Advice on my preamp/interface selection...

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by Unwound, May 15, 2013.

  1. Unwound

    Unwound Active Member

    Hi everyone, I hope this is the appropriate forum for this.

    I'm in the process of rebuilding my project studio (long story) and right now I'm leaning towards using the RME HDSPe PCIe as my audio interface. This is primarily because most of my work is in virtual instruments and I'm looking for something with very low latency. I also usually record vocals and the occasional guitar/bass track so I'm considering pairing it with something like the Audient MICO mainly because the MICO has digital output which is reportedly quite good for the price.

    This puts me around $1500 for the cost of the interface and the preamp- any other suggestions in this price range? I realize there are a variety of audio interfaces at this price point (the RME Fireface UCX comes to mind) but most of them will have less optimal preamps than the MICO and the latency won't be as good through FW or USB as a PCIe card will be.

    Open to suggestions.
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    How are you connecting monitors? Which HDSP card? Most of these cards do not have direct monitor outputs or you will need some sort of break out cable that ports the 9 pin serial to it's separate I/O. I don't know of any Monitors which have direct ADAT I/O so you will need something. What platform are you using? PC? Mac? Have you considered the UAD Apollo which has Thunderbolt?

    Latency as far as VI are concerned is virtually unaffected by the interface. It's mostly the drivers(which is about the only connection to the interface other than your monitors) and the power of your computer. The only place where your interface really affects latency is when you are recording live instruments.
  3. Unwound

    Unwound Active Member

    Sorry for not clarifying. I'm looking at the HDSPe AIO which does have outputs that can be run to monitors (as well as a headphone output). I'm on Mac. I took a look at the UA Apollo and it appears to be like 2.5k with the Thunderbolt option. My Mac doesn't have Thunderbolt (Mac Pro) and as you mentioned drivers, that is definitely RME's strong point. I'm just wondering if I'm overlooking something better at that price point.
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page: Universal Audio Apollo Duo Core 18 x 24 Firewire/Thunderbolt Audio Interface: Musical Instruments if you go w/ the duo version, you can get it for 2k. the pres are probably as good as the mico, and if you figure the duo card cost 700bucks alone, it's a decent deal into something state of the art, vs something that's similarly priced but, already a few years old, and doesn't include top of the line effects topology either.

    i know it's 500 more, than your thinking, but your getting heavy duty low latency processing for your synths, which won't tax your cpu a bit, very important when your run soft synths.

    if it were i, which it obviously isnt', an i was gonna drop around that much money, i'd go w/ state of the art, and not worry about if for another ten years. IMHO of course.
  5. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:
    I'm running an Apollo Duo on quad i7 Macbook Pro via FW800 with no issues.

    The latest version of the console app allows you route and track VI through UAD2 plugs, check the UA site for details.

    It performs well under FW800, I will add the thunderbolt in the future but is not a big issue now.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Well-Known Member

    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    The Gearfest puremix contest was recorded using the Apollo.

    I'm curious to learn what your opinion would be on the "sound" of those tracks in comparison to how your Apollo sounds? In other words, are those tracks an accurate representation to how the Apollo converter and plug-ins sound?

    You can download the tracks from | Online Video Tutorials - Mixing, Recording, Mastering and Producing Music
  7. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Ok. Just checking because from everything I've seen you can only get analog I/O via an optional daughter card:
    RME: Hammerfall DSP Optional Expansion Boards

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