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Another Which one is better? question Audient vs Metric Halo
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Author Another Which one is better? question Audient vs Metric Halo
Hi beautiful people,

I have a question for those here who might have experience of these two pieces of equipment:

Audient iD14 - (which i already own)

Metric Halo ULN-2 expanded - (which i hear great things about)

Would the Metric Halo be noticeably better in conversion quality when recording line level signals, and for monitoring? Basically, is the A/D/A really the hot shit they say it is? The Audient is very good for the money, but has quirks (in particular i find the software really unintuitive and annoying), and i'm wondering if spending a bit more for (second-hand) 'pro' kit would be of any use for a permanent interface to tie to my Mac for working on music inside the computa. Monitoring through both speakers, and headphones.

Ta for your thoughts like.

*edit title*
Sir Ruff
I have nothing to input here (I honestly have never even heard of those two pieces of equipment)--for that reason it would be helpful if you actually listed the gear in the title so that folks can more informedly click (or pass)
Sir Ruff wrote:
I have nothing to input here (I honestly have never even heard of those two pieces of equipment)--for that reason it would be helpful if you actually listed the gear in the title so that folks can more informedly click (or pass)

advice taken ta
Asking such a gearslutz question, i trawled that site and found nothing of much help in answering it, though i am tending to believe that the answer is: Yes, Metric Halo is better for conversion.

I don't imagine the clocking on the Audient could be up to snuff with much more expensive gear like MH, and that's an important difference to my knowledge.

I'll just keep answering myself then. An opinion i can trust.
I use and wholeheartedly endorse metric halo devices,
I've had a 2882 in my rack turned on permenantly for about ten years now without issue. Bought a lio 8 two years ago. Works perfectly, sounds great
Thanks bambrose for your reply, it's experiences like that that keep coming up when i hear people mention Metric gear which make me think it worth the investment.
I say poo poo to my assumptions. It's so easy to get carried away by the blurb. The records i like best never came close to anything like Metric Halo gear, except perhaps until the mastering engineers got all swish on the signal with their super shiny big knob compressors and AD biz, if that. Most were probably recorded onto one of those portable Sony DATs. Bah.
In fact my only experience with Metric Halo was some bloke who had all the gear and a terrible coke habit to go with it, 100% unproductive on the output side of things. He was so pleased with the interface that out of spite i totally avoided using it to make music in his room and plugged straight in to the monitors from my laptop. Worked fine.
I've only ever heard good things about Metric Halo. The plugins get good raps too.
The Grump
While I haven't used the ULM-2, I have a little experience with the 2882 and I can tell you that it's the next piece of gear on my list. MH makes some of the cleanest, most stable, and powerful sonic tools out there. MH gets used in laboratories and broadcast standard media. Audient...not so much.
This is the sort of thing i like to hear about. I want something that i won't have to replace in another few years. Metric Halo do seem to have a reputation for the extreme longevity and reliability of their products.
My 2 cents is that I bet in a blind test you would have trouble distinguishing between the two. But since the Audient is annoying to you, it would be worth upgrading for that alone. Plus you know the Metric Halo will sound great.
Well, tonight i did my own little gearshitz A/B test with the two interfaces i have: an Audient iD14 and an Echo Audiofire 2.

The method was such: i set up an aggregate device in OSX with the outputs of the two devices. I then opened a session in Ableton and created an Audio Effect rack on the master channel, with two chains, each has a Utility and an External Effect, the Utility devices are set to sum the stereo master to mono and the External Effects are sending the respective chain to a mono output of each audio interface. Nothing comes out from the master channel in Ableton. The outputs of each interface are plugged into a single Yamaha MSP3 monitor, which has two separate input channels. The channels needed to be gain matched as one is -10 and the other +4. I set the levels to as close as i could by ear. Each interface has its master output feed set to -12 internally on their respective mixer application, and full volume elsewhere if necessary (the iD14 main volume control).

Then i used a macro on the Audio Effect rack mapped to the mute buttons on the Utility devices, with the ranges reversed on one of them, to act as a monitor switch or something like that.

I sat there and listened as closely as i could for any difference when flipping back and forth between the two interfaces. For ages, on different sources: stuff made with 100% VSTs, stuff rendered from MaxMSP using samples recorded externally, etc. All electronic music with a full frequency spread, and many specific little sonic details.

Then i tried another method and set the macro so that one device was playing, and changed the clock source in the aggregate device settings panel on OSX. Then swapped device and did the same thing.

Conclusion: i would never be able to tell the difference between the two devices in a true blind test, they were as close to identical as mattered, ie. identical to all extents and purposes and indistinguishable under basic aural testing. I definitely did not know which one was playing at times. This is using two 'pro-sumer' low-end devices, about 8 years apart in manufacturing age (2007 & 2015), comparable in retail price range. By the standards of that dastardly blue website the newer one really ought to be better, as it has the buffest super-shiny Burr Brown fish and chips in it, vs boring old hat worn out saggy AKM converters that are like so yawn like why bother you definitely need to upgrade those brah.

It's so easy to get confused reading all these random people talking on internets about this and that converter and interface, what pre is better, who has the bestest most clean sound blah blah. I understand what i did is not a full critical listening double-blind test ABX whatever, but it's about as good as one could come up with on a whim. If my aim is to get a decent idea of what sounds are coming out of the computer, i truly believe spending £1000 will not be much of a useful investment, at least while i make exactly £0 each year from my own musical output. Maybe i can borrow the coke man's Metric Halo and do the same test using a 'pro' device, perhaps i'd hear a difference then, or perhaps not...

It also springs to mind that my end purposes are entirely at odds with the gearshitz, who want to record terrible terrible pointless songy MOR rock with pot bellies and worn out jeans and worn out wives. Rick Beato types (should i name names? whoops too late - nothing against the guy particularly, talented player etc, but he's quite prominent and brings to mind the archetype). I just make music that comes from synthesizers and rarely touch a microphone or amplifier. Well, good luck to them recording their terrible gush into the cleanest chain they can buy with their day job salary money.
Gearschultz 21st century: your converters are only 128x oversampling which is why the top end is boxy. Your cables are not oxygen-free hand-braided maiden hair with biennial Cuban rubber sheathing, made by a blind man in a shack on top of mount Etna, that's why your sound is not focused in the low mids.

Gearschultz 18th century: you should use vellum to get a sharper staccato across a wider range of octaves. Your quill is not from an occidental Goosicus Basicus which has been kept under a virgin's pillow for six weeks, and cut with a knife dipped in holy water, that's why the libretto doesn't have the power you want from it.
medium Rob
Is there really so much difference between Muff Wiggler and Gearslutz?
I guess Metric Halo is better for conversion.
happy wheels
medium Rob wrote:
Is there really so much difference between Muff Wiggler and Gearslutz?

Muffs is more grumpy in a good way. Curmudgeonly.
francoprussian wrote:
medium Rob wrote:
Is there really so much difference between Muff Wiggler and Gearslutz?

Muffs is more grumpy in a good way. Curmudgeonly.

lol nice.

I wouldn't worry about audio quality and just get the one with the better software GUI.

I think "better converters" these days are only worth looking for if you're recording vocals and acoustic instruments and have a professional studio.
Yeah, i can live with the idiosyncrasies of the Audient/Echo power duo.

Once i get my early-music liturgical vocal ensemble going i'll think about upgrading then... fnarf.
The Grump
Here's a relevant question to ask: what kinds of sound systems do you hope or expect your music to be listened to upon?

If you're just doing this primarily for your own enjoyment and sharing with a few friends who aren't as particular about sound quality as they are musical ideas, then your approach is fine. If you are planning to do any sort of commsrcial release that might be heard on large, high definition systems, then those things you can't hear on your own system still matter and they do add up. ESPECIALLY when you're just using synths because there is nothing to hide behind. Neither approach is wrong, but depends on your answer to the previously posed question.
Headphones probably, is the answer to that. Or shitty computer speakers. Maybe some wanker will play it at Berghain one day. I won't be there to hear it anyway thank god.

Is there really anything that might be inaudible with the level of conversion i'm working with now? I've been able to spot all sorts of oddities through what i've been using. I'm so happy with the Yamaha MSP range, have the MSP3s and MSP5s. Some Beyer DT770s, and old Sony DJ cans which are surprisingly revealing. I've cleaned up the cabling in my 'studio' (it's just my flat really) to make as much as possible balanced in/out, run short cable lengths, use a centralised power distribution to try and kill ground hum as much as possible, isolation on the rack units. It's worked out well. I have a spectrum display of the main stereo pair, coming through SPDIF, and can spot problems there pretty well. It used to be awful and i had ground hum nightmares, and would even get electrocuted when i touched my patchbay. Thank god i sorted that out.

I've worked on Focal Twin 6BE monitors, Mackie HR824, Genelec 8000 series, KRK Rokits (horrible), and always found i can spot problems quicker on the MSPs. Never had a chance to hear PMCs or Barefoot or whatnot.

Don't know what i would gain if i had a spiffy converter really. Keep trying to empty my bank in advance of some 'wondersound' but it's not going to be a halp much i think.
I don't have any experience with Audient interfaces, but had used Metric Halo interfaces for over a decade - ULN-2, 2882, ULN-8. They sounded great, the drivers were fantastic on a Mac (on par with the stability and low latency of RME interfaces), and the MH folks are great - I wanted an empty enclosure with the size of the 2882, which fits perfectly under a MacBook Pro, and they sold me one.

But I was looking for a system to handle digital audio distribution in my studio, and while Metric Halo 3d looked interesting, it was vaporware for such a _very_long_ time, I wound up selling my Metric Halo hardware and have since moved to Burl converters for "serious" conversion on top of a MOTU AVB digital distribution architecture.

That's probably more information than the OP was looking for, but the takeaway is that Metric Halo converters sound great and the interfaces are very solid, but I'm not personally totally convinced that they're going to be as future-proof as some other interface manufacturers, like, say, RME.
And then following up from my Gearslutz-ish previous answer, while I personally have a use for the high-end-ish converters I own, because I record acoustic and live electric (guitar) music and vocals in addition to dealing with my modular addiction, I fully understand others won't. Conversion is only the end piece of a long chain of gear.

I mention this because I'm currently on holiday with a small-ish Euro case, and I'm having a ton of fun with that, a laptop, and a MOTU MicroBook IIc, which is a pretty inexpensive interface, and I'm using it for vocals and guitar as well as my modular.

Don't stress about the conversion. Most interfaces on the market today will not suck. Make music.
Thanks for the thoughtful input s.l.o.w. Music is paramount, easy to forget that and chase the rainbow. I'll get around to it soon, fancy gear or no.

Enjoy your hols!
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