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Focusrite LS 56 Liquid Pres vs. 500 Series Pres
Old 19th January 2015
  #1
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Any LS 56 Owners Who Also Uses 500 Series Pres?

I own the LS 56 and have my Antelope Pure2 on order. I emailed Focusrite and asked if I could bypass the LS 56 converters and JUST run the Liquid Pres into the Pure2.

Here's what they said.

Quote:
You can set the Saffire up as a standalone Preamp to connect to another device. Essentially, you will make the adjustments you want in Mix Control (for the Liquid Preamp settings and Output Settings), Save it to Hardware, and connect it as you would like to your other Device (Analog, ADAT or SPDIF). I have linked an Answerbase Article which details Standalone Mode, and I think you will find it very useful:

How do I set up my Saffire or Scarlett for Standalone Mode? | Focusrite

You will still be going through a small portion of the DAC, since the Liquid Preamps are Digital and the Output Routing is Digitally Accomplished, but there will be no real latency to speak of. My ear has never noticed it.
So it sounds like you can (great) However, I was wondering has anyone tried the Liquid Pres and AB'd them with a 500 series pre?

I'd like to purchase a nice 500 series pre like the Great River 500 MP-500NV, API 512c, Mono GAMA, LaChapell 583s MK 2 down the road. However, if I sold my LS 56 I could only get 1 pre to start and a 2 or 3 slot 500 Chassis.

With that being said, I thought about keeping the LS 56 and trying out the Liquid Pres with the Pure2 and then save up for 1 really good 500 series pre... test it out... then send it back and try another! That way if would give me a few months to see how the Liquid Pres sound with the Pure2 and get to "Know" the sound I'm getting.

Then, once my new 500 series pre arrive I could have more of an understanding of how "BIG" a difference it is!

Soooo, my questions for the forum is:

1. Is it night and day difference between a 500 series pre and the LS 56 Liquid Pre?

2. Or is it like a slight difference like.. will I or someone else REALLY hear or "Feel" the difference on a track?

Any tips would be most appreciated!

Best,
SEA

Last edited by SEA; 20th January 2015 at 11:51 AM.. Reason: More clarification
Old 20th January 2015
  #2
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Thoughts?
Old 20th January 2015
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post

1. Is it night and day difference between a 500 series pre and the LS 56 Liquid Pre?

2. Or is it like a slight difference like.. will I or someone else REALLY hear or "Feel" the difference on a track?
When I first moved from the Liquid Saffire to 500 series pres I noticed a difference with Neve style pres like the GAP73. Night and day difference? Not really, just different weight to certain instruments. You can also push the 500 series pres harder than the LS56 pres which also changes the character overall. Depending on your individual production style, you may be able to create with the 500 series pres something sonically different than with the LS56 on its own.

For what its worth, about 2 weeks after I bought a lunchbox and a Warm Audio pre and GAP73 I sold the LS56 and got a Lynx Aurora 8 + RME RayDAT card. At that point I could REALLY hear the difference between the LS56 and using analog pres with good conversion. Now, there have been plenty of productions done right on the LS56 - but using 500 series with the LS56 or the Pure may not give you "night and day" results.

My feeling is you will eventually come to this conclusion on your own.
Old 20th January 2015
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostwars View Post
When I first moved from the Liquid Saffire to 500 series pres I noticed a difference with Neve style pres like the GAP73. Night and day difference? Not really, just different weight to certain instruments. You can also push the 500 series pres harder than the LS56 pres which also changes the character overall. Depending on your individual production style, you may be able to create with the 500 series pres something sonically different than with the LS56 on its own.

For what its worth, about 2 weeks after I bought a lunchbox and a Warm Audio pre and GAP73 I sold the LS56 and got a Lynx Aurora 8 + RME RayDAT card. At that point I could REALLY hear the difference between the LS56 and using analog pres with good conversion. Now, there have been plenty of productions done right on the LS56 - but using 500 series with the LS56 or the Pure may not give you "night and day" results.

My feeling is you will eventually come to this conclusion on your own.
The Lynx Aurora converters probably gave you the most noticeable difference. Running the Liquid Pres into the Pure2 will definitely sounds better than using the LS 56 converters. The Pure2 is a mastering grade converter and uses the AD from their $7,000 Antelope Eclipse 384 and the DA of their $5,000 Zodiac Platinum.

The Pure2 also has Antelopes Trinity Clock. So just for fun I wanted to clock the LS 56 to the Pure2 and see how much better the LS 56 sounds.

Of course I'll save up for a 500 series Chassis and pres next. heh

SEA
Old 20th January 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
Running the Liquid Pres into the Pure2 will definitely sounds better than using the LS 56 converters.
The liquid pres are digital, so that means that you will have to go in through the LS56 A/D, run the pre simulation digitally, go out through the LS56 D/A and then back into the Pure2 converters in the scenario above (unless you go out of the LS56 digitally, in which case you're not touching the Pure2 A/D converter).

Aside from changes in jitter that may result from clocking the LS56 to the Pure2, how will and extra A/D stage at the Pure2 sound better than just the A/D and D/A from the LS56 (which are already a part of the sound before it gets to the Pure2)?
Old 20th January 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
Aside from changes in jitter that may result from clocking the LS56 to the Pure2, how will and extra A/D stage at the Pure2 sound better than just the A/D and D/A from the LS56 (which are already a part of the sound before it gets to the Pure2)?
The LS 56 mic pres would be the only thing recorded to the DAW. As far as the final DA using all my VSTi synths and sample libs, the end result would be the less jitter and better converters of the Pure2.

However, clocking the LS 56 to the Pure2 would probably improve the sound of the LS 56 liquid pres I would think.

SEA
Old 20th January 2015
  #7
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Another thought is this. What if I take a line out of the LS 56 and then route it into the Pure2 analog input? Then I would hit the ADC of the Pure2 and printing it's sonic quality on the LS 56 pres.

The Pure2 is supposed to have a very nice analog sounding ADC. Might be worth trying out.
Old 20th January 2015
  #8
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In a purely digital world, the LS56 Liquid Pre's do give some interesting choices and a little creative control that you don't necessarily get with other lower end interfaces. Having said that, when compared to analogue preamps they lack heft, girth and texture. They do a nice job of aping a sound but they don't seem to transfer the energy and thickness of the sound like a good analogue preamp does.

None of that is scientific I know and it's essentially vague language but that's how I feel after having used the LS56 Liquid Pre's for 6 months or so and then got into analogue stuff.
Old 20th January 2015
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decibel dave View Post
In a purely digital world, the LS56 Liquid Pre's do give some interesting choices and a little creative control that you don't necessarily get with other lower end interfaces. Having said that, when compared to analogue preamps they lack heft, girth and texture. They do a nice job of aping a sound but they don't seem to transfer the energy and thickness of the sound like a good analogue preamp does.

None of that is scientific I know and it's essentially vague language but that's how I feel after having used the LS56 Liquid Pre's for 6 months or so and then got into analogue stuff.
Ya! Looking forward to some 500 pres down the road like the Great River MP-500NV and the LaChapell 583S mk2 or their 583e!

SEA
Old 21st January 2015
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
Ya! Looking forward to some 500 pres down the road like the Great River MP-500NV and the LaChapell 583S mk2 or their 583e!

SEA
Yes, you will really be surprised. I replied to you in the ls56 thread as well, a couple weeks ago.

Once you get a real true analog front end driven a little harder (something you can't do with the ls56 / the liquid channel / liquid 4 pre), you will just freak out. Once I got my Heritage Audio '73 Jr 500 pre amps and listened side by side with the liquid 4 (since my ls56 was long gone), I could hear a depth and weight that was missing in the liquid pre amps.

Don't get me wrong the liquid pre amps have something nice to them, but they just fall a little short to the analog equivalents. Even the CAPI or a real API 500 pre has that same depth and weight.

It is not night and day, but it is big.

Jim

Last edited by jimbridgman; 21st January 2015 at 12:57 PM..
Old 21st January 2015
  #11
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I started to clock the ls56 externally, and was surprised that the overall sound of it improved. I found this by "accident", connecting a 4-710d to the adat in and clocked to that. Suddenly, the mix I was listening to became clearer and more detailed.
Old 21st January 2015
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbridgman View Post
Y
Once you get a real true analog front end driven a little harder (something you can't do with the ls56 / the liquid channel / liquid 4 pre), you will just freak out.

Jim
Say... what about the regular pres in the LS 56? I can hit them hard since they are regular analog pres correct?

I know one end user ended up preferring the regular pres vs. the liquid in the LS 56.

Thoughts?

SEA
Old 21st January 2015
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
Say... what about the regular pres in the LS 56? I can hit them hard since they are regular analog pres correct?

I know one end user ended up preferring the regular pres vs. the liquid in the LS 56.

Thoughts?

SEA
Yes, and you can turn the emulation to off on the liquid pres as well. You will end up with the same preamps that are in the other focusrite pro units and their external 8 preamp to ADAT.

You can drive the standard pres a little harder, but they do not really change the sound or open up much and give weight or harmonics when you do that. They are designed to be fairly neutral, and they still sound decent.

Jim
Old 27th January 2015
  #14
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I emailed Focusrite Tech Support and asked them this:
Quote:
If I route the pres to the Line Outs, will I be going through the LS 56 DAC or bypassing the DAC? I know the Liquid Pres go through the ADC.
With that being said, do the regular pres go through the ADC as well as the Liquid Pres?
I'm pretty sure that going through the line out would still go through the LS 56 ADC. However it doesn't hurt to ask!

Also, while I'm waiting on the $$$ to pick up my Radial WR8 Chassis and the Great River MP-500NV (along with another other 500 pre), I was wondering if I sold my LS 56 and just got 2 good pres like a dual pre box or 2 individual pres that would sound as good or better than the stock pres in the LS 56 what would that be?

Any tips?

Thanks!

SEA
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