What audio interface should I buy if I'm going to produce using software synths and samples mainly?

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KVRer
18 posts since 5 Nov, 2020

Post Mon Aug 16, 2021 6:21 pm

Hi.

I must say that I'm not going to record acoustic instruments like guitars or drums and most of the synthesizers I use are software synths or samples. If I'm going to use just a mic to record samples every now and then and just one analog synthesizer, what interface is good for me? At the moment I want an interface that has a good headphone amp for my Audio Technica ATH-R70x. Thank you very much for the help.

KVRist
209 posts since 4 Jul, 2020

Post Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:54 pm

I_V_502 wrote:
Mon Aug 16, 2021 6:21 pm
Hi.

I must say that I'm not going to record acoustic instruments like guitars or drums and most of the synthesizers I use are software synths or samples. If I'm going to use just a mic to record samples every now and then and just one analog synthesizer, what interface is good for me? At the moment I want an interface that has a good headphone amp for my Audio Technica ATH-R70x. Thank you very much for the help.
There are many options as you probably only need 1 or 2 inputs. The usual suspects are Motu M2, SSL2, Audient Id4 and Focusrite Solo.
Some thoughts: ask yourself if you need midi. Not all interface have this. Ask yourself if you need loopback for e.g streaming and live jamming online, and be aware that some of these interfaces (I know the Focusrite for sure has this issue) have trouble driving high impedance headphones like yours

KVRist
320 posts since 13 Dec, 2004 from USA

Post Fri Aug 20, 2021 12:14 am

I am almost entirely "in-the-box," only externals are MIDI keyboard and drum pads, no hardware instruments. I've been happy with the Focusrite Solo for the most part, drivers have been pretty solid, easy to get an XLR mic working for occasional vocals/voiceovers. I have a pair of ATH-M50x that I use for monitoring, and it drives them more than well enough (usually have the computer volume on average and the interface monitor volume close to minimum and I get plenty of volume). That being said, unless you need specific high-performance drivers, any basic interface is probably good enough (on my portable laptop rig, I've been fine doing headphone monitoring with just a Behringer UCA202).

KVRist
70 posts since 19 Mar, 2016

Post Tue Aug 31, 2021 7:00 am

audient evo4

KVRAF
2753 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Tue Aug 31, 2021 7:04 am

Budget?

KVRist
124 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Tue Aug 31, 2021 6:11 pm

LocalTrack19 wrote:
Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:54 pm
Some thoughts: ask yourself if you need midi. Not all interface have this. Ask yourself if you need loopback for e.g streaming and live jamming online, and be aware that some of these interfaces (I know the Focusrite for sure has this issue) have trouble driving high impedance headphones like yours
Clarification: not all interfaces have 5-pin MIDI. Some are USB. But I've yet to see an AI that didn't have some kind of MIDI connectivity. And if you're using soft synths, yes, of course you need MIDI.

The low-end Steinberg and Behringer models also come to mind. Great stuff at a great price. I can't speak to how great the headphones amps are though.

KVRist
38 posts since 6 Aug, 2021

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:30 am

If you want a good headphone amp, don't buy Focusrite's entry-level interfaces like 2i2, 2i4, etc. As I owner of both, they can't power up my DT1990 250ohm. I have to have its volume set to max to get some good levels. Also, Windows drivers of Focusrite 2i4 (MK2) are pretty old and bad, they have multiple problems. I want to switch to Motu M4 or SSL 2+ due to that.

Or you can get an additional headphone amp, I never used one so I can't recommend anything on that.

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fmr
KVRAF
10359 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:47 am

If the choice is between MOTU and SSL, Audient, Focusrite, I'd say: MOTU anyday. They have by far much better drivers.

Native Instruments would also be a good choice, with solid drivers, real MIDI sockets (which lacks in all the others except the MOTU, if I'm not mistaken), and is a bargain, nowadays. Steinberg also is a great deal.

Tip: Don't choose audio manufacturers, when buying audio interfaces. I know this may sound strange, but software vendors usually make much better products. This is because the hardware components are basically the same among all of them (especially if we are talking low end), and the software part is usually much better in software vendors.

That said, if you have the money and want a future proof bet, go RME.
Fernando (FMR)

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KVRAF
6890 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:15 pm

fmr wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:47 am
If the choice is between MOTU and SSL, Audient, Focusrite, I'd say: MOTU anyday. They have by far much better drivers.
Having owned and used several MOTU 828-series interfaces over the years, I would NOT recommend them for their headphone amps. They're severely underpowered and were so inadequate for my high-impedance headphones (BD DT800Pros and AKG 401s) that I had to buy a separate headphone amp. Maybe the newer MOTUs are better, but I'd make sure before buying one.

To the OP, do you also need outputs for your studio monitors, or are you looking for a small form factor with just a headphone output?

KVRist
124 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:16 pm

fmr wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:47 am
Native Instruments would also be a good choice, with solid drivers, real MIDI sockets (which lacks in all the others except the MOTU, if I'm not mistaken), and is a bargain, nowadays.
You're mistaken. :wink: Not all NI interfaces have 5-pin MIDI, and many others, including those costing less, do. IMO the Native AIs are overpriced (like most things NI).
Tip: Don't choose audio manufacturers, when buying audio interfaces. I know this may sound strange, but software vendors usually make much better products. This is because the hardware components are basically the same among all of them (especially if we are talking low end), and the software part is usually much better in software vendors.
It sounds strange because it's not true. :) In fact, most software vendors don't even make AIs, so it's basically moot.

Back to the OP........the 70s have extremely high impedance, so it seems you're likely need a headphone amp.

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fmr
KVRAF
10359 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:54 am

mixyguy2 wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:16 pm
fmr wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:47 am
Native Instruments would also be a good choice, with solid drivers, real MIDI sockets (which lacks in all the others except the MOTU, if I'm not mistaken), and is a bargain, nowadays.
You're mistaken. :wink: Not all NI interfaces have 5-pin MIDI, and many others, including those costing less, do. IMO the Native AIs are overpriced (like most things NI).
Yes, you're right. Komplete Auio 1 and 2 don't have MIDI sockets. But I was talking about KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 - and it is well priced for what it offers, IMO. It has real MIDI sockets, and two high-powered headphone outs. If these are enough to feed the referenced headphones, only hands-on trial could tell.
mixyguy2 wrote:
Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:16 pm
Tip: Don't choose audio manufacturers, when buying audio interfaces. I know this may sound strange, but software vendors usually make much better products. This is because the hardware components are basically the same among all of them (especially if we are talking low end), and the software part is usually much better in software vendors.
It sounds strange because it's not true. :) In fact, most software vendors don't even make AIs, so it's basically moot.
It's your opinion, which differs from mine. True or not - you don't own the true, as I don't either.

I think it would be hard to buy AI's from a software vendor that don't make them :wink:

Therefore, I was obviously talking of those that make them (which are just a few). I have tried many audio interfaces during all the time I am working in audio (which is quite a long time), and from my experience, audio interfaces that don't come from software vendors had pretty lousy drivers (if ANY at all). OTOH AI's that come from software vendors usually had much better drivers. My 2 cents.
Fernando (FMR)

KVRist
124 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:48 am

fmr wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:54 am
It's your opinion, which differs from mine. True or not - you don't own the true, as I don't either.

I think it would be hard to buy AI's from a software vendor that don't make them :wink:

Therefore, I was obviously talking of those that make them (which are just a few). I have tried many audio interfaces during all the time I am working in audio (which is quite a long time), and from my experience, audio interfaces that don't come from software vendors had pretty lousy drivers (if ANY at all). OTOH AI's that come from software vendors usually had much better drivers. My 2 cents.
I think your experience is unique...I'd be curious to know what AIs you've tried and how long ago that was; things have come a long way in recent years. And really, NI is the only company I can think of offhand that's known as more of a software vendor first that makes AIs as well (UAD is well known for both software and hardware, so I would say that's a push). Almost all of the most highly-regarded AIs are made by audio manufacturers....Steinberg, Audient, Focusrite, Antelope, RME, the list goes on and on, and all have rock solid drivers.

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
10359 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Post Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:33 pm

mixyguy2 wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:48 am
fmr wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:54 am
It's your opinion, which differs from mine. True or not - you don't own the true, as I don't either.

I think it would be hard to buy AI's from a software vendor that don't make them :wink:

Therefore, I was obviously talking of those that make them (which are just a few). I have tried many audio interfaces during all the time I am working in audio (which is quite a long time), and from my experience, audio interfaces that don't come from software vendors had pretty lousy drivers (if ANY at all). OTOH AI's that come from software vendors usually had much better drivers. My 2 cents.
I think your experience is unique...I'd be curious to know what AIs you've tried and how long ago that was; things have come a long way in recent years. And really, NI is the only company I can think of offhand that's known as more of a software vendor first that makes AIs as well (UAD is well known for both software and hardware, so I would say that's a push). Almost all of the most highly-regarded AIs are made by audio manufacturers....Steinberg, Audient, Focusrite, Antelope, RME, the list goes on and on, and all have rock solid drivers.
Steinberg is an audio manufacturer, primarily? OK then, I give up :roll:
Fernando (FMR)

KVRAF
2857 posts since 4 Jan, 2005

Post Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:33 pm

I have the Native Instrument audio 6 MK2 or whatever it's called . It's a great unit , I've had a presonus firebox ( whining noise , FireWire ) echo audiofire4 (FireWire ) and esi juli@ . The NI audio 6 is great . They also have a 1 in 2 out version and 2 in 2 out version . Really happy with NI .

KVRist
124 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:26 pm

fmr wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:33 pm
Steinberg is an audio manufacturer, primarily? OK then, I give up :roll:
Good to hear. np, this is how you learn.

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