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usb interface with standalone usability

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usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:31 pm

Hi,
I've run an amateurish home studio years ago, mainly doing soundtrack for school project and musicals.
My daughter is now 7 yo, she likes to sing a lot and attended an introductory course at school. Now, while quarantined, she enjoys playing with me and my wife so we would like to record something.
So I'm in the market for a 4 pre usb audio board, cheap, with almost 2 ch equipped with insert points (or compression/limiting on almost 2 ch)
I also need to use it as a standalone mixer (main stereo output only is OK)
ADAT would be a plus because I have also an Echo Layla 24, but I understand that one must accept compromises when in the cheap. Also midi would be a plus, but in case of need I can also consider a separate midi interface.
Arturia AudioFuse8pre or Studio are out of market for me. And I don't know if they work standalone.
Audient ID44 is out of market too and I've been told by a owner that it can't work standalone.
In the lowest market I've spotted the Roland Rubix44 (no inserts but comp/limiter and phantom assignable in group of 2ch. and from the front panel), and Behringer UMC404HD (inserts, pad, but phantom switch on the back panel and only assignable to the four preamp at a time)
I've seen the Akai EiE Pro in the second hand market but I don't konw if it work standalone.

Hope someone got the info I miss and is able to solve my doubts on these interfaces.
Also an opinion on their preamp (about noise, gain and "colour") would be helpful. Of course, I understand that it's a price range where one can't expect extraordinary overall performance.

For what I can understand, working standalone is based on on the direct zero-latency monitoring feature. I had a Lexicon Omega that worked for me many years but now I need four mic pre and an external pre is not an option. But Focusrite Scarlett series has direct monitoring but doesn't work standalone.
UMC404HD works standalone but Rubix44 has an interesting feature (looking at the front panel): it has two pot for control the direct/dow playback, one for out 1,2 and oune for 3,4. If this mean that I can have a standalone pre, 4 in/4 out, it would be more versatile.

Thank you in advence,

S.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:41 pm

This https://zoom-uk.com/products/production-recording/multi-track-recorders/zoom-r16-recorder-interface-controller seems to meet your requirements.

I used to have one... used it as a direct multitrack, but never as an interface.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:11 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:This https://zoom-uk.com/products/production-recording/multi-track-recorders/zoom-r16-recorder-interface-controller seems to meet your requirements.

I used to have one... used it as a direct multitrack, but never as an interface.

Thank you Mike, it looks very interesting. A little short on outputs and no inserts but so many plus indeed.
Reading the Roland manual, it power off automatically if not connected to an usb host.... So the Roland it's not my tool.
In that price range, I've spotted also the UMC1820 from Behringher. It doesn't have insert points but with eight input channels I can re-amp if needed. It has a lot of ins and outs, every input can be used as DI, and it has midi and adat and s/pdif. I don't know how it sounds but if I could use it as a standalone mixer too, I thing I'll go with it.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby resistorman » Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:47 pm

https://www.soundcraft.com/en/products/notepad-12fx

I bought one of these for my live synth rig and have wound up using its recording abilities in the studio at my synth station. I’m continually surprised how clean and quiet it is. You can record 4 channels at once in pairs. The first pair are set for channels 1 and 2, but the other pair can be set for any of the other channels or the main mix.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby Humble Bee » Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:25 pm

Presonus StudioLive AR8/AR8c
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby CS70 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:18 pm

Very few devices marketed as "interface" work stand alone - and when they do, you're mostly talking of using them as converters. The key is in the name, as their role is primarily to interface with a computer.

You could look at something like the old BR-800 (I still have a soft spot for that one, only minuses only one pre with phantom power and 16 bit recording, not 24) or something I've recently read about - the izotope spire audio, which seems interesting.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:32 am

resistorman wrote:https://www.soundcraft.com/en/products/notepad-12fx

I bought one of these for my live synth rig and have wound up using its recording abilities in the studio at my synth station. I’m continually surprised how clean and quiet it is. You can record 4 channels at once in pairs. The first pair are set for channels 1 and 2, but the other pair can be set for any of the other channels or the main mix.

Thank you, but it only pass a stereo mix through the usb bus. https://www.soundcraft.com/en/products/signature-12-mtk could work for the job, and would be a great tool, but a bit pricey for the project. The only limit it's the 48KHz sampling
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:41 am

Humble Bee wrote:Presonus StudioLive AR8/AR8c

Thankyou
It's very interesting.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:19 am

Thank you,

CS70 wrote:Very few devices marketed as "interface" work stand alone - and when they do, you're mostly talking of using them as converters. The key is in the name, as their role is primarily to interface with a computer.

I generally agree with you. But I come from the Lexicon Omega that is an audio interface built on a mixer paradigma, and it's been also a very useful to me for versatile monitoring for rehearsal.
I know this in not uncommon. MOTU allows some routing while disconnected from the pc, Focusrite (almost some models) stores the last routing configuration inside the hardware, and it can be used also standalone. I think Focusrite soution is the best. You can choose to use it as an external pre or a summing unit.
Of course, a mixer with multitrack recording capabilites (such as the abovementioned Presonus or the Soundcraft mtk) or a multitrack recorder remains the right tool for the job.

You could look at something like the old BR-800 (I still have a soft spot for that one, only minuses only one pre with phantom power and 16 bit recording, not 24) or something I've recently read about - the izotope spire audio, which seems interesting.

From Isotope website:
"Say goodbye to distorted, quiet, or muddy-sounding recordings. When a song idea strikes, there’s no need to waste time manually setting recording levels and EQ."

Maybe it's the future or maybe I'm too old but I can't even think working this way. I neither like the idea that algorithms will retire sound engineers (I know... progress can't be stopped)
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby CS70 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:41 am

Yeah, some MOTU interface can be used disconnected and also many old Firewire interfaces do as well.

Vs the Izotope thing, from what I've read, it's simply an autogain function, replicating what you would normally do manually - i.e. sound check for a few seconds and set the gain accordingly.

Of course, all depends on what's your goal - to make music or tinker with the kit. Both are fun and worthy pastimes in the situation, but of course the iZotope kit prevents you from doing much of the latter :)
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:58 am

Just discovered the Zoom L8.... that might suit...
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby John Willett » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:48 am

Can't the Sound Devices MixPre II series also be used as an interface?

Although, personally, I would record on the MixPre II and then dump the files into the DAW for processing.
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:57 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Just discovered the Zoom L8.... that might suit...

Thanks again,
better monitoring compared to the R16. I think it's because of it's "live" vocation.
Anyway, it's around $400 Eur... in that price area I would consider Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 3rd Gen (that store the last routing settings) or the Soundtrack Signature 12 mtk. The latter is only 48KHz, ok, but I melt in front of all those knobs.... :tongue: :tongue: :tongue: (and those pre should be a step above)
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Re: usb interface with standalone usability

Postby MPBStudio » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:01 pm

John Willett wrote:Can't the Sound Devices MixPre II series also be used as an interface?

Although, personally, I would record on the MixPre II and then dump the files into the DAW for processing.

thank you John,
MixPre II looks like a field recorder that dosen't meet my price and i/o requirements.
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