best sound quality for a budget?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by okayjustin, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2007
    SF bay area
    I play guitar and am looking to get the overall best audio interface for a budget under.. maybe $200? including used.

    i've been researching and researching and have seen constantly that one thing to look for is 24bit/96k

    i've noticed line 6 has this but written "UP TO 24/96" on products like the pod studio gx.

    i've taken a look at old mboxes though the only ones I could really find used for that kind of budget were the mbox 1's.

    i've seen the presonus inspire, etc, etc.

    i want something that isn't pro-standard (of course not in that price range i know) but something that can sound good and not cheap or bad to keep me going. something that keeps me coming back to it because it sounds that good..? i know software plays a key here too but i'm learning more about the audio interfaces.. what do you guys think?
  2. macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    pick your software first, then your hardware.

    no need to record @ 96kHz, though 24-bit is a good idea. 44/24 and 48/24 are perfectly fine formats.

    though the quality of the mic pre and conversion in interfaces is important, MUCH more important are: the choice/placement of the mic, the quality of the original sound, the suitability of the room to that sound.

    make all those things good and don't worry so much about the interface or sample rate.

    try out different DAWs and get the one that makes the most sense to you. otherwise, you're just introducing a hurdle to making music.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    If you're on a budget you might also look more at USB interfaces. While Firewire is preferred for the more stable transfer rate, it is also more expensive, meaning you might get better preamps/DACs with USB than Firewire for the same price.
  4. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    "I play guitar and am looking to get the overall best audio interface for a budget under.. maybe $200? including used."

    I can only speak for interfaces that I've owned, but I had a Presonus Firebox for a while and it worked well with the Mac. You should probably find them used at well under $200. New, I think they're $300.

    My current interface is an Echo AudioFire 8, and it's nicer than the Firebox. They run $450-500 new, though, above your budget. You might find one used for less. Echo's AudioFire 4 looks nice, too, for less $$$, but it's relatively new and probably few if any on the used market as of yet.
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2007
    SF bay area
    thanks for the replies so far.

    i've been doing more and more research and reading random reviews and i've got a small list so far.

    presonus inspire 1394 (on sale for 99)
    presonus firebox
    line 6 pod studio gx (or the one above it for another input)

    and i've been seeing that m-audio products don't sound as good..

    I am practicing on logic 9 right now but wanted to even try out those limited pro tools bundled programs.

    EDIT: I am thinking either the POD STUDIO GX/UX1 (maybe for the mic in the future) running through Logic/Pro Tools (in the future when i get $)
    OR the PreSonus inspire 1394. I read somewhere it has a preamp on the interface.. does that make a difference? I think the line 6 models have the preamp modeling? I'm still learning..
  6. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It is very easy to find something in your budget. Prices range from $80 to $200 for quality interfaces.

    24-bits is good to have and 96K is good if you intend to do a lot of digital processing or if you need to resample to both 48K (for video work) and 44.1 for CD.

    They all seem to have a 1/4" "instrument level" input. I'd look for at least an LED level indicator. Tascam, Lexicon, Presonus. They are all good. USB works fine until you get more than a few simulations inputs
  7. macrumors 68000


    May 9, 2006
    The FireBox has been discontinued and can be found new for $200 now. It was replaced with the FireStudio Mobile for $300 which has upgraded preamps (the same XMAX ones from their high end line) in it as well as a pretty nice software package Studio One Artist.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2008
    I'd personally save some dollars and try and find a used Native Instruments Guitar rig 4 with the stompbox, if you can buy one direct off Native Instruments (but it's above your price range)

    Truly remarkable bit of software for a guitarist

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