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Audio Interface - (in the box) home studio
Old 26th August 2020
  #1
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Audio Interface - (in the box) home studio

Greetings Everyone,

For years I've been using RME and quite happy with the results, never had an issue and they always served me well. Recently I started writing more and more orchestral music, heavier productions with much more moving parts that I used to, and the good RME might need an upgrade.

I'm looking for a reliable audio interface, with superb sound quality (using Amphion One 15's, iMac, Ableton) and mostly working in the box, therefore I don't need a big amount of channels. I might use a guitar, and a few synths (great midi is a must) so as far as external channels goes I don't need much. I would like to invest into something that can serve me for quite some time.

I heard great things about the RME Fireface UFX II and others, but I wanted to hear some suggestions about other options as well. I don't need effects and a bunch of other things but mainly impeccable performance and superb quality.

Any suggestions, ideas or thoughts? Looking forward!
Old 30th August 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anadrolic View Post
Greetings Everyone,

For years I've been using RME and quite happy with the results, never had an issue and they always served me well. Recently I started writing more and more orchestral music, heavier productions with much more moving parts that I used to, and the good RME might need an upgrade.

I'm looking for a reliable audio interface, with superb sound quality (using Amphion One 15's, iMac, Ableton) and mostly working in the box, therefore I don't need a big amount of channels. I might use a guitar, and a few synths (great midi is a must) so as far as external channels goes I don't need much. I would like to invest into something that can serve me for quite some time.

I heard great things about the RME Fireface UFX II and others, but I wanted to hear some suggestions about other options as well. I don't need effects and a bunch of other things but mainly impeccable performance and superb quality.

Any suggestions, ideas or thoughts? Looking forward!
The only difference that a higher cost RME device will give you is more inputs and outputs, which you have stated you do not need, "i.e more channels".

You did not state what RME audio interfaces, you have been using! Could you kindly provide this detail?

Audio quality wise, the audio quality is about the same across all RME audio interfaces, i.e consistently good enough for recording, mixing, 99% of anything most people would want for in an audio interface, from an audio quality perspective.

Some people may want, if they have the budget for this, an extremely prisine D/A performance, and I would suggest in this case to add a higher quality D/A converter, to their RME audio interface. But the vast majority of people do not have the budget or need for this. More or a nice to have, if you are very very picky about your sound monitoring.

I would say stick with whatever RME you already have, or if your RME device is over 15 years old, you may want to upgrade to something more recent from RME, which would improve the audio quality, just that bit more.

It really does not matter what RME device you choose, from a sonic accuracy perspective, they all operate, at about the same sonic quality, with probably inaudible differences between them. Over the years, they do improve as new models come out, but the difference in sonic quality is incremental, typically based on the availability of higher quality converters - a benefit of technology progress, and the widespread use of D/A and A/D converters in almost all consumer gear, which has brought down the cost of higher quality converters, to more affordable levels.

So RME does improve sonic quality in newer designed gear, but even their older gear was already decent enough for most purposes.

I detect some gearlust, but you are in the right place for this - gearslutz.

Ultimately its about your budget and your lust.

1. You could continue to use what you have, because newer RME devices will not yield substantially better performance, worth the bother, in sonic quality or lower latency, cos even their older gear was already some of the best in this regard, and more importantly all their gear just works, all the time. and is some of the best supported audio interface gear on the planet.

2. You could upgrade your audio interface to a more recent model from RME, which will give you incremental improvements in sonic quality and lower latency, and improve(lower) your CPU utilisation ever so slightly.

3. You could add an external high quality audio converter D/A, if your objective is the ultimate in sonic quality of monitoring, and this will interface digitally with your existing RME, over digital cables (ADAT, SPDIF, MADI or AES/EBU). It will not change the performance on your computer, as all interaction with the DAW remains exactly the same, and you can simply route the audio to the D/A converter, via RME's routing app.

Options 2 and three above can be combined, so you end up upgrading both interface and monitoring quality.

4. Your real issue, if it is a performance constraint on your computer, i.e things are beginning to slow down, will not be improved by either 2 or 3 above, cos if this is your situation, a new audio interface adds very little value, and what you need is an upgrade of your Mac computer to one with faster CPU and with more CPU cores. I suspect that this is your ideal solution.

If you are extremely picky and have a lot of money to spend, you can upgrade everything, i.e 4 + 2 + 3. But I suspect what you really need is an upgrade of your computer, based on your description of your needs.

As you upgrade, your computer, any opportunity to use higher speed NVMe SSD (which is somewhat standard on Mac computers made in the last 5 years), will insure your ability to meet current and future performance needs, and assure long term sufficiency of whatever you upgrade to. So you have as many of your sampled orchestra libraries residing on the fastest available storage media. CPU/RAM and High speed storage media upgrades are the core of improving your DAW performance, if you already use an RME audio interface, which is already about as good as you can expect, no matter how old your RME device is (within age limits of course)
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