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afc1903

Recording with Helix - USB v Line Out?

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Hi folks,

 

wondering if anyone can tell if there is a difference between plugging into a Scarlett Foucusrite audio interface using XLR line out and using the usb out for pc recording (usng Cubase)?   

I've always used the first method, and would be happy to stick with it unless the usb out would be better for some reaaon?

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20 hours ago, afc1903 said:

Hi folks,

 

wondering if anyone can tell if there is a difference between plugging into a Scarlett Foucusrite audio interface using XLR line out and using the usb out for pc recording (usng Cubase)?   

I've always used the first method, and would be happy to stick with it unless the usb out would be better for some reaaon?

Some guys (and their "golden ears") balk at the extra D/A conversion involved issuing anything but the USB connection, but personally I can't tell the difference... and I'm as picky about my tone as the next loony guitar player. Plus, I prefer using the interface so I can leave my monitors connected...it's neater cable management if they're not lying on the floor every time Helix leaves the house. And with Focusrite's direct monitoring (I've got one too), I never have latency issues. Ymmv...

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I'm with Cruisinon2 on this one.  Over the years I've owned a pretty wide range of audio interfaces, but they all do the same thing and I can't say any one of them was dramatically  better than the other.  However I can say they were ALL more inconvenient to use as far as the recording workflow than the Helix as my audio interface.

For some background, I have a Helix floor dedicated to use with my DAW computer.  It's my second Helix and serves as a backup to my primary Helix unit that's used for live performances,  but it stays connected to my computer all the time.  Certainly having my studio monitors connected to it simplifies things as far as my setup, but it also means I can sit down at my computer and simply jam on my Helix unit to jam tracks I have on my computer.  It also makes it easy to watch instructional videos and play along...and we haven't even gotten to recording yet.

As far as recording it has DRAMATICALLY simplified my workflow.  First, I have all the instruments I'm going to need for recording plugged in which includes my vocal mic, guitar, acoustic, bass, and keyboard.  Recording a track is simply a process of selecting the appropriate preset on the Helix for whichever instrument I plan on recording, arm the track, set the levels (generally they're already set and stay set), arm the track and record.  I have the HXEdit up and running as well as my DAW so making adjustments to the source instruments couldn't be easier.  If I were to want to record multiple tracks simultaneously I'd simply lay them out on the two paths in the Helix and assign one to USB 1/2 and the other to USB 3/4.  If I want to simultaneously record a dry track it's always available on it's own USB channel assignment.  I've never encountered any audio interface this convenient and easy to integrate into my system than the Helix for my purporses.

I'm sure there are some cork-sniffers out there that will downplay the quality of the recording, but when they show me it somehow made a difference in how many CD's or tracks they sold, I might reconsider.  Otherwise I count it as just cork-sniffing snuff....

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45 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

I'm with Cruisinon2 on this one.  Over the years I've owned a pretty wide range of audio interfaces, but they all do the same thing and I can't say any one of them was dramatically  better than the other.  However I can say they were ALL more inconvenient to use as far as the recording workflow than the Helix as my audio interface.

Actually, I was basically advocating using the interface if he's happy with it... it's all personal preference.  Yes, Helix routing makes things absurdly easy for recording dry tracks, reamping, etc... but I don't do that much. For day to day use, I like having the volume controls for the monitors, headphones, and especially the Focusrite's direct monitoring mix control all right there next to each other on the desk... not a big fan of having to bend down to the floor to adjust volumes, but that's just me. As always, ymmv... whatever works. 

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.... unless your recording area and cables are prone to picking up or creating hum or noise, in which case leaving the signal in the digital domain will give you a quieter signal. The USB method also allows a simple way record the Helix-effected track and a dry track at the same time (useful for revamping), as Dragon sez.

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Actually it does make a difference. The SPDIF sounds good fine but plugging into a good preamp makes a difference to my ears (ie better)

I have two liquid audio preamps which are emulators of the real high end stuff ,  I find the Focusrite red pres sound really really good.

 

Here is what they sound like https://hearthis.at/joejeffries/sumo-2017-10-13-1/

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23 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

I'm with Cruisinon2 on this one.  Over the years I've owned a pretty wide range of audio interfaces, but they all do the same thing and I can't say any one of them was dramatically  better than the other.  However I can say they were ALL more inconvenient to use as far as the recording workflow than the Helix as my audio interface.

For some background, I have a Helix floor dedicated to use with my DAW computer.  It's my second Helix and serves as a backup to my primary Helix unit that's used for live performances,  but it stays connected to my computer all the time.  Certainly having my studio monitors connected to it simplifies things as far as my setup, but it also means I can sit down at my computer and simply jam on my Helix unit to jam tracks I have on my computer.  It also makes it easy to watch instructional videos and play along...and we haven't even gotten to recording yet.

As far as recording it has DRAMATICALLY simplified my workflow.  First, I have all the instruments I'm going to need for recording plugged in which includes my vocal mic, guitar, acoustic, bass, and keyboard.  Recording a track is simply a process of selecting the appropriate preset on the Helix for whichever instrument I plan on recording, arm the track, set the levels (generally they're already set and stay set), arm the track and record.  I have the HXEdit up and running as well as my DAW so making adjustments to the source instruments couldn't be easier.  If I were to want to record multiple tracks simultaneously I'd simply lay them out on the two paths in the Helix and assign one to USB 1/2 and the other to USB 3/4.  If I want to simultaneously record a dry track it's always available on it's own USB channel assignment.  I've never encountered any audio interface this convenient and easy to integrate into my system than the Helix for my purporses.

I'm sure there are some cork-sniffers out there that will downplay the quality of the recording, but when they show me it somehow made a difference in how many CD's or tracks they sold, I might reconsider.  Otherwise I count it as just cork-sniffing snuff....

'jam on my Helix unit to jam tracks I have on my computer.  It also makes it easy to watch instructional videos and play along...'

Do you  set up a preset to do this due to different levels from jam tracks and guitar or do you just do it on the fly and ajust guitar vol accordingly?

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1 hour ago, localhero said:

'jam on my Helix unit to jam tracks I have on my computer.  It also makes it easy to watch instructional videos and play along...'

Do you  set up a preset to do this due to different levels from jam tracks and guitar or do you just do it on the fly and ajust guitar vol accordingly?

I typically just use a single simple preset and adjust the volume of the jam track from the computer's volume output control, or the volume control of the online video.

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I think it really depends on your personal circumstances and perhaps budget. 

If you need to record more simultaneous inputs/tracks then Helix USB supports (e.g. a  whole band) then you need to buy a suitable separate audio interface and get along without using Helix re-amping directly. If you're a solo or duet studio recorder/performer then you can use Helix as the audio interface, take advantage of the direct re-amping, and save yourself some money.

in my experience there's no appreciable difference in the recorded sound quality.

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Sorry for pushing up an old topic but this one suits the best with mine question. I use the Helix like Dunedin Dragon says. But was wondering how to connect studio reference monitors on the setup too. I now use the "guitar Amp look-a-like" FRFR with XLR. But in a few cases - I play rock with distortion/fuzz - using distorted helix presets makes also sounds coming out the pc distorted like videos from YouTube or the song in the DAW. Not ideal for mixing up the final song with an unplugged guitar if helix still distorted the sounds. 

 

Any solutions for this problem? 

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