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What's the "best" audio interfaces below $3500 for 16+ (line) inputs? Audio Interfaces
Old 14th February 2019
  #31
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderbird View Post
That is what sold me on it. I always go for a product that will have stability and a long term return.
Well that is what I want to do. Buy the best I can, and even if +€3000 is a bit too much for me in considering paying something around that amount if I get something more, clearly noticeable and benifiting.
But since so many people have talked down the Apollo's I'm hesitant.

I'd like to go and buy something tomorrow but I don't want to make a stupid choice that I'll regret. And the Apollo 8 blackface (mkii) second hand is €1300 but I'll most certainly not get one tomorrow but next week which is fine if its the right choice. Expandability through 2 AD/DA is a big plus.


The Apollo X8 is €2500 and I can sell my Twin after I've bought it due to having 4 preamp available. Expandability through 2 input AD/DA is a big plus.


The Apollo X16 is £3500 and I feel it's too much for now but could be interesting in the future it i continue with UA, great converters and lots of inputs! Expandability etc.


The MOTU 16A is the same amount of cash but I could get my hands on it tomorrow, but I'll have to get an external preamp if I sell my Apollo Twin which is fine but should be taken in consideration. Expandability AD/DA.. big plus.


The RME UFX+ is about €2500 great converters and I feel very interested but the price tag is a bit high for something I'm not sure will give me much noticeable improvements, but maybe in wrong, is the converters and connectability as great as €2500? Glad it has preamp so that I can sell the Twin if this is my choice.


I wish it was easier comparing these devices.
I do feel that all these interfaces will make me happy but I'm not sure which one makes me happiest... Do you guys and girls know?

Last edited by Paratriplel; 14th February 2019 at 10:10 PM.. Reason: Added some spacing
Old 14th February 2019
  #32
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
The RME UFX++ has one feature not often discussed...the optional remote.
Old 14th February 2019
  #33
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIKEHARRIS View Post
The RME UFX++ has one feature not often discussed...the optional remote.
Yeah, I've heard it's rather flexible and also can control stuff that "should have been on the front" but if u get the UFX+ I'm not sure if buy a remote that expensive but maybe if I realize I really need it.


But is there an answer to the question of the thread. What interface is the best? Let's lower the budget to $2500 to keep things a bit more realistic for me as a musican and songwriter that record my own tracks in my home studio and not making that much cash on my music but hopefully will get more things done and get even better recordings than I've gotten with my Apollo Twin, when I've got enough inputs that I don't need to spend 1/3 of my time repatching and reconfiguring stuff (okay maybe not that much but you get my point).
I'm talking facts in first hand but sure I'm interested in other stuff as well. I'd like a good comparison of the interfaces and preferably not only "that interface has and extra X and Y" but pure conversion I guess or even better customer satisfaction!
Old 15th February 2019
  #34
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paratriplel View Post
...
But is there an answer to the question of the thread. What interface is the best? Let's lower the budget to $2500 to keep things a bit more realistic for me as a musican and songwriter that record my own tracks in my home studio and not making that much cash on my music but hopefully will get more things done and get even better recordings than I've gotten with my Apollo Twin, when I've got enough inputs that I don't need to spend 1/3 of my time repatching and reconfiguring stuff (okay maybe not that much but you get my point).
I'm talking facts in first hand but sure I'm interested in other stuff as well. I'd like a good comparison of the interfaces and preferably not only "that interface has and extra X and Y" but pure conversion I guess or even better customer satisfaction!
well, the answer is simple: no, there is no best interface!

if you need flexibility, hook up a couple of preamps (with a/d conversion) to whatever interface you like best.

maybe also check focusrite, grace design or merging: very nice pres and converters!
Old 15th February 2019
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

I checked Black lion's website to get some comparable numbers and I found Antelope Orion 32 and 32+ scoring really low, I'm talking 3 points on their exponential scale, while UA Apollos, RME UFX+ and MOTU 16A kind of equally scored about 5, all interfaces able to get better scores through Black lion's Mods and Antelope being able to get up there to to the standard audio quality of the others.
I'm not sure how scientific this scale is or if it's even possible to be scientific about this subject except while looking at the numbers and drawing conclusions but yeah, it didn't help me figure out what I would buy but in less and less considering the Antelope Orion 32+.

It's so hard deciding these type of things without actually using something for a couple of weeks but I guess I will have to make a choice soon.

How do you guys proceed at this point? I'm talking about the point where it's not even fun to look and you just want to get it done.

I guess I should consider their prices and audio quality but also it's workflow (which is hard without actually working with one, it's forward compability, drivers and latency, it's "extras" that's useful for me or might be in the future and maybe then some..

But really I was sure that I'd have it all figured out by now but I've not. How do I get past this point. This GAS-block.
Old 15th February 2019
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

I'm a bit surprised this thread didn't have a defiant answer. Much like many other threads but still a bit surprising people wasn't claiming there was one superior / one that was mentioned more than another.

I mean of course it's up to taste but it seems to be so much easier to mention exactly what to get when you don't want to spend more than $300.

And if some interface was mentioned more than the others here I coule at least have looked a bit extra at that one.
Old 15th February 2019
  #37
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
you were given answers..depending on which insecurity is predominant...you make the decision
Old 15th February 2019
  #38
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Wierd

Odd no one mentioned apogee symph mkii, you can get them repacked from apogee new for I think $3700 or less used . An excellent all rounder.
Old 15th February 2019
  #39
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Lynx aurora?
Old 15th February 2019
  #40
JDN
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JDN's Avatar
 

I have a 2015 macbook pro also and decided on the Presonus Quantum 2, so far I'm very satisfied and I have an Art Tube Opto 8 hooked up via ADAT for 8 mic pres. You can expand another 8 with the other ADAT ports for way less than what you're looking to spend and have a pretty sweet setup.
Old 16th February 2019
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kcatthedog View Post
Odd no one mentioned apogee symph mkii, you can get them repacked from apogee new for I think $3700 or less used . An excellent all rounder.
Yes I was also surprised that Apogee wasn't mentioned because a couple of years ago Apogee was exactly what people claimed where the best I could get but I haven't really been checking the new products since then and figured they maybe had been out run by others.

I guess the answers are there but I really was hoping for a more unity answer "okay so you need this from a interface, then get X", "yeah defiantly X if you need blablabla", "yes I've had the X for many years and it's great but if you plan on doing blabla you could also consider Y but it's a couple of houndreds more expensive but we'll worth it to if you've got the money".
Or something like that.
Right now I don't feel there have been much unity about any interface, maybe two people speaking for the same interface tops, maybe three people speaking for a certain brands drivers etc.

I'm not much less confused since I started this thread but I've learned a couple of new products and heard people speaking out against a couple of interfaces which is a nice warning. Might have to read through this thread during the weekend and maybe come to better conclusions by then.
Old 16th February 2019
  #42
If you end up getting the MOTU 16a please report back on it. I am considering it as it offers exactly what I am looking for in an interface!
Old 16th February 2019
  #43
Lives for gear
The only reason to get an Apollo is to use UAD plugs on the way in. If this will not be part of the workflow, I would look at anything else.

Pick your protocol and how you will get signal to the hard drive first.....then pick converters. MADI, Dunate, firewire, etc....Are you going to use an RME PCI card of some type?
Old 16th February 2019
  #44
Gear Maniac
 

I've decided on Thunderbolt, I've got a MacBook Pro that might get upgraded to latest gen in a year or so.
I do feel very uncertain about converters and if I even can be sure about which one of the more mid tire I like best so I mean right now it might not be such of a big deal.

About the Apollo. I feel that I would of course use the plugins on the way in, I rarely use them in my DAW. I really like the plugins I've used and I feel they give something to the sound even if I wouldn't be able to explain it and maybe have to play around with the settings to find something I like rather than just tweaking it in one direction.

With that said. I coule do without the UAD's and could have forgotten about them in a week after trying another interface that gives me something else to like about it such as better conversion that contributes to the captured sound.

Right now I'm used to the Apollo and therefore I know what i get but the plugins are so expensive which makes me feel like the interface I bought maybe wasn't very priceworthy because every 100 dollars I spend (and it's hard to come buy plugins much lower than that that are still usefull) so my $800 Apollo Twin duo mkii really have costed me a bit over $1000 and that's why I'm thinking about maybe not go that route again after the doubt I got after the store manager tried to sell me the Orion 32+ and people here telling me to go another route etc.

But I feel a bit lost. I really would have liked to have bought a new interface for this weekend so that I could have install it for some near future sessions with a songwriting mate, because that **** takes time if I won't want cables running all over my small room.
Old 17th February 2019
  #45
Lives for gear
Options

Well the truth is there isn’t one answer for best interface, only you can decide?

If you want to sell your twin there is a guy looking for one now at ua forum just put an add in classified.

Zen pro audio has a converter file, perhaps you should listen to those clips and see if you have a preference?

The new X apollo is the best yet and UA has lots of deals on its plug ins, so you can certainly manage those costs down.
Old 17th February 2019
  #46
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kcatthedog View Post
Well the truth is there isn’t one answer for best interface, only you can decide?

If you want to sell your twin there is a guy looking for one now at ua forum just put an add in classified.

Zen pro audio has a converter file, perhaps you should listen to those clips and see if you have a preference?

The new X apollo is the best yet and UA has lots of deals on its plug ins, so you can certainly manage those costs down.
Yeah I know it's all about preference but I wish there was a more logical and obvious decision to be made about getting an interface.

Thanks I'll look into that but my plan is to first make sure I've got an interface that works and thst at least gives me better results than the Twin, so I'm guessing the same is at least 2 weeks away and I can currently handle the cost for a new interface up to $2500 without selling the Twin. I also expect the guy is not living in Sweden and more probably in the states and is not looking to spend the taxes it costs to import one. I also believe I can sell it in Sweden without too much work if I don't demand too much money.
But I really apprichiate you trying to help and will look into it in case he is interested!

Thanks about the tips with Zen Pro Audio! That's really the best way to get myself closer to a decision about this. As much as I care about capturing the most transparent sound what really matters for me is that it sounds good!

I've tried reading up on how much the AD has been improved in the X series of interfaces and especially the difference between the x16 and x8 (because they does not use the same converters if I understand it right?), or the more relevant difference between a (mkii) 16 and the x8, since that's something I actually could afford the more expensive one.

Hopefully I'll feel a bit wiser after I've listened to the Zen Pro Audio clips. Should I listen in headphones or in my monitors? The moniotes will be the next thing I'm changing out after the interface but my room is not the most perfect one but in a couple of years I'll hopefully have another one .
Old 17th February 2019
  #47
Gear Maniac
 

Sadly Zen Pro Audio is only available to US customers so I cannot test the files. I understand they want to make sure that people should only buy from them after using using their test and I don't know how they could have solved it otherwise but this makes them pretty useless for me unless they've shared some of them "for free" I'm guessing they would let me purchase the test if I offered to pay the $100 but since I won't be able to get that amount discounted from the interface itself it feels a bit expensive for a couple of audio files only useful for a couple of minutes but I see that this can be very useful for US customers looking to buy with the same confusion as I have.
Old 17th February 2019
  #48
Gear Maniac
 

But really, what would you guys have gotten if you had to upgrade to a interface that allows for at least 24 inputs including ADAT?

And more inputs without loosing quality would of course be even better but I guess you get my point.
Old 17th February 2019
  #49
Gear Maniac
 

To put it more clear.

You've got to decide...
Your interface breaks down, you know you need to have at least 16 inputs and you've got $2500 to spend.

This interface should last at least 3 years before the next upgrade but every extra year is a bonus of course.

And if this isn't the case in real life you're on a Mac (~2015) from just before USB C/Thunderbolt 3 was released but you will probably get that computer upgraded to a Thunderbolt 3-/USB C- Mac within 20 months.

I'd just be interested in hearing what you'd have purchased because I keep going back and forth.
Old 18th February 2019
  #50
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paratriplel View Post
I'd just be interested in hearing what you'd have purchased because I keep going back and forth.
this is becoming really silly.

the people who suggested RME would have bought that.
the people who suggested MOTU would have bought that.
the people who suggested Lynx would have bought that.
the people who suggested UA would have bought that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paratriplel View Post
You've got to decide...
No, you do.

Old 18th February 2019
  #51
Manufacturer
 
Universal Audio's Avatar
 

As a Twin owner, adding an Apollo X of some type seems to me to be a way of maintaining and building on your existing investment. But I may be biased.

Seriously, the new X series are the best sounding integrated interfaces on the market. Can you get a demo from your current dealer by chance? That's the best way to find out.

Regardless, good luck with your decision and let me know if there are any specific questions I can answer about our products. I'm around here quite often.
Old 18th February 2019
  #52
Gear Nut
 

focusrite rednet 2
Old 18th February 2019
  #53
Gear Maniac
 

I was Sat for Apollo but then people started telling me to get something with better conversion / converters but if people can agree on that I'm not making a stupid choice going UA Apollo I'd be a happy to purchase one tomorrow.

Just let me know if the Apollo x8 is worth about $1000 more (or $500 more new) than a used Apollo 8 in "Excellent" condition and I'll go for that x8 instead of 8 otherwise I'll go for an Apollo 8 mkii (blackface). Most important for me is the AD but DA is of course a greatful bonus.

I also saw a deal nearby on a used Apollo 8p that was $800 less than the x8.
Old 18th February 2019
  #54
Lives for gear
X

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paratriplel View Post
I was Sat for Apollo but then people started telling me to get something with better conversion / converters but if people can agree on that I'm not making a stupid choice going UA Apollo I'd be a happy to purchase one tomorrow.

Just let me know if the Apollo x8 is worth about $1000 more (or $500 more new) than a used Apollo 8 in "Excellent" condition and I'll go for that x8 instead of 8 otherwise I'll go for an Apollo 8 mkii (blackface). Most important for me is the AD but DA is of course a greatful bonus.

I also saw a deal nearby on a used Apollo 8p that was $800 less than the x8.

The X is completely redesigned: 6 vs 4 sharc chips, new psu, 2 clocks (reduced jitter, digital artifacts), new converters and new analog signal path, it will sound better than the BF.

Why are you buying an 8 when you said you wanted 16 channels of conversion ?
Old 18th February 2019
  #55
Manufacturer
 
Universal Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kcatthedog View Post
The X is completely redesigned: 6 vs 4 sharc chips, new psu, 2 clocks (reduced jitter, digital artifacts), new converters and new analog signal path, it will sound better than the BF.
Only thing to add is surround sound support in case that matters to the OP.

On the "worth" equation, no one but you can decide that Paratriplel.
Old 18th February 2019
  #56
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
The 16X is UA’s best converter. If you start with their best it costs more but retains its quality and delivers superior results years longer.
Don’t buy the used Apollo which is two steps back from 16X. No...the plug-ins are not cheap...but you will have longer to use them and reap return.
Old 18th February 2019
  #57
Gear Maniac
 

I'll have to sell the Twin to afford the 16 (blackface) which was the original plan but I'm not sure I could afford a mic pre at all if I buy the x16 at leat not that is any amount of quality even compared got the Twin.

I've got a RME ADAT. (RME ADI-8 DS) which in planning to keep around for a while. With that I'll get 16 channels.

I'm thinking. It i buy the x8 i get 4 mic pre and 4 line inputs I will probably however keep the Twin around a little longer so probably won't use those mic pre's but I don't know I might sell the Twin. If I decide I need better conversion I could get the Apollo x16 later after I've saved some more and sold something connect then and use that as my main interface and if I keep the x8 I'll have 4 mic pre's... Anyway I don't believe I'll spend $3500 on an interface right now unless I feel unsatisfied with the converters in the x8. And besides, wouldn't I be able to get even better conversion from another dedicated converter that I connect to the second ADAT input? I'm just trying to figure out what's really gonna benefit me the most for the least amount of money (though I am willing to spend a bit over $2000, maybe even $2500 for the Apollo x8 but over $3000 I'd need to be really convinced that I'd be gaining a mot for that extra money and I'm not sure I'd gain that much or at least not that I'd notice from the x8 but I could not be sure of course.
Old 18th February 2019
  #58
Gear Head
 

You can also go Audient ID44, it has two ADAT ins and outs for expansion (up to 20).

Two headphones, best mic pres (untill you get into outboard), send/return, great ADDA. I like the desktop monitor control.
Old 18th February 2019
  #59
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teej View Post
this is becoming really silly.

the people who suggested RME would have bought that.
the people who suggested MOTU would have bought that.
the people who suggested Lynx would have bought that.
the people who suggested UA would have bought that.



No, you do.

Come on, you know I wanted to paint up a scenario if you were in my situation about how you'd have gone.

To help myself decide. I can see that people want to justify their purchase or what they are drooling after by getting other people to buy it / mention it in these type of threads but I see a big difference in people mentioning one interface over the other when they actually motivate it or somehow seem to understand why it fits my situation.... Or I don't know but that's the feeling I got. I just wanted to see if I could get a couple of more people interested because that would at least make me a bit more sure about a purchase.

I feel this could be a really i testing subject to discuss without dissing a specific manufacture because most in this price range sounds great and I would like to know how others decide on one over the other.
Is it specs, is it actual sound tests, reviews, store sellers recommendation, forum members recommendations etc.. etc...

I'm beginning to lean towards UA Apollo again but I haven't decided about the 8 vs x8.
I'm quite satisfied with their sound on my Twin mkii but of course I want better if I can get it without loosing too much of what I actually like about it. I guess that's my goal of thst was unclear.
To establish what you loose or gain between the different interfaces that's not too obvious by reading the specs (even though the specs have some part of it as well of course!)...
Old 18th February 2019
  #60
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teej View Post
this is becoming really silly.
You do understand that you're free to not check this thread if you do not want? I'm sorry but I don't know what's silly about this and he's I've got a hard time making come through with words.
And I'm sorry if you feel it's silly, I'm trying to be short to not totally bore people out when they read but I'm guessing some of my questions is not getting through / remains mentioned in the text.

PS. I know this is my decision to make what I'm hoping for is some guidance about it. DS.

Not sure why you feel you want to make fun of me because I've got a hard time making this decision. It's one of my bigger ones.


I guess what I should have asked was:

1. What made you decide on your current interface? and yeah, I'm speaking of you that have a $ 1500-3000 interface.

2. What have made you decide on your next interface?
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