Author Topic: USB or mic with cheaper interface?  (Read 31493 times)

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Offline Majik

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #105 on: December 13, 2014, 06:47:29 pm »

But almost all of these entry level devices are about the same. It's just that over time, the forums get hold of them and run tests on them, find little flaws, etc... and a couple seem to rise to the top as being "no problem" ... they can all be no problem though and they can all be fine for what your intended use.

Yes, as you said, the biggest problem (for audio interfaces) tends to be drivers.

Most vendors are OK, and I would count most BOSS/Roland or Yamaha in this because they don't deviate too far from the standards (I have contributed code to the Linux kernel to support Roland kit, so I have a little idea what I'm talking about).

The worst for drivers, in my experience, is MOTU, and I (personally) wouldn't recommend their kit at all. It's a shame as it's pretty functional and good quality hardware. It's let down by the drivers.

In my view and experience, there's very little out there these days which is "crap". Most stuff these days it easily good enough for home recording use. It boils down to what do you want to use it for, and what situations do you want to use it in. And then it's about ease of use, stability (drivers) and getting to learn how to use it.

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« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 11:26:08 pm by Majik »
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Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #106 on: December 13, 2014, 07:16:36 pm »
Hollywood:

You should be able to find out which USB ports you have by clicking the Apple menu and then choosing "System Information" or "System Profiler" and then selecting "USB" in the left column.

The Presonus interfaces that you included in your list are decent interfaces. I own an eight input Presonus interface. They usually come bundled with some nice software. They work very well, but the pots on mine are crap and when I tried to buy replacement ones from Presonus I was less than happy with the support that I got from them. Also; I think the preamps likely sound better on the Steinberg and Focusrite interfaces.
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Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #107 on: December 13, 2014, 07:31:46 pm »
I can report that the Saffire (Focusrite) preamps are very flat, which is exactly what you want on a low-price interface. My Saffire (Pro40) has very little driver issues, but I'm on Win7 (x64).

I've gathered from the same person who purchased the Scarlett (that he'll send back, surely) that the Presonus driver support isn't ideal either. He owns a Tascam FireOne which works well for him, but they're discontinued and might be slightly beyond your budget.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #108 on: December 13, 2014, 08:56:37 pm »
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Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #109 on: December 13, 2014, 09:35:17 pm »
Apparently that UR22 has the same input gain problem as the Scarlett does.
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Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #110 on: December 13, 2014, 09:41:40 pm »
Hollywod's acoustic guitar preamp has a volume fader that would reduce the gain output to the interface. If it became an issue, a pad, or DI would resolve it.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #111 on: December 13, 2014, 10:05:41 pm »
Yep, that input gain issue is not an issue. They can't design the thing for every possible situation...

Lack of gain would be worse than too much. Turn the Vol knob down and that solves the too much gain issue.

If it had not enough gain though... then you have a problem.

Here is an example of someone that totally over reacted to the "gain issue"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI8XAcGSRe4

Drivers ... as mentioned .. now that's a really tough... got to  have good drivers.

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Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #112 on: December 13, 2014, 11:32:39 pm »
The issue with the Scarlett might be specific to the higher input/output count ones, you're most likely gonna be OK with the 2i2/2i4. The guy had an 18i20 and tried to track at 96k.

It surprises me though, most people buying these interfaces will want to record at least some instrument into them.
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Offline katja

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #113 on: December 13, 2014, 11:54:24 pm »
I didn't read the whole thread but I do record with a Scarlett 2i2 on a Mac. I've never had any drivers issues and I can record instruments straight into the Scarlett without any input gain issues. It works great.

Offline Hollywood

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #115 on: December 14, 2014, 05:52:51 pm »
The difference would be it has switches for Mic/Lin/Inst for each input meaning it switches it's gain structure and impedance to suit the input.

It will have of course Tascam mic pres and they too have been in the business a long time and make good stuff.

Drivers --- I don't know...... TASCAM used to have the best Sampler on the market GigaSampler... very expensive.. everybody used it... Then it got buggy and upgrades went bad and now they are not even in the game any longer.

So hardware wise... that is probably perfectly fine. The question is how are their Mac drivers.

++ALWAYS++ go the web site and download the manual and check for driver updates. Not only to see if they have a recent update but also to see how often do they update.

Again with RME as a reference... if something goes wrong with a piece of RME gear you will be speaking to large forum of users that has a highly knowledgable RME representative on the forum... probably even responding to you... So also look for TASCAM support groups.

Must haves
ITEM in consideration
Manual - read cover to cover
Driver check
Support group

These manuals are only about 10 pages. Each one will be similar but also each one might offer a little extra info. Some will publish specs in the back.


As an example... one interface might have 4 outputs. another might have 4 outputs. You think, ok, I can get sound out of 4 places at once or Two simultaneous  Stereo outs.

HOWEVER... you read the manual and one says ONLY TWO outputs can be used at once. Either / Or --- not both at same time... While the other says says sure... use all 4 at once.

Plus reading this stuff will help you understand how it works as they usually give examples... and like I say, you can read a manual in 15 minutes. So print them out and highlight notes or whatever.

Like the 2i2 has a little LED ring to show input levels. The others may have a single led... does that matter to you? Some come with better control software.. again.. maybe that's a deal for you or maybe not...

It would take you month to read the RME manual just for the software they include. Again you are looking at 10X to 30X the price... So there is no reason not to read the manuals up front.

BTW... the boss man called and said somebody missed the gig yesterday.
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Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #116 on: December 14, 2014, 06:01:12 pm »
BTW... the boss man called and said somebody missed the gig yesterday.

That's 'cause I've spent the whole week looking at interfaces! ;)
But seriously... oops.  I will try to do it tomorrow morning.   :-[  I need to get my mic and interface though before the sale ends Wednesday, so hopefully I'll get it before Christmas.
I was on the other side of the state all day yesterday but that doesn't make missing it any better.


Now, how would I make sure that the pickups on my Tak are not "higher output"?
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #117 on: December 14, 2014, 06:33:05 pm »
That's 'cause I've spent the whole week looking at interfaces! ;)
But seriously... oops.  I will try to do it tomorrow morning.   :-[  I need to get my mic and interface though before the sale ends Wednesday, so hopefully I'll get it before Christmas.
I was on the other side of the state all day yesterday but that doesn't make missing it any better.


Now, how would I make sure that the pickups on my Tak are not "higher output"?

You put a volt meter the cable end and play it... it will output a voltage.... Let's just say 1volt.

Hardest chord you can bang out plays out full Vol as 1 volt.

Now you look at your interface manual and read a couple things.
http://tascam.com/product/us-2x2/specifications/

Notice it says INST IN  Impedence 1M -- that's 1 Megaohm -- that is typical for instruments like guitar. so that's good.

Then it has MAX input ==== +10dBV(3.162vrms)

So they are saying 3 volts roughly make a +10dBV which is a hot signal...

So if your guitar put out 1V you would be ok and might even have to use the gain knob on the box to maybe take it up to 2v or so.

BUT .. what if your guitar output 4V -- that's 25% over the max allowed meaning it will distort. Now what?

Turn the volume down on your guitar and the voltage out will lower. Problem solved... or make a dedicated pad so you can run your guitar at full Vol if you like. Same thing either way.

Maybe--- your guitar had output specs but I doubt it. It all depends on how hard you hit the strings.

So again.... it really doesn't matter. the good thing is the Impedance is correct. The gain will probably be fine and if not it's easily cured by turning the volume down.

This again is why it's important to get the manuals and compare specs.

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Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #118 on: December 14, 2014, 06:41:43 pm »
Okay... I think I get what you're saying.

I ask because I was looking at reviews on the Focusrite Scarlett and they're all good except for apparently it doesn't work very well with guitars with high-output pickups.  So if I were to get that one, and my guitar's output was too high, turning the volume down on the guitar itself would solve that?  ANd if you turn up the volume on the amp, does that affect it, too?
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #119 on: December 14, 2014, 06:55:50 pm »
  ANd if you turn up the volume on the amp, does that affect it, too?

No... plus the guitar won;t be plugged into the amp.

Guitar >>>>>>> Interface
Vocal Mic >>>>> Interface

OR
Vocal Mic>>>>>>>>Interface
Guitar>>>>Amp>>>>Mic>>>>>Interface

OR
Vocal Mic>>>>>>>Interface
Guitar>>>Amp>>>Line Out from Amp>>>>>>Interface

OR
Vocal Mic>>>>>>>Interface
Guitar Mic>>>>>>Interface

Each scenario uses two inputs of the Interface but only the first one is Guitar direct into Interface so that's the only place a hot signal would be a concern.

If you are concerned about the 2i2 just get a different one.
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Personally I would be worried about the input Impedance more than the gain structure but to be honest I don't even know if that will matter for an active pickup acoustic guitar..... Scooter may know.

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