Audio device ?
Anyone have experience with one of these?
Thinking about a new audio device. Online selling site reviews are tough to trust (as this device is a bit pricey).
MOTU and RME's drivers are the best in the industry and have been for a long time. They will be at the very lowest latency and CPU use of all available products. Nowadays there are others that are there or close, but these are still the kings for me. All that said, is there a reason you need an interface like this? There are cheaper products which will probably perform as well as you would need.
Been contemplating (researching) if a device like this would produce better audio quality than say a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4?
Converters are REALLY REALLY good at this point. I mean even on cheap junk.
One test I like to do is to send a song out the unit then back in and record it, then again and again and again looking for the spot where it really becomes ridiculously degraded. Most of what you'll find on the market runs that test about the same number of generations, minus devices that will force you to run through mic preamps to do this (but even they are usually better than the religiously audiophilliac will have you believe)
All that said, differences in reliability and usability will often have an effect on the overall sound of the end product of your mixes in a way that many won't appreciate. Ergonomics is important, stability is important, cpu use is important, the easier it is to get your work done, I submit, the better the end product will sound, for a variety of reasons.
In this specific case, if you don't need all the I/O of the MOTU unit, in my opinion, the Focusrite will be fine, and the Focusrite USB drivers are pretty mature at this point.
My thing is quality of sound. Not from a recorded track but guitar into box > pc > amp sim > out to box > to my ear. I have good quality head phones and monitors. Want to hear a nice sound while playing.
The thinking here is how to achieve a high quality audio experience. Not much hardware to swap out except the box. Hope this all makes sense.
Between that MOTU and the focusrite mic preamp wise, I don't think you'll hear a difference, if you are plugging a DI into them. If you spend more money, you might convince yourself you hear a difference, but I really don't think you'd be able to measure it.
One of the things is with the onboard DI's, Focusrite's may not have enough padding for your particular pickups, maybe the MOTU has more padding (maybe not, never actually tried a MOTU with onboard DI inputs before), but if you are using an external DI box, it won't be a hill of beans
I am just plugging directly into the box. no di box between guitar and device. Yes in regards to spend more convince it is better to justify purchase. I can't afford that.
when I go for the mobile setup (ipad) I use the focusrite 2i4 2nd gen and the results are fairly good to me. I'm going to use this setup for live perfomance purposes..
I have also 2 desktop setups and my devices are the focusrite saffire pro 24 or when I get serious the Neve 1073/API512c preamps and a RME AD/DA converter.
I haven't tried yet to compare the two setups with bias amp/fx.. I already know that the second setup with the preamps and the converter will sound better somehow but the questions are: how much? does it worth?
By now I think the answers depends on what are you going to do with that.
If you are just a passionated musician who spend some time during the day for fun I don't see why you should spend 800$+ for an audio device.. even if you want to record a demo o play live in some gigs a 200$ audio device will be more than enough imho.
@dc42 Many if not all of these Focusrite USB devices have an internal DI that you either have to switch a button to engage or have a specific input
In the case of the 2i4, both of the front panel Nuetrik Combo inputs have a switch which allows the 1/4" section to chose between line and instrument, switching in the DI
I've tested the onboard Focusrite DI stuff (from the Octopre MK II) against all of these, and aside from it not always having enough padding, it is not anything I'd be worried about sound wise
@pipelineaudio that be a a nice pile of hardware!
My DI pile is nothing compared to my mic pre pile, but I'm notorius for standing in front of it in videos and using things like the cheapo Focusrite octorpres, Presonus digimax or behinger ada8k's instead, just to be obstinate and prove a point.
Most modern gear tests so incredibly well, if we just want to get the ideal of "a wire with gain". Its on the non-linear stuff, operating gear outside of its proper operating range, like driving mic pre's into distortion, where any of this stuff is really any different than each other, and I don't tend to do that, although there are plenty of people who get excellent results that way.
I just try and spread the word of somber reality that, this isn't the 90's the 80's or the 50's....even most cheap modern gear tests well in the things that matter: bandwidth, frequency response, distortion and noise. Its tempting to blame the gear when we don;t get the sound we want, but usually the problem is elsewhere
@pipelineaudio Dude those ADA8000s are great! People put too much value in something like a mic-pre and not enough value in simple stuff like mic placement techniques. You can get more out of a Mackie 8bus and a bunch of 57s with good mic placement than an SSL, Neumanns, and crappy mic placement. Sure gear matters, but techniques get you further along the way than the transformer on the mic pre. Great call out! It's definitely not mentioned enough.
A decent powered DI will cost at least a hundred. I've seen some exclaim use of a DI with an interface that has Hi-Z, but along pipelineaudio's train of thought, 'why?'.
I originally used a usb mixer without Hi-Z input, and it was okay. Added a passive DI, and it got better. Got better than that with Hi-Z-equipped interfaces, the best so far being the Scarlett 2i2. With my lightest humbucker, Carvin Holsdworth passive, I haven't needed to go beyond 12 o'clock in input level (where it starts to compress it). My quip is the phantom power switches both inputs, which seems to add a gain boost to a guitar signal - meaning I have to switch in and out the mic every time I want to do one or the other.
Per Dan's comment about mic-ing: it seems therein lies the rub in live situ, whereas in modeling of any sort I've experienced the sound just changes, more like a filter being employed.