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Focusrite Liquid Saffire mic pre´s shootout
Old 23rd September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Focusrite Liquid Saffire mic pre´s shootout

Hi there,

last week I had a time out in the studio so I was able to record a brief acoustic guitar clip using all the preamps simulated by the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56.

All the takes have the same gain levels and distance to the mic (AKG C414 ULS). No EQ and no compression, just the mic in the preamp.

Hope it helps:

API 3124+: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...%20%287%29.wav

AVALON 737SP: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...%20%289%29.wav

HELIOS CONSOLE: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2813%29.wav

MANLEY SLAM!: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2815%29.wav

MILLENIA HV 3D: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2831%29.wav

NEVE 1272: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2817%29.wav

PULTEC MB1: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2819%29.wav

FOCUSRITE RED 7: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2811%29.wav

TELEFUNKEN V72: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2825%29.wav

UNIVERSAL AUDIO 610: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/61665299/FO...20%2827%29.wav
Old 23rd September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
icecubeman's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Yes, Millenia and API are killer, I am using it all the time
Old 27th December 2012 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by icecubeman ➡️
Yes, Millenia and API are killer, I am using it all the time
Milennia sounds like a wet blanket!
(monitored on Event 20/20 BAS)
Old 27th December 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Helios and Neve would be my choice.
Old 27th December 2012 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone ➡️
Helios and Neve would be my choice.
I also noticed the Helios sounded very open
Old 27th December 2012
  #6
Deleted User
Guest
The Helios really caught my ear in this test. I have had the LS56 for 4 years and am quite happy with it. I usually use a pair of SDCs on acoustic guitar and record in stereo. The Manley Slam and V72 get some use. The neutral quality of the 414 in this test was well suited to the Helios. Interesting.
Old 27th December 2012
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
It would be great if we could somehow get a hold of a couple of the actual pres the LS56 emulates and A/B them on the same performances.

I've owned the LS56 for about a year now, and have nothing but an uphill battle with it and the extremely unreliable software that comes with. Everyday it freezes/crashes and forces me to restart 2-3 times. Sorry, that's the end of my rant!
Old 27th December 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSGuitarest ➡️
It would be great if we could somehow get a hold of a couple of the actual pres the LS56 emulates and A/B them on the same performances.

I've owned the LS56 for about a year now, and have nothing but an uphill battle with it and the extremely unreliable software that comes with. Everyday it freezes/crashes and forces me to restart 2-3 times. Sorry, that's the end of my rant!
The thing is, there may be enough variation in the original hardware units that, unless you could get the specific one that Focusrite/Sintefex used to create the model, they'd sound very different anyway.

As for LS56 reliability, the only time I've very occasionally had trouble with mine is when I've been mucking about with sample rates and left my DAW set to something different - that sometimes seems to screw things up. Other than that, it's solid as a rock (running with Cubase 6 and Reason 6 under Win7 64-bit).
Old 27th December 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSGuitarest ➡️
I've owned the LS56 for about a year now, and have nothing but an uphill battle with it and the extremely unreliable software that comes with. Everyday it freezes/crashes and forces me to restart 2-3 times. Sorry, that's the end of my rant!
Are you using Windows or a Mac? I'm using a Mac and moving my external hard drive to it's own firewire port and leaving the LS56 as the only thing on the other port seems to make things work smoothly.
Old 27th December 2012 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
Prophet Of Noise's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSGuitarest ➡️
It would be great if we could somehow get a hold of a couple of the actual pres the LS56 emulates and A/B them on the same performances.

I've owned the LS56 for about a year now, and have nothing but an uphill battle with it and the extremely unreliable software that comes with. Everyday it freezes/crashes and forces me to restart 2-3 times. Sorry, that's the end of my rant!
I own a LS56 and an Avalon 737 and having used both for a few tracks each, I can say that the Focusrite emulation is 80-85% identical.

I have religiously used the Neve 1073 emulation on almost everything. I might sell the Avalon and my Golden Age Pre73 as I see that Focusrite's liquid emulations sound really really good and almost identical.

Also, for the past two years owning the Saffire and using it in OSX, I think it has crashed about twice or three times and it was a timing issue (using almost all 56 inputs outputs the ADAT links get a bit tricky). So I guess that's reliable.
Old 27th December 2012 | Show parent
  #11
Here for the gear
 
Prophet Of Noise's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phildub ➡️
Are you using Windows or a Mac? I'm using a Mac and moving my external hard drive to it's own firewire port and leaving the LS56 as the only thing on the other port seems to make things work smoothly.
Oh yeah, don't use anything on the same firewire bus. The Liquid Saffire really needs all of the available bandwidth.
Old 28th December 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww ➡️
The thing is, there may be enough variation in the original hardware units that, unless you could get the specific one that Focusrite/Sintefex used to create the model, they'd sound very different anyway.
Good point! Either way the liquid pre's aren't bad at all, and for saving thousands in a little bit of a difference in quality isn't bad!

Thats great you guys haven't had too many problems with the LS56 or the software like I have! I'm using OS X 10.8, and have had problems with it since the day I installed the saffire software. I even have to power up the saffire and my computer in a certain order, or else it doesn't work and am forced to restart and try again I'm just glad you guys aren't having the same problems I have with it!
Old 12th February 2013
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I also had problems with the LS56 and I had to sell both my Liquid Mix and my Powercore external DSPs. I can´t have any other firewire devices at the same time neither in its´port nor in any other port. I also have to power up the Apogee converter after the LS56, or it won´t be recogniced by the Mac.

But the pre´s emulations are great! I love the Api one.
Old 12th February 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 
ears2thesky's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Been loving mine for better than two years with no real issues to speak of.

As far as Liquid Preamp usage:

I track rock kick thru the V72 or Helios most of the time.
Snare: API, Helios, Avalon
Toms: API, SLAM, Neve
Overheads: Helios, Avalon, Red 7
Bass Mic: V72, Neve
Bass DI: SLAM, 610 (I use an external DI box and run into a Liquid mic input to get the effect)
Guitar amp: Neve, Red 7, V72
Acoustic stringed instruments mic: Avalon, Red 7
Acoustic DI: Avalon, SLAM
Vocals: Helios, Red 7, 610, Neve
OTB passively summed returns: Neve, Avalon, Red 7
Direct sources like keys or drum machines could go thru anything, really.

Some of the sounds are pretty subtle and I run thru the FLAT setting quite often, but I definitly enjoy and use the Liquid patches usually with the harmonics at 12 o'clock or so.
Old 12th February 2013 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
Galleddrim's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSGuitarest ➡️
Thats great you guys haven't had too many problems with the LS56 or the software like I have! I'm using OS X 10.8, and have had problems with it since the day I installed the saffire software. I even have to power up the saffire and my computer in a certain order, or else it doesn't work and am forced to restart and try again I'm just glad you guys aren't having the same problems I have with it!
Ah, so there are issues on OSX. Good to know, in case anyone on a Mac needs recommendations. I am on Win7/64 and have never had a single issue. But then there are so many hardware variations on a PC that someone else might. You'd think with Mac's standardization, Focusrite would be able to get it . . . well, rite.
Old 31st July 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
coming late, sad,,,,
seems is a great POST,
can you re upload the files again?
I am choosing a dual-channel preamp, your sample will very helpful....

thanks!
Old 31st July 2013 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dicky.chan ➡️
coming late, sad,,,,
seems is a great POST,
can you re upload the files again?
I am choosing a dual-channel preamp, your sample will very helpful....

thanks!
The files are still there for me.
Old 31st July 2013
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
wait a second, let me get this right, this interface emulate mic preamps? if so WHAT THE HELL, i need one now!
Old 31st July 2013 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galleddrim ➡️
Ah, so there are issues on OSX. Good to know, in case anyone on a Mac needs recommendations. I am on Win7/64 and have never had a single issue. But then there are so many hardware variations on a PC that someone else might. You'd think with Mac's standardization, Focusrite would be able to get it . . . well, rite.
I have thoroughly enjoyed mine for about 3-4 years on a 2008 imac (10.8) and have never had a crash or freeze. However the plugin suite constantly crashes Logic. Anyone experience that problem?
Old 31st July 2013 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ears2thesky ➡️
Been loving mine for better than two years with no real issues to speak of.

As far as Liquid Preamp usage:

I track rock kick thru the V72 or Helios most of the time.
Snare: API, Helios, Avalon
Toms: API, SLAM, Neve
Overheads: Helios, Avalon, Red 7
Bass Mic: V72, Neve
Bass DI: SLAM, 610 (I use an external DI box and run into a Liquid mic input to get the effect)
Guitar amp: Neve, Red 7, V72
Acoustic stringed instruments mic: Avalon, Red 7
Acoustic DI: Avalon, SLAM
Vocals: Helios, Red 7, 610, Neve
OTB passively summed returns: Neve, Avalon, Red 7
Direct sources like keys or drum machines could go thru anything, really.

Some of the sounds are pretty subtle and I run thru the FLAT setting quite often, but I definitly enjoy and use the Liquid patches usually with the harmonics at 12 o'clock or so.
Since there are only 2 Liquid pres, how do you go about deciding which elements of a drum mic set up will get the liquid?

I love the Liquid Saffire 56 as well. I've owned it since it came out. I will say mine does something funky about once a week. Not a full on crash, but I sometimes I open up the Saffire Control, and it will say "No hardware connected," or the volume knob will have a distinct delay/lag when I change it. Turning off the interface, unplugging the firewire from the computer, and then replugging and turning back on usually fixes any issues. This is on Mac OSX 10.6.8
Old 13th July 2014
  #21
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Reviving a great thread. Just got liquid saffire 56. I haven't had time to put it through it's paces but just educating myself on on the preamp sounds and getting some ideas about what I would use for what. Here are my quick notes after hearing each clip twice.

These clips are great for getting an initial sense of the pres. Thanks!

API 3124+
Dark Covered, further back in the mix
Maybe good timing bright strident electric guitars or vocals

Avalon 737sp
dark but not as much as the api. a little hair. lower mid-emphasis
transients seem a little fatter/mushier but with still with a little lower mid punch

Helios console (bass, voice to bring forward)
midrange forward. fuller punchier better defined. Use this to bring something forward in the mix. could get boxy sounding on the wrong source

Manley slam (seems like main goto bass & kick drum, snare)
warm lower-mid punchy

millennia HV 3D
darker more muffled. boomy

neve 1272
smooth. evenly balance, nice balanced transients. relaxed. not to far forward not to far back.
very nice! (vocals, acoustic guitar)

pultec mp1
nice balanced tighter transients, a lot like the 1272 accept sits a little further back

focusrite red 7
lower mid emphasis. (bass, Drum)

telefunkin
higher balanced. tight balanced transients beautiful top end.


610
simple balanced. clear nice. neutral but in a flattering way. Just seems to make things a little better in an undefined way.
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