• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Dilemma: Best audio interface option under £250? Seeking Pre-amp & Head Amp Advice!

thenexusone

New Member
Joined
May 21, 2023
Messages
2
Likes
0
Hi peeps. First time posting here, so I hope I'm not breaking any rules!

I live in the UK and need to purchase a new audio interface, as my Focusrite Saffire Pro 16 on Firewire has probably given up for good (the 'FW' LED won't light up, no matter what). My budget is about £250 and I basically need an interface with a good pre-amp for guitar/microphone recording and - and here is the crux of the problem - I need a good head amp.

I was thinking of buying a MOTU M4 and then adding something like Schiit Heresy to power my Sennheiser HD600 (I have Sony MDR-V6 on the side and soon the Slate VSX), but still, I'd rather stay within the £250 budget. I was thinking maybe it would be worth buying a cheaper interface and getting the Schiit Heresy for the rest of the money remaining, but still - I wouldn't want to save money on pre-amps. Could someone please advise me or shake me up to realize the reality? Haha!

Thank you.
 

SIY

Grand Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
10,249
Likes
24,380
Location
Alfred, NY
I've been using the Focusrite Scarlett series and have nothing but good experience.
 

Blumlein 88

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
20,247
Likes
36,460
Plenty of interfaces would be fine except almost universally in this range the headphone amp is the weak spot. Unless, your phones don't need much power in which case they are fine. So do your phones require above average power or are you just concerned about basic sound quality?

The Focusrites are good, Motu M2 or M4 is good. Audient is worth looking into as well.
 

DVDdoug

Major Contributor
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
2,804
Likes
3,656
Most interfaces have good preamps but they sometimes don't have enough gain for dynamic mics.

I've read about interfaces where the level/gain knob doesn't go down to zero and sometimes it's hard record direct-guitar without clipping. (And some guitar players don't like turning-down the knob on the guitar.) I don't remember which interfaces... :(

The headphone amps are usually "adequate" if your headphones are sensitive enough. High impedance headphones usually need more voltage and may not go loud enough... But it seems like the headphone amp specs aren't usually published so you might need to find measurements.
 
OP
T

thenexusone

New Member
Joined
May 21, 2023
Messages
2
Likes
0
Thanks for all the answers, guys! Generally, I need a reasonably budget interface suitable mainly for recording (mics and guitar via direct input), rather than using it as a head amp (as I would like to buy a separate head-amp for my HD600). At the moment I'm thinking of choosing either the Motu M4 or the Audient iD14, but as the Audient iD14 is about £50 pounds cheaper over here, I think I'll go with iD14.

Are there any other interfaces that would be worth paying attention to?
 

HarmonicTHD

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
3,326
Likes
4,808
Thanks for all the answers, guys! Generally, I need a reasonably budget interface suitable mainly for recording (mics and guitar via direct input), rather than using it as a head amp (as I would like to buy a separate head-amp for my HD600). At the moment I'm thinking of choosing either the Motu M4 or the Audient iD14, but as the Audient iD14 is about £50 pounds cheaper over here, I think I'll go with iD14.

Are there any other interfaces that would be worth paying attention to?
All the interfaces are reviewed here (or see Julian Krause YouTube).
Summary: all are good sound-wise (MOTU measures a tiny bit better, Focusrite seems to have the more stable USB drivers).

A Headamp is not needed for a HD600. I would save myself the money for one.

I have Focusrite 4i4 with the HD600.
 
Top Bottom