The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mic pre or new interface? Audio Interfaces
Old 20th November 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
Mic pre or new interface?

For about $500 I can buy the RNP OR a Layla 3G. Right now I use two Gina 20 bit systemsconnected to an old Mackie 1604. The Gina's will not be supported under any 64 bit platforms on the PC. So, I read good things about the RNP but with the Layla I get two mic pres and an interface to the PC via PCI. Don't want to use Firewire if I can help it.
Are the pres a lot better on the RNP? Which would you buy? Thanks
Old 21st November 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
I recently replaced my M Audio Delta 1010 with the Layla 3G and love it. I also picked up a good deal on the SPL Goldmike at the same time. I was originally using a Studio Projects VTB1 mic pre ( bout the same or slightly better than the Mackie pres ) with my 1010 and was quite happy. When I replaced them with the Layla 3G and SPL Goldmike I couldn't believe the difference. The quality is superb!! The vocals just sound bigger, clearer, glossier, tighter and more focused! This is a serious combination at a bargain price. I bought both of them for £558 over here!! What audio interface are you already using?
Old 21st November 2006
  #3
Gear Maniac
Thanks for the reply. I am using the Echo Gina 20 bit system. Can't afford both a new interface and a preamp right now. I am wondering about th difference in mic pres between the Layla 3g and the SPL Goldmike.
Old 21st November 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
I haven't tried the pres on the Layla 3G but from what I've read, the Goldmike would be much better. Have you thought about the Focusrite Saffire Pro? I don't know how much it's going for over there but it has 8 decent pres on it plus the A/D D/A converters are almost as good as the Layla 3G!! If I were you I would seriosly consider selling the Gina and either replacing it with the Saffire pro or even the Layla 3G and Goldmike depending on what you can sell the Gina for and also the prices over there!! You wouldn't regret it!!!
Old 21st November 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

I would do this....

You need a more current interface than the 20 bit Ginas. I have the Audiofire 8 right now, and I like it alot.

Just for fun, I used the pres for the first time in some tests last week, and they are prrrrrrretty darn usable. If Im not mistaken, they actually are VLZ pro (Mackie) preamps. Those get bashed way too much IMO, and I think they are just fine in a pinch.

I am going to hook up the RNC to them next, both are insert friendly.

Get the interface 3g or audiofire first, and go from there.

The only thing I dont like about the Echo cards, no seperation between the cans and mains in the software. This isnt a problem for people who dont record miked sources while monitoring thru headphones though. You will have to use an inline passive volume control if thats the case. But if you are using an Echo card already, you probably know that!
Old 21st November 2006
  #6
Gear Maniac
I tried to reply at work but it didn't seem to work, hope this is not a double post!

I guess the question is whether the mic pres on a RNP (or other $500 pre) is significantly better than the mic pres on a box like the Layla 3g. I understand that if I but $1200 to $2000 preamp there probably will be a significant inprovement, but I can't do that right now.
Old 21st November 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
I would say that the Goldmike is definately going to be quite a noticable if the Layla 3G has the Mackie VLZ PRO pres. It is much better than my old Studio Projects VTB1 which was supposed to be a fracion better the the VLZ PRO pres! The pres on the Saffire Pro would also be a little better than the pres on the Layla 3G but not as good as the Goldmike. The Layla 3G and Audiofire 12 have the best A/D D/A converters followed by the Saffire Pro. The Audiofire 8 and Gina have slightly less quality converters. I would definatley replace the Gina with either the Layla 3G + Goldmike or the Saffire Pro!!!
Old 22nd November 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
Personally I do not think you will get a tangible improvement in your recorded tone by acquiring an RNP. It's a quality, neutral-sounding preamp. I have not heard them but I suspect that the preamps you already have are pretty neutral and uncolored also. Isn't there some other piece of gear you need more than another plain preamp?
Old 22nd November 2006
  #9
Gear Maniac
Well of course there is more on my list!

If I bought say the Layla 3g, and the pres were acceptable then I could, at a later date, buy the GT Brick of maybe even the SPL Goldmike that Dickiefunk loves so much. But right now, my pres are the Mackie 1604(pre VLZ, heck pre everything!) and I can't believe that the RNP would not be an improvement. Probably either the RNP or the Layla would be better. But I want a couple of non colored bacis pres for ac. guitar, vocals etc.
Old 22nd November 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post
I would say that the Goldmike is definately going to be quite a noticable if the Layla 3G has the Mackie VLZ PRO pres. It is much better than my old Studio Projects VTB1 which was supposed to be a fracion better the the VLZ PRO pres! The pres on the Saffire Pro would also be a little better than the pres on the Layla 3G but not as good as the Goldmike. The Layla 3G and Audiofire 12 have the best A/D D/A converters followed by the Saffire Pro. The Audiofire 8 and Gina have slightly less quality converters. I would definatley replace the Gina with either the Layla 3G + Goldmike or the Saffire Pro!!!

DF

As I understand it from Echo, the adda is all the same in these units. Difference being feature sets, and of course pci vs FW connections. The Focusrite also uses a Cirrus chip that combines adda all in one chip. I dont think this would let someone use a seperate ad or da conversion unit with it, since the chip in the Focusrite does both. You may not even be concerned with bypassing the built in ad or da later, who knows.

Either way, at all these units prices, there isnt going to be any noticable difference in conversion, probably... its like saying Canare sounds much better than Mogami.......
Old 22nd November 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
When I contacted Echo I was told that the converters in the Audiofire 12 and Layla 3G are a fraction better than those in the Audiofire 8 and Gina but please correct me if I'm wrong.
Old 22nd November 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

LOL!!!

I dunno man, Marcel (Echo audio) told me the feature sets were the only difference..

Who knows !!!

Several reviews I read said the 3G and the AF8 are pretty much the exact same thing except for the pci FW connections.

Iam pleased with mine!!!
Old 22nd November 2006
  #13
Gear Maniac
Here is the scoop from the Echo website:
6. What converters are used in Echo products?

[top]



All our products use high quality 24-bit oversampling converters from AKM or Cirrus Logic. These are the converters used in our current product line:



CS-4272 - AudioFire12, AudioFire8, Layla3G, IndigoIO

CS-42426 - Gina3G

CS-4392 - IndigoDJ

AK4528 - MiaMIDI


I still am wondering abouot the diff in the pres in the Layla or the RNP
Old 22nd November 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Im sure the Echo pres arent as good as the RNP, but that doesnt mean they arent usable. And unless you can get both at once, I still recommend the Echo first.

Better to have better adda with decent pres, than better pres into older conversion technology, imo.

Thats my thought, maybe Im wrong!
Old 22nd November 2006
  #15
Lives for gear
 
statikcat's Avatar
How stable is your Layla 20bit card anyway? To my knowledge it is so old the XP drivers never made it past beta.
Old 22nd November 2006
  #16
Gear Maniac
Drivers are very solid. I use the WDM drivers with Sonar and it is fine. I cannot use "SuperChannel". I have used the Asio as well. No problems. Yes, it says Beta but really the stable drivers make Echo an attractive choice. I don't want Firewire because I have PCI working on a less than year old motherboard and it is supposedly faster than Firewire. My feeling is that all the hype about Firewire has more to do about manufacturing costs and support(i.e. only one connection ) than it does performance.

Really, the best bet is to upgrade both the preamp and the interface but I jsut can't swing it now. Still undecided! Acoustic Cloud brings up some good points but I keep thinking that new pres will always be usable no matter what the OS is or what the connection is etc.
Wish there was a way to check them both out and compare.........hmmmmmm maybe I can.
Any suggestions as to which on-line comapny might be willing?
BTW thanks for all the suggestions
Old 23rd November 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
I give the echo wdm-asio driver about a C. But I'm on a n older layla24.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 

I've had the Audiofire 12 for about 3 months or so. I had a Fireface 800. I find the drivers to be rock solid and have never had a problem. Not a single glitch. For me, I prefer to keep my conversion in one unit and my pres elsewhere. That really was the problem I had with the Fireface. The conversion was great but the pres, which I found to be the weak link, were just staring at me in that don't-use-me-cause-I-suck kinda way.

Incidentally, after having used both converters extensively, I find the AF 12 to be as good if not a bit better than the FF800 in terms of conversion. Add the fact that it's less than half the price, it's a no brainer. A pretty well done blind shootout had 85-90% prefering the AF12 to an Apogee AD16x with the rest calling it too close. I'm not saying that you should sell your Apogees but for a fraction of the price, you can be in the ballpark. Choose some really good pres to hook up and you beat the FF800 hands down. There are a lot of people out there who will call me crazy but I believe it's more marketing hype than anything.

I was also told that the converter chips are the same in the AF12 and the AF8. They are different than the Layla.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 
YUGA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic Cloud View Post
LOL!!!
Several reviews I read said the 3G and the AF8 are pretty much the exact same thing except for the pci FW connections.
AF8 doesn't have adat I/Os.
I really want a firewire audio interface from Echo with adat I/Os!
Old 23rd November 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottfa View Post
For about $500 I can buy the RNP OR a Layla 3G. Right now I use two Gina 20 bit systemsconnected to an old Mackie 1604. The Gina's will not be supported under any 64 bit platforms on the PC. So, I read good things about the RNP but with the Layla I get two mic pres and an interface to the PC via PCI. Don't want to use Firewire if I can help it.
Are the pres a lot better on the RNP? Which would you buy? Thanks
Have you seen the brand new MOTU 8-Pre? This looks like it could be another excellent option if you don't mind firewire? It would have much better converters than the Gina 20bit. I haven't had any experience with MOTU pres but the general impression I get is excellent. It cost's a mere £393 from Thomann ( http://www.thomann.de/gb/motu_8pre.htm ) and for a unit with excellent A/D D/A converters, 8 excellent mic pres with meters, 2x ADAT I/O and midi I/O it looks to be the best value piece of kit out there!!!
Old 23rd November 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
There are a lot of people out there who will call me crazy but I believe it's more marketing hype than anything.

I was also told that the converter chips are the same in the AF12 and the AF8. They are different than the Layla.
Amen on the hype!!

Even if the chips are different in the 3G, I doubt any of them are standout better..
Im not sure why they would use different ones in such closely related models, oh well

I like mine alot. This week for the funnuvvit, Im going to hook the RNC up to the AF8 pres...
Old 23rd November 2006
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by YUGA View Post
AF8 doesn't have adat I/Os.
I really want a firewire audio interface from Echo with adat I/Os!

http://www.emu.com/callouts/E-MU-161...-Hardware.html

Check this one out Yugo. I can vouch for the sound quality of Emu...I am sure they have killed all the bugs by now....
Old 23rd November 2006
  #23
Lives for gear
 
YUGA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic Cloud View Post
http://www.emu.com/callouts/E-MU-161...-Hardware.html

Check this one out Yugo. I can vouch for the sound quality of Emu...I am sure they have killed all the bugs by now....
This looks pretty good but I'm using MacBook Pro so I can't use this.
I'm leaning towards Metric Halo ULN-2, though it doesn't have ADAT IOs.
It seems to have very nice pres and converters.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #24
Lives for gear
 
rolo's Avatar
 

Kill two birds with one stone... Buy a killer mic pre that either already has a digital out or can have a digital card installed.... Killer pre and you are now bypassing the onboard crappy conversion of ANY entry level card.
Old 23rd November 2006
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rolo View Post
Kill two birds with one stone... Buy a killer mic pre that either already has a digital out or can have a digital card installed.... Killer pre and you are now bypassing the onboard crappy conversion of ANY entry level card.
Entry level card would be including the Echos AND something like an M Audio 99 dollar pci only card? If the one channel necessity stays true forever, then thats good. But as soon as more i/o are needed, then comes the card purchase again.

I dont think that works, especially since built in adda in any pre doesnt provide multiple i/o if its needed.

I havent used the digital outs on my SixQ yet, but I would think they arent going to smoke the Echo convertors....
Old 24th November 2006
  #26
Lives for gear
 
rolo's Avatar
 

I havent used the digital outs on my SixQ yet, but I would think they arent going to smoke the Echo convertors....[/QUOTE]


If it's there you may want to try it... won't hurt any, just takes a little time to do an A/B. Your quote above is just speculation. Would'nt it be great if they did sound better than your card?

There are other pre's with dig outs that smoke lower end cards like the echo stuff and m-audio... even motu. Experiment. you can still use th extra I/O on your existing card... my post was only to suggest having at least one channel of BOTH good pre and good conversion. There are many times i've tracked one thing at a time and never needed several inputs.
Old 24th November 2006
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Thats totally true, BUT the point still remains that he has a card that is 20 bit, and may not be supported in the near future, or even now, if a new box is needed.

Can you still use the io of a non supported card?? I didnt think of that, but even if you can, it would continue on as a "band-aid" situation.

This is only my opinion, and what I would do....
Old 25th November 2006
  #28
Gear Maniac
Thanks a lot Rolo.........
Yet another good suggestion. It is true that it is 20 bit, it does have a SPIF. In fact I use it for an old K2000. Hmm.....guess my equipment is showing its age So maybe a digital out is a good idea.
Acoustic Cloud:
You are correct that the Gina 20 bit will not be supported under Vista, but I don't want to upgrade the OS until middle of next year at the earliest. It is an interesting dilemma is it not? Nothing a $1000 can't fix

I see the future as all preamps having digital out and the Layla does not have Adat. I could go Firewire but it is slower than PCI. It bothers me that manufacturers think nothing of downgrading at the price of quality(think MP3). I just don't feel right doing that. Now if Firewire was faster than PCI.......
Rant over!

OK how about some recommendations for two channel preamps with digital outs?
How are the joemeek6's?
Old 25th November 2006
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Wait a minute.... if you think your bottleneck in your studio is the transfer rate of FW vs PCI you are lost man!!

Are you doing more than 100 tracks or something??

If your machine cant handle 3-400 mgb per second via FW, then Im not getting your problem, or what you think it might be.

Maybe I just dont understand what you are looking for..
Old 25th November 2006
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
I give the echo wdm-asio driver about a C. But I'm on a n older layla24.
I been using the Layla 24 for years - drivers are rock solid for me, never had an issue. I am on an old home-built Athlon xp 1800.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
mizzle / Low End Theory
2
directaudio / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
4
squizz / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
6

Forum Jump
Forum Jump