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View Full Version : I need a USB recording interface. Which one?


The Biznut
09-18-2009, 06:32 AM
I have a presonus Firebox but am sick and tired of trying to work around issues with Firewire on my computer, so I am moving on. (Anyone want a firebox?)

This is primarily for guitar recording, but not exclusively. Vocals would be 2nd, then random stuff. Accordian!

What are your recommendations for usb?

Lets put a 400$ cap on this too.

Thanks all.

jabond23
09-18-2009, 08:30 AM
Depends on how many inputs you want. I would guess that 1 is enough if your just recording guitar off it. I use a Line 6 Toneport UX1. Its run about $149.

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Line-6-UX1-with-PF?sku=250003

Now there's a bunch of preset models, cabs, effects, etcs, but you can also purchase an additional set of tones for about $99. This is what i use to record all my guitars and it hasn't let me down yet. Check out my latest remix for an idea of the what kind of quality it is. http://tindeck.com/listen/xavu Its a Mega Man Battle Network 6 hero theme remix. The rhythm guitars are all recording using the toneport as well as the solos/leads.

I'm sure there's different ones out there, but i've used this one for about 3 years now and its never let me down yet. :D

Harmony
09-18-2009, 02:06 PM
I use an M-Audio Fast Track Pro (http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOFTRACKPRO) ($200) which I've had no significant problems with. It's not USB 2.0 though. The biggest problem with that is that you won't be able to play+record 96kHz audio at the same time. No biggie for me, but may be for others. Read the first couple of pages of the users guide for a few other USB 1 related limitations.

If I was buying a USB interface now, bgc got me interested in the Lexicon Ionix series. The U42S (http://www.zzounds.com/item--LEXIONIXU42S) ($325, sale) and the U22 (http://www.zzounds.com/item--LEXIONIXU22)($250, sale) seem cool They look great, have 4 and 2 preamps, respectively, come with a great reverb plugin, and are $50 off for a limited time.

big giant circles
09-18-2009, 03:13 PM
$400? I'd go for either the Lexicon Ionix or the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra. They're both pretty awesome and have great preamps. There pretty on par with each other, so if you can get the Ionix for $75 cheaper, that's probably what I would do.

theshaggyfreak
09-18-2009, 03:24 PM
I have a presonus Firebox but am sick and tired of trying to work around issues with Firewire on my computer, so I am moving on. (Anyone want a firebox?)

This is primarily for guitar recording, but not exclusively. Vocals would be 2nd, then random stuff. Accordian!

What are your recommendations for usb?

Lets put a 400$ cap on this too.

Thanks all.

If you're having firewire issues, let me ask you this...

Are you using a separate firewire card or are you using the one on the motherboard? If you're using a laptop, I guess you don't have much of a choice but if you're using a desktop, it's better to use a separate firewire card. In the past, I've found a lot of the integrated ones end up having strange issues with audio interfaces.

The Biznut
09-18-2009, 03:34 PM
ZZounds! Curse you and your no shipping to canada. Dammit...

TSF - Im on my lappy - no firewire, so I am going through an express card... Presonus hasn't released windows 7 drivers yet (Or Vista drivers for that matter), and though some people have got it working, those people are not me. I tried for 3 hours and went to many different forums, did all the recommended solutions, no go. I don't have time to waste on this stuff, so Id rather buy a usb 2.0 and be done with it.

I do have a Bose Tonematch mixer, which can act as a usb recording interface, but I am always using it elsewhere, and hate always rigging everything up again. Plus I have yet to use it sucessfully in a recording situation, I always can get sound to the computer to record, but can never hear it through the speakers or the tonematch.

That lexicon u42s looks hot, and zzounds has a good deal on it.

I need a shipping buddy in the states...

LuketheXjesse
09-18-2009, 04:46 PM
http://www.rockinn.co.jp/shopping/effector/line6/images/pod_xt.jpg

http://line6.com/podxt/

You'll need an amp sim to go with this (I think?). I use Line6's pod farm because it came with my Pod UX2, but there's also Amplitube (http://www.ocremix.org/forums/www.ikmultimedia.com/amplitube/), which Nekofrog and Tensei use.

Level 99
09-18-2009, 04:50 PM
http://www.rockinn.co.jp/shopping/effector/line6/images/pod_xt.jpg

http://line6.com/podxt/

You'll need an amp sim to go with this (I think?). I use Line6's pod farm because it came with my Pod UX2, but there's also Amplitube, which Nekofrog and Tensei use.

I support PODxt usage 110%. If you're on a budget, I think the pocketpod does acceptable quality (someone confirm this if they have one, please).

Also, the Lexicon Lambda I've found is quite good for the price. Not a lot of bells-and-whistles, but extremely functional, stable, and covers a lot of bases.

LuketheXjesse
09-18-2009, 04:54 PM
They actually sell Pocket Pods at Best Buy of all places. I'm tempted to get one but it's probably a waste of money when I could get the xt.

Also shitty guitars. Especially the bright pink girly kind.

big giant circles
09-18-2009, 05:04 PM
I have the least experience with Line 6 interfaces, so I can't really say good or bad about them. I hear they're pretty ideal for guitarists who don't really need much else.

Is there no XLR inputs on that thing?

jabond23
09-18-2009, 05:08 PM
The Toneport UX1 comes with an XLR input.

Level 99
09-18-2009, 05:20 PM
Nah, doesn't have XLR on the PODxt, but the effects of it are versatile and maleable enough for some unique vocal processing. Before I got the Lexicon Lambda (which has 2 XLR w/phantom power, 2 Line in, 2 Line out, MIDI in/out, and instrument direct in), I had a mic going through a preamp with an XLR-to-1/4" cable going into the PODxt. A little complex but it worked quite well. Also, since the PODxt has that cool USB interface, you can record in various ways: you can record the signal as you hear it, you can record the signal direct and have the PODxt live-process it, and there's one other way that I can't remember. Anyway, if you're a guitarist and can afford it, it is a great recording tool.

Epitaph: PODxt will last you longer and give you more options, only go pocketpod if you're really strapped for cash and wont be able to make any other purchases like that for a while. That, or if you're going somewhere that your POD might get damaged and don't want to chance it :-P

big giant circles
09-18-2009, 05:27 PM
Well, I know the UX1 does, but y'all are recommending a POD in his "I need a USB interface" thread. :tomatoface:

Not that it's a bad gadget, I'm just saying :lol:

theshaggyfreak
09-18-2009, 05:39 PM
Before I got the Lexicon Lambda (which has 2 XLR w/phantom power, 2 Line in, 2 Line out, MIDI in/out, and instrument direct in), I had a mic going through a preamp with an XLR-to-1/4" cable going into the PODxt. A little complex but it worked quite well.

I occasionally do something similar with my Line6 Tone Direct that came with Gearbox when I bought it about a year or so ago. Not a bad little package for $100. They still sell something similar (http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Line-6-Pod-Studio-GX-with-Pod-Farm?sku=250006) with Pod Farm now but I'd grab something like the UX2 (http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Line-6-UX2-with-PF?sku=250004) if I were buying something new. If I start doing live gigs again, I'd like to pick up something like the KB37 (http://keyboards-midi.musiciansfriend.com/product/Line-6-POD-Studio-KB37-USB-Audio-Interface-with-POD-Farm-Plug-In?sku=250005) so that I can have something that functions as a midi controller and an interface.

Line 6 makes good stuff. Podfarm/Gearbox really has replaced any need for me to record from an amp but I still do sometimes because it can be fun. Their support is pretty decent as well.

Personally, I'd probably stick with either Line6 or M-audio as far as interfaces go. They probably provide some of the best driver support compared to other companies. I originally started recording with an M-audio interface several years ago (a PCI 2496 card). I eventually switched to a MOTU firewire interface and boy did I regret it. I've been using a Digidesign 002r now for the past 3-4 years and it's never let me down but it was rather pricey. I wouldn't buy any Digidesign product unless you're hell bent on using Pro Tools (which I personally love. BTW).

The Biznut
09-18-2009, 09:07 PM
If I start doing live gigs again, I'd like to pick up something like the KB37 (http://keyboards-midi.musiciansfriend.com/product/Line-6-POD-Studio-KB37-USB-Audio-Interface-with-POD-Farm-Plug-In?sku=250005) so that I can have something that functions as a midi controller and an interface.


!!!!!!! I have never seen the KB37 before, thats certainly something I could benefit from as I don't have a midi keyboard at all. MUST INVESTIGATE.

big giant circles
09-18-2009, 10:00 PM
Yeah, there's a small handfull of all-in-one-keyboard/interfaces. I believe M-Audio and EMU make them as well.

They're pretty good if you are in dire need of a keyboard and want to stay as mobile/compact as you possibly can. That being said, I guarantee the preamps in the Ionix are going to top the Line 6's.

Not to seem biased against Line 6 (because I'm not), if it were me I would get the Ionix and something like the M-Audio Oxygen v2 or Keyrig 25.

That being said, the KB37 does look pretty snazzy. :)

theshaggyfreak
09-19-2009, 01:37 AM
They're pretty good if you are in dire need of a keyboard and want to stay as mobile/compact as you possibly can. That being said, I guarantee the preamps in the Ionix are going to top the Line 6's.


:-o
If one is being picky, most of the pre's built in the interfaces are fairly mediocre but they're usable.

big giant circles
09-19-2009, 02:27 AM
I would agree with you that most are. However, the Ionix's really is quit above par, as is the Fast Track Ultra's (Octane Preamp in that one). Really great tone straight out of the box on either of those. You just have to hear it, I guess :)

The Biznut
09-19-2009, 03:16 AM
They're pretty good if you are in dire need of a keyboard and want to stay as mobile/compact as you possibly can. That being said, I guarantee the preamps in the Ionix are going to top the Line 6's.


What would you say if I got one shipped to me for $145?

Cause I did.:nicework:

big giant circles
09-19-2009, 05:48 AM
Got what shipped to you? The KB37 or the Lexicon? Either way, I suppose I'd say "hot diggity, that's a good deal!" And then probably ask you if you got it new, and where you managed to score that deal.

DusK
09-19-2009, 06:16 AM
I highly recommend a Line 6 TonePort. It's basically a POD on steroids, and made for bass and vocal recording as well.

I use a TonePort UX2, which isn't made anymore, but I use it for just about everything. I've recorded my own stuff with the massive amount of built-in preamps and amp models (as well as the feature to download artist tones over the internet, such as Kirk Hammet's tone used in "Enter Sandman")

I've also used it for recording other amps. One of the guys in my band has a side project that I record for, and he just plugs his Marshall head via line-out jack into the instrument port of the TonePort. It sounds exactly like he's running it through the cab and recorded with a good instrument mic, but without all the mic'ing and expensive recording gear.

The Biznut
09-19-2009, 07:07 AM
BGC, I got a KB37 off ebay, reduced price because it had slight use and is missing the box, manual, and usb cable. Im pretty sure I can find one of those, lol. That is less than half what a new one shipped to Canada would have been.

This has probably become a very helpful thread thanks to all your responses.

I am curious about the UX2... That was a convincing post Dusk...

DusK
09-23-2009, 05:59 AM
Trust me, it'll be the best $100-$200 bucks you ever spent.

LuketheXjesse
09-23-2009, 06:03 AM
I am curious about the UX2...

KB37 is the same thing as the UX2 but way better, mainly because of that sexy MIDI controller...

DusK
09-25-2009, 08:13 AM
Oooh, I like. A lot. Bit on the pricey side for me, though. It's almost double what I payed for my UX2.

Legion303
10-17-2009, 03:42 AM
I'm happy with my E-Mu 0202 USB. But if you're giving away your Presonus, I'll give it a try. :)

-steve

GarretGraves
10-17-2009, 08:30 AM
I bought the Line 6 Greabox Silver with free gold upgrade for $100. I get a pretty good sound out of it for metal at least. I tried Amplitube with the TonePort that came with the GearBox but I get latency issues with it. Like a 40 ms delay. It doesnt sound like it always but you definately feel it in your playing. Im not sure what ASIO you're supposed to use with it.

But for something cheap and fast, Gearbox is something I recommend.

I also hear Guitar Rig 3 is great. But I believe they're up to 4 now. Might be worth lookin into.

EDIT: Depends on how many inputs you want. I would guess that 1 is enough if your just recording guitar off it. I use a Line 6 Toneport UX1. Its run about $149.
Is this possibly better than the Gearbox?