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Old Jul 3, 2009, 02:26 PM   #1
nicorojas
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Small interface recommendations

I'm the bass player in a blues band. We're currently recording a whole bunch of demos at home, the most professional way we can(qe don't have the money to go to a proper studio). We used a Phonic Firewire mixer to get 8-10 simultaneous tracks in Cubase (4 mics for drums, plus bass, 2 guitars, keyboard and a guide vocal, all in a Powerbook G4 15", Tiger 10.4.11, 1.5 GHz, 1.5 Gb RAM hooked up to a 500 Gb WD 7200 HDD in a FW800 LaCie Enclosure) and now we're overdubbing guitars, vocals and adding more keyboards and some effects. After several months of work, we're almost finished.

So, now I'm thinking of getting some equipment to mix the record at home. I'm the more computer-savvy of the band, so I will be doing pretty much everything. I just bough an old copy of Cubase Studio 4 in eBay to upgrade our software (Cubase 5 was too much for my powerbook) and it is now in the mail.

So, I want to buy a pair of small monitors and an audio interface. I have a boss drum machine and a keyboard at home, both with midi, so I need an interface that works with them. Also, I'm in Chile so there are not a lot of options in the market. EBay may be the answer to that, but it would only be justified from a price perspective in the more expensive equipment.

I have narrowed down my choices to the following: 1) PreSonus Firebox (US$400); 2) PreSonus Audiobox (US$200); 3) Fast Track Pro (US$300); 4) MBox 2 (US$500); 5) Firewire Audiophile (US$320) I also looked up the Apogee Duet (but no midi), Motu Ultralite (but here, it is US$1,000), and MBox Pro (but it is US$1,200). I also have Sennheiser HD595 headphones.

Monitors, I think I'm going to buy a pair of KRK VXT4 that I found used for US$500. I also checked up KRK RP5 (US$400 the pair). Remember, these are chilean prices so don't be surprised if you found them too high.

I have looked up reviews in the internet, but I have read so much and so different opiniones that I'm kind of confused. Any help deciding would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 09:16 AM   #2
Fishrrman
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RE: Small interface recommendations

RE:
"I have narrowed down my choices to the following: 1) PreSonus Firebox (US$400); 2) PreSonus Audiobox (US$200); 3) Fast Track Pro (US$300); 4) MBox 2 (US$500); 5) Firewire Audiophile (US$320) I also looked up the Apogee Duet (but no midi), Motu Ultralite (but here, it is US$1,000), and MBox Pro (but it is US$1,200). I also have Sennheiser HD595 headphones."

You need MIDI, so the Apogee Duet is out.

Fast Track Pro is USB - you want a Firewire-based interface, right?

MBox2 is also USB if I'm not mistaken. MBox Pro is probably more $$ than it's worth to you.

Ultralite is nice but again, pricey.

The Presonus Firebox is a better choice than is the AudioBox - isn't the AudioBox limited in its inputs?

I would suggest looking for a used Firebox (perhaps on ebay). I've been using a Firebox with the Mac for several years now, it's a very nice box for the size and money.

One other item to check out is the new M-Audio Profire 610. Looks to be very good, and reasonably priced.

- John
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 05:50 PM   #3
nicorojas
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Actually, I was inclined to buy a firewire interface as they seem to work better with a powerpc mac. However, if the audiobox or the mbox work well, I'm open to get them.

I was almost ready to buy the firebox, but then I found some reviews that said the preams were noisy.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1. It however is not Firewire.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 06:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicorojas View Post
I have a boss drum machine and a keyboard at home, both with midi, so I need an interface that works with them.
i think you're limiting yourself un-necessarily. why not get a simple USB/midi device for your midi instruments? then you have more options for the audio interface.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 06:38 PM   #6
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i think you're limiting yourself un-necessarily. why not get a simple USB/midi device for your midi instruments? then you have more options for the audio interface.
Yeah? It would be the same? This actually will be my first experience with MIDI. And what interface would you recommend?
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 09:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nicorojas View Post
Yeah? It would be the same? This actually will be my first experience with MIDI. And what interface would you recommend?
There are several that look like a cable (USB i one and MIDI in/out on the other) with a bump in the middle. They are USB bus powered and sell for about $40. Mine is made by MAudio.
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 03:19 AM   #8
joe.cavers
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Echo Audiofire 4. Good quality converters, solid and reliable interface, firewire AND MIDI.

JC
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 08:34 AM   #9
salientstimulus
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I just got the new Lexicon I-Onix U-22, which I'm really happy with (there are also versions with more inputs). Whatever you get, though, definitely get something with 24 bit A/D converters -- if you're doing much effects processing in your DAW, having 24 bit source will definitely improve your sound, give you dynamic range for compression, etc.
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 09:03 AM   #10
Teej guy
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Fishrrman mentioned the M-Audio ProFire 610...really good little interface. I'm using it's big brother the 2626. The quality is miles ahead of their Fast Track and Firewire series. (the ProFire is firewire though to avoid confusion)

Some people over on gearslutz.com are saying they prefer the converters and pres on it to the ones in the Digi 002/003 hardware...

I'd either go that route or get a seperate midi interface and the Apogee Duet. I believe that would be more expensive.
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 12:40 PM   #11
nicorojas
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Thanks for the advice, but now I have more options than when I started!

As I said, the only ones availables in Chile (so I could go to the store and try them) are the Audiobox, the Firebox and the Fast Track Pro (the dealer does not carry the ProFire yet). Native, Echo and Lexicon (I have only seen the Lexicon alpha here) would be a leap of faith, based on your suggestions, as I should bought them through amazon or eBay.

Can you rank your favorite budget interfaces, considering experience with their preamps and converters? (and mac drivers!)
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 02:48 PM   #12
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Based on the options given I'd go for the FireBox, Presonus are pretty decent, and I'd recommend them over M-Audio any day, although M-Audio do nice controller keyboards and solid midi interfaces I've had problems in the past with their audio interfaces.

Presonus do decent pre amps (and some pretty nice ones on their more expensive gear), good support and their drivers appear to be pretty stable from all I've heard about them.

Plus Firewire for audio would be the better option everyday.

Just my 2 cents
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 02:53 PM   #13
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Lexicon would be my recommendation. I loved my little Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 especially the high specs, but eventually it's shady drivers made me switch.
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 08:53 PM   #14
Teej guy
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Based on the options given I'd go for the FireBox, Presonus are pretty decent, and I'd recommend them over M-Audio any day, although M-Audio do nice controller keyboards and solid midi interfaces I've had problems in the past with their audio interfaces.
Yeah, their previous products, especially the USB stuff wasn't very good. The ProFire series however is in a totally different league...really good stuff.
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Old Jul 17, 2009, 10:35 AM   #15
nicorojas
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new info

Sorry guys for the lack of input, but I caught the swine flu (the first couple of days are really bad, after taht Tamiflu kicked in).

There is some new info regarding my options regarding interfaces. I looked for the ProFire 610, but at this date it is impossible to find in Chile, and through eBay it would be kind of costly (between shipping and taxes).

However, a Chilean store began importing the Audio Kontrol 1, and a Edirol FA-66 and a Lexicon Omega appeared in the Chilean version of eBay, and kind of cheap.

So, in summary, my options are:

1. Presonus Firebox US$400 (new)
2. Audio Kontrol 1 US$380 (new)
3. Edirol FA-66 US$300 (used, 1 year)
4. Lexicon Omega US$310 (used, 6 months)

I expect your advice. Please remember, this interface will be used mainly for mixing audio, hooked up to a pair of KRK VXT4 (and recording demos at home, however not very often, I'm not the main composer of the band), and for a year at least, I will be using my Powerbook G4 with Cubase Studio 4. I don't have any special preference for firewire or usb, as long as they perform well.
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 04:16 PM   #16
nicorojas
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finally!

Although the thread seemed to lose all its appeal, I wanted to let you know that, in the end, I got the Edirol FA-66 and the KRK VXT4.

I'm quite happy with them. The difference in sound is amazing from my previous setup. Now I have to buy good cables and I'm done.

Thanks for all the help
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