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Looking for a simple USB (not C) audio interface without mic pres
Old 27th March 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Looking for a simple USB (not C) audio interface without mic pres

Something affordable and clean. Not a rack unit. Something like Event Audio's Echo Gina back in the day, except that had 2 in and 8 out with a chunky cable that linked to a card. All I need is two in and two XLR outs for monitors. Also need a 1/8-inch headphone jack.

Currently using a Scarlett Solo but plan to switch to FMR's Realy Nice Compressor and Really Nice Preamp.

This is just for vocals and electric guitar, not recorded simultaneously.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by bonefoot; 27th March 2019 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: Corrected details on the Echo Gina
Old 28th March 2019
  #2
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Audient ID4 looks perfect for you. Even has an alternative 1/8 headphone plug... It doesn't have XLR outs, but the outs are symmetric, so you just need a symmetric cable with 1/4 male and XLR female.
Old 28th March 2019
  #3
Deleted e999d8e
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Define "affordable".
Old 28th March 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted e999d8e View Post
Define "affordable".
Maybe several hundred. What would you consider simple but quality?
Old 28th March 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
Audient ID4 looks perfect for you. Even has an alternative 1/8 headphone plug... It doesn't have XLR outs, but the outs are symmetric, so you just need a symmetric cable with 1/4 male and XLR female.
Thanks but I would like to find something without a mic pre. I would rather have that bit of the cost go to basics.
Old 28th March 2019
  #6
Deleted e999d8e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonefoot View Post
Maybe several hundred. What would you consider simple but quality?
I'd have to start from scratch. It's been a looooong time since I shopped for an interface. You might want to check Radial, though.
Old 28th March 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted e999d8e View Post
I'd have to start from scratch. It's been a looooong time since I shopped for an interface. You might want to check Radial, though.

Thank you!

Been a long time for me as well. What I'm looking for was very common the last time I was shopping.


This is close. If it had two 1/4" inputs, I would be good to go. Doesn't look like they sell such a thing (at least not on Sweetwater), but that's the right track, for sure.
Old 28th March 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted e999d8e View Post
I'd have to start from scratch. It's been a looooong time since I shopped for an interface. You might want to check Radial, though.
It had been so long my search terms weren't right. You got me headed in the right direction though. I found this. Obviously need to do research on brand reputation and such, but at least I know this stuff still exists!

Thanks.
Old 28th March 2019
  #9
Deleted e999d8e
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No problem.
Old 29th March 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonefoot View Post
It had been so long my search terms weren't right. You got me headed in the right direction though. I found this. Obviously need to do research on brand reputation and such, but at least I know this stuff still exists!

Thanks.
You understand that this device has only 16 bit, has NO inputs that allow you to record anything into your DAW (the inputs are just for the use as a DI Box) and has NO headphone output? It's for live use as a playback unit, testing unit and DI-Box.
It is very similar to the Radial, it only has these inputs for additional use as a DI Box, not for recording.
If you construct a unit with quality line-ins for the manufacturers it is only a few bucks more to add mic-preamps and they win a lot more buyers. The only ADs I know of is the very expensive/high quality hifi gear and interfaces for DJs, but there you pay for the phono preamps instead of paying for the mic preamps. Within the budget you search the additional costs for mic preamps are negligible.
I was a bit confused, because you said you want to record vocals and guitar, so I assumed you need a mic preamp. But you seem to own outboard gear.
Old 29th March 2019
  #11
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonefoot View Post
Thanks but I would like to find something without a mic pre. I would rather have that bit of the cost go to basics.
Some products make you take features you dont want as it would cost too much to make all the variations without them andor some of them.

Mass production brings down the cost of that item so it really is no more expensive. So buy a good box and ignore the pres if you dont need them.
Old 29th March 2019
  #12
Deleted e999d8e
Guest
Mic pres can be power hogs, relatively speaking. If your power source is a battery powered laptop, or other mobile device, it's best not to have mic pres on your interface if you don't need them.
Old 29th March 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted e999d8e View Post
Mic pres can be power hogs, relatively speaking. If your power source is a battery powered laptop, or other mobile device, it's best not to have mic pres on your interface if you don't need them.
On all interfaces I know with phantom power you can switch it on or off. If you switch the phantom power off mic pres are no "power hogs" in any way.
Old 8th April 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
You understand that this device has only 16 bit, has NO inputs that allow you to record anything into your DAW (the inputs are just for the use as a DI Box) and has NO headphone output? It's for live use as a playback unit, testing unit and DI-Box.
It is very similar to the Radial, it only has these inputs for additional use as a DI Box, not for recording.
If you construct a unit with quality line-ins for the manufacturers it is only a few bucks more to add mic-preamps and they win a lot more buyers. The only ADs I know of is the very expensive/high quality hifi gear and interfaces for DJs, but there you pay for the phono preamps instead of paying for the mic preamps. Within the budget you search the additional costs for mic preamps are negligible.
I was a bit confused, because you said you want to record vocals and guitar, so I assumed you need a mic preamp. But you seem to own outboard gear.
That specific device wasn't of interest to me, but I got prematurely excited that it looked like someone was still supporting the idea of a standalone interface. I'm finding that the situation is very different than it was when I built my last project studio in the late 90s/early 2000s.

These days, it seems you just can't get a nice budget interface without mic pres. I think I'll be going balanced out of whatever pre/comp I chose into the line input of my Scarlett Solo, bypassing the pre. I just can't use the Solo without a compressor. My voice goes from totally inaudible to grinding distortion on that thing. I've tried moving closer/farther from the mic, turning my head during loud parts, etc. It's just not going to work.

I used to go from a Rode NT-1 to a JoeMeek VC3 into an Echo Gina (interface without nothing else), and that was great for me.

I'll probably either get an old JoeMeek pre/comp or go with an ART Channel or something, balanced out, into the line input of the Scarlett.
Old 10th April 2019
  #15
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DirkP's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bonefoot View Post
That specific device wasn't of interest to me, but I got prematurely excited that it looked like someone was still supporting the idea of a standalone interface. I'm finding that the situation is very different than it was when I built my last project studio in the late 90s/early 2000s.

These days, it seems you just can't get a nice budget interface without mic pres. I think I'll be going balanced out of whatever pre/comp I chose into the line input of my Scarlett Solo, bypassing the pre. I just can't use the Solo without a compressor. My voice goes from totally inaudible to grinding distortion on that thing. I've tried moving closer/farther from the mic, turning my head during loud parts, etc. It's just not going to work.

I used to go from a Rode NT-1 to a JoeMeek VC3 into an Echo Gina (interface without nothing else), and that was great for me.

I'll probably either get an old JoeMeek pre/comp or go with an ART Channel or something, balanced out, into the line input of the Scarlett.
More bad news: on the cheap Focusrite interfaces you CANNOT bypass the mic preamps. Other interfaces do this if you use 1/4 instead of XLR. The Focusrite not.
Does the instrument input on my Scarlett 2i2 bypass it's pre amp?
Old 10th April 2019
  #16
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Lexicon Alpha Desktop USB Audio Interface
MOTU MicroBook IIc Mobile USB / FireWire iOS Audio Interface
Keith McMillen Instruments K-Mix Performance Mixer

Are some choices.

But the mic pre in those cheap interfaces are probably going to be better than the mic pre and comp you want to use.

other things:
No matter how hard they try, 1/4 inch is the studio standard for headphones, and they should never should have put a 3.5mm connector on studio headphones because the pro audio sector doesn't use the 3.5mm connector other than the live guys that connect their phone to their mixer via RCA to 3.5mm. So that 3.5mm is non-standard as far as a connection for headphones.
EDIT: ok, I'll rant about headphones in the moan zone.....
Don't ask me why the idiots put them on our headphones, other than them counting on you on buying adapters.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Head
 

Look at the Radial Key Largo. The USB interface has 2 way communication with the computer and can be used for playback and recording. It has 24 bit 192K Converters. It also has no mic pres and can handle quite high line levels. There are both main and monitor XLR outs and an FX look and a volume pedal loop.

https://www.radialeng.com/product/key-largo
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