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Reasons To Avoid Liquid 4Pre? Multi-Channel Preamps
Old 22nd December 2010
  #1
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Reasons To Avoid Liquid 4Pre?

There seems to be little discussion about this interface, with just a couple of comments that they are supposed to be below par and a few more that they are great. But there is not much evidence as to why they might be below par. I have just put a deposit on a used one for £900, which is below half-price for new I think. And I don't feel like I got a relative bargain. There always seems to be one going for an asking price of about £1000. This seems like high depreciation compared to the used asking prices of, say, an ISA828 or 428. This depreciation is more revealing perhaps than anything. Anyone got any decent insight into this observation, or better still, into the unit itself?

Rich
Old 23rd December 2010
  #2
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tampa's Avatar
 

I have a couple of the Liquid channel pre's and I think they are very nice units. Your right about the price of them they tend to sink like a rock on the value chart, but they tend to level off around the $1200 usd mark used. Your not going to find much love around here for the liquid pres, but there are a few around that tend to like them. Good luck with your pre I hope you like it.
Old 24th December 2010
  #3
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Largley ignored around here and then the negative comments seem to be hearsay more than personal experience.....the concept of digital modelling amps just don't sit well with the older farts...but to be honest I am buying it for its hopefully strong, loud, clean sound and its ability to link the gain on its 4 channels for use with a Soundfield SPS200. Anything you particularly like it for?
Old 24th December 2010
  #4
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Daedalus77's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
...I am buying it for its hopefully strong, loud, clean sound...
The key word. You'll only be able to know this after using it for a while, in your space, of course, so while users' opinions here may make you feel better about your purchase, they're ultimately not going to be much help in determining whether you will want to keep the thing.
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
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tampa's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
Largley ignored around here and then the negative comments seem to be hearsay more than personal experience.....the concept of digital modelling amps just don't sit well with the older farts...but to be honest I am buying it for its hopefully strong, loud, clean sound and its ability to link the gain on its 4 channels for use with a Soundfield SPS200. Anything you particularly like it for?
Strong clean and loud they are, tons of gain on these units. I like the many flavors you can get with the unit albeit they are very subtle in change. The pre sounds very good without any emulation at all. I find they are all around good units. They sound good on anything you put through them in my experience. Here is a clip everything recorded using Liquid channel strips.
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
Reasons To Avoid Liquid 4Pre?

L4Pre gets a bad rap. I just sold mine, but not because I didn't like it or felt it wasn't high quality. It was good sounding. There was something about the DA I wasn't a big fan of, but it was still totally useable. I preferred digital connection. The interface was good. Loading other models in it was quirky.

My favorite things about it were the harmonics knob to dial in more mojo and the simplicity of use. Session saver was a cool idea too.

Bad = no pads. Could not be used for snare without inline pads. Really liked it, though. Sounded very convincing on some of the models too, especially when dialing in just a pinch more harmonics. BTW, it's most convincing when bypassing the DA.
Old 24th December 2010
  #7
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Yeah, I suspected I will listen to the amp models and think, ok, that was interesting, kind of. And then never use them again. I have a Gainstation 1, which is great but the tube never gets dialled in. Regarding the digital to analog, that may not be such a problem for me, as I will have in simultaneous use a MOTU 896HD BL modded with a microclock, which I am happy with. I could just use the Liquid 4pre as preamps, but I suspect my cloth ears will not hear a difference between the two and the 896 will get limited use.

Any other thoughts from anyone? Easy to set up with a Mac? Reliable?
Old 24th December 2010
  #8
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Rupert Limehouse's Avatar
 

Reasons To Avoid Liquid 4Pre?

Sounds great - very strong and clean, harmonics feature really good, I don't know if the models sound exactly like the originals, but analogue circuitry does change as well - it's not just digital modelling, however very useful to have all those flavours on tap. Min gain is 14dB so as stated above, in-line pads are a must for loud sources. I've always used mine digitally (clocked from Rosetta 192) so can't comment on the DA. No hardware problems at all with mine. Quirks - doesn't automatically detect external sample rate - you have to set it's clock manually, and the Mac often doesn't see it on first use, but manual selection of the unit in the software is very quick. Mac software straightforward and reliable otherwise. A happy customer here - not selling mine!
Old 24th December 2010
  #9
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
Largley ignored around here and then the negative comments seem to be hearsay more than personal experience.....the concept of digital modelling amps just don't sit well with the older farts
Ancient fart here - like I have "gig T-shirts" older [and with more actual work experience] than you... but hey, we all have to start sometime, I just decided to start in the 70's.

That said I have tried the "liquid" pre's - next to some pre's like Crane Song's and API's, the "ViPre", and a few other things that happened to be lying around the studio where I was working. In my "personal experience" I happened to find the "liquid" thing about as small and useless as anything I'd ever experienced [which was before getting into the "emulation" crap, which made the audio smaller, and even less useful]... like if you "rack mounted" the pre-amps from a Mackie desk you'd get better audio.

Then again you little whipper-snappers think plug-ins sound like they're capable of actual audio - so in that context - I'm sure you'll love the thing!!!

Peace. [old hippie concept that maybe the world might be a better place without wars -- please ignore].
Old 24th December 2010
  #10
Reasons To Avoid Liquid 4Pre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher

Ancient fart here - like I have "gig T-shirts" older [and with more actual work experience] than you... but hey, we all have to start sometime, I just decided to start in the 70's.

That said I have tried the "liquid" pre's - next to some pre's like Crane Song's and API's, the "ViPre", and a few other things that happened to be lying around the studio where I was working. In my "personal experience" I happened to find the "liquid" thing about as small and useless as anything I'd ever experienced [which was before getting into the "emulation" crap, which made the audio smaller, and even less useful]... like if you "rack mounted" the pre-amps from a Mackie desk you'd get better audio.

Then again you little whipper-snappers think plug-ins sound like they're capable of actual audio - so in that context - I'm sure you'll love the thing!!!

Peace. [old hippie concept that maybe the world might be a better place without wars -- please ignore].
Proof positive that age and wisdom are not synonymous.

As with all of these subjective discussions, if you can get pleasing sounds from the unit, then smile and use your tools to achieve your artistic vision.

Sent from my iPhone using Gearslutz
Old 25th December 2010
  #11
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Getting older fart here. I think it's safe to say, you either like them or you don't to each their own on that front. But then again 20 years ago I vowed I would never own anything digital to make or reproduce music. If you can't get a good sound out of one of these preamps it's either time to retire or you need to get your ears checked.
Old 25th December 2010
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Hi,
i don't want to bork your thread but i have a question concerning the liquid channel gear and it seems that people here can help me.heh
I'm interested to buy a liquid channel for the input A/D converters. I think that you can bypass the preamps.
How did you feel the quality of the converters? Did you put them into the high end level gears or in the same league than the Steinberg MR816?
I want to use the 192khz for something special and i need a good S/N ratio.
Old 25th December 2010
  #13
Gear Maniac
Reasons To Avoid Liquid 4Pre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher

Then again you little whipper-snappers think plug-ins sound like they're capable of actual audio - so in that context - I'm sure you'll love the thing!!!
Have you ever A-B'ed an SSL buss compressor against UAD's mock up? You'd be surprised... At least, some experienced and acclaimed mastering engineers I know were... I'm a purist myself, but then again, I had to try it out, at least to prove myself I was right... Turns out everyone can be wrong! Maybe UAD is on to something after all, maybe war served its purpose after all...
Cheers
Old 25th December 2010
  #14
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I used the Liquid Channel a fair bit and found it to be pretty decent, very useable. The difference between emulations is probably more subtle than you imagine but got some nice results from it. Did all the vocals on an album through it, can hear if you'd like (PM me).

At the end of the day it's just a tool to get a job done, does it well with a variety of flavours. Don't care in the slightest how accurate the emulations are.

The main concern I'd have is with reliability. Two units broke in the 2 month period I was using them.
Old 25th December 2010
  #15
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richgilb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiopo View Post

The main concern I'd have is with reliability. Two units broke in the 2 month period I was using them.
What happened to them?
Old 25th December 2010
  #16
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richgilb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Ancient fart here - like I have "gig T-shirts" older [and with more actual work experience] than you... but hey, we all have to start sometime, I just decided to start in the 70's.

That said I have tried the "liquid" pre's - next to some pre's like Crane Song's and API's, the "ViPre", and a few other things that happened to be lying around the studio where I was working. In my "personal experience" I happened to find the "liquid" thing about as small and useless as anything I'd ever experienced [which was before getting into the "emulation" crap, which made the audio smaller, and even less useful]... like if you "rack mounted" the pre-amps from a Mackie desk you'd get better audio.

Then again you little whipper-snappers think plug-ins sound like they're capable of actual audio - so in that context - I'm sure you'll love the thing!!!

Peace. [old hippie concept that maybe the world might be a better place without wars -- please ignore].
Thanks for that. Definitely getting one based on this insight.
Old 25th December 2010
  #17
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
I hope that works out for ya...
Old 25th December 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampa View Post
Strong clean and loud they are, tons of gain on these units. I like the many flavors you can get with the unit albeit they are very subtle in change. The pre sounds very good without any emulation at all. I find they are all around good units. They sound good on anything you put through them in my experience. Here is a clip everything recorded using Liquid channel strips.
That clip sounds HORRIBLE. The guitars are crazy thin and the top end is really bad.

Wow. And its posted in high end... You got balls, Ill say that.

Its amazing to see a bunch of people who've obviously never spent enough time in a real room with a real console and real outboard proclaim focusrite liquid pres sound amazing. I thought they sounded terrible as well- but again, if you have never used what they are trying to emulate for more than a day, how would you know...

Relativity is a bitch.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Old 26th December 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDingus View Post
That clip sounds HORRIBLE. The guitars are crazy thin and the top end is really bad.

Wow. And its posted in high end... You got balls, Ill say that.

Its amazing to see a bunch of people who've obviously never spent enough time in a real room with a real console and real outboard proclaim focusrite liquid pres sound amazing. I thought they sounded terrible as well- but again, if you have never used what they are trying to emulate for more than a day, how would you know...

Relativity is a bitch.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Can't really work out whether this means the engineer should stay out of high end, the Liquid 4pre or both? Could you let me know why the Liquid 4pre was not good for you? It looks like you think the modeled amps don't sound anything like the original amps and that this was a disappointment for you. Is there anything else?
Old 26th December 2010
  #20
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tampa's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
Can't really work out whether this means the engineer should stay out of high end, the Liquid 4pre or both? Could you let me know why the Liquid 4pre was not good for you? It looks like you think the modeled amps don't sound anything like the original amps and that this was a disappointment for you. Is there anything else?

Don't sweat it Rich. I told you you woudn't find much love around here for liquid pres. It's to bad that some people can't say something constuctive with their negativity, but such is the nature of this forum. It's funny I got some nice comments on that clip on here a few months ago. I guess there are a few more idiots around here other than me.
Old 27th December 2010
  #21
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All interesting stuff. Shame someone had to be rude about the song though. And the main problem for some seems to be based around the modeled preamps not sounding like the originals. Not enough to get worked up about really. Who cares if they do or they don't sound like the original? Not me. There is no harm, as far as I can see, in having some different choices in the sound it produces.
Old 28th December 2010
  #22
Bingo. I found about 5 different models on there that sounded good and got quite a bit of use. At least one of them was very much in the proper tone family for what it modeled and it sounded *good* with a little extra harmonics dialed in.

Most people complaining about them have NEVER used them. That's the problem with GS.

Gear snobs will not allow something like an L4Pre in their studio and would not be opened minded if they did. Meanwhile, the budget conscious hope they're more than they are and are expecting the silver bullet.

I can say with 100% confidence that the L4Pre got me better results than the ISA428 I replaced with it. It has some good tones and the harmonics knob is a nice touch. I used it to dial in something with a little more aggression just about every time.

I own many nice preamps including several of which the liquid series models. I could get a similar sound usually. Could I tell the difference? Yes. Was it worse? Not always. I would love the harmonics control on my real pres.

This is, however, the High End forum. This thread should be in the So Much Gear forum, IMO, where it's safer to speak of digital and modeling. ;-)
Old 28th December 2010
  #23
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tampa's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by McDingus View Post
That clip sounds HORRIBLE. The guitars are crazy thin and the top end is really bad.

Wow. And its posted in high end... You got balls, Ill say that.

Its amazing to see a bunch of people who've obviously never spent enough time in a real room with a real console and real outboard proclaim focusrite liquid pres sound amazing. I thought they sounded terrible as well- but again, if you have never used what they are trying to emulate for more than a day, how would you know...

Relativity is a bitch.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Maybe you should keep your fat mouth shut. I don't remember asking for your input. Some people just can't mind their own ****ing business sad really. It's to bad there are so many mislead folks on this forum. It really is a waste.....
Old 28th December 2010
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Hepworth View Post
I can say with 100% confidence that the L4Pre got me better results than the ISA428 I replaced with it;
Wow, that is encouraging....enter comments by 428 owners! I expect delivery of my Liquid 4pre this Friday. I wonder if its unmodelled neutral sound will show improvement on my BLA Motu......more gain for a start will be handy.
Old 28th December 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
Wow, that is encouraging....enter comments by 428 owners! I expect delivery of my Liquid 4pre this Friday. I wonder if its unmodelled neutral sound will show improvement on my BLA Motu......more gain for a start will be handy.
Well, you don't buy something like this for the 'neutral unmodelled' sound for a start. Most of the money you pay for this doesn't go into the design of the circuit of the pre itself, but for the digital modelling stuff that it does. Personally if I was looking for a budget solution, I'd spend the dough on something like a Sytek or one of those SSL 4 channel Alpha VHDs. My take is that if you want to mess with the sound, there's a lot of ways to do it later in the computer. When I buy a preamp I want to know that I'm paying for the preamp itself, not the digital modelling stuff it comes bundled with. Anyways, enjoy and good luck with it!
Old 28th December 2010
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by McDingus View Post
That clip sounds HORRIBLE...
I don't care how it sounds. Just please go away.
Petter
Old 28th December 2010
  #27
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Quote:
This seems like high depreciation compared to the used asking prices of, say, an ISA828 or 428. This depreciation is more revealing perhaps than anything. Anyone got any decent insight into this observation, or better still, into the unit itself?
My guess is the relatively high depreciation compared to preamps like the ISA-series boxes is because it is a digital box, and they tend not to hold their value as well overall. I haven't kept track of prices on it over time but it may also be in part because Focusrite discontinued them earlier this year.

As for the sound...I was pretty impressed with its versatility when I tried it out, although it didn't quite jump out at me (in a good or bad way). Hopefully it will work out well for you.
Old 28th December 2010
  #28
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never used them extensivly, but from my limited experience with it, i liked it best without emulation. And that was average good. They probally can work well for some, but i wouldn't buy it because they are to expensive for what they deliver.

I've used them (with no emulation) in freelance work before, and i'll probally do it again when it fits me... But it's no real hi end for me like api/neve & co is.
Old 28th December 2010
  #29
theother
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Hepworth View Post
Gear snobs will not allow something like an L4Pre in their studio and would not be opened minded if they did. Meanwhile, the budget conscious hope they're more than they are and are expecting the silver bullet.

I can say with 100% confidence that the L4Pre got me better results than the ISA428 I replaced with it. It has some good tones and the harmonics knob is a nice touch. I used it to dial in something with a little more aggression just about every time.

I'm not a gear snob. I use anything that will give me a result. The L4 isn't such a thing and a big waste of $. And I find the ISA way better than any of this modelling ****e.

Call me an old fart, but if you guys think the modelling pre-amps bring anything interesting to the table you must be deaf or have strange taste (from my point of view), which doesn't mean anything as long as YOU get the results you want. Just no need to label anyone who doesn't see the point of the Liquid stuff an old fart when anything you should name us 'wise men'! ...only kidding!
Old 28th December 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
the concept of digital modelling amps just don't sit well with the older farts...
Not sure it's an old fart thing so much as an 'analogue is cool' thing.

I find it very odd that if you emulate hardware on software inside a piece of hardware (IE, Liquid Pre, Liquid Mix) it only attracts moaning, whereas if you emulate hardware on software inside a DAW, people love it (Waves SSL).

It's just fashion mate. Use your ears to decide.
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