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Need a new interface. Sub $250 if possible, and I have a few requirements
Old 25th November 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Need a new interface. Sub $250 if possible, and I have a few requirements

I've come to terms with the fact that my old Saffire Pro 24 DSP is pretty much useless for recording with Windows 10, so I need a replacement.

Requirements:
  • Dual instrument (Hi-Z) inputs, or at least enough gain range on the line inputs for a guitar signal
  • Stereo direct monitoring (pan the two inputs left and right)
  • Phantom power
  • USB-powered
  • Direct monitor mix knob is nice, but by no means essential

So here are my current candidates, with notes, in a sort of descending order of capability.

Looking for experiences (positive or negative) with any of these, or for suggestions pointing out other candidates.

Solid State Logic SSL2
  • Dual instrument level inputs (via combo inputs)
  • Stereo/mono monitoring (switchable on the interface)
  • Direct monitor mix knob
  • All inputs and outputs are on the back = clean desktop

M-Audio AIR 192 8
  • Stereo direct monitoring (switchable on the interface)
  • Dual instrument level inputs (combo jacks for XLR/line, separate inputs for Hi-Z)
  • Direct monitor mix knob

Fluid Audio SRI-2
  • Dual instrument level inputs (via combo inputs)
  • Stereo/mono monitoring with switch
  • Direct monitor mix knob

MOTU M2
  • Stereo direct monitoring (press and hold MON buttons)
  • Dual instrument level inputs (apparently using only the gain knob)
  • Some reports of Windows 10 issues

Steinberg UR22C:
  • Mixer software allows for panning direct monitoring L/R (I think)
  • Direct monitor mix knob
  • Only one instrument level input. If the line input offers enough gain, I might be able to live with it

Audient Id14
  • Mixer software with panning
  • Only one instrument level input
  • Direct monitoring controlled by mixer software

Komplete Audio 2
  • No direct monitoring for monitor outputs; only headphones (How bizarre!)
  • Dual instrument level inputs (switchable combo inputs)

Audient EVO 4
  • Clunky controls
  • Only one instrument level input
  • Direct monitoring controlled by mixer software
  • Have to disconnect headphones to activate monitors

I know Behringer has a range of interfaces that also fit my requirements, but I've had too many bad experiences with their gear to even bother about them.

Edit: Wow, my account here is from 2006 and this is my first post. Apparently I never got around to asking whatever was on my mind 14 years ago

Last edited by Naigewron; 25th November 2020 at 11:44 AM..
Old 25th November 2020
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
I know Behringer has a range of interfaces that also fit my requirements, but I've had too many bad experiences with their gear to even bother about them.
Behringer in the past is not the same as nowadays when it's about quality.
Their UMC series are great, I have one myself and lots of people have good experiences with these too.
Just for you to know.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by willem1958 View Post
Behringer in the past is not the same as nowadays when it's about quality.
Their UMC series are great, I have one myself and lots of people have good experiences with these too.
Just for you to know.
Yeah, you may be right, but you know how it is when you've had enough bad experiences with something... You just stop giving them more chances
Old 27th November 2020
  #4
Gear Addict
 
I see you need 2 high Z inputs .......why?
Old 27th November 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
Yeah, you may be right, but you know how it is when you've had enough bad experiences with something... You just stop giving them more chances
That's a shame because they're as good if not better than anything on your list and for probably less $ than most if not all too.

PS if you need 5-pin MIDI then the Audients and SSL2 are out.

I'd go Steinberg probably; I like the MOTU and hear good things about it but have not used and a little skittish about the Windows issues they have had...
Old 27th November 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem13 View Post
I see you need 2 high Z inputs .......why?
Short version: I run a stereo guitar direct setup at home, and I'm hoping to avoid having to use DI boxes
Old 28th November 2020 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
Short version: I run a stereo guitar direct setup at home, and I'm hoping to avoid having to use DI boxes
I get it, but why stereo instrument level into the box?......you’re guitar isn’t stereo?......what are you running the guitar into before the interface?

Seems to me like you need line inputs, not Hi Z.....you’re not reamping are you?
Old 28th November 2020
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
I have an EVO4 and I got it specifically because of it's JFET DI. The preamps are very clean and the DI is excellent. Definitely a great product for the price. Better sound than more expensive ones.
However, it only has one High-z input. It does have two line level 1/4/XLR inputs.
But yeah - if you're running a stereo guitar rig, are you not micing your amp?
Old 28th November 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem13 View Post
I get it, but why stereo instrument level into the box?......you’re guitar isn’t stereo?......what are you running the guitar into before the interface?

Seems to me like you need line inputs, not Hi Z.....you’re not reamping are you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by LASTLAVGH View Post
I have an EVO4 and I got it specifically because of it's JFET DI. The preamps are very clean and the DI is excellent. Definitely a great product for the price. Better sound than more expensive ones.
However, it only has one High-z input. It does have two line level 1/4/XLR inputs.
But yeah - if you're running a stereo guitar rig, are you not micing your amp?
Ok, so I run a Line6 HX Stomp as my home guitar/bass setup, and for my guitar patches I run it in stereo.

Now, the HX Stomp does have the ability to run line level signals. But when I play with my band I use it in front of an amp, and I really don't want to have to remember to switch it back and forth every time I move it back and forth. At best, I'll get a lousy signal, at worst I'll screw up my amp.

So for the sake of convenience and safety, I'd really like to keep my HX Stomp outputting instrument level 100% of the time.

I realise I can use a DI box between the HX Stomp and the interface, and I might just go that way, but I figured I'd do some research first.

But since posting this thread, I've found that the latest generation of Focusrite 2i2 actually does support direct stereo monitoring, so I think that just jumped to the top of my list in terms of the compromise between price and feature set. It doesn't have a mix knob for direct/daw monitoring, but that has never bothered me with my Saffire.
Old 28th November 2020
  #10
Gear Addict
 
If that’s the case, you need a preamp between the stomp and your interface, preferably something with tubes to add warmth to the Helix

https://reverb.com/item/35057368-dbx...-w-digital-out

These are on Reverb all the time for less than $200 and they sound incredible! All our cab mics and modelers get patched through one of these before going ITB and it makes all the difference between cold digital and warm analog. These are NOT budget units......back in the day, they were $700 and worth every penny.

The Helix Stomp can also be used as its own interface via USB directly into your computer, bypassing your existing interface.....but the above mentioned option will sound infinitly better.
Old 28th November 2020 | Show parent
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem13 View Post
The Helix Stomp can also be used as its own interface via USB directly into your computer, bypassing your existing interface.....but the above mentioned option will sound infinitly better.
Yes, but it's a bit of a hassle since I move it around so much, and it also doesn't have a mic preamp. I don't do much with mics, but it definitely happens from time to time.

I might look into a tube preamp, but plugging it into an instrument input in an interface will generally be enough for my needs. I can also run tape and tube emulation plugins if I want to get some of that warmth in my recordings. My recording projects are generally preproduction demos for my band, or stuff I just screw around with for fun. Whenever I/we release something "properly", we go into a pro studio.
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