Audio Interface choices...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Fradfresco
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Audio Interface choices...

Post by Fradfresco » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:26 am

I have a pretty big behringer mixer but it's analog and unpowered. when i plug in 1/4's from that into my tascam interface the sound quality ain't so good.......i'm not a pro with this, and i've been slowly building up spec knowledge very recently but i was wondering what's a very good (pretty affordable, i can get money over time) Audio interface where i could do something like : many instruments -->Behringer mixer -->Audio interface--> computer-->ableton.....i'm assuming it's very possible, i wanna double check on a forum before i buy a wrong thing cuz i know that SUCKS.

thanks,

P.S. moslty want a good audio input quality cuz i wanna start collecting analog synths and unique instruments for my productions....(got pretty good mics too)

akajt
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by akajt » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:55 am

I have a Presonus Firebox and a Presonus Firestudio, and they both work great. Whichever route you choose, I strongly suggest you get a firewire interface as opposed to USB. Firewire is much faster.

Pitch Black
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by Pitch Black » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:34 am

No matter what audio interface you buy, you are probably crippling its sound quality if you run your instrument thru the Behringer mixer first. An audio chain is only as good as its weakest link. You would be better to buy an interface with multiple line inputs and mic pre's and plug your sources directly into them, and plug your monitors directly into the outputs of the audio interface.

leedsquietman
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by leedsquietman » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:17 am

Firewire is only viable if you have a firewire chipset which can handle good performance. In desktop machines this is usually no issue (except a few cheapy budget end machines). PC laptops are more problematic.

Most PC laptops do not run firewire well, on 4 pin mini FW and with cheapo integrated circuits. Apple have also downgraded from TI to Agere, but most vendors have reasonable workarounds given it's only one hardware choice and they have proper 6 pin FW which allows buss powering (4 pin min FW does not).

RME's Fireface UC USB2.0 interface runs faster than the FF400 firewire interface it is based upon in most cases.

Be careful with generalizations - firewire is generally faster (and can handle more i/o) if you have a Texas Instruments or VIA firewire chipset. If you have a ricoh/o2/ene chipset then it's a crapshoot as many of these are integrated with the SD card and expresscard slots for cheap convenience, not performance. 99% of PC laptops have ricoh/o2/ene/generic chipsets.

If you have a PC laptop with their cheap integrated firewire and 4 pin mini FW, you would probably be better off with a good USB 2.0 interface - RME Fireface UC, M-Audio Fast Track ULTRA/ULTRA R-8, Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1, EMU 0404 USB and Edirol UA25-EX are typically good performers with decent low latency drivers.
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leedsquietman
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by leedsquietman » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:24 am

Paddy is also correct that the audio interface pres will probably be better than the Behringer analogue mixer, which is probably best avoided - if you have a really good analogue desk and you have really good A/D converters, you might find some benefit, many studios use analogue SSL, API and Neve etc which are seriously top end analogue and very expensive, into real high end converters like Mytek, Benchmark or Lavry etc. This type of combination can set you back 50K or more.

A cheap Behringer or Mackie into a consumer grade audio card's converters will not typically be worth the hassle, it will work but you will be degrading your sound quality potential compared to just recording into the digital audio interface and mixing using your DAW software - even if you like mixing with faders etc. You'd be better off buying a Mackie Control Universal and expansion if you believe you need to have the tactile feel of a desk.
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wehkah
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by wehkah » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:16 am

i use the m-audio fasttrack pro, has 2 preamps for mic & instrument. a nice soundcard w/o any driver issue.

cheers
T
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supamonsta
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by supamonsta » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:44 am

No matter what audio interface you buy, you are probably crippling its sound quality if you run your instrument thru the Behringer mixer first. An audio chain is only as good as its weakest link. You would be better to buy an interface with multiple line inputs and mic pre's and plug your sources directly into them, and plug your monitors directly into the outputs of the audio interface.
+1

I love my MOTU Ultralite, really good stuff in there and really, REALLY, reliable.

only 6 analog inputs, if you don't count in the 2 jack/mic preamped ones and the spdif.

If I had to buy another soundcard, when the ultralite will die (hope not, I have it since now 4 years), I'll go MOTU again, but with more inputs, the traveller or 828mk3...

cheers

McQ714
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by McQ714 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:24 pm

if you're gonna bother with this at all, i think you should go for an Allen & Heath ZED Series mixer and dump the behringer. There's a few guys on here that use the zed series mixers and are quite happy with them, i believe. then you'll have a better quality mixer and usb interface. they go from $400 up to $2200 depending on how many channels and busses you need. i think they have a few smaller mixers that would be even less than that but it sounds like you need more channels.

dhilsabeck
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by dhilsabeck » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:53 am

^ Be forewarned though. I think the A&H zed's only send a stereo mix into your DAW.

The Alesis Multimix series is also a nice option as it also works as a standalone mixer (sans computer) and in the usb2/fw versions you can send individual tracks into the computer. Only two outputs and 24/44.1 max sample rate though.

I'm of the opinion that it sounds perfectly fine but if you're going for the higher end stuff, nice mics and synths and such you may want to get an RME or Echo.

Fradfresco
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by Fradfresco » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:44 am

hey everyone THANKS SO MUCH for your inputs.....

i have a Tascam US-122 and on sites it says it's a professional machine but i don't really get very good results with it when i do INSTRUMENT-TASCAM-COMPUTER-ABLETON....am i using it wrong or is this not as good as a product?

McQ714
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by McQ714 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:17 pm

dhilsabeck wrote:^ Be forewarned though. I think the A&H zed's only send a stereo mix into your DAW.
other than the firewire-based Zed R16, i believe you're right about the A&H series with regards to the usb interface, although, i think some of the 4-bus mixers also have direct outs for each channel. i suggested them only because he planned on still using his behringer mixer anyway and just wanted a quality interface, which didn't make sense to me being that the mixer itself is the "weakest link".

to the OP...
if you have firewire ports and still want to go the mixer route of things, take a look at the A&H Zed R16 or possibly the Mackie i-Series mixers. I've heard good things about both. If you're willing to ditch the mixer and just need some i/o and are willing to mix in the box, go with RME anything and either a good AD/DA converter for the ADAT i/o or a focusrite octopre mk2 dynamic which gives you that ADAT i/o along side their mic pres!!!

but hey, what do i know?!?! i'm just a guy who likes the very best that my dumbass can afford. so i went with an RME Multiface 2 (PCIe card and Express card options) and an Octopre LE with adat i/o card for those times when i did need some mic pres, which is usually never. but i do like having the extra outputs for sending audio out to my Moogerfooger or Studio Channel and hopefully a sherman filterbank some day. my b-day is almost here!!!

EnjoyRC
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by EnjoyRC » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:50 pm

A great USB choice is Focusrite Saffire 6 USB
MacBook Pro (MacOS 10.14.x) Surface Pro (Win 10)
(STUDIO I/O) MOTU UltraLite mk4 (w/ADA8200), (LIVE I/O) Behringer X Air XR18
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TheEclectic
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by TheEclectic » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:01 pm

wehkah wrote:i use the m-audio fasttrack pro, has 2 preamps for mic & instrument. a nice soundcard w/o any driver issue.

T
Ditto.

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/F ... Ultra.html

It has 6 ins and 6 outs, so you can set up your gear so that different instruments use different amps, which I do for my guitars and basses. I wish that all inputs had the preamps, but they don't. I tried to find a unit that had a lot of preamps so that I could plug in many guitars, but never found anything that was affordable. Therefore, I use a preamp for some of the guitars.

It also comes with a software mixer that lets you set up the volume and routing of the different channels.

It came with a lite version of Ableton Live, which is how I got to using Live.

Markemark
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by Markemark » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:27 am

Not trying to hijack this thead or anything, and maybe this might be relevant to the op's original question. Can anyone recommend one interface that has no bleed/crosstalk from the outputs back to the inputs? Or can this only be minimized? For example you use a guitar plugin on one of you inputs(this adds alot of gain), now your playback tracks and/or metronome is recorded slightly as well in the background. The only way I have been able to eliminate this entirely is to use two sound cards one for your inputs and the other for the outputs, then there is no bleed/crosstalk. Any recommendations appreciated!! I would love to use one sound card only but even an ableton member say's his RME suffered from this, and that's a really nice card!!

Cool Character
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Re: Audio Interface choices...

Post by Cool Character » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:54 am

If you're worried about sound, why would you use Ableton Live?

Do you also use ProtoolsHD, for when you want to record seriously?

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