Multi-input external audio interface recommendations?
February 23, 2013 4:32 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy an audio interface for home recordings. Specifically, I want to record onto (most likely) a Mac, and I need more than 2 simultaneous inputs, since I will often be recording drums. I would prefer to spend under 200€. Give me your opinion and experiences!

Additionally, I want decent enough quality to be producing professional albums, and I want to power supply over USB (no annoying extra cables everywhere). Have you used the Tascam US-600? Alesis io 4?
posted by molecicco to Shopping (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you looking to record with the audio interface (and its supplied software) or are you recording to a DAW (or Audacity) on your Mac?
posted by kuanes at 6:53 AM on February 23, 2013

Best answer: I have an older alesis firewire interface (8 inputs). The sound quality is OK, but it's a cheap interface and kind of fiddly. You can get good results with cheap stuff like this, but you have to be prepared for annoyances.

For example:

* There is a firmware bug where when you're recording, the monitor output will drop out for a few seconds every few minutes. Alesis knows about it, never did anything to fix it. It does not keep the device from working, but it's distracting/annoying.

* there is a proper sequence to turning everything on. Doing it in a different sequence would sometimes freeze or bluescreen my computer (note: this actually seems better now and I don't think I've had this problem in a long time. When I first had it, like 6 years ago, it did it all the time)

* The device configuration tool was kind of wonky. It was not always clear which options were even... relevant. Like the driver supported a host of alesis tools, and had options that would not apply to my device.

A side note: I've never done it but power supply over USB might introduce extra power supply noise? Not sure.

I don't really do a lot of recording any more but I'm wondering if you wouldn't be better off buying something used and a few years old, but pro quality. I recall people liking Presonus Firepods for example and used ones are probably under 200 eur?
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:51 AM on February 23, 2013

For example:

10x10 presonus firepod, $225.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:53 AM on February 23, 2013

Response by poster: I'd be recording into Logic. I am definitely open to used items, but they have to be USB, and most people who are selling stem to be getting rid of their FireWire.
posted by molecicco at 10:01 AM on February 23, 2013

Hm, that's too bad, because there are some good deals on firewire stuff. I've never had a computer without a firewire interface but I guess new macs don't have them.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:25 AM on February 23, 2013

How many mics are you considering using on your drum set/kit?

In any case, I suggest the following:

Inexpensive but solid and decent quality usb powered interface...

And something like this to fine tune the input of each mic before input to interface.

Should work like a charm. That's perhaps a bit more expensive set up but it gives you some quality control.
posted by snsranch at 5:54 PM on February 23, 2013

Response by poster: Yeah, I had been considering that kind of m- audio two input setup, but I'm pretty sure I'll be doing minimum three tracks: kick, snare, and overhead. So I'd prefer a 4 input interface, to ensure they're each going to separate tracks.
posted by molecicco at 3:42 AM on February 24, 2013

Response by poster: I'm thinking I'll avoid Alesis and maybe shell out a bit more for a decent 4 or 6 input one.
posted by molecicco at 3:44 AM on February 24, 2013

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