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Which interface should I buy? Audio Interfaces
Old 7th June 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Which interface should I buy?

Hi, I am new here...but I am not new to audio or the art of recording it. My roots and love of all things audio are old school ANALOG! Always will be! Nothing sounds better than tape! (Imho, that is.) But these days before I can do any recording I have to build a digital arsenal, so now I must purchase new AD/DA interfaces that will work well with Reaper, along with a bunch of other gear as well.

Unfortunately, I had over $22k (US) of pro audio gear stolen from me a little over a year ago with no insurance help. So after a year of debating whether or not to give it all up I have decided to start over, but on a very limited budget.

What I am looking to do is put together a mobile recording rig to coincide with my live mixing PA rig. I am currently using a small analog mixing desk (Allen & Heath Mix Wizard 16:2, but soon to upgrade to 24+ channels) which imho has better than decent mic pre's and EQ's considering it's price point. The board handles all live PA FOH mixing tasks as well as monitor mixes. I will be feeding my interface(s) line level signals via direct outs from the A&H board most of the time so an interface with great mic pre's is not necessarily a deciding factor here, but may prove helpful if I do smaller gigs with just a few mics where I don't need to carry the analog board.

So a couple of questions arise...

1) If given a choice between the RME Fireface 800, the Metric Halo MIO2882-Expanded or the Apogee Ensemble, which are all roughly around the same price point, which one takes the cake?


2) In case I just can't get to that price point, and if given the choice between the Focusrite Liquid Sapphire 56 and the MOTU 896 MK3 Hybrid, which of these two units comes out on top?

I am just trying to find out which unit is better than the others in terms of A/D sonic performance, build quality, driver/software stability and also very important is the company's customer/tech support record. I have read that both MOTU and RME have great drivers, however I have also read numerous threads regarding MOTU's poor customer support.

For now I am looking to record probably not more than 24 tracks at 24bit/48k. I am just looking for straight live performance real-time audio capture with either very little effects or no effects during tracking at all. I will add effects during mixdown in my studio DAW later.

I have a mid-2009 MacBook Pro in which I am going to install two SSD's. One for the OS/DAW/plug-ins/apps and one in the optical drive bay for recording the audio data files. I am also going to max out the RAM to 8GB. Hopefully I can get some good mileage out of it for a while until I can afford to buy a new one.

Thanks in advance for any insights and suggestions,

~ Joe.
Old 7th June 2013
A few things to consider

1) They're all great units. The Apogee limits you to working with Mac, which is a problem if ever you find yourself needing to work with someone else's laptop or pc or if you ever switch platforms for whatever reason. RME is more flexible and has great driver and mixing software.

2) I can recommend the Saffire 56 in cheaper price point option. It's been very reliable for me over the last 2 years. I've never tried the MOTU however.
Old 7th June 2013
Lives for gear
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Fireface UFX or UCX by RME. End search there if you aren't looking to spend more
Old 8th June 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Which interface should I buy?

I completely agree about the RME UFX/UCX series. Unfortunately they are just above my financial reach. I hope to someday work my way up to one of those.

I mentioned the RME Fireface800 because that unit is just at the uppermost limit of what I can afford. I want to know how it compares to the Apogee Ensemble and the Metric Halo 2882.

On the lower end I want to know how the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 compares to the MOTU 892 MK3 Hybrid.

Can anyone advise me regarding the units I mentioned?
Old 8th June 2013
Gear Guru
John Willett's Avatar

If you normally work with a mixer, I would get a JoeCo Black Box - it's by far the easiest and is extremely reliable.

Of the interfaces, my choice would be the RME I think.
Old 8th June 2013
Gear Head

I've not used any of the interfaces mentioned, with the exception of the 2882. It's a killer interface. The DSP alone is worth it IMO. Drivers are rock solid and customer support is some of the best there is. Fwiw it can be used or a lot more than an interface. People use them for speaker matrices, external fx, and more. It is make only like the apogee. And it only has 8 analog ins. So you'll need an adat converter if you want 16 channels. Aside from that I highly recommend it.
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