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Wirecutter reviews USB audio interfaces

esm

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#1
The Wirecutter weighed in on their picks for best USB audio interfaces for 2019: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-usb-audio-interface/

They had a basic feature-set criteria match to select which ones they compared; subjective listening and spectrum analysis testing showed identical results for all tested models, so the decisions appear to have come down to cost/feature comparisons.

tl;dr:
Seemed like a good conversation-starter? :)
 
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#2
Honestly I think this review is kinda worthless. You can make same assumptions the same by looking at pictrues of those interfaces online. They are claiming that every interface sounds the same just by running frequency response test. Too much, even basic things like for example latency or THD were ommited to take it seriously.
 
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#3
They are claiming that every interface sounds the same just by running frequency response test
No, they are not claiming that at all. They are saying that "sound quality isn’t a major distinguishing factor between interfaces" and that "there were no obvious sonic differences between the different interfaces". That is totally different to claiming that every interface sounds the same.

AK.
 

JJB70

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#5
No, they are not claiming that at all. They are saying that "sound quality isn’t a major distinguishing factor between interfaces" and that "there were no obvious sonic differences between the different interfaces". That is totally different to claiming that every interface sounds the same.

AK.
I think that this is a critical distinction and one which is applicable to other audio products. Many components measure differently and a trained listener may be able to discern differences but in many cases there are no obvious sonic differences when using them.
 
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#6
Well, maybe I was misunderstood a bit as I can't write in english that freely what I'd like to. My point is that linked review is rather low quality. It may be sufficient for some casual user who really isn't very concerned about sound and just want to record guitar in his bedroom. But I don't see reason to read it when we have much better resources. Like detailed reviews here at ASR or more pro-audio oriented https://www.soundandrecording.de/equipment/ or http://prosound.ixbt.com/ Even if if we need to use google translate from german / russian those reviews brings much more valuable informations.
 

Krunok

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#7
"To verify our subjective impressions, Brent and I ran a quick spectrum analysis with pink noise on every model. Each measured flat, corroborating our assertion that there were no obvious sonic differences between the different interfaces. "
 

GoMrPickles

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#8
Well, maybe I was misunderstood a bit as I can't write in english that freely what I'd like to. My point is that linked review is rather low quality. It may be sufficient for some casual user who really isn't very concerned about sound and just want to record guitar in his bedroom. But I don't see reason to read it when we have much better resources. Like detailed reviews here at ASR or more pro-audio oriented https://www.soundandrecording.de/equipment/ or http://prosound.ixbt.com/ Even if if we need to use google translate from german / russian those reviews brings much more valuable informations.
One of my friends writes for that site; you're correct that the reviews are not as detailed as ASR. Very few reviews are! They're more like a modernized Consumer Reports than anything, and they focus on smaller items that CR does not. In the U.S., CR is famous for reviewing things like cars and washing machines; WireCutter reviews things like dish soap. If you have 2 minutes and want to know what kind of towels to buy, for example, WireCutter is a valuable resource.

That said, they generate revenue by having people click links on their site to buy things, so they rarely recommend anything from a site that does NOT pay them for that: for example, I don't think they've ever reviewed anything from MassDrop.
 
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#9
My point is that linked review is rather low quality. It may be sufficient for some casual user who really isn't very concerned about sound and just want to record guitar in his bedroom.
Yes, that's the type of user it's aimed at, the casual ones. As said, it's a general consumer reports website reviewing everything from measuring spoons to credit cards. It isn't a specialist audio equipment review website and shouldn't be treated as such.

Actually, compared to some websites out there (the cut and paste, advert and tracker infested ones), it's review is quite detailed and they should be congratulated for taking the time to carry out some objective measurements.

AK
 

D700

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#11
I'm curious, how many of you think in a blind test that you could hear the audible delta between Amirm's top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 comparing any given unit, on any given measurement at normal, level matched, listening levels (say 75db avg)?
 

Blumlein 88

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#12
I'm curious, how many of you think in a blind test that you could hear the audible delta between Amirm's top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 comparing any given unit, on any given measurement at normal, level matched, listening levels (say 75db avg)?
Earlier this year I posted files that were 8th generation copies vs the original file. I used a more expensive better performing ADC/DAC interface than these under review. However a couple years ago I did the same thing with the 2i2's big brother, the Focusrite 18i20. On a couple forums people had problems reliably telling any difference. I put up 3 versions of the file. 2 originals and an 8th gen copy. The idea was to pick out the odd sounding file presumably the 8th generation copy. Did this for several different types of music. If you can't hear the unit after 8 ad/da loops thru it, I doubt you'll hear it once thru.
 
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#13
People seem to like the Scarletts quite a bit. I need a second DAC and am very tempted by a 6i6, to be used also as a recording device.
 
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#16
Earlier this year I posted files that were 8th generation copies vs the original file. I used a more expensive better performing ADC/DAC interface than these under review. However a couple years ago I did the same thing with the 2i2's big brother, the Focusrite 18i20. On a couple forums people had problems reliably telling any difference. I put up 3 versions of the file. 2 originals and an 8th gen copy. The idea was to pick out the odd sounding file presumably the 8th generation copy. Did this for several different types of music. If you can't hear the unit after 8 ad/da loops thru it, I doubt you'll hear it once thru.
Where can I download and do a listening test for this file?

I’m thinking of purchasing a 8 channel DAC for listening to my active 4 way speakers, and deciding between the Clarett 8pre and Scarlett 18i20, MOTU 8A...
 

Ron Texas

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#17
The Focusrite Scarlet uses the same CS DAC chip as the Toppng D30. I believe the ADC chip is also from CS. These units are very popular with musicians and provide an economical way to do needle drops.
 

bennetng

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#18
Clarett series uses CS4398. Scarletts use a lower grade CS4272 codec.
http://borisgermanov.blogspot.com/2013/07/focusrite-scarlett-2i4-inside.html

Measurements of Clarett:
http://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces/focusrite-clarett.shtml
http://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces/focusrite/clarett/2444.shtml

Scarlett:
The red ones are 2nd Gen with better results.
https://www.exound.com/articles/60dd7577-e3b0-4659-98e0-ed4b70308432


The results have good correlation to the published specs on Focusrite's website.
 
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#19
I'm tempted to get a Scarlett to use as a DAC and occasionally for recording, but am held back by the fact that I once wrote an email to Audient to ask about using one of their components as a DAC in a stereo system, and they said they didn't recommend it - without saying why.
 

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