TOPIC: Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface

Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 3 days ago #19533

Hi,

happy s-gear user here. One thing i´ve been struggling with for a long time, and not really an s-gear related issue but affects it, is the quality of the guitar signal into audio interface. You see, I think one of the reasons people´s opinions about a given vst differ because we all have different audio interfaces, cables lenghts, guitars with different (questionable?) electronics and quality, and so on... and results have to vary a lot. I mean, we´re dealing with different impedances, wich result in different degrees of feel and brightness. In my case, if i plug to a physical guitar preamp to audio interface there are no issues, but when I plug direct to one of my audio interfaces there´s a general lack of high frequencies to the guitar signal, accentuated when rolling off the volume knob. And I guess it affects how s-gear interacts with it. I feel I´m losing something here when compared to some videos in the web.
I´ve been experimenteing with buffered pedals (not really a standalone buffer), a tillman preamp and an eq pedal. I like the eq pedal when increasing 5 or 6db to 4k, 8k and 16k hertz, but it adds noise.
There´s a video on youtube where Mike shows a yellow device called Lehle Sunday Driver and mentions that it retains a little more highs...
I´d like to hear your opinion and experiences about that. Is an audio interface enough to replicate the load that a real amp provides? should we look for a device, buffer, eq to improve our signal? is signal health even a thing or just preference? (i know this is a grey area, we all want both).

Thanks
Last edit: 3 months 3 days ago by L_C.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 3 days ago #19534

The Lehle Sunday Driver is my secret weapon since the beginning. I also upgraded my interface to an Apogee Element .
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 3 days ago #19536

Hi! I use my EP-booster in front of my Audient soundcard, i Think it makes a huge difference.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 3 days ago #19537

L_C wrote:

Lehle Sunday Driver

A lot has been written on this forum about the Sunday Driver. It's generally lauded, as many audio interfaces don't have the best instrument inputs and the SD assists with the integrity of the signal into the computer. It isn't mandatory, and some won't like what it does to their tone, but I'm a fan of what it does.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 3 days ago #19538

Never tried the Sunday Driver, but I happily use a £17 Behringer D1600 DI Box.
Maybe not the flashiest black box on the market but the best thing ever for the difference it makes for the cost :)
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19541

Very happy Sunday Driver user here. I got it a few years ago and it's never been disconnected. I use the 1M ohm setting rather than 4M. I can definitely hear the difference in high end and overall definition as compared to going directly to my 2i2 interface (Gen 1).
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19542

ANY interface such as RME, UAD, Apogee will have fantastic preamps. What you can do is use vst preamps to give some boost and warmth. For instance I use slate digitals VMR for boost. Or UAD has a nice neve preamp. I would go that route instead of buying a dedicated box. Sound cards have wonderfully transparent sound nowadays and the plugins such as the neve pre amps are incredible. Anyone should be able to achieve a warm tone with any of those options.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19543

Thanks for your answers. This is a subject that seems to me that isn´t talked enough on the web and is of vital importance: our input to the audio interface. And I can´t understand how many audio interfaces claim to have a instrument level input and it doesn´t do what it should. I guess, maybe, this is just like when we´re trying different pedals and buffers. There´s no "one solution fits all" or right answer. We need to try and find what works for us.
I realized there´s a lot of reading about the sunday driver in this forum and, well, now I really need to try one ;)
I´m also curious about that "radial dragster" thing, with variable load, just to find out what it does to our sound and if it can be useful with different guitars.
Maybe Mike could develop a software variable load simulation built in the next gen s-gear... B)
Last edit: 3 months 2 days ago by L_C.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19545

Dallon426 wrote:

ANY interface such as RME, UAD, Apogee will have fantastic preamps. What you can do is use vst preamps to give some boost and warmth. For instance I use slate digitals VMR for boost. Or UAD has a nice neve preamp. I would go that route instead of buying a dedicated box. Sound cards have wonderfully transparent sound nowadays and the plugins such as the neve pre amps are incredible. Anyone should be able to achieve a warm tone with any of those options.

The Sunday Driver (and similar devices) doesn't attempt to make world-class preamps of those that aren't, it's merely increasing the integrity of the signal on its way into the preamp. So you could have a cheap Monoprice preamp, or a top-shelf John Hardy, but if the instrument input is low impedance then you might be losing high end.

For instance, I had (and loved) a particular Chandler pre, but when using its front panel input the tone would always be slightly dull and masked. As it turns out, that impedance of that DI is merely 100k, far too low for guitar use, as my ears like to hear it, especially clean Strat tones. That explained the dull tone.

Placing the Sunday Driver before the Chandler transformed the sound, especially when a lot of analog pedals were in the chain.

Unfortunately, plugins can't bring back what's not there, and that's an advantage of the SD.

I don't think of it as an always-on device, and in fact I don't use it much now that I'm using different preamps (usually API or Avedis), but with the Chandler, and many other preamps (price doesn't dictate its technical specs at the DI, it's an engineering choice) it can be very useful.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19547

No offense to your ears. But I doubt that you could tell a difference in a blind test. Or... Better yet, I doubt you could have an absolute certainty across multiple test subjects. People get hung up on numbers more often than not. What was the name of that pedal, that was recently busted? There was a pedal that people swore had altered the tone of their instruments and made the tone more warm. Only to find out it was a big scam and inside the pedal the circuitry was almost non existent. Basically the pedal did nothing to the sound. It was a pedal placebo effect. Which in the audio world many people suffer from. I know that is not always the case. But.... It is highly probable that people are misguided by numbers.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19550

To be honest I do not care about numbers. I use my ears. So whatever I choose has to sound good. At the end it becomes part of my sound. So many factor can affect a sound. Take what is good for you. If you ask amost of the Nashvile pros they will tell you a cheap MXR Dyna Comp used with the output at unity gain and sentitivity at 0 is their secret weapon..
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 2 days ago #19552

The numbers mean nothing whatsoever to me, it's only *after* I hear something I like that I care to investigate why that thing occurs, and that's the point at which the numbers become interesting.

Regarding blind tests, we'd recorded several a few years ago and the results were not only undeniable to guitar players and engineers but obvious to others who listened.

The discussion about which is "better" -- with or without the Sunday Driver -- is beyond this thread, but what wasn't subjective was the fact that the SD could be heard every time by everyone who paid attention. As an engineer and guitar player, I heard differences which were far beyond anything biasing could influence.

But, as mentioned before, it depends upon the associated gear, and the intent of the guitar's tone. A more "open" signal isn't necessarily a better signal. In some cases it will be harsh and make you cringe. This is why I don't say that one thing is universally better than another. They're just tools for the toolbox.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 1 day ago #19553

It's very much to do with the Input Z. Some pedals have low input Z. The good ole' TS808 input Z is ~0.5M, while some Germanium transistor pedals are as low as 5~7k!. Lower Z damps the guitar circuit resonance peak and eventually rolls off more high end. Tube preamps have some Miller capacitance that lowers that resonance point a little. A transistor preamp will not sound quite the same as tube, but the guitar cable capacitance also affects the resonance point, so...? The types of transistors used and whether it's a discrete Class A circuit may have an audible affect as well, depending on how hard it's driven. I'd say my Focusrite Scarlett sounds more crisp than my Presonus Firebox did, even though they both have 1M input Z. I had to compensate for the difference, but it's pretty subtle.

Some AI units have extra high voltage as well. Not sure it matters much if the input isn't driven to non-literality, but it might make an audible difference in transient response -- also giving a tighter feel. Technically it may be more accurate, but I don't think it's worth it for a Hi-Z guitar signal that will be mangled with pedal and amp sim distortions. Specifically setting the input level to your VST's for the right response is probably more important than a really high quality preamp.
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Last edit: 3 months 1 day ago by GCKelloch.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 7 hours ago #19559

I wonder how often pedals are used before S-Gear; before the interface. I rarely do because, if I'm going digital, I tend to use plugins for those purposes.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 3 months 4 hours ago #19561

Apart from my Sunday Driver.

I use two pedals in front of S Gear. One is a MXR Dynacomp. Output at Unity Gain and Sentitivity at 0. Mainly on cleans. The other is the overdrive favor of the month. Right now it is a Way Huge Overrated Special.I find hardware overdrive pedals sound better but it might be in my head or my old ears.;)
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Last edit: 2 months 4 weeks ago by fatherjacques.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 2 months 4 weeks ago #19562

I usually just go straight in to a Sunday Driver -> Audio Interface.
Ocassionally, I put a real wah wah pedal before the Sunday Driver, or once in a while a real Big Muff pedal.
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Last edit: 2 months 4 weeks ago by jbraner.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 2 months 4 weeks ago #19564

I use my pedalboard before S-Gear into a PreSonus interface. I use S-Gear when I can't turn my amp up. I enjoy my amp and I enjoy S-gear!
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 2 months 3 weeks ago #19574

I actually bought the Sunday Driver to try some experiments with "driving" a hum eliminating box later in the chain. It partly worked - but the complex hum and interference problems I have in my studio, is a long story for another time.

To my surprise, the Sunday Driver turned out to be a helping hand for building better Stratocaster tone when using S-gear with an audiointerface (Steinberg UR22). Normally, I would use the hi-z input of the interface with the guitar, but the converted low impedance signal from the Sunday Driver now took the hi-z function out of the equation, and thereby removed some annoying messy, harsh, negative guitar tone qualities from the hi-z input. Since then, I have kept the Sunday Driver at the beginning of my signal chain, recording through normal input on the interface.

Sunday Driver doesn't add coloration to the sound, it just drives the unaltered signal in it's full potential to it's destination (the audio interface or analogue mixer in my case). As a consequence, the sound is bright, often too bright, and needs to be tamed and altered by cutting - meaning that instead of desperately using EQs, compressors etc. to build tone on the foundation of the hi-z input, the same tools can now be used to cut out things that are in the way of a pleasant tone.

In my current setup the Sunday Driver is really nice to have.
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Last edit: 2 months 3 weeks ago by Tobias Valentin.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 2 months 3 weeks ago #19579

I have an Scarlett 18i20, has a 1M input and sounds just great, I tried to put in front of it several pedals, from non true bypass to buffers, no difference at all, just a more complicated, expensive solution.
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Guitar DI/buffer to audio interface 2 months 3 weeks ago #19580

fatherjacques wrote:

Apart from my Sunday Driver.

I use two pedals in front of S Gear. One is a MXR Dynacomp. Output at Unity Gain and Sentitivity at 0. Mainly on cleans. The other is the overdrive favor of the month. Right now it is a Way Huge Overrated Special.I find hardware overdrive pedals sound better but it might be in my head or my old ears.;)

I completely agree! Never liked any plugin overdrive, be it one of the highly regarded Mercuriall ones or anything by the matter. They just don't sound like a real pedal to me, so I always use my trusty Plexitone clone if needed.

You might want to experiment... Sometimes, even a cheap pedal in front of the interface can help getting a nice impedance and a natural tone. It happened to me that a very cheap Mosky pedal (Klon copy) really helped to make the impedance or tone sound more like a real amp (0 gain, just level and tone to about noon).
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