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  #1  
Old 10-18-2020, 07:21 PM
johnbarnesiii johnbarnesiii is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Default Audio Interface Upgrade - Recommendations?

Hi guys,

Iíve been using a MOTU 828 MKiii along with a MOTU 8Pre for recording, however Iím thinking of upgrading soon and wanted suggestions on audio interfaces?

Although the MOTU sounds good and is good quality, my gripe with it is honestly the CueMix software that Iím forced to use with it. Itís SO confusing in the way you set it up and the way it has things grouped, extremely counter intuitive. You have to mute certain things while keeping others unmuted and there has been too much trial and error for me to justify keeping it.

So Iím looking for an interface that is easy to use and setup. I want enough inputs to record a fully miked drum kit as well as record live rehearsals. Iím thinking 16 inputs would suffice, but would want them to have good preamps. Open to 2 separate units again, like my Motu 828 has the 2 preamp ins, and the 8Pre has another 8, so 10 ins with preamps, although in my upgrade Iíd like 16 ideally. However probably 1 unit would be easier and more ideal?

What would you recommend? Iím considering the Focusrite Scarlett, are they as good quality as the MOTUs? Any other suggestions for easy to setup intuitive interfaces for the Mac?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2020, 02:01 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Audio Interface Upgrade - Recommendations?

One important detail you left out is; what connections do you have available? If you have Thunderbolt, that's probably the best way to go as you'll get the lowest latency. Not sure what focusrite has with TB, but the Clarrett range is(AFAIK) a step up. The Presonus Quantum line is another TB option. For USB-C, check out the Presonus Studio 1824c might do the trick(I use the smaller Studio 1810c here, but on a USB3 port) and once you get the software set properly, you should not need to open it again. Just work in Pro Tools with a low buffer(64) while tracking.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2020, 03:57 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: Audio Interface Upgrade - Recommendations?

And in addition to what connectivity you have (and check macOS driver compatibility as well)... I am not sure I follow the mixer software concern... like I can’t tell from your comments enough to guess what other hardware mixer software would be better for you. Like I think many of the mixers are not very “intuitive”... they all take reading the manual and some time to get used to. And if you are recording drums and live reversals are you having to provide cue mixes for the talent? Or can you/do you want to more ignore the mixer? Or are you using effects in CueMix like reverb to sweeten cue mixes... and want that capability in other interfaces? It all seems such a personal preference that if that is your main issue that you are going to need to look at what different vendors provide and make your own choices there.

What is your budget? Do you have latency performance needs?

You are unlikely to find 16 preamps in a single box, and if you have an ADAT Mic pre you are happy with today... then I assume you would use that... so to be clear you want an interface with ADAT/SMUX In.

For the 18i20 seems you are in the same performance ballpark as your current gear... but with more total mic preamps. You can look up Focusrite Control online and see if that looks better to you.

For thunderbolt interfaces I would add to your list:
UAD Apollo 8p
Apogee Ensemble or Symphony

Both those vendors have good documentation for their control/console software.
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2020, 09:02 PM
johnbarnesiii johnbarnesiii is offline
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Posts: 145
Default Re: Audio Interface Upgrade - Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
And in addition to what connectivity you have (and check macOS driver compatibility as well)... I am not sure I follow the mixer software concern... like I canít tell from your comments enough to guess what other hardware mixer software would be better for you. Like I think many of the mixers are not very ďintuitiveĒ... they all take reading the manual and some time to get used to. And if you are recording drums and live reversals are you having to provide cue mixes for the talent? Or can you/do you want to more ignore the mixer? Or are you using effects in CueMix like reverb to sweeten cue mixes... and want that capability in other interfaces? It all seems such a personal preference that if that is your main issue that you are going to need to look at what different vendors provide and make your own choices there.

What is your budget? Do you have latency performance needs?

You are unlikely to find 16 preamps in a single box, and if you have an ADAT Mic pre you are happy with today... then I assume you would use that... so to be clear you want an interface with ADAT/SMUX In.

For the 18i20 seems you are in the same performance ballpark as your current gear... but with more total mic preamps. You can look up Focusrite Control online and see if that looks better to you.

For thunderbolt interfaces I would add to your list:
UAD Apollo 8p
Apogee Ensemble or Symphony

Both those vendors have good documentation for their control/console software.
Thanks. In answer to some of your questions, Iíd like the option to be able to bypass having to use the mixer softwares altogether if at all possible, as Iím not using their effects really, I do all that in PT. As far as connectivity Iím using an older MacBook Pro however Iíll most likely be upgrading that in the near future along with the audio interface so Iím a bit open on that one.

I donít have a specific budget in mind yet, I suppose Iíd be willing to save up for the more pricey units you mentioned if it would make the workflow/setup easier and more intuitive.

Iím not the most techy type of guy, so I try to keep things simple for the sake of capturing the idea, it can be easy to get bogged down and caught up in the technology. My friend who is an audio guy says heís had the same experience at his studio with MoTU in terms of their setup being a bit unnecessarily complicated, however I understand if youíre saying the other companies may do the same.

The Apogee units you listed look great albeit on the pricy end. I have an older Duet2 and love it.The Apollo also looks cool, will definitely look into that one as well.

Iím glad the Focusrite unit is also something that could be in the running. I suppose the best things to do is as you mentioned research the mixer software of each company and see what seems most user friendly.

Thanks again for the reccs, definitely will research these.
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  #5  
Old Yesterday, 12:27 AM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Audio Interface Upgrade - Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbarnesiii View Post
Thanks. In answer to some of your questions, I’d like the option to be able to bypass having to use the mixer softwares altogether if at all possible, as I’m not using their effects really, I do all that in PT. As far as connectivity I’m using an older MacBook Pro however I’ll most likely be upgrading that in the near future along with the audio interface so I’m a bit open on that one.

I don’t have a specific budget in mind yet, I suppose I’d be willing to save up for the more pricey units you mentioned if it would make the workflow/setup easier and more intuitive.

I’m not the most techy type of guy, so I try to keep things simple for the sake of capturing the idea, it can be easy to get bogged down and caught up in the technology. My friend who is an audio guy says he’s had the same experience at his studio with MoTU in terms of their setup being a bit unnecessarily complicated, however I understand if you’re saying the other companies may do the same.

The Apogee units you listed look great albeit on the pricy end. I have an older Duet2 and love it.The Apollo also looks cool, will definitely look into that one as well.

I’m glad the Focusrite unit is also something that could be in the running. I suppose the best things to do is as you mentioned research the mixer software of each company and see what seems most user friendly.

Thanks again for the reccs, definitely will research these.
How did it work out for you? I am waiting shipment on a MacBook Air, M1, 16gb Ram and 1TB SSD. I already use a Scarlett 18i20, 1st gen. A tech from Focusrite said that all need is a simple USB to Thunderbolt adapter. He also said to use one of the Tb4 ports EXCLUSIVELY for the Scarlett. I got hold of a decent bus powered hub, that allows charging through to the MacBook Air. It includes SD card reader, ethernet, and three USB's, gen 2 and 3. so I should be good to go. I very much like my 18i20, and would hate to have to replace it. My last concern is related to UA and their SHARC processors. Currently, NOTHING from UA works at all with the M1. But once it does, how do I hang a SHARC processor on? The ONLY portable option is the Apollo Solo. Anyway, for your question, The Focusrite tech informed me that the Scarlett will function perfectly. Your comment regarding the mixer...I only had to set it up once. It basically routes to the DAW and to the monitors/phones. Set and forget. Turn it on, power up Protools, set up your I/O, and you're done. There IS a ton of flexibility, but if you just want plug and play, you can design it for that. Good luck!! All the recommendations here are stellar! And of course, if you went with the 18i20, it would be 3rd gen at this point...
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