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Soundcraft Notepad 5 Audio Interface Review

Rate this interface

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 77 65.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 31 26.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 9 7.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 0.8%

  • Total voters
    118

PeteL

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it is a stupid product. whoever buys this will think it is enough. it wont work for anybody but kids playing around with an electric guitar (only usecase I can think of). all the other people buying this will soon realize they need to buy something else.
Come on, think a bit more before saying it's stupid. FX would add to the cost quite a bit. there is a million time I've seen these or similar in use, Never been to a reception where music was playing during dinner and someone took a mic to do a speech? Weddings, work related event, small scale award nights, restaurants. Basically any time someone will speak into a microphone... If it's the only use case you can think of really you must go out more.
 
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Jim Shaw

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sarumbear

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This is a review of the Soundcraft Notepad 5 audio interface (ADC, DAC, Mixer, Mic input).

Conclusions
Soundcraft nails the functionality and feel of the device. Alas, the ball is completely dropped with respect to DAC performance. The ADC is better but still nothing to write home about. No wonder the company specifications has no performance metrics.
As always thank you for these tests.

However, manufacturer named this device as:

Small-format Analog Mixing Console with USB I/O​

Wouldn’t it be fair to test it as such and not only concentrate on the “with” part? It is not just an audio interface as the review title says. It is an audio mixer with microphone inputs. Wouldn’t be interesting to know the results of the device at its intended use? What is the SINAD of the microphone input to line output or the maximum line level?

I am hoping that ASR reviews will become more comprehensive for multi-purpose equipment than just the DAC/ADC parts tested.
 
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andymcbain

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Voted “fine” from me - I used to sell lots of very similar small format mixers bundled with active PA cabs for singers who were on a budget. The audio interface part of these devices is generally is an afterthought - but if it gives musicians on a tight budget some way of getting a signal into a DAW and does a half decent job for a demo recording or something, then fine. A bad DAC isn’t worrying me too much here. Always on phantom power makes it less than ideal for pro studio use, but that’s not the intended market.

What I’d be more curious about is how the analogue circuitry performs in comparison to similar devices. Soundcraft have always been well regarded, but is this Notepad worth the extra money over say, a Behringer Xenyx… :)
 

Blumlein 88

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Voted “fine” from me - I used to sell lots of very similar small format mixers bundled with active PA cabs for singers who were on a budget. The audio interface part of these devices is generally is an afterthought - but if it gives musicians on a tight budget some way of getting a signal into a DAW and does a half decent job for a demo recording or something, then fine. A bad DAC isn’t worrying me too much here. Always on phantom power makes it less than ideal for pro studio use, but that’s not the intended market.

What I’d be more curious about is how the analogue circuitry performs in comparison to similar devices. Soundcraft have always been well regarded, but is this Notepad worth the extra money over say, a Behringer Xenyx… :)
Come on, Soundcraft is trading on their rep to make a cheap piece of garbage just to sell it. They certainly could make something better and for not much more money. They are grabbing the cash and obviously care a bare minimum about quality. The care is for the cash.
 

sarumbear

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Come on, Soundcraft is trading on their rep to make a cheap piece of garbage just to sell it. They certainly could make something better and for not much more money. They are grabbing the cash and obviously care a bare minimum about quality. The care is for the cash.
But how do you know that? Do you have any measurement results about their mixers that supports your words?
 

kongwee

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Studio console board are bought for "character". The user end are often very subjective.
 

Jim Shaw

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As always thank you for these tests.
...
I am hoping that ASR reviews will become more comprehensive for multi-purpose equipment than just the DAC/ADC part tested.
Yeah. It's a bit like testing vacuum cleaners only for suction. Even handheld devices would be rated against a Zamboni.
The context must be the 'intended purpose.'
 

phoenixdogfan

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A sinad of 80 db. Awfully low, but remember just a few years back all the no measurement pundits were touting the Schiit Ygdrasil which around 10X what this interface costs and has a Sinad of 82-84. As a matter of fact people pay tens of thousands of dollars even today for vinyl playback systems which have a theoretical maximum SINAD of around 62-63 db. So while there is much better things than this unit out there, it still should at least be listenable, and if you have one, no reason to throw it in the trash.

Of course, no reason to buy one new either, unless you're hard up for cash, need an interface, and you can find it for $50 or so on clearance.
 

sarumbear

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Of course, no reason to buy one new either, unless you're hard up for cash, need an interface, and you can find it for $50 or so on clearance.
Or you only need a mixer as this device is!
 

LTig

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I nearly bought a Soundcraft Signature 12 mixer a year or so ago, but ended up with a Tascam Model 12 instead. I've often wondered how it shapes up in terms of measurements since it has a somewhat unique architecture compared to its peers.
Just connect analog out with analog in and run a THD test with free REW. This so called loopback test gives you the combined distortion of ADC and DAC. If distortion is high you don't know whether its the ADC or the DAC or both, but if it's low you're good to use it for both signal paths.
 

LTig

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My Yamaha AG-06, similar in form factor, i think is more useful and versatile. I would like to know if eventually it performs better.
I could send it to test but my making masterpieces recording activity should be paused...
Anyone more near located, has one to send to Amir?
You can test it yourself, see my posting #72 above. I'd love to see it!
 

pseudoid

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My Yamaha AG-06, similar in form factor, i think is more useful and versatile. I would like to know if eventually it performs better.
I could send it to test but my making masterpieces recording activity should be paused...
Anyone more near located, has one to send to Amir?
Can the rental of (equivalent) equipment - while/if being tested - be an option for you?
 

Jim Shaw

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Come on, think a bit more before saying it's stupid. FX would add to the cost quite a bit. there is a million time I've seen these or similar in use, Never been to a reception where music was playing during dinner and someone took a mic to do a speech? Weddings, work related event, small scale award nights, restaurants. Basically any time someone will speak into a microphone... If it's the only use case you can think of really you must go out more.
Yes. One of the common problems it solves is that laptops and phones can only use one USB audio input device at a time. Yet with podcasting, it is common to need two mics or a mic and a phone/instrument simultaneously with appropriate monitoring. Yeah, you could use ProTools and a bunch of I/O, but you don't need all that. You simply need something like this to mix and convert and monitor. For a podcast, you don't need DC-to-light frequency response or 96+ dB SINAD.
This concept seems lost on audiophiles and home movie sound types. <shrug>
 

Blumlein 88

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But how do you know that? Do you have any measurement results about their mixers that supports your words?
We have results for this mixer. And they have to be trading on their name because the poor I/O, lack of useful effects or EQ and boneheaded always on phantom power look incompetent. Are their big mixers better, don't know, but hope so. Can this one have some benefit, well it could, but the design and feature decisions aren't good. My comments were in regard to this mixer that is the subject of this review in case that is not clear.
 
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