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Thread: What is your audio interface of choice?

  1. #1
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    What is your audio interface of choice?

    Looking to get a new audio interface and I'm curious what all of you are using.
    I've been using the Zoom LiveTrak L20 which I bought earlier this year(2020). My goal at that time was to do more recording out of the box which the Zoom allows(MTR).
    However, for editing you need to export the tracks to DAW, so what is the point I ask myself.
    It sounds great, but I feel it colors the sound to me when I'm trying to mix and play it back through the L20 interface.
    I toggle back and forth between it and my Focusrite Scarlett 18i8, which I feel has a nice transparent sound for recording as well as playback.
    I have 3 hardware synths(D50, Ensoniq VFX-SD and Yamaha Montage) which I use in stereo. I also have the Korg Arp Odyssey(slimkey) and Moog Voyager. The Arp uses a XLR connector and I have Moog in mono with 1/4 cable. I need a XLR for my mic and of course a hiZ for my guitar.

    Before I got the Zoom L20 I had a Roland Studio Capture which I loved, but had crashing issues and I don't think Roland updates their drivers in a timely manner.
    The Studio Capture doesn't have a driver download page, they have a convoluted system, everytime you fire it up or reconnect it, it will download it from the internet...goofy to say the least.

    I'm going to sell the Zoom and will hopefully have around a $600 or less budget.

    So, what are you using? and which interfaces do you like.
    I need enough inputs so I don't have to to unplug/replug for every recording or composing session.

    I would love the UAD stuff, but too expensive and not enough inputs.

    thanks
    Rick
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comhttps://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    I have a Presonus, Focusrite, Steinberg, and an old Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6. All hooked up to different a machine, all with solid performance...so take your pick.

    EDIT: I should point out, specific models from the above manufacturers are neither here nor there. What's important is the drivers. All of the above have solid drivers.
    Last edited by progmatist; 1 Week Ago at 12:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I have a Presonus, Focusrite, Steinberg, and an old Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6. All hooked up to different a machine, all with solid performance...so take your pick.

    EDIT: I should point out, specific models from the above manufacturers are neither here nor there. What's important is the drivers. All of the above have solid drivers.
    I'm not confused now, at all. lol

    Yes, I totally agree, the driver's and frequent updates are extremely important.
    It's been how many years(2 or 3) since Windows 10 was thrown at everyone? They are constantly messing with it and to me, it's still buggy as hell. I just recently has some DAW issues right after one of their latest updates. Thankfully the software manufacturer had a fix from a known bug the update caused.

    So yes, driver stability is very important. I've found the Focusrite stuff to be very current and stable. I do miss the sound the Roland gave me, and haven't ruled out the Quad.
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comhttps://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

  4. #4
    I have an earlier model of one of these:

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-digital-mixer

    It is a bit above your price range but it pretty much covers all the I/O you would need for the synths and whatever DAW you plan to use

    That said...there may be other models or similar units at a lower price point but with largely similar features.

    Good luck!!
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  5. #5
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    M-Audio M-Track. Works perfectly fine for my purposes, and it's inexpensive.

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    I got a MOTU 2408 mk3 in 2003 when I moved from ADAT to a computer based home studio. I later expanded with a MOTU 1296.
    I wanted plenty of analog inputs because at the time I was going to record a live drumset. I have done that, but earlier this year I realized that none of my efforts recording a drumset in a basement, which is where drummers I have worked with typically want you to record them, have resulted in good sounding recordings.
    I recorded a couple of drummers in my living room several years ago, and got better results. The room sounded brighter and airier than a basement.

    I still use the 2408 mk3 and 1296 though I'm not sure I actually need all those analog inputs these days. My plan going forward is to use Superior Drummer 3 for drums, whether using the grooves that I can get online or converting audio tracks from a drummer to MIDI.
    I do have a bunch of rack mic preamps so it's nice to leave them all plugged in to their own inputs.

    I'm not sure how MOTU gear compares to higher end gear like Lynx, RME and others. Sometimes I've wondered if I would get significantly better audio with something higher end, and other times I wonder if I can improve my audio quality just from better mixing skills, maybe better sounding drum tracks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    I have an earlier model of one of these:

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-digital-mixer

    It is a bit above your price range but it pretty much covers all the I/O you would need for the synths and whatever DAW you plan to use

    That said...there may be other models or similar units at a lower price point but with largely similar features.

    Good luck!!
    Thanks John, you would bring that one up. I love it, almost picked one up last year but the menu diving seems a bit much. But the ZOOM has a bit of that as well, so it wouldn't be an issue.
    Not sure I want another mixer on my desk and think I'll prefer having it next to the desk in a rack.
    I love the Presonus stuff, they seem to care what users ask for, and a lot of time will implement features in their gear that is suggested.
    In fact, I use Presonus Studio One 4.5 intermittently when not using Cubase and it's a great DAW. My last song Journey of One was recorded and mixed using Studio One.
    Thanks for you input John.


    Quote Originally Posted by Koreabruce View Post
    M-Audio M-Track. Works perfectly fine for my purposes, and it's inexpensive.
    I'll check it out Bruce, thanks. I've heard your music and I can say, it works for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Distance of Man 1 View Post
    I got a MOTU 2408 mk3 in 2003 when I moved from ADAT to a computer based home studio. I later expanded with a MOTU 1296.
    I wanted plenty of analog inputs because at the time I was going to record a live drumset. I have done that, but earlier this year I realized that none of my efforts recording a drumset in a basement, which is where drummers I have worked with typically want you to record them, have resulted in good sounding recordings.
    I recorded a couple of drummers in my living room several years ago, and got better results. The room sounded brighter and airier than a basement.

    I still use the 2408 mk3 and 1296 though I'm not sure I actually need all those analog inputs these days. My plan going forward is to use Superior Drummer 3 for drums, whether using the grooves that I can get online or converting audio tracks from a drummer to MIDI.
    I do have a bunch of rack mic preamps so it's nice to leave them all plugged in to their own inputs.

    I'm not sure how MOTU gear compares to higher end gear like Lynx, RME and others. Sometimes I've wondered if I would get significantly better audio with something higher end, and other times I wonder if I can improve my audio quality just from better mixing skills, maybe better sounding drum tracks.
    I think we've reached a stage in technology where even budget audio interfaces sound excellent. Most of the extra cost is for the quality of the preamps, extra inputs and other features.
    Earlier today I watched a comparison video doing a blind audio test comparison between a $7000 interface and a $300 Tascam and most of the commentors couldn't hear the difference or guessed the wrong one.

    I'm kind of loving this one at the moment.Presonus 192.it's sexy looking, plenty of inputs, great software interface/mixer, integrates with Studio One..but a bit pricey..
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...command-center

    Thanks ya'll for sharing.
    Last edited by Top Cat; 1 Week Ago at 05:58 PM.
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  8. #8
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koreabruce View Post
    M-Audio M-Track. Works perfectly fine for my purposes, and it's inexpensive.
    If buying M-Audio, just be forewarned that in the past, M-Audio hasn't been very good about updating their drivers. In order to continue using my Delta 1010LT card, I have to continue running Windows 7 on the machine in which it's installed.
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  9. #9
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    Since I am starting all over again...again 20 yrs after quitting playing....

    Does anyone have or know someone who uses this? I am a manual faders guy....

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=tascam+16



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    I upgraded to a Steinberg UR816c. Have a UR44 for sale (lightly used). Very clean and rock solid builds.

    Have an old MOTU 828MK2 firewire that now collects dust. I liked it while I used it way back when.
    JG

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    If buying M-Audio, just be forewarned that in the past, M-Audio hasn't been very good about updating their drivers. In order to continue using my Delta 1010LT card, I have to continue running Windows 7 on the machine in which it's installed.
    wow, I thought the Roland Studio's updates were bad!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Giant View Post
    I upgraded to a Steinberg UR816c. Have a UR44 for sale (lightly used). Very clean and rock solid builds.

    Have an old MOTU 828MK2 firewire that now collects dust. I liked it while I used it way back when.
    I've heard good things about the Steinberg, and yet, it's one of those that seems to get passed by when people are looking to upgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    Since I am starting all over again...again 20 yrs after quitting playing....

    Does anyone have or know someone who uses this? I am a manual faders guy....

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=tascam+16



    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
    I know a little bit, enough to be dangerous or provide wrong information. lol
    It's a lot like my ZOOM L20, which is also a hybrid digital mixer/multi-track recorder.
    They also have a ZOOM L12 with less inputs.

    Are you looking at the Tascam so you can record songs without using your computer?
    Or do you like the idea of using a mixer for an interface into your recording software? or mixing your computer tracks with a mixer?

    Both the Zoom and the Tascam allow you to interface with your computer, or if you like you can record multiple tracks and save them to a SD card, and you can even mix them down without going to the computer and save the song to a SD card.
    No dedicated aux sends/returns for outboard gear. You can send a track out to hardware(effects,etc) and then bring them back into the mixer, but you have to use up one or two tracks depending if it's stereo or not.

    The onboard effects aren't printed to a trrack when you record, only the track compression is.

    Be careful, some mixers suggest you can mix your computer tracks, but many analog mixers like Behringer and Presonus, even tho they interface digitally with the mixer, they usually only send 2 channels back.

    Another option is the Soundcraft 12MTK and 22MTK actually do interface with your recording software, and once you've done all your editing of your tracks, you can send them back directly and mix the song using the faders/etc on the Soundcraft. It sounds really really good, I had the 22MTK for awhile. The only thing I didn't like since it's analog, it doesn't remember your fader settings, etc. So if you're working on a mix and decide to work on another song or have an idea, if you move anything like faders, trim pot, you lose your mix settings.

    You might check out the Tascam Forum for the Model 16.
    https://www.tascamforums.com/forums/model-24-16-12.73/
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comhttps://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

  12. #12
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    Thnx TC

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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    Thnx TC

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
    You're welcome. If you have any other questions please PM me and maybe I can help with your search.
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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    I've heard good things about the Steinberg, and yet, it's one of those that seems to get passed by when people are looking to upgrade.
    They work particularly well with Cubase, from the same company.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    I think we've reached a stage in technology where even budget audio interfaces sound excellent. Most of the extra cost is for the quality of the preamps, extra inputs and other features.
    I think you're right. I have heard recordings made on cheap "bedroom studio" interfaces that sounded excellent.
    Maybe at some point I will update. I would need to find one that DOESN'T have mic preamps, because I have plenty of those, and has a bunch of line level analog inputs that I can plug my mic preamps into.

  16. #16
    I have a Steinberg UR12, which I got when I bought Cubase 8 Pro. It is sturdy, but it doesn't offer many inputs. Just a mike and I think a line. It has 2 outputs. I only use it for V instruments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    You're welcome. If you have any other questions please PM me and maybe I can help with your search.
    I may take you up on that, once I organize my needs/reqs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    I have a Steinberg UR12, which I got when I bought Cubase 8 Pro. It is sturdy, but it doesn't offer many inputs. Just a mike and I think a line. It has 2 outputs. I only use it for V instruments.
    Thanks Rarebird, looks good but not enough inputs for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    I may take you up on that, once I organize my needs/reqs.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
    Sounds good, would be happy to help out.

    My Zoom Livetrak L20 sold within an hour on ebay...crazy stuff.
    So I was able to make my decision and order it from GC online(Sweetwater was out of stock)

    My decision is...(drum roll), the Presonus 1824C audio interface.
    I've been a long time Focusrite user and love their gear but it was time for a change.
    I like everything I've read about the Presonus XMAX preamps which was a big deciding factor in my decision, as well as it integrates very well with Studio One 4.5 DAW recording software..I think at $499US it's a great choice for me.presonus-studio_1824c-front_big.jpgpresonus-studio_1824c-back_big.jpg
    Last edited by Top Cat; 4 Days Ago at 12:56 PM.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    Thanks Rarebird, looks good but not enough inputs for me.


    Sounds good, would be happy to help out.

    My Zoom Livetrak L20 sold within an hour on ebay...crazy stuff.
    So I was able to make my decision and order it from GC online(Sweetwater was out of stock)

    My decision is...(drum roll), the Presonus 1824C audio interface.
    I've been a long time Focusrite user and love their gear but it was time for a change.
    I like everything I've read about the Presonus XMAX preamps which was a big deciding factor in my decision, as well as it integrates very well with Studio One 4.5 DAW recording software..I think at $499US it's a great choice for me.presonus-studio_1824c-front_big.jpgpresonus-studio_1824c-back_big.jpg
    Looks nice, but not enough midi outputs for my taste.

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