Edit: M-audio vs Presonus vs Steinberg.

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tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
edited February 9 in Studio & Recording
Edit:

Instead of starting a new thread, I figured I'd modify this one. Been researching since I first posted, and found a couple more interfaces with the features I mentioned below, in the sane price range. Is there much of a difference? Would any do the job? Does USB 3 or C vs USB 2.0 matter?

Units in question are the Presonus 68C, the Steinberg UR44 and the M-audio 8X4M.

...............................

Anybody have any experience of these? Or anything in the same range? Focusrite seem to be the standard at this kinda price point, so how might they compare to them. Not many reviews of them though.

I'm looking to upgrade my recording capabilities which up to this point was audacity and a Blue Snowball. Just bought a 2 Notes Torpedo Reload and the Tech support said in response to a query that 4 balanced outputs would make life easier.

The M-audio seems to fit the bill, plus I'd like the 4 XLR/jack combi inputs.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4735
    What are you planning to record simultaneously?
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Dry track, wet track(s) with IR's on the end, and maybe a physical Mic at some stage.

    Ambitious? Probably. There's a bit of requirement future proofing going on too.
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 939

    Ten or more years ago I had several M-A 2496 cards and a Fast track pro  USB interface. The products were solid performers and M-A were well respected for their drivers  and generally good support. They seem to have "gone off the radar" a bit in recent years, cannot recall a recent review in SoS (only one I trust!)  This is perhaps mainly the fault of M-Audio, or really the company that bought them, Avid?

    Post the purchase Avid decimated and dispersed the product ranges, it became a bloody silly game to find information. WHY do incoming  CEO's have to be SEEN to be "new brooms" and fuck everything about?!

    Five mins ago I went to the M-A site and found the user manual for the M8 quite easily so maybe sanity has returned?  The specification is impressive for an "eight way" interface well under £300. If I were in the need of such an interface I think I would give it a go. But then I AM UK  (and EU pro tem!) and we do have the "Distance Trading Regulations" .

    Do the usual quick checks: Install drivers(first) . Does the interface perk up quickly and run? Turn off, re boot. All still solidly recognized? Check for latency with a guitar and a plug in. These days you should not get a delay sufficient to bugger your playing which means a delay around 10mS or less but peeps are variable in their sensitivity to such things.

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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    edited February 8
    @ecc83, I went and checked SOS just now, no reviews of the 8X4M, but they seem to like its little brother.


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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Bump, see edit in first post.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20173
    I have a UR44 - it's rock solid as basically it uses Yamaha pro audio tech and built to Yamaha's demanding standards. Comes with the great bundled software from Yamaha's pro plugins range.
    Frexited
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Fretwired said:
    I have a UR44 - it's rock solid as basically it uses Yamaha pro audio tech and built to Yamaha's demanding standards. Comes with the great bundled software from Yamaha's pro plugins range.
    Any comment on what difference USB 2 vs USB C might make? Less lag or something?
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20173
    tekbow said:
    Fretwired said:
    I have a UR44 - it's rock solid as basically it uses Yamaha pro audio tech and built to Yamaha's demanding standards. Comes with the great bundled software from Yamaha's pro plugins range.
    Any comment on what difference USB 2 vs USB C might make? Less lag or something?
    USB C is closer to USB 3.1 than USB 2. For basic applications USB 2 is fine. Read this ...


    Frexited
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Thanks @Fretwired ;
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    As far as the performance of audio interfaces goes, the only circumstance where USB 3/C might be different from USB 2 is if you need the bandwidth to record hundreds of tracks simultaneously. Even then there are only a handful of interfaces that actually support this bandwidth. There is no difference at all in terms of latency / lag and every USB 3 interface I can think of is actually backwards compatible with USB 2 anyway. In theory USB 3 offers more bus power for interfaces that need it, but again, I can't actually think of one that takes advantage of this.

    Are you on Mac or Windows? On Mac most USB interfaces use Apple's class compliant driver so there's often little difference in performance. On Windows you are beholden to whoever wrote the ASIO driver. Many companies including PreSonus use the Thesycon driver which has historically been crap, but is apparently better these days. I believe Steinberg / Yamaha have their own driver though I've not tried one of their interfaces for years. They have a bit of a bad rep for abandoning products and leaving users without support. I don't know what M-Audio use. The current Focusrite Scarlett interfaces use a custom driver which is pretty good.


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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    You might also want to look at the ESI Audioteknik range.
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    edited February 11
    @Stuckfast , thanks for that. Audient has also just appeared on my radar. Two Notes ssupport said they worked with them last year and liked the interfaces. I'll check ESI out right now.

    FYI, I'm on Windows, appreciate the summary of USB-C vs USB2 as well.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    Cool, while I think of it, check out the Zoom UAC range also. They are said to have excellent custom USB drivers.
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    @Stuckfast , thanks again. Question, does 24bit/192khz matter?
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    I've never recorded at 192kHz in my life. 24-bit is important but every interface will do that now.
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Stuckfast said:
    I've never recorded at 192kHz in my life. 24-bit is important but every interface will do that now.
    Sweet, thanks for all the help!
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20173
    tekbow said:
    @Stuckfast , thanks again. Question, does 24bit/192khz matter?
    I sometimes record at 24/192 but as @Stuckfast says they all do it these days.

    Once you've selected a shortlist check Google for issues. Some interfaces have been around a while and have glitchy drivers. I been though loads of interfaces since I started in the 1990s and 95% of my pain and issues have been down to drivers.
    Frexited
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Fretwired said:
    tekbow said:
    @Stuckfast , thanks again. Question, does 24bit/192khz matter?
    I sometimes record at 24/192 but as @Stuckfast says they all do it these days.

    Once you've selected a shortlist check Google for issues. Some interfaces have been around a while and have glitchy drivers. I been though loads of interfaces since I started in the 1990s and 95% of my pain and issues have been down to drivers.
    That's the reason I've bumped presonus out of the list, focusrite don't have the spec i'd like, the likes of RME etc are more than I want to pay, the M-audio unit just has so little media coverage other than a guy who says the USB cables don't work and thinks M-audio placed a prototype in a place he would see and buy it so he'd test it for them for free (he seems to be serious).

    I think I've whittled down my shortlist now between the Steinberg UR44 and the Audient ID22. Both seem to have excellent drivers, well regarded pre amps and good connectivity.

    I'm leaving toward the ID22 because, while it only has 2 pres, it's expandable.

    Both are USB2.

    Surprisingly it doesn't support 24/192 like basically every other interface does
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    I wouldn't worry about 192kHz, especially if you are mainly recording electric guitar.

    The effective frequency response of a guitar speaker tops out at maybe 6 to 8 kHz. So the benefit of being able to capture audio up to 96kHz is... limited.
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Ah, is that what it refers to? Literally the frequency range capture? Makes sense.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    edited February 11
    Digital recording is based on a principle called the Nyquist Theorem, which says that to perfectly capture and replay a signal, you need to sample at at least twice the frequency of the signal. Or, to put it the other way round, if you sample at X cycles per second, you can capture audio at up to X/2 cycles per second. (It's more complicated in the real world but this is a description of an idealised system.)

    So if you sample at 48kHz, you'll capture audio up to 24kHz. Which is some way above the upper limit of human hearing. If you sample at 96kHz, you can capture audio at up to 48kHz -- that is, if your microphones have any meaningful level of sensitivity at that frequency, which most don't. And so on.

    Some instruments such as cymbals and brass instruments produce harmonics well above 20kHz, so there's an argument that you should faithfully capture these even if they can't be heard directly. There is also an argument that high sample rates can represent fast transients more faithfully than base sample rates, and that this is audible, but again that's not really an issue with electric guitar, and if it exists at all, it's an incredibly subtle difference.



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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    @Stuckfast and @fretwired, thanks for taking the time to explain, it's certainly helped decode a lot of the specs WRT to performance.

    A layman, which I am, would typically be inclined to say "11's one louder, innit?", so knowing the relevance of the figures helps a lot.

    Im pretty much there. Having one last look at whether a USB-C, to USB-A connector actually performs at USB 3 levels, or is no faster than 2.0.

    This isn't WRT the speed or latency or bandwidth, just that it seems to be the way external connectivity is going.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    USB C to USB A should operate at USB 3 bandwidth if the connected device supports that. But note that bandwidth is not the same thing as latency. USB 3 bandwidth is much higher than under USB 2, which is very noticeable if for instance you want to back up to an USB hard drive. The latency, however, is no different.

    In crude terms, USB 3 can move more data around than USB 2, but the time taken for any individual piece of data to make the journey is the same.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 20173
    tekbow said:
    @Stuckfast and @fretwired, thanks for taking the time to explain, it's certainly helped decode a lot of the specs WRT to performance.

    A layman, which I am, would typically be inclined to say "11's one louder, innit?", so knowing the relevance of the figures helps a lot.

    Im pretty much there. Having one last look at whether a USB-C, to USB-A connector actually performs at USB 3 levels, or is no faster than 2.0.

    This isn't WRT the speed or latency or bandwidth, just that it seems to be the way external connectivity is going.
    As @Stuckfast says the latency between USB 2 and USB 3 is the same. On my PC the USB 3 ports are connected to external disk drives - data moves much faster.

    I do some sound design which is why I occasionally use 192 khz - it helps when I slow sounds down and manipulate them. If you're recording guitar-based music at home then 44.1kHz is fine.

    Frexited
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 13056
    USB2 will be fine for you. 192Khz will be absolute overkill. Drivers really are the most important thing in my experience. 

    You seem to have narrowed it down to Steinberg UR44 and Audient ID22. The Audient is a little "better" in terms of conversion but I'd give the UR44 the win in terms of the drivers. The last update of the Audient drivers really didn't do much for the performance and I've found the Steinberg/Yamaha drivers to be good across the range. 

    Zoom UAC might well have the best driver performance of the sub-£200 USB audio interfaces that I've tried. 
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    @Heartfeltdawn, looks like it'll be the UR44. I just realised that, whilst the ID22 is expandable, it literally only has the XLR ins. no separate line ins.

    I was intending to run the load box out from the Reload into an XLR, and take a signal from the line level slave out of my amp into a stereo delay, then into 2 line ins on the interface, then cab them via wall of sound.

    But the ID22 doesn't have the separate standalone line ins I thought they had.

    So unless I can make about 300 quid extra materialise for the ID44, it'll be the UR44.
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 13056
    @tekbow should be fine for you. I've owned the UR22, tried the UR44, and own the UR12 right now on my laptop rig. Very happy with all of them. 
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  • Jez6345789Jez6345789 Frets: 1085
    Probably a totally numpty question that came to mind reading this about sample rates etc. I record 48k 96k occasionally.

    Does it not make a difference to how say a complex reverb plugin  is applied to the track one would think. 


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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 565
    Not a numpty question at all. Quite a few processing plug-ins up-sample internally if it helps them achieve better quality, so they'll convert a 48k input to 96kHz for processing, then back down again at the output.

    Not sure you'd notice a huge difference with reverb -- again, there's rarely much going on in the very high frequencies in reverberation. Frequencies above 20kHz are very quickly absorbed by passage through the air, so you'd only really pick them up if you get close to the source and mic the direct sound.
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 457
    Just out of interest... has anyone known of someone using a UR44 with a Torpedo Reload?

    Due diligence and all that, like with the drivers, but the only mentions of them interacting are on the Steinberg Forum, and one other recording forum, in German. Having run it through Google translate, it seems the combination were not a success.

    At this point I'm going to sleep on the decision, because I just dunno anymore.

    I do know audient work with two notes and their interfaces plus Two Notes hardware are generally a successful and hassle free match.

    Which leaves me the ID44 in terms of ins and outs I want, or revisiting the Presonus stuff which I don't want to do because half the stuff I read says they rock and the other half says the drivers aren't great.
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