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External preamp with Digimax FS - inserts, combi or another device altogether? Condenser Microphones
Old 23rd December 2010
  #1
External preamp with Digimax FS - inserts, combi or another device altogether?

Hi!

I'm looking for an ADAT extension to TC Impact Twin with 8 mic pres. There are lots of options which were all discussed multiple times, most having the same problem. The combi TRS inputs do not bypass the preamps.

As for now, I will be using the onboard preamps (for this task any box would be satisfactory, be it Digimax or Octopre), but I wish to have a box I will not outgrow easily.

Simply, I want a box that - apart from having 8 usable preamps - could be used as the A/D converter only, serving as an ADAT extension with 8 usable line level inputs for my interface.

If I wanted to connect an external preamp to my chain, I would want no additional coloration - so it would be great if the signal would go straight to the A/D converter, and not through another preamp circuit.

The Digimax FS have two options to connect line level signal - either through combi line-ins on the front, or my using inserts on the back.

I've read on this forums that combi line-ins on the front does not bypass preamps, working as a padded input for onboard preamps, so I have another circuit of gain... I don't really want. Or maybe I'm wrong?

I've also read that inserts on the back are unbalanced and tend to clip and distort when used with external preamps. That bothers me, because I don't care about insert/returns, and if these aren't usable as line level inputs, they are pretty much not needed.

Have any of you used Digimax FS as a line-input A/D converter? Is using the inserts as line inputs for external preamplifiers a viable option? Or should I be seeking a different device altogether?

I would really like to have a device to which I could connect an external higher quality preamp later on to, when I outgrow onboard pres and the budget allows.

M-Audio Octane is an alternative, having TRS balanced line inputs patching straight through to the A/D converters - but I really like front XLRs on Digimax a lot.


I know the 8 pres boxes are discussed often, I hope you won't kill me for this thread

Thank you guys!

M.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #2
Gear Head
 
amomentsloss's Avatar
 

The line inserts on the back are fine. That is what they are designed for, and they should bypass the preamps. As far as using the front combo jacks, I've done that before as well. Left the preamp on the Digimax at zero and used gain from the external preamp (in this case an event emp-1). The guitarist thought it sounded too bright. We took the external preamp out of the mix, and used the Digimax directly, and that was the one he preferred. It may be passing through the preamps from what I've gathered, but the "color" of the external preamp was quite noticeable.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #3
Gear Head
 
StewartMcKechnie's Avatar
 

Hi Maticomp

I have the DigimaxFS and tried numerous tests using an sm7b through my Portico 5012 >>> DigimaxFS >>> RME MultifaceII. I was not impressed...but then, my gain on the Portico was relatively high to accommodate the sm7b's requirements.

My experiences were that the combijack input distorted my vocals and that the inserts were predictably less loud but also distorted slighty.

However, I have not tried a condensor or an sm57 or such like. Therefore, those may be dooable. Perhaps someone could chip in.

I had a great post on the Presonus forum about this which I tried to find for you. However, it was binned when they upgraded their forums earlier this year.


Stewart
Old 23rd December 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 
amomentsloss's Avatar
 

A 57 was included amongst the mics in the example I was referring to. An SM7B may be misleading, as I understand they require quite a bit of gain...
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
omtayslick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StewartMcKechnie View Post
I had a great post on the Presonus forum about this which I tried to find for you. However, it was binned when they upgraded their forums earlier this year.


Stewart
found it:

Bypassing the Digimax FS mic pres - PreSonus Forums
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
Thanks, that's a lot of help!

For unusual cases, I still have 4 line input on Impact Twin itself - if Digimax FS works (relatively) well in most cases, that's perhaps enough for me.

SM7b's are really gain hungry. I am planning on buying one, but most of the time I'll be working with SM57's and different condensers, which are not as gain hungry.

According to Amomentsloss SM57's work fine, that's great news!

Having said that... I am pretty sure I'm overreacting a bit. I don't think I will outgrow Digimax pres quickly. I am also not sure that I will ever have more than 4 external pres, which I can connect to Impact Twin directly.

I simply, having a stretched budget a bit, like buying a gear I won't outgrow easily. I thought having usable additional 8 line in's instead of just 8 usable pres would be a really useful feature to have.


Thanks!
Old 24th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Eric Pederson's Avatar
 

Buying gear that you can grow into

Buying used for cheap is awesome too
Old 24th December 2010
  #8
@omtayslick: thanks, very valuable thread! it seems that for not-so-gain-hungry mics it will work just fine, either with inserts or with (little) colouring front TRS inputs. Having said that, Digimax FS is quite a steal, feature/price ratio wise!

@Eric: I believe so! Unfortunately, not so much used gear here - but I haven't considered buying abroad (yet).
Old 24th December 2010
  #9
Gear Head
 
StewartMcKechnie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by omtayslick View Post
Nice find. I couldn't find my post though. They seem to have deleted the 'Pre-sales Questions' board from the old forum.

Regarding the DigimaxFS. I find it handy having the extra 8 pres regardless of its bypassing capacity or otherwise. Its only downside I guess is its 55db gain capacity.

I have an RME MultifaceII which I have 2 Porticos and a Sytek hooked up to (8x analogue inputs). I use my DigimaxFS via adat and my ART DMPA via s/pdif. If I require 8+ simultaneous pres, I don't mind using the DigimaxFS. I just make sure my better pres are used for the more critical stuff. Truth is, I rarely have to go into my overspill digital pres.

The DigimaxFS is great to have around though and for the price it's a good deal.


Stewart
Old 24th December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
omtayslick's Avatar
 

maticomp,

I have had a Digimax FS for a while now. Last night I recieved a Grace M101. I have been putting the Grace through it's paces on acoustic guitar through the digimax and various mics.

Anyway, I have tried the presonus both ways with the Grace, through the front combo jacks and the inserts.

Actually I like both. Depending on the passage played and the mic used, sometimes I prefer one, other times I prefer the other. The extra gain going through the front is nice, and it doesn't seem to degrade the signal at all. Just adds a different flavor, and the difference (aside from the gain) is very slight.

The pres on the digimax are ok utility pres, and generally well behaved. They are capable of making very decent drum recordings, and are not bad on vocals, if you like 'em clean.

I got the Grace to take my acoustic guitar recording up a notch, and it has done that nicely.

Mics used were: SM81, Oktavamod 319, and Joly modded MXL603.

Hope this info helps.
Old 24th December 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
omtayslick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StewartMcKechnie View Post
Nice find. I couldn't find my post though. They seem to have deleted the 'Pre-sales Questions' board from the old forum.

Regarding the DigimaxFS. I find it handy having the extra 8 pres regardless of its bypassing capacity or otherwise. Its only downside I guess is its 55db gain capacity.

I have an RME MultifaceII which I have 2 Porticos and a Sytek hooked up to (8x analogue inputs). I use my DigimaxFS via adat and my ART DMPA via s/pdif. If I require 8+ simultaneous pres, I don't mind using the DigimaxFS. I just make sure my better pres are used for the more critical stuff. Truth is, I rarely have to go into my overspill digital pres.

The DigimaxFS is great to have around though and for the price it's a good deal.


Stewart
That's a pretty good assesment. It's not stellar, but it'll do what it's supposed to, and it syncs fast and plays well with other digital gear.
Old 24th December 2010
  #12
Quote:
Regarding the DigimaxFS. I find it handy having the extra 8 pres regardless of its bypassing capacity or otherwise.
Without it, Digimax D8 might be a viable alternative. But again - it doesn't have phantom switchable in pairs, nor front XLRs so convenient in home setting.

Quote:
Its only downside I guess is its 55db gain capacity.
I could always use Cloudlifter for gain hungry mics!

Quote:
Actually I like both. Depending on the passage played and the mic used, sometimes I prefer one, other times I prefer the other. The extra gain going through the front is nice, and it doesn't seem to degrade the signal at all. Just adds a different flavor, and the difference (aside from the gain) is very slight.
Thank you, that assesment is really, really helpful!

Overall, it seems that Digimax is a fine piece of gear to have around. And a good starting point with limited budget as well. I am really happy it also has extension potential. I guess I won't have anything better for the price that would give me that much possibilities to extend my system further without changing gear.

When I grow up to appreciate better sounding stuff, I will have lots of room to connect higher-end preamps, like Graces, or even Porticos (which are hell expensive, considering my home applications of the whole recording gear).

Thanks for all your help, it's pretty much settled


Mateusz
Old 24th December 2010
  #13
Gear Head
 
StewartMcKechnie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by omtayslick View Post
That's a pretty good assesment. It's not stellar, but it'll do what it's supposed to, and it syncs fast and plays well with other digital gear.
I test all my gear for heat to inform me for racking purposes and in a test, I used all 8 pres (48v 1-4) for an hour or so and it didn't give off much if any heat. So that was nice too.
Old 24th December 2010
  #14
Thanks, it's a good info as well! While I won't have rack units stacked now, you never know what will happen in a year or so.
Old 19th May 2012
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Pesonus Digimax Input Test

Hello.

I did a test regarding this discussion based off my own curiosity and found it pretty simple.

It seams all 3 routing options with the Digimax are fine usable options. That is going from preamp to XLR, TRS, or Line Inputs, before sending out adat to my 003 interface.

Below is a recording of the test.

Chain - TLM 103 - Daking Mic Pre One - Presonus Digi Max - 003 Via Adat

I counted to 10 four times. Below lists my variation with the inputs on the presonus digimax.

1. Daking - 003
2. Daking - Digimax Line in - 003
3. Daking - Digimax TRS - 003
4. Daking - Digimax XLR - 003

What do you hear? Besides my tonal differences in my voice... i tried my best.
Attached Files

5. All four tests in a row.mp3 (454.2 KB, 1404 views)

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