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SPL Crimson
Old 2nd June 2014
  #271
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jweisbin View Post
We bought two SPL Crimsons, for use on Macs, based on reviews, etc. I can't say I'm completely happy with them. They are advertised as being monitor/talkback controllers, but fall short IMHO. First, there are two sets of speaker outputs. That is fine on paper, but in use they are hobbled by the fact that, when you are in "Artist" mode, the second set only carries the "Artist" mix. And, if you want to send a balanced cue mix to a headphone amp in another room, then you can only use that second set for that purpose, thereby rendering it useless for it's intended purpose.

For talkback, it doesn't come with a mic, and requires a pre-amplified mic signal, another shortfall. In general, the way you need to switch between "Artist" mode and normal mode seems clunky and ill-thought out to me.

The overall gain cannot be controlled from the Mac directly, in contrast to many audio interfaces in this price range.

It is solidly built, but the big volume knob is not detented like SPL's big talkback boxes.

The S/PDIF input can be used to record from, but it can't be used to feed the artist's mix directly, another down side.

The driver thing is confusing, on Mac - to install or not to install, that is the question? And there is no console, on the Mac at least.

Can't complain about the sound though.
Thanks for your comments Am I right in thinking that none of the shortcomings that you mention would effect a home recordist? I appreciate that you have different needs due to your more involved workflow, but would you recommend this device as a simple recording tool for a home producer where sound quality is king?
Old 2nd June 2014
  #272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Man View Post
Thanks for your comments Am I right in thinking that none of the shortcomings that you mention would effect a home recordist? I appreciate that you have different needs due to your more involved workflow, but would you recommend this device as a simple recording tool for a home producer where sound quality is king?
Considering that it's marketed as a "monitor controller", it's a bit disappointing as I noted. It certainly sounds good, but, in the same price range, the Audient ID22 has ADAT (the SPL has S/PDIF), which might be more useful. I have no experience with the ID22, but, if I were in the market for a home setup, I might consider that instead. Or, for a bit more money, I would go for the Apollo Twin, but that requires a thunderbolt equipped computer, so might not work for you.
Old 3rd June 2014
  #273
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jweisbin View Post
Considering that it's marketed as a "monitor controller", it's a bit disappointing as I noted. It certainly sounds good, but, in the same price range, the Audient ID22 has ADAT (the SPL has S/PDIF), which might be more useful. I have no experience with the ID22, but, if I were in the market for a home setup, I might consider that instead. Or, for a bit more money, I would go for the Apollo Twin, but that requires a thunderbolt equipped computer, so might not work for you.
I'll only be using one set of speakers, and I'm the classic one-man multi-instrumentalist needing to record high quality demos. I've no need to digital connections, is the Crimson the one for me?
Old 4th June 2014
  #274
Gear Addict
 
Vandergraf's Avatar
 

Exclamation Just returned my SPL Crimson

Without a doubt, this was one of the most disappointing gear experiences I have ever had.

I spent a day screwing with it and could not get it to play nice with my Pro Tools (v10) PC running windows 7. I kept getting clock errors. When I tried to adjust the settings in the Crimson pop-up within PT, most of the drop-downs were greyed-out and could not be adjusted. Put my trusty 002 back in and it works fine, no errors.

I believe that Crimson's windows drivers leave much to be desired. The Crimson pre-amps do sound wonderful. But it's worthless if it's not rock solid.

Very disappointing.
Old 4th June 2014
  #275
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Kimotei's Avatar
Could the second headphone out be used as a secondary monitor's output if the main secondery monitor output is used for external gear or vice versa? Or is that a big no no.

In other words: can the headphone output be used as a send to hw gear or monitors?
Old 4th June 2014
  #276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
Could the second headphone out be used as a secondary monitor's output if the main secondery monitor output is used for external gear or vice versa? Or is that a big no no.

In other words: can the headphone output be used as a send to hw gear or monitors?
The 2nd headphone output carries the same signal as the 2nd speaker out when in Artist mode, at least that is my understanding.

Also you would have to convert the levels from the headphone out which is high current unbalanced to a suitable level for monitors, which needs a level matching box, so more money.
Old 4th June 2014
  #277
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jweisbin View Post
The 2nd headphone output carries the same signal as the 2nd speaker out when in Artist mode, at least that is my understanding.

Also you would have to convert the levels from the headphone out which is high current unbalanced to a suitable level for monitors, which needs a level matching box, so more money.
Alright, so it is possible.. I dont need a secondery headphone output as much as I need/use 2 monitor sets.

How much would you estimate for such a box? And what about if sending to outboard gear like reverb or compressor.. Would that also need some kind of amp box?
Old 5th June 2014
  #278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
Alright, so it is possible.. I dont need a secondery headphone output as much as I need/use 2 monitor sets.

How much would you estimate for such a box? And what about if sending to outboard gear like reverb or compressor.. Would that also need some kind of amp box?
I don't think I completely understand what it is you want to do. Do you want to send a balanced line signal to another room to a headphone amp there? To do that, you would either have to use the 2nd speaker outputs, or convert the headphone out to a balanced +4 signal. But the speaker 2 outputs and the headphone 2 output carry the same mix.
Something like this would work, there are probably cheaper alternatives:
Radial Engineering J+4 Stereo Line Driver -10dB to +4dB Interface | GuitarCenter
But for a bit more money you could get a complete talkback/monitoring solution like this:
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 | Sweetwater.com

Because of the limitations of the SPL, it might be better to get a simpler interface and use it with a separate monitor controller.

As far as sending to outboard gear, the SPL has no line outs other than the two speaker outs, so, again, it doesn't seem to fit your needs.
Old 6th June 2014
  #279
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
Could the second headphone out be used as a secondary monitor's output if the main secondery monitor output is used for external gear or vice versa? Or is that a big no no.

In other words: can the headphone output be used as a send to hw gear or monitors?
If you are looking to have a permanently hooked up hardware loop, as well as two sets of monitors, the simplest ways would be to have a passive monitor switcher after the speaker A output on the Crimson, or to have a patch panel where nothing is normalised (so no accidental routing takes place) on the speaker B output. Either would be a fairly inexpensive option, without seriously altering the quality of the outputs.

If you got a secondary monitor controller, you would be relying on (possibly) an inferior active analog component in your monitoring chain. The main selling point of SPL's gear is the quality of their analog engineering, so putting a Presonus unit after it would be a step down in my opinion.
Old 6th June 2014
  #280
Gear Addict
 

Also I should mention I bought a Crimson, and I am using it with OSX 10.8.5 ProTools 10 and 11 successfully.

The latency seems high, and there are a few oddities with low hardware buffer settings, but nothing disastrous. It handles PT10 sessions with a full audio track count. I haven't done proper stress tests, but it seems solid, if a little quirky.

The headphone amp seems much nicer, and overall I feel it has been an upgrade from my 002, so I am happy. I am sure as time goes on, they will update the drivers and/or firmware. The main reason I purchased it was for a better headphone amp and monitor path, plus Mavericks/Protools compatibility, as my 002 is unsupported while the world moves on at a quick rate of knots.
Old 6th June 2014
  #281
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkandKurious View Post
If you are looking to have a permanently hooked up hardware loop, as well as two sets of monitors, the simplest ways would be to have a passive monitor switcher after the speaker A output on the Crimson, or to have a patch panel where nothing is normalised (so no accidental routing takes place) on the speaker B output. Either would be a fairly inexpensive option, without seriously altering the quality of the outputs.

If you got a secondary monitor controller, you would be relying on (possibly) an inferior active analog component in your monitoring chain. The main selling point of SPL's gear is the quality of their analog engineering, so putting a Presonus unit after it would be a step down in my opinion.
Thanks!
Yes I have 2 monitor sets. This passive monitor switch, is it something you can buy or do you build it yourself? I agree its best to keep the signal path as good as possible.

For now I dont use any hardware prosessors. But I will in a few months.
Old 7th June 2014
  #282
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
Thanks!
Yes I have 2 monitor sets. This passive monitor switch, is it something you can buy or do you build it yourself? I agree its best to keep the signal path as good as possible.

For now I dont use any hardware prosessors. But I will in a few months.
There's a thread on the forum here.

Googling passive monitor switcher will give you plenty of options, but here are the one's I would consider if I wanted a permanent wired set up like you are hoping for:

scroll down to Coleman LS3

Radial MC3

I would suggest asking people in the Geekslutz subforum first though, as it shouldn't be hard to make one yourself, and it would be a lot cheaper. I am not that tech savvy, but a properly implemented custom switcher might prevent all kinds of potential problems - you only need a switcher while most manufactured devices have a volume control (which is something you don't need with such a nice big one on the SPL), and that can change the balance of your stereo image if made from cheap components.
Old 8th June 2014
  #283
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DirkP's Avatar
 

It might be just a minor matter, but if SPL is the first company that ever put labels on the backside of their gear that you can read if you lean over it from the front they should get a nobel prize.

It's just so obvious. If you want to change connections you don't turn around the entire unit, you look at the back of the unit from above.

Dirk
Old 8th June 2014
  #284
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DirkP's Avatar
 

Two questions/remarks after owning it for two days:

1. I have detected a minor bug if the Crimson is connected to the iPad and the camera app is used: if the Crimson is connected before(!) starting the app, the app freezes. Happens with the apple app as well as MoviePro. The later doesn't even start, it shows the start screen for about a second and then vanishes. Everything works fine with the crimson recording the audio to a movie, if the crimson is connected AFTER the app started. I have two iPads: an iPad mini (first generation) and one of the iPads Air with retina display. Both show the exact same behaviour.

2. A question regarding outboard gear. This was discussed a lot in this thread, but I'm still not sure.
Am I right, that it isn't possible to "insert" for example a compressor (Loudspeaker B -> Compressor IN -> Compressor out ->(for example Line 3, WITHOUT the Crimson being connected to a DAW? There is no possibility to listen to the WET-signal without a DAW. As soon as Line 3 is activated to monitor it, its' signal is routed to speaker B 'causing a feedback loop (the compressor is fed with his own signal...). Am I right or is there a possibility I've overseen?
Soundwise, I'm more than convinced. The preamps are much better than I expected them to be.
Which leads to one more question:
Are there any kind of limiters in the signal chain? If I push the instrument in rather hard with an active MusicMan bass playing fingerstyle and then start to slap, it's still hard to overload the input. This kind of surprised me: does the input really have so much headroom or is there a kind of limiter involved to prevent the input from distortions?

I hope my dinglish is halfway comprehensible!

Regards,
Dirk
Old 22nd June 2014
  #285
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I heavily consider the Crimson again, as it just looks like a perfect solution (apart of ADAT missing).
Things I love most about it is the design and the integrated monitor controller with two headphone ports. Love that.
The price seems decent too.

Long thread with a lot of technical details... and I'm the kind of user who would rather be interested in more general reviews with focus on the total experience, and how it feels to work with it.

Are there owners who love the Crimson? Is there anyone who replaced his more expensive interface with a Crimson?
I currently use an RME Fireface 400, not unhappy with it, but would miss a second headphones port. Would you advise me to not replace it by a Crimson, and why?
Old 30th June 2014
  #286
SPL Crimson D/A only

Yes, maybe it´s some kind of LOVE
I have done a A/B Test today with the SPL Crimson vs.
1. Tascam UH-7000
and
2. Audient ID22,
and to my ears the difference in D/A was VERY small, if a difference was existing.
Maybe a little more presence in the upper frequencies, but I am not sure if the highs are hyped a bit like with the apogee duet 2 which I also used a while ago.
I listen through Adam Monitors, so at least the high frequencies are easy to evaluate. To my ears not more detail with UH-7000 or the ID22.
For me that was quite astonishing after all the praise the ID22 and the U-7000 has got, especially here on GS.
I am quite amazed about that because I am no longer uncertain bout the audio quality of the Crimson and I can keep this good looking and sounding device with all the great features and the analog paths and I do not have to „upgrade“ to the rather ugly ID22 or the prettier UH-7000 (which is a good device)
I only cared for D/A, didn´t check the A/D by the way.
I do not want to hurt any ID22 or U-7000 user, these are good devices, but for me the differences are negletable, so I stay with my crimson,
greetz to all sluts
Old 1st July 2014
  #287
Gear Nut
 
Maccattack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Man View Post
would you recommend this device as a simple recording tool for a home producer where sound quality is king?
Yes absolutely. I work on my own with the crimson plugged into PT on an imac.

I previously used a 003 which was ok but the crimson blows it away for sound quality.
I had a few issues with it but I sorted them out. The driver thing is confusing but I don't use it and all works fine. The odd time communication between PT and the crimson gets lost. I'm not sure why... But it's not a major deal.

Get the crimson man. It's ace.
Old 1st July 2014
  #288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyfromHH View Post
Yes, maybe it´s some kind of LOVE
I have done a A/B Test today with the SPL Crimson vs.
1. Tascam UH-7000
and
2. Audient ID22,
and to my ears the difference in D/A was VERY small, if a difference was existing.
I'm curious as to how you tested, as the interfaces presumably were not attached to the one same computer at the same time and active?

It is quite hard to compare D/A conversions to be revealing of differences. It really does need instant A/B changeover from one to another. It is also necessary to choose the auditioning material carefully (YouTube won't cut it), which may require recording you own test data (eg a bunch of keys being jangled is a good one). Finally, it also requires that the electronics are well run-in with IMO a month's or so daily use, as the sonic differences between D/A's can be smaller than the changes when running-in.
Old 2nd July 2014
  #289
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyper.real View Post
I'm curious as to how you tested, as the interfaces presumably were not attached to the one same computer at the same time and active?

It is quite hard to compare D/A conversions to be revealing of differences. It really does need instant A/B changeover from one to another. It is also necessary to choose the auditioning material carefully (YouTube won't cut it), which may require recording you own test data (eg a bunch of keys being jangled is a good one). Finally, it also requires that the electronics are well run-in with IMO a month's or so daily use, as the sonic differences between D/A's can be smaller than the changes when running-in.
I checked it with the Crimson via USB vs. the Tascam via USB, both connected to Mac Pro at the same time, I just had to switch / link the monitors between the devices, same with the Crimson vs. the ID22, so at least two devices were attached to computer at the same time and active and it was quite easy to change between the different Interfaces.
I have some reference tracks, which I am very familiar with, and, to my ears at least, the upper frequencies were a bit emphasized with the Tascam and the Audient, but I could not hear more detail.
I didn´t had much time for the test to be honest, had to bring the devices back to the shop, so I only had one afternoon to evaluate, but I am quite safe with my first impression in general, so quite certain bout my opinion,
greetz
Old 10th July 2014
  #290
Here for the gear
 

Hi guys

I'm an amateur bass player/recordist in my spare time & want to upgrade AND simplify my set-up's sound quality..

i use a late 2013 iMac27'' w/ 24GB RAM & record into GarageBand which i use it as a sketch pad where to write down ideas fast ( PLEASE, don't bite my head off... ) via my Zoom B3 bass effects unit which is also a USB/audio interface. Basic, rock solid, no headaches but….nothing to write home about either !

Then to listen to my extensive lossless iTunes music collection, i have a Cambridge Audio DacMagic connected via optical to my iMac, which then sends the audio signal to my Roksan Kandy K2 amp + B&W speakers
To listen/record trough headphones, i have a FiiO Qogir E09 headphone amp. Obviously this set-up entails 3 boxes, their wall wart power supplies & a handful of cables i'd be VERY HAPPY to get rid of….even though the whole thing sounds pretty good to me, i'd say balanced & ''foot tappingly engaging'' & not fatiguing even over long listening sessions/high volume…

On my quest for a new interface, someone suggested me the Apollo Twin Solo or the SPL Crimson as a worthy replacement/competitor to my short list of :
1 - Apogee Duet2 - not too keen on one button to control several functions, break out cable...
2 - MOTU Audio Express or MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid - never heard or tried, just based on what i've read
3 - TC Electronic Impact Twin - same as above + my positive experience w/ the Nova System i bought for effects for my bass
4 - Zoom TAC 2 - suggested by someone because of the Thunderbolt connection, apparently good sound quality AND reasonable price

Knowing NOTHING about tech specs or how to interpret them, after reading through gazillions of Forum's pages & reviews online, i've found this thread which i've read from beginning to end - even though 95% of what's discussed here goes way over my head :-b

Since you guys seem to be much more ''with it'' than i'll ever be & given the fact that here in Portugal, NO ONE stocks any of these units & i HAVE TO make a blind purchase, would you guys feel the SPL would be a worthy contender in my list ? & how would you order said list following a audio quality first/price second approach ?

All i need are a couple of inputs ( inst & mic..) i can connect it to my iMac via USB, Thunderbolt, FW (800 or 400 via adapters..) or digital Optical, need a NICE & powerful headphone amp to drive my Sennheiser HD215 & a couple of audio outs to hook it up to my hi-fi & that's all. My ''ideal budget'' would be up to 400/450€ ( US$550/600 ?.. ) maybe even a bit more if REALLY worth it

MANY thanks for your input, any suggestions WILL BE MOST APPRECIATED ! ;-)

Cheers

Nuno
Old 11th July 2014
  #291
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DirkP's Avatar
 

Bassplayer and home-recordist here, too.

Apart from the quality of the preamps, the two independant headphone amps and the D/A A/D conversion, I love the Crimson for it's flexibility.
You can use it without a daw or computer (what I do a lot), most other interfaces are dead without a computer. It works with iPads too.

Although I just record few tracks, I like the possibility to record up to six tracks at a time. And you can connect up to three other stereo sources permanently just for monitoring purposes. For example you could play along with a cd player or mp3 player.
For example I use a looper that has a metronome, but the metronome is just on the headphone out, not on the stereo out and if I record the looper to a DAW, I don't want the metronome to be recorded, so I just connect the headphone out of the Looper to one of the stereo-monitor-sources.


Got rid of a mixer for the first time.
The possibility to integrate outboard gear like compressors or effects.

A few disadvantages or things you might not take into consideration: although you can connect many sources at the same time, you sometimes have to change or unplug the cables, although this is arranged in a comfortable way.
Example: if you have two different devices connected to input 3 + 4, you hear source 3 on the left speaker and source 4 on the right speaker. You have to disconnect source 4 to hear source 3 on both channels of the headphone or monitors. If you have a mic connected to mic 1 and another device connected to line 1, you have to disconnect line 1 if you want to listen to the mic. You cannot simply change the inputs via a switch. This is just the case if you use it in standalone mode, not if you monitor the DAW, and you still have more flexibility as with most other units, but you should know this.

For just a little more money than the Focusrite Forte (which I still have) it is a no brainer cause it has so much more to offer. Some who work strictly ITB might miss the software mixer units like the Focusrite offer, but not me.

Dirk
Old 11th July 2014
  #292
Here for the gear
 

Hi Dirk

Thank you very much for your input, i appreciate it !

The more i read about it & the more people tell me how good the SPL Crimson is, the more i become convinced it's the right machine for me !!
Whatever i end up getting i'll make sure to then post back my experience with it

Again thanks a lot & cheers

Nuno
Old 12th July 2014
  #293
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuno1959 View Post

The more i read about it & the more people tell me how good the SPL Crimson is, the more i become convinced it's the right machine for me !!
Whatever i end up getting i'll make sure to then post back my experience with it

Again thanks a lot & cheers

Nuno

Hi Nuno, I can confirm what Dirk reported from the crimson, if you look a bit deeper in the GS-Forums or on the SPL-Site you will find reviews of the crimson.
It´s a very fine device with clear and linear D/A and very good A/D (Mic and Hi-Z) and the best Headphone-Amp I have heard in an interface (can´t remember the Headphone-quality of the RME FF UC, think it was good, too).
And I like the form factor, it is quite big so you can handle all knobs and buttons very easy --> good for workflow (and you don´t need any mixer software to level the inputs)
greetings
Old 13th July 2014
  #294
Here for the gear
 

Cheers AndyfromHH

Only noticed your post now cause i didn't set my notifications prefs to be alerted.. :-b

Glad to hear you're satisfied with your SPL Crimson. As we speak i've come to the conclusion it's either the Crimson or…brace yourselves…the Zoom Tac2

This mainly because i had such a GREAT experience with my Zoom B3 effects unit & the editing software it had = SEAMLESS, hyper stable, NEVER had a problem so…if the Tac2 is more of the same + a decent audio quality AND Thunderbolt interface, i think it's got my name all over it… ;-)
I'll let you know..
Old 14th July 2014
  #295
Gear Nut
 
Maccattack's Avatar
 

The more I use it. The more I love my Crimson.
Old 14th July 2014
  #296
Lives for gear
 

Thought according to reviews the Apollo Twin is the much better sounding interface. Big mistake.
Old 14th July 2014
  #297
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
Thought according to reviews the Apollo Twin is the much better sounding interface. Big mistake.
So you think the Crimson is the one that sounds better? I am close to a decision here...
Old 14th July 2014
  #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
So you think the Crimson is the one that sounds better? I am close to a decision here...
Definitively.
Old 15th July 2014
  #299
Gear Addict
 
mrtnsko's Avatar
 

SPL Crimson sounds like a beast. Headphone amps are class.... The whole unit is class. 10/10! Tested against my friends LAVRY DA11 (1000 USD DAC), and it killed it in USB-mode.
It has a very detailed and articulated DA-sound without being "in your face". Balanced and tonally correct.
Headphone amp sounds very front and dynamic, really pushing the front and details forward.

New drivers out some days ago also (win 8.1 WDM bug update.) No problems what so ever with drivers.
Old 16th July 2014
  #300
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Great stuff. I'm going to replace my RME FF 400 and my monitor controller with a Crimson. Also can play my synths without the computer attached, then. I guess I've decided
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