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Any recommendations for a small interface?

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Ensi, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Ensi

    Ensi CAT WITH FUKKEN PODS

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    So my Toneport UX1 is shitting itself at the moment, crackling, popping, inputs are clipping, weird hums/noise here and there. It has served me well over the years but I think it's time for it to retire.

    I will mostly be recording guitars with active pickups, bass, and vocals/acoustic guitars.

    What I need:

    • 1 (preferrably 2) instrument/xlr combo-inputs
    • USB 2 or above connectivity (I'm not sure USB 1.1 is any viable?)
    • 2x monitor outs for my active monitors (HS8)
    • Headphone out
    • Good sound quality

    What could be nice, but is not necessary:

    • Built-in phantom power
    • MIDI connectivity
    • 2x headphone outs

    Price range is pretty loose but i'd rather not go over 300€/$400.

    Another thing is I must be able to monitor/play with an ampsim/whatever through this thing. I like to sit up late at night practicing songs without my amp waking everyone up. That's what I liked so much about the Toneport, was that I could just plug and play with effects etc.

    Is this possible? I don't think I can run POD Farm with an interface that's not Line 6. I could get Revalver or Guitar Rig or something but latency is worrying me.

    I've been looking at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, it has all that I need + the pad function which is neat for hot signals.
     
  2. chdrummer

    chdrummer Member

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    My buddy has the focusrite scarlett 2i2 and its really good for the price. easy to setup, decent preamps.
     
  3. LeSedna

    LeSedna Mat or Mateo

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    If you have a mac, the first generation of apogee duet is amazing for their price especially now that the duet 2 is released, and I don't think the sound quality improved so the previous generation stays the best bang for buck I know in this lower price range. You would shit yourself if you are used to a tone port and if you have decent headphones because the line 6 converters are horrible !
     
  4. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    I've had both; the preamps are a bit better, latency is a little lower, and it has 4 outputs (1/2 = line, 3/4 = headphone) versus 2 output channels (headphone mirrors outs 1/2). I want to say the conversion is a little better but it's really tough to tell.

    You can't go wrong with either though.
     
  5. schismatic

    schismatic Kintsugi is coming

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    I had similar problems with my UX2. The problem is most frequently caused by insufficient current being delivered to the interface via USB. The answer is to use a USB 3.0 port which delivers higher currents as standard than USB 2.0 or 1.1. I installed a standalone PCI (or PCI-e) USB 3.0 expansion card which gave me two ports for about 20 euro.

    I use my UX2 exclusively on the expansion card, resulting in no conflicts.

    Of course, this still leaves you with the UX2 which is not the greatest interface in the world, but it may provide you with some breathing space while you ponder the merits of an expensive investment.
     
  6. Ensi

    Ensi CAT WITH FUKKEN PODS

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    Yeah that one looks pretty good too, I think I need the pad function, though? Read some reviews that said their EMG's clipped even with the gain at basically zero.

    I am a PC user. And I am ready to shit my pants :lol:

    Yeah I actually just put it on one of my USB 3.0 ports and the problems were gone. I still think it's time for an upgrade though. The Toneport feels like the Fisher-Price of sound-interfaces :lol:
     
  7. slo77y

    slo77y Member

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    RME baby face for me... nothing else... maybe u can get a used one within your price range
     
  8. mharwood

    mharwood Member

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    I'm a big fan of my Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, and I believe the Saffire Pro 24, Saffire Pro 24 DSP, and Saffire Pro 14 are essentially the same as the 40, just with fewer inputs/outputs. All can be had for under $400 easily. The Pro 24 DSP definitely has MIDI and two HP outs; not sure about the other ones.
     
  9. Ensi

    Ensi CAT WITH FUKKEN PODS

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    The Pro 24 DSP looks perfect!

    I don't have Firewire on my PC though. Anyone know how a firewire PCI expansion slot would work regarding latency?
     
  10. Uros

    Uros Sonic Incision

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    Just buy a firewire card with Texas Instruments chipset. Focusrite interfaces work with VIA chipset too, as stated on their site, but TI is a safe bet.
    I have a Saffire 24 DSP, and it's great. Its roundtrip latency is 2.7-3.1ms, depending on the sample rate and buffer size. MixControl software is awesome, IOW the card's routing capabilities are mind-boggling.

    Has both S/pdif and ADAT inputs.
    Instrument input has 1MOhm input impedance - another big plus.
     
  11. mharwood

    mharwood Member

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    Yep, any PCI card with the TI chipset should work fine. Performance should be just as good or better than a FW input built right into your motherboard.

    +1 on the MixControl software. Wasn't really a selling point for me when I bought my Pro40, but now that I have it I'm amazed at how often I put it to use. Really a ton of routing options available in there, and it's quite easy to learn.
     
  12. Ensi

    Ensi CAT WITH FUKKEN PODS

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    Ok, great! :) Thanks, guys. Looks like I have found my future interface.

    Is it possible to play with ampsims/modelling software like I can with the toneport tho? I need it for monitoring when I record DI's. Would be useful for late night noodling as well. Ampsims via DAW has too much latency I think, any input?

    EDIT: I wonder if it will clip with my emg81 and heavy picking style..
    EDIT2: Maybe this is why I need a DI box..
     
  13. Uros

    Uros Sonic Incision

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    Well, I use amp sims and certainly don't have any issues regarding latency.
    As far as input sensitivity is concerned, I have a 7 string guitar with SD Duncans, which outputs higher peaks comparing to EMGs, and the input gain is set to ~9 o'clock most of the time (heavy picking), and occasionally higher (for tapping, legato, etc.). No clipping.
    I had EMG 707 in that guitar previously, and didn't have any clipping issues too. I do have Little Labs Redeye, but don't use it much at home 'cause there's no need.

    If you do buy Pro 24, make sure you buy the DSP version, since it's not much more expensive, and you get one extra headphone output and zero latency effects - EQ, comp & reverb, of which I find the last two particularly useful for tracking vocals.

    Oh, and you also get VRM (speakers simulation built in MixControl software) for your headphones, which certainly can help when you want to check the mix in different environments. And, did I say that MixControl is awesome? :Smokedev:
    ---------
    Gee, looking back at my posts I certainly come across as a Focusrite door2door salesmen :Smug:
     
  14. mharwood

    mharwood Member

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    I play ampsims in Reaper all the time through my Pro40. Latency time is on the order of a few ms (< 20, i.e. short enough to make no difference whatsoever). I also have EMG 81's and play them directly into the Pro40's instrument inputs with no issues (the Pro40 does have a pad switch to reduce the input volume, though, which I use for the 81's). Worst case scenario is you need something to attenuate the guitar input slightly before it gets to the instrument inputs. Other than that, you should be good to go.
     
  15. Ensi

    Ensi CAT WITH FUKKEN PODS

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    So you just go:

    guitar->instrument input->DAW->track in DAW with ampsim/impulse monitored with no latency?

    I mean live playing with ampsims. If that works I could use the built-in zero latency effects on top of the ampsim.

    Have you ever reamped with the Pro 24 DSP? Without the Redeye, that is. I'm also trying to figure out if I really need the Redeye (it sounds really promising). With the toneport I just run a jack from one of the analog outs straight into the amp with the volume on the toneport cranked to max, very ghetto.

    Lol :lol: Well yeah i've been the same with Line 6 and their toneports haha :lol:
     
  16. Uros

    Uros Sonic Incision

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    Well, strictly speaking there always will be some latency. Even when you use real amps you have some latency depending on how far are you from the amp cabinet.
    Anyways, when your signal goes through A/D and D/A conversion, the conversion adds latency of ~0,5ms just for each of these 2 processes. So that's 1ms. Add to that latency caused by the amp sim, and you'll get a couple of miliseconds, which is fairly decent.

    As for using it live - dunno, haven't used it in that setting.

    I haven't done any reamping through Saffire, but I know that forum member GuitarGuru has (with Pro 40 IIRC), and it sounded good.
     

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