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Audio Interface: Best choice for around $200? Audio Interfaces
Old 8th February 2018
  #1
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Audio Interface: Best choice for around $200?

I'm looking for opinions and advice. I need a new interface and can spend only about $200. Besides guitars and vocals, I use a lot of VSTs and VSTIs, going into a fairly powerful Windows 8.1 desktop pc.

At first I had decided to get an Audient ID4, but after a digesting a lot of reviews I'm a bit concerned about latency problems. Then it started...the Focusrite looked good, then the Tascam, then the Steinberg, the Mackie and now I'm flustered about which is the biggest bang for the buck.

I can get by with only two inputs and it's usually only me in a home studio. I liked the good things about the sound of the Audient, the DI, and preamps, but the latency put me off, even though upcoming new drivers are supposed to alleviate that somewhat.

What would you folks suggest as the best $200+/- AI? Thanks in advance for taking time to share your thoughts and advice!
Old 8th February 2018
  #2
I just tested the Zoom UAC-2. It is not as good as an RME but comes pretty close and has very low RTL.
Old 8th February 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
I just tested the Zoom UAC-2. It is not as good as an RME but comes pretty close and has very low RTL.
Thanks DAW PLUS. I see it's about $250, so not bad and had some very good features. I'll read and watch some reviews. Thanks for the suggestion!
Old 8th February 2018
  #4
You can go round and round forever. There's effective zero latency on all of them if you use their headphone jacks. It's only a problem through speakers and even then, anything below 10ms is livable and most will get below that. The number of VSTs and VSTi's have nothing to do with the interface, that's all on your CPU.

Check the specs on the id4 as well. It doesn't have the same quality of DAC as the more expensive id14 and id22. They say it's the same pre and JFET input, but then I saw them say the didn't include USB 3 on the new ID44 because "it wasn't compatible with USB 2.0"???. Now I'm not sure I trust anything they say but I do think the unaltered signals are very musical sounding straight from the box. I have not heard the id4.

I personally have three Scarlett's on different machines and they're quite good though I had early issues with the Gen 2 drivers. For the price, I'm not sure you can beat them. But I've heard online demos of the uber cheap Behringer stuff that sounds pretty good. Really, all the stuff out now seems to sound really great.

I really wish someone would do some loopback noise (white/pink/brown) tests on these things instead of all the YouTube "Well, this sounds better to me". I think we might all be surprised at what's actually going on with coloring the sound. If the frequencies are all there, you can color on your own. Case in point, the Clarett's "Air" effect is simply EQ'ing in some top-end and that's by Focusrite's own admission.
Old 8th February 2018
  #5
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In windows I think Steinberg has the best performance in the cheap side of the market. It also seems to me win10 performs better than win81.
Old 9th February 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonljacobi View Post
You can go round and round forever. There's effective zero latency on all of them if you use their headphone jacks. It's only a problem through speakers and even then, anything below 10ms is livable and most will get below that. The number of VSTs and VSTi's have nothing to do with the interface, that's all on your CPU.

Check the specs on the id4 as well. It doesn't have the same quality of DAC as the more expensive id14 and id22. They say it's the same pre and JFET input, but then I saw them say the didn't include USB 3 on the new ID44 because "it wasn't compatible with USB 2.0"???. Now I'm not sure I trust anything they say but I do think the unaltered signals are very musical sounding straight from the box. I have not heard the id4.

I personally have three Scarlett's on different machines and they're quite good though I had early issues with the Gen 2 drivers. For the price, I'm not sure you can beat them. But I've heard online demos of the uber cheap Behringer stuff that sounds pretty good. Really, all the stuff out now seems to sound really great.

I really wish someone would do some loopback noise (white/pink/brown) tests on these things instead of all the YouTube "Well, this sounds better to me". I think we might all be surprised at what's actually going on with coloring the sound. If the frequencies are all there, you can color on your own. Case in point, the Clarett's "Air" effect is simply EQ'ing in some top-end and that's by Focusrite's own admission.
Interesting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, you seem to be well versed in this. Every time I decide to buy a new bit of gear, I get into all the reviews and so on...it's frustrating! Of course, I'm using an old Alesis io2 Express so most any newer model would be an improvement. Seem few people use the mixer-type interfaces for some reason. Thanks again!
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