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Steinberg UR22 vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Old 11th November 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
Steinberg UR22 vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

I finally upgraded my entire recording system after a decade. New Mac Mini running Yosemite and Logic Pro X. My current Tascam US-122 audio interface will no longer be supported, so I've been scanning 2 channel interfaces and have it down to either the Steinberg UR22 or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

Anyone have a preference? If not one of these, am I overlooking one that is better? My budget is $200 and under.

Thanks!
S
Old 11th November 2014
  #2
Hi there!
Well, I owned UR22 and 2i4 (which is almost 2i2). If I had to choose again between UR22 and 2i4, I'd definitely go for UR22. I really liked Steinberg's drivers. Preamps were crystal clean comparing to 2i4. AD/DA conversion was good, headphone pre's were also good. And the drivers were awesome, I've never experienced any problem. I didn't really like 2i4, although I really liked the way it looked (beautiful red box), BUT. Drivers were really awful, I had lots of issues with correlation between latency and buffer size, and it didn't turn out to work really well with my laptop. Although, YMMV.
I currently own Roland Quad-Capture and I love it. This is the best box I've ever owned. Drivers for Windows are insanely good. Pres and AD/DA conversion is also good (although, I cannot tell whether I felt any difference after switching from UR22). Headphone preamp is more powerful than either UR22 or 2i4.
You can also look for Focusrite Forte (sometimes you can get a used one for under $200 on eBay), it seems to be a solid device.

Sincerely,
Mike
Old 12th November 2014
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecore View Post
Hi there!
Well, I owned UR22 and 2i4 (which is almost 2i2). If I had to choose again between UR22 and 2i4, I'd definitely go for UR22. I really liked Steinberg's drivers. Preamps were crystal clean comparing to 2i4. AD/DA conversion was good, headphone pre's were also good. And the drivers were awesome, I've never experienced any problem. I didn't really like 2i4, although I really liked the way it looked (beautiful red box), BUT. Drivers were really awful, I had lots of issues with correlation between latency and buffer size, and it didn't turn out to work really well with my laptop. Although, YMMV.
I currently own Roland Quad-Capture and I love it. This is the best box I've ever owned. Drivers for Windows are insanely good. Pres and AD/DA conversion is also good (although, I cannot tell whether I felt any difference after switching from UR22). Headphone preamp is more powerful than either UR22 or 2i4.
You can also look for Focusrite Forte (sometimes you can get a used one for under $200 on eBay), it seems to be a solid device.

Sincerely,
Mike
Exactly same experience with ur22/2i4/Quad-Capture !
Old 12th November 2014
  #4
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johnnyv's Avatar
There is also good initial feedback for Tascam's new line of small interfaces so take a look at those as well. I'm not sure who started the "we love Focusrite " deal, but myself owning a few interfaces, I really don't like the pre amps at all. I have the 6i6. Drivers are excellent, but I ended up using my Yamaha 01v Pre amps via SPDIF.
And my self I would aviod any interface that is buss powered only. Read way to many issues with that on forums. Make sure it at least has optional use of a power supply. USB power can add noise and lowers the available power for Phantom mikes often too.
Old 12th November 2014
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I have a 2i2, and I feel the preamps are fine for the price range. However, I'd buy the UR22 simply for the Midi I/O. Thinking I'd not need that was a lapse in judgment on my part. (Actually, if I bought an interface now, I'd go with the UR44 for the additional inputs.)
Old 12th November 2014
  #6
I can't speak for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, but I've owned the UR22 for almost two years and it's great; it does what it says on the tin. Bought it for ~GBP 120.00; very good bang-for-buck (high quality mic preamps). If you have any questions, reply or give me a message
Old 13th November 2014
  #7
Here for the gear
Thanks all! Spoke to a gear tech at Guitar Center and they mentioned UR22 as well, so I've ordered one. I believe Apple could be the culprit of selling the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to people, as this interface is sold through them.

And for anyone running Yosemite and a UR22, they are compatible as noted on this thread (Steinberg UR22 working with Yosemite?). Official 10.10 drivers aren't out yet, if you go to Steinberg page.
Old 13th November 2014
  #8
rjx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecore View Post
I owned UR22 and 2i4
I currently own Roland Quad-Capture and I love it. This is the best box I've ever owned. Drivers for Windows are insanely good. Pres and AD/DA conversion is also good (although, I cannot tell whether I felt any difference after switching from UR22). Headphone preamp is more powerful than either UR22 or 2i4.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirka View Post
Exactly same experience with ur22/2i4/Quad-Capture !
Sweet. Thanks for the review.

I always hear good things about all 3 interfaces. But hearing from 2 people that have used all 3 and to see that you both thought the Roland was the better quality device is very helpful.

For $199, the Roland Duo-Capture EX seems like a no thrills, great (price:quality ratio) 2 channel interface that can accept a power supply.
Old 17th February 2015
  #9
SEA
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I was reading a review off of Sweetwater's site regarding the UR22 and it said:

Quote:
Not a true stereo interface
August 11, 2014
,
Wow - after purchasing (from a local retailer) I found out that the front inputs are mono. They are only stereo selectable if recording with a hard pan left and right and then playing it back in stereo. You cannot direct monitor in stereo. Needless to say my keyboard comes out in mono only through the interface when direct monitoring. Terrible design and nothing on their website indicates mono direct monitoring.
Good to know.

Last edited by SEA; 18th February 2015 at 04:10 PM..
Old 18th February 2015
  #10
SEA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecore View Post
I currently own Roland Quad-Capture and I love it. This is the best box I've ever owned. Drivers for Windows are insanely good. Pres and AD/DA conversion is also good (although, I cannot tell whether I felt any difference after switching from UR22). Headphone preamp is more powerful than either UR22 or 2i4.

Sincerely,
Mike
Thanks Mike! You just saved me from picking up the UR22!

Besides the extra 2 channels and S/PDIF, is there any other reason to go with the Quad-Capture vs. the Duo-Capture?

What about the drivers? Do they both have the same low-latency VS streaming drivers?

Thanks!

Last edited by SEA; 18th February 2015 at 04:54 PM..
Old 18th February 2015
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
Thanks Mike! You just saved me from picking up the UR22!

Besides the extra 2 channels and S/PDIF, is there any other reason to go with the Quad-Capture vs. the Duo-Capture?

What about the drivers? Do they both have the same low-latency VS streaming drivers?

Thanks!
You're welcome buddy!

Hope you won't get me wrong, but I think UR22 is as much a decent interfaces as is Quad-Capture. Both worked really well for me. Although, I start thinking that I like the sensitivity of preamps of Quad-Capture better than UR22. UR22, in contrast, was a little bit smaller size-wise, plus it comes with free Cubase 7 AI (it was another reason why I picked up UR22). Anyway, both are great, but not the greatest.
To be honest, I don't see any reason of buying a Quad-Capture just because of S/PDIF. In order to use those channels, you'll have to get another digital preamp (which is going to cost you at least $130-150). I'd probably go for UR44 (it's on sale for $238 on eBay + free shipping, so get it quick since they've got only 4 left). There's also a bunch of other fine interfaces with 4+ input channels for under $300.

Drivers are fine for both interfaces and work flawlessly either on Windows, OS X or iOS. I don't know exact latency specs for these interfaces, but they both provide direct monitoring if that's what you need.

Oh yeah, the most annoying stuff about Quad-Capture is that headphones and speakers output levels are controlled by the same knob, so you'll have to manually turn off your speakers if you want to mix using your headphones. UR22 has knobs to control speakers and headphones.

Last edited by mikecore; 18th February 2015 at 09:27 PM..
Old 18th February 2015
  #12
SEA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecore View Post
You're welcome buddy!

Hope you won't get me wrong, but I think UR22 is as much a decent interfaces as is Quad-Capture. Both worked really well for me. Although, I start thinking that I like the sensitivity of preamps of Quad-Capture better than UR22.
For me I'm just looking for something live where I can sing through it and play my sampled pianos and synths to a backing track using Reaper. I have the Antelope Pure2 in my studio with some nice pres so I'm not concern about which pre sounds the best in the UR22 or the Roland.

My main concern is just it working well with Win 7 64 and latency and not crash.

Is the UR22 better at latency than the Quad-Capture? Since It's for live and all.

I also like the fact that I can hook up power to the Duo-Capture or Quad as well.

Thanks!
Old 18th February 2015
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
For me I'm just looking for something live where I can sing through it and play my sampled pianos and synths to a backing track using Reaper. I have the Antelope Pure2 in my studio with some nice pres so I'm not concern about which pre sounds the best in the UR22 or the Roland.

My main concern is just it working well with Win 7 64 and latency and not crash.

Is the UR22 better at latency than the Quad-Capture? Since It's for live and all.

I also like the fact that I can hook up power to the Duo-Capture or Quad as well.

Thanks!
I own a Roland Duo Capture EX and used to own a UR22. I did a lot of benchmarking with those interfaces (it's sort of a hobby) and the UR22 had slightly lower latency, but they were both very much in the same ballpark, at least at mid-to-high sample buffer sizes. The UR22 performed more reliably than the Duo Capture with smaller buffer sizes (and I think the smallest buffer you could pick on the Duo was 96 samples, while the UR22 let you go down to 64... and still worked fine on both USB 2 and 3).

And for what it's worth, both the Duo Capture EX and the UR22 crushed my poor little Scarlett 2i2 in terms of latency. Its latency was almost twice the UR22's.
Old 18th February 2015
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
For me I'm just looking for something live where I can sing through it and play my sampled pianos and synths to a backing track using Reaper. I have the Antelope Pure2 in my studio with some nice pres so I'm not concern about which pre sounds the best in the UR22 or the Roland.

My main concern is just it working well with Win 7 64 and latency and not crash.

Is the UR22 better at latency than the Quad-Capture? Since It's for live and all.

I also like the fact that I can hook up power to the Duo-Capture or Quad as well.

Thanks!
Well, that's a good question and to be honest I don't know the answer to it. I have an HP Spectre 13 x2 (Win 8, i5 4th gen @ 1.6 GHz + 1.6 GHz, 4 GB RAM) and I can play my guitar at 128 samples / 44.1 KHz with no noticeable latency between strumming and playback audio using both Guitar Rig or Revalver. I haven't ever experienced any crashes or pops/clicks with my Quad-Capture, neither I had with my UR22.
Hope this helps.

P.S. Quad-Capture also comes with this nice control panel.
Attached Thumbnails
Steinberg UR22 vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2-capture.png  
Old 18th February 2015
  #15
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And it is super important to pay attention to details like the lack of separate controls for headphones and the monitors. For me that would be a biggy...

There is a lot of choices.
Make a list of your requirements first.
.
What kind of connectivity do you require? and how many of each.
These are some of the options:
XLR, 1/4", Combi jacks, RCA, ¼” line level, ¼” Instrument level ,MIDI, SPDIF, ADAT,MADI
How many ins and outs do you think you'll need now and in the future?
Are they accessible? Front or rear panel?
Is there a true stereo pair? Some don’t have a matched set of inputs
Are all ¼” jacks Balanced?
Pre Amps will fall under the “you get what you pay for” rule, but check out the reviews anyhow.
A/D convertors will also fall under the same rule and generally all are good these days.
Are there peak level meters or just a little LED for each input?
Are there channel Insert jacks?
Are there separate controls for Monitor level and headphone level?
Is there a blend control for mixing Source with Computer ( DAW) ?
How many Headphone jacks? A level for each?
Are the input pads or line / Instrument toggle switches on the front, back or software controlled?
Is it a metal box or cheap plastic? Is it light and portable or large and bulky, Rack mountable?
Does it have an on / off switch?
Does it use Buss power or a power supply? Buss power can have issues with noise and Phantom power. Look for at least an optional power supply.
Does it have DSP effects built in?
Does it use a GUI mixer? Having a software (GUI) mixer adds more options.
Can it be used as stand alone? Some interfaces are also handy as a small mixer.
What are the Round Trip Latency (RTL) specs? Do you need low RTL for real time processing?
Low RTL is going to be at a higher price point. A $200 interface will have hidden buffers etc.
Zero Latency monitoring is not the same as RTL. All interfaces have some latency.
Zero latency is just marketing hype for monitoring directly from the interface.
And most important of all, Does it have top notch drivers for your OS.
What is the word on support from the company?
Does it come with free software, An LE version of a DAW you would like to try?

Everyone will recommend the interface they have chosen, that doesn't mean it is the right one for you.

Last edited by johnnyv; 18th February 2015 at 10:32 PM..
Old 18th February 2015
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Berry has the umc1820 that might be good. Kinda silly how much you get for under $200. Probably have to wait a bit before its in stock at retailers. I speculate it will be a pretty good interface as I have the umc404 and it has been great. I personally haven't used enough mic pres to tell you if they're good on the umc stuff but I've tracked some stuff and it sounds fine.

Last edited by FoundationsAudio; 18th February 2015 at 10:23 PM..
Old 6th August 2015
  #17
Wow. The search button literally made my decision. Was looking at the ur22 but after all of this, Roland seems to really be the better choice. thanks guys
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