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aidan o driscoll

AUDIO INTERFACE THREAD .. recommendations .. ( My EVO4 Arrived )

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Posted (edited)

Hi Guys,

I have an old Firewire M-AUDIO Profire 610 .. it is very old, still works but driver support for it + no firewire ports much these days means I am considering replacing it.

Looking for an I/F that plays well with Cakewalk in regards to drivers, latency, ASIO and things like that.

Seems to be Focusrite, Presonus stuff is up there? Also noticed ( as i play guitar ) the IK Multimedia AXE I/O .. looks interesting. I am not sure MAUDIO is at the races much these days still?

Of course without going to mad on the price .. reasonable being the word :D

MAYBE a better Q is what Audio I/Fs NOT to get for cakewalk?  From perspective of driver issues and the like

cheers / Thanks

Aidan

  

Edited by aidan o driscoll

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Here's a document I made a few years ago, nothing much has changed. 

There is a lot of choices.

Make a list of your requirements first..

What kind of connectivity do you require? and how many of each.

These are some of the options:

XLR, 1/4",  Combi jacks,  RCA, ¼” line level, ¼” Instrument level ,MIDI, SPDIF, ADAT,MADI

How many ins and outs do you think you'll need now and in the future?

Are they accessible?  Front or rear panel?

Are all ¼” jacks Balanced?  

Is there a true stereo pair? Some don’t have a matched set of inputs which sucks for stereo recording.

Pre Amps will fall under the “you get what you pay for”  rule, but check out the reviews anyhow.

A/D convertors will also fall under the same rule and generally all are good these days.

Are there peak level meters or just a little LED for each input?

Are there channel Insert jacks?

Are there separate controls for Monitor level and headphone level?

Is there a blend control for mixing Source with Computer ( DAW) ?

How many Headphone jacks? A level for each?

Are the input pads or line / Instrument toggle switches on the front, back or software controlled?

Is it a metal box or cheap plastic? Is it light and portable or large and bulky, Rack mountable?

Does it have an on / off switch?

Does it use Buss power or a power supply? Buss power can have issues with noise and Phantom power. Look for at least an optional power supply.  

Does it have DSP effects built in?

Does it use a GUI mixer? Having a software (GUI) mixer adds more options.

Can it be used as stand alone? Some interfaces are also handy as a small mixer.

What are the Round Trip Latency (RTL) specs? Do you need low RTL for real time processing or are you planing on using guitar sims?

Low RTL is going to be at a higher price point. A $200 interface will have hidden buffers etc.

Zero Latency monitoring is not the same as RTL. All interfaces have some latency.

Zero latency is just marketing hype for monitoring directly from the interface.

And most important of all, Does it have top notch drivers for your OS. 

What is the word on support from the company?

Does it come with free software, An LE version of a  DAW you would like to try?

 

Everyone will recommend the interface they have chosen, that doesn't mean it is the right one for you.

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Yes, it's good to know what you need first. That said :) 

I love my Audient ID-22. Probably not the fastest in terms of latency but quite good enough for me and it sounds really very nice. The improvement in quality was completely obvious to even my poor ears after my old Firewire MOTU 8pre and the USB Focusrite 2i2 solo (2nd gen.) I briefly tried out.

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42 minutes ago, Kevin Walsh said:

Yes, it's good to know what you need first. That said :) 

I love my Audient ID-22. Probably not the fastest in terms of latency but quite good enough for me and it sounds really very nice. The improvement in quality was completely obvious to even my poor ears after my old Firewire MOTU 8pre and the USB Focusrite 2i2 solo (2nd gen.) I briefly tried out.

No MIDI ports in Audient ID-22 unfortunately ..

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58 minutes ago, John Vere said:

Everyone will recommend the interface they have chosen, that doesn't mean it is the right one for you.

Not necessarily! I would not recommend anything in the Focusrite Scarlett range at this point. The hardware's fine, but they've more or less given up on driver development. Releases come out rarely, and don't quite work.

I currently have my choice of 4.63.24 (which BSODs if I switch buffer size while CbB is running), the no longer available 4.64.15 beta (which started BSODing on boot at some point), and the current 4.65.5 release, which occasionally BSODs and exhibits some other odd behavior.

I went back to 4.63.24, because at least the behavior is deterministic.

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1 minute ago, John Bradley said:

Not necessarily! I would not recommend anything in the Focusrite Scarlett range at this point. The hardware's fine, but they've more or less given up on driver development. Releases come out rarely, and don't quite work.

I currently have my choice of 4.63.24 (which BSODs if I switch buffer size while CbB is running), the no longer available 4.64.15 beta (which started BSODing on boot at some point), and the current 4.65.5 release, which occasionally BSODs and exhibits some other odd behavior.

I went back to 4.63.24, because at least the behavior is deterministic.

Thanks @John Bradley .. while you were writing this I added the following to my OP:

MAYBE a better Q is what Audio I/Fs NOT to get for cakewalk?  From perspective of driver issues and the like

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Posted (edited)

Anyone have any experience with the Steinberg UR22C? Has USB 3.1 SuperSpeed technology (which could be so much marketing wank), and does latency-free monitoring with built-in DSP effects ala the UAD stuff if you're into that.

Edited by John Bradley

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13 minutes ago, aidan o driscoll said:

No MIDI ports in Audient ID-22 unfortunately ..

True enough but USB Midi inputs are becoming commodity devices, they're cheap and they're everywhere. I have a lovely little wireless USB device that I use for my Behringer FCB1010 foot controller that works great.

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This is the point of my list and I stand by what I said regarding everyone always will recommend the interface they have chozen. Everybody had totally different needs. They need to think about what those needs are, make a list and that will narrow down the search.  

And as far as not recommending any product this seems par for the course with just about all stuff that gets reviewed. There will always be 1 person who had a bad time with just about anything. Once you narrow down your choices then read as many reviews as possible just to get a general feel of each brand. 

Myself from what I've read over time is the top of the list seems to be RME for PC.  

I need to replace my Tascam us1641 interface because it is old and soon the drivers will not work in W10. I also gave away my 1st Gen Scarlett 6i6 to my band mate, I don't want it back as I hate the pre amps. I have also been using a Soundcraft mixer which uses a Steinberg USB ASIO driver and find no fault with it.  It's just kinda big...

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2 hours ago, John Bradley said:

Not necessarily! I would not recommend anything in the Focusrite Scarlett range at this point. The hardware's fine, but they've more or less given up on driver development. Releases come out rarely, and don't quite work.

I currently have my choice of 4.63.24 (which BSODs if I switch buffer size while CbB is running), the no longer available 4.64.15 beta (which started BSODing on boot at some point), and the current 4.65.5 release, which occasionally BSODs and exhibits some other odd behavior.

I went back to 4.63.24, because at least the behavior is deterministic.

I stopped getting BSOD with 4.63.24 if I use CbB to change the ASIO buffer size.... I don't do it that often though.

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1 hour ago, msmcleod said:

I stopped getting BSOD with 4.63.24 if I use CbB to change the ASIO buffer size.... I don't do it that often though.

You're a braver man than I am — I get so rattled by BSODs that I don't dare provoke them!

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14 hours ago, John Vere said:

This is the point of my list and I stand by what I said regarding everyone always will recommend the interface they have chozen. Everybody had totally different needs. They need to think about what those needs are, make a list and that will narrow down the search.  

And as far as not recommending any product this seems par for the course with just about all stuff that gets reviewed. There will always be 1 person who had a bad time with just about anything. Once you narrow down your choices then read as many reviews as possible just to get a general feel of each brand. 

Myself from what I've read over time is the top of the list seems to be RME for PC.  

I need to replace my Tascam us1641 interface because it is old and soon the drivers will not work in W10. I also gave away my 1st Gen Scarlett 6i6 to my band mate, I don't want it back as I hate the pre amps. I have also been using a Soundcraft mixer which uses a Steinberg USB ASIO driver and find no fault with it.  It's just kinda big...

Thanks for your list @John Vere .. however I have refined the OP and subject of this thread more to what I am trying to find out. 

An AUDIO I/F that works with Cakewalk without potential BSODs and where the DRIVERS behave as properly as possible. And that are ASIO maybe. Of course Latency is another aspect of concern. So rather than going off buying a nice new shiney Audio I/F and pretty much finding out its a useless brick for reasons outlined above, i am just trying to gleen from other CW users which models are the least troublesome and have updated drivers that work

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Posted (edited)

Would you consider 2nd hand?

I'm not trying to sell by the way 🙂

Edited by Kevin Perry
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1 minute ago, Kevin Perry said:

Would you consider 2nd hand?

I'm not trying to sell by the way 🙂

I am actually not in a huge rush, just want to get in early to ask these Qs about drivers and I/Fs that work better with CW and so on.

Nope re 2nd hand for me :D

 

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Tascam 2x2 meets my needs and i havent had any issues using it with cakewalk

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Ive been using Focusrite for years for years and never had a problem. i know some have mentioned they have but i haven't.

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I’ve  used The TAscam us series , they share the same drivers so should be good to go for years.  Good drivers and hardware.  Audient would be my fav sub $1000 line.  I use the 44 and find it a hair better sounding than most the other interfaces, so I would go with one of theirs.  And 4 is the # of I/o I need.

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Posted (edited)

The problem with that question is the DAW really shouldn't matter--- but your system does. PC's come in a zillion different configurations. So once again I could have no issues with brand X but other people might. Example I have an old M Audio interface that I can use with one computer but the second computer won't install the driver. Both computers are latest version of W10 but they have different MoBo so therefore different BIOS. This is also a good reason to be careful of drivers. Your audio driver is the most important aspect of your audio system. Some brands fall behind on updating drivers and often abandon products to force you to buy something new.  

It's good to ask a lot of questions and you might learn something from the posts here, but a better idea is to pick an interface you like and then go to the web site and see what the drivers date is.

I was thinking of the Tascam UH-7000 as it gets ( had)  good review regarding the pre amps something on the top of my list. But a trip to the download page stopped that dead in it's tracks as the latest driver is 2015! Will it be updated? I doubt it. 

2020-06-25.thumb.png.b8d2bae59351d436e89094f173f278f0.png

Edited by John Vere
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2 hours ago, John Vere said:

The problem with that question is the DAW really shouldn't matter--- but your system does. PC's come in a zillion different configurations. So once again I could have no issues with brand X but other people might. Example I have an old M Audio interface that I can use with one computer but the second computer won't install the driver. Both computers are latest version of W10 but they have different MoBo so therefore different BIOS. This is also a good reason to be careful of divers. Some brands fall behind on updating drivers and often abandon products to force you to buy something new. 

Agreed 100%, the system sure does matter! I've tested probably two dozen interfaces over the years with Sonar and then Cakewalk. They all worked, which I attribute to the computer (PC Audio Labs) rather than the interfaces.

It's interesting you mention M-Audio. There's a lot of hardware out there that's theoretically incompatible with Windows 10, but check out the article I wrote called Hardware Not Compatible with Windows 10? Maybe It Is After All. The "Troubleshoot Compatibility" feature in Windows 10 is surprisingly effective. One good aspect it is that it's kind of "digital" - when it works, it works and when it doesn't, it doesn't. Overall, though, you can pick up some really great interfaces for next to nothing because people assume they're obsolete, but they work fine. 

I also wrote an article called How to Choose an Audio Interface. It echoes a lot of what's on John Vere's list, but goes deeper into interface port protocols (e.g., the different flavors of USB, Thunderbolt, etc.) and expansion. For example, if an interface doesn't have at least one ADAT port so I can expand it with eight more inputs, I'm not interested - but that's me. It may not matter at all for someone else. There are also solutions beyond a dedicated audio interface. QSC's TouchMix series of mixers are designed for mixing, but can also stream individual channels into your computer. For the TouchMix I have, that's 32 inputs that can stream to 32 channels of audio...pretty cool if you need an interface that can also mix.  Many mixers include interfacing capabilities.

 

 

 

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