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Old 9th August 2020
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by kijix84 View Post
Usually when budget is relatively low, people go for a pre-built audio interface like the MOTUs, Focusrites etc. ...My confusion lies in how to set all this up if I want to do all of this without an audio interface as a ‘middleman’. Is doing this even possible?
You probably cannot plug your converters directly into a computer. The real question is: is it possible for less money than buying an off the shelf interface? What you describe sounds to me more 'a la carte' than 'modular'. IMO, this is how you put together a really high end system. Not how you 'save money'.

The "no-converter" card snoskit linked to costs about $900.

Of course with just ADDA alone I am left without preamps so I’d have to buy something for that.
a cheapish pair of outboard preamps will cost you about the same as a simple interface.

The prices of mass produced interfaces are low because of the economy of scale. Therefore one 'without' converters and preamps won't be much cheaper than one with, because even though it has less "stuff" - they would have to "build it special", sell fewer of them, and thus lose that economy of scale.

If you want to do better than the "built ins", but don't want to break the bank, you probably should just get a simple interface that comes with preamps and converters but allows you to bypass the onboard stuff. You could start using it right away and upgrade preamps and conversion down the line.