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Audio interface (recording) suggestion

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#1
Happy new year to everyone.
Sorry to bother you all but after spending a lot of time at deciding which one to chose i just drop the towel and decided to ask here.
There are a lot of brands Behringer, AUDIENT, M-Audio, Focusrite, LEXICON, Presonus, Tascam, ammoon and last but not least Steinberg
There is a lot of love for Behringer, Focusrite, Steinberg and Presonus expecially online but i can't find any measurements to compare those.
I was suggested on other channels to go for Steinberg expecially.

Any opinion about it?
 

mansr

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#2
Add RME to your list.

I have a Steinberg and a Tascam myself. Of those, the Tascam is superior in every way, but it also cost 3x more.

If you specified your requirements and a rough budget, you'd probably get better suggestions.
 
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#4
Add RME to your list.

I have a Steinberg and a Tascam myself. Of those, the Tascam is superior in every way, but it also cost 3x more.

If you specified your requirements and a rough budget, you'd probably get better suggestions.
Thanks for the suggestion but i will avoid any Teac product. Why do you say Tascam is superior?

Thanks, i was thinking something basic under 200€ like the scarlett 2i2, Tascam US-2x2 etc...
 
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#5
I do not know pricing where you are but the Focusrite Clarett line is very good. A step up from the Scarlett line. Several people I have talked to said they upgraded and were very pleased after direct comparison.
Think you would need to go up in price range to better. Someone here uses a Forte, no longer around. But it should be close to the Clarett models. They have the same converters.
It would be nice to see Amir Test one. They claim the published specs are actual performance numbers from a sample unit and not just specs from the converter chips.
I offered up one of my Clarett 4Pre units for testing. But it is Thunderbolt and the up to date software is Mac only. They also make a Windows line of units, Clarett USB.
 

SIY

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#6
Are you planning to have separate mike preamps? That would definitely change the calculus. Number of required channels?
 

Blumlein 88

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#8
I've got one of the discontinued Focusrite Forte. If it has features you want it is a good bargain. Used they are $200 or a bit less. Two channels, they have the same circuitry as the Clarrett line which is based on it. The Clarrett is a step up from the Scarlett.

I've also got a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 which is essentially like the other Scarletts with more features and channels.

I've provided some measures at different times here. Just as an example, I once posted some 8th generation copies having gone from a Forte into the Scarlett 8 times. Posted that and the original files, and you'd be very hard pressed to hear any difference. So even a Scarlett isn't too bad.

The distortion in the Scarlett is nothing to worry about. The Forte is lower. The main difference is the Forte has lower noise floors by about 10-12 db. Both in AD and DA. Now if you are going to record, the Forte has much quieter microphone pres and 75 db of gain which is useful with dynamic and ribbon microphones. The 1st gen Scarletts have 55-60 db depending on exact model. The 2nd gen versions have 5-6 db less microphone gain.

I can't say these are better than the other brands you mention in general except for the Forte.

So are you going to record with it and if so will you use line inputs or microphone inputs?
 
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#10
I just picked up they Behringer UMC202HD from Adorama on a slickdeal and listened to some FLAC files on foobar tonight. It had plenty of power and seemed to be clear up to about 60% of the headphone gain before I heard some distorted sounds on certain tracks. That level was also about the max my ears wanted to deal with using HD 58x. My Rode boom arm comes in tomorrow and I have to get an XLR cable from Guitar Center tomorrow to hook up an AT2020 to it and see how the mic works with PC gaming. I am fine with the headphone output since I don’t really know what I am missing with a dedicated amp/dac, but if the mic output sucks after setup the next move is Focusrite.
 
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mansr

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#11
Thanks for the suggestion but i will avoid any Teac product. Why do you say Tascam is superior?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words:
steinberg-tascam.png


This shows the spectrum of a 10 kHz, 2 Vpp signal from a Tektronix AFG recorded by a Steinberg UR242 and a Tascam UH-7000. The Steinberg has two inputs on the front with variable gain using an AKM AK5359VT ADC and two inputs on the rear with fixed gain using a Cirrus Logic CS4270 ADC. The Tascam has two variable gain inputs using a TI/BB PCM4220 ADC. For this recording, I adjusted the variable gains such that the digital levels came out the same as from the fixed-gain input. In both cases, this turned out to be near the middle of the range. The harmonics of 10 kHz are mostly present in the AFG output (one with significantly lower distortion costs a small fortune).
 
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#13
I got my Behringer UMC202HD up and going with the microphone yesterday and it was easy. Windows recognized the drivers and I had to mess with some Discord settings but I am happy. I took the case off and grabbed some pictures. It is very similar to the UMC204HD that was reviewed but not exactly the same. It has the Cirrus logic CS4272-CZZ ADC/DAC , AD 8694 amp, and XMOS 8U6C5.
 

SIY

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#14
The Behringer has an excellent ADC and DAC. Its mike preamps are less good, but not terrible. That can be your next upgrade.
 

RayDunzl

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#15
The Behringer has an excellent ADC
It may be my inexperience with ADC, but mine (UMC202HD) sure seems to fall short on the noiselessness scale.

Did @amirm test the ADC part?

Maybe he made a cursory examination...

Seems to generate a lot of self harmonics as the digitzed level nears 0dBfs (inexperience may play a part here). Recording (tone) at -12dBfs seems to clean that up substantially (still similar to below).

So maybe ok for "use", but useless for electrical measurements.

Top - Preamp -> ADC -> USB -> REW, levels, and RTA
Bottom - tone in-room from preamp -> amp to speakers

2nd harmonic is present in the ADC at -52dB relative to the tone, but not in the in-room tone, so, I feel safe assuming it's not the source tone or the preamp creating the harmonics.

1546711732160.png


With the "peak sample" at -1dBfs

1546712375515.png
 
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bennetng

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#16
With the "peak sample" at -1dBfs

The result is pretty similar to this. RMAA measures THD at -3dBFS.

I downloaded mansr's file at CA (AS) and overlaid it with my X-Fi Titanium HD PCIE card (DA: PCM1794, AD: PCM4220, $170 in 2013) recording the output of X-Fi XtremeMusic PCI card (DA: CS4382, AD: WM8775, $128 in 2005), playing a 24/48 J-Test signal on the XtremeMusic. Titanium HD only supports up to 96k recording so I resampled my file to 192k. The red one is mansr's UH7000 and the green one is my signal.

jtest.png
 

AnalogSteph

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#17
2nd harmonic at -52 dB?

"You know I'm bad, I'm bad, I'm really really bad..."

Top - Preamp -> ADC -> USB -> REW, levels, and RTA
Bottom - tone in-room from preamp -> amp to speakers
Honestly, I'd have no clue how to reproduce your setup.

My gut feeling says the high 2nd may be coming from your mic. It is not uncommon for ECMs in common source configuration to have plenty of mostly 2nd harmonic from the FET. That's certainly part of why Siegfried Linkwitz (R.I.P.) went to the trouble of reconfiguring capsules to a source follower configuration.
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/sys_test.htm#Mic
(You can buy capsules configured like this stock e.g. from Sennheiser but I imagine they'll be a tad more expensive than a mass market one.)

The "rat's tail" of harmonics at levels near 0 dBFS is not pretty but not unexpected either. It's very common when the amplifying circuitry is running on the same supply voltage as the ADC. Rail to rail parts may get close to full swing but at the edges their output drive will get weaker and weaker. I'm guessing that this should mostly go away by -2..-3 dBFS.
 

SIY

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#18
Here's a quick, non-optimized measurement of the 404 model (same one, more channels). AP balanced out to Behringer balanced input, 1V RMS, pads on, output taken from ASIO to isolate the ADC. Not as spectacularly good as the DAC, but more than good enough for recording purposes. I undocked and enlarged the spectrum for clarity.
 

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RayDunzl

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#19
My gut feeling says the high 2nd may be coming from your mic.
First image is the ADC taking the signal electrical signal from the preamp. No microphone.

Second image (no harmonics visible) is the simultaneous in-room with UMIK-1.

I'm guessing that this should mostly go away by -2..-3 dBFS.
I don't think it does. Will check.
 

Guermantes

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#20
Focusrite are also good at ongoing driver support. Ongoing support is something to watch for if you are planning to buy second-hand. Tascam make some great gear for professional use and support seems good, too.
 

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