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maharzan
post Feb 6 2013, 04:15 PM
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Hi All,

I have been trying to get a new Audio Interface for recording. I have a Mbox 2 Pro but it has only 2 inputs. I need at least 4 to start recording my band live. 8 would be awesome but 8 seems too large to take around but I plan to build a home studio so it wouldn't be a problem.

My concern, however, is that the audio interface world seems to have stuck in USB 2.0 or FireWire 400. I plan to buy an iMac in near future or new Macbook Pro but they don't seem to have Firewires at all. So, I don't think I want to buy firewire interfaces. All I can see now is USB2.0 interfaces. While I read it works extremely well, I wonder if USB 3.0 interfaces will come soon and I don't want to get stuck at the "old interfaces" and have the most advanced computer.. You know.

Does anyone know anything about it? If 3.0 is not coming soon, what is the best Audio interface, potentially with the best mic preamp?

Thanks,
Chandra



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Saoirse O'Shea
post Feb 6 2013, 05:31 PM
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Usual opening question Chandra - what's the budget smile.gif


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maharzan
post Feb 6 2013, 05:53 PM
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1000.. or a bit more.. I was just looking at this http://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-1818VSL/media


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Feb 6 2013, 06:33 PM
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Just to add I don't think there are many USB3 audio cards about just yet. For 4, or even 8, simultaneous channels USB 2 is fine by the way.

If money is no option and if you can get by with 2 channel analogue in:
http://www.prismsound.com/music_recording/...a/lyra_home.php

I think the Lyra is about $1500. We use the Lyra's big brother Orpheus and the Lyra uses the same pre-amps as the Orpheus. The preamps here excellent and are very clean. Orpheus has far more i/o and more preamps than the Lyra but is Firewire and about $3-4000. Also worth a look is Apogee who do the Ensembleand Ensemble which are firewire for I think about $1500 and $3000 respectively.

For around $500-1000 - MOTU, Focusright and RME all do USB2 interfaces.

USB3 is spec'ed to be backward compatable with USB2 devices.

(A word of caution here - just because it's specced to be doesn't mean USB 3 will work with every USB2 device. The USB2 device needs to have drivers that were written properly and in accordance with the USB protocol. There are already some forum threads around stating that USB2/1.1 device drivers from M-Audio, EMU, NI and a few others aren't currently working. )


QUOTE (maharzan @ Feb 6 2013, 04:53 PM) *
1000.. or a bit more.. I was just looking at this http://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-1818VSL/media


I've never used presonus so I don't know first hand what the quality is like. The specs look ok, not great but ok. To put it another way the specs are about what you'd expect from pro-sumer equipment but not up with the better professional quality studio hardware. For a pro studio I'd prefer some XLR outs and AES but for home/project the ins/outs should be fine.

I don't see anything that says how many audio channels it can run simultaneously - might be worth checking that if it's likely to be an issue for you.


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 7 2013, 07:26 PM
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Not much to add but Toni has nailed it per usual smile.gif In that range, RME, and MOTU and FOCURIGHT brands all represent a fine way to go. It just depends on which features you want more since, at each price point, many interfaces are of a roughly similar sonic quality in general Of all of them, the RME is a really nice unit and they are pretty picky about the bits that go inside. I usually like the preamps built in to the RME stuff a tad better than the MOTU, FOCURIGHT, etc. But that's just one set of ears smile.gif



Todd


QUOTE (tonymiro @ Feb 6 2013, 12:33 PM) *
Just to add I don't think there are many USB3 audio cards about just yet. For 4, or even 8, simultaneous channels USB 2 is fine by the way.

If money is no option and if you can get by with 2 channel analogue in:
http://www.prismsound.com/music_recording/...a/lyra_home.php

I think the Lyra is about $1500. We use the Lyra's big brother Orpheus and the Lyra uses the same pre-amps as the Orpheus. The preamps here excellent and are very clean. Orpheus has far more i/o and more preamps than the Lyra but is Firewire and about $3-4000. Also worth a look is Apogee who do the Ensembleand Ensemble which are firewire for I think about $1500 and $3000 respectively.

For around $500-1000 - MOTU, Focusright and RME all do USB2 interfaces.

USB3 is spec'ed to be backward compatable with USB2 devices.

(A word of caution here - just because it's specced to be doesn't mean USB 3 will work with every USB2 device. The USB2 device needs to have drivers that were written properly and in accordance with the USB protocol. There are already some forum threads around stating that USB2/1.1 device drivers from M-Audio, EMU, NI and a few others aren't currently working. )




I've never used presonus so I don't know first hand what the quality is like. The specs look ok, not great but ok. To put it another way the specs are about what you'd expect from pro-sumer equipment but not up with the better professional quality studio hardware. For a pro studio I'd prefer some XLR outs and AES but for home/project the ins/outs should be fine.

I don't see anything that says how many audio channels it can run simultaneously - might be worth checking that if it's likely to be an issue for you.



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Rammikin
post Feb 8 2013, 06:53 AM
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QUOTE (maharzan @ Feb 6 2013, 03:15 PM) *
I plan to buy an iMac in near future or new Macbook Pro but they don't seem to have Firewires at all.


No problem. Just use a thunderbolt to FireWire adapter. If you're recording eight inputs, that's likely to have better performance than USB 2.0.


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osiris
post Feb 8 2013, 09:14 AM
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The difference between USB 2 and Firewire isn't that great.

It's weird no manufacturers have jumped the USB 3 train yet...


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maharzan
post Feb 10 2013, 01:02 PM
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Thanks Todd and Rammikin.

Yea, I just wish people just develop 3.0 products now. Since they already have 2.0 versions working with old ones.. Its strange they are just releasing new products but with USB 2.0. sad.gif

And I really hate using converters. I am using FW400 to FW800 converter and it just kills the cable.. My Mbox Pro is nearly dead as it only turns on if you push the converter too hard on the port. sad.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Feb 10 2013, 01:58 PM
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I'd imagine that a lot of audio manufacturers haven't done so for a couple of connected reason Chandra:

1/ USB 2 is more than adequate for audio.
2/ The user base for USB3 is still very small.
3/ They don't need/want to write to the stricter USB3 proticols.
4/ They don't want/need to fit a new interface/port .

Looking around the local computer shops yesterday and the only USB3 hardware any of them had were external hard drives.


One other interface that may be worth a look for you, though it only has 2 inputs, is the Audient Mico. Audient also do some quite nice mic pres with more inputs usually based on their well respected professional mixing desks/comsoles.

One thing about connectors/convertors:

You need to be careful as a USB sends and receives audio in a different way to firewire. USB sends it as isosynchronous or asynchronous data in packets, firewire sends it as a continuous digitised stream. As the two are not not the same it's not as simple as having a cable that will let you plug one in to the other, you also need hardware and software that can change the form. I don't know if this is true of Thunderbolt to USB or Firewire as I don't have a MAc and so haven't paid attention to the Thunderbolt protocol.


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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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maharzan
post Feb 10 2013, 03:54 PM
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Thanks Tony. I need at least 4 channel input at once so need 4 mic (for acoustic micing). You are only suggesting me having 2 channels smile.gif unless you mean I would add my current 2 channel and add the new 2 channel in. I think that might be a bit complicated.

I will check on their sites if they have a 4 or 8 input boxes.

I am also looking at this right now. smile.gif

http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audio-inte.../scarlett-18i20


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Slavenko Erazer
post Feb 10 2013, 04:14 PM
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Why don;t you go for Presonus?
they're good and made of metal..
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maharzan
post Feb 10 2013, 04:50 PM
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Sure.. I don't know how they work so I will have to do some real research. smile.gif Thank you for mentioning that.


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 13 2013, 02:49 AM
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For about $500 U.S. you can get an 8 input/preamp rack mount MOTU box that's quite spiff. My buddy uses these for his live stuff by stacking two of them together. It's firewire 400 so if you don't have those ports, you'll have to adapt it. Thats what he does and it works amazing. He does live recording with LOGIC 9.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/m...audio-interface

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QUOTE (maharzan @ Feb 10 2013, 10:50 AM) *
Sure.. I don't know how they work so I will have to do some real research. smile.gif Thank you for mentioning that.



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maharzan
post Mar 7 2013, 06:56 AM
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Does anyone know how much difference in sound will be in say Focusrite mic pres and RME pres ? The price range is so expensive. I am waiting for this to release and see reviews about it. I am inclined to buy this one as its cheaper and has 8 ins at once which will be awesome to record my band. smile.gif

http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audio-inte.../scarlett-18i20


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Mar 7 2013, 11:36 AM
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They are both very good mic preamps in that price range Chandra. The RME is less coloured than the Focusright in my opinion. Colouration in mic preamps can be good if you like it (we use a Neve pre deliberately as we like the Neve type vibe). The Focusrite is kind of a late 70s- early 80s English rock type sound in my opinion.


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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

Be friends on facebook with us here.

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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maharzan
post Mar 7 2013, 04:55 PM
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Hmm, do you know if I can see some reviews/recordings? I tried to search on youtube but couldn't find any..


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Todd Simpson
post Mar 7 2013, 06:22 PM
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This is a great reply by Tony here. Sums it up nice and neat! It' tough to trust youtube videos since they are recorded under wildly varying conditions. Your best bet is to make the trek to a music shop that carries the goods and put your ears on them. Or find a studio in town with the bits and try them there, even if it's on the clock.

Todd


QUOTE (tonymiro @ Mar 7 2013, 05:36 AM) *
They are both very good mic preamps in that price range Chandra. The RME is less coloured than the Focusright in my opinion. Colouration in mic preamps can be good if you like it (we use a Neve pre deliberately as we like the Neve type vibe). The Focusrite is kind of a late 70s- early 80s English rock type sound in my opinion.



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maharzan
post Mar 7 2013, 07:57 PM
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I can't do that Todd. We don't have shops that sell these things. Have to buy it directly from US to test. biggrin.gif Anyway, I think I will go with Focusrite. RME is too expensive. smile.gif

Thanks Tony and Todd for your replies. smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Mar 7 2013, 09:45 PM
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I"m sorry to hear that sad.gif I didn't know it was like that where you at. Hmm. In that case, you really do have to rely on good advice. The good news is GMC is full of Good advice smile.gif It's easy to forget that not every place has music stores and pawn shops like we do here.

I think you will be really happy with the FOCUSRITE. It's a really nice unit. The RME is nice too but yeah, it's a tad pricey.

Todd

QUOTE (maharzan @ Mar 7 2013, 01:57 PM) *
I can't do that Todd. We don't have shops that sell these things. Have to buy it directly from US to test. biggrin.gif Anyway, I think I will go with Focusrite. RME is too expensive. smile.gif

Thanks Tony and Todd for your replies. smile.gif



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David.C.Bond
post Mar 8 2013, 03:37 PM
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I use a Alesis Multimix 8 firewire on an iMac, works great! It's only firewire 400, but I get absolutely no noticable lag whatsoever.


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