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Compact recording/preamp interface that doesn't require a computer hooked up to run? Audio Interfaces
Old 11th April 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
pedrohead's Avatar
 

Compact recording/preamp interface that doesn't require a computer hooked up to run?

Kind of an oddball question, but I'm looking for a compact interface that I can plug a condenser mic into, power with phantom power, and listen to the output with a headphone jack/volume knob. It's admittedly not for recording, and I'm having a tough time finding something to fit the bill.

I had looked at the Behringer UMC22, and it does just what I need, but only powers when the USB is connected to a PC. You can't even put an AC adapter on the USB cable (like from your iPhone) and power it off of a wall outlet.

Similarly, I looked at the iRig PRE, but it has to be hooked up to a smartphone for the audio to be routed to the headphone jack.

I would think this would be something easy and cheap to find, but not having luck. Any ideas? Thx.
Old 12th April 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I know my Focusrite Scarlett interface can be configured to run in standalone mode, mixing and monitoring without a computer connected. You need a computer to set it up in advance, but not to operate it later. Mine is the rack mount sized 18i20. I don't know if smaller Scarlett models offer the same functions, but it might be worth checking.

You could also look at video/film oriented mixers and recorders, although many of them get expensive really fast. Still, something like a Tascam DR60 or DR70, or even one of their handheld recorders (some of them have XLR ins,) might also work. Zoom and Sony also make compact recorders that might be configured to do what you want. Try looking at portable recorders, even if you don't need them to ever record.
Old 12th April 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Come to think of it, the smallest Mackie, Yamaha, and Soundcraft mixers are pretty compact too, assuming you've got a power plug available, not just battery power.
Old 12th April 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
 

A Zoom H5 will do all of that plus record and act as a 4 channel USB interface.
Old 12th April 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Poinzy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedrohead View Post
Kind of an oddball question, but I'm looking for a compact interface that I can plug a condenser mic into, power with phantom power, and listen to the output with a headphone jack/volume knob. It's admittedly not for recording, and I'm having a tough time finding something to fit the bill.

I had looked at the Behringer UMC22, and it does just what I need, but only powers when the USB is connected to a PC. You can't even put an AC adapter on the USB cable (like from your iPhone) and power it off of a wall outlet.

Similarly, I looked at the iRig PRE, but it has to be hooked up to a smartphone for the audio to be routed to the headphone jack.

I would think this would be something easy and cheap to find, but not having luck. Any ideas? Thx.
The Behringer UMC404HD uses a wall wart. That's not an endorsement; I'm just sayin'.
Old 12th April 2019
  #6
Gear Guru
 

Any analog mixer will do what you are asking

some of those analog mixers will also serve as USB interfaces.

My brother recently got the Mackie ProFX. It has 8 channels in and can output two channels on USB. So if you wanted to use it as an interface you could pan two mics full left and right and get total separation. Or you could pan a mix of many mics into a stereo spread. In any case, I can confirm that it makes sound without being connected to a computer.

There are some reasonably priced digital mixers that can even multi-track each mic, but because they are made for live use as well, they also don't have to be connected to a computer.
Old 12th April 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
Zoom U-22 can run for 5 hours off of two AA batteries.

Zoom U-22 Handy Audio Interface | Zoom
Old 12th April 2019
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Zoom U-22 can run for 5 hours off of two AA batteries.

Zoom U-22 Handy Audio Interface | Zoom
With phantom power? MY h5 gets 8-12 hours on two AAs with phantom power turned off, but around one hour with phantom power on (a bit more when it's only on one input, a bit less when it's on both).
Old 12th April 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
pedrohead's Avatar
 

Thanks guys, I'll check out some of those suggestions.

Yes, the plan is for this to have AC power available (doesn't have to be batteries), the wish is just for it to be very inexpensive and compact (that UMC22 I purchased was something like $30).

But I'll do some searching on those options. Thx again.
Old 12th April 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMOQuantity View Post
With phantom power? MY h5 gets 8-12 hours on two AAs with phantom power turned off, but around one hour with phantom power on (a bit more when it's only on one input, a bit less when it's on both).
No idea; just quoting the specs from the website.
Old 12th April 2019
  #11
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedrohead View Post
. . . . I had looked at the Behringer UMC22, and it does just what I need, but only powers when the USB is connected to a PC. You can't even put an AC adapter on the USB cable (like from your iPhone) and power it off of a wall outlet. . . .
I wonder. Surely there is some sort of an appropriate adapter available. Although it may well cost as much as the device itself!!

Alternatively, since you have mentioned "the plan is for this to have AC power available", and you have indicated that $US30 is about as far as you want to spend, then buy the UMC22 and find an old laptop.

You may know someone that's about to chuck one away because the battery is screwed. This could simply act as the power supply. There are also many other free sources for old laptops.

Cheers.
Old 12th April 2019
  #12
Take a look at Steinberg UR22mkII. You can power it from a seperate micro USB port.
It has Yamaha D-PRE preamps, so not the worst on a budget...
Attached Thumbnails
Compact recording/preamp interface that doesn't require a computer hooked up to run?-steinberg-ur22-mkii-003.xl3.jpg   Compact recording/preamp interface that doesn't require a computer hooked up to run?-steinberg-ur22-mkii-004.xxl3.jpg  
Old 12th April 2019
  #13
Gear Nut
That's around the same price as the Yamaha AG03. Which isn't too bad either, has some nice input & output options. Also can be powered via an adapter.

That Zoom U-22 looks nice and simple - I also like the looks.

Nevertheless, the OP has indicated he's on a tight budget.
Old 12th April 2019
  #14
Gear Addict
 

There are a few ~$50 mixers that might work, but only provide 15V instead of 48V phantom power, which may or may not be a problem for your mic(s.)

I normally don't recommend Behringer, but if cheap is the priority, their 802 looks like possibly the cheapest way to get this done with full phantom power.

Last edited by Ebeowulf17; 12th April 2019 at 03:24 PM.. Reason: Deleted link which was being blocked.
Old 12th April 2019
  #15
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
There are a few ~$50 mixers that might work, but only provide 15V instead of 48V phantom power, which may or may not be a problem for your mic(s.)...
That's interesting. 15VDC. May or may not work? Which ones are they?

The 802 is approx. 3 times more expensive than the simple UMC22 (at least it is where I live). The UMC22 plus supplied power via an adapter or old laptop is a much more simple and a cheaper option.
Old 12th April 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stixstudios View Post
That's interesting. 15VDC. May or may not work? Which ones are they?

The 802 is approx. 3 times more expensive than the simple UMC22 (at least it is where I live). The UMC22 plus supplied power via an adapter or old laptop is a much more simple and a cheaper option.
The Mackie Mix5 provides 15V phantom power that's always on (no switches.)

Meanwhile, the Behringer 502 at the same price point makes no mention of phantom power. Kind of looks like it doesn't have it, but maybe it's just always on, like the Mackie. If so, the voltage is undocumented in any of the info I found.

I also saw a cheap-ish Rane single space rack mixer with 3 channels of always on 15V and 3 channels with no phantom.

It seems like there are an awful lot of electret mics that are happy down to 11V phantom, so the 15V phantom may be ok, but you'd have to check your mic specs to know for sure what its phantom requirements are. Personally, I'd never buy something with this lower voltage psuedo phantom power, but as long as you know your mics, it's probably fine.

As for comparing prices, the $30 price isn't much help if the device is just a paperweight when not connected to a computer. It sounds like the problem isn't powering it (which the thread starter has already done,) but getting it to respond. It's not surprising. Plenty of USB devices do absolutely nothing until they get initialization instructions through their serial bus.
Old 12th April 2019
  #17
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
...As for comparing prices, the $30 price isn't much help if the device is just a paperweight when not connected to a computer. It sounds like the problem isn't powering it (which the thread starter has already done,) but getting it to respond. It's not surprising. Plenty of USB devices do absolutely nothing until they get initialization instructions through their serial bus.
With all due respect, the OP said nor asked nothing of the sort.

The OP asked for a "simple" solution and indicated that he/she is not interested in the recording aspect. A simple straight through LIVE scenario. Well, that's the way I took it.

Of course you can mention that the UMC22 (or other devices) can record via USB. But that is NOT what the OP asked. Simple.
Old 12th April 2019
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stixstudios View Post
With all due respect, the OP said nor asked nothing of the sort.

The OP asked for a "simple" solution and indicated that he/she is not interested in the recording aspect. A simple straight through LIVE scenario. Well, that's the way I took it.

Of course you can mention that the UMC22 (or other devices) can record via USB. But that is NOT what the OP asked. Simple.
I understand that recording isn't the goal. But the device needs to pass audio through it. According to the OP's previous comments, simply powering the UMC22 is insufficient - it doesn't pass audio until it's connected to a computer. Based on that, it's unsuitable.

I never said anything about recording. I only said that the UMC22 doesn't appear to be a viable solution. Assuming that's true, there's no point in comparing prices between a device that doesn't solve the OP's needs and one that does.
Old 12th April 2019
  #19
Gear Nut
Perhaps we are on mixed purposes.

All I'm saying is that the OP can get power from an old mac/pc. It doesn't "need" to be completely operational or cost too much cash (if any...INHE?).

Anyways, I'm gonna listen to some recordings I made a few weeks back.

Cheers.
Old 12th April 2019
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stixstudios View Post
That's around the same price as the Yamaha AG03. Which isn't too bad either, has some nice input & output options. Also can be powered via an adapter.

That Zoom U-22 looks nice and simple - I also like the looks.

Nevertheless, the OP has indicated he's on a tight budget.

Yeah, I somehow overlooked the budget. I'm not really familiar with any combination mixer/interfaces in any price range but apart from the Behringer stuff there are also a few really inexpensive Chinese mystery brands on Amazon, and I think Monoprice has a cheap mixer with a built in USB interface that might be worth checking out.


In that price range my gut instinct would be to look for something with the simplest analog signal path that would still fit your needs, since that's where cost cutting is likely to cause the most problems.
Old 12th April 2019
  #21
Gear Nut
Fair point.

I hope Pedro sorts it all out.

Cheers.
Old 12th April 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
 
12ax7's Avatar
 

By definition, if you don't have a computer, you don't need an interface.

Believe it or not, before computers even existed people used to do this all the time (without an interface!)
Old 12th April 2019
  #23
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
By definition, if you don't have a computer, you don't need an interface.

Believe it or not, before computers even existed people used to do this all the time (without an interface!)

If the OP is not intending to do any recording, why is he asking for an "interface" at all? Pretty much any analog mixer can take in mics or line signals, phantom power them and put out a headphone cue.

People seem to be suggesting 'interfaces' because the word "interface" is in the thread title. I think pedrohead needs to clarify his needs.

Did he ask for an "interface" because he is a newbie and did not understand there are other devices that are not interfaces that will let him hear his mics live with no computer?

Or did he ask for an interface because at least sometimes he will be recording through it? If he is never recording, almost any analog mixer or jam-hub kind of thing would do the job.
Old 12th April 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
[...] Did he ask for an "interface" because he is a newbie and did not understand there are other devices that are not interfaces that will let him hear his mics live with no computer?

Or did he ask for an interface because at least sometimes he will be recording through it? If he is never recording, almost any analog mixer or jam-hub kind of thing would do the job.
I have no idea, but I would like to hear back from 'pedrohead', so as to find out (and maybe help).

...And for anyone else interested (and who may not know):

An "interface" is a device that takes in analog signal sources (like mics, keyboards, guitars, etc.) and sends them along to a computer.

(So if you have no computer, you'll have no need for such a device.)
Old 14th April 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
If the OP has AC power available, you could get an inexpensive preamp from Rane like an MS1a/b: clean durable, cheap used; probably a Rolls would be in the same ballpark.

You could then add a Behringer P1 headphone amp; has a belt clip, accepts 2 x XLR inputs.

You could pull all that off for less than $150.
Old 14th April 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
12ax7's Avatar
 

If the budget allows (around 600 bucks new), here's what I think would be just about what the doctor ordered:
.
Old 14th April 2019
  #27
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I bought one of these used ($70) to be able to use condenser mics with a consumer grade camcorder. Provides 12v or 48v for phantom for 12 hours from 4 AA batteries (have not tested this). Has a headphone jack. Might do what the OP is looking for.
Marantz Professional - PMD-602A
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 14th April 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 
12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
I bought one of these used ($70) to be able to use condenser mics with a consumer grade camcorder. Provides 12v or 48v for phantom for 12 hours from 4 AA batteries (have not tested this). Has a headphone jack. Might do what the OP is looking for.
Marantz Professional - PMD-602A
If that thing really does indeed reliably "do what it says on the tin", then it would certainly be pretty hard to beat it for that price (even new).
.

Last edited by 12ax7; 14th April 2019 at 10:46 PM.. Reason: Guess???
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