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Needing help picking an audio interface

Discussion in 'Recording' started by clapp26, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. clapp26

    clapp26 Guest

    I am looking for a new audio interface to run into my computer. Currently I am using a Line 6 TonePort UX2 (older version) and I have issues with latency.

    Here is what I am looking for

    • First and foremost, no latency with USB 2.0
    • Affordable, yet quality. No more than roughly $300-$400
    • Is friendly with Acid 7 Pro
    • Has a decent number of effects
    • Has at least 1 guitar input and 1 mic input

    Some questions I have concerning audio interfaces...

    This interface is $500 and seems pretty good... has a midi input and 10 other inputs. I'm guessing that the reason this one is so expensive is because of the number of inputs? If this is wrong, why?

    Buy Cakewalk UA-101 Professional 10x10 USB Audio Interface | Audio Interfaces & Convertors | Audio Interfaces | Musician's Friend

    This next link is the newer version of the audio interface that I already have.

    Buy Line 6 Line 6 Pod Studio UX2 with Pod Farm | Audio Interfaces & Convertors | Musician's Friend

    This unit is $160... but this only has 4 inputs (2 guitar 2 mic). Is the reason this is so much cheaper because of the number of inputs? Or is there a quality difference?

    If there is no quality difference I am looking to go with the UX2, however quality and latency are my main concerns.

    I noticed the Cakewalk interface also having a midi input. My midi keyboard plugs directly into my usb port on my computer, so I will not need this.

    Obviously if I were wanting to record a whole band at one time I would get the Cakewalk interface, but since I am only recording myself and only need a mic and a guitar input... what interface will be the best bang for my money?

    ALSO, one last thing... what is the difference between these two?

    • This is the one I currently have: Line 6 - TonePort
    • This is the newer version: USB Recording Interface | POD Studio UX2 | Line 6

    Same product, different name?
     
  2. Ravikash

    Ravikash Active Member

    My buddy had a the POD Studio UX2, he hated it. Also you're probably not going to like this answer but it is impossible to have a USB interface without lag, no matter what interface you buy, because it is USB it will have a lot of lag, you need to use a firewire interface, and those still have a little bit of lag, some are much better then others, but as far as USB goes, you are out of luck. Out of the interfaces you were looking at I would go with the Cakewalk, but I would also look at "M-Audio" gear, its around the same price, but a better quality.
     
  3. clapp26

    clapp26 Guest

    My problem is I don't have a firewire port on my laptop.. it is a brand new laptop (1 week old) and yet it does not have a firewire port... go figure.

    M-Audio gear is compatible with pro tools right? I have been reading reviews about DAW's and I have read good things about pro tools...

    If I had a firewire port I would consider this: Buy M-Audio ProFire 610 Firewire Recording Interface | Audio Interfaces & Convertors | Musician's Friend

    However, since I don't have a firewire port and can't spend another $500-1000 on a new computer again, would this be a good decision? Buy M-Audio FastTrack Ultra USB 2.0 Audio Interface | Audio Interfaces & Convertors | Musician's Friend

    EDIT: How much faster is Firewire than USB 2.0? I hate having to change buffer size in order to stop crackling when recording and want something that is going to sound good. If that means buying a separate Firewire PCI card for my desktop pc then that is what I will do.
     
  4. Ravikash

    Ravikash Active Member

    Sorry about the late response. First of all, if your laptop can accept a PCI card to add a firewire port it is totally worth that upgrade. The M-Audio FastTrack Ultra is a great interface, and that will definitely get the job done. There will still be some noticeable lag. For example if you are recording guitar and you are playing along with pre-recorded or programed drums, you will notice a delay when listening to your live guitar. Sometimes it will just sound like a nice delay, sometimes it might be too much, I'm just putting it into perspective, so you know what you are getting. M-Audio does work with pro tools but it can only use M-Powered Pro Tools, which is exactly the same as Pro Tools LE, M-Powered is just the version that works with M-Audio, believe me I've done the research and M-Powered Pro Tools is the same as Pro-Tools LE. With M-Audio gear you want have to worry about the crackling when recording, it is clean reliable gear, technically USB and Firewire are roughly the same speed, if you are just doing a simple file transfer. What makes Firewire better for audio is it can deliver a constant high speed transfer rate, because it is a parrallel connection. Meaning it sends data back and forth at the same time, USB works in a burst transfer rate, sending big bursts of data one way at a time, and overtime it averages out.

    Hope that was helpful.
     
  5. TommyTheB

    TommyTheB Guest

    Kinda new here but I'll put my two cents in:

    I'm using a Line 6 UX-1 on a four-year-old IBM ThinkPad with POD Farm 2 and Audacity 1.3 Beta. I have ZERO latency problems. It's connected to the USB port and I'm not even sure if it's USB 2. What I did do is disable the IBM's on-board sound card and made the UX-1 the default. Here's a sample of what I'm getting with this rig:
    SoundClick artist: Tom Bower - page with MP3 music downloads

    Tom
     
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    So Tommy I took a listen. It is so overprocessed & brash sounding, especially that accent guitar on the upbeat, I couldn't listen to the entire cut. Now, don't you want to make things that are rewarding to listen to? Because this isn't one of them even if it is a tribute recording. Everything is over enhanced. Glad you worked out your sound problems with your IBM ThinkPad which, really wasn't necessary to disable the onboard soundcard. When recording and playing back in your preferred audio program, there are selections in the options of the program to select whatever source you want to record from. It's that simple. So you can continue to utilize the onboard soundcard on your laptop when you don't have your external audio device plugged in for recording/mixing. This is all part of the deal when learning how to configure and utilize your recording equipment. And so while you're leaving us a sample I'm curious as to what your desires are here? I certainly would recommend that you back off on whatever compression & equalization, enhancement, etc. you are using. Certainly nothing wrong with the computer nor the audio program. What are you monitoring through to obtain this sound that felt like an oil rig drilling through my skull? Many of us here know that LESS IS MORE & KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. Over processing is there to only create an effect. We don't want to listen to an effect we want to listen to a song. One of the best things you can do before mixing it is to listen to something, by somebody else, that is similar to your genre. You must listen to it on the same system you will be mixing upon. This will provide you with a better reference point from which to start. And just because some of the major CDs may be louder than what you are producing, loud doesn't make it better. Making it loud & nice to listen to when playing back is the fine art of MASTERING, which is an art in and by itself. It's not something you get from a preset in a piece of shareware or a POD. Careful and subtle manipulation is where it's at.

    Chainsaws, my favorite song.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  7. TommyTheB

    TommyTheB Guest

    I have no idea what gear you are listening through, but I'm getting none of the overprocessed brash sound you are talking about. I'll admit that the treble end sounds too bright on my good stereo. Thanks for your observation and comments. I'm new at this and open to suggestions. I monitor through my Sony MDRV-6 headphones, BTW.
    Tom
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well Tommy, there is part of the problem. You just indicated that it was too bright sounding on your good stereo. What do you think I was talking about? You monitor on headphones? That ain't the way to do it. It is very difficult to provide professional mixes utilizing only headphones for your monitors. That's why God created speakers. First there was Adam & Eve and then came speakers. I think it was in that order? I wasn't there. So you want to know what I am listening through when I'm not in the control room? Through an EDIROL UA-1EX or, M-Audio Transit to a Yamaha or Kenwood amplifier to KRK Rock-It's or JBL 4311's in addition to Sennheiser HD 545 and/or HD 280 headphones. Your song is impossible to listen to. Stop with the processing or just at least back off of it. Now there are better speakers & better amplifiers than what I use. I would really hate to hear your song on any of those DYNAUDIO, GENLEC, ADAM, MEYER. That might hurt somebody? And I know that your Sony headphones a lot of people like. I can't work on them. They are too bright for me. You must be deaf or getting that way. It's possible you know. When was the last time you had a real, Dr. administered hearing test? I said, when was the last time you had a real Dr. administered hearing test! I said... I guess you get the idea? And so do you think your song has a similar tonal characteristic to any other particular recording we may all be familiar with? So you're new at this? So am I. I've only been doing it for 40 years now and I know I have at least another 20 before I get it right.

    55 in 32
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  9. TommyTheB

    TommyTheB Guest

    Dammit, Jim...I'm a guitar player not a recording engineer!

    :wink::wink::wink:

    Ok, Ok, I've got issues with my recording methods...hey, you've been at it for 40 years, I've been at it for two months, so be gentle here!

    I have on order a connector which will allow me to monitor through my stereo from the UX-1.

    Tom
     
  10. TommyTheB

    TommyTheB Guest

    And the other problem I've discovered is that I've been exporting my MP3's as 128Kbps. I'm now doing 320Kbps and this has improved things but there is still some harshness in the treble and I also noticed the bass lacks punch. I have a lot to learn I guess. This degradation is only noticable to me through my good speakers (old Boston Acoustics T1030's). Through both computer sound cards and the phones the sound is pretty decent.

    Tom
     
  11. vttom

    vttom Active Member

    I listened to the recording at the above link and, truth be told, didn't think it sounded half bad.

    If anything, it seemed a little "dead". And by that, I don't mean the mix as much as the performance. Maybe take the tempo up a notch? That lead guitar part is nice and smooth, so maybe provide more of a contrast in the other guitar parts by making them more staccato? Also, if you could possibly record a live drum track it would sound better. Or, maybe, choose a different drum synth with samples that have more "room sound" to them?
     
  12. TommyTheB

    TommyTheB Guest

    Thanks, vttom...

    Yep, live is always better!

    I'm just learning to use the drum sampling software and there are better ones out there than what I'm using. If you take the time, they can be made quite fancy.

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with the original song, but I was trying to emulate Duane Eddy's guitar tone as best I could...it just would'nt sound right any other way. Also, the riffs were originally done withe a saxophone so I chose to use a guitar tone with some distortion added. You're right about the staccato...more recent versions of that song have the sax player doing that.

    I like your comments...it's always good to get someone else's opinion of what you are doing, especially since I'm so new at this.

    Tom
    Ohio USA
     
  13. Bad Fader

    Bad Fader Active Member

    FWIW, I agree with vttom. The track isn't bad as it stands. It just seems to lack a little excitement, and the lack is in the percussion. Still, not a bad effort.

    As for your recording technique, you'll learn as you go. Just remember that a musician can be a terrible engineer because they don't see the mixer as an instrument that needs to be learned. With this specific track, I understand you were trying to be faithful to a particular sound, but don't let that keep you from experimenting with, well, EVERYTHING. Every producer/engineer with a signature sound found it by accident.

    Keep trying!! Re-mix, if necessary. Try effects, compression on specific tracks, creative EQ settings, etc. The sky is the limit!!
     

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