Help with picking a new Audio Interface...and more

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Help with picking a new Audio Interface...and more

Post by guitargyro » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:07 am

Fully committing to making more modular/synth based music after many years doing the indie rock band thing.

My current setup is all stuff I bought around 2006: Apogee Ensemble (Firewire), Chandler Germanium Pre, AEA TRP (two channel pre), dbx 160, Royer 121 ribbon mic, AKG c414, cheap Mackie monitors. It’s served me well. Recorded numerous albums that hold up (sound wise at least...haha). And overall still sounds good.

However I’m looking to update the trusty Firewire Ensemble. It still sounds fine, but the Firewire version is basically not being updated anymore, so I’ve had to be wary of updating my OS every few months, and have had some emailing with Apogee to address the issues. It’s time I think...

I have bought a Universal Audio Apollo Twin in the meantime. Firstly, it’s Thunderbolt, so runs seamlessly with my iMac and MacBook. But, little to my knowledge, the ability to use outboard pres is limited, or should I say, sketchy? In order to use my mic pres I was told by an UA tech to just turn the line input to zero and track that way. Seems a bit if-y. So I’m guessing the Twin was really more geared towards people looking to track straight through the plugins. Not really my thing...

I’ve researched a bit, and it seems the Apollo X (rackmount interfaces) have addressed this and have specific settings for when you want to use outboard mic pres, as opposed to their UA plugin based pres.

I’ve come around on the plugins after using them with my Apollo Twin. But NOT really the mic pre plugins. To me, they don’t really sound right. That being said, I plan on building my UA plugin library of compressors, EQs, and effects, etc.

But, I am a bit torn on which interface I should go for. Price isn’t really an issue. I’ve got a decent chunk of cash to get current. I’m mainly looking for sound quality and ease of workflow.

Their cheapest Apollo X6 has 6 inputs, with 2 Unison mic pres. Not a lot. That leaves me one input shy with using all my current pres. The flagship Apollo has 16 inputs, but sells for about $3500. I’m not looking to spend that much, also that is silly as it’s clearly geared towards recording a live band situation.

So perhaps I should tell you what instruments I have to preface my needs:

Make Noise Shared System
Moog Mother 32 (2)
Moog DFAM (2)
Elektron Octatrack
Elektron Digitakt
Moog Sub37
Moog Grandmother
DSI Rev2
A ton of guitars/amps/effects
Baldwin piano

I’ve been using Logic Pro for years but am looking to get more into Ableton Live.

Ideally I’d like to have everything all plugged into a patchbay and just hit record. But, I’m not looking to spend half my budget on my interface just to have enough inputs to do that.

So I guess my main concern is...considering the amount of instruments I have to record, what is the minimum amount of inputs you would want your interface to have?

As I said, so far I’m a fan of my UA stuff. And I think most of the plugins sound pretty great with synths. Also, the news of UA’s DAW launch of Luna sounds like a gamechanger as far as integrating the plugins more easily. So that’s another plus for UA.

But, I am open to hearing what other interfaces people like for recording more electronic based music. Keep in mind I’m looking for something equal if not better in A/D conversion to the UA Apollo’s. If that includes better/more pres than them...even better!

I’m also planning on buying at least 1-2 more channels of mic pres as well. And updating my monitors with a pair TBD in the $2k range (which should be a significant improvement over the Mackies). But that’s a whole other topic...


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Re: Help with picking a new Audio Interface...and more

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:23 am

I have a Motu 16A and I’m super happy with it. Maybe consider adding it to your radar?

I have a pretty big mixing desk and a bunch of patchbays so the only thing i have to do is coordinate patch cables. keeps the studio clean and I don’t waste much time setting anything up anymore.

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Re: Help with picking a new Audio Interface...and more

Post by naturligfunktion » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:51 am

Im also looking for a new audio interface, but I don't wanna spend so much as the Universal Audio Apollo are costing... Have you had any luck with your search guitargyro?

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