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> Which Interface/sound Card To Buy?, The Question Just Got A bit Easier
Todd Simpson
post Sep 28 2012, 03:18 AM
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As you all have seen, the age old question "WHICH EXTERNAL SOUND CARD/AUDIO INTERFACE IS BEST?" comes up about once a week or few. So I thought I'd share some good news on that front. Now that M Audio (makers of spiff prosumer gear) has been sold off by it's former owner (AVID/PRO TOOLS), I've been seeing some CRAZY cheap deals on M Audio interfaces. These are great little boxes and because of the recent spinn off, they are getting really cheap really quick! IF you are still trying to get by recording using your mini jack on your laptop, or the microphone on your web cam/handy cam, now is a great time to finally get a recording solution that's a little easier on the ears.

But which one right? Which one is "Best?" Right? Well, here is a handy product matrix.

DISCLAIMER:
**This is only one brand, there are HUNDREDS of brands. These are only a few models, there are HUNDREDS of models and everyone who owns which ever brand can tell you why they love theres. This is just to share the fact that as M Audio figures out their future, they are selling off their current gear CHEAP! And here is a breakdown of the cheap gear in terms of which does what. Not for everyone, or everything. Take it for what it's worth at face value. WHEW!

Attached Image


Here is an example of one of the deals I"m seeing recently. PRO TOOLS LE softwar, M Audio interface, nice Mic, and headphones, $150-$200.

Attached Image


Even the nicer interfaces are really cut down cheap. Like this one that was $500 now $250

M-Audio ProFire 610
Attached Image

This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Sep 28 2012, 03:24 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 5 2012, 04:10 PM
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Where can this new prices be found??


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 6 2012, 07:03 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Oct 5 2012, 11:10 AM) *
Where can this new prices be found??


Pretty much anywhere you go online/store/etc. to buy new gear. Across the board it seems like the MAUDIO stuff is has been marked down per the impending departure of MAUDIO from Digedesin/Pro Tools


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wollace03
post Oct 6 2012, 11:30 AM
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thanx for the info..
I just found this offer for 59 €
M-Audio Fast Track USB M-Audio Fast Track USB (MKI) ProTools Recording Studio ,inkl. ProTools M-Powered Essential Software, thomann Audiointerface 24bit/48kHz; 1x analog In, 2x analog out, Input wahlweise über Klinke oder XLR, Kopfhörerausgang, Directmonitoring mit Input / Playback-MIX-Regler; für Win und MAC OS X

is this worth buying??


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korblitz
post Oct 6 2012, 12:16 PM
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QUOTE (wollace03 @ Oct 6 2012, 10:30 AM) *
thanx for the info..
I just found this offer for 59 €
M-Audio Fast Track USB M-Audio Fast Track USB (MKI) ProTools Recording Studio ,inkl. ProTools M-Powered Essential Software, thomann Audiointerface 24bit/48kHz; 1x analog In, 2x analog out, Input wahlweise über Klinke oder XLR, Kopfhörerausgang, Directmonitoring mit Input / Playback-MIX-Regler; für Win und MAC OS X

is this worth buying??


Didn't you see the Image that Todd posted?

[image]https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_forum/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-8794-1348798368.jpg[/image]

Here you go. Hope that helps.

Oh! that device, now costs 58 euros on Thomman.de
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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 7 2012, 02:53 PM
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I have a question I have been wondering for some time now.

What would be the best audio interface for home project studio. It needs to be as professional sounding as possible.

Specs needed :

* USB (to be able to use it easily crossplatform - PC and Mac)
* I wouldn't be recording more then two channels at a time
* High quality preamps are preffered but I could also go outboard for this

I suppose for this kind of card, the most important are the quality of converters and software patching abilities.

Needs to be better sounding then Toneport UX2.
Needs to be relatively affortable price.

I found out that Toneport UX2 has pretty good stuff inside for the price range and that similar priced interfaces are not really much better.

Since I only need to record 1 instrument or vocal at a time (preferably have option to use two mics if needed), it would be really cool to find out what is the current best bet for this use (home project studio, yet professional sounding).


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korblitz
post Oct 7 2012, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Oct 7 2012, 01:53 PM) *
I have a question I have been wondering for some time now.

What would be the best audio interface for home project studio. It needs to be as professional sounding as possible.

Specs needed :

* USB (to be able to use it easily crossplatform - PC and Mac)
* I wouldn't be recording more then two channels at a time
* High quality preamps are preffered but I could also go outboard for this

I suppose for this kind of card, the most important are the quality of converters and software patching abilities.

Needs to be better sounding then Toneport UX2.
Needs to be relatively affortable price.

I found out that Toneport UX2 has pretty good stuff inside for the price range and that similar priced interfaces are not really much better.

Since I only need to record 1 instrument or vocal at a time (preferably have option to use two mics if needed), it would be really cool to find out what is the current best bet for this use (home project studio, yet professional sounding).


Using the chart that Todd posted...it seems that you need the Mbox or Mbox Mini.

But I'm guessing you didn't post to get an answer from me but from Todd Simpson.

Anyways, I'm curious....you have the Line 6 UX2? I thought they were awesome for home recording. It was the top of the line for line6 audio interface. They have now the Pod Studio Ux2.
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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 7 2012, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE (korblitz @ Oct 7 2012, 04:37 PM) *
Using the chart that Todd posted...it seems that you need the Mbox or Mbox Mini.

But I'm guessing you didn't post to get an answer from me but from Todd Simpson.

Anyways, I'm curious....you have the Line 6 UX2? I thought they were awesome for home recording. It was the top of the line for line6 audio interface. They have now the Pod Studio Ux2.


Yes - I have Line 6 UX2 and I very very happy with it! smile.gif Researching on it shows me that its very good in its price range.
I'm getting some awesome recordings with it so I was just wondering if I'm missing something in a unit in relatively close range (with less inputs - makes it cheaper?) and with no modeling.

The chart is only for M-audio devices in relation to pro tools support. Since I do have m-audio audiophile 192, which is a very good card but didn't really click well with me and I don't use pro tool, I'm really interested to hear about other brands that I don't know much about like : Presonus, Lexicon, Akai, Focusrite and Tascam for example.

Sorry for hijacking the thread but the title is spot on it smile.gif


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PosterBoy
post Oct 7 2012, 06:06 PM
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Take a look at the Focusrite Saffire 6

http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audio-inte...s/saffire-6-usb

I've heard good things about their AD/DA converters and preamps. I'll be looking at this if I can't get my fast track pro neadphone jack issue fixed (and I quite like the excuse for buying something better!)

The next step up would be the RME Babyface, http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr11/arti...me-babyface.htmbut that does take you another step up in price range too

This post has been edited by PosterBoy: Oct 7 2012, 06:07 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 8 2012, 10:53 AM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Oct 7 2012, 06:06 PM) *
Take a look at the Focusrite Saffire 6

http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audio-inte...s/saffire-6-usb

I've heard good things about their AD/DA converters and preamps. I'll be looking at this if I can't get my fast track pro neadphone jack issue fixed (and I quite like the excuse for buying something better!)

The next step up would be the RME Babyface, http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr11/arti...me-babyface.htmbut that does take you another step up in price range too


Most/any of those would be an improvement on the Line 6 Bogdan. Whether or not you hear the improvement though depends on your critical listening experience and your monitoring chain and room. Whether or not you need an improvement depends on use and what level you are working at.

Yes the pres on the intro end Focusrite stuff are better than average as I think they take them from their better prosumer equipment. The AD/DA is ok for this price range.
it's arguable if it's better/as good as the m-audio but it's certainly better than the Line 6. The Focusrite (and probably most/all of the others) should also have much better snr, cross talk, distortion and so on than the Line 6. Lexicon has particularly good effects for the price range. Not sure about presonus build quality.

An interface from RME would be a much clearer step up and would move in to the next level of prosumer gear. RME tend to have good build quality and good drivers. They also usually have very flexible routing.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 8 2012, 04:16 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 8 2012, 06:53 AM) *
Most/any of those would be an improvement on the Line 6 Bogdan. Whether or not you hear the improvement though depends on your critical listening experience and your monitoring chain and room. Whether or not you need an improvement depends on use and what level you are working at.

Yes the pres on the intro end Focusrite stuff are better than average as I think they take them from their better prosumer equipment. The AD/DA is ok for this price range.
it's arguable if it's better/as good as the m-audio but it's certainly better than the Line 6. The Focusrite (and probably most/all of the others) should also have much better snr, cross talk, distortion and so on than the Line 6. Lexicon has particularly good effects for the price range. Not sure about presonus build quality.

An interface from RME would be a much clearer step up and would move in to the next level of prosumer gear. RME tend to have good build quality and good drivers. They also usually have very flexible routing.



I didn't know the REM.... which is their interface that could be compared to fast track?


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 8 2012, 04:27 PM
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Well said Toni smile.gif and korblitz!fhe ux2 is a great place to start with home recording but once you are ready to upgrade the presonus stuff has better preamps and the rme has better everything.

I've had two interfaces with low input counts and they got replaced with a higher input count Tascam unit. I was using up to four mics on guitar cabs until I got into emulation smile.gif now it's back to one input for guitars and two for vocal mics for vid chat.


QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 8 2012, 05:53 AM) *
Most/any of those would be an improvement on the Line 6 Bogdan. Whether or not you hear the improvement though depends on your critical listening experience and your monitoring chain and room. Whether or not you need an improvement depends on use and what level you are working at.

Yes the pres on the intro end Focusrite stuff are better than average as I think they take them from their better prosumer equipment. The AD/DA is ok for this price range.
it's arguable if it's better/as good as the m-audio but it's certainly better than the Line 6. The Focusrite (and probably most/all of the others) should also have much better snr, cross talk, distortion and so on than the Line 6. Lexicon has particularly good effects for the price range. Not sure about presonus build quality.

An interface from RME would be a much clearer step up and would move in to the next level of prosumer gear. RME tend to have good build quality and good drivers. They also usually have very flexible routing.



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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 8 2012, 06:02 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Oct 8 2012, 04:16 PM) *
I didn't know the REM.... which is their interface that could be compared to fast track?


Here's the RME babyface Gab http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_babyface.php .

It's about 500 Euros though so is more expensive.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 8 2012, 06:34 PM
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Excellent input guys thanks a lot! smile.gif

What would be the best choice then between Focusrite, Presonus and Lexicon for that price range 200-350e?
The less inputs (more quality in relation to price?) the better for me (don't need more then 2).

I also didn't know about RME company - I really like what I'm seeing in the babyface. It looks so portable! smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 10 2012, 10:45 PM
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To be honest I don't see a clear winner in the field at that range since each has it's selling points. If you are more attracted to the portability of the Babyface then I'd looks strongly at that as the first option as it's a really nice unit. It's the starter in a great series of units that get bigger and more expensive on the way up.

Todd


QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Oct 8 2012, 01:34 PM) *
Excellent input guys thanks a lot! smile.gif

What would be the best choice then between Focusrite, Presonus and Lexicon for that price range 200-350e?
The less inputs (more quality in relation to price?) the better for me (don't need more then 2).

I also didn't know about RME company - I really like what I'm seeing in the babyface. It looks so portable! smile.gif



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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 13 2012, 10:03 AM
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Todd's right - we'd need to know more about your priorities and what features you value and need. A more expensive RME may not give you more ins/outs, more dsp effect and so on. What it should however do is improve upon build quality, AD/DA conversion quality, SNR, jitter and so on. If you can stretch to an RME then your budget also opens up to some other manufacturers like MOTU, Metric Halo and so on.

At thie RME price point it's also worth starting to think about your upgrade path. How long will the interface last, will it integrate with a future upgrade or will it become redundent. If it becomes redundant will you need to change other items such as interface leads and so on.


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 14 2012, 02:38 AM
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Well said smile.gif BOGDAN: I realize that all this can a bit much in terms of trying to plan everything out and considering all the variables at once. In short, if having better converters/preamps (better quality input) is your priority, the RME is a great piece but as Toni said, it's not without it's own limitations, but each piece has it's own limitations balanced with other features. IF you need onboard DSP for example or more inputs, another unit might work better. Again back to the variables.

The good news with the RME is that you can use it as a stand alone budget mic/input preamp ( due to the quality) even without connecting it to a computer. So as a pre amp before a full recording console (assuming better pres were not presen) or in a live situation before your amp or before a direct box.

But as Toni mentioned, the RME puts you within reach of some really nice gear by Metric Halo (really nice stuff there) . But if the portability and input quality are the primary feature concerns, for the price it seems like the RME in the batch at hand. For just a bit more you can get in to a whole new world of gear and brands but it's an upward spiral I understand and you have to decide on a price and a product at some point and jump in smile.gif

I sacrifice a bit of input quality for more inputs / outputs and a mixer board form factor with the Tascam M16 UF. Price was also a concern for me as I wanted to keep it around $300. I found the unit for half off and have had it ever since. It's since been discontinued which is a concern in terms of driver support but many of the consumer level devices have short life cycles.

I have a Maudio single input FIREWIRE SOLO that Maudio still makes and sells. It's bullett proof. Just not enough inputs smile.gif


Todd


QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 13 2012, 05:03 AM) *
Todd's right - we'd need to know more about your priorities and what features you value and need. A more expensive RME may not give you more ins/outs, more dsp effect and so on. What it should however do is improve upon build quality, AD/DA conversion quality, SNR, jitter and so on. If you can stretch to an RME then your budget also opens up to some other manufacturers like MOTU, Metric Halo and so on.

At thie RME price point it's also worth starting to think about your upgrade path. How long will the interface last, will it integrate with a future upgrade or will it become redundent. If it becomes redundant will you need to change other items such as interface leads and so on.



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Bogdan Radovic
post Oct 14 2012, 02:01 PM
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Thanks a lot for the input guys - it seems there is no obvious choice in this type of gear (unlike in other stuff) smile.gif

I'll look into RME interfaces, they sell them here. I'm optimizing my home studio for bass guitar recording so basically I need a good and quality way of transferring signal into my computer from a high quality DI unit. No need for DSP or a lot of inputs. If possible good preamp and two channels for Mic recording would be a +, but its not the eliminating factor.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 15 2012, 04:23 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Oct 14 2012, 09:01 AM) *
Thanks a lot for the input guys - it seems there is no obvious choice in this type of gear (unlike in other stuff) smile.gif

I'll look into RME interfaces, they sell them here. I'm optimizing my home studio for bass guitar recording so basically I need a good and quality way of transferring signal into my computer from a high quality DI unit. No need for DSP or a lot of inputs. If possible good preamp and two channels for Mic recording would be a +, but its not the eliminating factor.


Sounds like the RME is going to be your best bet smile.gif It's a great unit. Let us know!


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Alex Feather
post Nov 30 2012, 04:18 AM
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This is a very good card I have a lot of friends using it and seem to be very happy
My friends run pro tools on it and can get a very high level quality especially with this price you can't go wrong!!!!


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