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New Audio Interface.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jeff2012, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Firstly Hello. I am new to the forums so I guess a little about me is only polite. I have been a musican for over 18 years and have been recording with bands and at home for at least 10.

    I am looking for advise on a new audio interface for my home studio. At the moment have a E-mu 1616 soundcard and breakout box. This has served me very well for the last couple of years, though last week it stopped working. I suspect it is the power cable transformer so am currently replacing it. Though in the mean time I have been looking at replacement/upgrades just incase.

    I have had a quick look and found a few different options, most seem to be usb now, which is ok with me. Though I always presumed one connected to its own PCI soundcard would be better? I may be wrong on this entirely.

    Anyway a replacement E-Mu 1616 would still run around £250 so I looked at some others and would like some advice or recomendations from your good selves. As I guess if spending that amount of cash it may be more prudent to upgrade to a more modern interface with more inputs, which would be handy.

    Pre Sonus 44vsl
    M Audio Fast Track Ultra
    Alesis Multi Channel 8 usb mixer and interface
    Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP
    PreSonus 1818vsl

    ALl of these run between £200-£400

    Any opinions on these interfaces or brands? Or other suggestions. Or am I best to just stay with the E-MU?

    Any advise would be fantastic.


  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hi Jeff, and welcome!

    In general terms, the Focusrite and Presonus products in your list are in the next quality level up from the M-Audio and Alesis, and posssibly the E-MU as well.

    You haven't said how many channels you need now and whether you may need to expand this in the future, or whether you need DI inputs and line inputs, or how you perform monitoring. Do you have monitor speakers or just headphones? Do you record new tracks while playing previously-recorded ones?
  3. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    I only really need a couple of inputs at a time when I record. Though if possible I would like to add more in time. Which Is why I thought that if I have to purchase a new interface I may look into upgrading. I own a rehearsal studio too so it would be good to be able to offer a cheap live recording service if I do upgrade.

    I use monitor speakers yes, at the moment I have a pair of Mackies. I often record new lines while playing back recorded ones yes.

    I guess what I am saying is I only desperatley a couple of input channels, but if I could get something in the same price range with more it would be a real bonus. But I wouldnt want to sacrifice quality to do this i.e get an inferior interface just because it has more channels.

    But the thought of upgrading, has been the upside of my hardware breaking haha.

    The M-AUDIO FAST TRACK ULTRA 8-R 8 x 8 USB 2.0 also came up in my search.

    Am I right in thinkiing a pci linked interface is better than a usb one? Would I need a good soundcard as well as a usb interface?
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    pci will offer more simultaneous inputs than firewire, or usb, and possibly lower latency (correct me if i;m wrong about latency). usb is good for abou 8 trks, firwire 18, and pci maybe 96trcks. if you have a mixer or some pre's, i'd get a used motu 2408mk1or2 (pci). if not i'd probably go w/ a motu 824mk1or2 (firewire). it's got 8 pres and motu is is just a clean clear reliable bang for your buck interface. there is better, but they compete w/ the big dogs at half the price. they are certainly regraded as "professional" whatever that is, and a step up from a prosumer type like you have listed.

    W. your experience level, and expectations for what you want to do, i'd buy something better than entry, or mid level consumer. just go used and get a better product fpr the same cash. all the interfaces lose quite a bit of value when you open them, why not reap the rewards of the economics and get a well regarded piece of gear.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The sound card is fine for games, Skype etc, but for studio use, an external audio interface replaces your sound card.

    For the money, the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra is a reasonable interface that will handle 2 microphones and 2 guitar DI inputs at the same time. It's not in the top quality in sonic terms, but you would have to pay considerably more to get something with similar facilities that was appreciably better in audio quality. That said, the Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL that you mentioned is one of those.
  6. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Thank you for the replies.

    Usb seems to come a long way since I last used an MAudio which lagged a lot.

    I think I am leaning towards the Presonus 1818vsl to give me 8 inputs and possibly adding something like a Behringer ADA8000 via adat for another 8 inputs. 16 channels would be a good start to full band recording. Would I be limited to just adding one interface in that way or if I wanted to could I add a second Behringer ADA8000 to the first for a further 8 inputs?

    Thank you all for the replies. I look forward to reading any more suggestions you guys may have.

  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The 1818VSL has single ADAT input and output ports. This means you can connect one lightpipe in each direction, giving 8 channels in and 8 out at standard rates (44.1/48KHz) and 4 channels at higher rates (88.2/96 KHz).

    You could consider using a single 8-channel expansion device such as an ADA8000, but I would warn you that those units do not get much love in these forums. There are other 8-channel units available with ADAT output, but at considerably more money.

    Don't let that put you off the Presonus 1818VSL as the main interface, as you can weigh up the pros and cons of various ADAT expansion units when the time comes. You could also add a 2-channel pre-amp with S/PDIF outputs such as the Audient Mico to take your channel count to 10 (no ADAT used) or 18 (with ADAT).
  8. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Thanks for the reply mate

    I think the Presonus is still winning at the moment. Though the eight track Maudio interface would get me into Pro Tools which could be handy as its now the 'standard' software. No midi inputs is a drag though.

    Though lots to think about.

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