Recommendations for simple no-nonsense audio interface that just works? (Win 10)

creativeforge

Barefoot Heart Music
I found myself stuck a few days ago trying to carry a virtual lib for a gig. But I'm trying again, this time it would be through a recent laptop. I just need to find a basic 2 channel soundcard that just works. (NO M-AUDIO NEED EVER come to my door again. My experiences with M-Audio have been as frustrating as anything - #driversupdateswoes).

I thought I'd save some time and create a better shortlist if I asked people here. It would be for live music, virtual pianos (probably UVI's Model D) and a synth or two. Latency is important, durability, AD/DA converters quality, and price as well (under $150 USD). Ideally something that is not overloaded with features I won't need for live gigs. I have a Saffire Pro 24 DSP in the home studio for bigger projects.

So far I've looked at the Scarlett 2i2, the Steinberg UR22C (although the UR22MKII dropped in price at Sweetwater) and I glanced at the Zoom offereings (U-24 and U-44).

Thank you in advance for any tip, recommendations, feedback!
 

Anevis

Member
I found myself stuck a few days ago trying to carry a virtual lib for a gig. But I'm trying again, this time it would be through a recent laptop. I just need to find a basic 2 channel soundcard that just works. (NO M-AUDIO NEED EVER come to my door again. My experiences with M-Audio have been as frustrating as anything - #driversupdateswoes).

I thought I'd save some time and create a better shortlist if I asked people here. It would be for live music, virtual pianos (probably UVI's Model D) and a synth or two. Latency is important, durability, AD/DA converters quality, and price as well (under $150 USD). Ideally something that is not overloaded with features I won't need for live gigs. I have a Saffire Pro 24 DSP in the home studio for bigger projects.

So far I've looked at the Scarlett 2i2, the Steinberg UR22C (although the UR22MKII dropped in price at Sweetwater) and I glanced at the Zoom offereings (U-24 and U-44).

Thank you in advance for any tip, recommendations, feedback!
I can only recommend the UR22MKII. I've bought it some time ago and work perfectly. Easy installation, barely any. No issues so far and work fine. It has two channels so it could be a good way for you to go.

From what I've heard Scarlett 2i2 isn't bad either.
 

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
I have had great service from both my Roland QUAD-CAPTURE and OCTA-CAPTURE (x2) interfaces.

The QUAD-CAPTURE is no longer available and the current run of Roland interfaces are the Rubix. Here is the Rubix 22 which is a 2 in, 2 out interface, powered by USB, which is real handy when wanting to go "off grid."


cheers

andy
 

Kony

Bad ape
Surprised to hear about your M-Audio driver woes. I have the Fast Track Ultra - built like a tank with 8 pre-amps (one per audio input channel). Works okay as an audio interface on W10 here, even though driver support stopped at W7.

Also have the 2i2 2nd gen - no complaints although I get very rare occurrences of bit rate anomalies with Cubase 9.5 which are easily fixed. There is a new driver but I haven't updated yet.
 
OP
creativeforge

creativeforge

Barefoot Heart Music
I have had great service from both my Roland QUAD-CAPTURE and OCTA-CAPTURE (x2) interfaces.

The QUAD-CAPTURE is no longer available and the current run of Roland interfaces are the Rubix. Here is the Rubix 22 which is a 2 in, 2 out interface, powered by USB, which is real handy when wanting to go "off grid."


cheers

andy
Thanks Andy, so how do you connect your USB controller to it, if it uses USB as well? Brain fog...

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synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Thanks Andy, so how do you connect your USB controller to it, if it uses USB
Does you laptop only have one USB port?

If so, then that is a problem, although I would have thought that would be the same for all of the audio interfaces mentioned here to date.

What is your USB controller?

I use my QUAD-CAPTURE with my Surface Pro laptop, which only has one USB port so I therefore have to use a MIDI keyboard that has either a standard 5 pin DIN connection or a more modern 1/8" TRS connection, which will usually comes with a TRS to 5 pin DIN adaptor. I then connect it to my QUAD-CAPTURE to the MIDI in connection, as show in that picture you have posted.


I should mention one thing that if latency is critical then it would be important to get some additional input here before opting for the Rubix. The Roland interfaces are not quite as good as the more expensive interfaces such as the RME Babyface Pro.


But, again, the other interfaces mentioned here may also struggle with latency compared to the RME option.

All I know is, that with my setup, which I do not use for live work, I am happy. And my youngest son has a Rubix 44 which he uses in conjunction with his MIDI drum kit and he finds it okay when used with an older i7 laptop.


cheers

andy
 

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Here a picture of my mobile setup which comprises the Surface Pro, the QUAD-CAPTURE, which is connected to the Surface Pro with a USB cable, and an Arturia Keystep, which is connected to the QUAD-CAPTURE with a 5 pin DIN MIDI cable. The Arturia keyboard is powered by a USB charger battery.

image_2447.jpg
 
OP
creativeforge

creativeforge

Barefoot Heart Music
Here a picture of my mobile setup which comprises the Surface Pro, the QUAD-CAPTURE, which is connected to the Surface Pro with a USB cable, and an Arturia Keystep, which is connected to the QUAD-CAPTURE with a 5 pin DIN MIDI cable. The Arturia keyboard is powered by a USB charger battery.

View attachment 23813
Thanks Andy, I've been out of the loop for a while and last time we had 5 pins for MIDI. With the Saffire, it's firewire. But I always plugged the keyboard in the soundcard (5 pins). So this made my mind pause for a few minutes trying to visualize what it would be like. I used a Yamaha P-115 and also a M-Audio Code 49.

My laptop has 2 USB ports, one used for a wireless mouse. So I should be good. I'm trying to envision the signal trajectory from the USB keyboard, to the DAW and the audio interface from the DAW both using a USB port.

I'll consider a more costly card, although I haven't discarded most of the rest under $200, except the Steinberg UR series which has many customer reviews that talk of drops in the sound, or in the actual function of it, specifically after Windows 10 updates. Not the UR-C, but previous models.

Thanks!
 

Living Fossil

Senior Member
Thanks for the recommendation. How do you find the mic pres on this one? I know I said I'd use it "only for live gigs" but who knows... :)
In relation to the price you pay they are excellent.
Clean & neutral (which i'd always prefer over any suboptimal coloration).
They have a kind of a "sweet spot" which is worth to be explored.
(Compensating some dB-s of gain in the DAW instead of forcing the interface's gain knob too much will deliver much better results, in my experience [usually i'm recording with Neumanns or/and AKG mics])

It's really solid quality in my opinion.
 

hbjdk

New Member
FWIW, I mentioned the Babyface Pro in post #7

But I don't own one so could not really offer an opinion.

@Solarsentinel and @hbjdk , do you own a Babyface Pro?
Yes, I’ve used it for 2-3 years for digitizing vinyl. The jack inputs clip if the input signal is too high level so I had to use the XLR inputs. But apart from that it’s a great little box. Both AD and DA converters sound very good, clean and uncolored to me.

Two minor things: I wish it had a little display to show i.e. current setting for master volume. Also for stationary use it would have made for a cleaner look on the desk with a breakout box instead of having cables plugged into the unit at 3 out of 4 sides.

It’s a solid, surprisingly heavy piece of gear and everything about it feels like good quality (jog wheel, buttons, meters, headphone amp etc.) And cables aside it looks good too.