OMG Interfaces...

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
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BlackGnosis
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OMG Interfaces...

Post by BlackGnosis » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:33 am

So I'm going nuts on trying to find a decent interface thats more portable and better then the one in my Novation xstation 25.

I use FL studio, on a Asus G73-sw and often do real time playback so I cant use my virus for it.
I've got it narrowed to three choices, but I'm open to more, budget is 600.
my idea are the M-audio Fast Track Ultra, The Motu Ultralite Mk3, and the Cakewalk UA-101
I've read that unless the most recent drivers are installed, the fast tracks a paper weight uunder Win7/64 [my current os]
The MOTU has a reputation for inciting BSODs which is unacceptable during live playback
the UA-101appearantly has a 50/50 chance of being junk.

Any recommendations? I want an interface with at least 1, preferably two xlr/trs in/outs on front, 4 trs ins on the back, 2 trs out, USB 2.0+ connection, near real time or real time recording and playback, fit in 1u or can be mounted on a 1u shelf/half rack system. Midi isnt required as I'm getting a MOTU micromidi module.


Other devices I've considered are e-mu 1414m, digidesign mbox2, Tascam us-800, the motu Audio express, and the Focusrite 18i6.
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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by thefleeingloaf » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:38 pm

I've had the MOTU ultralite for over a year now, and I can't recommend it enough. Latency is essentially zero - I do live playback all the time. I appreciate the flexibility of its dual XLR-1/4" inputs, and the fact that it has MIDI may negate your need for another midi station. Sound quality is superb. A ton of outputs means that you could use an external mixer to monitor if you want (as opposed to using the software mixing software that comes with).

I haven't used the other units, but my experience with the MOTU has been great.

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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by Jimmy » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:00 am

I have a Fast Track Ultra and I would say stay away from it. The pres sound pretty good and it does the job pretty well, but the build quality is quite poor. I've been through three of them on warranty cause things kept breaking.

I've used MOTU interfaces before (not the ultralite, but some of the other ones) and they are extremely nice - they sound really good and work flawlessly. The Cakewalk is also pretty nice quality. Both the MOTU and Cakewalk are half rack size as well so if you want to expand later they can be organized really neatly and nicely (good for people who are a little OCD about their studio space... like me).

If you want something really portable, you could check out something like the RME Babyface or the Apogee Duet. They have less I/O's but they are both killer units that can fit in your pocket if you really need them to.

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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by krushing » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:16 am

MOTUs can be picky about the FW interface though...I had a lot of issues with the 1st gen Ultralite. It was awesome when it worked, but in the end I couldn't really trust it not to f**k things up during a critical moment. Switched to an Audiofire 4 and it's been absolutely rock solid - basically I haven't even turned it off since.

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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by clubbedtodeath » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:55 pm

I have a M-Audio Profire 610, which is FireWire only (no USB).

It's an excellent interface with a good sound, and gives me low latency. Specs are:

- 2 TRS/XLR inputs at mic level with preamps
- 2 TRS at line level
- 8 TRS line-level outs
- SP/DIF
- 1x1 MIDI
- 2 headphone outs

You can power this from FireWire only, but if you connect up the power adapter, the preamps come into their own. Clear with a low noise level, you can really hear the difference. This worked particularly well with my Rhodes.

Cheers
Size-wise, I'd say it's about 10" x 1.5" x 5". Small enough to easily fit in a rucksack.

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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by DLovas » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:18 am

im getting an apogee ensemble... i use fl studio too as well so now i have to record my audio in logic i guess since the apogee is mac only, but my fast track ultra 8r just isnt doing the job.... why not just go the whole nine yards?

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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:02 am

Of the three mentioned in the original post the only one I'd go for is the Ultralite. I've used a few Motu interfaces, the studio I used to work in had 896HDs, 828mkIIs and a Traveler, my bandmate had an 828mkII and I'm currently using a Traveler which i bought as a CV interface as my main interface while I get together money for an RME FFUFX. Motu quality is very good, not amazing like some of the stuff that costs a lot more (noticed this comparing the 896HDs to a Metric Halo 2882 when we were doing multichannel concerts at my old work) but they're better than some, like my old Presonus Firebox or the M-Audio 1814s we also had at that studio. (It was in a University and we were doing 40+ channel playback concerts in case you're wondering why we had so many different interfaces :))

My experience with M-Audio is that they're built down to a price and so corners are cut somewhere, usually with build quality. That is probably not an issue if you're just using it at home but if you're gigging I'd want something built more sturdily. I've been impressed with the build quality if not the sound of Presonus gear, and Motu deliver on both fronts as well.

Regarding you saying that Motu causes BSODs, that's incorrect. Windows causes BSODs. Spend the time to do the research to make sure your computer has a compatible chipset or go the easy but more expensive way out and get a mac. Remember too when reading horror stories about things online that people who have a problem will post all over the internet about it, but the people for whom everything works nice and smoothly are sitting at home recording things rather than complaining about them online.

I wouldn't get the MBox 2 if I were you. Now that Digidesign have unlocked PT there isn't really any reason to buy their interfaces, the cost more than a comparable product because you're not just buying the interface, you're buying the software as well.

The new(ish) Focusrite interfaces look pretty interesting to me, I haven't used them so don't know what the drivers are like but I have an OctoPre mkII which is of the same series and the pres and convertors sound very decent for the money. If I were in the market for something around that price range I'd definitely check them out.

If I were you I'd go to a store and have a look at these first hand if possible to check out the build quality for yourself. Much like you said an interface causing your computer to crash was unacceptable in a live situation a physically broken interface is also unacceptable in a live situation. I'd also strongly recommend spending a bit of cash on good cases for your gear and good leads, both of these can prevent live disasters.

The truth is that the audio quality of most if not all interfaces these days is perfectly acceptable, and when people like myself talk about the differences between one interface and another we're nitpicking tiny details rather than night and day differences. :thumbleft:

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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by BlackGnosis » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:12 pm

Thank you all for your responses, I feel my choices are to be narrowed to the UA-101 and the ulitralight, I'll check up both devices compatibility later tonight, and that should tell me which I should consider purchasing.
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Re: OMG Interfaces...

Post by clubbedtodeath » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:43 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:My experience with M-Audio is that they're built down to a price and so corners are cut somewhere, usually with build quality.
Your mileage may vary, but both the M-Audio interfaces I've used were in solid metal cases, and the Profire has chunky knobs with resistance -- certainly solid enough for transport in a rucksack as I've done many times. As for gigging, I couldn't say; that very much depends how rough someone is with your/their equipment!
Windows causes BSODs. Spend the time to do the research to make sure your computer has a compatible chipset or go the easy but more expensive way out and get a mac.
:o

But very true, especially for FireWire. There are two main chipsets on PCs for FireWire: VIA, and Texas Instruments. My PC has the VIA chipset, and before I put case fans in, it would actually overheat and cut out! The Texas Instruments FireWire chipset is meant to be superior.
The truth is that the audio quality of most if not all interfaces these days is perfectly acceptable, and when people like myself talk about the differences between one interface and another we're nitpicking tiny details rather than night and day differences.
Nail on the head as usual, Herr Frenzy. I have two commercial tracks (in fact, my only commercial tracks, heh) that were recorded on a now-ancient Delta 44. I don't remember any criticism of the sound quality. They could've just been being polite, though. :lol:

Cheers

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