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Recommend an audio interface.
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Recommend an audio interface.

So, all of the sudden I noticed some weird artifacts on my FireFace 400. Went though the RME support (very good) and they concluded that they think its a hardware issue and that I should send it in. That means me being down for the count until I get it back... I don’t like that idea, so I’m thinking that maybe I just replace it, get it repaired and then sell it when it comes back, or save it as a backup.

I’ve been thinking of maybe getting something with some DSP power anyway, just to use for preamp/compressor software. Something like the Apollo or Antelope stuff. Or not. I just need 6-8 analog in and ADAT to connect to my ADA8200, but I want it to sound good as well and allow for low latency. 32-64 samples is what I run my FireFace at. The FireFace is still usable, but I’d like to replace it by Christmas at the latest, so about $1500 is my max budget. Sadly that sh!ts on my synth buying plan, but let’s face it, I have too much already.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
but let’s face it, I have too much already.
nobody said that ever before
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elcct View Post
nobody said that ever before
I’m a trail blazer.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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the_soulcatcher's Avatar
one can't go wrong with RME >>> RME Fireface 802

edit:
you surely know the options (I'd guess) as there aren't that many, imo
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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greenlights's Avatar
Apogee Element. Very simple and sounds good for the price too.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Redundancy saves lives (and careers too). When my main interface died, and i was in the middle of the deadline for Waldorf doing Streichfett demos i almost quit but then remembered i got an ole Roland VS-2400CD and an Atari 1040STF. And these two saved my career at Waldorf. Pity i sold the VS. Damn i think i will grab one sooner or later. Anyway, since then i've learned my lesson!!! So.... here is how it goes today. One computer one interface, double that. Take the last, then double that again.

-- Mac + RME Babyface (main computer + interface)
-- PC + E-MU 1820 (backup computer + interface)

Even if both interfaces die, E-MU comes with E-MU 1010 card. And to that card i can connect any of my digital samplers that have digital I/O and use them as an audio interface: Akai S3000XL, E-5000, Roland S-750.

Oh and i also have another E-MU1010 card in the basement. Just in case, in case, in case. So, that's triple double redundancy in here after the Streichfett near fiasco.

My point: get a Babyface. I bought it as a spare audio interface, but now it is my main interface. Never had a single problem with RME.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Redundancy saves lives (and careers too). When my main interface died, and i was in the middle of the deadline for Waldorf doing Streichfett demos i almost quit but then remembered i got an ole Roland VS-2400CD and an Atari 1040STF. And these two saved my career at Waldorf. Pity i sold the VS. Damn i think i will grab one sooner or later. Anyway, since then i've learned my lesson!!! So.... here is how it goes today. One computer one interface, double that. Take the last, then double that again.

-- Mac + RME Babyface (main computer + interface)
-- PC + E-MU 1820 (backup computer + interface)

Even if both interfaces die, E-MU comes with E-MU 1010 card. And to that card i can connect any of my digital samplers that have digital I/O and use them as an audio interface: Akai S3000XL, E-5000, Roland S-750.

Oh and i also have another E-MU1010 card in the basement. Just in case, in case, in case. So, that's triple double redundancy in here after the Streichfett near fiasco.

My point: get a Babyface. I bought it as a spare audio interface, but now it is my main interface. Never had a single problem with RME.
Yeah, that’s good advice. I used to have a working 828, but either it died or stopped working with Windows 10. I will try it again, just to make sure, but I think it might be about time to update things anyway. Make whatever I settle upon my main interface and when I get the 400 back, it will become my backup.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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digital 1010's Avatar
I just picked up a 2nd hand apogee symphony mk1 for 650 quid mint. It replaced an antelope discrete 8 and despite going from thunderbolt back to usb I couldn’t be happier. Re antelope read the threads. I’m happy to give you my thoughts on their service and the discrete 8 via PM but it’s not positive unfortunately.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
those RME Digiface USB units seem to present a few ADAT IO opportunities. not much to go wrong in those looks like.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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usedtohaveajuno's Avatar
Given your well-known love of software, I recommend you invest in a virtual audio interface.

It will appear on your screen as 8 virtual inputs and 8 virtual outputs and you can route your DAW to those as appropriate.

Two virtual speakers will appear at each side of your 28" widescreen monitor and they will vibrate in a realistic fashion as audio is routed to each channel. Because it's software, the virtual interface will faithfully recreate 19 different classi A/D and D/A circuits and you will notice the difference by noting the change in speaker vibrations.

There will also be two virtual headphone facilities, which will allow you and your partner to sit staring at the computer, as two computer generated heads wearing the headphones bob along on screen. From time to time, one of the on-screen heads will remove their headphones, ruffle their hair up, then put them back on.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Yeah, that’s good advice. I used to have a working 828, but either it died or stopped working with Windows 10. I will try it again, just to make sure, but I think it might be about time to update things anyway. Make whatever I settle upon my main interface and when I get the 400 back, it will become my backup.
I'm still on Win 8.1. Have very good results with the MOTU 828. I have two ADA8200s connected to it. The configuration software is quite good and allows a lot of flexibility in routing.

The one limitation I ran into is that the 828 wants to be the Master when having the ADA8200s connected via optical. At first I was trying to have one of the 8200s as master to make cabling a bit simpler, it would work for a while but then the 828 would reset itself as master, causing all kinds of problems. Finally, I gave in and re-cabled and have had no issues since.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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drockfresh's Avatar
Metric Halo has some great pricing these days for their 3D launch
Old 1 week ago
  #13
M32
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M32's Avatar
I have a UFX II for my main system and an RME Babyface for on-the-road stuff. Would recommend. Great quality, and the mixer app is so great for routing. It essentially is my mixing desk and patchbay all in one. 1adat in from 8 preamps, 1adat out going to 8 extra outputs, another adat in getting 8 more input channels, and the last adat out is going to an es-3 for 8 channels of cv/audio into my modular system. All synths hooked up straight and all effects pedals and external fx have a dedicated i-o path. Set up a template in Live, and now i can route any synth through any pedal, send pedals through each other, etc. I can do the same in standalone or without a daw in the Totalmix software too if i choose. DSP eq, gates, dynamics, etc... rock solid and low latency. Both for latency and preamp quality, the babyface is true to it's name and even slightly outperforming the UFXII.

In the last year quite a few good alternatives have come up, with companies like orion and antelope releasing (for them) lower budget and channel count devices, and the apollo series offering dsp plugin power. But for realtime latency i think RME are still a sure thing.

I think it's good to invest as much in quality recording gear and monitoring as in synths & other stuff. I'm always gobsmacked when i see studios with crazy vintage gear i could never afford, only to see a pair of fugly Krk Rokits or the like on the shelves.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtohaveajuno View Post
Given your well-known love of software, I recommend you invest in a virtual audio interface.

It will appear on your screen as 8 virtual inputs and 8 virtual outputs and you can route your DAW to those as appropriate.

Two virtual speakers will appear at each side of your 28" widescreen monitor and they will vibrate in a realistic fashion as audio is routed to each channel. Because it's software, the virtual interface will faithfully recreate 19 different classi A/D and D/A circuits and you will notice the difference by noting the change in speaker vibrations.

There will also be two virtual headphone facilities, which will allow you and your partner to sit staring at the computer, as two computer generated heads wearing the headphones bob along on screen. From time to time, one of the on-screen heads will remove their headphones, ruffle their hair up, then put them back on.
I bet that was fun to type.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mindseye9 View Post
I'm still on Win 8.1. Have very good results with the MOTU 828. I have two ADA8200s connected to it. The configuration software is quite good and allows a lot of flexibility in routing.

The one limitation I ran into is that the 828 wants to be the Master when having the ADA8200s connected via optical. At first I was trying to have one of the 8200s as master to make cabling a bit simpler, it would work for a while but then the 828 would reset itself as master, causing all kinds of problems. Finally, I gave in and re-cabled and have had no issues since.
For various reasons I’m on Windows 10, and I just tried both 828s on it and neither worked, so that’s that. I think one is flat out not working but the other one just would not ever actually show up properly as an interface in Bitwig.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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usedtohaveajuno's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I bet that was fun to type.
I was trying to put a smile on your face!!
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by M32 View Post
I have a UFX II for my main system and an RME Babyface for on-the-road stuff. Would recommend. Great quality, and the mixer app is so great for routing. It essentially is my mixing desk and patchbay all in one. 1adat in from 8 preamps, 1adat out going to 8 extra outputs, another adat in getting 8 more input channels, and the last adat out is going to an es-3 for 8 channels of cv/audio into my modular system. All synths hooked up straight and all effects pedals and external fx have a dedicated i-o path. Set up a template in Live, and now i can route any synth through any pedal, send pedals through each other, etc. I can do the same in standalone or without a daw in the Totalmix software too if i choose. DSP eq, gates, dynamics, etc... rock solid and low latency. Both for latency and preamp quality, the babyface is true to it's name and even slightly outperforming the UFXII.

In the last year quite a few good alternatives have come up, with companies like orion and antelope releasing (for them) lower budget and channel count devices, and the apollo series offering dsp plugin power. But for realtime latency i think RME are still a sure thing.

I think it's good to invest as much in quality recording gear and monitoring as in synths & other stuff. I'm always gobsmacked when i see studios with crazy vintage gear i could never afford, only to see a pair of fugly Krk Rokits or the like on the shelves.
Yeah, maybe a Babyface is for me, though I must admit I’m sort of drawn to the idea of the UAD stuff, even though I’m aware of its limitations and problems.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
I spent quite a bit of time looking at the UA and Antelope options and eventually concluded that I just didn’t like the idea that I’d be tying my workflow and projects to their technology, forcing me to stay in an ecosystem for future upgrades or lose significant investment in either time or money. That just felt like a particularly poor long-term bet.

As it stands, I have nothing but good things to say about my 828es. So much so that I’m considering getting two more, one for expansion and another for a second location. Internal power supply, easy management over a wireless network, and plenty of I/O options from USB to Thunderbolt to optical to coaxial and AVB over Ethernet. Priced well for the specs and feature set, with basic DSP covering non-exotic things for monitoring purposes like compression, EQ, and a bog standard reverb.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtohaveajuno View Post
I was trying to put a smile on your face!!
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Gear Nut
 
shmuelyosef's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
For various reasons I’m on Windows 10, and I just tried both 828s on it and neither worked, so that’s that. I think one is flat out not working but the other one just would not ever actually show up properly as an interface in Bitwig.
I had very good experience with Focusrite equipment...both current and when I transitioned my Saffire Pro 40 from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The preamps (both the Pro 20 and the newer ISA) are as colorless as any I've found and it all works exactly as expected...it's easy to add 'color' with a preamp and record at line level, etc...good ADAT and SP/DIF optical support as well as simple expansion using ADAT cabling and protocol
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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syntonica's Avatar
Just DIY it...

Recommend an audio interface.-bfb038b5-2eab-417b-bf59-970f0bcdb3f2.jpeg
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Recommend an audio interface.-bfb038b5-2eab-417b-bf59-970f0bcdb3f2.jpeg  
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
I never had any issues with MOTU, they seem rock solid under mac OS.. I have been using the 828MK3 for a few years now and it's just a quiet achiever. I use the firwire port to my old cheesegrater, works great, sounds good done.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
I never had any issues with MOTU, they seem rock solid under mac OS.. I have been using the 828MK3 for a few years now and it's just a quiet achiever. I use the firwire port to my old cheesegrater, works great, sounds good done.
Yeah, I have a pair of 828 mk1s and they served me for a long time. If anyone wants them, pm me and I’ll send them to you if you pay shipping. I wonder if the MK3 will work on Windows 10? The driver says yes, but I’d love confirmation.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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zerocrossing's Avatar
One thing no one seems to talk about is the sound quality of the converters. At the sub $1500 range, is there a difference?
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
One thing no one seems to talk about is the sound quality of the converters. At the sub $1500 range, is there a difference?
I had a hard time finding folks who had the luxury of comparing multiple contemporary options in a similar price range outside of the usual YouTube battles where I had to be deeply suspicious of the motives and biases behind the content. There’s a lot of sponsored content with no disclaimer out there.

In practice, I found the 828es to be a huge step up from my prior cheaper hardware to the point where it sounded utterly transparent for any source I tested. Then again, I’m not using the mic preamps. Just guitars and line-level sources (both -10 and +4 dB, balanced and unbalanced.)
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
I had a hard time finding folks who had the luxury of comparing multiple contemporary options in a similar price range outside of the usual YouTube battles where I had to be deeply suspicious of the motives and biases behind the content. There’s a lot of sponsored content with no disclaimer out there.

In practice, I found the 828es to be a huge step up from my prior cheaper hardware to the point where it sounded utterly transparent for any source I tested. Then again, I’m not using the mic preamps. Just guitars and line-level sources (both -10 and +4 dB, balanced and unbalanced.)
I notice a lot of new interfaces are Thunderbolt. I’m on a Dell Windows box, but I’m not opposed to getting a PCIe card. I’ve got some weird thing about USB... from the old days. Am I just behind?
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I notice a lot of new interfaces are Thunderbolt. I’m on a Dell Windows box, but I’m not opposed to getting a PCIe card. I’ve got some weird thing about USB... from the old days. Am I just behind?
Windows Thunderbolt support seems to have improved a lot but I still see people describing hit-and-miss experiences depending on the specific motherboard, chipset, etc. YMMV.

Even USB 2 has plenty of bandwidth for audio applications. It isn’t going to get you the lowest latency but it should be reliable, presuming you’re not sharing the bus with other devices. Check whatever the modern equivalent of Device Manager is to see what’s connected behind the scenes to a shared bus, as often some built-in hardware winds up on the same root connection as external ports (I haven’t spent much time on Windows since I was at Microsoft - my world is pretty much macOS and iOS dominated these days.)

Thunderbolt gives you some nice future proofing even if you aren’t using it today. Most computers with USB 4 will wind up supporting Thunderbolt fully in some converged future universe.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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syntonica's Avatar
16 stereo tracks at 192khz only needs 12Mb/sec and USB2 tops out at around a practical limit of 45Mb/sec., so using the built-in bus isn't going to break you. You may actually have separate controllers for each port/set of ports, so check Devman. The only thing I don't like about USB, other than the inefficient protocol, is that it is prone to ground loops.

You can also add a second USB3/fw/thunderbolt card if you've got the slot and the interrupt to spare to be dedicated to your audio. Or, just use a PCI card audio interface if they still make such things.

Either way, I don't really hear much, if any, coloring from the cheaper units, just a bad noise floor, which I suppose is coloring, just outside the lines. I've never listened to the fancy-schmancy units, but I would expect them to be crystal clear. Anyways, my tuppence added.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
One thing no one seems to talk about is the sound quality of the converters. At the sub $1500 range, is there a difference?
If you mean "converters" as in subjective differences at the component level, no, not really.

But if you mean what you hear, and if the analog design and analog components (e.g. op-amps) in the signal path fall within the scope of your question, then yes.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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string6theory's Avatar
My latest additions for my fam room setup are an Apogee Ensemble TB for tracking miced up guitars, bass, vox, and an Antelope Orion 32 HD for synths and samplers. I’d recommend either, but I’ve never used the new Antelope FPGA-based plugins and don’t really plan to either as they don’t fit my tracking or mixing flow.

I’m now using dual Great River ME-2NV preamps and EQ’s (and Drawmer comps) in this rig to have outboard channel strips before the Apogee, but I used its onboard preamps for 2 years and they are (not surprisingly for Apogee) very good.

What’s cool for me is that both interfaces have dual ADAT ports, allowing me to link and clock sync all the Apogee (8 +extra) channels to the Orion via 2 ADAT cables at 48/24. The Orion, in turn, links and syncs with the little PT HD TB2 desktop interface (and thus Pro Tools HD software) via dual Avid/Digi cables, so I get 48 convenient and great sounding AD/DA channels in just 2 rack spaces that are located accross the room from each other.

The Apogee Ensemble uses TB2 and the Antelope O32 uses USB3 to connect to my trashcan 2013 Mac Pro/DAW with its TB2 and USB3 ports..

I realized right away that synths take up a lot of channels very quickly, especially all my stereo ones, so the Antelope was just the ticket for me and my expanded circle of synths with what I would consider an excellent value afa cost per channel, ease of use and space requirements.


Good luck!
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