Best USB Audio Interface??

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
mrain
Posts: 12
Joined: 29 May 2019

Post 30 May 2019

What’s the best; cost no issue - USB audio interface that’ll work well with Reason 10 and Pro Tools 11.

I currently use an MBOX 3 but I don’t use its pres or ADC or DAC. I SPDIF in an Apogee Mini-Me (old school) and SPDIF out a Benchmark DAC1.

The whole setup gave me amazing preamps via the Apogee, as well as a compressor and amazing conversion (and clock). The Benchmark, equally great sound out.

But I’ve been trouble shooting some issues recently and I’ve found that the Apogee is a little temperamental right now (I could get it serviced) and the MBOX Drivers are no longer updated.

And so I’m considering a new interface entirely.

I’d like something that plays well with Reason and Pro Tools 11. Connects via USB and has class preamps, compression ideally and either great DAC or an SPDIF out so I can still use my Benchmark.

Any ideas much much appreciated!!!!!

Jackjackdaw
Posts: 127
Joined: 12 Jan 2019

Post 30 May 2019

I think up to date drivers is the most important thing. The quality of the preamps are worth nothing if the ancient drivers start giving you grief.

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boingy
Posts: 321
Joined: 01 Feb 2019

Post 30 May 2019

Save your money for other toys. There is a lot of BS talked about preamp quality and stuff. Buy a sensibly-priced mainstream interface like the Focusrite or similar. Once you get the signals inside the box you can make the magic happen a thousand different ways, and you can change your mind a thousand times.

I have two different valve preamps for mics and I now rarely use them. I have an expensive Marshall amp and a Fender Twin but my guitars now get plugged directly into the interface.

That's not to say that sometimes I don't just plug in to those amps and let rip but for recording I go straight to disk, clean as you like and use one of the many plug-ins to get the tone I want. Please note that this does not work if you are a feedback-harnessing rock god. But I'm not…. :lol:

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Boombastix
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Location: Bay Area, CA

Post 30 May 2019

One consideration is if you plan to run Eurorack with CV out from Reason. Then Presonus or MOTU has DC coupled ones.
10% off at Waves with link: https://www.waves.com/r/6gh2b0
Disclaimer - I get 10% as well.

mrain
Posts: 12
Joined: 29 May 2019

Post 31 May 2019

Thank you all :)

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QVprod
Posts: 2248
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 31 May 2019

I would suggest Audient. The Audient interfaces are pretty well regarded for great converters in the sub $500 range. Recently upgraded to an ID14 from a Focusrite Scarlett and the difference in clarity of just playback is astounding. Preamps are very much on the clean side (not warm), but you have your Apogee for that anyway.

mrain
Posts: 12
Joined: 29 May 2019

Post 01 Jun 2019

Thanks for the tips everyone.

I ended up doing some research. I wanted to retire my MBOX 3; it served only as an SPDIF interface and MIDI out, to my hardware synths; but the drivers stopped being updated in 2014 and I think it's time to refine my whole interface / setup. There was only one interface that fit the criteria for me; more ins than I had before, so rather than run my hardware synths through a mixer to bring them all into one input; each synth could have its own input; proper MIDI out, SPDIF in and out, etc. The Clarett 4Pre seemed to be the only interface I could find that ticked all of my boxes. And it just arrived an hour ago!

QV; I believe the Clarett is a step up from the Scarlett and from what I've heard, that seems the case. By all accounts; great build quality; great latency, great mix software to route ins to outs internally, etc. The old MBOX 3 is going into a drawer as a backup; still offered a lot, in a tiny box, that thing. This 4Pre has SPDIF in and out so I can still run my Apogee Mini-Me or API A2D to it, digitally if need be. But it has decent pres of its own and great internal components, low noise etc. I even rang Focusrite support to discuss how I can track with my external racks, and the support guy was going through the mix software and how to manage the connections from it; I have to say, I was very very impressed with his knowledge and also, his willingness to help out. Rare for large companies to be so helpful. Fingers crossed this thing stays with me a long time.

Thanks again to you all.

grueser3
Posts: 45
Joined: 03 Jul 2016

Post 22 Jun 2019

After much research and questions I went with the Audient ID 4, it’s awesome!! But I’m sure there’s many excellent choices out there. For me it was trying to stay under $300

notimewarp
Posts: 4
Joined: 24 Jun 2019

Post 24 Jun 2019

Hi! Hope you don't mind me crashing your thread... I have a similar question and don't wanna make a new thread with basically the same question...

I'm new to Reason. I have a Behringer UCA222 I used with Audacity. Real long story short, Reason doesn't like it. Even after updating the driver, Reason (and Audacity after the update) doesn't accept the interface. Guitar Center recommended (in the inexpensive price range) a Behringer UMC 22 or a U-Phoria UM2. After the experience with the UCA222, I'm wondering if Behringer is a still a good way to go. So, in the $50-$150 range, what would be the way to go (Windows 10)?

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kuhliloach
Posts: 614
Joined: 09 Dec 2015

Post 24 Jun 2019

You may need to optimize win10 for audio. I'm still on win7 but it sounds like Microsoft is steadily destroying the out--of-the-box Windows audio experience. Maybe have a look at this video:

reggie1979
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Apr 2019

Post 25 Jun 2019

I have to say that years ago I bought into the hype concerning RME and bought a babyface pro.

Expensive? Yes. Worth every penny though. I never think about my sound card, it just works. And RME have industry leading drivers and you do get better latency.

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syncanonymous
Posts: 368
Joined: 16 Mar 2015
Location: UK and France

Post 25 Jun 2019

"best no cost" usb interface?
do you mean low cost? or money is no object?

After several years with a PreSonus Fire Studio Mobile, and then two FSMs cascaded for the past couple of years I dug deep into research for a new interface as I was desperate for more outs. Discussion is here
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index ... s.2009094/

My budget was reasonably high (£3500). I had RME in mind to start with, but really wanted a Prism interface. In the end, I decided to go with (what I surmised were) best drivers and I/O config and the ability to multiTask.
so I bought a RME UFX+ for £1800.00.

I really haven't put it through its paces yet as far as pushing any limitations. I got pretty bent on top quality input line levels (I settled for the UFx+ +18dB). I was seriously considering an Apollo because input levels are +25dB, but I am a PC guy and heard the Apollo drivers could be a nightmare on Windows.

What I love about the RME is really simple: once you get the drivers installed, they just work, period. Turn the UFX+ on or off whenever you want and the drivers just work. The PreSonus was very particular (and -10dB input levels).

I have found my old mixes sound different, I especially hear timing issues in my old mixes (in a bad way). My old presonus mixes don't sound right thru the RME. Too much clarity as far as I can tell.

I was really looking forward to using Total Mix, and to say it is a learning curve is putting it lightly. I am starting to get it, and I can see it is powerful...it just takes some doing to learn.
Last edited by syncanonymous on 28 Jun 2019, edited 1 time in total.

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Fotu
Posts: 32
Joined: 11 Jan 2017

Post 26 Jun 2019

For me moving to an RME Fireface UFX II (from a Scarlett 2i4) resulted in a much bigger improvement to Reason performance on my relatively old Windows PC than all my previous Windows 10 tweaking.

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boingy
Posts: 321
Joined: 01 Feb 2019

Post 26 Jun 2019

syncanonymous wrote:
25 Jun 2019
My budget was reasonably high (£3500). I had RME in mind to start with, but really wanted a Prism interface. In the end, I decided to go with (what I surmised were) best drivers and I/O config and the ability to multiTask.
so I bought a RME UFX+ for £1800.00.
Am I the only person still picking themselves off the floor at this paragraph? My car cost less than that audio interface. Fair do's if you can afford it but... bloody hell - you can buy a car for that!!!! :shock:

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syncanonymous
Posts: 368
Joined: 16 Mar 2015
Location: UK and France

Post 26 Jun 2019

boingy wrote:
26 Jun 2019
Am I the only person still picking themselves off the floor at this paragraph? My car cost less than that audio interface. Fair do's if you can afford it but... bloody hell - you can buy a car for that!!!! :shock:
yer car cost less than £1800 :| ?

Yeah, look, Apollo prices are higher.

Have a look at Lynx Aurora or Apogee or even Focusrite high end Red AI...
And beyond...read the thread at TGP I linked to. Converters alone at over 10K.

The UFX+ is relatively inexpensive considering all it does. Look deeper into RME and you will be spending much more than your car...separate converters and breakout boxes and high end midi clock. Prism is supposed to be great, great converters...but the drivers have a poor rep. The UFX+ converters are very much unloved in the high end audio world.

I spent 18k on a 10yr old Volvo XC90 last year...a new one? it's almost 100K!!!

Anyway, my UFX+ is tax deductible, so I shoulda spent more on Apogee ;-),

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syncanonymous
Posts: 368
Joined: 16 Mar 2015
Location: UK and France

Post 26 Jun 2019

Fotu wrote:
26 Jun 2019
For me moving to an RME Fireface UFX II (from a Scarlett 2i4) resulted in a much bigger improvement to Reason performance on my relatively old Windows PC than all my previous Windows 10 tweaking.
I was hoping for such an improvement, but haven't really tested my UFX.
I did notice that when moving the "playhead" around the SoundFile View in Sawstudio that there is a delay that I never noticed with my PreSonus. I bought the PreSounus FSM based on gearslutz tester singing praises regarding the PreSonus driver performance in 2013. Those PreSonus UC drivers can be a real PITA. I have read no end of bellyachin about wrestling with Universal Control drivers and I had my share. But I found the performance when working to be excellent.

Best thing I ever did to improve Reason performance is build a powerful desktop computer and stop the constant optimization needs of a laptop...ugh!

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demt
Posts: 830
Joined: 16 Sep 2016

Post 07 Jul 2019

erm im fond of the behringer umc 1820 with the behringer A 8200 as it gives you a 16track audio in recording studio for not mutch
neutron; tb3; triggerfingerpro;3korg volca keys fm drums; kaos pad 3;zaquencer; akai mpk mini;2 zmx mixers; midiplus interface;16 channel behringer umc 1820 with ada8200 soundcard, arturia drumbrute.nektar p1,
hear scince reason 2.5

botnotbot
Posts: 218
Joined: 26 Oct 2017

Post 07 Jul 2019

Can confirm that the UMC1820 is class compliant and works without fuss in terms of driver setup. The front panel monitor mixing is useful but can be a bit complex in the middle of things.

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Dante
Posts: 465
Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Location: Australia

Post 08 Jul 2019

I have the ZOOM UAC-8 - awesome product. https://www.zoom.co.jp/products/audio-c ... -converter
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reggie1979
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Apr 2019

Post 09 Jul 2019

Jackjackdaw wrote:
30 May 2019
I think up to date drivers is the most important thing. The quality of the preamps are worth nothing if the ancient drivers start giving you grief.
True.

But then again this is an oldish thread where what the OP really wanted was something cheaper.

RME makes CRAZY good drivers. That is part of their claim to fame. I'm bored but want to talk, resurrection complete!

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pushedbutton
Posts: 1095
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Lancashire, UK

Post 09 Jul 2019

What's all this about Scarlett Gen 3's having 'Air'?
Never heard of it, not seen any reviews. Anyone got an opinion?
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

reggie1979
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Apr 2019

Post 09 Jul 2019

Image

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pushedbutton
Posts: 1095
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Location: Lancashire, UK

Post 10 Jul 2019

Yeah no doubt but does It get in the way of getting a clean signal into Reason? Can it be bypassed?
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

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dannyF
Posts: 22
Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Location: Nottingham, UK

Post 10 Jul 2019

Anything Focusrite, you can't go wrong.

reggie1979
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Apr 2019

Post 10 Jul 2019

pushedbutton wrote:
10 Jul 2019
Yeah no doubt but does It get in the way of getting a clean signal into Reason? Can it be bypassed?
I was being silly. That dude says that about everything :lol:

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