Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

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Richie Witch
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Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Richie Witch » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:59 pm

Heading out on the road for the next 6 months, living in hotel rooms, so I'm considering what I want my traveling studio to look like. Right now, I'm down to a laptop, a MIDI keyboard, and maybe my Novation Circuit.

Anyone have suggestions on a portable audio interface that would fit this setup? It will probably be thrown into a suitcase, or a messenger bag or the trunk of a car every couple weeks, so needs to more durable.
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

resident_m
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by resident_m » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:34 pm

I have my Circuit and a Korg Monologue connected to a Yamaha AG 03 (http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en ... s/ag/ag03/), a small three channel mixer with built-in audio interface (up to192kHz/24bit) - small, USB-powered, solid metal chassis. Might be just right for you.

strangedaysuk
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by strangedaysuk » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:57 pm

RME Babyface Pro - and I've never looked back. Best ever portable mobile interface.

Tarekith
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Tarekith » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:45 pm

Do you need to record anything, or are you just using the interface for playback? If it's the later, I would skip the interface and use the built in headphone out. Or get something small like a Dragonfly Red, which is what I use with my laptop when travelling.

Richie Witch
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Richie Witch » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:26 pm

An interesting mix of solutions, thanks guys!

@Tarekith - that's a pretty slick little device, but yeah, I will want to record at least the Circuit (and if I don't have any self control, maybe my Xenophone too LOL). I don't need mic pres, but a pair of line inputs will be a necessity.

@resident_m - really like the form-factor of that little mixer. I love working from the mixer in my home studio, so that seems kinda cool. What's the sound quality like?

@strangedayuk - If this was going to become a permanent part of my studio, RME would be a serious consideration. But I'll likely only be using this box for six months before I either decide to return to my home studio, or move my home studio to me.
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

resident_m
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by resident_m » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:29 pm

The Hi-Z guitar in is a bit noisy, but all in all I'm very satisfied with the sound - much better than I'd expected for €120.

Shift Gorden
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Shift Gorden » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:00 pm

Hey mate - sounds like you got a busy 6 months ahead of you.

The smaller Focusrite Scarlett's might be a good route - they're a bargain, and pretty darn tough to boot. Only, I know they have mic pres...so could color the circuits input mate.

Hope you're going on a fun trip!

H20nly
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by H20nly » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:26 pm

that Yamaha that resident_m suggested looks like a cool little unit.

Richie Witch
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Richie Witch » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:36 pm

Shift Gorden wrote:The smaller Focusrite Scarlett's might be a good route - they're a bargain, and pretty darn tough to boot.
Yeah, I thought about that. I had a Scarlett 2i4 in the past, and actually have a Scarlett 18i6 stashed with some of my unused gear. I could just use that but figured there were some compact rugged devices out there I'm not aware of.

Yeah, it's gonna be a fun six months. Right now I'm scrambling because I have a weekend trip to Hartford, then have to fly back to Florida to repack and fly off to DC the next day. Got a new job and it looks like there will be a fair bit of travel involved.

Size is a consideration because when I am traveling from DC to other places, I have to check out of my DC hotel and everything that is not going on travel with me has to fit in the hatch of my 350Z, a good chunk of which is already occupied by a pair of power amps for the car's stereo system. What was I thinking? :lol:
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

jlgrimes
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by jlgrimes » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:37 pm

Richie Witch wrote:Heading out on the road for the next 6 months, living in hotel rooms, so I'm considering what I want my traveling studio to look like. Right now, I'm down to a laptop, a MIDI keyboard, and maybe my Novation Circuit.

Anyone have suggestions on a portable audio interface that would fit this setup? It will probably be thrown into a suitcase, or a messenger bag or the trunk of a car every couple weeks, so needs to more durable.

What is your budget? What is your Operating system? What is more important Sound quality vs low latency/stability? How many inputs and what type of instruments, mics you plan on using?

I can't make recommendations though but I would consider an audio interface built into your midi keyboard for portability (if portability is a big concern).

I don't know too many manufacterers that still do this however as interfaces 10 years ago, this was a bit more common. Only one I see is IK Multimedia iRig Keys.


If you are on a budget though, entry level interfaces such as the Presonus (can't remember the model but it works for ipads as well as computers I think) 1-2 input models, Focusrite seem to be decent options as they are relatively inexpensive. I know someone who uses the Presonus one for mainly just scratch tracks but that said, I am amazed at the quality level of vocals the thing does.

I will say though that I bought an Audiobox and it worked great for Windows but then I went Mac and the VSL mixer produced pops and clicks. I think they have problems supporting Macs with their constant OS updates, but some interfaces might work great on one OS and horrible on another. Thing to keep in mind.

oratowsky
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by oratowsky » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:25 pm

I love the Komplete Audio 6. Big nice physical knobs for every function and lights for every I/O. Really nice peace of mind on stage to have visual confirmation of signals going in and out.

Richie Witch
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Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Richie Witch » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:26 pm

Good point, @jlgrimes. Here's what I've figured out so far:

Stuff I Have:
Laptop: Dell XPC 15/Windows 10/64-bit (just purchased)

Novation Circuit: Fun sequencer and access to two 6-voice synths. Not completely in love with the synth engines, but time away from the studio will push me to design my own patches and really dig into this device.

Hypersynth Xenophone: Not sure if I want to drag this along, but I love the sound of this thing. It's so intuitive to program and a blast to play.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones: Of all my headphones, these are most durable, fold up real compact, and the ones I typically travel with. I generally use them to check my mixes, but I've read a lot of people who trust them to produce/mix.

Not bringing any microphones; I almost never record myself. I don't play guitar either--strictly a keys guy.

Stuff to Buy:
Controller: Aruturia Keylab-61 - I've used M-Audio Keystation and Novation Impulse controllers up to now. The Keylab seems to get pretty good reviews and reportedly feels like the DX7, which is what I use as my main keyboard/controller at home. Includes aftertouch like the DX7 too.

Audio interface: Probably looking to keep the cost of this below $400. I imagine it will only be used for 6 months and then sold. So far, I'm leaning towards the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (which I've owned before) and that little Yamaha mixer that resident_m recommended. I would hope the new second generation Scarlett's have better sound than the one I had, since I definitely noticed a difference when I upgraded. It was a great little interface for the price, just not as clean as the next tier of interfaces I've owned.

Keep the suggestions coming! :D
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

strangedaysuk
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Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:01 am

Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by strangedaysuk » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:53 pm

Richie Witch wrote:Good point, @jlgrimes. Here's what I've figured out so far:

Stuff I Have:
Laptop: Dell XPC 15/Windows 10/64-bit (just purchased)

Novation Circuit: Fun sequencer and access to two 6-voice synths. Not completely in love with the synth engines, but time away from the studio will push me to design my own patches and really dig into this device.

Hypersynth Xenophone: Not sure if I want to drag this along, but I love the sound of this thing. It's so intuitive to program and a blast to play.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones: Of all my headphones, these are most durable, fold up real compact, and the ones I typically travel with. I generally use them to check my mixes, but I've read a lot of people who trust them to produce/mix.

Not bringing any microphones; I almost never record myself. I don't play guitar either--strictly a keys guy.

Stuff to Buy:
Controller: Aruturia Keylab-61 - I've used M-Audio Keystation and Novation Impulse controllers up to now. The Keylab seems to get pretty good reviews and reportedly feels like the DX7, which is what I use as my main keyboard/controller at home. Includes aftertouch like the DX7 too.

Audio interface: Probably looking to keep the cost of this below $400. I imagine it will only be used for 6 months and then sold. So far, I'm leaning towards the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (which I've owned before) and that little Yamaha mixer that resident_m recommended. I would hope the new second generation Scarlett's have better sound than the one I had, since I definitely noticed a difference when I upgraded. It was a great little interface for the price, just not as clean as the next tier of interfaces I've owned.

Keep the suggestions coming! :D

Only commenting as I used the focusrite stuff before but on the cheaper interfaces never was happy with the input levels (ie my guitar was too loud and the PAD wouldn't drop down low enough).

The other boxes I considered before I got the RME was the:

Audient - they make a selection of high quality but cheap interfaces - apparently very good for the money if you are looking at budget.

As this is a temp purchase though - just buy any cheapish interface made by a good brand (like Focusrite) - they are all likely to be the same quality.

Richie Witch
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Location: Space Coast, Central Florida

Re: Portable, Road-Worthy Interface

Post by Richie Witch » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:02 pm

strangedaysuk wrote:Audient - they make a selection of high quality but cheap interfaces - apparently very good for the money if you are looking at budget.
This is what I was looking for! Just checked out the Audient iD14 and it seems perfect for my needs. I've always heard great things about Audient's sound quality and Sound-On-Sound gave it a pretty favorable review as well. Great suggestion! Thanks!!
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

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