Need tiny USB interface that can do TSR and mic

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by flexiblemile, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. flexiblemile


    Apr 19, 2016
    Hi all!

    I'm in a weird situation right now as I already have a decent sound card and home setup but my wife has started taking guitar lessons and wants to be able to record her guitar and ideally vocals as well on her laptop.

    Therefore, since she wants to be portable, she can't use my gear.

    I'm looking for an interface that meets the following requirements:

    • Very portable (needs to fit in a gigbag, laptop bag or purse);
    • The device needs to be powered by USB. NO power cables;
    • Has one TRS input and one XLR input. They will not be used at the same time so can be combined;
    • Compatible with Windows 10 (drivers should be somewhat plug and play);
    • Compatible with Reaper;
    • Decent-ish quality. We won't be recording an album on it but my wife is in a band that records semi professionally. If inspiration hits her and she records a good take, it would be nice if it was useable;
    • Under 200$ would be ideal. A bit of flexibility on this..

    I've been looking at the ZOOM U-22, the Shure aMVi-LTG and the M-Audio M-track 2x2 but I tend to trust this community a bit more than random reviews online and I don't know if I'm missing a hidden gem.

    I'd appreciate any advice!

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  2. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    That Zoom U-22 looks like a good fit. It has what you want and it's pretty small. Zoom tends to make a good product.

    Your budget is way too big for what you're looking for, though. You could get an interface with a lot more features and ports and stuff in the $100-200 range, but they're going to be in a bigger form factor. They'll still fit in a laptop bag, but they won't be as portable as the Zoom.
    flexiblemile likes this.
  3. flexiblemile


    Apr 19, 2016
    This is a nice problem to have ;) For her, ease of use and mobility is paramount so we'll stick to a tiny one. The zoom looks fun indeed! I saw the Focusrite solo which looks interesting and I know their preamps are good. Has anyone ever tried them?

    Thanks again!
  4. dlb1001


    Jan 30, 2007
    I have a Focusrite 2i2, not a Solo but the basic difference is that the 2i2's can output to two separate tracks. It was fairly straightforward to use; just register the device on the Focusrite site, download the driver software then just configure Reaper to use it.
  5. 92aceshigh


    Feb 11, 2017
    Brighton, UK
    +1 for the focusrite 2i2. USB-powered, 2 x XLR/TRS combo inputs, ~$160. Works fine with Windows ime, no issues with drivers or latency. Seems to fit your use-case perfectly.
    flexiblemile likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    most folks chime into these threads with 'their own best favorites'. ;)

    but with your budget: almost every portable option is available! i'd google the matter: your list of requirements makes it easy to compare features. good luck! :thumbsup:
    flexiblemile likes this.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    FYI, it's TRS not TSR. It stands for "tip, ring, sleeve" in that order. :thumbsup:
    flexiblemile likes this.
  8. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    I like Focusrite. They have the best features and quality for the money.

    The only thing is that the smallest Focusrite unit is going to be much bigger than the Zoom your were looking at. Still fits in a laptop bag, but much bigger.

    As for the Focusrite solo, I would skip that one. For only a bit more money (but still easily in your price range) you can get the 2i2, which is not very much bigger than the Solo at all and much much better in terms of features. It's the best bang for your buck in the <$200 price range. Also still fits in a laptop bag, but it's not small.
    flexiblemile likes this.
  9. flexiblemile


    Apr 19, 2016
    Thanks guys! Focusrite 2i2 is in the lead so far, at least in my opinion! As I mentioned, portability is more important than price so maybe when all is said and done, she will prefer the Zoom as it has a smaller footprint. I will show her this thread and she can make up her own damn mind!

    We were thinking of getting this on top of whatever else we were getting, just for fun. Thoughts?

    US $3.73 15% OFF|2016 Newest Electric Guitar USB Link Cable Audio Interface Adapter For MAC/PC Music Recording-in USB Gadgets from Computer & Office on | Alibaba Group
  10. the small zooms are really good and flexible and small.
  11. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I have an old Zoom H4n that I used to make some records with (with external mics and instruments).
    It's acceptable, but no comparison to small Focusrite or Presonus devices.
    on Zoom I had to heavy EQ all the signals, on Focusrite I don't, that's the difference.
    flexiblemile likes this.