Need help choosing an audio interface.

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Erko, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #1
    Hey,
    I've been wanting to get an audio interface for quite some time, but haven't really gotten to it, until now. I have some different options to choose from, but I can't seem to make my mind, as I don't know much about this topic.

    The interface would be used to record audio at home(acoustic and electric guitar, vocals, piano)
    In term of the audio quality, I'm not looking for the best sound ever, but I would like it to sound good, so it could be used in final recordings in songs.
    Feature wise, I'd like to see at least one XLR input, instrument input and phantom power, compatibility with OS X and Windows.
    The price Im willing to pay is 200 euros, but Im looking to get the whole setup for that money, not just the interface.

    Any good advice on what to get?
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #2
    The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 comes up first in the best sub-€200 2x2 dual-preamp, dual XLR-1/4" combination input audio interface with phantom power. Another added bonus is the balanced monitor outputs which, if you can take advantage of them, can cut noise out of your monitors through long cabling.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...e_SCARLETT_2I2_USB_Scarlett_2i2_Portable.html

    In fact, after researching this topic for you, I'm actually thinking of ditching getting the Apogee Duet 2 which costs more than twice as much as the 2i2 for this. I know the Duet 2 does 24/192 but who in the world needs 192kHz...

    Another alternative: one of my buddies use M-Audio for his personal home studio. I believe this is the one he uses, but I know you can't go wrong with M-Audio.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/737377-REG/M_Audio_9900_60005_12_MobilePre_USB_Audio.html
     
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #3
    Been looking at the Scarlett too, the only downside is that I wont have enough to get a decent mic at first. Another option was getting the Apogee One, which is quite appealing with its built in mic, but Im not sure I can justify getting it, as I may need Windows support as well (I doubt it, but you can never be sure).
    I've heard mixed opinions about the M-Audios. My friend uses one in his home studio as well, but he uses the Fast Track Ultra 8R, which seems quite ok. Dont how the cheaper ones are though.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #4
    Believe it or not, I just bought one!

    Since you want phantom power I'm assuming you'd want a condenser. The Audio-Technica AT2020 seems to fit the bill for you, especially when paired with the Scarlett 2i2. Other relatively inexpensive LDC mics like the Behringer C-1U are great too. Searching eBay may net you some great savings, although shipping to Estonia may be a little high. Decent free-shipping offers on eBay are there too; most reputable eBay salesmen have lower-than-street-price Buy-It-Now listings which may be good, and if you get one used then it's even cheaper.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #5
    I'm assuming you got the Scarlett? Have you already toyed around with it? :D Anything you really like/dislike about it?

    I'm not set on condenser mics, I would be just as happy with a good dynamic mic, its just that I want to have the feature for possible future expanding.

    Price wise, I see the Scrlett going for 140 euro + shipping in Thomann web store (great place, they have relatively good prices and the shipping is fixed, so buying stuff with a friend means half the price for shipping :D)
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #6
    It'll be shipping this week so sadly I won't be able to turn any knobs till probably next Monday, since I live stateside and we have a holiday on Thursday (and Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

    If a dynamic mic is all you're looking for, then I personally use a Shure PG58. Sometimes I borrow its more legendary brother SM58 as a secondary for a two-channel setup, but alas I only occasionally record and mix and spending money on a SM58 would be a little bit of a waste for me.
    But really, the PG58 is great value-for-money. I also know Audio-Technica is a superb brand to buy from; my father, who is an audiophile like myself, holds them to be the best. But really, my philosophy is that you never know what you're going to get without trying it yourself, so as far as mics go try them out first and choose the one that fits your taste and budget. Audio interfaces, they're mostly all equal in terms of casual standards so it's a battle of features and value, but every single mic has a different character so you have to know what you're getting.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    bwhli

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    I have a few Focusrite products. Currently using the SAFFIRE PRO 40 the most. I also do have a Scarlett 2i2, and highly recommend it.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "Been looking at the Scarlett too, the only downside is that I wont have enough to get a decent mic at first."

    For a low-cost mic that performs way WAY better than you would expect at this price point, check out the MCA SP1:
    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=mca+sp1&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    There is at least one tech specialist that can re-work this mic for a reasonable price, and have it coming out sounding much like one of those expensive German ones (with the name that begins with "N").

    The Focusrite interface mentioned above would be one of the best choices to get you going. You're eventually going to want two XLR inputs, not just one.

    Another possibility would be the Presonus "AudioBox" -- very nice "box" for the money.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
    I got an Alesis iO2 for about $80USD awhile ago and have been happy with it: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/685448-REG/Alesis_IO2_EXPRESS_iO2_Express_USB_Audio.html

    Eventually I may want to move up to something with more than 2 xlr inputs, but it meets my needs for now. I also have an AT2020 mic and really like the sound. The only thing I don't like is that it seems to pick up a lot of ambient room noise which can be a problem if you aren't recording in a studio.

    I recently got a Shure Beta 57A and an Audix i5 which are dynamic mics, and they have narrower patterns (especially the Beta) which pickup less room noise. I have been using a combination of the Audix i5 and AT2020 to mic my acoustic guitar and getting good results. Really, the guitar sounds pretty good with only the Audix i5, but the AT2020 adds a little more clarity to the high end.

    I actually have two of the AT2020 mics, but one has developed an intermittent problem after less than a year (even though it is only lightly used at home). I'm thinking that the dynamic mics will be a little more robust, since they are designed for performance use.
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #10
    Go for the Scarlett 2i2, or Presonus Audiobox 22VSL. Both great devices.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #11
    I was pretty set on the Scarlett 2i2 until I read about it not having a pad switch, which may lead to clipping with instruments plugged right into the device. Now I cant seem to decide whether it would be reasonable to cough up the extra 50.- for the 2i4, or stick with the 2i2 and find a solution to that problem.
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    teknikal90

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #12
    get a presonus and then get an audio technica $99 mic.
    maybe be stretching it on $200 but
     
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #13
    Have you had the chance to check both out? How would they compare regarding sound, useability and overall build quality?
    Checked out the Audiobox 22VSL, but thats almost 200, in the same range as the 2i4. Is it better for the premium over the 2i2? I looked and it seems that it can handle instrument inputs quite well, as the gain can go down to -30dB, but how about line in signals? The Scarlett seems to have a dedicated line/inst switch, as they are somewhat different signals with different characteristics.
    As you can tell, the instrument input is quite important to me, as it gives me the option to record quick demos, record digital pianos and synths and possibly bass as well. But that doesn't mean I won't use the mic inputs, I imagine they will get used as much or even more. :D
    What is in the ideal price range for me from Presonus is the Audiobox USB. How does that compare against the others, as it seems quite similar.

    Thats quite a lot of questions, but hey, I like to get the best for my money :D
     
  14. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    Belding, MI
    #14
    I got a new Mini, want to get a Presonus AudioBox 22vsl but the vsl driver/drivers? Aren't compatible with Mini so Presonus updated the driver for OS 10.8.2. Great! Now I find out 2012 mini is not compatible with 10.8.2? Hand to forehead. Any thoughts or input on timing of OS and or Presonus updates would be appreciated.
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    #15
    The Presonus forums are burning up as it seems it doesn't work in a 3.0 USB....
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #16
    Wow. I hope I didn't make a mistake in ordering a Presonus 1818vsl. I won't be needing usb 3.0 compatibility, but I don't want problems.
     
  17. macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #17
    The line input denotes a balanced input while instrument input is unbalanced, which is why they include a switch.
    I've done some searching around and I'm also disappointed to find out that anything in our budget (under $150) has little headroom. The 2i2 and the AudioBox USB both have -3 dBu ceilings, and neither have pads as far as I'm aware. And a pad switch of any sort won't help with the clipping if in the end the noise will be amplified along with the instrument...
    The input volume ceiling is a lot higher for upper end boxes like the 22VSL which has +14dBu. These never clip, but then again these are too expensive :p
    It's always the money, ain't it.
     
  18. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    Belding, MI
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    #19
    what do u guys think of the focusrite saffire 6 ? i need something to record vocals, my midi keyboard and my maudio speakers the rest i produce with ableton and VSTs. will this fit my needs to push out good quality music ? what latency issues do i have to be worried about . thanks for the help !
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #20
    I think for the money I would go for the 2i4, because the 22VSL's 1/4" inputs aren't balanced, I don't think.
     

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