thought process.

I guess I don't really need it. The FireStudio Project can get the job done.

I would absolutely love to own a RME Fireface 800, but I'm short 1,500 bux. Maybe some day :/

Maybe I'll buy the Focusrite in a few weeks, if I can sell off my FireStudio Project.


Thanks for the honest input guys!
#5
2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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Don't use the word "NEED" here...we don't like the word NEED

Gearslutz WANT!!!!!!!!
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2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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HAHA! It's funny because as I was typing the word "need" I was like....but this is Gearslutz!
#7
2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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I have had the 18i20 for almost 2 months as I got one of the first ones. I brought it cause I wanted to have more I/O over the motu ultra lite mk3 I had. Plus the preamps in the motu were not good IMO or up to my standards. For me it was based on the fact that focusrite offered a Beefy low end regarding preamp and the mids and highs were not hyped to the ceiling. I also brought it because it gave me 8 preamps for recording a full drum set. Forgot to mention that it offers the ability to expand using Adat, word clock, spdif, and the analog inputs. Now IMHO all that for $500 is a steal and the sound quality is top notch for this type of unit. Bare in mind that this is a top quality entry level audio interface so it's not going to sound like a UA Apollo, RME UFX or UFC, etc.... In this price range you might not find anything that will beat it. Oh yeah the drivers are very solid, instal and forget it as everything runs smooth. Hope this helps!
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2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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My 2i2 isn't as robust as the 18i20 so take this with a grain of salt, but I've been using a 2i2 as a laptop interface for about 6 months now and haven't had one single stack fault dump. I can't say the same for m-audio boxes. So the drivers are very stable IMO/E.

The stereo imaging is quite nice and I'm getting excellent representation of my live-room's acoustic qualities. As a side not, the Scarlett pre's have a nice, smooth sound that far outshines any other interface pre's I've used in this price range and I'd actually put them on par with the pre's on a USBPre2 I had for a while.
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2nd June 2013
Old 2nd June 2013
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Sounds like it would be a great replacement for my the aging FireStudio Project. I will seriously have to consider it. A better I/O interface, along with smoother drivers, and arguably better pres. I probably can't go wrong with it.

EDIT: I actually have a question about the RME interfaces such as the UFX and FireFace 400. What I don't understand is, for example: The UFX has 4 mic pres on the front panel. On the back it has multiple balanced inputs. In comparison, my FireStudio Project has 8 mic pres. The FireStudio Project works well in that I can mic up my entire drum kit with it. I an't see being able to do that with the RME UFX or even the FireFace 400. There aren't enough inputs.

I'm obviously not understanding something here. Are you suppose to have multiple RME interfaces? I'd need two RME UFXs to have the same amount of mic inputs as my FireStudio Project.
#10
3rd June 2013
Old 3rd June 2013
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No, it's just that the pres and converters in the RME's are far superior. Therefore justifying their higher price
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3rd June 2013
Old 3rd June 2013
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I just have to throw my focusrite experience out there...which sucks. I stay away from them now because their SaffireLE had it's 2nd pre-amp give out and their recommendation was just to buy a new one because repairs would be too expensive...

I switched over to a Desktop Konnect 6 by T.C.Electronics and was blown away by how much BETTER their preamps were. More natural analog sound when you distort 'em as opposed to the digital clip I got with the SaffireLE and the D/A converter's on the Konnekt 6 are more "up front" than the SaffireLE and have helped me get much clearer mixes. That might not be an issue with the Scarlett but...I always feel I have to chime in with my experience with that company.
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3rd June 2013
Old 3rd June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmNMusicman View Post
Kingjoakley is not painting the full picture correctly for you.

This is possibly only a sideways step in terms of sound quality.

Other than that it's a huge upgrade in terms of I/O capability, synchronization offering and effects, the metering is better and you get two headphone outputs on the front. It's also USB not firewire so you've got to take that into consideration.

I'll say that I owned a Presonus Firepod previously to my MR816csx and while the XMAX preamps weren't the best or smoothest I'd ever heard they were quite clean and not noisy.

$100 dollar difference in the two, and while I'm not a fan of Focusrite's lower end stand alone preamps their interfaces get plenty of love around here.

Very true if you are happy with you're sound and a sideways upgrade gets your work done faster and or easier. Extra I/O is also an upgrade.
#13
5th June 2013
Old 5th June 2013
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elvtnedge is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsbarricades View Post
I just have to throw my focusrite experience out there...which sucks. I stay away from them now because their SaffireLE had it's 2nd pre-amp give out and their recommendation was just to buy a new one because repairs would be too expensive...

I switched over to a Desktop Konnect 6 by T.C.Electronics and was blown away by how much BETTER their preamps were. More natural analog sound when you distort 'em as opposed to the digital clip I got with the SaffireLE and the D/A converter's on the Konnekt 6 are more "up front" than the SaffireLE and have helped me get much clearer mixes. That might not be an issue with the Scarlett but...I always feel I have to chime in with my experience with that company.
Do you know if the Desktop Konnekt 6 has the same pre's as the much older Konnekt 8? Thats what I have and have been debating on upgrade but it seems nobody has this unit and can chime in on the improvement of sound from when they upgraded if they did.
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5th June 2013
Old 5th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvtnedge View Post
Do you know if the Desktop Konnekt 6 has the same pre's as the much older Konnekt 8? Thats what I have and have been debating on upgrade but it seems nobody has this unit and can chime in on the improvement of sound from when they upgraded if they did.
Is this your unit? It says it has the "IMPACT" pre's (as opposed to IMPACT II or III on Impact Twin or Studio Konnekt. Makes me think they are indeed the same pre's; but goodness me I with I'd known about that guy I like his I/O options way better ^_^
#15
5th June 2013
Old 5th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsbarricades View Post
Is this your unit? It says it has the "IMPACT" pre's (as opposed to IMPACT II or III on Impact Twin or Studio Konnekt. Makes me think they are indeed the same pre's; but goodness me I with I'd known about that guy I like his I/O options way better ^_^
ya thats the unit I have. Got it in 2009 around this time. Been wondering if something like the 18i20 would sound better than what I have.
#16
9th June 2013
Old 9th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sushiglobster View Post

Would the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 be a good upgrade from my current FireStudio Project?

Is the latency low enough were I can also do real time effects/EQ with it just like the AudioBox 1818VSL?

Lastly, how are the pre-amps with the Focusrite compared to that of Presonus's? Seems like people really like Focusrite's pre-amps.
Don't know about the Presonus FireStudio Project's sound but anyway here are my 2 cents:

My old Power Mac got "sick" until finally died a month ago... So I had to purchase a new compu. After some research I opted for a Mac mini i7, 16 GB RAM loaded.
Was running my G5 with a DIGI 002. While I was researching for the best compu option the Scarlett 18i20 appeared before my eyes. Regarding aesthetics I totally fell in love. After some research, contrasting opinions, etc., I decided to give it a try. And... I think it's an absolute amazing device for that price.

This is a ultra-low latency device, so you should have no trouble using it with other outboard gear.
Furthermore, you can link you AudioBox 1818VSL to the Scarlett via optical or SPDIF connection.

Pres are very clean and for my ears AD/DA conversion is outstanding. Huge upgrade from DIGI 002 which was in fact very muddy. Even would say in the league of MOTU or RME in terms of sound quality.
Also, using the line input bypasses the pres on the Scarlett, so you can use any other preamp or channel strip instead.
#17
10th June 2013
Old 10th June 2013
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I currently use two firestudio projects, that I run instead on my 003 surface, 20i/o instead of 18... I wanted to upgrade for better Pre amps, so I just got some preamps. An 2 channel art via spdif, a dbx 2 channel via spdif, and a 8 channel art and a ISA running right into the front of the interface via TRS, which bypasses the Presonus Pre amps. I've been more than happy with the results. I also added a few patch bay when I added the pres to be able to re patch anything.
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