Does the audio interface make that much difference?

  • Ran into a strange situation today:

    Just got an Atomic Amplifirebox after giving up on Bias iOS and Desktop. I always thought they were very promising, but they sounded thin, compressed, and congested. And they didn’t take external pedals well.

    Plugged my Amplifirebox into my interface (Tascam US2x2), into GarageBand, and was getting great sounds immediately.

    Then I A/B’d the direct Atomic signal against Bias iOS with Atomic disengaged. Suddenly everything I disliked about Bias was gone. Just by running the signal through the bypassed Atomic first, Bias sounded like I always thought it should.

    ???? Could the Tascam’s guitar input be that bad? I once tried using a DI with XLR outputs to see if bypassing the Tascam HiZ input would help, and it made no difference. But using XLR out of a bypassed Atomic made all the difference.

    Anyone have any wisdom here?

  • A2

    There's a lot of ways the amplifire signal chain, even bypassed could severely hurt the signal, and in ways which would make it sound a lot better in certain ways. Are you plugging the Amplifire out into the same DI input of the US2x2?

  • @pipelineaudio thx.

    Pre Amplifirebox:
    Guitar->Tascam hi z input->Bias iOS iPad or Bias desktop (running on new PC with core 7 processor)

    With Amplifirebox:
    Guitar->Amplifirebox (bypassed) XLR out->Tascam XLR in->Bias iOS or Bias desktop

    Also interesting to note: with this new setup, Bias Amp 1 iOS running on an old iPad 2 sounds way better than Bias Amp 2 on a brand new PC. (Same presets brought over from ipad via tone cloud).

    Bias Amp is a strange bird. I’ve been using it off and on for 3 years. It can sound great, but it can also sound awful, and I’ve never been able to isolate causes.

  • A2

    I'd love to sweep the Amplifierbox and see just what its doing bypassed. Sometimes its just a better impedance and wont load down as much

    Often theyll kill all fast transients and a lot of highs (which as weird as it sounds, can make things sound better to some people in some cases)

    Bias Amp 1 and 2 sound DRASTICALLY different, which I think comes from the speaker cabinet end. I have some pictures or videos of that here on the forum somewhere

  • @pipelineaudio yes they do sound very different. I’m not yet convinced that it’s for the better! Anyway, thx. The AFB is definitely doing something to improve the signal hitting the interface. I guess I don’t really need to know what, as long as it sounds good.

    With good IR’s, the AFB sounds slightly better than BA1 and significantly better than BA2. But it has a very limited selection of amps, so I still need Bias for some of the things it does well.

  • Long ago switched from Line6 Guitar Port to a Focusrite 2i4 and I could tell the difference majorly. So I would say oh hell yes interface matters.