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Which 4- or 8 input interface for me?

Discussion in 'Computers / Software' started by oynaz, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. oynaz

    oynaz Active Member

    My PCI interface on my trusty M-Audio Delta 44 is getting deprecated, so it is about time to invest in a new interface.

    Firewire is going away soon, and Thunderbolt is too expensive, so USB it is. I am using a Windows 7 PC and Cubase 5.

    I have used up to 4 microphones (SM57, SM58, Beta58 and GA-1 condensor mic). It could be nice to have the option of using 8 mics for a drum kit, but it is not a requirement. I use a MIDI drum kit in my studio right now.

    I have a small Yamaha MG1002 mixer with 4 preamps. I have been using them with the Delta 44 card. It would be nice to use them with a new interface in some way, but again it is not a requirement.

    Budget is about 2000-3000 DKR that would be the equivalent of $300 to $400. I can go higher if their is a lot of value to be had. This is strictly on a hobby basis, though.

    There are a lot of threads around the web on this subject, but this is a market with new interfaces all the time, so I thought I would ask you guys.


    M-Audio M-Track 8
    M-Audio M-Track Quad
    Akai EIE I/O Pro
    PreSonus AudioBox 44 VSL
    Steinberg UR44
    Tascam US-1800
    FocusRite Scarlett 18i8

    Let's hear your thoughts :)
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    the pres on the PreSonus will most likely be just a bit better than the rest. still not boutique but a little better as they are x former balanced.

    other than that the quality of these mid priced gizmos will be pretty close to each other. the difference in in the implementation, software drivers and features.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I agree with Kurt, the Presonus or the focusrite would be my choice.

    But don't discard firewire so fast since there are very good units available and I doubt they are going away soon. (I found I'm having less latency problems with firewire units)

    In any case, I went from 2 delta 66 and 2 delta 44, 8 months ago, to a Focusrite liquid saffire 56. Man I can say your in for a treat !! The quality of the converters they sell on mid range interfaces today are much better than what they sold back then... ;)
  4. oynaz

    oynaz Active Member

    Firewire seems to be on the way out. Its only use is audio interfaces, really. When I replace my computer in 3 or 4 years I fear a new computer with a Firewire port will be hard to come by.

    Of the PreSonus and the FocusRite (what is up what that random capitalization?) cards, the FocusRite seems to have more features, though at a bit higher price.

    Have anyone tried the Steinberg UR44? I cannot find any reviews.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Firewire is available as an added Pci card isn't it? I'm pretty sure Texas Instruments makes a different few cards..

    The Presonus Studio Live board that is shaking up the industry right now uses FW as its protocol to get the channels on the desk to their corresponding tracks in a DAW.

    just sayin' :)
  6. oynaz

    oynaz Active Member

    A PCI card will not fit in my laptop, however. I cannot see myself with a desktop again for my DAW. Being able to pick up my entire studio is just too convenient.

    I found some german reviews, and have more a less narrowed it down to Steinberg UR44 vs PreSonus Scarlett 18i8. Which would you choose?
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I have no experience with the Steinberg. I have used the various Scarletts and found them to be a good pre for the money... although it might present you with some problems if you plan on using some lower output dynamic mics - like a Shure SM7 - or a ribbon, at which point, I suppose you could look into something like a cloudlifter.

  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The Scarlett 18i8 is made by Focusrite not PreSonus. If you have come down to a choice between that and the UR44, the Focusrite wins on audio quality any day.
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Quote : Firewire seems to be on the way out. Its only use is audio interfaces, really.

    There's a reason for firewire to be use for audio : it works !! ;)
    I have the liquid saffire 56(firewire) and a scarlett 8i6(usb), and the saffire is way better in regards of latency and stability.

    If your laptop does'nt have firewire already you can buy one of these
    PCMCIA :(Dead Link Removed)
    EXPRESS CARD :(Dead Link Removed)
  10. oynaz

    oynaz Active Member

    OK, OK, you've convinced me. Firewire is an option as well, then.
    Any recommandations?
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Check with the manufacturer's recommendations for what device(s) you have and want to use. I know from experience that Presonus has a very specific list of FW cards that they have tested and approved, as well as a list of FW I/O's that they haven't tested or approved, and they are pretty upfront about stating which cards they suggest. IIRC, several Texas Instruments FW cards were on the list of approved devices.
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    to respect your budget, a used Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 or a PreSonus FireStudio Project could be nice.

    I was just saying to consider it.. Usb or Firewire, there's good units in both directions ;)
  13. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Nothing wrong with FW if you have a good FW interface card in your computer!....rock solid interface method. USB is just easier and cheaper to implement and manufacture, that's why you see a lot more of the inexpensive USB devices nowadays. Everybody has a USB port even on a laptop.
    But either interface will get the job done. The thing you need to figure out is...do you have a good FW interface and if not either buy a TI PCI card or just go USB like most people are doing.
    You also need to determine how many inputs and outputs you want or need. They all come in 2/4/8/16/32 channel configs and in the $300-$400 price range they are all the same quality...maybe look for some bonus bundle stuff or added features one has over the other that might be of interest or value to you. You also might be able to find a sale on the flavor of the month.
  14. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Focusrite Scarlett pre's are smooth, a little silky, there's nothing clinical about them at all. They're very usable, and the Scarlett converters sound great to my ears, even compared to BLA converters which I use on my main DAW. The plugin bundle that comes with the Scarlett's is usable as well.
    What I like most about the Scarlett boxes though is they're able to handle high impedance mic's, which not everyone can claim. And there actually is plenty of Gain for dynamic mic's IME.
  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "... And there actually is plenty of Gain for dynamic mic's IME."

    I recall reading somewhere that the Scarlett was tested with a Shure SM7, and it didn't have as much gain as what the user wanted for that mic; I know the SM7 is a bit lower in output than some other dynamics, I suppose this could be true.

    edit: I found it... just one guy's opinion, but it may be worth the read:

    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2:
    "Not recommended for SM7B. While the 2i2 sounded good… when paired with the SM7B it was simply too noisy. The Cloudlifter improved its performance a little, but not quite enough for my recommendation."

    source: http://recordinghacks.com/2012/06/18/sm7b-audio-interface-shootout/
  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    When ever I want to drive my ribbon mics or low level dynamics, I reach for my Focusrite ISA two. There is not a lot of audio interface onboard preamps that can drive a ribbon. An outboard preamp is recommanded for those.
  17. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    Of the options, I've read a lot of positive things about the Focusrite Scarlett line.
    But, why not choose a Focusrite Saffire?
    It's FireWire, but it is also Thunderbolt compatible.
    So, you have today's standard plus tomorrow's ability.
    I have a Saffire Pro 14 and another site, that I work with, has the Saffire Pro 40.

    I'm sure that the USB devices will be fine, but I'm always leery of using it for audio/video.
    To me, USB is great for mice and printers (not audio gear).
    I guess it's the same reason why I don't like Bluetooth keyboards/game pads.
    I've just read too many issues with it interfering with 2.4gh WiFi.
    For me, I have one thing connected to my FireWire card (the audio interface).
    It seems like that's the way it should be.
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Now a day, many usb interfaces are rocking good ! Thing is, the designers need to put up some solid drivers and low latency to be up to intense work. Either way, firewire or USB, you have good and bad unit in both flavor.

    I'm glade you like your saffire 14. I got a liquid saffire 56 a year ago and I'm pretty happy with it. Specially the fact that it has outboard input capability via adat and spdif and can plug a few hi end preamps to it. ;)
  19. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    USB is backwards compatible, and FireWire has thunderbolt cards, and FireWire 800 to 400 works. So I really wouldn't worry too much about that.

    8 tracks at once would be fine for either one. As an owner of an m audio 1814, I feel they are pretty weak, and I lose a fair amount of bottom end. It's been discontinued for a while, but it cam out around the mbox 2 days and I feel was better audio than that box. I wouldn't purchase an m audio interface again. Not that it's that bad, just not that good. My main concern was PT compatibility, not audio quality at the time. I think there are better options than m audio out there.

    Of your choices, I'd go focusrite, presonus, the tascam, In that order. The thing w presonus stuff is I believe it comes w a version on studio one, so if your looking for a solid new DAW, that might tip the scales.

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