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Which interface?
Old 21st July 2014
  #1
Gear Head
 

Which interface?

Slutz,
I'm upgrading my interface in my home studio and need your advice. Usually I record rock / indie material with live drums, so I need something with enough inputs to get the job done. My budget is probably not above $700. I don't want something with a lot of bells and whistles, just some clean conversion and clean pres. Firewire \ USB no preference. My thoughts:

Focusrite scarlett 18i;

Or

Saffire 56;

RME fireface ($$$$).

Open to suggestions.
Old 21st July 2014
  #2
Gear Head
 
futura2012's Avatar
 

For that budget I would consider a MOTU 828 MKII Used with a Black Lion Audio Mod. Or a MOTU 828 MKIII.

If you really wanted to save money you can buy an 828 with a blown FW chip very very cheap and then order the chip online and then pay someone to remove the old and swap the new. You cant solder them yourself as they are surface mount so you would need someone to do it for you. I paid 30GBP ($45) get mine done and the chip cost 2GBP ($3). I paid 35GBP ($52) for the dead sound card. All in cost was approx $100 plus some messing around. The BLA mod would cost about $300 so this is one possible cheap solution.

I dont speak from first hand experience of the BLA MOD but owning an 828MKII on my MAC I have always considered getting it done. The only thing is I live in the UK so there is a risk of import duty and postage is quite expensive but assuming you live in USA (reference to $) then might be worth thinking about.

The chap running that business is very informed and super helpful. Sometimes if you look hard you can even get them used WITH BLA mods.

It seems they swap out the OP Amps on the inputs and outputs which is quite well spoken about. Not sure which ones they use but something high end i am sure.

You could also look for an Apogee Ensemble bit out of budget but might be worth the expense. The other option is you could consider some of the older apogee gear but I think you might struggle on the USB / FW front.

I have been very happy with my RME card but the type of music I write is primarily synth based so im not a great expert in regards to pres etc but i do have an idea of what cards are around cause we all want nice kit at the right price

http://blacklionaudio.com/about/
Old 21st July 2014
  #3
Gear Head
 

Futura,
Thanks for the thorough reply. The problem with the MOTU is it's lack of balanced xlr inputs. It only has 2 mic line ins which would make drums a real hassle.
Also, I forgot to say I'm running a PC based DAW.
Old 21st July 2014
  #4
If you can use FireWire, Mackie Blackbird may be a good idea. Eight MIC pre and low latency. Check the spec and dawbench LLP score as well.
Old 21st July 2014
  #5
Gear Head
 

Yeah, I've heard some decent things about the Mackie. Any thoughts as to relative comparison b/w that and the Scarlett / Liquid 56?


I heard a demo of the Liquid 56, focusing on the liquid pres. I couldn't tell a difference, so I don't even know if it's worth the $$.
Old 21st July 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
Roland Octa-Capture
Old 21st July 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 

People seem to be happy with the Focusrite units and they have good support.

As for the differences between them, they're very small. The Saffire 56 gives you 2 liquid pres, and an extra adat port for more expansion. And it's firewire. Other than that, the sound quality of the conversion and pres is the same as on the Scarlett. The Saffire 40 is basically a Scarlett but with firewire instead of USB. I have heard that the firewire ones have a little bit lower latency.
Old 21st July 2014
  #8
Gear Head
 

Thanks again, guys!


Any input regarding the pres / conversion of the Roland vs the Focusrites? I've seen the Octo around while doing some research. It's got some decent reviews. Some dude on the SW site even wrote a poem...

Either way is an upgrade. I'm ashamed to tell you what I'm using now
Old 21st July 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
To me Roland outperforms Focusrite (preamps/stability/latency)
Old 21st July 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 
ChrisLudwig's Avatar
 

Hi,
At this point a USB interface would be the better choice IMHO.

If you need 8 Mic/Line inputs then the Roland Octo Capture as mentioned as well as the Steinberg UR824 and Focusrite 1820i.
The Roland stuff has had issues with USB 3.0 ports in the past not sure if they have resolved them or not.
The Steinberg from my experience has been the best over all in stability, latency and sound quality.
But it is at the top end of your budget.

The Focusrite and Roland are well within you budget. Focusrite latest drivers have improved over all latency and stability. They also from my experience seem to be more responsive support and driver update wise than Roland.

If you are a Cubase/Nuendo user then I would look at the UR824 closely because of its deep integration with the programs.


Chris
Old 21st July 2014
  #11
Gear Head
 

Cool. I've never checked the UR824. I use Reaper for my DAW, so no Cubase/Nuendo.

I'll check reviews for the Steinberg.
Old 21st July 2014
  #12
Gear Addict
 
fantomaxis's Avatar
 

RME fireface UC or 800 2nd hand would be ideal. Got my UC for that budget
Old 21st July 2014
  #13
Gear Head
 

Leaning towards the Steinberg. Looks pretty cool.

I think the Fireface is out of my budget.
Old 21st July 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
archfrenemy's Avatar
 

Also very happy with the UR824 over here. I don't think you could beat it for 8 in / out at the price. You can usually find them for $500ish on eBay.
Old 21st July 2014
  #15
Gear Head
 

Cool! I've checked Ebay and yeah. They generally go around $550-650. Anyone used it w/o Cubase /Nuendo?
Old 21st July 2014
  #16
Gear Head
 
futura2012's Avatar
 

Quote:
Futura,
Thanks for the thorough reply. The problem with the MOTU is it's lack of balanced xlr inputs. It only has 2 mic line ins which would make drums a real hassle.
Also, I forgot to say I'm running a PC based DAW.
From what ive been reading on here the majority opinion seems the Mic Pres have a serious influence on your sound. Please note I am no expert in this field I have a pile of synths, I make synths I live for EDM so my vocal / acoustic knowledge IS pretty limited. (altough i am fascinated by this topic)

Its not the most convenient option but you could go down the road of having a soundcard plus a seperate mic pre or possibley several single mic pres. I have seen various flavours offering valve pre amps, solid state transistor setups etc. maybe this way you could produce a more varied option in pres?

If you could get a MOTU 828 cheap for example (or anything else on this kind of level) then you could free up a lot of your budget for some nice pres. I have a feeling this may make a more forfilling sound than just the 8 pres offered on the souncard (depending on what you are doing of course)

its just a thought. i think the MOTU 828 is a nice card for the money. I do also like the RME kit but im not the man for commenting about what cards work with what mics, what pres etc.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
ChrisLudwig's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thecrashharder View Post
Cool! I've checked Ebay and yeah. They generally go around $550-650. Anyone used it w/o Cubase /Nuendo?
Hi,
It works like any other interface when not using Cubase/Nuendo. it has a
mixer app and control panel that allows for latency free monitoring if needed.
Which is the same way any of the other interfaces work.
With Cubase/Nuendo the mixer app in totally integrated into Cubase/Nuendo so all the hardware effects, routing and device settings are done in the DAW.

When not using Cubase/Nuendo you can use the mixer app to control the latency free hardware monitoring and effects.
You can also use the included effects as VST plugins inside of the DAW.


For the money the built in Mic pre's are actually quite good. You can always add external mic pres to the line inputs or the digital I/O late if ever needed.
Only issue I have with the Steinberg UR series is they for whatever reason decided to not include MIDI I/O on the interface. Not a big deal since most everything MIDI wise now is USB.

Chris
Old 22nd July 2014
  #18
Gear Head
 

Yeah. I use the Behringer Bcm2000 and it uses USB rather than midi ports.
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