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RME Babyface vs cheaper interfaces for DI guitars

Discussion in 'Andy Sneap' started by Markdude, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. Markdude

    Markdude Member

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    I have the opportunity to buy a lightly used RME Babyface for an extremely good price. However, I'm wondering if it would provide much of a benefit over my current interface for my simple recording needs. Pretty much all I record is direct guitars (sometimes directly from the guitar pickup, and sometimes from guitar preamps/line out jacks from amps) and utilize amp sim and/or cabinet simulation plugins.

    I currently have a Mackie Onyx Blackjack, which seems to work very well for the price, but I know that the Babyface should be in a different league. However, the Babyface's instrument input has an impedance of 470 kohm, and obviously a 1 megaohm input impedance would be ideal for recording directly from passive guitar pickups. I currently have a LDB-101 DI box which alleviates that problem, but I'm wondering if using a relatively cheap DI box is going to negate any sonic benefit I might be getting from the Babyface over just using the Blackjack's 1 megaohm input. I wouldn't be opposed to buying something nice like a Countryman Type 85 if it makes a difference, but adding the cost of that makes my deal on the Babyface not quite as good.

    I know that the Babyface has very stable drivers (although I've never really had any issues with the Blackjack's drivers), better converters, likely lower latency, and supports much higher sample rates than the Blackjack's 48 KHz max (and the higher sample rates could also reduce latency). Again, I'm wondering if all that stuff would really be all that advantageous for my basic recording needs (just recording DI guitars, not really having any latency issues, pretty much everything else comes from samples and plugins (with oversampling)).

    So I guess these are my main questions in succinct form:

    1. Will using a DI box with the Babyface (because of the passive guitar pickup impedance mismatch) to record direct guitars provide any audible improvement over just using the Blackjack's 1 megaohm Hi-Z input?

    2. If so, will using a Countryman Type 85 provide any audible improvement over something cheaper like my LDB-101?

    3. Will the improved converters in the Babyface really potentially allow me to make better mixing decisions compared to the Blackjack, or does it take a much more expensive device than the Babyface before converters really make that big of a difference?

    4. Will recording and mixing at higher sample rates than 48 KHz (the Blackjack's maximum) make much of a difference if most of my plugins have oversampling options anyway?

    It may seem like I'm deliberately looking for reasons to NOT go with the Babyface, but I really hope it actually does end up being a worthy improvement. I'm just really budget conscious and am wondering if it spending a bit more money to get the Babyface (and possibly a better DI box) would make an appreciable difference, even if I got a really good deal on it.
     
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  2. ArsMemoria

    ArsMemoria Member

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    Bumping this mostly because I'm also curious about this. Bought a Clarett 4pre and noticed a pretty big difference in clarity in the inst input of the Clarett vs. line-in with a DI box.
     
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  3. allanqa

    allanqa Member

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    I'm curious too, but i have an audient id14, and want to reamp.

    So, besides having a reamp box, i don't know if it is necessary to get a DI box, instead of the input in the interface
     
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  4. Axonic Rot

    Axonic Rot Member

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    I logged in to ask this same question. I record the speaker out of my 6505+ with a countryman type 10 and a 22vsl. I can't help but wonder what kind of improvement if any I would get from a RME babyface pro or any other RME interface.

    I have seen only two comparisons and they were both tones that weren't good in the first place or were skewed my some other difference.

    I have seen reviews of RME owners that upgraded from Presonus and they say that the difference is huge.

    My experience with other stuff tells me that the converters in the 22vsl I have are probably just as good, but might not be implemented as well and could sound lesser due to clock timing, transfer, drivers, preamps etc.
     
  5. HollowmanPL

    HollowmanPL Member

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    i don't know if it helps but I made a comparision rme ff400 vs presonus 1818vsl somewhere on YT :)
     
  6. Nor Omar

    Nor Omar New Metal Member

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    So here's what I know. Two answer question #1, a DI box will generally attenuate your direct unbalanced signal to a balanced signal to allow you to push your preamp a bit harder. From my experience, it will improve the quality of your tone. There are two ways the signal can be attenuated: a) with a chip or resistors or B) with a transformer. In short, a really good transformer will not introduce the noise that chip/resistors might bring when attenuating your signal. Some transformers can also introduce small tonal qualities when it comes to recording your DIs as well.

    Below, I'll leave two links. Link A will show you the difference in a recording with a cheap pramp with and without a DI box. Link B will be a comparison of some different DI boxes and the tonal qualities they introduce.

    A)

    B)
     

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