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TOPIC: Input Impedance - is it that important?

Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 week ago #20163

I recently watched a video where Mike mentioned that it's best to have a 1mohm input impedance for a DI. I'm looking at upgrading my Focusrite solo to an Audient interface to take advantage of those wonderful Jfet preamps they use in their consoles, and are supposedly great for guitars (more amp like). The problem is, despite the claim by Audient, that the JFET preamp is excellent for guitars the input impedance is 500kohms. My Focusrite is 1.5 mohms. So, back to my original question, input impedance, is it that important, or is the pre amp of greater importance?

I emailed Audient and they responded saying, not all amps have an input impedance of 1mohm, 500kohm impedance was chosen as it is quieter.
Last edit: 4 months 1 week ago by mkruse.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 week ago #20164

If the goal of every guitar tone was consistent then we could more easily answer the question, but as there's a wide variety (that's putting it lightly) there's no way to etch this into stone.

High impedance typically provides more high end content and a brighter sound, and if that's the goal of your tone then you're off to a good start with higher impedance. But many times a more midrangey tone would be preferred, and in those cases you might be providing a signal to S-Gear that's less than ideal if you stuck with high impedance. Then there's the *perception* of detail -- higher impedance seeming to offer more of it -- and that, too, is not always ideal. The inverse of this holds true as well.

And because of all this, manufacturers don't tend to claim "best-in-class" impedance, or use other marketing terms, because their DI components are indeed often chosen because of noise, or some other factor(s).

Personally, I prefer very high impedance, and take steps to obtain it if the DI doesn't offer it, and I've even sold preamps that were fantastic in every way except for the impedance. This is because I can rather easily defeat the added treble and definition before it reaches the amp, but it's very difficult to add that treble/definition if it's not coming through the preamp/audio interface.

Even when it comes to bass, my ears prefer the high impedance inputs. I like how I can hear the zing of the strings.

Having taken a very long route to addressing your question, I think the numbers matter, but are far and away less important than the synergy created by the sum of all the components of your preamp. Maybe the Audient doesn't list a high impedance, but that doesn't tell you what it will sound like (hence the long answer above attempting to explain it), it only provides a hint. Audient's response is appropriate (though we don't know the exact question they were asked) in that there's a wide variety of impedances, even across what are considered the very best guitar preamps. The only way to understand the "sound" of the pre is to get it into your system. Let it interact with everything you have going on, and then decide whether or not it's a sonic upgrade from the Focusrite. My guess is that you'll like it and not question its impedance again.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 week ago #20165

Hey, thanks for the wise words! Can I ask what interface you use?
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 week ago #20167

I have several. The most-used is an API 512v, directly into its front-panel DI (which btw has an impedance of only 400k). I also use an NPNG Diehlio DI to feed an Avedis MA5. I also use the front end of a UA OX when I go with real amps. And there's a Lehle Sunday Driver laying around in case I wish to increase the impedance for any of these. These options provide enough flexibility, though, again, the API handles most tasks. And bringing that back around to your initial point: with its low impedance, it still manages to sound amazing, but that's because API just offers that great guitar tone via its components and topology. Regardless of what the tech numbers might suggest, it's tough to beat.

In another studio we use a Demeter VTMP2 (which is very warm) with a Sunday Driver before it. There, the SD is practically mandatory or the tone is dull. That studio also has the API. Another studio uses the DI of an RME interface. Another uses an Apogee Symphony. And yet another uses an Antelope Orion.

Everyone is getting really good tone, but there are definitely common, predictable characteristics that come from each. In other words, we know that Studio X, which uses interface X, will sound midrangey, and Studio Y will have great transients but lack low end, etc. Each scenario is slightly different. We just make adjustments in the chain, or the mix, to get us where we wish to be.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 week ago #20168

mkruse wrote:

I recently watched a video where Mike mentioned that it's best to have a 1mohm input impedance for a DI. I'm looking at upgrading my Focusrite solo to an Audient interface to take advantage of those wonderful Jfet preamps they use in their consoles, and are supposedly great for guitars (more amp like). The problem is, despite the claim by Audient, that the JFET preamp is excellent for guitars the input impedance is 500kohms. My Focusrite is 1.5 mohms. So, back to my original question, input impedance, is it that important, or is the pre amp of greater importance?

I emailed Audient and they responded saying, not all amps have an input impedance of 1mohm, 500kohm impedance was chosen as it is quieter.
Generally speaking, Audient is NOT such a good choice. High price and poor driver performance, latency-wise. For about the same price, the IK Multimedia Axe I/O is light years better sounding and much better latency times due to good drivers, already available. Worthy of mentioning is their specialized for guitar p'ups proprietary technology of variable input load tech, I'm NOT an IK Multimedia fan for most of their products, but they really hit it out the park with this one.
Last edit: 4 months 1 week ago by LtKojak.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 week ago #20169

Good day,

It just may be more advantageous to have a look at the Radial Engineering J48 or PRO48 DI's.

Use this in front of pretty much any interface using the mic input with Phantom Power enabled. Yes, it does add +$80 to the price, but, in my estimation, it is well worth the investment. However, if you opt for a less expensive interface, such as the Behringer UMC series, then it all works out in the end.

Also, I sincerely believe that there are a number of very, very important factors that each one of us need to take into consideration here,

1) How proficient are you at playing the guitar?
• Outboard gear is a "reflection" of your overall playing ability. As Rick Wheeler states, "Larry plays his amps." - and that point is true indeed.
2) Instrument-specific-ness?
• What I mean here is that different types of guitars and different set-ups of guitars will have a profound affect on the end result.
3) How good are your ears?
4) How good is your outboard gear?
• Please, do not use only headphones.
5) Are you recording or playing live?
• I sincerely believe that "in a mix" you, or more importantly, those who just listen, are not going to hear the difference - and they probably would not care anyhow.
6) You really should really have a number of different interfaces to test out for yourself and configure some sort of a "test bench" in order to be able to more accurately ascertain which is really-and-truly the best for your particular needs.
• I did this very thing - where I had either owned and then rented a number of different interfaces - six in all, and then attempted as much as is possible - one guitar into multiple devices to test and to hear the end result. Days and hours later, I ended up with a Behringer ADA8200 and a Radial Engineering PRO48 DI. I later opted for a Behringer UMC404HD as this interface uses the same mic pre's as the ADA.

Again, I use my setup only for "live performance" and the audience is made up of those who just want to listen to some music and who really do not care who or what is providing that medium.

At the end-of-the-day, you and only you can be the sole determiner of just what is right for you. The only problem today is that there are simply way too many choices.

I do hope that this information is of some practicable benefit to you?
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Last edit: 4 months 1 week ago by mr-es335.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 5 days ago #20171

I can see how a Sunday Driver would become a real work horse when using all those different pre's. It sounds like your'e running into desks and not small interfaces, is that right? I loved your explanation by the way.

I have a few questions.

1 - does plugging into a typical guitar pedal and then into the amp effectively lower the impedance? The impedance of most analog pedals is much lower than 1mOhm.
2 - if I take my TC Flashback, with an input impedance of 1mOhm, and run that first into my interface, would that essentially do the same as a Sunday Driver minus the benefits of the SD's circuitry.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 5 days ago #20172

I know that Audient has updated the drivers regarding latency - see here - support.audient.com/hc/en-us/articles/36...Driver-V4-What-s-New

I don't see how it could be light years better sound though? They use the preamps from their consoles and Burr Brown converters in nearly all their interfaces. The DI is a JFET.

The IK Multimedia Interface looks very interesting, but its very expensive. In Australia it's $629 AU. However it is something to think about. I don't know much about IK Media's hardware. I've tended to stick more to companies who's primary focus is interfaces, such as Focusrite, Audient, RME, UA etc (rightly or wrongly). I can't say that I have experience with all of those brands however, it is just what I have researched.
Last edit: 4 months 5 days ago by mkruse.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 5 days ago #20173

I've heard great things about that Behringer interface, what is your experience? The price is worryingly cheap. I believe it's due to the economies of scale that Behringer operate on.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 5 days ago #20174

mkruse wrote:

I've heard great things about that Behringer interface, what is your experience? The price is worryingly cheap. I believe it's due to the economies of scale that Behringer operate on.
I currently use an UMC404HD. The Midas pre sounds simply wonderful, and latency is second to none,

I'd choose the UMC over the Audient any day of the week and twice on sundays, mate!

Consider yourself warned, so to speak. ;)
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 5 days ago #20175

mkruse -- the problem I run into with pedals is not the pedals themselves but the added cable length. On my board I have 8 or 9 pedals, but they're fed into a looper in groups so I can bypass them, in groups. However, having just one group activated adds quite a few feet of cable resistance to the chain. Even when all the pedals are bypassed, I hear a dulling of the tone as compared to a cable running directly to the interface or amp. So if the pedalboard is involved, the tone does suffer. And that's the reason I initially got the Sunday Driver. When that is placed at the beginning of the pedalboard, I can sense much of that original tone back in the equation. When a few groups are activated the SD is a must.

I can't speak directly to the Flashback, but my guess is that it could help. The SD provides up to 4mOhms, so they may not affect the signal in the exact same way, but it's easy to audition. I'd give it a try. It does seem to have true bypass.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 5 days ago #20176

I put a Sunday Driver in front of my interface years ago and since then I kept it that way. Whatever the interface.
I could probably live without it with my Apogee Element but I did not even try LOL!
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 4 days ago #20177

fatherjacques wrote:

I put a Sunday Driver in front of my interface years ago and since then I kept it that way. Whatever the interface.
I could probably live without it with my Apogee Element but I did not even try LOL!

Do Apogee sell the remote with the interface?
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 4 days ago #20178

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Last edit: 4 months 4 days ago by hkwijhe.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 4 days ago #20179

The resistance of the cable is not the main factor here but the capacity of the cables (~100 pF/meter). If all pedals have a tru bypass then all cable capacities simply add up to a value having a similar effect as a (fixed) tone pot on your guitar (less highs). So placing a decent buffer between your guitar and paddle board usually fixes this issue. The high impedance of the guitar is then transferred in a low impedance capable of driving 10+ meters of cable without influencing your tone.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 4 days ago #20180

mkruse wrote:

fatherjacques wrote:

I put a Sunday Driver in front of my interface years ago and since then I kept it that way. Whatever the interface.
I could probably live without it with my Apogee Element but I did not even try LOL!

Do Apogee sell the remote with the interface?

It is not included and I did not buy it. You don't need it. If never I need a remote I can use either my phone or my IPAD.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 4 days ago #20182

hkwijhe wrote:

The resistance of the cable is not the main factor here but the capacity of the cables (~100 pF/meter).

Yes, capacitance is the more technically-proper term. Those specific discussions tend to stem out from impedance discussions, and, for some reason, they can get heated. I think it might seem like folklore to some. And then of course the next topic becomes cable quality, where I rarely participate anymore.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 4 months 1 hour ago #20188

Good day,

As LtKojak stated, "I currently use an UMC404HD. The Midas pre sounds simply wonderful, and latency is second to none, I'd choose the UMC over the Audient any day of the week and twice on sundays, mate!"

I would concur with LtKojak's comments.

As an aside, Alan Richardson - the monitor engineer for Elton John currently uses either Behringer ADA8000's or ADA8200's in his rig and the UMC's use the very same Midas pre's.
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Last edit: 4 months 1 hour ago by mr-es335.
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 3 months 4 weeks ago #20189

Does anyone know the input impedance of the UMC404HD (or the UMD204HD)? I searched the internet but cannot find any numbers on this..
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Input Impedance - is it that important? 3 months 4 weeks ago #20190

klinge wrote:

Does anyone know the input impedance of the UMC404HD
Yes, I do. I own one.
klinge wrote:

I searched the internet but cannot find any numbers on this..

Not very well, it seems...:P
Last edit: 3 months 4 weeks ago by LtKojak.
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