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Different audio interface .

Discussion in 'Recording' started by trana, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. trana

    trana Active Member

    Hi all sound experts ! What is the difference between a medium budget interface and a "state of the art" interface ? Is the sound so enormous better in a Prism ,Apollo , Lynx for ex.
    If you compare these with Motu .RME and others for about 1500 US dollar . I am a newbei with studio stuff so I bought my Motu UltraLite mk3 Hybrid on recommendations .
    I´m pretty satisfied with the sound quality . But I´m saving money to buy a "really" high quality interface . I have very good ears . So when I bought my first studiomonitors it took a long time of listening before I found my "dreamspeakers" : Dynaudio BM5A MKII ( I couldn´t afford Dyns higher level ) . But I fell in love with their sound .
    Where I live (in the countryside in Sweden it´s almost impossible to have a chance to listen to Prism and the other high end interfaces , but when I buy a new I want some "really" good one, that also have better drivers for PC than Motu has . But the sound and converters is (so far I know) the most important. What else is important ? I´m making electroacoustic music with a mix of sound I´ve recorded and vsti . You can hear my music on my website : Home - Cajan Music
    My setup is just now : Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 . i7 2600K 3.40GHz . RAM 16GB .Motherboard : Asus P8Z68-V PRO GEN3 . Graphiccard : Gigabyte Geforce GT 520 (Passive cooling).
    4 Harddrives : 1: SSD 120GB (OS+programs). 2: Western digital (SATA) 700 GB for sample library and vst fx . 3 : WD (SATA) 1TB for projects . 4 WD (SATA) :storage drive .
    Audio interface : Motu UltraLite mk3 Hybrid (Firewire) . M-Audio Keytsudio (the cheapest one ) . REAPER , Audio-Mulch , Sibelius 6 , NI Komplete 8 . EWQSL Gold + alot of freeware vsti and vst effects (they have ofter a very interetsting sound to manipulate) . My goal is to upgrade to a studio computer . So if anyone have any advice about how to find a high end interface , I would be very grateful .PS. I have only composed EAM music for 2 years , so I know very little about studio stuff DS.(y)
  2. trana

    trana Active Member

    no one ??? I have read very positive words about Mytek (8X192 ADDA for ex.) and Prism Orpheus . Anyone who have compared them with RME and Motu ????????
  3. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    I just upgraded from the original MOTU 828 to an Apollo Duo, the difference in sound quality is noticeable.

    The MOTU wasn't bad, the Apollo is more open and detailed in it's sound.

    Prism, Apogee and Lynx are reported to be slightly better quality than the Appolo.

    For me gaining access to the UAD powered plugins was a big factor, plus higher quality preamps and A/D didn't hurt either.
  4. trana

    trana Active Member

    Thanks , very useful advice . It is the details and stereo image I want more of .So far I understand Apollo , Prism and Lynx is compatible with Windows . Do you know which of them has the best drivers for Windows ?
    And how about Mytek ?
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    RME lol. Flawless for me. Most likely the most stable drivers in the converter world. But, you look at what you need, your OS and go from there. The Apollo looks very cool. And, there is a new one just breaking ice from Antelope called the Orion 32. Its 32 AD DA USB or MADI and supports Windows and Mac. $2995.00 . What a deal compared to what I paid.

    research your needs.
  6. trana

    trana Active Member

    Maybe a stupid question , (I´m a newbie) . Can it be so that Prism Orpheus is too good for my Dynaudio BM5A MKII ? ( excuse my bad english ).
    (I heard a blind test of different ADDA converter´s , and one of them found I outstanding . When I then heard the result , it was just Prism Orpheus that I liked best .)
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No, any one part of a chain can never be "too good" in sonic terms. What a top-class piece of gear is very adept at, however, is showing up deficiencies in the rest of the chain.
  8. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    The biggest factor when recording is the room you record in. Then your monitoring system and the skill that you have with your tools.
  9. trana

    trana Active Member

    Thanks , it will be interessting to see if I have to upgrade to a better Dynaudio speaker .
    I don´t record so much yet, but maybe in the future .
    I make my music by manipulating sounds and vsti in Audio-Mulch an then in REAPER , and I have a lot to learn about these 2 software.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    in general. #of ins/outs, dsp (or not), converters/clocking, drivers, connection options (usb, thunderbolt, madi, ect.), subjective sound 'quality'.

    +1 on the room. I know your thinking interface, and speakers, but really what you have is better than alot of the stuff out there, especially as a beginner, and especially since your sounds are already recorded in the form of samples. in this case your comparing/hearing digital-to-analog converters, cable, and speakers.
    your not going to be able to make accurate assessments of your mixes/monitors/or interface, until your room is 'tuned up'. imagine trying to pick the 'best' guitar out of the bunch, but none of them are in tune. even the most absorbenantly expensive boutique high end monitors/interface won't help much in an unsuitable room. when you mix in an untreated room, and make the mix sound 'great' in there, its a guess, as to weather or not it'll sound similar elsewhere. sure, you can learn your room, so maybe you know you have to turn the bass down 6db from where you 'like' to hear it in your room, cuz you know it's gonna be right elsewhere. it's alot less guess work, and more fun, if your room is as good as you can practically make it.

    then it's like well what mic are you using? i'd say get an sm 57 if you don't have one.

    not trying to be discouraging, or off the topic, but you already have nice equipment. i really think you'd be better really learning what you have, the interface, speakers, micing, before you go buy more chunks of metal. Treating your room is going to make this process faster, and of higher quality, than a top-line interface purchase will. If your not maximizing the capabilities of your current setup, what is a 'better' interface going to do for you. I could go to the best studio in the world, w/ the best stuff, but i wouldn't be able to make a recording until i knew how to turn it on.

    I mean besides other people saying this, or that is better, what is your problem w/ your interface? do you even have one?

    It's the same thing w/ vocal mics. the uninformed always put they're most expensive (probably german if they got it) condenser mic, in front of every vocalist, and hit rec. What they don't know is maybe that $300 dynamic, was better suited. Harbor your skills first, treat your room, and save some cash,so that when you really do outgrow your current gear, you'll be able to get the 'best', the best one for you, not what someone else's best is. good luck, and look into "room treatments", because you can't mix what you can't hear, and that'll let you hear more.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Your equipment is already top shelf, high-end, the good stuff. What you're not hearing is your own 20-30+ years of recording engineering technique, of which you have none. So it ain't the equipment my Swedish fish friend you're having trouble with. It's your learning curve you're having trouble with. Ain't no money going to fix that and you should know that. It comes down to technique, knowledge and experience of which takes time. You're even more impatient than the American kids are LOL. Maybe it's the cold? Like you said, where you are, I guess not many music stores to visit?

    You just have to learn what you're doing. Stop thinking it's the equipment. That's the first sign of a beginner. A lot of people made way better recordings than yourself with just rudimentary basics stuff. So how did they do that if their equipment wasn't as good as your current equipment? And where every American knows that a Volvo is not only one of the safest cars made, it goes through the snow quite well. I wonder why? Because that's what the " engineers " designed it to do. It's the same for music engineering.

    Volvo uses the same kind of steel and rubber and plastic, everybody else uses. So it's really the design behind the engineering and not the physical supply of manufacturing materials. The same applies to you. Of course every piece of equipment sounds different from every other piece of equipment. There is no better. There are no answers. There are only choices. And what kind of a sound you want to go for.

    You indicate that you are into electro-acoustic music. Where most of your instruments are samples. Which means, you might only need one or two microphone preamps instead of 48? So you get a Lavery or a Prism and you get yourself a good couple of microphone preamps that are external. Such as API, Neve, Millennia, GML whatever preamps sound you want to be coupled with whatever microphone you want. And a $100 US 58 dynamic microphone into one of those preamps will sound like God made it God's own self into those preamps. So that's what you really want to have.

    Again even if you are room is not for size for monitoring, you can still learn what you are listening to to compensate for the inadequacies in your acoustic environment. And you only get that by listening to other superb recordings on your current playback system, in your current acoustic environment. Because you've got to have some kind of a reference jumping off point to start with. And since you're a newbie, what makes you think, as a newbie, your recordings should sound like those Grammy-winning engineers and producers sound? Just because you have good equipment? You sound like a spoiled rotten rich kid? Mommy I want a Lamborghini. Because they look good and I want the best. But you shouldn't get that when you're 16 years old or 18 years old or 20 years old. Until you've had some experience driving a 20-year-old jalopy, first. I can hardly believe how unrealistic you are being? Because professionals don't blame their professional equipment because the equipment is professional and you are expected to be as well. And many engineers, don't even get a choice of what equipment they are working on. It is simply presented to them, or whatever it is and they are expected to deliver a superb professional product, which they do. You certainly don't sound like a college professor? How are you expected to be an expert engineer overnight? Really now. Let's get serious. You need to learn how to walk before you can run. You're taking baby steps right now in a BMW albeit it's not a Lamborghini. It's not even a Volvo. Because that's simply Sweden's Chevrolet. And you're already beyond the Volvo/Chevrolet of equipment. Bottom line is, you really don't know what you want because you don't know what you need and you don't know what you need to know. And a lot of that comes from books. He did go to school didn't you? And you had what in school? Books.You might want to crack a couple? And those you can mail order. You can never get too many. But you need to get to many. Because it's not about equipment specifications. It's about your technique. And when you have no teacher or mentor, you are, as we say, left up to your own devices and quite literally so. And they're not holding you back. You are. You don't become a doctor with four years of college. Right? So you don't become a perfect engineer just because you already have purchased perfect equipment. You have the perfect equipment. So what's that tell ya?

    How else were you supposed to know?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  12. trana

    trana Active Member

    Thank you kmetal , you gave me things to think over . I have room treatments , but maybe I can improve that more . I have soft walls of wood and carpets both on the floor and the walls , and that + the placement of the monitors made a great improvment than before . But is it much better to buy wall treatments like Auralex ?
    I have not worked so much with recording yet , but I will keep your advices in mind when the times come .
    (I have a Zoom h2n mic , so I can record sounds when I´m traveling and then manipulate these sounds in Audio-Mulch and REAPER . I then mix these sounds with Vsti wich I also like to manipulate . )
    Why I threw out this question : I have worked with Motu UltraLite mk3 Hybrid for about 1 year ( mostly thru Sennheiser HD 650) and I noticed that my Motu sounded a little bit dull , though I´ve tried to learn the settings in the Cue Mix that fit my taste . So I begun to think 1 or 2 years forward (and save money) and wanted to know if different interfaces sounded different (like monitors do) .
    I will do as you have written and then see . Thanks again .
  13. trana

    trana Active Member

    Thanks RemyRad . That was one of the things I wanted to know . How is my equipment . The one I know is good is the Dynaudio speakers . But then I wanted to learn some FAQ about the difference between Audio interfaces . I didn´t know that my Motu was so good ( I bought it on recommendation ). I have tried to learn it for about 1 year .And composed electroacoustic music for 1/2 .The sound that inspires me most is from composers like Iancu Dumitrescu , Iannis Xenakis , Horatiu Dumitrescu and others from the spectral school . Yes I use samples a bit and sounds that I have recorded with Zoom h2n .
    I wanted a high quality interface so I can hear all mistakes i make in my programs and make it sound more like I want .
    About books and reading : I have a brain injury that makes that I can´t read so much , and I have to read the REAPER books VERY slowly to understand . So I know it take more time for me to learn than for a normal person .
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I'm certainly with you on that brain surgery side of the tracks LOL. So screw the books. Full speed ahead. Or maybe just a head with some speed? Remember speed kills.

    Here is one thing I have found interesting, as a professional, through the years. This is only my personal observation and tastes. While you may have thought that your rig might be a bit dull sounding? You might just not realize that it is smooth, classy and sweet with no kind of hyper hyped high-end and digital artifacting. People confuse digital artifacting for a more detailed sound. It isn't. But I know tons of engineers that gets faked out by that. That's smooth quality of your rig may in fact allow you to hear more of your errors? And where the ones with the hyped sound may give you a misimpression? And I've seen plenty of engineers fall for that as well.

    Of course the skies the limit depending upon your budget. But one should not mistake perceived high end as necessarily indicating quality. And there are so many integrated circuit chips today that deliver that kind of sound. That doesn't mean they're good. Digital already sounds like digital. Don't make it any worse. You can get your sound to the point of being so crispy, no one's going to want to listen to what especially women. You do like women don't you? Well that's not important. I've got a lousy back so I don't have as much fun in the sack. (That's an American rhyme LOL all the time) English can be easily mangled and still easily understood. Your English is good. (Root word mangle after the German doctor I think? You know... the one from World War II. By the people who invented good audio.)

    And your speakers... they are as personal as your underwear that you're wearing. And ya have to get to know them as well as you know your underwear. Then you'll be fine. And you use other quality sources other than your own, to calibrate your hearing to your speakers. You can't use yourself as your source reference because you are not a reference source.

    Your little IC chip digital recorder is a fine piece but in no way does it compare to your MOTU. It wasn't designed as a professional high-end piece. Your MOTU, it was/is. I mean ya really don't want to listen for your mistakes because they shouldn't be there to begin with. If you want to listen to the sound. It's the sound that's important. Not your mistakes. Everybody has mistakes in their recordings and mixes. The question is... is the mistake musical or not? Otherwise are you listening for over modulation and distortion? Or your musicianship? Both? Which will be more than adequately revealed by the superb monitors that you now own.

    So I really think that you are chasing after and fighting windmills? This might be because of limited mobility? And that's understandable. We've all hyper fixated on all sorts of things in our work. It can make you crazy if it hasn't already. But someone like myself that has experienced brain surgery firsthand, it certainly changes your Outlook on life and your perceptions. And it can take you into directions that your brain will not appreciate. LOL.

    Above all enjoy what you do and what you record and mix. Stop listening for the errors. They'll all go away when you get it right. After all you are making recordings of organic and musical sounds. You're not making recordings of mistakes and distortion. So you really have to adjust your thinking and your approach to this to keep your sanity intact. Equipment does not make the engineer. We all know what the good stuff sounds like and you've got it. So get on with life and get on with your recordings. That's where you need to focus.

    It's cold enough for me here. DC
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    carpet is gonna just nick (reduce mildly) the highs/high mids. especially in electronic type stuff the low-end is important. i used to do sound for a night club that had like 6 refrigerator sized subs. when i tested one of my mixes from the studio on that system, it was overblown in the lows. and when i listened to some of my fav songs in the genre, in the studio, i heard why. the club systems are designed to emphasize a balanced mix. my mix was already "woofy", in a fairly accurate reference studio. When i created a more 'balanced' mix of the same ba-boom-boom-crack beat, sounded much more like commercial stuff thru the club system.

    since your carpet is dulling the highs (really you should check fire codes and legal stuff) your main concern is bass absorption. there is a sticky (i think) on a 'superchunk' bass trap. easy to make, pro proven, low end compatibility is a challenge for any mixer/engineer, anywhere. so thats the focus. aurelex is fine, it doesn't burn like wood, and it'll keep the clap-echo reduced, but if ya wanna make some absorbers for the same money, you could get a more efficient absorber. alot of this comes down to math, and trail and error and all that.
    working thru headphones, is tough. when making general mixes. as a dj at a club, shure, you have to, but most dj's aren't mixing 'sound qualities', their just performing, and using them as monitors, like a rock band. you have nice headphones, and you know them by now, so use them as reference, but your nearfields/room are gonna be your bread and butter. bass traps. we all need them. there's a ton of awesome stories on RO about room treatment, look around, it';s pretty easy to diy if ya wanna, and w/ good results. i had fun making 'resonators', and 'broadband absorbers'. carpets are mostly gonna cut the highs, but what to do about mids, and bass?.. lol if you think your equip is 'lesser', i still use tape machines from 1978, and 1995-ish.
  16. trana

    trana Active Member

    Thanks , kmetal . I have book shelves in the corners behind my monitors . I tested to put in pillows in the book shelves.
    And it really improved the sound in all freq. So the next thing is read in RO and try different solutions . But it is good that the carpenters cut to many of the high freq.? If I buy Auralex , will that improve much more than carpenters and pillows.
    (I'm NOT a handy man , and I have parkinson , so I can't build anything myself).
    I like to record sounds when I'm traveling, and then manipulate the sounds. (I have a zoom h2n).
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Standard 1" auralex or Sonex won't do anything for frequencies below 1 k. As K mentioned, you may need to treat frequencies much lower than that.

    You also need to watch how much hi frequency treatment you do, because you may not need it. I'm not saying you don't, I'm saying that putting it up without first making sure you need to, can result in unbalanced mixes, just as much as low end issues can.

    If you put up too much of that Auralex, this could result in your mixes being top-end heavy and too bright when played back on other balanced systems...because if you have too much high end absorption, then your room is "lying" to you... and while mixing you can end up adding high end freqs that you really don't have to add.

    I'm amazed at how often I walk into project level studios and see 1" auralex covering every square inch of every wall. People who don't know what they are doing just assume that the more of that there is, the better off they will be... or they see a music video or something where this stuff is in the shot and say "Yeah man, that's what I need!" It's become a myth-based fix-all solution that really isn't always a solution at all, and in fact, can hurt the room.

    This is but a miniscule example of the various acoustics issues you can face in tuning a monitoring environment. This forum is packed with priceless knowledge from experts - people who know much more than I do - on how to determine what you might need, as well as to how to correct those issues. It's a mammoth subject. You need to do your research. No one here can really tell you what to do, because we aren't in your room.

    Before you build or buy improvements, you really need to know what issues you have first. If you have a sprained ankle, you don't put ice on your wrist, is what I'm sayin'. :wink:

    And, after determining which issues need correcting, if you can't build these improvements yourself, you can always purchase various forms of acoustic treatments - absorbers, traps, diffusers, etc.
    But... the stuff isn't cheap. ;)

  18. trana

    trana Active Member

    Thanks for advices , I´ll test and read before I buy .

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