High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface

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polarbear
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2017/03/12 17:30:08 (permalink)

High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface

So I've asked in the past, but it's been a while and figured I'd ask again.
 
Any suggestions for an audio interface that:
 
- only has a couple ins/outs since I really don't need more than a couple... i'll settle for more than a couple if I have to but they will go unused.
- has really great performance both in terms of low latency, great audio quality, AND windows drivers (looking at you focusrite for making my life hell haha)
- great mic preamps on the ins
- is NOT a "budget" or "cheap" or "portable" or "amateur" or other word like that. I'm willing to pay for this thing if it exists.
- but also isn't like $1500 haha. I was hoping to spend between $300-800 lets say. pretty big range. 
 
I'm coming from a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd gen which has been nothing but a buggy mess for me. I didn't buy it because it's cheap, I bought it because it has everything I want in an interface and great reviews. I used to have the 1st gen which worked great but couldn't quite handle my bigger projects (things would start getting crackles if I had too many tracks going and I was not using too much CPU). The 2nd gen fixes that problem, so I know it's the latency of the 1st gen that was the problem... But in fixing that, I now have all kinds of seemingly driver related issues with the 2nd gen. Here are some examples:
 
- All sound cuts stops until I reboot
- All sound becomes slowed down, crackly and distorted until I reboot
- When I stop the track in Sonar, everything freezes for a few seconds, and if I click the mouse, the program stops responding (if I am just patient and wait it usually is fine, but it's annoying as hell).
 
And yes I've tried both the newest regular drivers and beta drivers. And I just recently did a fresh Windows install, so honestly, I'm not looking to do another one haha. It's gotta be some hardware, and all signs point to the 2nd gen Focusrite since things were good for the most part with the 1st gen.
 
Thanks!

http://www.bydavidrosen.com
http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
 
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#1

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    JohanSebatianGremlin
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 18:16:35 (permalink)
    I replaced my old M-audio Delta 66 with a Behringer FCA1616. I went with the 1616 because it was cheap and rack mountable. And like you, I only need one or two inputs. Most rack mount boxes have 16 or more inputs and are setup for doing bands.
     
    I'm never going to record bands or anything like that. The only thing I find more annoying than other musicians is other musicians that are actually in my house. Just the time you have to spend prepping before they even get there, hiding all the valuables, locking all the guns... But I digress.
     
    Anyway the nice thing about the 1616 is its cheap and so far, it works. I can't say its been flawless though. It does require a reboot in the middle of a session every now and then because it'll start doing things similar to what you're experiencing with your focusrite. Not every session though. Maybe one out of every ten sessions needs a reboot mid-stream. For the price, I'm not going to complain. Do the preamps sound good? I ain't no George Martin but they seem to do the job just fine for me.

    I've never used any MOTU stuff but I've always heard good things about them. If I ever need to replace the 1616, I might go with this box.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AudioExpress
     
     

     
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    #2
    BlixYZ
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 18:24:42 (permalink)
    Audient would suit your needs.

    James W
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    #3
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 19:32:26 (permalink)
    So MOTU Audio Express and Audient iD14 both seem like interesting options for me to consider. Gonna do a lot of research. Thanks for the comments. If anyone else has any input would love to hear it.
     
    BTW the M-Audio Delta 66 was the first serious audio interface I ever bought after using Soundblasters in the early days haha. Then an M-Audio Ozonic with the interface built into the keyboard, and then I moved onto Focusrite from there.
     
    Oh and...
    JohanSebatianGremlin
    I'm never going to record bands or anything like that. The only thing I find more annoying than other musicians is other musicians that are actually in my house. Just the time you have to spend prepping before they even get there, hiding all the valuables, locking all the guns... But I digress.

     
    Man do I hear you haha. I used to do that for a while when I was figuring out my place in music... NO more. Haha.
     

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
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    #4
    abacab
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 19:41:52 (permalink)
    I have heard many recommendations that the best drivers for low latency work are made by RME and MOTU.
     

    Cakewalk: Sonar Platinum x64 2017-10; X3e; Dimension Pro; Rapture, Z3TA+2  Other: Akai VIP; AIR AIEP 3; BIAB; Ignite; Iris 2; SampleTank 3; SONiVOX; SynthMaster; Syntronik; VocalizerPro; Tracktion Waveform OS: Win10 Pro x64 1703 System: Homebuilt Asus; i3 3.4Ghz; 8GB DDR3; Intel HD Graphics; Dual Monitors; Samsung EVO 850 SSD, 250GB; WD 1.0TB 7200rpm; PCIe FireWire  Audio: M-Audio FW-410;  Controllers: A-300PRO; Alesis VX49; CME Xkey  Hardware: Roland JV880; JV1080; XP-30; Alesis QS-6; Casio CZ-1000; Mackie 1202
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    Amicus717
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 20:39:27 (permalink)
    The RME Babyface Pro, which usually clocks in at about $800-$900, sometimes cheaper if its on sale. Great converters, two decent mic pres, and the best drivers in the business (rock stable, low latency, frequent updates and long-term support).

    Sonar Platinum, Windows 10 Pro 64, Core i7-5820K Haswell-E CPU, 32GB DDR4 RAM, RME Babyface, Adam F7 monitors, Mackie MCU
    #6
    Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 22:21:15 (permalink)
    abacab
    I have heard many recommendations that the best drivers for low latency work are made by RME and MOTU.
     



    very true. both top notch.
     
    MOTU AVB Ultralite would be excellent value for its price.

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    #7
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 22:28:56 (permalink)
    Thanks for the continued comments. I'll look into those models too. Definitely want to get something that is going to be as stable as possible, that's going to be goal #1. Sounding good is goal #2. And since I barely ever record externa instruments that shouldn't be a problem anyway haha.

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
    Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
     
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    #8
    Leadfoot
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 22:35:40 (permalink)
    BlixYZ
    Audient would suit your needs.

    +1000
    I have the Audient iD22, and it sounds beautiful. Awesome mic preamps that respond well to being driven hard. It also doubles as a great monitor controller. Runs about $600.
    #9
    batsbrew
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/12 23:24:49 (permalink)
    rme babyface pro fits the bill perfectly.

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    Kev999
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 00:27:07 (permalink)
    Leadfoot
    BlixYZ
    Audient would suit your needs.

    +1000
    I have the Audient iD22, and it sounds beautiful. Awesome mic preamps that respond well to being driven hard. It also doubles as a great monitor controller. Runs about $600.

     
    Or maybe the Audient iD14, which is essentially a cut-down version of the iD22, would be sufficient. It has the same pre-amps but only has one pair of main outs, no send & return, plus a few other things absent. But it seems to fit the OP's desription very closely and it's a lot cheaper too.

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    abacab
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 02:00:28 (permalink)
    OK. I get that the Audient hardware and preamps, etc. are great, but how do the drivers compare to MOTU and RME?  The reason I'm asking is if what if you don't plan to plug in any instruments, but want to use a ton of soft synths without any latency (well more than 5ms, more or less).

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    #12
    Leadfoot
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 11:29:51 (permalink)
    The drivers have been rock solid for me.
    #13
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 14:38:54 (permalink)
    Thanks for the continued comments guys. And yes, since 90% of my music is 100% soft synth (every once in a while I use my guitar or have vocals), the most stable Windows drivers possible is probably #1 on my list.
     
    To be honest I never ever touch my interface. I just plug it into the computer, plug my monitors into it. Adjust the volume knob. Otherwise it just sits there haha.
     
    Seems like so far the ones I'm going to be doing the most thinking about are:
     
    - Audient iD14
    - RME Babyface
    - MOTU AudioExpress
     
    I'm gonna do a ton of homework on them and also ask PC Audio Labs who built my PC if they have any recommendation. Obviously the Audient is much less expensive then the next two, but the the RME & MOTU have such pedigree with their drivers... then again I heard nothing but positive things about the Focusrite until after I got it so who knows haha.
     
    Thanks

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
    Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
     
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    Maarkr
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 14:55:34 (permalink)
    I used to use a Saffire Pro 24 and had no issues... I upgraded this year to the MOTU Ultralite mk4.  Prob a bit more money and features than the AudioExpress but it is a newer technology.  I wasn't sure if I needed the extra features of the Ultralite AVB, and the RME was preferred but a bit too much cost.  So far so good.

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    #15
    AT
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 15:12:17 (permalink)
    Take a look at the TASCAM UH-7000.  Topnotch conversion, better pres than any other interface I've heard - they are worth the price of admission by themselves even if you are only recording audio every once in a while.  Not the best latency, but I don't have a problem and I mostly use soft synths.  If it is, you can digitally sync it to something faster and use those drivers - it is AES but can also do Spdif.  USB 2 so it should be compatible for a while.  And you can find them for $400 or so new. 
     
    Another option is Lynx.  They have a new PCI card 2 x 2 unit out, and a rack mount  8 or 16 track unit over USB, dante (I think), AES etc.  The old units should be relatively cheap now - the new ones run from $1000 on up.  If I had the funds that is the way I'd go.

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    there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
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    #16
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/13 15:42:41 (permalink)
    AT
    Take a look at the TASCAM UH-7000.  Topnotch conversion, better pres than any other interface I've heard - they are worth the price of admission by themselves even if you are only recording audio every once in a while.  Not the best latency, but I don't have a problem and I mostly use soft synths.  If it is, you can digitally sync it to something faster and use those drivers - it is AES but can also do Spdif.  USB 2 so it should be compatible for a while.  And you can find them for $400 or so new. 

     
    No offense AT, but this is exactly what I'm not looking for haha. Digital sync and AES and SPDIF and top notch conversion... I just want to plug my speakers into it haha. Also maybe ignorance is bliss but I would be shocked if I noticed a difference in quality of the pres when I already think my Focusrite sounds as good as it can get since I do so little recording of real instruments/voices (when it works... grumble grumble haha)
     
    Lynx on the other hand is another option I will take a look at. Thanks for the comment :-)

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
    Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
     
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    #17
    kitekrazy1
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/14 00:32:12 (permalink)
    You will probably get at least 10 years out of an RME unit and really low latency.
    Then again Focusrite use to have good driver support.
    If you are using W10 remember it's not a mature OS like W7.

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    AT
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/03/14 04:07:30 (permalink)
    Polar,
     
    you can use the digital in/outs if you need lower latency, not that you have to.  I get about 10 ms with the 7000 which isn't low but workable for most of my music.  That is a win 7 computer - it gets a little lower on my win 10 and I've not tweaked USB on either unit.  If I need lower latency or more tracks, I use it as a master in/out to a TASCam US USB 3 interface that does do low latency.  Both units together costs about $800.
     
    As far as the pres, I would think you could hear a difference between the 7000s and a Focusrite pre.  I could with my older TC unit and even the US unit.  I use them right beside Warm and RND Portico pres - they are not better but different, cleaner with no transformers but still big sounding.  TASCAM brought the 7000 out as a premium unit at $700 about the same time Audient etc. started doing similar units.  Most of them are now below $500 simply because there aren't enough buyers at the higher prices.  It is a good time to be in the market.  I know the audient pres are the same as in their big boards.
     
    @
    post edited by AT - 2017/03/14 04:50:47

    https://soundcloud.com/a-pleasure-dome
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    there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
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    #19
    Lama876
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/06 01:01:57 (permalink)
    I would suggest getting and internal PCI \ PCI-E soundcard with digital output \ input and a quality stand alone DAC | ADC
     
    #20
    batsbrew
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/06 14:27:50 (permalink)
    well, i MOVED from a PCIe card, to a RME Babyface Pro,
    the RME sounds better hands down,
    plus, i can take it with me anywhere i go, and use it in multiple systems,
    or even live.
    can't do that with a PCI card.

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    #21
    FLZapped
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/08 11:29:10 (permalink)
    At $100, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD seems hard to beat....
    #22
    mudgel
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/09 12:32:37 (permalink)
    Well I'm going to throw in a name you don't often hear but will hear more of in time.

    Waves/Digico or Digigrid. Here's a link to tell you all about it. Mind you this is no cheap stuff.

    http://www.waves.com/hard...e=0%7Cpaging:number=20

    Mike V.

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    #23
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/18 19:15:43 (permalink)
    thanks for all the input you guys... i think if i can get this musicians friend discount code to work i'm gonna jump on a RME Babyface Pro today. it's definitely more expensive than any interface i've previous had, but if it will be more stable, it's worth it. i still hate that words like "portable" and "ipad connectivity" are part of the selling points haha. i don't need any of that. i just need something that sounds good and works. but hey, i guess they're nice additions. and i doubt i'll ever touch anything on the device itself, but who knows, maybe one day i will :-)
     
    anyway, i'll report back once i actually have it and see if it actually solves my issues.
     
    also, if anyone wants to buy a focsurite scarlett 2i4 2nd gen, let me know haha.

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
    Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
     
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    #24
    batsbrew
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/18 19:18:31 (permalink)
    polar,
    still diggin' my babyface pro,
    i got it for only $600 with coupon,
    so compared to most everything else with similar specs,
    it was very reasonable.
     

    "Stay"
    "The Time is Magic"
    https://soundcloud.com/bats-brew
    --
    Sonar 6 PE>Win XP>RME Babyface Pro>Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GH>GeForce 8400>2GB DDR2 SDRAM
     
    #25
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/18 19:38:28 (permalink)
    btw, on a side note... why does no one ever suggest pci based interfaces? why is it always usb/firewire? 
     

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
    Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
     
    PC Audio Labs Rokbox OB1 - Gigabyte X99-UD4-CF - Intel Core i7 5820K @ 3.30GHz - 32GB RAM - ATI Radeon HD 7700 - Windows 7 Pro
    Sonar Platinum - Komplete 9 Ultimate - Spectrasonics Omnisphere - reFX Nexus2 - And the list goes on...
    RME BabyFace Pro - M-Audio Keystation 88es
    #26
    smallstonefan
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/18 22:10:47 (permalink)
    How about a UAD Twin?
    #27
    darrylhuggins@hotmail.com
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/24 03:17:15 (permalink)
    Dunno if you've picked up your babyface yet. For what it's worth, I just got a focusrite Scarlett 18i8. It's full featured, but I found I preferred using my NI Komplete Audio 6. It may not be expensive enough to be on your radar, but what a pleasure of an interface! 6 in 6 out, Rock Solid, and it's the only thing I have that I can hear Sonar and iTunes on at the same time. Anyone else hear iTunes and Sonar at the same time? Should I be able to hear them both on the Scarlett? The Komplete Audio is Low latency, with a dead simple driver interface that lets me adjust the latency. I've been loving it so much lately that I figure anyone looking should know about it.
     
    Just to be clear, both interfaces are sitting on my desk, but I've unplugged the Scarlett and plugged in the Komplete Audio 6, because it does what you seem to want - I don't have to do anything, it just works beautifully.
     
    darryl
    #28
    polarbear
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/25 01:29:13 (permalink)
    Question for those of you who have and are happy with their Babyface Pro...
     
    I haven't ordered yet (because they were actually sold out everywhere haha so it gave me some time to think) and now that they're back in stock at sweetwater i probably will here soon. My question is do I HAVE to use Mix Control? And if I do have to, is it a very active "have to" or just when I need to?
     
    Basically if I have the interface hooked up, and am just doing soft synths and all my mixing and everything within Sonar... do I ever have to see Mix Control if I don't want to?
     
    Thanks!

    http://www.bydavidrosen.com
    http://www.imdb.me/davidrosen
    Winner of Best Song of 2007 at Acidplanet.com!
     
    PC Audio Labs Rokbox OB1 - Gigabyte X99-UD4-CF - Intel Core i7 5820K @ 3.30GHz - 32GB RAM - ATI Radeon HD 7700 - Windows 7 Pro
    Sonar Platinum - Komplete 9 Ultimate - Spectrasonics Omnisphere - reFX Nexus2 - And the list goes on...
    RME BabyFace Pro - M-Audio Keystation 88es
    #29
    darrylhuggins@hotmail.com
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    Re: High quality, low ins/outs Audio Interface 2017/04/25 01:48:15 (permalink)
    I have the focusrite scarlett, and the ui is called Scarlett MixControl. Is mix control also an RME thing? I find I do have to go into the mix control, but I think if you didn't at all you'd still be able to just plug and play. Mix Control is mostly for customizing the settings. The default may be all you'd need if you're not using all those inputs and outputs.
     
    darryl
    #30
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