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Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:27 pm Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Hello Everybody,

I am planning to buy a usb audio interface. This is my first purchase. I have never used any audio interface earlier. I will use it as recording device for my small "to-be-built" home studio.

I am researching about it for some days now.

My requirements:

1. It should have capability to record hardware synths (I am not guitar player or singer, but I enjoy recording vocal samples, instrument, random samples sometimes through mobile phone); in future, some good day, I wish to buy two affordable hardware synths.

2. Since I will be recording/playing hardware synth in future (I do not have any one now), I should have midi in/out ports.

3. It should have less latency, good compatibility with major DAWs.

Based on these I have shortlisted these three models:

1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 or
2. Presonus Audiobox 96 or
3. Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD

Now, I seek suggestions from KVR community who has experience of these ones.

Which one should I go for...?

Are there any other models from other companies in price range similar to these ones?

Is it worth paying Focusrite almost two times than Behringer?

Is there any technical difference in recording quality and usability amongst these three? I mean, recording quality through line input (which will be for synths, I hope), or microphone input.

Should I consider the free software/plugins bundled with interfaces while choosing one? (I have not spent too much on software plugins) For example, more money for Focusrite because of their monthly Plugin Collective.

Is it worth going for Presonus Audiobox 96 because they are providing "not so limited" Studio One Artist DAW, and leave Focusrite just because they are prividing limited Ableton Live Lite?

Is there any usability and support issues from manufacturer? Latency, audio drop, high CPU usage, etc.

Should I go for higher input models instead of these listed ones, considering future requirements? Do such interfaces last very long (5-10 years)..?

Any suggestion will help me choosing right one for my need and avoid mistake in buying the basic-one of most used equipment of any studio.

Sorry If I have not used correct English.

Thanks, :hug: :hail:
Dee.
Cubehog
KVRer
 
16 posts since 26 Aug, 2012, from Magdeburg

Postby Cubehog; Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:12 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

I know how hard it is to decide which product to choose.

I´m not recommending one brand or audiointerface. But I think it is important to look out for the best possible usb drivers a company can offer which get the best out of your way when it comes to creativity.

I own several RME stuff because I made my experiences with eg. flaky MOTU USB drivers on the PC-Windows platform. It´s a whole different ballgame on mac and MOTU.

Try to observe some forums and maybe decide for an audio interface and using ASIO4All in the meantime. Test some demoversions of sequencers, so you know which DAW might suit your workflow the best. Take your time, save some money because this can be a huge culprit and source of frustration if you want to make music. And from what I´ve learnt over the years. Spent some money for the best usb driver possible, the best possible monitoring solution (speakers) and the best room treatment possible.

It´s not about which plugins are the best, all these other very important factors won´t be discussed as much here, but it´s KVR and made for plugin talk.
Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:34 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Thanks Cubehog for your views. Appreciate your efforts.

I am new for hardware, but, I am doing music using softwares for quite sometime now.

Any helping hand is welcome.

Regards,
Dee.
Lotuzia
KVRAF
 
9657 posts since 19 Feb, 2004, from Paris

Postby Lotuzia; Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:44 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Roland if you're on budget, RME if money is less of a concern.

Roland : Good average ++ preamps, good drivers, good stability, very accpetable latency
RME : A bit better than Roland in every aspect. Less latency.
http://www.lelotusbleu.fr Synth Presets

77 Exclusive Soundbanks for 23 synths, 8 Sound Designers, Hours of audio Demos. The Sound you miss might be there
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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
 
4525 posts since 14 Mar, 2002, from the grimness of yorkshire

Postby donkey tugger; Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:48 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

I have the Behringer 204 and am really happy with the recording quality - very low noise either in or out. Used it to record loads of vocals/acoustic and electric guitar/mandolin/percussion with no problem. The zero latency mode works as it should. Never had a problem with the drivers etc, and on my i7 4790 desktop PC it will go down to 32 samples latency for recording midi with no problem, until you start piling on the effects/instruments

Not used either of the others. but I know the Focusrite does come with a lot of quite nice software so I'd weigh up how much you want these.
Last edited by donkey tugger on Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Googly Smythe
KVRAF
 
2129 posts since 11 May, 2011, from Not where I was just now.

Postby Googly Smythe; Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:52 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Cheaper Focusrites have a bad reputation for their drivers. The drivers are those pesky bits of software that handle the communication between your software and hardware.
RME has an almost god-like reputation, deservedly so. They're worth the extra money.
When you say you want to record your synths, do you mean recording MIDI or audio? MIDI only records note on and length, and so on, not the sound of the synth. For that you will need line inputs.

Save up for a Babyface.
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AsPeeXXXVIII
KVRist
 
292 posts since 17 Aug, 2015, from Finland

Postby AsPeeXXXVIII; Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:06 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

I have a Behringer U-Phoria interface - only it's the UM2 and not the UMC204, but I've still been very satisfied with it for the past four years I've had it. Great quality for a low price.

Ultimately, it's your choice, but I'd recommend the Behringer.

Also, in case you upgrade your interface at some point, you might want to install the ASIO4ALL driver software. That way, you won't have to install interface-specific drivers every time.
"Creativity is a lot like sex. When it's spontaneous, it's good, but forcing it makes it bad."
My metal music | My electronic music
Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:54 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Googly Smythe wrote:Cheaper Focusrites have a bad reputation for their drivers. The drivers are those pesky bits of software that handle the communication between your software and hardware.
RME has an almost god-like reputation, deservedly so. They're worth the extra money.
When you say you want to record your synths, do you mean recording MIDI or audio? MIDI only records note on and length, and so on, not the sound of the synth. For that you will need line inputs.

Save up for a Babyface.


I meant, recording audio from the synth. For MIDI functionality, I think one MIDI in/out will be sufficient, I think.

May be I was driven by Focusrite marketing efforts believing that they are very good, especially due to thier price of lower end models.

Just checked about RME Babyface Pro, its price is around the hardware synth price I may afford in near future. Ha ha... :D :D :wink:

Thanks for your views, sir. :hail: Surely helpful.
Last edited by Dee.P.Tree on Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:11 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Lotuzia wrote:Roland if you're on budget, RME if money is less of a concern.

Roland : Good average ++ preamps, good drivers, good stability, very accpetable latency
RME : A bit better than Roland in every aspect. Less latency.


Thanks, Lotuzia for your views. I had not heard about RME earlier, I am that novice about pro audio hardware.

:hail:
Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:16 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

donkey tugger wrote:I have the Behringer 204 and am really happy with the recording quality - very low noise either in or out. Used it to record loads of vocals/acoustic and electric guitar/mandolin/percussion with no problem. The zero latency mode works as it should. Never had a problem with the drivers etc, and on my i7 4790 desktop PC it will go down to 32ms latency for recording midi with no problem, until you start piling on the effects/instruments

Not used either of the others. but I know the Focusrite does come with a lot of quite nice software so I'd weigh up how much you want these.


Sorry, for very basic question.

Do latency occure in MIDI recording too? I was under impression that it only occures in audio recording and hearing the same through monitors.

Thanks sir for your inputs. It is helpful. :hail:
Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:24 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

AsPeeXXXVIII wrote:I have a Behringer U-Phoria interface - only it's the UM2 and not the UMC204, but I've still been very satisfied with it for the past four years I've had it. Great quality for a low price.

Ultimately, it's your choice, but I'd recommend the Behringer.

Also, in case you upgrade your interface at some point, you might want to install the ASIO4ALL driver software. That way, you won't have to install interface-specific drivers every time.


Thanks to you sir for your feedback. I appreciate your suggestion. :hail:

I had already installed ASIO4ALL, even without any interface to experiment and it is still there.

Does it mean that any interface having issues with driver may work with ASIO4ALL because it is devicd independent?
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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
 
4525 posts since 14 Mar, 2002, from the grimness of yorkshire

Postby donkey tugger; Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:27 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Dee.P.Tree wrote:
Sorry, for very basic question.

Do latency occure in MIDI recording too? I was under impression that it only occures in audio recording and hearing the same through monitors.



Depends what you're controlling. If it's a powerful softsynth or sampler then there will be some latency as the PC has to calculate what the plug-in is to do with the midi input. On the other hand, for example if you're running midi out to control an external keyboard/module etc then there'll be negligible latency - all you will have is the latency from recording the audio, and if you use the direct monitoring function (which puts a copy of the signal to the headphones output, so it's not being processed) then there won't be this either. Sounds complex - it's not when you've messed about a bit and see how it works!
Dee.P.Tree
KVRist
 
236 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Postby Dee.P.Tree; Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:43 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

DT, Sir, I can visualize so not that complex. But, yes, it can be more clear with actual experience.

Thanks for clarification. :)
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ATN69
KVRAF
 
1790 posts since 5 Oct, 2015, from Swedish / Living in Hong Kong

Postby ATN69; Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:45 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

It's hard to buy things you can't really test before and everyone will have their own opinions about what is the best. Personally I bought the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 about 4 years ago. It's the older version of scarlet. Since then Focusrite improved the latency so the new generation is supposed to be better than the one I have. I basically don't record audio because I don't sing. I use a Nektar Impact LX88 midi keyboard and the latency doesn't bother me. It's short enough.

One nice thing with Focusrite is that when you buy anything from them you become a member in the Focusrite Plugin collective, which mean they offer plugins for free every month. The majority of those plugins are quite good stuff, like D16 group Sigmund delay and this month is Eventide EQuivocate. Besides that you normally also get a bunch of decent plugins together with the audio interface. I am mentioning this because it's a factor well worth considering. As for drivers, I didn't have much of a problem. I had to consult Focusrite once when I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and they helped me quite quickly.
Win 10 -64bit, CPU i7-7700K, 32Gb, Focusrite 2i2, FL-studio 20, Studio One 4, Reason 10
dellboy
KVRian
 
547 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Postby dellboy; Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:08 am Re: Seeking help to avoid mistake in buying USB Audio Interface as a first timer

Dee.P.Tree wrote:
Is it worth paying Focusrite almost two times than Behringer?


Is it worth going for Presonus Audiobox 96 because they are providing "not so limited" Studio One Artist DAW, and leave Focusrite just because they are prividing limited Ableton Live Lite?


Behringer UMC 204hd here.

Great all metal build quality with Midas preamps. Latency is pretty decent. It is by far the best value USB interface with midi - in - out ports available.

If brand names matter,then go with Focusrite,but the Behringer is every bit its equal in my opinion.

I have Studio One Artist and never use it because it does not have VST support.

Ableton Live Lite is only limited by its track count,and so is useful to learn the basics of Live with,but its not worth paying the extra for a Focusrite just to get it.
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