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Random Mac-related question ...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DrRoebuck, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. DrRoebuck


    Apr 2, 2013
    Sorry if this isn't the right place to ask ...

    I run a Mac Pro for lots of non-music-related work and for the last few years I've been getting sound via an Alesis Firewire8 mixer and Alesis M1 520 active speakers. The sound was so good that I stopped using my high-ish end computer speakers and stuck with the Alesis setup.

    Recently, the Alesis stopped working. So I got a newer generation of it that connects via USB, except my Mac didn't recognize it and Alesis still hasn't made Mavericks compatible drivers (thanks, Alesis!).

    So I figured no biggie and went a different route: I picked up a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. It's bus-powered and works like a charm, except ... the sound doesn't have any kick to it at all. If I crank it up, it's certainly not clean. This is a huge step down from the Alesis Firewire8.

    Figuring the Alesis Firewire8 have some sort of amplification, I decided to try using the Scarlett 2i2 with an amp. I first tried a Behringer iNuke NU1000. The sound seemed as good as it had been with Alesis, but the fan on the unit was so loud that it made the amp worthless.

    So I arranged for a refund, and then did a little more digging and purchased a Crown XLS1000 amp, for a little more $$$. The sound is equally good, the unit is silent, but now there's a loud hiss coming through the speakers. And if I crank up the amp past 60% or so, there's what I'm guessing is line noise.


    The hiss is livable -- much more so than the fan noise from the previous amp -- and line noise is manageable, but am I missing something? Is there a better way to get great sound out of a Mac driving studio monitors like the Alesis pair I have? Obviously I'm buying things at the low end of the spectrum, but I'm just trying to replicate the quality of sound I got from the Firewire mixer, which cost less than the interface/amp combined. Is the problem that the Scarlett 2i2 is bus-powered, so it can't send out enough power?

    Any other thoughts? It's such a hassle returning things because my primary transportation is either a motorcycle or bicycle, so any suggestions are much appreciated.
  2. I've been looking at the same interface (the 2i2) to use on a Macbook Pro because it seems a good price, and from most of the folk I've spoken to about them they've all said the same thing regarding the unit. That being "if you are anyway near serious about what you are doing, you'll regret this one...". From all the feedback I've been getting on it, it seems like a very middle of the road unit and definitely in the category of you get what you pay for.
  3. DrRoebuck


    Apr 2, 2013
    That's a bummer. Did they recommend something else?
  4. The ones I've been swayed towards, but not tried them yet are the Roland QuadCapture (about twice the price of the 2i2) and the Apogee Duet (which has a Mac specific variant, but about 500 USD).
  5. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I have a Duet that I am renting. It sounds great and works very well with MacOS Mountain Lion (10.8) and Logic Pro X.
  6. Just buy an vintage stereo receiver and use that. Are your monitors powered?