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I could use some help finding an audio interface that works for me.
Old 29th July 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Jasper Gray's Avatar
 

I could use some help finding an audio interface that works for me.

I own a variety of hardware synths and want to integrate them with my DAW (Ableton Live 9). I want to use my DAW to mix things/add FX, instead of doing this on a mixer. To do this, each input needs to be separate.

-I do not intend in plugging any microphones or guitars into the interface.
-I need a large amount of channels. Minimum of eight, but a higher amount to allow me to expand easier would be preferred.
-I am working on a budget, so my price-range is between three and five hundred dollars.
-My protocol is USB.

I have spend the last few days searching the internet and have not found anything yet. If you know of anything that would work, please let me know!
~Jasper.
Old 29th July 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 

Why did you start another thread instead of adding this info to your existing thread? Need help finding an audio interface.
Old 29th July 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper Gray View Post
I own a variety of hardware synths and want to integrate them with my DAW (Ableton Live 9). I want to use my DAW to mix things/add FX, instead of doing this on a mixer. To do this, each input needs to be separate.

-I do not intend in plugging any microphones or guitars into the interface.
-I need a large amount of channels. Minimum of eight, but a higher amount to allow me to expand easier would be preferred.
-I am working on a budget, so whatever is cheapest is probably best.

I have spend the last few days searching the internet and have not found anything yet. If you know of anything that would work, please let me know!
~Jasper.
Spend a few more weeks searching the interwebs and you might learn a thing or ten. Cheapest means I can't help you. Sorry if that sounds snarky (it is), but the cheapest is junk and the best is expensive.
Old 29th July 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 
Jasper Gray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Spend a few more weeks searching the interwebs and you might learn a thing or ten. Cheapest means I can't help you. Sorry if that sounds snarky (it is), but the cheapest is junk and the best is expensive.
That’s probably something I needed to hear, thanks for being the one to say it.
Old 30th July 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper Gray View Post
That’s probably something I needed to hear, thanks for being the one to say it.
Wow, thanks for not being too offended. Remember you need line inputs, not mic, so that saves you some costs. And how many do you play all at the same time? Maybe you just need a patch bay!
Old 30th July 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
How many inputs do you want at once?
What protocol do you plan to use? USB, MADI, Daute, Firewire, etc.....

RME is the only company I trust to support hardware down the road in 10 years after the OS has updated twice.
Old 30th July 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Owen L T's Avatar
You're just looking for an 8 input interface, in that case.

https://focusrite.com/usb-audio-inte...scarlett-18i20

https://www.steinberg.net/en/product...els/ur824.html

Both of these have ADAT input and output, so you can start with one, and if you want to add a second (to give you 16 channels of input) you would link the two interfaces together using the ADAT connection.
Old 30th July 2019
  #8
Here for the gear
 
Jasper Gray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
How many inputs do you want at once?
What protocol do you plan to use? USB, MADI, Daute, Firewire, etc.....

RME is the only company I trust to support hardware down the road in 10 years after the OS has updated twice.
I forgot about the protocol, thank you for bringing that up. I'll add that to my main post. In this case I'd be using USB.
Old 30th July 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
 
Jasper Gray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
You're just looking for an 8 input interface, in that case.

https://focusrite.com/usb-audio-inte...scarlett-18i20

https://www.steinberg.net/en/product...els/ur824.html

Both of these have ADAT input and output, so you can start with one, and if you want to add a second (to give you 16 channels of input) you would link the two interfaces together using the ADAT connection.
Hmm... that's very interesting. I'll have to learn more about that, it seems like it could be very useful.
Old 30th July 2019
  #10
Gear Addict
Tascam US 20x20.
Old 30th July 2019
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Can you afford motu 16a? It has 16 in and 16 out, line level only and runs around 1k. It has usb and thunderbolt. It’s good for “future-proofing” because if you ever need more I/o you can tack on extra units with Ethernet cable. (Also using Ethernet cable means you can connect units located quite far away from each other if need be.)

EDIT:
If you only need 8 in there’s also the cheaper 8a unit, also expandable via Ethernet.
Old 30th July 2019
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Wow, thanks for not being too offended. Remember you need line inputs, not mic, so that saves you some costs. And how many do you play all at the same time? Maybe you just need a patch bay!
Is there such a thing as line only interface? I’ve searched and every product raves about the quality of their mic pre amps and I really don’t need mic inputs. If it’s possible to divert money from mic pres into more line or instrument ins then I’d love to see the product that offers me that
Old 30th July 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJElectricDaddy View Post
Is there such a thing as line only interface? I’ve searched and every product raves about the quality of their mic pre amps and I really don’t need mic inputs. If it’s possible to divert money from mic pres into more line or instrument ins then I’d love to see the product that offers me that
I just named two! MOTU 16a and 8a, the model numbers referring to how many inputs and outputs. No mic pres.
Old 30th July 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJElectricDaddy View Post
Is there such a thing as line only interface? I’ve searched and every product raves about the quality of their mic pre amps and I really don’t need mic inputs. If it’s possible to divert money from mic pres into more line or instrument ins then I’d love to see the product that offers me that
Lynx, RME, and just about every high level interface. The thing is - most people looking for cheaper interfaces want preamps and the like. Those running larger studios don’t.
Old 1st August 2019
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zasterz View Post
I just named two! MOTU 16a and 8a, the model numbers referring to how many inputs and outputs. No mic pres.
Missed that. Yep they’re some quality bits of gear. Well on the high end, as far as I’m concerned. Probably the ADAT, digital mixer and Ethernet link, neither of which I need. So it’s all or nothing then in this regard.

The Scarlett 18 is close. $500 is reasonable but it’s still got 8 mic pres I don’t need or want to pay for. I guess like has been said the only demand for multi line ins is from big pro studios that can absorb that cost. Most bedroom producers want/need mic ins. So manufacturers build what’s gonna sell

Ho hum
Old 1st August 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJElectricDaddy View Post
Missed that. Yep they’re some quality bits of gear. Well on the high end, as far as I’m concerned. Probably the ADAT, digital mixer and Ethernet link, neither of which I need. So it’s all or nothing then in this regard.

The Scarlett 18 is close. $500 is reasonable but it’s still got 8 mic pres I don’t need or want to pay for. I guess like has been said the only demand for multi line ins is from big pro studios that can absorb that cost. Most bedroom producers want/need mic ins. So manufacturers build what’s gonna sell

Ho hum
Making sure you have a good adat or avb expandability is super important for adding inputs in the future in a cost effective manner. The motu stuff is killer for the price and I highly recommend it. The DAC is critical for what you are doing and the motu is probably the best bang for your buck right now.

Edit: I recently upgraded to a Motu 828es and the conversion is steller. Instant improvement.
Old 1st August 2019
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJElectricDaddy View Post
Missed that. Yep they’re some quality bits of gear. Well on the high end, as far as I’m concerned. Probably the ADAT, digital mixer and Ethernet link, neither of which I need. So it’s all or nothing then in this regard.

The Scarlett 18 is close. $500 is reasonable but it’s still got 8 mic pres I don’t need or want to pay for. I guess like has been said the only demand for multi line ins is from big pro studios that can absorb that cost. Most bedroom producers want/need mic ins. So manufacturers build what’s gonna sell

Ho hum
What Headless Dinosaur is saying above. You may think right now that you don’t need ADAT or Ethernet, but imagine for a minute that you have it for a year and then buy a couple more synths and now you’re suddenly out of inputs. So what are you going to do? You can’t just buy a second unit of any old brand and run it alongside (parallel), you either have to be able to hook the two units one into the other in series or sell your current unit altogether and buy something with more inputs, assuming a product exists. And resale for audio interfaces is always at a loss. They don’t maintain their value like good outboard gear or instruments might.

So as far as hooking the units together, ADAT means you can at least hook in another 8 or 16 inputs via another unit. Many units will have ADAT so you can choose from a wide range of brands. Ethernet is more a MOTU thing, I don’t know if anyone else is using it. But the numbers of channels you can add is huge, not just a max of 8 or 16 like ADAT. Also some brands of interface, like Apogee Ensemble, will let you daisy-chain just the same brand’s interfaces for more inputs. But again, doing that you just get another 8 AND you’re paying for preamps you don’t need.

Long-story-short: it’s not a bad idea to think ahead a bit and imagine possible future needs. If you were a person saying “I just need one mic input for voiceovers”, I wouldn’t be giving this same advice, but you’ve already explained that you need a lot of inputs and so it’s natural to consider that you may need more than what you have today. And the audio interface/converter is the one piece of gear most rapidly declining in value in your studio— it really sucks to be stuck with something inadequate which you can’t expand and have to sell.

EDIT: sorry, I thought you were the OP, that’s who I was directing my comment about having lots of synths. Perhaps it applies to you too? Ignore if not!
Old 1st August 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zasterz View Post
What Headless Dinosaur is saying above. You may think right now that you don’t need ADAT or Ethernet, but imagine for a minute that you have it for a year and then buy a couple more synths and now you’re suddenly out of inputs. So what are you going to do? You can’t just buy a second unit of any old brand and run it alongside (parallel), you either have to be able to hook the two units one into the other in series or sell your current unit altogether and buy something with more inputs, assuming a product exists. And resale for audio interfaces is always at a loss. They don’t maintain their value like good outboard gear or instruments might.

So as far as hooking the units together, ADAT means you can at least hook in another 8 or 16 inputs via another unit. Many units will have ADAT so you can choose from a wide range of brands. Ethernet is more a MOTU thing, I don’t know if anyone else is using it. But the numbers of channels you can add is huge, not just a max of 8 or 16 like ADAT. Also some brands of interface, like Apogee Ensemble, will let you daisy-chain just the same brand’s interfaces for more inputs. But again, doing that you just get another 8 AND you’re paying for preamps you don’t need.

Long-story-short: it’s not a bad idea to think ahead a bit and imagine possible future needs. If you were a person saying “I just need one mic input for voiceovers”, I wouldn’t be giving this same advice, but you’ve already explained that you need a lot of inputs and so it’s natural to consider that you may need more than what you have today. And the audio interface/converter is the one piece of gear most rapidly declining in value in your studio— it really sucks to be stuck with something inadequate which you can’t expand and have to sell.

EDIT: sorry, I thought you were the OP, that’s who I was directing my comment about having lots of synths. Perhaps it applies to you too? Ignore if not!
Reguardless of your needs it is always a good idea to future proof yourself as much as possible.
Old 3rd August 2019
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Thanks guys. Salient points there. The MOTU gear certainly is very desirable, and if I had that kind of budget it would be what I’d go for. I hadn’t realized the ADAT was quite so versatile. Always struck me as a something esoteric and the purview of high end studios. Thanks for learning me straight.

One thought about future proofing. It’s defin a balance that needs to be struck, particularly for bedroom producers and small studios like myself. Who don’t have the budgets or can justify the prices (usually to our wives, to ourselves it’s easy) for better quality gear. It’s always gonna be a compromise. I’ve wasted good money on gear that might see me good in the future, only to become obsolete before that day ever arrived. So I’ve gotten careful in that regard, only spending on what I need here and now as times and tech change far too quickly these days.
Old 3rd August 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJElectricDaddy View Post
Thanks guys. Salient points there. The MOTU gear certainly is very desirable, and if I had that kind of budget it would be what I’d go for. I hadn’t realized the ADAT was quite so versatile. Always struck me as a something esoteric and the purview of high end studios. Thanks for learning me straight.

One thought about future proofing. It’s defin a balance that needs to be struck, particularly for bedroom producers and small studios like myself. Who don’t have the budgets or can justify the prices (usually to our wives, to ourselves it’s easy) for better quality gear. It’s always gonna be a compromise. I’ve wasted good money on gear that might see me good in the future, only to become obsolete before that day ever arrived. So I’ve gotten careful in that regard, only spending on what I need here and now as times and tech change far too quickly these days.
I'm small time too, mostly doing live sound and recording, a little bit of mixing (not a musician) and in 2004 I slurged on a Digi 002 with a fancy upgrade mod from Black Lion. It sounded great, made a few albums, but was mainly my studio D/A for monitoring. About five years ago, I needed to acquire more input channels as I had more live recording, and got a MOTU 8M for its preamps. It was a big expense ($1500) but tax deductible that year. I only used it a half dozen times, until last year the 002 finally stopped showing up for me, so I switched the the 8m, and it was an immediate improvement in sound!

Fortunately my wife is my partner in the sound business, so that was never an obstacle, as long as I can show her the benefits of upgrading!

Best luck,
<L>
Old 3rd August 2019
  #21
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
Tascam US 20x20.
This would be an option that could serve you well thats cheaper than a motu unit. Ive never heard this unit but i would suspect it would NOT be in the league of the motu stuff , however Tascam has been around for ages and for good reason. There ars some good user reviews on the sweetwater website. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...udio-interface
This thing clocks in at half the price on my Motu 828es and has many of the same critical features.
Old 3rd August 2019
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
This would be an option that could serve you well thats cheaper than a motu unit. Ive never heard this unit but i would suspect it would NOT be in the league of the motu stuff , however Tascam has been around for ages and for good reason. There ars some good user reviews on the sweetwater website. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...udio-interface
This thing clocks in at half the price on my Motu 828es and has many of the same critical features.
Yes— I forgot about that unit! I owned it briefly before upgrading to Apogee Ensemble but I can’t remember much about it. Only thing I’m not sure of is if the line ins bypass the preamps. But for synths and electronic gear it may not really matter. I’m sure you could get great results either way. And it does have ADAT ins for adding more channels later.
Old 3rd August 2019
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJElectricDaddy View Post
Thanks guys. Salient points there. The MOTU gear certainly is very desirable, and if I had that kind of budget it would be what I’d go for. I hadn’t realized the ADAT was quite so versatile. Always struck me as a something esoteric and the purview of high end studios. Thanks for learning me straight.

One thought about future proofing. It’s defin a balance that needs to be struck, particularly for bedroom producers and small studios like myself. Who don’t have the budgets or can justify the prices (usually to our wives, to ourselves it’s easy) for better quality gear. It’s always gonna be a compromise. I’ve wasted good money on gear that might see me good in the future, only to become obsolete before that day ever arrived. So I’ve gotten careful in that regard, only spending on what I need here and now as times and tech change far too quickly these days.
Also wanted to mention you will get more bang for your buck purchasing used. I got my 16a off ebay for $900 and 8a should be possible around $700.
Old 4th August 2019
  #24
Gear Head
 

UR824 is great for the $. I've used it with a cheap Behringer ADAT for doing 16 tracks live, and that worked great too.
Old 4th August 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKahuna View Post
Why did you start another thread instead of adding this info to your existing thread? Need help finding an audio interface.
Because this is gearslutz.com and that's what you're supposed to do, obviously. duh! I wish they'd just get rid of that useless search bar.
Old 4th August 2019
  #26
Gear Addict
 

I just saw this posted on another thread. 24 ins for $550. That’s probably as cheap as you can find at this time. If converter quality is low on your priorities compared to price and # of inputs, this might fit the bill. Be sure to figure in the cost of dsub cables cause those ain’t free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever17 View Post
what do people think of the Cymatic Audio uTrack24 ?
compact and runs as standalone.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...audio-utrack24



eh: more info here. D-sub outputs and other stuff:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/cymatic-utrack-24
Old 8th August 2019
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Howdy, I as well need help looking for an interface along the same lines as the OP, and didn't want to open a new thread. Right now I'm looking at 2 interfaces as candidates. Either the Tascam US-20x20 or the Focusrite 18i20 3rd gen. If anyone has experience with these, I'd very much so appreciate the help.
Personally I've never used Tascam, but have used Focusrite interfaces before, and have had mixed results with them. Those being a 1st gen scarlett 2i2, which was garbage, and an saffire 24 pro DSP, which was pretty good. Also a big thing I'm worried about is latency. Again any insight or suggestions would be much appreciated.
Old 8th August 2019
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxThatTalks View Post
Howdy, I as well need help looking for an interface along the same lines as the OP, and didn't want to open a new thread. Right now I'm looking at 2 interfaces as candidates. Either the Tascam US-20x20 or the Focusrite 18i20 3rd gen. If anyone has experience with these, I'd very much so appreciate the help.
Personally I've never used Tascam, but have used Focusrite interfaces before, and have had mixed results with them. Those being a 1st gen scarlett 2i2, which was garbage, and an saffire 24 pro DSP, which was pretty good. Also a big thing I'm worried about is latency. Again any insight or suggestions would be much appreciated.
If the device has a cue mixer (like the focusrite, I assume the Tascam dies but check!) then latency can easily be worked around.

Mostly, latency when monitoring through the DAW is a function of the computer, not the interface. The interface might contribute a bit; but the computers power (and thus the buffer size) matters the most.
Old 8th August 2019
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxThatTalks View Post
Howdy, I as well need help looking for an interface along the same lines as the OP, and didn't want to open a new thread. Right now I'm looking at 2 interfaces as candidates. Either the Tascam US-20x20 or the Focusrite 18i20 3rd gen. If anyone has experience with these, I'd very much so appreciate the help.
Personally I've never used Tascam, but have used Focusrite interfaces before, and have had mixed results with them. Those being a 1st gen scarlett 2i2, which was garbage, and an saffire 24 pro DSP, which was pretty good. Also a big thing I'm worried about is latency. Again any insight or suggestions would be much appreciated.
I owned the tascam briefly and it was fine. I wouldn’t want to rely on it for mic pres and the preamps can’t be bypassed when going in the line ins so they’ll always be in your signal path, but if you were plugging in a bunch of synths, samplers, drum machines, etc– I.e. electronic gear— I think you’d be fine. It is firmly in the category of “prosumer” gear, and you may outgrow it soon, but if you want the cheapest bunch of ins and outs it ain’t too bad.

I do feel however like you might as well save up a couple hundred more and get a motu 8a which will sound as good as you need going into the future. Unless you need preamps (which I wouldn’t want to trust the tascam for anyway) because it only has line ins.
Old 8th August 2019
  #30
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zasterz View Post
I owned the tascam briefly and it was fine. I wouldn’t want to rely on it for mic pres and the preamps can’t be bypassed when going in the line ins so they’ll always be in your signal path, but if you were plugging in a bunch of synths, samplers, drum machines, etc– I.e. electronic gear— I think you’d be fine. It is firmly in the category of “prosumer” gear, and you may outgrow it soon, but if you want the cheapest bunch of ins and outs it ain’t too bad.

I do feel however like you might as well save up a couple hundred more and get a motu 8a which will sound as good as you need going into the future. Unless you need preamps (which I wouldn’t want to trust the tascam for anyway) because it only has line ins.
I agree the MOTU stuff is the way to go. Its a little more expensive than say Focusrite or Tascam but the quality dwarfs those. Plus I can say from personal experience that MOTU's customer service is outstanding.
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