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RME Fireface, JoeCo Cello, or Sound Devices USBPre 2
Old 2 weeks ago
Here for the gear

RME Fireface, JoeCo Cello, or Sound Devices USBPre 2

After using cheaper interfaces (AudioBox USB and FocusRite 2i2) for years and having them eventually break and/or be unable to drive higher-impedance headphones, I'm looking to upgrade to "the last audio interface I'll ever buy." I don't mind paying for quality, or something made in Germany/England/USA.

I don't have a rack, so it will be a desktop unit.

I'm a game developer recording sound effects in a piece of editing software that I programmed from scratch, and I conduct my game development process daily using Linux. So I need a class-compliant device where all features can be accessed on-board and not through software (so this rules out something like Universal Audio).

I also use my audio interface to drive high-quality headphones for both monitoring what I'm recording, testing the audio in my game, and listening to background music while I'm working and programming.

From what I've read, bus powered interfaces only have so much power to go around, which is why many of them cut corners when it comes to the headphone amp. Thus, I'm leaning toward something that's mains powered. It just feels like a more robust solution to me. But I will consider bus power if the rest of the features are good (understanding that I may need to invest in an external headphone amp at some point).

I know that many people here are RME die-hards, but I'm imagining NOT using the Mac or Windows software (on Linux) and trying to access everything through that one knob. There might even be some functions that can't be accessed through the one knob at all...

Here are the units that I'm considering:

Pros: legendary audio quality, external power, tank-like build quality
Cons: no on-board metering, single-knob on-board interface

Pros: on-board metering, on-board physical controls
Cons: no external power, not as legendary as RME in terms of audio quality

Pros: on-board metering, on-board physical controls, external power
Cons: All controls and meters on top, less popular, more mysterious
Old 2 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Some other stuff I've learned since posting:

1. The RME Fireface UC does not have a class compliant mode. You need to go up to the Fireface UCX (which is quite a bit more expensive) to have a class compliant mode.

2. The RME Fireface is made in Germany, the JoeCo Cello is made in England, but the Sound Devices USBPre 2 is made.... where? I can't find anything definitive, but some of their recorders were made in Taiwan.

3. I've emailed all three companies, but so far only heard back from JoeCo.

Can't believe no one has an opinion here...
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