The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Why do my synths sound way better on headphones than through audio interface?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Why do my synths sound way better on headphones than through audio interface?

Hello all - I am somewhat new to this, so I thought I would tap into the GearSlutz hive mind for some advice:

In brief: Whenever I listen to my analogue synthesizers directly through the headphone out jack they sound awesome. Whenever I listen to the synths through the monitor out/headphone jack of my audio interface, the sound is less colorful and not as rich (this then translates to lower 'quality' sound recorded through my DAW). What's going on?

Synths: Korg Monologue & Korg Minilogue xd (both analogue)
Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen, powered/connected to laptop through USB
Connections: I connect the xd synth from the mono/L output (is this right?) to the interface input with a 1/4" TRS. I connect the monologue in the same way, though from its single TRS output. Toggling the INST/LINE knob on the interface does not seem to make much of a difference in sound quality, though it does impact the gain (which is expected, I think). I usually connect the synths through INST for recording through my DAW - is this right?
Cables: Audio2000s 1/4" TRS audio cables (3 ft)
Laptop: MacBook Pro late 2015, LogicPro X. Given that the sound quality seems to be lost after/in the audio interface (since I can hear the loss when I listen through the interface monitor), I do not think that the computer is the issue here, right?

I have searched around, and I am suspecting that the audio interface might be the culprit, perhaps due to the preamps? If so, what is the ideal audio interface (UBS or Thunderbolt) to record my synths and harness that rich awesome sound that I know they are capable of, because I can hear it when I plug directly into them? The tech specs on the interface seem appropriate (up to 192 kHz), but perhaps the preamps aren't the best for analogue synths.

Thanks for any and all advice on how to ensure I am actually hearing and recording the rich quality of these synths - much appreciated!

Cheers
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
BT64's Avatar
What I could emagine is, stereo and or volume (impedance) difference between headphone amps.
The pre-amps in the Focusrite are clean.
Use Left and Richt outputs and pan hard left and right.
Use line (not instr).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for your response, BT64.

If there is an impedance difference between the headphone amps of the synth and the interface, then is this just a monitor-only artifact? If so, would I be recoding in the best quality possible?

Thanks for your opinion of the interface, and for the suggestion to use LINE. But how do I "Use Left and Richt outputs and pan hard left and right." ? Are there dual-tipped TRS cables that plug into mono/L and R simultaneously?

Appreciative of the tips!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
stella645's Avatar
 

Both synth outs are unbalanced so they are not TRS....Not sure if this would affect things though.

If you have any TS cable check if it makes any difference.

For stereo recording from the XD you use two cables plugged left and right and into the two inputs on 2i2.
But the direct monitoring on 2i2 is only mono I think so you won't hear it in stereo until you record and play back with the two tracks panned.

Monologue I think is mono on headphones too so ought to sound the same.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Quote:
I listen to the synths through the monitor out/headphone jack of my audio interface, the sound is less colorful and not as rich
Well that is your problem. You need to connect your Studio Monitors to the Line outputs left and right and not the headphone outs.

Why do you have your monitors connected to the headphone jack? Its not made for that. Its made for headphones
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
stella645's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Well that is your problem. You need to connect your Studio Monitors to the Line outputs left and right and not the headphone outs.

Why do you have your monitors connected to the headphone jack? Its not made for that. Its made for headphones
Pretty sure no monitors are involved.....they're comparing headphones connected to interface to headphones connected direct to synth.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stella645 View Post
Both synth outs are unbalanced so they are not TRS....Not sure if this would affect things though.

If you have any TS cable check if it makes any difference.

For stereo recording from the XD you use two cables plugged left and right and into the two inputs on 2i2.
But the direct monitoring on 2i2 is only mono I think so you won't hear it in stereo until you record and play back with the two tracks panned.

Monologue I think is mono on headphones too so ought to sound the same.
Thank you Stella645! This was super helpful - and makes sense. I connected a TRS cable to each of the R and L/MONO and plugged them into each line on the interface, and that made the huge difference. After that, I stopped listening through the interface and instead listened directly through the Logic X output (corded headphones), - taking the advice of BT64 about stereo panning in Logic - and it sounds awesome.

Problem solved - Thanks everyone for the tips!
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
Forum Jump
Forum Jump