You are here

USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:51 pm

Hi All,

So slowly revamping my studio bit by bit from the setup I started with waaay back in the day.

I have been using an old Soundcraft mixing desk for my audio in but after several repairs it’s giving up the ghost. So, time for something new and from what I have read using just an interface seems to give the cleanest channel entry and with space an issue probably a good thing, so no mixing desk.

What I want to be able to do is record each input source to a discreet audio channel in the DAW simultaneously using a Windows + Cubase environment. I don’t get to spend as much time as I want making music so would prefer to be doing that rather than configuring the setup.

From what I have seen my best option seems to be the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen as my requirements are:

Inputs: ((1 Mic with phantom power, 1 instrument) or (2 mon synth inputs)) and 6 line level inputs i.e. three stereo synth inputs. So 8 in total
Outputs: Ideally two stereo monitor outputs
Headphones: Two out

The Scarlett also seems to have the ability to add additional channels which again is a bonus via the OctoPre. So just for future expandability would look at this as well.

The price point for all this seems about right for me. I know the RME have some great stuff, but the price point is more than I want to go to or am I being naïve and better to postpone… Like wise I can see that Behringer UMC1820 has a lot of the same specs but hmm I tend to stick with gear for about a decade before changing it and just get a kind of bad feeling that it wont last.

Does my reasoning make sense? Quite often you guys point out a fundamental issue I’m completely ignorant about!

Thanks in advance!
User avatar
MarkyC
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:00 am
Location: London

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:19 pm

It all makes perfect sense. And I'm sure the 18i20 will meet your needs admirably.

My only slight hesitation is the expectation of ten years plus of use. The hardware will probably handle that with ease, but I'd be less certain about the driver support. Complete new OS systems are inevitable within the window of a decade, and who knows what they will mean in terms of driver compatibility?

RME is the only company with proven long-term support in this respect, whereas Focusrite have killed off at least one product by ditching driver support...

So while I appreciate the additional initial cost of the RME interfaces, long term it could well prove to be the wiser investment... Certainly something to ponder carefully, anyway.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27618
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:36 pm

Thanks Hugh - I'm kind of a luddite when it comes to upgrading OS but hmm yes that is something to ponder. OK thanks for that.
User avatar
MarkyC
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:00 am
Location: London

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby The Elf » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:21 pm

Similarly I've seen many audio interfaces come and go, but we're still using an RME Fireface 800 at 'the other place' and the driver updates keep coming.

And then there's TotalMix...
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14553
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby resistorman » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:36 pm

+3 for RME, I’ve been using them for decades. That said, I’m very happy with my new Tascam Model 12 for my “B” setup, which includes a lot of synths. I got it because of the analog mixer hands on controls for my synths, it’s ability to record multitrack sans computer, and the 12 in 10 out AI capabilities. My RME will do all that, but not with hands on ease of use. Driver support? Who knows. But Tascam has been around a good long time.
User avatar
resistorman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 915
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:00 am
Location: Asheville NC

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:14 pm

OK time to scratch head and think a bit - However I must admit the first thing that came to mind (and hadn't before) was how old will I be in ten years :think: - and that was not nice!

Thanks as always,

Mark
User avatar
MarkyC
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:00 am
Location: London

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby John Willett » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:50 pm

For high quality and longevity, RME is definitely the one. :thumbup:

However, the Focusrite Scarlett series are high quality and superb for the price - I have just purchased a Solo (though my use will mainly be using mic and headphones or a headset for Zoom conferencing). :thumbup:

The latest Scarlett are future-proof in the fact that they use USB-C connectors instead of earlier USB connection, but are fulkly compatible. :thumbup:
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7175
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:06 pm

I've just replaced ye olde f/r 18i6 with an SSL2+ and part of the equation was the software bundle and the fact that I have an offspring with expanding i/o requirements, otherwise I could have carried on for a while yet without feeling I was missing out on anything.

18i6 is a top box, rock solid, sounds fine with built in pre's, external M-Audio DMP3 and f/r Trak Master platinum on DI duties - baby M-Audio keyboard for one-finger bass and occasional mobile recording via ada8000.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4769
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dancing Queen - feel the heat from the tangerine, ooh yeah!"

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:09 pm

Thanks Guys,

It's really helpful to get different perspectives and this helps a lot.

Cheers,

Mark
User avatar
MarkyC
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:00 am
Location: London

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby ajay_m » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:31 pm

A while back I replaced a mixer and audio interface with a kmi kmix which gives you a full mixer plus 8 ins and 10 outs. This has worked extremely well and frankly I can't imagine how I managed without it. It's rock solid, supports Mac and Windows and can handle softsynths at under 6ms latency on an aging laptop.
ajay_m
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:08 pm

Re: USB Audio Interface reccomendation...

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:59 pm

I think my scarlett must be getting on for 10 years old and it's still going strong, and still getting driver updates from focusrite.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10527
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...