How much should I invest in audio interface?

vinchan

Member
Messages
237
Well, I'm putting up a home studio for my solo guitar projects and few different guitar music genres.

I'm not quite comfortable with plug-in types too much, and considering to get reactive load to hook up my amps and pedalboards

I'm looking at audio interfaces and monitors, and I'm wondering how much should I invest for an interface.

I thought I just go for a focusrite scarlett, but many people have said great things about RME, Apollo and etc.

Is there considerable amount of audio quality differences between entry-level and those premiums?
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,089
Definitely avoid the lowest end. You want better pres and converters than that. I like audient stuff, but the others you listed are excellent too.
 

electricity17

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
963
First big question is how many channels or tracks you need to record at the same time. If you just need one or two, then it will be cheaper than if you need 4 or 8. Then think about what level of quality you want or expect to get.

For one or two channels, I'd look at an Apogee Duet or something Audient for a higher-end interface. If you're just doing demos or song ideas, then you could get something cheaper like a Focusrite or Presonus interface.

A good place to go for info on this stuff is Gearslutz, it's a forum dedicated to recording. In terms of the difference in quality, it's all relative and it can be subtle. Basically you're paying for increased clarity and fidelity as you go up the scale. I think the differences become more apparent as you build up more tracks in a mix.
 

makerdp

Member
Messages
786
If you have to choose between spening more on monitors or interface I'd definitely choose to spend more on the monitors.

TASCAM has the best bang for the buck in interfaces IMO.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,877
Well, I'm putting up a home studio for my solo guitar projects and few different guitar music genres.

I'm not quite comfortable with plug-in types too much, and considering to get reactive load to hook up my amps and pedalboards

I'm looking at audio interfaces and monitors, and I'm wondering how much should I invest for an interface.

I thought I just go for a focusrite scarlett, but many people have said great things about RME, Apollo and etc.

Is there considerable amount of audio quality differences between entry-level and those premiums?

Yeah, there's a difference. The ones which are better have better conversion and amps. Less noise, more accurate, lower latency, more I/O, onboard DSP, etc.

You should probably define your requirements and budget.

Whether a Scarlett or something better is right for you depends on your objectives and experience.

Given that most Scarletts are $100-$200 -- it's maybe not such a bad idea to go that route. You can upgrade when you've outgrown it without a significant financial loss. It may keep you happy for a few years and it's going to sound OK.

Your interface is an important component to a studio. It handles a lot of routing and everything you hear is colored by its sound. That said, conversion technology is getting better and more affordable every year.

Monitors, mics, interfaces/conversion, preamps -- they should all be about the same grade (not necessarily price). For example, it doesn't make much sense to buy a U87 and then plug it into the cheapest audio interface on the market. If you are aiming to have excellent sound in your recordings, then you'll want very good monitors, mics, pres, conversion, etc.

Lastly, just because something costs more doesn't make it better -- or better for your use. Recording gear can get really expensive really fast (and a lot of it devalues quickly). Conversion is no breaking development and many interfaces use the same convertors.
 

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,911
I use a Scarlett. I doubt you can hear the difference in output. Input could be noticeable if you use the preamps.
 

NotWesYet

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,358
I can't comment on the difference in audio quality as I have no direct experience with other manufacturers, but I can on reliability.

I bought my first Apogee Duet in 2008 and it was stiill working fine when I replaced it with the new Duet in 2016. I used a third party breakout box, overtightened it and damaged it slightly. Apogee rebuilt the whole thing for $65.

My friend, to whom I sold it still uses it with an older firewire Macbook for location recordings.
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,850
I can't comment on the difference in audio quality as I have no direct experience with other manufacturers, but I can on reliability.

I bought my first Apogee Duet in 2008 and it was stiill working fine when I replaced it with the new Duet in 2016. I used a third party breakout box, overtightened it and damaged it slightly. Apogee rebuilt the whole thing for $65.

My friend, to whom I sold it still uses it with an older firewire Macbook for location recordings.

You were lucky. I had no such luck with 2 Apogee products that I had. Thankfully I moved on to something that has been awesome and reliable for me. But yup, anything and everything can fail regardless of brand.
 

NotWesYet

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,358
You were lucky. I had no such luck with 2 Apogee products that I had. Thankfully I moved on to something that has been awesome and reliable for me. But yup, anything and everything can fail regardless of brand.

Sorry to hear that! was it the "One" by any chance? I bought one and immediately returned it as it just seemed like plastic junk.
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,850
Sorry to hear that! was it the "One" by any chance? I bought one and immediately returned it as it just seemed like plastic junk.

Nope...I had a Duet 2 that went microphonic about a week after warranty was up. The wouldn't budge on it. It's a doorstop now. I bought a Quartet to replace it and it had all kinds of strange background noise. I borrowed another interface to make sure it wasn't my system and all was fine. Their warranty process replaced it. The replacement did the same thing about about 3 months. I just sold it and moved on. I still have my Apogee 96K and it has worked without any issue or problem. Just luck of the draw for me, nothing more.
 

makerdp

Member
Messages
786
For example, it doesn't make much sense to buy a U87 and then plug it into the cheapest audio interface on the market.

I agree with pretty much everything here but this sentence. Do you seriously think a U87 through a cheap preamp won't sound lightyears better than a CAD or MXL or even a nice mid-grade Rode into the same preamp? I agree that it won't sound as good as it can, but it will certainly be WAY better than any "same-grade" mic you plug into it.

The interface, while extremely important, is the last place I would invest big $$$. There are quite a few options in this area that will get the job done very nicely until you can move up. Can't say the same thing about monitors and mics IMHO. Get a decent well-reviewed Presonus, Scarlet, TASCAM, etc and spend more of your initial money on monitors - something you will be keeping and using for many years to come and a lot harder to get any of your initial investment out of when you decide to move up.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,877
I agree with pretty much everything here but this sentence. Do you seriously think a U87 through a cheap preamp won't sound lightyears better than a CAD or MXL or even a nice mid-grade Rode into the same preamp? I agree that it won't sound as good as it can, but it will certainly be WAY better than any "same-grade" mic you plug into it.

The interface, while extremely important, is the last place I would invest big $$$. There are quite a few options in this area that will get the job done very nicely until you can move up. Can't say the same thing about monitors and mics IMHO. Get a decent well-reviewed Presonus, Scarlet, TASCAM, etc and spend more of your initial money on monitors - something you will be keeping and using for many years to come and a lot harder to get any of your initial investment out of when you decide to move up.

The point I was trying to make was that it doesn't make much sense to pour nearly all of one's budget into a mic because the pre, interface, and monitoring will all be subpar. Much better end results could be achieved with that $4k budget by investing less in the mic and more into monitoring, interface/conversion, pres, etc.

I wasn't trying to imply the U87 will sound the same as an entry level mic.
 

tedm

Member
Messages
7,270
Go Scarlett. Works great. I have 2.

he made you nervous
and when he said
"I'm gonna sue you"
I really felt for you
 

Able Grip

Senior Member
Messages
2,401
I did a bunch of research and found the Tascam UH 7000 to have the best specs for the bucks by far. I would look at Advanced Audio for mics.
 

vashuba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,795
i bought a used Duet firewire years ago. still rockin it. But just got a new computer so need to get something other than firewire
Apogee. Universal audio all day for mac
 

SideBMusic

Member
Messages
1,579
I went through Presonus Firebox to MOTU Ultralite to Apollo Twin. Each upgrade showed me how important the converters are to good sound recording. The Apollo is amazing. I paid a bit more than I wanted to, but the reward was great.

I talked to a rep at Sweetwater and told him what I was looking for. He gave me several choices with the pros and cons. It was very helpful.
 

eddie knuckles

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,787
Get a Focusrite 6i6 and a nice mic preamp like a Black Lion Auteur. You can get a used one for about $350 and well worth the investment. Good luck on your quest.
 




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