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Charley Rich

Can you recommend a new audio interface?

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I am getting a new PC Win 10 i7 and will no longer be able to use my Echo Mia audio interface. Can you recommend alternatives under $500?

Thanks. 

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@Charley Rich, Some background information about how you use your audio interface would be helpful.  For example, do you need midi 5 pin in and out ports?  How many instrument port connections will you use at the same time?  Do you use condenser microphones that require phantom power?  How many line-in connections are needed?

Here are two devices that Bandlab sells for less than $100 US:  https://store.bandlab.com/collections/link-digital

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So it looks like you are replacing a PCI card with 4 channel duplex (using SPDIF and balanced pair of I/O) with 24/96 and MIDI in/out. If you need all that for under 500.00 you can probably find several  USB connected solutions. You can come pretty close with a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 for about half of your budget. 

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Thanks for your replies.

I would like to use 3 mics simultaneously , one of which is a condenser mic that needs phantom power.  

Midi is a nice to have, but not required.  My midi keyboard has a usb connection. 

I also have a Mackie 12vlz mixer that I have been using for the mic preamp in front of the PCI board.  If I use one of these newer interfaces, do I still need the mixer?

I used the Echo Mia to record a CD and thought it did a terrific job.  Will going to USB be a step back or can I get at least the same sound quality?

Should I consider Thunderbolt?

Thanks for any advice and recommendations. 

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The only potential concern with USB is phantom power if the interface is USB powered (some have noted this to be weak), but an interface also allowing external power seemed to rectify it. In all other respects, a USB interface can handle your needs and some include a software mixer with the unit, so the Mackie mixer shouldn't be necessary (as long as phantom power is good).

I am still running FireWire so cannot speak to specific USB units, but for 4 preamps, there are several in your price range.

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For Windows computers, USB interfaces offer the largest selection to choose from.  Since so many manufacturers offer USB interfaces, prices are competitive. 

Few Windows computer motherboards ship with Thunderbolt ports but expansion cards are available.  Expansion card adds an additional layer of complexity when issues arise and can only be as solid as the software driver.  One Windows update and the driver may not work until it is updated.

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I use a Focusrite 18I8. It has 4 mic pres combo jacks with phantom power and it also has 4 line in jacks (what you want for your Mackie 12VLZ. It also has 2 headphone jacks.

I bought mine for 350 new. the second Gens are 4 bills.

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