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Interfaces - How Much Do They Matter?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by crumjack, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    Focusrite makes great stuff in the high end bracket. You gonna need to spend RME or Lynx money to attain that end of quality.

    Apollo on Win is a likely nightmare as others have said.

    How many i/o do you need? that is where you start

    RME drivers are awesome: turn the AI on after or before booting up. Total Mix takes some effort to comprehend. By no means was my UFX+ plug and play. Now that it is set up, tho, it works beautifully.

    Mid-grade? What's the budget? $1000US?
     
  2. toddincharlotte

    toddincharlotte Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I think so. I need to mull over. It's not a huge priority, I'm getting some decent demos from my Uphoria.


    I also dig the fact that it's bus powered, I've used it in a live Ableton rig with a launchpad.
    Buy yeah, probably something in the 600-1k range. Was looking at a few tonight.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    MoPho likes this.
  3. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    Totally irrelevant to the claim
     
  4. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    nobody cares anymore.
     
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  5. crumjack

    crumjack Member

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    So after all that, Amazon has a Prime Day deal on the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. Maybe it will or maybe it won't get me closer to the sounds I'm hoping to capture. The extra inputs will be nice for less or hopefully no cable swapping.
     
  6. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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  7. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    yes, i had this unit in house for a while...
    but once i got the chance to try a rme babyface pro,
    that's what i bought.
    has been rock solid.
    super clean pre's,
    super clean converters,
    very easy to setup zero latency monitoring, and monitor mixes,
    highly recommended!
     
    ctreitzell likes this.
  8. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    Three(ish) things matter to me:

    1. Stable, which means the drivers are good and it always works
    2. Quiet, no noise, even at high gain
    3. Clean, clear sound

    I've had Focusrite and Audient and an AVID. All were great. I've also had a Presonus and it didn't cut it. For me the Audient stuff is great. Focusrite sounded great but the driver software was far too confusing.
     
  9. LoudBadRocknRoll

    LoudBadRocknRoll Member

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    Hi Lee,

    I think older PC cards may not be very good, actually. E.g. the crap Mackie converters. Something newer will probably be much better.

    Re Windows 7: You can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. I just did it on my desktop machine. The UI is not as responsive. But it's pretty good. Just download the current Windows 10 image (either burn a DVD/iso or make a thumb drive - I used the thumb drive). No activation necessary, as it just recognized my current license w/out issues.

    hth,
    Charlie

     
  10. Timseel

    Timseel Member

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    It's been a while! I finally bought a new PC that came with W10, installed a pci-e card with firewire and everything works straight off! Actually, that's not true, I couldn't run the CD that came with the Mackie desk, fortunatley I had ripped the contents to a folder (along with all my downloaded programmes etc, and that worked) I've not done a full blown multitrack session yet but the tests I have done, everything seems fine. Cheers!
     
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  11. TheJudge

    TheJudge Member

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    It depends!

    What do you want to record? Live drums? Vocals and/or voice overs? Guitar, bass, keys, etc. Do you want to record sources simultaneously or one at a time? Do you see yourself expanding in the future?
    Do you want onboard DSP effects to record through with zero latency?
    Windows or Mac?

    As others have said drivers matter.

    I've used quite a few over the last 20 years and currently run an Antelope Zentour. Very happy with this interface.
     
  12. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    Great insights, Jim. I could not agree more with you regarding poor sound via a bad DI. Also, I definitely hear a massive difference between a cheap $300 and something like a Burl or studio grade Apogee. The details are mesmerizing. I think that when you use a cheap interface with not-so-great AD/DA, it's like you're constantly fighting an uphill battle. That's just no fun when you're trying to record songs. It's so nice when you have an excellent dedicated DI and pro-grade AD/DA conversion. I would say that this is where the "record" sound is born. I've heard my stuff in a studio coming through a Neve board and a whoppingly expensive Apogee. No way anyone's going to get that sound from a $200 interface. I'd say (for me) it's one of the most important pieces of gear.
     
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  13. nsureit

    nsureit Old Guy...but not too old Silver Supporting Member

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    I “upgraded” from a Presonus 18i20 to Audient iD22 with companion ASP880. I believe the Audient preamps are better, but the converters are especially superior. The ASIO drivers never freeze up on my PC. Does it sound better than the cheaper gear? Not sure. But more important, though, are the versatile hardware features: each channel has its own low cut filter, phantom power, phase switch, and preamp bypass switch that makes it simple to use some of my favorite old outboard gear; plus the monitor routing of the interface controller is very flexible. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve put together a nice selection of microphones over the last 30 years. So, my point is that better gear provides one with more tools, options and features to make better recordings...if you have the chops. I’m still working on that part.
     
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  14. WhiskeyWhiskers

    WhiskeyWhiskers Member

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    The Behringer UMC's have some weaknesses, biggest for me is they don't sound great recording a guitar or bass direct. Kind of makes it sound like you're using a long/high capacitance cable. The main outputs are quieter than other interfaces I've used, and the headphone out gets pretty noisy when turned up. I don't think you need to spend a ton though, the MOTU M2 doesn't have any of those issues.
     
  15. Brandon7s

    Brandon7s Member

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    I'm in the market for a DI since I'm moving my entire home guitar rig from traditional outboard pedals and modeling gear to purely in-the-box software, so a decent DI is very important to me. I just Googled "Neve DI" and the first thing I saw was one of these $269 Rupert Neve Active DI boxes.

    Now, that seems straight up dirt cheap to me. What's your opinion on them, you think they'd be a noticeable improvement over what I could get with a MOTU UltraLite-mk4? I'm purely a home recording/playing kind of guy, nothing pro and nothing that I intend to be heard by the masses. If that Neve DI is a decent upgrade then that seems like a no-brainer at that price!
     
  16. Jim Roseberry

    Jim Roseberry Supporting Member

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    The RNDI is definitely a significant step up vs. the onboard DI on any audio interface.
    If you can afford a full Neve channel-strip, it'll obviously have more features (EQ/Dynamics).
    A full channel will set you back about $3000.
    If you just need a quality DI, the RNDI is perfect/affordable.
     
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  17. Brandon7s

    Brandon7s Member

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    Awesome! I'm going to order one right now. Since I'll be running everything through a DAW I'll just be using software for EQ and other tone shaping. I actually need a stand-alone DI with a Thru output just so I can also play my tube amp (periodically) while being able to record the DI at the same time, so this looks like it will work out well in my case. I can't justify spending more than $400 or so, I'm just a humble amateur and my job is on furlough until this whole COVID thing blows over.

    Many thanks for the assistance!
     
    Jim Roseberry likes this.
  18. Brandon7s

    Brandon7s Member

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    I just upgraded from a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 today to a MOTU Ultralite MK4. I have a telecaster DI recording straight from the front of my Focusrite so I figure I'd go ahead and record the same thing going straight into the front of my MOTU and then compare them.

    Honestly, I wasn't expecting the difference to be this big. After doing that and then flipping back and forth between the two clips while they are looping it is immediately obvious that the Focusrite is much more dull. The high end on the MOTU is significantly crisper and clearer. I don't know if that's a difference in the DI input, the preamp driving it, or just the converters... but it's huge; impossible to miss the difference once you hear them back to back. If I had known the difference was this big I would have upgraded years ago. Anyone who wouldn't be able to tell the difference would have to be suffering from some not-very-mild hearing loss. I didn't record a clip that had much in the low end so I've not been able to compare that, but my initial impression so far is that it's a bit less boomy and low notes are more defined, I'll have to go back and record another part on my Focusrite to be able to determine that for sure though, which I don't feel like doing today but might later on.

    Looking forward to getting the Neve DI in this weekend so I can compare that directly with the MOTU's DI and see how it goes!

    (If anyone wants me to post a .wav file of the parts I'm comparing, let me know. It's not subtle though.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
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  19. Timseel

    Timseel Member

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    UPDATE! Ok, It appears I can't monitor playback and record via the Mackie, everything seizes up...after a long trial and error effort I have found the only way I can monitor is to playback using the Speakers option on the PC..run a cable to the Mackie to Tape In ...all good, except there is a small amount of digital noise from the Speaker Out, you don't hear it when playing/recording..just when it's quiet. I don't know why as I should be able to use Mackie 1&2 as playback for monitoring?
    Anyhoo...I'm up and running.
    Cheers.
     
  20. Occam

    Occam Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll be finding out next week. After being an Apollo guy for 7 years (I still have some and accelerators for the plugins), I'm going to a Lynx Hilo to do some mastering projects. I'm not expecting anything radical but I'm curious if I'll notice it or not. I'm definitely not one of those "there's a quarter db bump at 12.5k" kinda guys...I'm more of a "it's wrong until it's right" types so it'll be interesting.
     

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