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recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

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recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:54 pm
by stemwinder
Hi there,

I am looking for recommendations for an 8 input, 8 output USB audio interface please.

I am currently using an SPL Crimson as my audio interface and monitor controller, it has 4 analogue inputs but no analogue audio outputs, and I want to permanently hook up my mic pres (Sytek [4], Safe Audio [1], Golden Age [1]) run some outboard FX (mono compressor - Slate Dragon, and mono EQ - Warm EQ1) for use during mixing (I use Presonus Studio One as my DAW and it has a great plug in called Pipeline which lets you configure outboard FX as simple drag and drop plugins).

So I think I need an 8 in, 8 out audio interface which has line level connectors. I am using a 2017 MacBook Pro which has only USB C interfaces, but it is easy enough to hook up “standard” USB interfaces.

I don’t really need all the bells and whistles on the interface as I will probably chain the SPL Crimson off the new interface to provide monitor control (and it also handles the home theatre DAC and turntable).

I have no idea about interfaces like this - there seem to be a million options - but after some Googling I like the look of the Focusrite Scarlett https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focusrite-scarlett (around £450), but I am willing to look at other options, and increase my budget (within reason!), if there is a better option.

Can the hive mind help me!

Thanks in advance,

Darren

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:02 pm
by Folderol
I just today got an M-audio M-track 8.
it's very solidly built and is audio class compliant so works out of the box.
So far I'm very pleased with it.
Round trip latency at 48k, 64 stereo frames buffer is coming out at 8.15 mS.

This is measured with a rather clever test program that sends out multiple sine waves, then on return calculates the phase shifts. As no other software is involved you get a more accurate figure.

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:10 pm
by CS70
I was in the same situation last year - at home I don't record more than one or two channels at the time, for which I mainly use external preamps but I needed a high I/O count to use the outboard during mixing.

So I was looking for an interface with only line-level inputs and outputs, and found a old RME Multiface which is working perfectly well. I liked it so much that I also bought the remote for Totalmix.

There's many options, but as the on-board preamps are essentially wasted when you have others that you use, I found RME to be the most obvious choice.

And remember to get a _lot_ of recall paper, and an archive box... :D

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:23 pm
by stemwinder
Thanks Folderol - that looks interesting, and a similar spec to the Scarlett.

And thanks CS70 - the RME looks ideal. Do you hook it up via USB? I have had my fill of recall sheets and was thinking of printing the FX - I am happy to commit, and can always re-print! It looks like you can pick one up for around £200-250 as well which is ideal.

Cheers!

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:44 pm
by Sam Inglis
I'm not sure there is any way to connect the RME Multiface to a modern laptop, is there? My recollection is that the Multiface is not an interface in its own right, but a breakout box for a PCI or CardBus interface, neither of which would be compatible with new Macs.

The MOTU 8a would be a good fit for your needs, but it's outside the budget.

Nothing wrong with the second-generation Scarletts, but as on most mid-priced interfaces, you can't bypass the mic preamps -- the line ins go through the preamps.

An affordable option with eight line ins would be the ESI U86XT. I've no first-hand experience of their products but have talked to their designer at trade shows and he seems clued up.

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:59 am
by CS70
Darn sorry, had missed the laptop part. As Sam says, the Multiface is a pci card..

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:12 am
by ef37a
I infest two recording forums and the question of a line only multi-track AI comes up almost once a month if you read both of them but. AFAIK there really is nothing out there (the ESI is I think unbalanced RCA ? In any case I have an ESI 1010e and while I have no problem with the sound quality, the drivers are a bit 'neh'!)

However, if the mic pre amps are of good low noise quality there is really no big problem with a padded down line input. The standard "10k+10k+10k+10k+op amp" line input that you are likely to get on the vast majority of gear with dedicated line inputs is likely only a dB or so better than a well design pad+mic pre and Focusrite make really good pres! Then, a line level source HAS to come from somewhere and is thus not likely THAT impeccable?

Yes, goes against the grain to pay for something you are not using but technically no great harm.

Dave.

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:52 am
by stemwinder
Thanks Dave, thanks Sam,

I am happy to spend the extra cash on the MOTU - and it looks great. It doesn't have S/Pdif connectors (and I was hoping to chain the SPL Crimson off S/Pdif) so another question if I may.

The converters in the MOTU are probably better than my SPL Crimson so am I better off running MOTU chans 1/2 to the line ins 1/2 on the SPL, or better using a simple optical to S/Pdif converter and chaining it to the S/Pdif on the Crimson?

Thanks once again,

Darren

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:33 am
by Sam Inglis
If you can spare the analogue I/O on the interface then I doubt you'll notice much difference quality-wise between connecting the Crimson digitally or using analogue connectors. If you do want to do the former you could get a coaxial to optical converter, as the MOTU does have optical inputs that can operate as S/PDIF.

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:12 am
by stemwinder
Cheers Sam, much appreciated.

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:36 am
by ef37a
IIRC (can't be a'ed to look!) the Crimson got a very good report for converter quality in SOS?

My beef with the interface is that they did not go the last click and fit ADAT? Behringer can do it at a stupidly low cost!

I have no idea of course how much ADAT would add to the AIs price but I had a £150 BCA2000 with it!

Dave.

Re: recommendations for an 8 in, 8 out USB audio interface?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:22 pm
by stemwinder
An ADAT connector would have solved all my problems Dave! I like the Crimson layout a lot, and I have added Coleman LS3 (3 way passive selector) to hook up 3 sets of monitors - works a treat.

Darren