USB audio interface

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by RumbleMan3, Apr 21, 2018.


  1. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    Hey everyone. I’m a young bassist who is new to the whole recording thing. I want a simple recording setup to record my bass, my friends guitar, my other friends keyboard, a drumkit, and an old acoustic guitar, which are main and probably only instruments I’ll be recording ever. I’ve been chatting with some other talkbassers and they all recon I should get a USB interface and a couple mics.

    The interfaces I’m looking at only have 1 mic in, 1 instrument in, 1 headphone jack with volume control and +48 option. The bass, guitar and keyboard I can run directly into the interface and the drums and acoustic guitar will have to be recorded on mic (Shure sm57 and akg d112 for kickdrum.)

    Now I’m looking at the Focusrite Scarlett solo (2nd gen), the M audio M track 2x2, and the Behringer U Phoria Umc22.

    The Scarlett and M track are both around $200aud. Out of the 2 I would pick the M track cos it has zero monitor latency which the Scarlett doesn’t.
    Now the Behringer is heaps heaps cheaper, I’ve seen online maybe around $60aud maybe even cheaper. This has all the same specs of the other 2 except instead of 24 resolution (which the Scarlett and m track both have) it has 48 resolution (i think, according to website), but it doesn’t have zero latency either.

    Out of the 3 the M track has all the same features, and zero latency. This doesn’t seem to lack anything and seems like a good choice, but I haven’t heard much about it and I don’t know if it is worth getting or not.

    I know the Behringer is good cos it’s the cheapest, and the Focusrite Scarlett seems very well reviewed but they both have some delay, the Scarlett more than the Behringer I think.

    Can anybody fill me in on anything else? Does anybody know which they think is best quality? How big is the delay on the Scarlett and Behringer? Please I need as much info as I get!
    Thanks

    Scarlett Solo | Focusrite

    M-Audio

    UM2 | Interfaces | Computer Audio | Behringer | Categories | MUSIC Tribe
     
  2. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    Sorry guys I just found out the Behringer is 16 bit resolution NOT 48 bit
     
  3. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    The Focusrite Scarlett units have a direct monitor function which is pretty much zero latency.

    I would recommend spending just a few dollars more and get a unit with two mic inputs. You may quickly find a single mic input limiting.

    - John
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  4. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I vote M-track, I have two of those units and one older model with midi support. They are solid performers. USB midi isn't perfect with timing on any of these USB devices AFAIK, but you probably won't notice unless you are a wizard on keys. The track in my link is recorded mostly on that device and a pci m-audio delta 1010.
     
  5. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    I thought about it but i am comfortable recording things one at a time I really don’t mind.
     
  6. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    Maybe later on down the track but I want to keep as simple and compact as possible with still studio quality.
     
  7. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    I’m not going to be using an MIDI
     
  8. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    Hey I think I have narrowed it to the M audio for me. The Behringer is cheap yes but doesn’t match quality of others, not just in sound but build quality aswell. The Scarlett seems the best looking and easiest to use, but the delay.... even though it is small it is still a pain, I can’t imagine ever getting used to recording like than IMO it is a waste of money compared to the m track which is practically flawless with same stats just that zero delay.
    Only slightly bad thing I have heard is that u have to turn the gain knobs up a fair bit on the inputs, but I think it’s easier to make quiet tracks louder than loud tracks quiet right? Better than your signals clipping with the slightest pluck of a note.

    I don’t know how it matches up in audio quality i think it’s pretty much the same, it’s 24 bit 192khz. What do u guys recon should I just run out and pick one up for the price it looks like a simple, compact, great quality interface at a good price! Who’s with me?

    I’m still interested in hearing people’s opinions though so please feel free to voice your choice of these 3 USB interfaces.
     
  9. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    To get really top level sound from these types of units, you'll need mics and outboard preamps. If you don't have any pre's you'll want to avoid pushing the input circuit on these small units. They don't really "warm up" in a sweet spot, they just clip. Good thing is that they are so clean compared to older analog gear that you can make up the volume easily with processing in the DAW and the quality doesn't suffer much.
    I would just order one online, it's probably cheaper than brick and mortar and they are common items.
    Good luck!
    Post some tracks when you get into it!
    Edit: Re latency. Any unit with a direct blend knob has zero latency. You just turn off monitoring in the DAW and adjust the blend knob to get a good mix while you record. It's strange at first, but it's a very nice feature. The latency performance makes more of a difference with synths and playback. It's not that big of an issue, you won't get stable ultra-low latency without pci card based or very high end gear and computers.
     
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  10. RumbleMan3

    RumbleMan3

    Apr 14, 2018
    Australia
    K thanks. Does your laptops equipment and stuff have an impact on the quality of the audio and the latency? Will everything run at its best automatically so long as the laptop meets the minimum requirements of the interface?

    Let’s face it I’m just a kid with a band looking to record his music. 24 bit audio is pretty good right i don’t need the best audio quality in the world with expensive equipment and all that I just want nice good quality, clean audio good enough, u know? I will be getting some mics too, just 2. Sm57 And an akg d112.

    What preamps do u have in mind? How do they plug in, and how compact can I get them without compromising quality.
    The M track has built in preamp I think.
    Here please visit the website and check out the specs:
    M-Audio

    Thanks. You’ve been a great help.

    Yes I will try to post some tunes once I’ve got everything down recorded.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  11. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Glad to help. I really enjoy sharing what I've learned.

    24bit 48k is more than enough for nearly all professional uses.

    The quality won't degrade based on laptop power unless the laptop is "choking" on basic playback and recording. Where the processing power becomes more important is when you run plugins. There are all types of plugins, however, and plenty for free that are not processor hogs. Latency is dependent on bus and processor speed. You'll get used to adjusting it.

    FWIW I don't chase low latency unless I'm playing midi synths, I find it much more important to have accurate clear playback so I know what the mix is doing. When recording audio I use the direct monitor system either on an external mini mixer just for monitoring(no recorded signal passes through) or the blend knob on these small units.

    Preamps, you get what you pay for...
    For your use as described you basically need a clean way to amplify "cook the mics" the signal. I get a lot of mileage from two of these. It's handy to have two identical pre's or a decent stereo pre for running stereo and other multi mic setups.
    The Studio Projects VTB1
    Studio Projects VTB1 |
    I paid around $120 per unit I think.
    There are probably better deals and units around, but I get good quality and use from these.
     
  12. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    I have a Scarlett 2gen and had a M-Audio Fast Track few years ago. Scarlett's preamps are really nice sounding, M-Audio had dull low-quality sounding preamps, but had great low latency for playing virtual instruments (I used a 1GHz netbook back then).

    I also suggest to record in 96kHz with Scarlett, but you should try it yourself with your mics and see what sampling frequency is optimal for you. With my mics I can hear a lot of difference between 44.1 and 48 on Scarlett and there is some definite improvement with 96. And yes, latency on 96kHz is lower than on 48kHz.
     
    Flippy likes this.
  13. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    You really shouldn’t write off the Scarlett because of latency. You don’t know anything about recording first hand yet, so how can you possibly say that a few milliseconds latency is a deal breaker?

    Many studios I’ve been in monitor through an interface with a few milliseconds delay, behind the desk and the performers as well. You can’t hear it.

    You need an interface that can record two tracks at once. Are you planning on recording the kick drum and the rest of the kit separately? I certainly hope not. So you need to be able to record two mics at the same time.

    Seriously, get on YouTube and watch some videos. Talking about music is like dancing about architecture—at a certain point you need to hear and see things in use.
     
    timmo97 and G-Z like this.
  14. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    -Read accurate, flat, un-hyped. This is exactly why I prefer them. The Focusrite pres are "colored", but it's a pretty decent color. You really can't go wrong either way IMO.
     
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  15. AztecViking

    AztecViking Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    EndlessSummerVille, CA
    By the recommendation of the audio engineer who works where a guitarist friend also works as professional composer for film and TV I got a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP. Which I've been very pleased with concerning both the sound of the recordings I've made and the ease of use of the unit. I haven't looked at the differences between it and the Scarlett Solo but I at least have faith in the Focusrite brand's level of quality.

    PS. So far I've had no latency issues with my interface.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
    RumbleMan3 and Bassbeater like this.
  16. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    NYC
    The Scarlet is pretty nice, I used one for a few years, the direct monitor switch works. I have replaced it with a Presonus Audiobox 22VSL which has a direct monitor on a blend knob which is really nice for practicing. Although with a good computer you should be able to get to effectively zero latency through the DAW program. I can blend the dry together with the PC with no doubling effect if everything is setup right. That is pretty good.
     
    Bassbeater likes this.
  17. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    mics are not flat in real life, they typically lose lows and very top highs (that "air" feeling). if the "colored" mic pre like Focusrite or Presonus will compensate this, you will be able to get rich natural sounds easily. if you have a pre that is marketed as "flat", you will just lose details both in highs and lows, that's my experience with them.

    anyway, I'm glad that you use what you prefer, but my mics sound and record better in "colored" pres. there was a reason why classic analog sound is massively "colored" by today's means.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    There is an advantage to at least two channels. With drums, you might use two overhead mics. Or one mic on top of a snare and one on the bottom with one mic signal inverted to correct for phase. Same applies to an open back guitar cabinet. With acoustic guitar you can certainly use one mic as demonstrated here: Neumann Home Studio Academy - YouTube. But a second mic can make it better. Ambience from a room mic can make sounds bigger.

    Of your three choices, I like the Focusrite the best. An interface goes beyond the specs. It's about how it sounds. The engineering and customer support behind it.
     
    RumbleMan3 and Bassbeater like this.
  19. Just helped a friend setup his recording gear. He bought a Scarlett 2i2 and it was very easy to use and sounds pretty good. No issues at all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
    Bassbeater likes this.
  20. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    That's right about the coloration being good if there is no external preamp. However, it is incorrect that a flat transparent tone is lacking details. You cannot make up true details from nothing. Hyped response is adding distortion, it's generally pleasant distortion, but it is important to note that distortion cannot be undone later, whereas hyping and modeling can be added later.
    Think of it like guitar distortion and it makes more sense. You cannot get a clean guitar sound from a distorted recording, but you can get a distorted guitar sound from a clean recording.
    In the end it all just has to fit into the mix, and there are many ways to assemble a mix.
    Regardless, the amount of coloration with the low end Focusrite pres is not extreme. The baked in Focusrite tone is very usable, I've used both brands of gear. A flat transparent pre will probably perform better with nicer preamps if you add them in the chain later.
    This mp3 is the M-audio M-track with the SP pre's for the instruments and most vocals. I also used an SM7b into a Focusrite ISA ONE preamp(not the same as on the usb unit) into the Delta 1010 for some of the vocal mic layers.
    1000 ways to make a mix!
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 17, 2021

Share This Page