Best Budget Computer Audio Interface

Discussion in 'Computing' started by ocucompmajor, May 24, 2009.

  1. ocucompmajor

    ocucompmajor Guest

    I'm not a recording pro but I'm heading off to music school in a couple months and I need a computer audio interface. I have a new macbook and I'm running Logic Express on it. My computer has no firewire ports so I need an interface that uses usb. I have a couple in mind but I want to here what more experienced individuals have to say. Thanks a lot.
  2. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    May 3, 2009
    New York City, NY
    Well I use the Blue Icicle but I've been told that it does only a fair job.. but it worked for my budget, not the highest quality but its not horrible at all.
  3. MC3DPCS

    MC3DPCS Active Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    The M-Audio Fast Track USB interfaces have decent preamps and up to 8 mic/line inputs. You might also want to look at keyboard interfaces that have mic/line inputs. It would help if you were more specific about your planned use.
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Budget? There's a lot to consider but budget helps to narrow the choices. No Firewire? Shame on Apple.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Ironically, I read 2 topics on the right at the moment -
    Best Budget Computer Audio Interface
    Reasons I hate Windows.

    Ironically, in this forum, I see that a Mac Book doesn't have the 1394 interface - an interface that Apple helped to develop and push as a standard.


    For USB only interfaces, I would personally lean towards the M-Audio interfaces. They're well-built and actually sound pretty decent.

    Best wishes and enjoy your schooling!
  6. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    Ocucompmajor, Welcome to the forum!

    An older white or black MacBook w/firewire would be cheaper than your newer laptop without the firewire, although its hard to make the decision based on what Apple "Genius's" will tell you at the Apple store.

    At the entry level, Apple really pisses me off for having dumped firewire in favor of a better graphics card. I checked out the newest macbooks recently. Apple's just taking another step backward for us musicians at the entry level in hopes that more will buy there MacBook Pro, which will cost you another $800 or so.

    Truth is firewire is a better interface for audio because it provides a way to balance itself, unlike USB.

    Despite the claims that USB 2.0 is very close to the firewire speed, it is often slower meaning more buffering delay into your DAW. Guess what, its also a lot cheaper to implement into your machine.

    Be sure to try tracking at 96K to see if your buffering delays get cut in half. Such is the case for my system.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Either get a Macbook Pro or get a low latency PC (take a usb drive with DPC latency checker with you to the retail store to verify).

    USB (a 100% passive protocol) really isn't even a contender for anyone truly serious about audio recording. Until USB 3.0 comes out. Then we shall see whether it lives up to the hype.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I think you have to ask yourself do you need microphone inputs or just line inputs? How many simultaneous inputs do you need? Your basic needs are to record what? I typically use 44.1 or 48kHz sampling. I've never used 88.2 or 96kHz sampling. I still recording 16-bit but occasionally in 24 only because I didn't hit the 16 button. I like adding equipment that is high-definition capable while I'm running at 44.1kHz, 16-bit. I know that it has the ability to go beyond that. So I know I'm operating within a safety margin I know how to deal with. It's not about the converters, sample rates, bit depths, it's about technique. So you've come here and already graduated.

    Now record something
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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