Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
re:dream
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by re:dream » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:38 pm

Edirol FA 101 over here. Very simple, really reliable, never given any issues.

Stromkraft
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:15 pm

fishmonkey wrote: here is an excerpt from a recent thread:

The interfaces we've heard the fewest complaints about are:

- Anything made by Metric Halo
- Anything made by RME
- The Focusrite Saffire series
- The Roland Quad capture and Octa capture
- Dante DVS

The interfaces we've heard the most complaints about are:

- Anything made by Behringer
- Anything made by Echo
- Anything made by M-Audio
- Anything made by Avid (due to lame drivers)
- Anything made by Presonus
- The Focusrite Scarlett series

Interestingly close to the picture I have in my head based on input from users and owners I encounter though I missed the Focusrite differences.
Make some music!

fishmonkey
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by fishmonkey » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:51 am

Stromkraft wrote: Interestingly close to the picture I have in my head based on input from users and owners I encounter though I missed the Focusrite differences.
i believe that the reliable Focusrite Saffire is the Firewire version.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Emanresu0891
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by Emanresu0891 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:50 am

fishmonkey wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: Interestingly close to the picture I have in my head based on input from users and owners I encounter though I missed the Focusrite differences.
i believe that the reliable Focusrite Saffire is the Firewire version.
I am using a Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 which is the Firewire version.
Im using it with El Capitan and have had audio drop outs that make the timing go completely out of sync.
If I use the interface for normal computing and let the computer go into sleep mode the interface will not recalibrate. I end up having to restart the computer.

fishmonkey
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by fishmonkey » Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:37 am

Emanresu0891 wrote:
fishmonkey wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: Interestingly close to the picture I have in my head based on input from users and owners I encounter though I missed the Focusrite differences.
i believe that the reliable Focusrite Saffire is the Firewire version.
I am using a Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 which is the Firewire version.
Im using it with El Capitan and have had audio drop outs that make the timing go completely out of sync.
If I use the interface for normal computing and let the computer go into sleep mode the interface will not recalibrate. I end up having to restart the computer.
fair enough, but there are many things that could cause problems. no interface is immune to issues.

which version of El Capitan? are you using the latest drivers?

have you tried a different Firewire cable? does your Mac have Firewire ports or are you using a Thunderbolt->Firewire adapter?

are you running on bus power or with a mains adapter?

also, search the Console logs for audio errors...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

störgeräusche
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by störgeräusche » Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:44 am

RME again. i have a 10 years old multiface II and it still works like day 1.
On stage I have a Komplete Audio 6, gigging with it since 2 years without a single problem
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alpertt
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by alpertt » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:29 pm

Angstrom wrote:
I mean when I turn up the volume it goes .. -32, -31, -30, +6 HOLY SHIT ... and I turn it back down again. Really I should have sent it in for a repair ages ago but as it only happens intermittently I've simply not bothered.
A simple contact cleaner may solve this.

miekwave
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by miekwave » Sat Jun 25, 2016 3:44 pm

Emanresu0891 wrote:Is that a real thing.. a reliable non fucking up audio interface?

I have gone through many audio interfaces and each one fucks up in some area.
Some will randomly decide not to output any sound, some will have buffering issues, some freeze the computer while recording.
In the 15 years of working with computer music I have yet to find a single STAGE WORTHY audio interface.

I want something that is just as reliable as my guitar amp. I plug my guitar in and it works all the time.

Here is the list I of interfaces I have used through out the years.
M audio fast track
M audio 24/96
An Alesis audio interface mixer combo
Line 6 ux2
Focusrite scarlet 2i4
Focusrite scarlet 2i2
And now Focusrite saffire pro 14 via thunderstruck

Im thinking about ditching the audio interface all together and using a di box to a mixer and then to my computer (mac book pro) running OS X 10.11.5
Im even thinking about selling everything computer related and going all hardware down to an 8 track recorder.

My thoughts used to be that no one needs a $500 audio interface, but Im now thinking otherwise.

Tell me your thoughts on this please. Is there a rock solid interface that always works with out a single fuck up?
Is apogee and rme trustworthy for stage use?

Can some one explain why audio interfaces are so fucking bad? I can still plug a mic into a multi fx rack unit from the 90s and it will work like it did day one. I can record into a digital multi track recorder from the early 2000s and this will also work. Why is computer audio any different?

Top 3 Tips
a. The most reliable interfaces are the ones with a LONG MFR WARRANTY. A 5 year warranty interface is usually more reliable than a 1 year Warranty MFR Interface
b. Use high buffer / low resolution for LIVE performance - for example instead of doing 128 buffer / 96k/24, use 512 buffer. 44.1/16 live.
c. Use proper power conditioning and high quality cables

9 times out of 10, audio interface issues are PEBKAC errors. I've had my fair share of issues with this myself with MOTU M-Audio, AVID, Mackie, Alesis, Focusrite, interfaces.

a. Get LOCKING usb cables. The locking mechanism releases the cable when you pinch the end points.
b. Use SHORT usb cables. In general, shorter cables are more reliable, such as 30" 28/24AWG Gold Plated Cables are good
c. Use dedicated USB port for interfaces - do not plug interface into a hub. Make sure that USB port is ONLY for interface and not other I/O devices, the more devices you plug into a dedicated port, the more drivers are assigned to that one port, increasing i/o registry rot
d. Disable wifi/bluetooth and this consumes CPU bandwidth and may potentially cause buffer issues
e. Disable virus scan/firewall as this consumes CPU and DISK bandwidth and may potentially cause buffer issues
f. Remove all media (cd, usb, thunderbolt) that you do not need to use as this consumes i/o resources
g. Keep your RAM under 85% usage to discourage page fileswapping
h. Enable "High Power Mode" and Disable tjunc CPU throttling in your Power Management - Take extra care to provide good ventilation when disabling tjunc throttling
i. Plug I/O controllers into a 4port or 7port USB 2.0 HUB with its own discrete assigned port, this will help your interface stream i/o uninterrupted packets
j. In Live Perform mode, increase buffer size and reduce SR to 44k/16-bit (you don't need 96k/24 for LIVE performance on PA speakers), higherbuffer and lower sample rate has more stability than low buffer / high sample rat
k. LAPTOP, MIXER, INTERFACE must be plugged into a constant power conditioner. If you plug any of these devices into a variable/unconditioned power source you increase the risk of the interface bugging out. Furman Power racks are good for this. Make sure all of your plugs are grounded properly (or ground defeated in special setups)
l. Shockmount your stands with rubber feet, shock increases risk of audio interface bugging out, add as much shock absorbsion as practical to interface
m. Ventilate your interface and CPU. Make sure your interface is getting good air ventilation. If your CPU gets too hot it may throttle. In rarer cases, if interface gets too hot it may bug out
o. Use a new Computer Profile instance to reduce registry rot from your other main profile, if you have registry rot, you have higher change of getting driver errors and conflicts, a new OS profile using a fresh registry table will allow you to install all updated drivers that is closer to a clean slate
p. Disable on-board suondcard when interface is being used, sometimes on board soundcard can cause issues with interface, disable onboard soundcard when using interface
q. Disable PHANTOM POWER on interface, in certain configurations phantom power can glitch your interface buffer because of a certain loop patch interferes with usb signal
r. Use NATIVE Audio Interface Drivers instead of ASIO4ALL, Focusrite and Motu in particular has much more stable drivers than using ASIO4ALL usually native drivers are more stable than ASIO4ALL --- except for M-Audio, if you're using M-Audio, use ASIO4ALL instead of native
s. Calibrate ABLETON SAMPLE BUFFER OFFET to be approximately +~5.0ms, this gives your CPU a little extra padding without any noticeable audio latency, thus reducing change of bufer errors
Check out some of my soundtracks. Also Ableton Live Performance video.

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Mister Natural
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by Mister Natural » Sat Jun 25, 2016 11:34 pm

very contented E-MU 1820u user here
An Expert Only on What it Feels Like to be Me
& You Are Who You Google

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jestermgee
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by jestermgee » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:21 pm

Previous 10 year old interface was a Presonus Firebox and that was rock solid, never an issue even through about 6 studio upgrades. They stopped support and drivers no longer work under win10.

Replaced with an octocapture about 8 months ago and so far it's been pretty good. Only complaint is it does not switch on and off with the PC and requires a power plug but the drivers are quite good and the routing abilities are almost unbeatable at the cost.

doghouse
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by doghouse » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:46 am

Emanresu0891 wrote:
fishmonkey wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: If I use the interface for normal computing and let the computer go into sleep mode the interface will not recalibrate. I end up having to restart the computer.
Never, never, never, never, never, NEVER let a computer sleep while running an audio or MIDI interface. Just don't do it.

I have never had that work reliably, no matter the interface, no matter the computer OS.

I set my music computers to never go to sleep.

fishmonkey
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:57 pm

doghouse wrote: Never, never, never, never, never, NEVER let a computer sleep while running an audio or MIDI interface. Just don't do it.

I have never had that work reliably, no matter the interface, no matter the computer OS.

I set my music computers to never go to sleep.
ain't necessarily so.

my old MOTU Ultralite (Firewire) was always fine with various MacBook Pros going to sleep and waking up.

my Apogee Quartet also works just fine with the computer going to sleep and waking up. the annoying thing is although it is not bus-powered it powers down/up when this happens and pops the speakers if they aren't turned off first.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

H20nly
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by H20nly » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:45 pm

alpertt wrote:
Angstrom wrote:
I mean when I turn up the volume it goes .. -32, -31, -30, +6 HOLY SHIT ... and I turn it back down again. Really I should have sent it in for a repair ages ago but as it only happens intermittently I've simply not bothered.
A simple contact cleaner may solve this.
I was thinking my the same thing... sounds like a job for rubbing alcohol and Q-tip

jlgrimes
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:41 pm

I generally think the more you pay for an interface, the more stable it will be as the developers will tend to put higher priority on making sure their top dollar interfaces are stable. There are some gems in the lower price range but it takes more work to find them. Regardless a lot of research has to be done to see if the interface works well with your system (Chipset, Processor Type, even the manufacturer of the USB port or whatever interface you use) even with high dollar interfaces in some cases.


That said my first Audio Interface was an Echo Layla 24. Had relatively zero problems with it. Only big issue I had was that the clock chip in it failed. I believe even out of warranty, they replaced the chip for no cost. I had to pay shipping and wait for them to repair it.

I bought an Echo Layla 3g. No issues.

Echo interfaces weren't the cheapest interfaces but they wasn't high dollar interfaces neither. Only reason I grew out of Echo was that I was considering going Mac and I knew PCI support would be a pain so I thought USB would be a good option. I purchased an AudioBox 1818vsl as it was very similar to the Echo Layla 3g but it also had built-in effect which I thought would be cool. I started off using it in Windows and it seemed pretty good. I think every once and awhile the USB port would lose communication to the interface which sometimes could produce a nasty noise but it was actually a pretty rare occurrence. I remember they had an issue with the gain staging of the preamps which they were able to resolve with a software update. I basically concluded the Audiobox 1818vsl was a great, stable interface and Presonus seemed to update drivers and add cool new features.. It all changed when I went Mac. Going Mac, I had pops and clicks galore. Come to find out the problem was in the VSL mixing software which came with the Audiobox and that it was not compatible with the USB chipsets Apple use. Solution was to either use the interface as a "Dumb" interface (losing all of the VSL features), or installing a beta driver. I believe even to this day the Audiobox has this problem with Macs (The story I'm referring to happened in 2012). I traded the Audiobox in and spent a lot more money on a UAD Apollo and I would say I haven't had any issue with that at all.


I also have a Focusrite Scarlett for recording the band in remote locations but I haven't really used it much yet so I can't really comment on the stability but it seems to work fine with my limited use.

lapieuvre
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Re: Does a reliable audio interface really exist?

Post by lapieuvre » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:59 pm

Buy cheap, buy twice... In your case buy 10 times?

+1 for RME
Mac OSX 10.13.6
Live 9.7.6 Suite
Live 10.1.2 Suite
Soundcards : FF800, Apollo Twin duo

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