Steinberg MR816X by Zillo
Nowadays it's getting pretty hard to pick a candidate in this market, which is full of solid and reliable interfaces, we got so many choices and price tags all over the place, so when I found myself running for my next interface I decided to let my ears decide and forget about wallet problems… For one, I told myself, I wanna be happy with what my ears really dig and do not care about the rest! So with big help from friends and local music stores I set up my personal shoot-out between 6 interfaces with very different price points and critical acclaim.
To cut the long story short, this interface managed to blow the competition away, convertion-wise, in less than a hour of critical listening (blindfolded, I must add). I was surprised as you probably are now, but the real treats that this sweet piece of hardware can offer are yet to come!
This 1-rack space unit comes loaded with all the features you expect from a pro interface, up to 24bit 96 kHz recording, 8 preamplifiers, Neutrik combo connectors, discrete pads and phantom power for each of the channels, one Hi-Z input, 8 outs, 2 hardware inserts (very useful for either patching your usual hardware comps/EQs or your boutique preamps), ADAT, wordclock and SPDIF i/o.
This added to the amazingly simple MR Editor software mixer which is capable of achieve zero-latency monitoring for up to eight different audio outs makes this unit an incredible workhorse. Plus, if you are a Cubase user (which sadly I'm not) you are offered countless integration options which allow you to barely touch the mouse while setting up for tracking! Two infinite-run knobs take care of sample rate settings and phones, master and reverb levels. Wait… reverb? Yes, my friend, the interface comes with his own high quality on-board verb that you can slap on any of the can sends in just two knob twists, and without loading an aux track in your DAW or taking away CPU power from your computer.
The pres sound very clean and transparent: the sonic quality and headroom is spotless! The unit is very well-built and elegant, the dedicated power supply can tell (two power switches, very sturdy and heavy)! You can daisy-chain up to three units of the same kind, thus offering up to 24 analog ins and outs.
I've been using this piece for equipment for a few months now and I really cannot say anything negative about it. Studio recording, live recording with 4 real-time separate stereo mixes, everything smooth and no hiccups at all even on portable, non-optimized systems, this baby can accommodate your needs and for the price you pay, I'm sure this is the best bang for the buck out there, you can just believe me or try the MR816X!