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18i8 vs 18i20 and gen 1 vs gen 2
Old 27th December 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
18i8 vs 18i20 and gen 1 vs gen 2

Hi all,

I have been after a decent audio interface for my mac and Focusrite just sent out an e-mail about the refurbished gear in their online store. So the time seems right to buy now (check it out some of them are nearly 50% off!).

I just have two major dilemmas... Should I get the 18i8 or the 18i20, the 18i20 is nearly double the price or the 18i8 and seeing as the 18i8 has and ADAT input I can easily hook up a mic preamp later if I am in desperate need of the extra mic channels. So I just can't really justify the extra money for the 18i20. Would that work fine?

Also, the second dilemma is whether to go for the gen 1 or gen 2. There are some advantages to the gen 2 (such as the lower latency) but by using the gen 2 drivers people have had success in getting the gen 2 latency on the gen 1 hardware. There are some other minor improvements to the hardware such as being able to record up to 192KHz but I don't think I will ever use anything more than 48KHz (the gen 1 can go up to 92KHz). Apart from that the gen 2 18i8 cost again double of the gen 1 18i8.

Would it be ok to buy a gen 1 18i8 in 2018?

Many Thanks,
Borz
Old 27th December 2018
  #2
Gear Head
 

I have a refurbished gen 1 18i20 - I haven't felt that I'm missing out not having the gen 2. I think the main difference is the newer control software is perhaps a little easier to navigate.

Get the gen 1 and put the money you save towards a nice mic or some other slutty need.
Old 2nd January 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
esldude's Avatar
The sound quality of both 18i8 and 18i20 should be just about the same. Yes the Gen 2 software is nicer. They all use the same ADC and DAC chips for both gen 1 and 2. The gen 1 chips were able to do 192 khz, but they only used them to 96 khz. Gen 2's have a handful of db less gain on the mic inputs. I have a gen 1 18i20. Its super useful.

But for what you are describing save the bucks and go with the gen 1 18i8.
Old 3rd January 2019
  #4
Deleted 7ad91e3
Guest
If so go 2nd gen...I'm using a 8i6 firstgen just for my work PC and listening purpose only...it has driver issues. Keep on loosing connection every 2 hours or so on W10 and need to re-plug...I've heard similar from other users...came to the conclusion that USB is definitely not well suited for continuous audio streaming/recording duties...its an all purpose protocol occupied by everyone and everything...try to look out for a interface that is offering firewire instead...firewire is superior and highly dedicated to audio streaming on OS such as Windows...
Old 3rd January 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 7ad91e3 View Post
If so go 2nd gen...I'm using a 8i6 firstgen just for my work PC and listening purpose only...it has driver issues. Keep on loosing connection every 2 hours or so on W10 and need to re-plug...I've heard similar from other users...came to the conclusion that USB is definitely not well suited for continuous audio streaming/recording duties...its an all purpose protocol occupied by everyone and everything...try to look out for a interface that is offering firewire instead...firewire is superior and highly dedicated to audio streaming on OS such as Windows...
My guess is you haven't shut off USB power saving in Device Manager. I have a Gen 1 18i20 and 18i8, they've never failed to be available. I leave them on 24/7.

OP:

Other than I/O the two reasons I got the 18i20 after having the 18i8 were I wanted to rack mount it and I didn't like the 'halo' meters on the 18i8 knobs.

That being said, I'm still a little miffed that Focusrite won't go ahead and officially release the new drivers for Gen 1 devices. I feel like we've been thrown under the bus, so to speak. If they thought it would 'encourage' me to upgrade to Gen 2, it's had the opposite effect. My 18i20 has been showing some noise (can't hear it...yet) on some of the monitor outputs and I've been looking for other alternatives.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

For the record.

My 18i8 Gen 1 exhibits inconsistent behavior on the mic and DI inputs.

Some transformer-output condensers e.g. C451, C452 can buzz maniacally while others, e.g. AT4047, AT4050 are silent. Same mics and cables are perfectly quiet on standalone preamps. Dynamic mics are generally quiet but require a lot of gain at the preamps which get hissy at their upper extremes.

Plugging the magnetic pickups from my 1996 Parker Fly Classic into the DI results in a complex, compound buzzing ground noise, while the piezo output from the same guitar is silent. This guitar has no noise issues when plugged into a guitar amp or other DIs using the same cable.

To connect the 18i8 to my computers I'm using the included USB cable with the ferrite ring choke.

Sometimes (when obnoxious noise gets in the way of recording) I lapse into regretting my purchase and hoping that Focusrite has improved the analog inputs on the latest iterations of this hardware. Someone else will have to find out and report back because I'm once bitten and such.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piyono View Post
To connect the 18i8 to my computers I'm using the included USB cable with the ferrite ring choke.
I highly doubt the USB cable is introducing any audible noise. The ferrite core is used to alleviate EMI/RFI, yes. But the interference over a digital cable (USB) only introduces digital errors, therefore, slowing it down for 'correction', not audible ones. That's my understanding anyway.

The noise I was referring to was on the outputs. as seen on the mixing board meters, not on the inputs. It's still there, but I still can't hear it. Same with my Kronos. See noise on the meters but cant hear it. Could very well be the mixer 'Ins'. Who know? All's good if you can't hear it.

I think I used too many commas...::

Oh well. Screw it.

P.S. BTW. Forgot to mention. New Gen 1 drivers were introduced recently.

Last edited by onewire; 4 weeks ago at 04:39 AM.. Reason: Clarity
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