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Audio Interface Comparison E-MU 1616m vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

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  • Audio Interface Comparison E-MU 1616m vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

    Hi guys,

    I've made another audio interface comparison video. The recordings were made using Martin DC-16RGTE. It shows the difference in sound of the amplifiers and convertors. When I was searching for the right interface, I searched for comparison videos like this one but didn't find anything. So I made this. The settings on both interfaces are identical.

    You choose!

  • #2

    Maybe you can hear a change on studio monitors Through these JBL computer monitors its all sounds the same.

    Its unlikely you'd hear the difference in converters. What you hear is the difference between the preamps using a single channel/instrument. The Focusrite has a good balanced differential preamp and if that one sounds better than the other that's likely the reason.

    Converters have a much smaller impact on sound and it really takes some scientific testing to show the differences. When paired with a good preamp, poor converters can sound just as good to the ears as better ones with a lesser preamp.

    If you want a good method of comparing two interfaces you should run test tones in at line level, then use a dual trace frequency analyzer like voxengo Span. You can hard pan one to the left and the other to the right and view both waveforms together. Then you can clearly see the differences between the two if there is any.

    Running a line in signal should Bypass the mic preamp gain stages so that is factored out as being an influence on the converter quality. This is still a questionable method though. You have to view the schematics and make sure the interfaces truly bypasses the mic preamp stages of just uses cheap attenuation methods and feeds everything through the same stages. 

    Where you can hear cheaper converters influence music may be where notes fade out, usually at high frequency sounds like cymbals. You can identify a phasy sound caused by clock jitter and possibly noise in the quiet passages. Poor converters can sound grainy and two dimensional in comparison to better ones that sound smoother and more transparent. Its unlikely a plugin analyzer will detect these subtle flaws.

    The clocks in budget interfaces can be the biggest issue. Quantization noise, clock jitter, oversampling are all caused by the converters. You can have two identical interfaces that have subtle differences based on the quality of the word clocks that the converters use to sample the analog waveform.

    This is why many of your studios use high quality external word clocks to synchronize the converters for the best sound quality. Interfaces made by RME, Prism and Apogee are made with very accurate clocks which can be used as master timing reference for other interfaces that have a wordclock slave input which can improve the sound quality of another interface.


    Its unlikely you would hear much difference with a single solo instrument though. The issue is more apparent when you have multiple tracks and multiple converters running at the same time because the problems with multiple converters recording multiplies the errors that become collective in a mix.