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4 Mic Audio Interface for Classical Music Audio Interfaces
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
4 Mic Audio Interface for Classical Music

I've been recording using my pair of Line Audio CM3 into my Zoom H6, but I'd like to investigate possibilities to record using an interface and, perhaps, the H6 as the back-up. I don't anticipate needing more than 4 mics and my main recording is of solo strings (violin, viola, cello), piano, and chamber music.

As of now, budget is a concern, so I'd like to not go over $1000... also, bonus points if it's an interface that could give enough gain to a ribbon mic (although I don't discard the use of an inline pre-amp to help with that).

Here are my thoughts (keep in mind I use a mac):

- Tascam US-4x4 USB 2.0
- RME QuadMic II
- Apogee Element 46
- Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 (it can work as a stand alone recorder or audio interface, if I understand it correctly)

Any other suggestions (or a link to another thread where this is discussed -- couldn't find one this specific) is appreciated!

Thanks
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

You should might also want to consider the Zoom F4/8. Mic preamps reportedly on the same level more or less with SD.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
If you want a new recorder that also functions as an audio interface, the mixpre6 is a no brainer - it is an awesome piece of kit.
If you just need a good interface, I like my focusrite 18i8. I use Mogaines with my passive ribbons.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Head
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
You should might also want to consider the Zoom F4/8.
Yep, I second that suggestion. I used an F8 to record live jazz typically five nights per week for over a year. I’ve used it as an interface to a Macbook Pro to record chamber music concerts and chamber music albums. I’ve also taken it on two sound recording expeditions through Myanmar where it has been used in all kinds of environments indoors and out, then wrapped in a t-shirt and thrown into a backpack. I have never had a problem with it...

If you can afford it, go for the F8 rather than the F4. It’s a useful step up and point-of-difference from the four track capability of the H6, it works as a stand-alone recorder and, unlike the F4, it can be controlled with an iOS app on an iPad or iPhone (via Bluetooth) bringing all the controls within easy reach on a nice large screen (if you’re using an iPad, that is...).
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
I'm glad to know the Focusrite 18i8 is an option, as are the Zoom F4 and F8. I'll look for a comparison of the Zoom F8 preamps with the MixPre 6.
Even though I'm not planning on commercial release of these recordings, I'd like to get the best quality I can with the limited budget!
Any words on the Tascam? I'd assume the RME is quite goood, and I have a little experience with the Element 46, which I like... but I don't have much experience with other machines, so I can't quite compare.
Thanks,
Old 6 days ago
  #6
I personally cannot stand the sound of the Zoom recorders. Nasal and pinched mid range just like their entire range of products. Preamps are not clean.

Mix Pre 6 is good, never used it as an interface though. The RME QuadMic is just a preamp, not an interface.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
Gear Head
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Nasal and pinched mid range just like their entire range of products. Preamps are not clean.
Are you referring to the F series as well?

It’s all subjective, of course. I understand your impression in reference to their handheld recorders, but I haven’t heard anyone describe the F series preamps that way. I have been complimented over and again by jazz and ethnic/world musicians for the clarity and cleanliness of the sound from the F8 on live recordings.

It’s not in the same league as my Nagras (past and present) and my Prismsound interfaces (past and recent), but it’s good enough that I don’t feel I’m compromising in terms of the client’s budget and price/performance ratio - by which I mean if the budget or circumstances don’t extend to much more expensive devices, I feel like it’s a good option.

To my ears the F8 sounds more neutral than the Apogee Quartet it replaced, and is considerably cleaner and clearer than the MOTU Traveler MkIII that the Quartet replaced. I’ll happily run Schoeps and Sennheisers into the F8, but I’d rather not put DPAs through it if given a choice. The combined tonality ends up being a little too thin and bright.

Our mileages vary, obviously!
Old 6 days ago
  #8
For typical concert archive recordings, I bring my RME UFX. In budget times, I used to bring my Focusrite 18i20, that I still bring in my rack case for backup. Good affordable preamps and stable interface. There is no comparison with the UFX of course, but it does the job perfectly.
Old 6 days ago
  #9
Here for the gear
I second the UFX. I have no experience with the other devices, but since i use the RME UFX, i stand by it.

I use it as both my interface AND backup/standalone recorder - simultaneously. Even if something happens to my computer or in my DAW where recording stops in the middle of the program, the UFX keeps recording onto a usb drive, unaffected.

I haven't used it, but it's iPad controllable, AFAIK.

You can set it up to work as a monitor controller too. I have several presets depending on what I am doing, and you can get a controller for easier switching. Since it has 8 analog outputs you can totally run a 7.1 channel setup without having to spend extra on a 7.1 monitor controller. Though you can get additional outs via the 2 HP jacks, ADAT outs, and AES/EBU out

It has 4 preamps on the device, 8 analog in, 2channels via aes/ebu, and 2 adat inputs (up to 16 channels via adat devices). I run a micstasy via adat, which i prefer over the 4 pres it comes with, but they are still good pres. I run a millennia hv3d8 via the analog ins.

The newer rme ufx 2 has madi options two, so you get far more i/o.

Even if you don't anticipate needing more than 4 channels, the UFX is still a great tool to use on its own. It will come with everything youre looking for. You may eventually decide to use more channels for whatever reason (maybe you want to experiment surround recording) and the rme will have the flexibility of expanding your i/o.

I would go with the UFX. over the zoom stuff, which i have only heard and thought they were noisy and not as dynamic. I have only heard great stuff about the sound devices. A friend had a tascam interface and i was not impressed. I haven't heard the apogee. I can really only speak for the UFX, though, and can say it really works well for me, and i trust it will for you too.

Hipe this helps!

Irving
Belacoustic.com
Old 6 days ago
  #10
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
I've been recording using my pair of Line Audio CM3 into my Zoom H6, but I'd like to investigate possibilities to record using an interface and, perhaps, the H6 as the back-up. I don't anticipate needing more than 4 mics and my main recording is of solo strings (violin, viola, cello), piano, and chamber music.

As of now, budget is a concern, so I'd like to not go over $1000... also, bonus points if it's an interface that could give enough gain to a ribbon mic (although I don't discard the use of an inline pre-amp to help with that).
If using passive ribbons (which are great for strings) you may need more gain with either a preamp or in line gain booster. I would think that with many passive ribbons you may need at least 50dB of very clean gain. Just to warn you.
Old 5 days ago
  #11
RPC
Gear Maniac
 

I've been using my Mixpre-6 a fair amount, though not as an interface. The mike preamps are very good; I had no trouble using them with e.g. SAMAR VL37 at 66dB gain. Aside from some oddness in the MS matrixing (which I've documented in the Mixpre thread) it's an eminently usable box. Note that it will record to SD card at 192kHz but only output to USB at 96kHz (if this matters to you).

Last edited by RPC; 5 days ago at 05:31 PM.. Reason: USB sample rate limitation
Old 4 days ago
  #12
You might be interested in this review comparing the Zoom F4/F8 with the Mixpre-3/6. I have recently picked up the Zoom F4, and will test it recording an orchestra this weekend. The Mixpre-3 was the other one I was considering. I really wanted to be able to run on batteries, and it does seem the record time on batteries is better on the Zoom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NadEMwaCNEY
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Pohaku's Avatar
 

With the new SD mixpre10 out, a number of folks are selling their earlier acquired mixpre3s and mixpre6s if you are comfortable buying used. Zoom F4s and F8s are also being turned over for the same reason. I have an F8 (as well as a 788T) and am quite happy with it. Haven’t had a single issue with it. Not in the same league as the H series Zooms - much better IMHO. FWIW, There are several Mixpres and Zoom F models currently for sale over at Taperssection’s yard sale (none of them mine). The owners are just stepping up to Mixpre10s.
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