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Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

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Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby Urumiko » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:10 pm

Ok guys, Id really appreciate some advice.
In short I'd like to know if any vendors are particularly well known for prompt driver updates, and on-going long-term support. That's my main question if you'd like to answer and move on thanks..

But here's the full story and my requirements for those who have the time.
I bought my first after market soundcard when doing a music degree and I needed midi/guitar input. It was the SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum.
Image
It was a great card but sadly the drivers were for windows 98 and it got increasingly harder to hack in to working so it ended up on e-bay.

after being impressed with the value of my keystation 88 pro (which I still use 10 years on)


My next interface was an m-audio firewire solo.
Image
It was a good card and had the odd driver glitch, but my main bugbear was m-audio took ages to release driver updates, especially for new operating systems, and when they did they typically seemed to cease updating them before they were truly finished/stable.
In the end I actualy lost that card while moving back in with my parents after a breakup

My current interface is an m-audio fast track pro
Image
It seemed like a good stopgap with all the inputs I needed but frankly I'm really regretting buying it. The latency is disappointing, the drivers are really unstable and unusable. Its pretty much impossible to set the sample rate etc, and I cant get it to work in asio mode (with ableton at least), which would explain the latency.
I also notice m-audio seem to have abandoned this card after having re-invented/rebranded the wheel with the current avid range.

So I'd like to upgrade my interface with my primary concern being good driver support for windows 7 64bit, from a company with a good track record of looking after its customers.

any suggestions?

At present I'm using on-board sound and my interface in tandem as my PC is multipurpose.
I may need to stick with 2 soundcards but it would be nice if I could manage with one.

At present I have the following connected/requirements:
The host PC is high spec socket 2011 based Intel machine with USB2/3 and PCI express available.

Via Onboard
Turntable pre-amp (currently by converting Phono to 3.5mm stereo).
Typical gaming headset i.e low impedance 3.5mm phones + mic
SATA 3D Blu-ray drive


Via Interface
  • Novation Mininova synth (2X 1/4 TRS input)
  • Guitar/BASS/Electric Violin via direct in.
  • boss GT-PRO
  • 48v phantom powered Mic
  • 2X Behringer truth A2031 Monitors and matching sub (in line with speakers in current config)


Future Upgrades/Desireables(when I get my own space again)

  • I'll probably stop using the GT-pro and move to micing up a stereo amplifier increasing the need for mic inputs to 3.
  • I'd like to upgrade to a surround sound setup that compliments my blu-rays by expanding my existing monitors, so min 4 ideally 6-8 balanced outputs.
  • Playing back blurays at their native resolution isn't a must but I don't mind paying more for simultaneous channels of high sample rates and bitrates where available.
  • Support for high impedance headphones would be a bonus but not required




Summary of ideal setup
  • USB3 or PCI express
  • Vendor with proven history of good robust driver support
  • balanced outputs - min 4 /ideal 6 /fantastic 8
  • line inputs - min 2 /ideal 4+/ fantastic balanced
  • 48v/instruments - min 3



Thank you anyone who's read this in full and took the time to ponder and help
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:13 am

Urumiko wrote:In short I'd like to know if any vendors are particularly well known for prompt driver updates, and on-going long-term support. That's my main question if you'd like to answer and move on thanks..
RME - nuff said!
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby Skerrick » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:32 am

FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2I4
^ its more than adequate for what youre doing by the sounds of it, the drivers and stability are rock solid and its a sexy unit.

ive had the 2i4 for a couple years nearly now and i know other people with them who are stoked.
i run my system between 0ms and 8ms latency (depending on how dense the project im making is) and the preamps sound AMAZING.

honestly, check it out.
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby robinv » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:04 am

That's a great story - welcome to the forums!

My recommendation would be the Steinberg UR28M - the drivers have matured well, it comes with some DSP effects including some guitar amps and it's lovely to use in terms of ergonomics - no fiddly knobs trying to fit in that 1U type space. A lot nicer to look at than the RME but they would be another good choice.

http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/audio_interfaces/ur_ser...

Cheers
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby James Perrett » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:31 am

I'm with Elf here - RME's driver support is far better than anyone else's in my experience.
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:34 am

Skerrick wrote:FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2I4
^ its more than adequate for what youre doing by the sounds of it, the drivers and stability are rock solid and its a sexy unit.

ive had the 2i4 for a couple years nearly now and i know other people with them who are stoked.

Is "stoked" good or bad?

The UR28M MAY be the first item of Steimberg hardware that the company don't suddenly lose interest in at quite an early point. Is that unfair?

RME are indeed good for support. Not QUITE so faultless at physical build quality. There have been problems with connectors.
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby Urumiko » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:27 pm

Thank you all for your feedback it made good reading.

I am very drawn towards the Scarlett 18i20 for its feature set.
The internal mixer seems very flexible and would meet all my needs,(assuming it does what it says on the tin)Image

and I like the fact Its USB

Their driver support doesn't seem any better than most on first impressions but at least it reliably works on win7 x64?

I'm assuming it cant run all those inputs/outputs at max sample rate? Even the user manual doesn't seem to hold a lot of info on the topic. (madness)

A slightly less important wondering is what headphones it can drive.

-------------------------
hmm those RME products look like the business, I like the fireface 800 (and im capable of soldering new sockets if needed), they do look like they are made for blokes with soldering irons lol.

Their driver page / product longevity seems very encouraging,

However.. my only expansion options are a single full length pci express slot
see pics..
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153782400255052&am...
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153782400595052&am...
I'd have to either water cool them or sell them and upgrade to a single 780ti to reclaim my pcix 2x slots

The Scarlett is starting to make more practical sense especially looking at the price difference.

I do notice RME have released the MADIface XT (USB3) I wonder if I should hold out and see if a bigger USB3 interface is on the horizon.
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Re: Seasoned Buyer advice needed.

Postby James Perrett » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:28 am

Urumiko wrote:
I do notice RME have released the MADIface XT (USB3) I wonder if I should hold out and see if a bigger USB3 interface is on the horizon.

There's little need for USB3 in an audio interface. You'll be fine with one of RME's USB2 interfaces.
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