Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Discuss the hardware/software tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Arpangel »

James Perrett wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 11:47 am Just about every audio interface can give you acceptable sound quality these days. The differences are down to:

1. Whether it can handle the inputs and outputs that you want to use. Some people need full professional level capability to connect to older gear but not many audio interfaces can output +24 or +28dBu. Another issue seems to be a lack of headroom in mic preamps with certain interfaces.

2. Whether the drivers are reliable and capable of low latency. Check things like is it easy to change sample rate or change clock source?

3. Is the manufacturer well established and are they quick at supporting new operating systems for their old interfaces? Many manufacturers rely on third parties to write the core of their drivers so don't have the expertise to support their products if that third party no longer wants to support them.

I can put up with poor support, "if I have to" if sound quality is good.
What some people are "suggesting" is that that’s up for compromise, if driver stability and customer support are priorities.
In the heady world of pro recording, these issues occur all the time, how many times have we been told quality is unquestionable, it’s an "industry standard" bit of kit, industry standard? It’s rare you get something that ticks all the boxes, including the one that seems to be way down the priority list for some users, and that’s sound quality.
I’ve paid a lot for interfaces that have great driver support, great build quality, great compatibility etc etc, but they sound awful, I can’t sit there and listen to them for more than a couple minutes before I want to throw them through the window.
Of course, it is possible to have it all, and most of the interfaces that I like are plug and play, no drivers required, and they never break down, so a lot of these issues just don’t apply.

tea for two wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 10:46 am
Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:21 am I’ll be honest, my budget is virtually unlimited

In which instance, just in case you haven't considered this already, haven't done this already :
purchasing music gear for deprived Schools in London.
There are so many deprived Schools in London they would be over the moon to receive just a few bits of music gear.
Also for deprived community centers in London.
In the approx 200 towns in London pretty much most of them have a community center with plenty of them deprived.

I’ve given away more gear than I can remember, and if you can show me an individual, that has talent coming out of every orifice, and the only thing holding them back is money, I’ll be there.
But just like foreign aid, you can never be sure it gets to where it’s intended.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by James Perrett »

Arpangel wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:39 am I’ve paid a lot for interfaces that have great driver support, great build quality, great compatibility etc etc, but they sound awful, I can’t sit there and listen to them for more than a couple minutes before I want to throw them through the window.

Tony - I think what you are trying to say is that you disagree with everyone else here when it comes to RME.

What you seem to ignore is that RME interfaces have plenty of digital connections so no-one is forcing you to use their convertors although most people's reaction to their convertors is very different to yours. The only rational explanation that I can think of is that you heard the analogue output from one of the original Hammerfall cards which was intended to be used for convenience rather than quality.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The Elf wrote: Sun Jan 29, 2023 8:57 am Ahem... Some of us got pretty close... ;)

As I recall a few people did identify most preamps correctly, but it was only a few, and no one got them all right.

The results of the 'preferences' survey are here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/preamp-post-mortem

The really striking thing was just how widely spread and inconsistent the reported views actually were.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Drew Stephenson »

My main take from that article was that there were a host of other things I needed to get on top of before I started worrying about the pre-amps in my interface. ;)
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

... is the correct answer! :D:thumbup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:39 pm My main take from that article was that there were a host of other things I needed to get on top of before I started worrying about the pre-amps in my interface. ;)

:clap::thumbup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

James Perrett wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 12:10 pmThe only rational explanation that I can think of...

I can think of lots of rational reasons. The bottom line is that none of us know the circumstances under which Tony used an RME interface. We don't know what interface it was, how it was set up, what the clocking arrangements were, we don't know what input levels it was dealing with and what I/O levels it was configured for, etc etc...

It's not hard to make something sound terrible by mis-using it and, with the very best will in the world, Tony does have an extensive track record of 'operational difficulties'.

On the other hand, maybe he can hear unpleasant artefacts that no one else can... At the end of the day, you pays yer money and makes yer choice and his choice is for other than RME.

For balance, though, I'm a very happy long-term RME user.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Martin Walker »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:49 pm For balance, though, I'm a very happy long-term RME user.

Same here :thumbup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Chet Leeway »

blinddrew wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 5:41 pm So I'd probably look at something like an Audient EVO16 and then expand via their EVO SP8 (or similar).

Not a bad suggestion for a drummer. One of the selling points of the EVO range is SmartGain, which sets the levels for you automatically. Potentially a time (and ass) saver if you like to change drums and/or mics. Just swap gear as you wish, then sit down and play for a bit to let the interface set the levels.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by sonics »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 3:49 pm On the other hand, maybe he can hear unpleasant artefacts that no one else can... At the end of the day, you pays yer money and makes yer choice and his choice is for other than RME.

I've never heard "unpleasant artefacts" from any RME interface, and neither has any other pro I know that uses them. It must have been wired or configured incorrectly, or broken. Or perhaps it exposed the unpleasant qualities of the audio material because of it's accuracy. That happens! :)

There must have been an issue somewhere, and these experiences do colour our memories in indelible ways.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by tea for two »

I think there's something to be said about having £Thousands disposable funds to spend on music gear, purchasing various gear, yet being satisfied with £50-£150 gear as ArpAngel has done

as this concurs with the experiment
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/preamp-post-mortem
Comments about API, Neve, Prism from the experiment made me chortle lol :
as spending upto £2k on outboard doesn't necessarily mean it's going to stomp far cheaper interfaces.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Arpangel »

James Perrett wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 12:10 pm
Arpangel wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:39 am I’ve paid a lot for interfaces that have great driver support, great build quality, great compatibility etc etc, but they sound awful, I can’t sit there and listen to them for more than a couple minutes before I want to throw them through the window.

Tony - I think what you are trying to say is that you disagree with everyone else here when it comes to RME.

What you seem to ignore is that RME interfaces have plenty of digital connections so no-one is forcing you to use their convertors although most people's reaction to their convertors is very different to yours. The only rational explanation that I can think of is that you heard the analogue output from one of the original Hammerfall cards which was intended to be used for convenience rather than quality.

I bought a UCX around 2013, I don’t know what converters that used, of course, I should imagine most users wanting a "main interface" would be looking to use the analogue outputs for monitoring.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Arpangel »


So this isn’t a Hammerfall device.
I got the UCX as a few people recommended it, it was at a time when I could actually start considering more up market choices, regrading gear, and the first thing I bought was the UCX.
It had all I needed, connection wise, and I was expecting a lot after using an M-Audio Audiophile for a few years.
But it wasn’t to be, I so much wanted it to be a success, for me, but I just couldn’t get used to it, I’d give them another go, but I can’t think of any facilities, for me personally, that I can’t get anywhere else.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

TotalMix... :lol:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by The Elf »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 5:33 pm TotalMix... :lol:

TotalMix. :clap::clap::clap::angel:

I never want to have to work without TotalMix.

RME make fabulous gear. I've never had any reason whatsoever to complain. They sound fabulous and they just work - day in, day out.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Rene Asologuitar »

richermusic wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 10:57 am Hi everyone

I have really enjoyed being on this forum so far and have found the advice really helpful so thank you to all the members.

I am currently starting my own home studio for the purposes of recording drums and also producing recordings for some of the bands that my company manages (only covers etc - not signed artists).

Currently - I have a 6 meter by 6 meter space to work in. I was planning on having the computer / mixer etc all in one room.

My big question is what do people suggest in terms of audio interface over perhaps using something like a behringer X32 or Presonus Studio Live for instance.

There’s a lot of different routes I can see and even going down the Apollo universal audio route which scares me due to how much money it costs if you want anything with a decent amount of channels.

Does anyone have any advice? I am sure it will Chuck up more questions than answers but I wanted to start somewhere. Ideally I am looking for at least 16 channels as drums take up a lot.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Great question.
I am interested and will be following.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by richermusic »

omnamic wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 11:18 am What’s your DAW?
Audient preamps are great for drums, so if you haven’t got any preamps yet, I would suggest you try going with that: iD 44 interface plus 2 ASP 800 or 1 ASP 800 and 1 ASP 880. The iD 44 lets you integrate outbord. That with an additional DAW controller with 8 or more faders and you‘re good to go for live recording and mixing without blowing too much money. I would prefer this setup to a mixer these days.

This setup seems to be highly recommended in a lot of places.

My only question is, how do you give your musicians an individual aux send so that they can hear themselves whilst recording? Is that something the ID44 can do? This was something I was keen on the behringer x32 for as I know it has a lot of aux outputs.

With the audient setup, is that all you would need as well in order to get all your monitors etc all connected up?
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

richermusic wrote: Thu Feb 23, 2023 7:32 amMy only question is, how do you give your musicians an individual aux send so that they can hear themselves whilst recording? Is that something the ID44 can do?

You create however many aux sends as you need in the DAW and route them to the ADAT outputs which you then access via the line outputs of something like Behringers ADA8200.

There will be latency involved, and slightly more than with a digital console (or RME's Totalmix) because if the run into the computer and back, but it's not usually a problem.

With the audient setup, is that all you would need as well in order to get all your monitors etc all connected up?

Yes. I think Audient have some helpful setup videos on their site. And download the user manual as that includes setup suggestions too.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by The Elf »

richermusic wrote: Thu Feb 23, 2023 7:32 am My only question is, how do you give your musicians an individual aux send so that they can hear themselves whilst recording?

As Hugh mentions above - this is why I choose RME interfaces. TotalMix makes setting up monitor feeds (any sub-mixes, in fact) a doddle. Latency becomes a non-issue.

edited to fix quotes - Andy :beamup:
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by richermusic »

The Elf wrote: Thu Feb 23, 2023 10:50 am
richermusic wrote: Thu Feb 23, 2023 7:32 am My only question is, how do you give your musicians an individual aux send so that they can hear themselves whilst recording?

As Hugh mentions above - this is why I choose RME interfaces. TotalMix makes setting up monitor feeds (any sub-mixes, in fact) a doddle. Latency becomes a non-issue.

edited to fix quotes - Andy :beamup:

RME sound great but it’s just a pricing point. I calculate that with the ASP880 and 800 alongside an ID44 and an X-Touch, it’s going to cost £1700 + VAT. That would give me something like 18 inputs. I could be wrong but I don’t think I can get anywhere near that with RME can I?
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Matt Houghton »

richermusic wrote: Fri Feb 24, 2023 7:47 amRME sound great but it’s just a pricing point. I calculate that with the ASP880 and 800 alongside an ID44 and an X-Touch, it’s going to cost £1700 + VAT. That would give me something like 18 inputs. I could be wrong but I don’t think I can get anywhere near that with RME can I?

I too use RME, but yes, they are more expensive. I also have a Mk1 Audient iD4 for working away from the studio, and it has been great.

The idea of having outputs for cue mixes was mentioned — note that the current Audient ASP-series expanders only have inputs (Mic pre and A-D conversion), they don't have line outs and D-A. So they're great if for adding quality mic/line inputs, less so if you want outputs for cue mixes or to integrate outboard into your system.

A good alternative at roughly the same price would be the Focusrite Clarett+ Octopre, which had D-A and line outs as well.

Audient's new EVO-range expander (I forget the name off-hand) has bidirectional conversion (ie both inputs and outputs) too. Technically it's slightly inferior to the ASP range, though I doubt you'd notice, and it has other useful facilities (eg. smart gain setting).
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by James Perrett »

richermusic wrote: Fri Feb 24, 2023 7:47 am RME sound great but it’s just a pricing point. I calculate that with the ASP880 and 800 alongside an ID44 and an X-Touch, it’s going to cost £1700 + VAT. That would give me something like 18 inputs. I could be wrong but I don’t think I can get anywhere near that with RME can I?

A full price iD44 is just under £500 (although Andertons seem to have a B-stock one for just over £300. An RME Digiface USB is currently just over £400 which gives you up to 32 channels each way It doesn't have any hardware monitor control functions but it does have monitor control functions in Totalmix.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by The Elf »

As above.

And price is only one factor. I would gladly pay double for the equivalent RME over any other brand, but that's because of how important TotalMix is to me. You're not carrying this baggage, so price will be more important to you.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

RME is more expensive to buy, but you should also consider longevity. RME has a long track record of maintaining support and drivers for products long after other brands have died and been forgotten.

So whereas you might get 10 years' use from one brand's interface, you'll get 20 or more from an RME one.

I installed an RME AIO card in a computer 15 years ago. It's still working perfectly today, and has sailed through 5 major OS changes (XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 10, and Windows 11).

Three years ago I installed an AIO-Pro card alongside it and the two now work together as an integrated whole.

That kind of longevity really justifies the initial cost to my way of thinking. Initial wallet pain soothed by peace of mind for decades to come! :D

And yes, TotalMix really is worth a premium too.
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Re: Home Studio - Do I go audio interface or mixing console

Post by sonics »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri Feb 24, 2023 10:45 am RME is more expensive to buy, but you should also consider longevity.

This is so important. How about an article in the magazine about it? Name and shame, I say! :lol:
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