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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

AndreaT

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It is better to spend a little more for red book quality digital recordings. Noise and poor filters are usually well audible even to untrained ears.
 

Merifon

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That's true but one simple loopback measurement tells us more than zero full reviews ...
ok maybe i'll arrange something.
By now, i remember that AG-06 uses an ESS chip family with ADC and DAC functions up to 96/24.
Has two mic inputs (one Hi_Z capable), switchable +48V phantom, three line inputs (only two adjustable), separate volume for line and headphone, selectable pre_post monitor output and a loop-back function for some "exotic" purposes.
Balanced and unbal outputs
It has guitar modeling on channel one and effects on channel two, unluckily adjustable by software only.
If i'm not wrong, the price is not so higher than this Soundcraft.
The AG-03 version has less channels but same functions and lighter price. More comparable
Stay tuned...
 
Last edited:

Merifon

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This seems to be an opportune time for the story of Little Mikey.
"I'm not gonna try it—you try it!"
..."Let's get Mikey"
"He hates everything".
..."He likes it! Hey Mikey!"

Maybe you can bait Mikey @VintageFlanker into doing it.o_O
That commercial never arrived here but in the same years there was one with a never satisfied on everything family that then change mind about a fridge brand...
 

oscar_dziki

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Thanks Amirm!

But it's $100
Exactly. I think Amirm went too hard on this device. $130 that has a '16-bit' DAC in it, and it does much other stuff... I'm not an expert, but are the ADCs higher in the rank priced similarly? If yes, then you have a point, and if not - nope. The only thing I find problematic here is this channel imbalance.
 

5th element

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I don't really see why this doesn't get a recommendation. The DAC output is there for you to monitor yourself, via headphones, when using a microphone. It doesn't need to be of any quality really except to work and it does that fine.

The ADC side of things is obviously meant for recording a microphone and both it's distortion and dynamic range are plenty for that. In other words better than pretty much any microphone you might plug into it.

Important things to be tested here are things like minimum ASIO loop back latency, which is extremely important for monitoring.
 

Geert

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The DAC output is there for you to monitor yourself, via headphones, when using a microphone.
You don't need the DAC for that, the mixer has a dedicated monitoring headphone output.
 

Merifon

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You don't need the DAC for that, the mixer has a dedicated monitoring headphone output.
when you use some guitar modeling or DAW mastering VLT's, a good dac is needed and appreciated. For example the one contained in already mentioned Yamaha AG-0x, is far better than my pc audio card one and permits to avoid further external dac's.
Don't know if the Soundcraft DAC, will perfoms better than a generic audio card.
 

Geert

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when you use some guitar modeling or DAW mastering VLT's, a good dac is needed and appreciated.
Of course, but that's a different scenario and you would still plug your headphones into the analog monitor output.
 

PeteL

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I don't really see why this doesn't get a recommendation. The DAC output is there for you to monitor yourself, via headphones, when using a microphone. It doesn't need to be of any quality really except to work and it does that fine.

The ADC side of things is obviously meant for recording a microphone and both it's distortion and dynamic range are plenty for that. In other words better than pretty much any microphone you might plug into it.
1 dB channel imbalance would bother me for monitoring myself. The USB input can also be fed to the master outs, not just headphones.
I think as a recording interface it's quite poor. Good studio microphones can have dynamic ranges in the 120 dB + and you don't record at 0 dBFS.
 

sarumbear

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We have results for this mixer.
I am sorry but we do not have any results for this "mixer." @amirm have only tested the DAC & ADC. Those are extra facilities hence the company advertised them using the word "with." What about the main specifications that you want to judge any mixer with? Microphone input, line output, EQ, and extra features like auto ducking -- very important for the podcast market, which this unit is aimed at?
 

Billy Budapest

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This thing is supposed to be cheap. I don’t necessarily think it is supposed to be for podcasts as there is only one mic preamp in it. Most podcasts I’m familiar with have multiple participants.

I think this is really for the one or two-man/woman band and/or solo singer/songwriter playing at a cafe or hotel bar. You have a mic input for vocals and then a 1/4” in for guitar (or similar), a line in for keys or drum machine (or similar), and a USB input if you are using a laptop running garage band or something similar to supply drums and bass. Use this to set the levels and connect to powered PA monitors and it’s good enough to get the job done for live music. It can be thrown in a backpack and is easily transportable to/from low key gigs with limited room.

I do not think it is good enough to record with. Not seriously, anyway. But then again, it’s $130.

I’d like to see the analog inputs/outputs also tested because that is the most probable use case for this device.
 

sarumbear

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This thing is supposed to be cheap. I don’t necessarily think it is supposed to be for podcasts as there is only one mic preamp in it. Most podcasts I’m familiar with have multiple participants.
Soundcraft aimed the series for variety of use scenarios, including podcasting. They have different models with more microphone inputs but there are also a single person podcasters as well, where the others are participating via phone-in. Remember Covid???

Your All-in-one Podcasting Solution

The combination of premium Soundcraft components and the built-in USB audio interface make Notepad the ideal centerpiece for your podcasting workflow. The Notepad-5 is a great solution if you’re just starting out and don’t want to compromise on sound quality. Plus, ducking, when enabled, automatically lowers the volume of background music when audio is detected by the main source, allowing your voice and message to stand out. From capturing monologues to interviews with multiple panelists, Notepad mixers are designed to help you share your ideas with the world.
 

Billy Budapest

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Soundcraft aimed the series for variety of use scenarios, including podcasting. They have different models with more microphone inputs but there are also a single person podcasters as well, where the others are participating via phone-in. Remember Covid???
Well, true, that is an application. But how much audio performance do you need for podcasting? And how much are you expecting if you are only spending $130? The “don’t want to compromise on sound quality” is just marketing fluff. Are they supposed to say the measurements are mediocre?
 

sarumbear

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Well, true, that is an application. But how much audio performance do you need for podcasting? And how much are you expecting if you are only spending $130?
I can only repeat what has been said here ad nauseum. ASR cares about perfection and SOTA, not price, nor the use case.
 

Billy Budapest

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I can only repeat what has been said here ad nauseum. ASR cares about perfection and SOTA, not price, nor the use case.
I get that and have said that same thing in the past—although you do have to take use case into account to give a recommendation. Here, the analog switching hasn’t been tested so the review is incomplete.
 

sarumbear

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I get that and have said that same thing in the past—although you do have to take use case into account to give a recommendation. Here, the analog switching hasn’t been tested so the review is incomplete.
Agree 100%. Only the extra facilities tested not the mixer.
 
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