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Please help me choose an audio interface for my iBook

Discussion in 'Recording' started by krank, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. krank

    krank Guest

    I'll need it to record on my 1.2GHz iBook, so far I've used Logic Express but would like to try different hosts. I'll never use more than one input at a time, either guitar, mic, or MIDI, so a high number of simultaneous inputs and outputs isn't relevant. I guess it also means that I can make do with USB 1.0. What I'm looking for in particular is a good headphone output, since I have to do mixes with phones. Can't spend much more than $400, maybe $500 if it's a great deal.

    Okay, so I've considered the following:

    Edirol FA-66 (don't know anything about this, except the features seem to fit the bill) $400

    M-Audio FW 410 (looks nice, but haven't they had lots of driver problems?) $300

    Presonus Firebox (generally good reviews) $400

    Lexicon Omega (ugly, but lots of features for the price) $300

    Mackie Spike (ugly, but on sale where I live, and I'd really like Tracktion) $300

    Steinberg System 4 (I'd like Cubase SL just to get my hands on Cubase, don't know anything about the hardware) $400

    Any input from user of these would be much appreciated. Specifically about the quality of preamps, converters and headphone output.

  2. huub

    huub Guest

    only useful thing i can say: my mackie 1202 has a really good headphone amplifier..
    this might say something about the spike...
  3. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    I toyed with a Spike briefly. Two of the XDR pre's from the VLZ boards, and yes, the typical beefy headphone amp. It wasn't bad at all, it sounded like 2 channels off a 1604. I didn't try out the DSP, but it seems like it has a good set of features.

    Another option may be the new Focusrite box. I guess they're on their own since Digi bought M-Audio. I can't remember the name or the price, but it looks similar to the Omega (which, imo, is a piece of crap except for the nice reverb it comes with).
  4. krank

    krank Guest

    Thank you both for your input.

    McCheese: What exactly do you mean by 'the typical beefy headphone amp'? Powerful is nice, but it'll also have to be fairly neutral, since I'll have to do at least rudimentary mixing from phones. I have no experience with Mackie units, so your input is much appreciated.

    I've looked at the Focusrite Saffire too, but it's not out yet.
  5. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Mackies are known for having powerful HP amps. They are also very transparent and accurate at least as far as an HP amp is concerned so you don't have to worry about that aspect. Your phones will determine the accuarcy of your mix far more than an HP amp so focus on getting some accurate phones.
  6. krank

    krank Guest

    Thanks again for your time. I have a pair of Allesandros, they are supposed to be fairly linear.

    Another issue for me: Can anyone tell me what impact frequency response has on the perceived audio quality from the A/D of an audio interface?

    I've heard of Nyquist theory, but I'm not sure if I understand it correctly - does it imply that at at sample rate of 44,1kHz the best frequency response should be about 22.5kHz? Since I've noticed most units are 20Hz-20kHz @ 44,1kHz sample rate.
  7. eoink

    eoink Active Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Dublin, Ireland
    I would go with the m-audio FW 410.
    I think M-audio are really getting it together now though. I know they had some difficulty with drivers etc, but to the best of my knowledge they've started releasing updates and patches to rectify the problems. I've been toying around with some m-audio firewire gear over the last few months and I've had no problems.
  8. axel

    axel Guest

    my experience with M-audio cards, both PCI and firewire, are great considering the price-range, it's solid gear for the kinda money you pay, yepp and they fixed the driver probs, they had "a time of lazyness" the old drivers where rock solid and then they got crap, but they got back on the track :D

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