Interface Query for Recording Super 6

Hey everyone,

I’ve just pre-ordered a Super 6 in the UK; should be back in stock early April.

It will be my first analog synth, although I’ve been making synth music for a while.

I’m a little concerned about connectivity to my Focusrite 4i4 Interface, however.

Should it be fine using Unbalanced TS 1/4" jacks from the unbalanced outs on the Super 6, to the balanced standard line inputs on the back of the 4i4? I’ve seen talk of having to use DIs etc.

Any help on this would be appreciated; want to make sure I can run this instrument properly.


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Check your interface manual for what the “balanced standard line inputs on the back of the 4i4” actually are, they may well be combination inputs perfectly happy with unbalanced inputs too. Then there should be no problem. I don’t think you’ll damage anything either way, so try it and see.

Ideally you want to go to an input designed for unbalanced instrument level signals, that you can boost to line level (the Super 6 level can be quite low for a modern synth). That means separate DI, DI input on a mic pre, or a mixing desk/interface instrument or line input, with gain.

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What HermetechMastering said but to clarify:

  • You can’t damage the equipment in this case if you use the wrong cable.
  • If your interface has a combo jack, meaning it accepts Balanced or Unbalanced, then using a TS cable is fine.
  • You won’t find an instrument input on most interfaces and only on high-end consoles like the SSL so forget about that…
  • Using a DI drops the level to mic level and that’s why you have to use a mic pre…this is a nice setup but is typically more expensive to achieve.
  • If your interface is balanced inputs only, you could still use a TS cable but a better choice is to use a TRS jack on the side going to the interface and TS on the UDO side.

Thanks for the reply, Teomi.

Still a little confused!

Yes, the inputs on Scarlett interfaces are all TRS (whether pure line level inputs or mixed Mic/Line combo inputs). I’m guessing it will be fine using TS cables from Super 6 into combo inputs on the front and just make sure INS button isn’t engaged, along with phantom power. I’ll have control over the gain this way, opposed to the set levels on the back with the regular line inputs.

I was looking at the Audient iD44 interface, as I’m needing more connectivity anyway (I’m a Pro Tools 12 / PC user). It looks solid and actually has two JFET D.I inputs on the front for guitars or synths; wondering if this would be a nice boost for the Super 6. Each input has selectable 48v, which is nice also. I’ve been a Focusrite user for years though, so not sure.

I do notice that George Hearn uses Focusrite interfaces in the UDO testing area and at live events. Should be good either way hopefully.

Any further thoughts would be much appreciated!



Here’s the blurb from Focusrite:

When connecting to the combo XLR/jack inputs using a 1/4 inch jack cable on a Focusrite interface the signal cannot ‘bypass the mic preamp’.

The signal goes through the variable gain section of the preamp circuit, allowing you to set the input level of line-level audio sources. Due to the transparent nature of our preamps, however, this does not colour the signal.

On Clarett/Red/Scarlett 3rd Gen interfaces, we would recommend switching ‘Air’ mode off if you wish to get the most transparent signal possible.

There is some attenuation and gain available on the line signal, which may benefit users if they are using a unit that sends a very loud or very quiet signal for their liking.

To work out when you need to set the gain level, please see the following article which applies to both line-level and mic-level inputs:

How high should I set the gain control on my interface?

Some of our interfaces also include 1/4 inch jack (TRS) line inputs that do not pass through a variable gain circuit. These inputs instead pass through a fixed-gain line amplifier circuit.

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I hate the Scarlett line of boxes. Focusrite is a great company but their Scarlett line is shit in my opinion. The audient will give you much better results if you’re still planning on getting one.

Looking at the Audient manual:

The DI looks like a good option to use with the UDO using regular TS cables. It will add some color per the manual.

The Line inputs are balanced but the TRS ins still go through the mic pre and are padded…weird. but that means it’s a balanced in and may or may not work with a TS going from the UDO…

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For what it’s worth, I’m using a Scarlett 18i20 gen2, and I have no complaints. What I do is normally record my synths with the gain knob for each channel around 1/2. With the Super6, I find those inputs are around 1-1.5 ticks higher (counting the lines around the knob, if you know what I mean) and that gets it to a similar level to my other synths. Still a bit quieter/more dynamic. I then comp the takes I want together and normalize that final recording. I have a demo up on soundcloud of the synth I did this way and no one has complained about the sound, so I assume it’s working OK. There is a tiny bit of noise this way (which I’m noticing through a THX AAA 789 amp and Audeze LCD-X headphones), but I suppose it would be easy to get rid of with a noiseprint and some basic de-noising. Personally, it doesn’t bother me as in the kind of mix I’d do you would never notice the noise on one track.

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Thanks again, Teomi.

Yeah, I’ve just been using VST’s (Omnisphere, Diva, Predator etc) but realise I should invest in a better interface now.

Interesting point about the iD44 manual - they are obviously D.I for instrument level inputs, whereas synths are line level, right? Would this not make the Super 6 really quiet if it is expecting a bass or electric guitar?

This hardware stuff is confusing! Trying to watch videos online and there doesn’t seem to be much of a consensus or solid description of workflow when using an analog synth through a regular audio interface. Guess it is going to be trial and error, but will use TS cables regardless.

Midi is going to be important as well, which iD44 lacks. You can get a converter to deal with this though. May just test through the Focusrite first and see how it sounds then consider something else if not sounding too hot.

Thanks for the advice! Think I’ll be making a video on my findings.

Kind regards,

Thanks for the reply, White_Noise

I take it you have the two TS cables in the front of the interface inserted into the combi inputs and leave the INS button off to register as line level, yeah?

On the smaller 3rd gen models, there is only an INS button, so I’m guessing the TS jack once plugged in just registers the synth correctly.

Should be ok with the 4i4 initially!


Totally depends upon the synth. Some are very low passive pickup style instrument level, others somewhere between that and official consumer or pro line level, some super hot balanced line level. Some have balanced outputs, some not etc. Case by case. In a studio situation a good mixing desk should be able to cope with pretty much anything, but these days with home recording it can be a bit more head scratchy, for sure.

These old Rane Notes articles are a classic introduction to the subject of audio levels and interconnection:

Audio Specifications (

Sound System Interconnection (

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Thanks for the info.

Guess I’m trying to keep it in line with the Super 6 though, which is unbalanced output and a few others have said it is on the quiet side. Having some input gain control may be beneficial, although I’ve read the fixed gain line inputs (TRS) on the back of the 4i4 have a good a level.

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Yes, every chain is different, so a lot of it will just come down to experimentation. I feed my Super 6 into a Chandler TG2 mic pre (which has a pair of DIs) to get the level up a bit, and that’s connected to my mastering chain/Crookwood mastering console for connection to everything else and recording etc.

In the audio world there are only 3 types of input levels: Microphone, Instrument, and Line.
I have never seen a synth that outputs Instrument levels. It’s always Line level.

Don’t confuse level types with Balanced or Unbalanced. This refers to the wiring, not the level.

DI’s are good for line and instrument levels. All it does it attenuates the incoming levels to microphone levels (very low) so that you can use the signal with a microphone preamp and go back to line levels and be balanced. That’s why using a DI with synths is a ‘quick fix’ to the level and balanced debate.

It doesn’t matter if you connect a guitar or synth to a DI…the DI will simply reduce the level to mic level.

DI boxes don’t necessarily drop the level, some of them add to it.

They were invented to remedy noise (ground loops) and impedance mismatch problems, so you could plug a high impedance unbalanced instrument level signal (such as a guitar pickup) into a mixing desk’s balanced, low impedance mic input, and it would sound good. They are signal converters first and foremost, not gain/attenuation devices. That’s why all DIs have unbalanced inputs and balanced outputs, and all passive DIs have a transformer.

They also had the benefit that you could send the signal much further before cable capacitance became a problem (rolling off the high frequencies), which made them very popular with touring musos and FOH engineers etc.

It can get confusing as a lot of DIs are built into mic preamps and soundcards/interfaces, and some DIs have a preamp themselves (I had a lovely Avalon U5 for a few years).

My Super 6 is on the latest firmware so with higher level output. I put it into the Di inputs of a Neve 1073DPX then into Metric Halo ULN8 and Logic. The levels are easy to set and it sounds fantastic.

I’m sure it does sound fantastic with your £3k interface, har har.

Wonder if anyone on here has a more down to earth setup; everyone posting has top-tier chains.

As long as it doesn’t buzz and gargle, I’ll be happy :grinning:

Here’s hoping new shipments are due in soon; I’ve been told this Friday 26th - fingers crossed!

Ha Ha, yes you’re right. I also have an SSL2, which is a budget interface, going into a MacBook Pro. The Super 6 sounds great through the SSL2 DI. No level problems at all. The new Black Lion Audio Revolution 2 looks really good if you’re looking to buy a new audio interface. Reviewed in the latest Sound on Sound.

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I’m using a Presonus Firestudio Mobile. Synth is plugged directly into Line-in channels 3/4 (no pre-amp) using TS cables. Just turn up volume on synth and everything is fine, no issues.


Nice, thanks!

Btw, your video helped sell me on the Super 6 - great sounds and nice explanations; cheers!

How are you finding the synth now?

Thanks. Synth is still amazing and the points I made are still relevant. There are a couple functions/wishlist items I’d like to see fixed or enabled and will post those here in future.

As it stands right now I am crafting a set of 64 patches (EDIT - previously said 128 patches by mistake… maybe 128 in future :)) which I will showcase in my next video once done. Fantastic synth!