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USB audio interfaces

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:18 pm
by t08e
I own a Roland TR-606, a Roland SH-101 and a Yamaha P140 (digital piano) and want to be able to record these to my laptop. I therefore need an interface with at least two 1/4" line-ins for the synth and the drum machine (most of those I see have XLR inputs). I want to be able to have a headphone output also (I'd have thought with its own volume control). I assume it would need preamps too (or I could line-out from the 'headphone' outs using the synthesizers' amplification, though is this worse quality?) I am not sure what input I would need for the piano, its outputs are headphone: 2 x 3.5 mm and a fixed level stereo output.

What kind of thing could I be looking at, I'm just a bit stumped for ideas so any help would be great!

Re: USB audio interfaces

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:32 am
by meatballfulton
Most USB interfaces with XLR inputs use so-called "combo" jacks that take either XLR or 1/4".

The big question is do you need to mix all four signals at once or not. In the $200 range most interfaces only have two inputs.

If 2 inputs is enough, I would suggest the Focusrite Saffire 6 USB.

If you need more inputs, the Tascam US800 at $250 new gives you six inputs.

Both are powered off the USB bus so there's no power supply needed.

Re: USB audio interfaces

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:34 pm
by t08e
OK, I have to admit I'm really confused about this 'combo' input thing... Do you mean that you can plug a 1/4" plug straight into the input socket, or do you need to use a 1/4" to XLR cable to connect it and you just mean that it can cope with the output signal from a 1/4" source?

Re: USB audio interfaces

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:13 pm
by Villi
You can plug an XLR or 1/4" jack right into the same socket yes.


Re: USB audio interfaces

Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:36 am
by krushing
Is USB a necessity? Even though they're pretty decent by now, I still feel you get a more stable setup using FireWire. And it opens up your choices quite a bit as well...

Re: USB audio interfaces

Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:16 pm
by th0mas
I just got a USB audio interface. What I learned was:

- Windows 7 has a common problem where the drivers that come with the interface c**p out after 20 seconds of playback to a fizzle of noise and that's it. I fixed it on mine by switching back to ASIO4ALL and just using the ASIO4ALL with the USB audio interface and it worked. Note that I tried two different USB audio interfaces (thinking the problem was the fault of the first one, I upgraded it's firmware which bricked it so I brought it back)

- Run DPC Latency checker (google it) and see if it reports any latency issues. If so, start disabling hardware devices (especially try your network connection, but also try webcam, touchpad, etc) and see what you need to disable to remove the latency. If you have latency > 1000us it will likely cause enough jitter to glitch on your usb audio.