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UR22 replacement advice Audio Interfaces
Old 6 days ago
  #1
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UR22 replacement advice

I am looking for an interface to replace a Steinberg UR22.

Sounds simple enough but I’m getting confused and would appreciate any advice. Let me explain …

I have two musical environments, studio and home. The studio has a well-treated control room and ok equipment (Cubase, Allen and Heath desk, Adam monitors).

Back at home, the environment is nowhere near as neutral as at the studio, however, it is the best I can get it. The equipment I use at home is Cubase, UR22 and Neumann monitors. When I record at home it tends to be with Rd700sx as midi or sound source, or guitar with a DPA4099.

Most recording and mixing is done at the studio but when inspiration hits, I try and do some at home.

The UR22 has served me well for years, it’s cheap, cheerful and stable. I could do with a couple more inputs and this got me thinking about what else I’d like.

I am well aware of the limitations of my home environment and I’ve made measurements with REW previously. It isn’t massively nasty but has a couple of annoying peaks/troughs I would like to tame with a little eq on the monitor outs.

I did try a Behringer DEQ2496 between the UR22 and Neumanns – I was impressed with the functionality of the DEQ2496 but there was an noticeable reduction in sound quality.

So, what I am looking for is an interface with the extra ins and some on board eq dsp that will apply to everything sent to the main monitors. 3 bands of parametric should be enough. Oh, and it has to retain settings so that if I just feel like playing a bit of piano I don’t need to boot up my PC, and a few other things. I made a list …

At least 2x ¼” line inputs (for stereo source) - Essential
At least 2x xlr mic inputs with phantom and pads - Essential
Decent converters - Essential
Decent headphone output (use Sennheiser HD600) - Essential
At least 2 sets of stereo monitors outs (to feed Neumann’s) - Essential
Solid drivers (win10 / Cubase pro 10 / media player/prime music) - Essential
Ability to apply eq to monitor outs for room correct in all above - Essential
Signal from line inputs to monitor/phones when PC sleeping - Essential
Midi i/o - Nice to have
Connections mostly on rear - Nice to have
Compact for use on desk but with large volume knob - Nice to have

My list of possible items so far includes UR242, Ultralite mk4, Babyface pro, possibly with a Mackie passive big knob to keep desk tidy.

One problem I am finding is it is very difficult to see what dsp functionality exists outside of DAW use and I really do want to get that little bit of room correction to apply to youtube, Spotify, Prime music etc.

Looking at the pdf manuals online it seems that the UR242 can only apply reverb to the monitor outs? Maybe that's the same for MOTU and RME, I'm finding it hard to find out but I suspect this stuff would be obvious to a user.

What do you think? Any input appreciated!

Last edited by uksteve; 6 days ago at 05:17 PM.. Reason: formatting/typo
Old 5 days ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uksteve View Post
I did try a Behringer DEQ2496 between the UR22 and Neumanns – I was impressed with the functionality of the DEQ2496 but there was an noticeable reduction in sound quality.
In the part of your post I quoted above, there is a clue to what I think is an answer to one part of your problem.
I know exactly what you are saying about the DEQ2496. I sold mine for that reason. BUT... what you really are saying (though you may not realize it) is that the outboard EQ is the best solution to your need to EQ the speakers and have the EQ on in the speakers regardless of your source. The problem with the DEQ2496 is not the EQ, it’s that the analog sound of the box is not extremely high quality.
So get a good-sounding analog EQ.
There are a number of high quality used graphic EQs being unloaded on Reverb and EBay as PA companies and venues go digital with boards that include extensive EQ on all outputs. Score one.
Or buy new.
Then buy the best interface for you without regard for your need for room EQ.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks Bushman for a sensible and well reasoned reply. I don't dissagree and outboard eq is a fair option.

Thing is, I was kind of hoping to cut the clutter at home, but perhaps it's unavoidable.

I do still have the DEQ2496 and wondered if it would be worthwhile getting the converters updated? did you consider this at all?
(there seems to be reasonable cost UK supplier Behringer Mods - Upgrade DEQ2496, DCX2496, SRC2496)

I liked the potential to store eq presets, not just for a bit of room correction, but also maybe to store some different speaker profiles for listening to mixes.

Did you have any other opinion on the update from UR22 to UR242/ultralite mk4/ Babyface?

I may be displaying my ignorance but on the occasions when I've taken the lowly UR22 into the studio, I thought it sounded pretty good and I've never had any problems with the Steinberg/Yamaha drivers. Is MOTU or RME much of an improvement? Maybe I'm not so discerning, although I certainly noticed the downgrade when DEQ2496 was in place ...
Old 5 days ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uksteve View Post
Is MOTU or RME much of an improvement? Maybe I'm not so discerning, although I certainly noticed the downgrade when DEQ2496 was in place ...
For drivers? Yes especially RME.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
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Thanks Alndln. Yeah, I heard RME were very solid, although personally I've never had any problems with Steinberg/Yamaha.

I was really wondering about the 'real world' sound quality differences - UR242/ultralite mk4/Babyface Pro.

Just how significant are they, through headphones and/or monitors (I normally use HD600 and KH120's)?
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Lives for gear
I don’t think what you (we) can clearly hear as lacking in the DEQ is due to the conversion, clocking, or anything digital. That “ho-hum” blandness of the DEQ is a sound typical of all the analog Behringer gear of that era. You might improve that sound by modding the analog circuitry. I doubt you would hear any improvement at all if you mod the digital elements and leave the existing analog elements in place.
In my low budget period, I was the not-so-proud owner of more than 30 Behringer devices. Without exception, they had that same medium-consumer fidelity.
I’m not knocking that Behringer gear. Cost/performance wise, it performed well and most of it functioned reliably for as long as I had it. Until the recent improvement in software emulations, the B gear was the best simulation of really expensive gear available on my budget.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by uksteve View Post
I was really wondering about the 'real world' sound quality differences - UR242/ultralite mk4/Babyface Pro.

Just how significant are they, through headphones and/or monitors (I normally use HD600 and KH120's)?
You have some excellent headphones that you are familiar with. If you live near one of the high end sales places that still have listening rooms, they might set up an ABCD audition for you. Otherwise, you are going to get a lot of anecdotal mush about “creamy” vs. “jewel-like” that wouldn’t be any less meaningful if it was written in Sanskrit.
Most people, even on GS, don’t know how to set up a valid A/B test or why it’s important. “Trying this interface here and now vs. trying that interface there and later” isn’t valid for fair comparisons or the basis for good advice on big ticket spending.
My decision has been that I’m happy with the sound and performance (and price) of the Steinberg interfaces. I’m not sure I hear any improvement with much more expensive interfaces, even those with better digital specs.
That doesn’t predict anything about what you might hear or the money you are willing to spend on this part of your gear.
Old 5 days ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uksteve View Post
Thanks Alndln. Yeah, I heard RME were very solid, although personally I've never had any problems with Steinberg/Yamaha.
Apart from being solid they fare much better in terms of low latency.
Old 5 days ago
  #9
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Steinberg has direct monitoring, which makes latency unimportant in most circumstances.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
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Indeed, usually direct monitor at home or studio, never had problems with latency.

Getting back to my initial dilemma, what I have learnt so far is that:

- Outboard eq is a good option
- DEQ2496 will always dissapoint, even when lavished with improved converters
- Need to compare personally to decide if interface sound is acceptable to me

OK, but before I totally head down this route, there is still a little voice whispering to me ... surely some current usb interfaces must have some good basic eq that would save me having yet another box and yards more copper ....

Cuemix/totalmix/something else ... really I can't be the only one who has ever wanted to simply add a bit of room correction to monitor outputs?
Old 4 days ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Steinberg has direct monitoring, which makes latency unimportant in most circumstances.
So do most interfaces. And I disagree about latency being unimportant especially when it comes to using VI's and guitar sim software. Not only that direct monitoring can be a mess when overdubbing to existing tracks.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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Sorry, I didn't mean latency was unimportant, just that I have a fairly well established workflow and I've not personally found latency to be a problem.

I don't tend to use a lot of intensive vst's when tracking so that probably helps!
Old 4 days ago
  #13
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So, back to the questions:

- Does any current usb interface have some decent dsp eq that can be applied to everything (daw and windows) going to the monitors?

- Can cuemix/totalmix/something else do this?
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