Helpful Reply$1,500 Budget Audio Interface

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highlandermak
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2018/01/28 21:35:23 (permalink)

$1,500 Budget Audio Interface

So I'm interested in upgrading my studio 192 interface. I'm windows based and can use usb or install an expansion card to support FireWire or thunderbolt if need be (motherboard does support thunderbolt option but card is a bit pricey) . I'm looking for an interface that can handle virtual instruments well with minimum latency. If you had a budget of $1,500 which interface would you go with? Thanks

Computer: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8140A Gaming PC
OS: Genuine Windows 10 64 bit (Most current updates)
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core | Intel Z370 Express Chipset
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USB: 6 x USB 3.1 | 2 x USB 2.0 | 1x RJ-45 Network Ethernet 10/100/1000
Storage: 240GB SSD+2TB HDD
Application(DAW): Studio One 3 Pro and SONAR PLATINUM - Version (Most current update)
Audio Interfaces: PreSonus Studio 192 and Focusrite: Scarlett 6i6 (Most current updates)
#1
Jeff M.
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/28 22:34:45 (permalink)
RME UCX would be a good choice.

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#2
abacab
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/28 22:57:47 (permalink)
My wish list has the UAD Apollo Twin USB (USB 3.0) or the RME Babyface Pro (USB 2.0). 
 
They both have respectable drivers and I don't need a ton of inputs.
 
I'm not sure I would want to wade into the waters of Thunderbolt on PC, at least not yet...

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#3
highlandermak
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/28 22:59:06 (permalink)
I've been eyeing that one as well. Anyone know how the latency is on the RME? Also is the age of the unit an issue with newer interfaces?

Computer: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8140A Gaming PC
OS: Genuine Windows 10 64 bit (Most current updates)
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core | Intel Z370 Express Chipset
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Application(DAW): Studio One 3 Pro and SONAR PLATINUM - Version (Most current update)
Audio Interfaces: PreSonus Studio 192 and Focusrite: Scarlett 6i6 (Most current updates)
#4
abacab
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/28 23:15:52 (permalink)
Actual latency with virtual instruments would be a good question!  The UAD claims near zero latency if you use the external monitoring with their plugins, but I wouldn't think that applies to virtual instruments in the box.  The example videos I saw were tracking vocals with reverb applied for the recording session.

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#5
msmcleod
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/28 23:21:17 (permalink)
Jeff M.
RME UCX would be a good choice.

If you can stretch to the RME UFX, I'd go for that but the UCX is very good.... only wish I had one!
#6
AT
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/29 05:06:07 (permalink)
Lynx.
#7
gswitz
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/29 09:53:51 (permalink)
I like my ucx. There have been occasions where i wished i had bought the ufx. But the ucx with the rme quad Mic pre gives me eight inputs, six with phantom, in one u. The ufx, scales up higher, but sixteen inputs is enough for me most days.

StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
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azslow3
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/29 10:28:43 (permalink)
I remember I have seen close to that prices for (older) UFX when they have introduced new version not long time ago.
A warning about Babyface Pro: it sacrifice connectivity for portability. Both down/up to extreme level.
 
BF Pro has strict lowest settings on Windows: 48 samples buffer at 44.1hHz (96 samples at 96kHz). So in latency nominal specification it is behind some USB3 / Thunderbolt interfaces (which claim 32 samples at 96kHz support). But the evil is in details. All settings RME support are actually usable without glitches and latency grow reasonable when the buffer size is increased.

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#9
Jim Roseberry
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/29 14:55:49 (permalink)
highlandermak
So I'm interested in upgrading my studio 192 interface. I'm windows based and can use usb or install an expansion card to support FireWire or thunderbolt if need be (motherboard does support thunderbolt option but card is a bit pricey) . I'm looking for an interface that can handle virtual instruments well with minimum latency. If you had a budget of $1,500 which interface would you go with? Thanks



You've got the budget to get a nice audio interface.
 
If you go Thunderbolt, make absolutely sure the motherboard supports Thunderbolt-3... and that the add-in-card is a Thunderbolt-3 controller.  You can't install/use the Asus Thunderbolt EX-3 if the motherboard doesn't specifically support it.  If you're good with the motherboard and Thunderbolt-3 controller, you'll need to run an up-to-date install of Win10x64... and you'll also need a Thunderbolt-3 to Thunderbolt-2 adapter (as most all Thunderbolt audio interfaces are using Thunderbolt-2).  Apple makes a Thunderbolt-3 to Thunderbolt-2 adapter for ~$50.  We've had good luck with it under many different circumstances.
 
Side note:
Universal Audio's new (small) Arrow audio interface is Thunderbolt-3.
UA have also announced a Thunderbolt-3 option card for the Apollo series.
 
The Presonus Quantum is a nice audio interface at ~$1000.
The MOTU AVB series is excellent.
The RME UFX+ is excellent.
The UA Apollo 8/p is another great choice.
 
All offer extremely low noise, low round-trip latency, and rock-solid drivers.
 
All of the RME USB-2 audio interfaces are excellent performers.
Round-trip latency is slightly higher than the best Thunderbolt audio interfaces.
Note that the UA Apollo series (due to the onboard DSP functions) has round-trip latency just about equal to the RME USB-2 units.
 
MOTU's USB-2 audio interfaces are also very good performers.
Good sound, low round-trip latency, etc.
 
But the rest of your gear/setup will determine which choice best suits your situation.
Right now, we're all somewhat stabbing-in-the-dark with recommendations.
Since you're replacing the Studio 192, I assume you're looking for the same type of I/O configuration?
If so:
  • RME Fireface UFX or UFX+
  • MOTU 1248 AVB
  • Presonus Quantum
  • Apollo 8/p
All are excellent choices...
 
If you go Thunderbolt, make sure you've got all the details covered before ordering.
 
 
 

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
jim@studiocat.com
www.studiocat.com
#10
WallyG
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/29 16:56:45 (permalink)
Jeff M.
RME UCX would be a good choice.

I second that! I just recalibrated my monitors and like the fact that for every 0.1 increment change on the RME UCX level setting, I get a 1 dB change in the SPL.
 
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#11
highlandermak
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/29 19:54:56 (permalink)
Thank you so much for the great feedback. Nice thing I have time and could save up to the RME Fireface UFX II price range. There might also be some new products that pop up this year.

Computer: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8140A Gaming PC
OS: Genuine Windows 10 64 bit (Most current updates)
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core | Intel Z370 Express Chipset
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USB: 6 x USB 3.1 | 2 x USB 2.0 | 1x RJ-45 Network Ethernet 10/100/1000
Storage: 240GB SSD+2TB HDD
Application(DAW): Studio One 3 Pro and SONAR PLATINUM - Version (Most current update)
Audio Interfaces: PreSonus Studio 192 and Focusrite: Scarlett 6i6 (Most current updates)
#12
patm300e
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/30 12:47:30 (permalink)
Just curious, what is wrong with the Studio 192? 

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#13
Jim Roseberry
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/30 16:17:15 (permalink)
I'm guessing nothing is "wrong" per se... but perhaps the OP is looking to achieve lower round-trip latency.

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
jim@studiocat.com
www.studiocat.com
#14
TheMaartian
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/30 16:52:03 (permalink)
One additional thing to consider is, if/when you need to change DAWs, which one(s) might you choose?
 
If the answer includes Studio One, Google the level of integration between Studio One 3 and the Quantum interface.
 
I use SO3 now, and the Quantum and a replacement PC (currently on an upgraded early 2012 Dell XPS 8500) are on my wish list. Very happy to hear Jim say the drivers are solid. My experience with their drivers for the AudioBox 44VSL wasn't pleasant (why I bought a Tascam and put the AudioBox in the closet).

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#15
highlandermak
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/30 20:19:30 (permalink)
patm300e
Just curious, what is wrong with the Studio 192? 


It started out rough with constant dropouts and crackling. After a few driver and firmware updates it started working better and have been able to mix for the last year (I've had the 192 since March of 2016). If curious I have tried the 192 on 3 different machines with different cables and multitudes of setting. All producing poor latency when I add the VIs. I primarily use the XLN addictive series for drums and pianos, Rapture Pro for synths, in conjunction with Waves and IK Multimedia products as my main effects. I was less than thrilled with the customer support (on the hardware side) as they kept asking me to use it with studio one. Ironically I have switched to Studio One 3 pro and yes I like Studio One 3 a lot however as soon as I add virtual instruments I still need to bump the buffers up. As stated from Jim I'm looking to be able to record within the next year and with the latency I get it would not work well.  
 

Computer: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8140A Gaming PC
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Audio Interfaces: PreSonus Studio 192 and Focusrite: Scarlett 6i6 (Most current updates)
#16
batsbrew
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/01/30 20:25:02 (permalink)
you know, i love my rme babyface,
and for that dough,
the RME Fireface UCX
 
other option would be UA apollo twin

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#17
highlandermak
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/02/01 03:11:28 (permalink)
So now I'm eyeing the Fireface UFX II. It's usb2 in comparison to the UFX + which is usb3. Price difference of $2,300 vs $2,800 from what i recal. Does anyone know if there is any difference with latency . Thanks

Computer: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8140A Gaming PC
OS: Genuine Windows 10 64 bit (Most current updates)
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core | Intel Z370 Express Chipset
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USB: 6 x USB 3.1 | 2 x USB 2.0 | 1x RJ-45 Network Ethernet 10/100/1000
Storage: 240GB SSD+2TB HDD
Application(DAW): Studio One 3 Pro and SONAR PLATINUM - Version (Most current update)
Audio Interfaces: PreSonus Studio 192 and Focusrite: Scarlett 6i6 (Most current updates)
#18
highlandermak
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/02/01 03:38:48 (permalink)
Well according to Focusrite:
Lots of people are asking the question as to why many manufacturers do not produce interfaces that specifically utilise the USB 3.0 protocol.

Firstly, although USB 3.0 offers greater bandwidth than USB 2.0, it will deliver no round trip latency benefits over USB 2.0. This is due to the architecture of the host computer driver stack and its handling of USB audio (isochronous) data. The stack schedules data transfers to and from audio drivers at millisecond frame intervals which means that, no matter how fast the data moves over the USB bus, this defines the limit on minimum latency achievable.

A good analogy is to think of it as a drainpipe and a tennis ball. The tennis ball is the data and the width of the pipe signifies available bandwidth. With the drainpipe set at the same gradient, letting go of the ball at the top of the drainpipe will see it arrive at the bottom in a given amount of time. That's your latency, the time it takes to go from end to end.
USB 3.0 offers a much wider pipe, which in terms of the analogy, means that it could allow a greater number tennis balls (more data) to travel down the pipe, but the balls would not travel down the pipe any faster. This is the same when comparing USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 in terms of the way they transfer audio data

Computer: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8140A Gaming PC
OS: Genuine Windows 10 64 bit (Most current updates)
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core | Intel Z370 Express Chipset
Graphic: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB
USB: 6 x USB 3.1 | 2 x USB 2.0 | 1x RJ-45 Network Ethernet 10/100/1000
Storage: 240GB SSD+2TB HDD
Application(DAW): Studio One 3 Pro and SONAR PLATINUM - Version (Most current update)
Audio Interfaces: PreSonus Studio 192 and Focusrite: Scarlett 6i6 (Most current updates)
#19
rita.stine
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/02/01 06:15:39 (permalink)
With such a budget you could really find a great deal, you just have to choose wisely. 
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Jim Roseberry
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Re: $1,500 Budget Audio Interface 2018/02/01 13:24:55 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby highlandermak 2018/02/01 15:08:12
Analogy...
You have a car that tops out at 100mph:
You can put that car on a two-lane highway... or an eight-lane Freeway...
It's still going to top out at 100mph.
Adding additional (unused) bandwidth will not increase performance.
 
The advantage of Thunderbolt (PCIe level performance under ideal circumstances) is that you can set the ASIO buffer size down to 32-samples... some even go down to 16-samples.
This yields sub 3ms total round-trip latency. 
That's the only advantage vs. the best USB-2 audio interfaces.
Going Thunderbolt (or PCIe) with the audio interface will not yield greater processing power from a given machine.
 
 

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
jim@studiocat.com
www.studiocat.com
#21
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