Outboard compressor with Saffire Pro40

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Hi all, this might get long-winded, apologies in advance...

I currently track through a Focusrite Saffire Pro40, and tend to do whole band live at once (usually a range of jazz and improvised music things). I've been contemplating getting an RNC compressor to experiment with, perhaps on drum overheads and I was wondering the following...

1) Does anyone know where the AD/DA converters are in the flow of a Pro40? If the mic signal is coming in, then back out to the compressor and then finally back into a different channel, does that all happen in the analogue world, even though the routing is controlled from the computer? Or does it get converted a bunch of different times? Which I guess is something to avoid if possible?
2) Does anyone here track through a compressor? I'd like to experiment, but I also kinda think that as long as the signal isn't clipping, then I can do everything afterwards right?

Kind of a compressor noob (if you hadn't already spotted), so apologies if these are stupid questions.
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Comments

  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 6400
    It'll be converted to digital at the input, back to analogue at the output going into the compressor, and back to digital at whichever input you plug the output of the compressor into.

    That's not in itself a reason not to do it - multiple conversions only matter if you can hear them doing damage, it's unlikely that you will.

    The alternative is getting an outboard mic preamp to put in line before the compressor's input, or finding something like the Audient ID series - the 22 and 44 have insert points which are after the mic preamp but before A/D conversion.
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  • AntonHunterAntonHunter Frets: 311
    Aha yes, an external preamp could be a good shout too, and those Audient interfaces look good as well. I think the fact that their insert points are balanced mean it might not play nicely with the RNC as it's ins and outs are unbalanced, but it's definitely something to think about, thanks @Cirrus.

    Good knowledge on the converters too, I think you'd be right that I'm unlikely to hear the difference, so that's encouraging for trying it at least.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30352

    2) Does anyone here track through a compressor?

    All the time but I don't use onboard preamps in audio interfaces.

    Signal flow is usually:
    Microphone -> mic preamp -> compressor -> EQ -> converter
    or
    Microphone -> mic preamp ->  EQ -> compressor -> converter

    Be careful with over compression to disk- it is hard to undo with an expander plugin.
    One approach to take his to mult the signal (using a signal splitter or a patch bay with half normal capability) and record the compressed and uncompressed versions of the signal.


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  • AntonHunterAntonHunter Frets: 311
    octatonic said:

    2) Does anyone here track through a compressor?

    All the time but I don't use onboard preamps in audio interfaces.

    Signal flow is usually:
    Microphone -> mic preamp -> compressor -> EQ -> converter
    or
    Microphone -> mic preamp ->  EQ -> compressor -> converter

    Be careful with over compression to disk- it is hard to undo with an expander plugin.
    One approach to take his to mult the signal (using a signal splitter or a patch bay with half normal capability) and record the compressed and uncompressed versions of the signal.


    Thanks for the reply, is there a noticeable improvement in the sound vs doing it all in post? I guess if you know what you're going for then it saves time? Good to commit to a sound too.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30352
    edited July 13
    octatonic said:

    2) Does anyone here track through a compressor?

    All the time but I don't use onboard preamps in audio interfaces.

    Signal flow is usually:
    Microphone -> mic preamp -> compressor -> EQ -> converter
    or
    Microphone -> mic preamp ->  EQ -> compressor -> converter

    Be careful with over compression to disk- it is hard to undo with an expander plugin.
    One approach to take his to mult the signal (using a signal splitter or a patch bay with half normal capability) and record the compressed and uncompressed versions of the signal.

    Thanks for the reply, is there a noticeable improvement in the sound vs doing it all in post? I guess if you know what you're going for then it saves time? Good to commit to a sound too.
    It is a process thing rather than a sound thing.
    Committing early to a sound forces you to make choices that moves a production onwards, rather than having endless options.

    You can get plugins that sound as good as the hardware, for the most part.
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  • AntonHunterAntonHunter Frets: 311
    Great, thanks for your insight @octatonic!
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30352
    Welcome. :)
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