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Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

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Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby JackG » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:06 pm

HI ,

It occurred to me recently that I am still using a very old M-audio Delta 44 as my audio interface.

considering I now have all these expensive sample libraries and do all my composing and mixing within the PC, would this Audio interface be a weak link in the chain?

Or would it only matter if I was recording Audio into the PC from external sources?

I don't think it sounds bad and I haven't experienced any issues with it, but wouldn't want to be holding myself back because I never updated it.

Thanks.
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby Billum » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:14 pm

The quality of your audio interface will make no actual difference to the sound of your compositions if they are entirely composed within the computer, but it is possible that if the interface isn't giving you a particularly good rendering of the results through its output to your monitors, then you're not entirely accurately hearing what you're composing. So you might not be making the absolute best decisions about the sounds/mix/etc. compared to a better D-to-A converter and output stage.

That said, this is unlikely to be a massive problem in your case with the Delta 44, which, although not the latest or greatest, isn't, in my view, a bad interface at all!

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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:16 pm

The sound card shouldn't make any difference to an internal mixdown of virtual instruments. It's worth setting up a good pair of speakers so you can HEAR what your mix will sound like, of course. Your Delta, with its ASIO drivers, should be quite capable of glitch-free playback while mixing.
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby JackG » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:47 pm

Thanks for the replies,

I am pretty happy with the sound I get, I run the outs to a small mackie mixer and from there to my headphones/monitors.
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:52 pm

JackG wrote:Thanks for the replies,

I am pretty happy with the sound I get, I run the outs to a small mackie mixer and from there to my headphones/monitors.

Good. Carry on then! This is one part of your music-making equipment that seems unlikely to benefit from having money thrown at it :-)
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby robinv » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:14 pm

JackG wrote:Thanks for the replies,

I am pretty happy with the sound I get, I run the outs to a small mackie mixer and from there to my headphones/monitors.

I've been running a Delta 44 with the Omni i/o for well over ten years and i've never found anything to compete with it in terms of features, latency and stability....... however, i recently moved to Steinberg UR28M (i got really fed up with the little knobs on the Omni) and i must say the "sound" is so much deeper and fuller. So there is something to be said for having some more recent good quality converters. I still miss a bit of the Delta 44 functionality though
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby alexis » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:33 pm

robinv wrote:
JackG wrote:Thanks for the replies,

I am pretty happy with the sound I get, I run the outs to a small mackie mixer and from there to my headphones/monitors.


I've been running a Delta 44 with the Omni i/o for well over ten years and i've never found anything to compete with it in terms of features, latency and stability....... however, i recently moved to Steinberg UR28M (i got really fed up with the little knobs on the Omni) and i must say the "sound" is so much deeper and fuller. So there is something to be said for having some more recent good quality converters. I still miss a bit of the Delta 44 functionality though


Hi Robinv - I'm *still* using my Delta 66 in the Omni i/o (pre-USB vintage)!

Re: the differences in sound you heard between that and the UR28M ... can you describe them further, by any chance? I guess more to the point, I'm wondering if you think you are mixing things differently as a result of the differences you are hearing?

Thanks!

(Oh ... and not that it really matters too much, but do you have a gut feeling whether the differences you hear are more a result of one or the other of the different preamps vs. A/D - D/A converters?
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby robinv » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:14 pm

alexis wrote:

Hi Robinv - I'm *still* using my Delta 66 in the Omni i/o (pre-USB vintage)!

Re: the differences in sound you heard between that and the UR28M ... can you describe them further, by any chance? I guess more to the point, I'm wondering if you think you are mixing things differently as a result of the differences you are hearing?

Thanks!

(Oh ... and not that it really matters too much, but do you have a gut feeling whether the differences you hear are more a result of one or the other of the different preamps vs. A/D - D/A converters?

It's such a difficult thing to qualify. I've not done much recording with it, although it's far easier to get the right amount input level than with the Omni - but that may just be ease of knob access. As for playback, for me, it sounds somehow fuller - like the Delta was contained in a narrow band of sound somehow, not that it ever felt like that before. My speakers are the same so ..... dunno... i havent really A/B 'ed them or anything but speaking from my gut (and a sudden desire for Opera cake) it just sounds better. Has it helped my mixing? There are few things that can help that i think - the thing that's helped my mixing the most is comparison monitoring on ear buds.

So that's helpful
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby KeithAC1 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:41 am

robinv wrote:
alexis wrote:

Hi Robinv - I'm *still* using my Delta 66 in the Omni i/o (pre-USB vintage)!

Re: the differences in sound you heard between that and the UR28M ... can you describe them further, by any chance? I guess more to the point, I'm wondering if you think you are mixing things differently as a result of the differences you are hearing?

Thanks!

(Oh ... and not that it really matters too much, but do you have a gut feeling whether the differences you hear are more a result of one or the other of the different preamps vs. A/D - D/A converters?

It's such a difficult thing to qualify. I've not done much recording with it, although it's far easier to get the right amount input level than with the Omni - but that may just be ease of knob access. As for playback, for me, it sounds somehow fuller - like the Delta was contained in a narrow band of sound somehow, not that it ever felt like that before. My speakers are the same so ..... dunno... i havent really A/B 'ed them or anything but speaking from my gut (and a sudden desire for Opera cake) it just sounds better. Has it helped my mixing? There are few things that can help that i think - the thing that's helped my mixing the most is comparison monitoring on ear buds.

So that's helpful
Mmm Opera cake....
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Re: Recording 'in the box', does the Audio interface matter?

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:27 am

I used to have a Delta 66 and moved from that to an Audiofire 8 and on from that to a Fireface 800. The Delta always lacked bass on recording I felt and having listened back to old recordings, there is some interference on the recordings brought by the Delta. The clarity of reverbs are the most easily noticeable thing when you improve your DA conversion. When I A/B the Audiofire with the Fireface, it is immediately obvious that the FF captures reverb more accurately and clearer.

In answer to the question, does it matter? Yes, if you want to hear a more accurate picture of what is going on ITB, then a newer, better interface will probably reveal more. It might be worth looking at just a DA interface or maybe a monitor controller that goes straight from the digital output of the Delta.
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