Best 3 Audio interfaces, you've used?
I'm operating on Mac,
What's your Preferred Audio interface ?
Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 104 Tri
Depends on your budget, really.
Out of my personal experience:
The solid cheaper ones are MOTU (USB and TB) and Focusrite (USB).
Both were fast with M1 compatibility and MOTU is using the latest Apple approved driver model (user space driver, not KEXT, which is being fazed out). Focusrite is driverless on Mac, just comes with control panel app.
Then there is RME, but to install their KEXT drivers on M1 Macs one has to disable SIP and lower system security, which I find unnecessary. Also, KEXT drivers will be deprecated soon by Apple so I think, at least for now, RME is risky investment on Mac platform.
I would avoid Apogee, they are not what they’ve used to be. Shoddy hardware quality control and huge problems with M1 drivers.
As for higher class - for a long time I was rocking Prism Sound Lyra, which I’ve recently upgraded to Atlas. Zero problems with M1 and Intel Macs as those are class compliant interfaces and only install control panel app.
Hope this helps.1
I have 4 audio interfaces..
my top 3... in no particular order
M-audio 410 Firewire
iconnect4c(have yet to hook this up... currently it sitting on a recliner LOL)1
I own a ZOOM UAC-2 ,
BUT MIGRATING TO THE PRESONUS FAMILY , with, their R24 , studio. Zoom been a faithful companion, but I think it's time for a change.0
JesterMgee Member Posts: 1,209 Pulse
I started off with a Presonus Firebox (firewire) and it was solid, reliable, low latency and just all round great if you had a firewire port.... That is until Windows 10 came out and they decided (even after loads of backlash at the time) to not update the drivers for Win10. Some of us yusers managed to hack the .ini file to get it installed but I had constant drop outs after that.
I used that thing since Windows 2000 days so got my years worth but was just annoyed enough about the whole situation I switched to a Roland Octacapture which has been fine, it has all the IO and flexibility and quality I need, has been pretty reliable but has a tendency when the ASIO driver locks up after an app crash to not release/reset even after disconnecting the interface so I need to reboot the whole system which the Presonus never did, if it locked up a simple power cycle on the thing would always bring it back.
Also have a Edirol (now Roland) UA-25 which is really old now and only basic but that is on my secondary production machine, wouldn't recommend that one tho.
Since you are on mac, can't really comment on how these would perform as I only use the built-in audio on my mac or the audio interface from my Zoom f9 but not for production and I wouldn't recommend the F9 as an interface unless you also need a standalone multi-track recorder.0
I finally have a moment after a long stream of projects, and while I'm a happy owner of an old Focusrite which has been my workhorse interface for years (Saffire Pro 40 - which I'm also very pleased that it will continue to be an option for me on MacOS Monterey and I think Big Sur), I'm eyeing the Cranborne-Audio 500R (and companion 500ADAT.) There are some serious 500 modules in my studio's immediate future, and this is the more enticing offerings around for me (class compliant - so no driver SW updates needed, more ins and outs that I know what to do with - but, uh - I'll use them up ;-) , and all with USB2 - no screwing around with the latest, just an interface that works on everything I own). Anyone with experience / thoughts about this one?1
MOTU 828, original... circa 2001: still using it, albeit now as an audio 'tracker'/effects processor for the alt/direct outs from hardware, as the drivers only go to 10.13 (high sierra). I expect one day to replace it with something like an Ultralite Mk5, which seems a good way to go size-wise.
MOTU M4, current... circa whatever (they're current): This is MOTU's entry-level. Excellent Mac drivers (or not if you just want to plug it in and use the Core Audio drivers and don't need that next-rung-down on latency). It's cheap, sturdy, has easy to read metering (that can, admittedly, be sometimes difficult to read for 'equality' or fine-tune panning); direct monitoring is managed via buttons, rather than software, which I really like for longevity (in my experience, software-assisted hardware eventually leads to: 'wonder when/if this software will come to my hardware.' Ugh. Not for me.
I've had entry-level Presonus and Focusrite and had a bad experience with both being recognized every time without unplugging USB ports or unplugging them and turning them back on, and the latency wasn't as good... sound quality was fine but they both clicked and popped at 1024 buffers, so I stopped using them. That said: in both instances that was 10 years ago. From MusEric's reply that seems to be either mostly gone, or perhaps specific to the entry-level of the interfaces I used.
I just nearly bought the Focusrite 18i8 though, which is $130 less than a MOTU Ultralite Mk5, and has almost identical features and track counts (Ultralite has more outs, but not in a format I use). However, I punted because I trust the MOTUs I've had (I have a micro-lite midi interface I've been using for over a decade), so I'd rather wait and get a 'known' entity.
If you're looking for something, rather than merely curious, get the MOST interface you can afford with the features you'll use and think of growing in to, and buy it at a reputable LOCAL dealer that's cool on swap/return policies. Put it through its paces for stability and reliability in a week or two, and then go from there. If you can't do that your sort of stuck, but these things are long-term purchases, so have local flexibility is something I'm really big on. No boxing; no shipping time; generally no restocking fees if you just do a lateral switch or upgrade.0
For me RME since years - Mac Studio M1 max (Monterey) with RME UCX, MBP (Catalina) with Babyface Pro.1
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