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Changing from Scarlett 2i2
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Changing from Scarlett 2i2

I'm currently using a Scarlett 2i2 (Gen 1), mainly for audio playback, and occassional mic recording. I also saw it as a way to have a relatively inexpensive external sound card for headphone listening instead of buying a separate DAC and headphone amp.

Lately I've been having very regular driver issues, causing my Win 10 system to crash and giving me a BSOD. I debugged my error logs and it's definitely the Focusrite drivers causing this issue, and I'm running the latest driver.

So I want to switch to a more reliable brand with stable drivers. I guess I'm not too concerned with the lowest latency drivers, I mainly want an interface with a good DAC and headphone output amp (ideally with very low output impedance so it works with any headphone). I will also be using it to power my JBL LSR305 (Mk I) speakers.

Any suggestions? I saw that Tascam will be releasing a new line of interfaces, such as the 102i, which looks interesting. But I have no idea how reliable their drivers are, and they don't provide detailed specs on their headphone output (I emailed them, but no response yet).

I know that the Scarlett 2i2 headphone out has 10ohm output impedance, which is quite high when using more sensitive headphones. Ideally output impedance would be < 1ohm.

I know I could go the used route with stuff like RME or MOTU, but a search online still shows that stuff as being quite expensive when used and I'd like to spend around $400 or less.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
I'm currently using a Scarlett 2i2 (Gen 1), mainly for audio playback, and occassional mic recording. I also saw it as a way to have a relatively inexpensive external sound card for headphone listening instead of buying a separate DAC and headphone amp.

Lately I've been having very regular driver issues, causing my Win 10 system to crash and giving me a BSOD. I debugged my error logs and it's definitely the Focusrite drivers causing this issue, and I'm running the latest driver.

So I want to switch to a more reliable brand with stable drivers. I guess I'm not too concerned with the lowest latency drivers, I mainly want an interface with a good DAC and headphone output amp (ideally with very low output impedance so it works with any headphone). I will also be using it to power my JBL LSR305 (Mk I) speakers.

Any suggestions? I saw that Tascam will be releasing a new line of interfaces, such as the 102i, which looks interesting. But I have no idea how reliable their drivers are, and they don't provide detailed specs on their headphone output (I emailed them, but no response yet).

I know that the Scarlett 2i2 headphone out has 10ohm output impedance, which is quite high when using more sensitive headphones. Ideally output impedance would be < 1ohm.

I know I could go the used route with stuff like RME or MOTU, but a search online still shows that stuff as being quite expensive when used and I'd like to spend around $400 or less.

Since it was such a wall of text, to put it more simply: which audio interface around $400 or less has the most stable and reliable drivers? My current Scarlett 2i2 is regularly causing my Win10 system to BSOD.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Based on my personal experience with over 20 different Windows-compatible interfaces, RME and MOTU are my top picks for driver reliability.

I saw your note about them at the end, but you can find the MOTU Ultralite mk3 for well below $400 USD on eBay, and it's an excellent interface. I even saw a couple listings for the RME Babyface for below $400:



If you must buy new, I have found Steinberg's windows drivers to be pretty solid.

On the other side, I would avoid Roland. While I legit love some of their hardware, their drivers can be finicky on Windows. I remember having to unplug/replug my Roland Duo Capture numerous times, and having to re-power my Roland FA-06 occasionally to get its interface working again.

I am a little surprised by your Scarlett experience, though. Although they've never been great performers on Windows, latency-wise, those drivers are typically quite stable. (My current desktop interface on Win 10 is their Clarett USB pre2, which uses the Scarlett drivers for USB.)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateOutsider View Post
Based on my personal experience with over 20 different Windows-compatible interfaces, RME and MOTU are my top picks for driver reliability.

I saw your note about them at the end, but you can find the MOTU Ultralite mk3 for well below $400 USD on eBay, and it's an excellent interface. I even saw a couple listings for the RME Babyface for below $400:

If you must buy new, I have found Steinberg's windows drivers to be pretty solid.

On the other side, I would avoid Roland. While I legit love some of their hardware, their drivers can be finicky on Windows. I remember having to unplug/replug my Roland Duo Capture numerous times, and having to re-power my Roland FA-06 occasionally to get its interface working again.

I am a little surprised by your Scarlett experience, though. Although they've never been great performers on Windows, latency-wise, those drivers are typically quite stable. (My current desktop interface on Win 10 is their Clarett USB pre2, which uses the Scarlett drivers for USB.)
Yeah I've not had latency issues with Scarlett. Really just stability, it tends to make my Win10 just crash outright (DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE). Happens at least a few times a week. So I'm hoping to find something more stable and reliable in that regard.

I'll look into Steinberg new and otherwise RME/MOTU used on ebay.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

My gen one 18i20 suffered from driver instability on a few different windows OS. Clean sound, but I never felt I could trust it.

I’ll echo the advice already given. Save and get yourself into an RME or MOTU. Its worth the price to know your interface won’t let you down.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
Yeah I've not had latency issues with Scarlett. Really just stability, it tends to make my Win10 just crash outright (DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE). Happens at least a few times a week. So I'm hoping to find something more stable and reliable in that regard.

I'll look into Steinberg new and otherwise RME/MOTU used on ebay.
Have you disabled the USB power down when power saving option?
Have you setup the high power profile?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Kaine View Post
Have you disabled the USB power down when power saving option?
Have you setup the high power profile?
That would only matter when going into suspend mode. It sometimes happens right after boot-up (I typically fully shutdown my system when not in use). It's just a bad driver.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dranzangos View Post
My gen one 18i20 suffered from driver instability on a few different windows OS. Clean sound, but I never felt I could trust it.

I’ll echo the advice already given. Save and get yourself into an RME or MOTU. Its worth the price to know your interface won’t let you down.
Yeah I did a bit more reading last night on the Steinberg stuff, which was recommended by someone else here, and based on that I think I'll just try to find a good deal on a used RME or MOTU, or otherwise stretch my budget and get the new RME ADI-2 FS (which has an excellent headphone amp of 0.6W with 0.1 ohm output impedance).

Alternatively stretch my budget (but cheaper than RME) to get a Motu Ultralite Mk4 which has a good ESS DAC (again I'll mainly be using it for playback as I guess I'm an "audiophile", but also need inputs for occasional recording). But for the Motu I need to find out how good the headphone amp is.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
Yeah I did a bit more reading last night on the Steinberg stuff, which was recommended by someone else here, and based on that I think I'll just try to find a good deal on a used RME or MOTU, or otherwise stretch my budget and get the new RME ADI-2 FS (which has an excellent headphone amp of 0.6W with 0.1 ohm output impedance).

Alternatively stretch my budget (but cheaper than RME) to get a Motu Ultralite Mk4 which has a good ESS DAC (again I'll mainly be using it for playback as I guess I'm an "audiophile", but also need inputs for occasional recording). But for the Motu I need to find out how good the headphone amp is.
I've decided to go for the Motu Ultralite Mk4 as I found a reasonably good deal on it.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
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