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USB Interface Recommendations

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Thomas
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Thomas » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:04 pm

So fellow Mixcrafters, the plot thickens. Apparently, (as I'm finding this out) voltage is just one aspect of phantom powered devices. We also have current. My AT2010 mic requires only 2 mA of current. So it appears the device is forcing the water through a very small garden hose ( to use an analogy) to get that kind of pressure, but a lot of current is not required. With 500 mA typically available, I'm wondering now if bus powered is sufficient, at least for my needs anyway? If I run the midi board through the interface, I can attach an external power supply to the midi board so that the interface won't have to handle the load. Hmm.
Tom Was Already Taken, Therefore Thomas
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio 64-Bit
Windows 10 64-Bit
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Mark Bliss
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Mark Bliss » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:02 am

Let me try once more. :D

First point. The 500mA I suggested was:
1-A guess or vague memory. Don't quote me on it.
2-Referring to the USB specification for the 5v power supply, not the output or available current for things like "phantom power"
3-just because its a specification, doesn't mean everyone follows it exactly.

Second point.While there may be some folks who have trouble with USB bus powered interfaces relevant to phantom power supply, I have seen no evidence it is more than a small minority of users. Yes its a thing. No I don't know how big. It is potentially something to be aware of and consider when shopping.
Yeah, avoiding it will generally involve upgrading from the most economical models of interfaces.
And I would assert that we don't know what percentage of the group of people having such problems can be traced directly to the interface, so its possible even a smaller sampling could be blamed directly on that. Again, I don't know.
But thinking this through- The 5v is supplied, conditioned and regulated by the computers power supply.
Is the power supply up to the task of supporting the processor, hard drive, cooling system, various other processors and cards and all the connected devices? Are some people using economy computers with economy power supplies and expecting too much?
Another example: Would I expect trouble from a laptop, powered from a 19v power supply, stepped down to 5v USB output, powering two keyboards, a Launchpad, an interface etc. and the interface being expected to step up power to 48v for say two mic circuits? Uh, I don't think I'd bother trying it. But yet it might just work!

And another possibility is that some of those peoples issues aren't insufficient power at all, but induced noise. We are after all talking about power sharing the same circuit as the mic signal. But is that noise introduced by the interface, computer power supply, or???

The plot isn't just thick, the recipe is complex. 8)

As to recommending an interface in the desired price range, I have been avoiding a specific recomendation because it would involve the phrase "I've heard"
My personal relevent experience is with an interface that is long out of production and support has been dropped long ago. Yet it still works fine for what I need. I have never used its phantom power because I havent needed to.
But, I would say that based on that experience, If I were to consider replacing it I'd consider another similar Tascam unit. It has worked well. So yeah, the current model USB2X2 or USB4X4 would make my "short list" And FWIW, both have an external power supply/wall wart if I am not mistaken.
(I am looking to instead add something well up the ladder FWIW, so no, I am not shopping for one right now.)

Another point, if buying new- My usual sources have liberal return policies and great sales help. So its like demoing the unit......

And dipping into the "I've heards"
Good sources tell me that while Behringer went through a bad patch, their current stuff is considered pretty good for the price point. And I'd also point out that (I've heard) the M-Box product line had the same reputation under previous ownership and is again considered better now.
Kind of a warning about buying used though I reckon.

And again, if you do end up with an interface that works well otherwise, and the phantom power is an issue, there are pretty affordable stand alone phantom PSU's to consider.
And for some users, portability and USB bus powered are considered attractive features. So there's that......
Stay in tune, Mark

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Thomas
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Thomas » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:45 am

Mark Bliss wrote:Let me try once more. :D

First point. The 500mA I suggested was:
1-A guess or vague memory. Don't quote me on it.

This is the same output I've seen often online. I just found out there are two basic types of ports: standard downstream or charging downstream. Standard USB 2 supplies 500 mA and charging supplies 1.5 A. I would assume I have the former lower power variety.

Mark Bliss wrote:...And I would assert that we don't know what percentage of the group of people having such problems can be traced directly to the interface, so its possible even a smaller sampling could be blamed directly on that.

Sounds reasonable. Would be very hard to pin down and we would likely only know if it would work for us by trying it with our own setup.

Mark Bliss wrote:...Is the power supply up to the task of supporting the processor, hard drive, cooling system, various other processors and cards and all the connected devices?

I am grateful that my son had given me a CoolerMaster 450-500 watt PSU some years ago to replace the original puny 250 watter. Hopefully it will still be up to the task.



Mark Bliss wrote:...the current model USB2X2 or USB4X4 would make my "short list"...

Another point, if buying new- My usual sources have liberal return policies and great sales help. So its like demoing the unit......

That Tascam looks like a nice piece of kit. It's amazing how much gear is out there! I was on the phone with a knowledgeable young man from American Musical Supply for 50 minutes last night. Never heard of them till yesterday. They add an extra year onto the factory warranty for free. Anyone have any experience with them. I may use them.
Tom Was Already Taken, Therefore Thomas
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio 64-Bit
Windows 10 64-Bit
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dpaterson
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby dpaterson » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:25 pm

Hello.

Been watching this thread with some interest (and seeing as Greg has stopped all the fun and locked "that other thread" I figured I may as well post here tonight!!! LOL!!!) (only joking).

Thomas:

Nobody has asked what your application is. In my opinion this is important because it's really easy to get carried away spending in this business (trust me on this one) (and this is just hardware we're talking about here now i.e. wait until we get to plugins!!! LOL!!!). Point I'm trying to make is: (in my case anyway) even although I can record at 192kHz / 24-bits with low latency there's no point especially with my kind of music turned up on ten!!! See what I mean???

So for what it's worth: I have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd. Gen. and I swear by it (have had two other cards before this and hated them). In my case: it powers two Samson C03 condensers (when I use them for mid-side stereo recording although admittedly not often) no problem at all (and this from a HP notebook USB 3 port). According to the specs. they require 36V - 52V. And by the way: if the notebook wasn't supplying enough oomph then a powered USB 3 hub would almost certainly solve the problem. And if I ever needed more inputs (even although I do record direct from my 18 track mixer nowadays) I would most certainly just upgrade to another Focusrite product. Focusrite (here anyway) isn't considered entry level (and ain't the cheapest around either).

Now since you started your thread I have endeavored to do some little research into this 48V phantom power thingy myself (actually never thought about it before and your question sparked my curiosity) and I will say that I did read somewhere that YOUR PARTICULAR mics. MAY be an issue with a USB powered sound card. I see that Mark (as always) has covered the technical aspects of this though. I managed to find these threads (which backup Mark's technicals if nothing else):

https://recording.org/threads/how-can-usb-supply-enough-power.54386/

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1076278-will-usb-provide-phantom-power.html

Needless to say there are a few others but the above pretty much cover it.

One thing I didn't quite understand in your post above (and I'm surprised that none of the "techies" picked up on it):

If I run the midi board through the interface, I can attach an external power supply to the midi board so that the interface won't have to handle the load.

Other than USB MIDI I've never heard of a MIDI device being powered by the interface i.e. it's just not a feature or function of a standard MIDI interface (5-pin din) so no matter what interface you buy you'd have to power the MIDI board (or whatever) with its own power anyway.

Anyways. There's my 48kHz worth of input!!! LOL!!!

Regards,

Dale.

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Thomas
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Thomas » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:10 pm

dpaterson wrote:...Nobody has asked what your application is.

Thanks for stopping by Dale, glad to have you. :) Right now I'm interested in creating some bass and vocal tracks. For everything else, I'd have to rely on creating something through sample libraries and VSTi s. Just hobbyist stuff. When I bought my mixing board, I didn't know I might be recording with it and ended up with a 16 bit board. I don't know for sure where this will lead, so best to do a little future proofing this time if I can.



Thanks for the references. Nice to get a few more perspectives on something that there seems to be no definitive answer to. In the process of troubleshooting my Netgear WiFi adapter, I had already gone into the USB hubs and turned off "sleep" mode. I also noticed they all report 500 mA being available. The adapter still gives me trouble by occasionally going offline. No new drivers from Netgear since 2014 or 2015 and the device is still listed on their website and not as a legacy product. :shock:


dpaterson wrote:One thing I didn't quite understand in your post above (and I'm surprised that none of the "techies" picked up on it):
If I run the midi board through the interface, I can attach an external power supply to the midi board so that the interface won't have to handle the load.

I just recently picked up my first Midi board and have only used it through USB, so I was saying I have the option to run it through the 5 pin port but would need to use a separate PSU for that. For you experienced guys that would have been obvious enough not to need expressing I guess. So I've got my eye on an interface that runs on both USB or wall wart.
Tom Was Already Taken, Therefore Thomas
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio 64-Bit
Windows 10 64-Bit
AMD Athlon II X4 645 3.1 GHz 10GB Ram 7200RPM HDD
Behringer UMC404HD v4.59 interface

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Rolling Estonian » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:11 pm

I use AMS, if I order before 4 I'll get my product next day for free! It's where I bought my Audient id14, great unit.

M

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Thomas
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Thomas » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:19 pm

Rolling Estonian wrote:I use AMS, if I order before 4 I'll get my product next day for free! It's where I bought my Audient id14, great unit.

M

That's great to hear! The Audient's are great looking units. I think I saw AMS advertise Free 2 day shipping. Maybe you are close to the warehouse. I really like the idea of supporting a music only company, especially if their service is good. I think the ones who specialize in a certain market segment deserve our support if they can deliver competitive prices and good service. Why should the Amazon's take such a big slice.
Tom Was Already Taken, Therefore Thomas
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio 64-Bit
Windows 10 64-Bit
AMD Athlon II X4 645 3.1 GHz 10GB Ram 7200RPM HDD
Behringer UMC404HD v4.59 interface

mixyguy2
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby mixyguy2 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:51 am

Thomas wrote:The question is vague by design because I don't know for sure for instance, how many I/Os I need. I'm just starting out, but I can tell you I picked up a basic Midi keyboard, so I would like to include that(keyboard has one USB and one midi out port). I can also tell you that my needs are not likely to grow too significantly as this is just a hobby. So 2 or 4 I/Os would probably suffice. As far as budget goes, I should really limit it to under $200 to be safe.

OK that helps. I've done a lot of research/shopping for AIs, so FWIW (and my like all other opinions should be taken as only that, tread with caution :) ):

My leading candidates are the Steinburg UR22, Behringer 204, and M-Audio MTrack 2x2M. All have MIDI (a must for me) and 2 I/Os and superior mic gain (55-60 db range) in case I run into a dynamic mic which is a little more power hungry (if I decide to use ribbons I'll probably need an additional preamp but not worried about that at the moment). All three have no show-stoppers or concerns that I can tell, are highly regarded generally, and are in my price range (similar to yours). The Scarletts are out because I've heard too many people having driver/compatibility/etc issues with them. Great when they work...it's the "when" part that worries me. I have heard too many lukewarm or negative reports on PreSonus, Alesis and Tascam units to consider (of course you will find people who love and hate them like any piece of equipment; I'm speaking generally). People rave about Audients but they are IMO way overpriced and not esp superior to the units I mention above.

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Thomas
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Thomas » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:46 am

mixyguy2 wrote:My leading candidates are the Steinburg UR22, Behringer 204, and M-Audio MTrack 2x2M. ...The Scarletts are out because I've heard too many people having driver/compatibility/etc issues with them. Great when they work...it's the "when" part that worries me.

Thank you Mixyguy2 and to all the others who have contributed to this thread. Thanks for sharing the results of your research. The subject of the Scarlett's is interesting because they seem to be so popular. IMO they picked a great name for their Line/models and have a pretty potent marketing machine in place. I think that can make it more of a challenge to cut through the "noise" and find out the truth. Although, Pontius Pilate might ask: What is Truth? :) I've seen some pretty divergent opinions on them. FWIW, I think the M-Audio you mentioned has a really nice aesthetic.
Tom Was Already Taken, Therefore Thomas
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio 64-Bit
Windows 10 64-Bit
AMD Athlon II X4 645 3.1 GHz 10GB Ram 7200RPM HDD
Behringer UMC404HD v4.59 interface

mick
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby mick » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:01 pm

I have the M audio 2x2, I made a huge bo boo with this because I should have got the 2x2M with midi in/out. However, I have a separate midi to usb device. The M audio gave me some real pita moments because of a permissions issue with window 7 while Windows 10 presented no such problem. but, after several updates it works fine now on Win 7 so its as M audio claimed that there is/was a missing win7 update. The first thing I noticed is how clean the sound is compared to the realtek on board chip. More detail, there is a little bit of noise but you have to turn the headphone output to beyond an eardrum busting level otherwise there is nothing. I have no reason to deter your decision but if possible always audition new gear. Steinberg ur22 is Yamaha quality. 8)

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Rolling Estonian » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:30 pm

Thomas wrote:That's great to hear! The Audient's are great looking units. I think I saw AMS advertise Free 2 day shipping. Maybe you are close to the warehouse. I really like the idea of supporting a music only company, especially if their service is good. I think the ones who specialize in a certain market segment deserve our support if they can deliver competitive prices and good service. Why should the Amazon's take such a big slice.


I agree, I've only ever had one issue with AMS, a return that wasn't their fault, they shipped new item as soon as I put in for an RMA. Definitely great customer service. I'm close enough that shipping only takes one day for free and no tax, yet, things could very well change when companies like this start charging state tax.

Personally I like the research and shopping, it's part of the fun! Like I said, I'll never have the best like Apogee but I'll never go low end either. I'd rather spend a bit more and get more quality with options to grow and not have to buy a new unit for a long time. The Audient pres are the best in their class by far.

M

mixyguy2
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby mixyguy2 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:57 pm

Rolling Estonian wrote:Personally I like the research and shopping, it's part of the fun!
You're a sick person. :wink: I hate it. Total PITA. But necessary.

The Audient pres are the best in their class by far.
Agree to disagree. I notice little if any diff between that and the units (or similar) mentioned above. Heck the iD4 is more expensive than all the others mentioned, yet only has one input and doesn't even have MIDI. More expensive doesn't mean better. No thx!

mick
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby mick » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:11 pm

I found an M-Audio m-track 2x2 good working demo if it helps any
https://youtu.be/rmGyBRwn1Og

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby Rolling Estonian » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:21 pm

mixyguy2 wrote:I notice little if any diff between that and the units (or similar) mentioned above. Heck the iD4 is more expensive than all the others mentioned, yet only has one input and doesn't even have MIDI. More expensive doesn't mean better. No thx!


I was talking about the id14 and for $299 you can't touch it.

Audient iD14 Features at a Glance:
2 Class A console microphone preamplifiers
2-in/4-out high-performance Burr-Brown converters
1 discrete JFET DI instrument input
Separate headphone amplifier output stage
Console-style monitor control with:
Mono, polarity, cut, talkback, and cue mix
2 Neutrik combo connectors for mic/line inputs
8-channel ADAT input lets you expand to a total of 10 channels
Balanced 1/4" main outputs
Control your DAW and plug-ins with the iD14's virtual scroll wheel

mixyguy2
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Re: USB Interface Recommendations

Postby mixyguy2 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:47 pm

ah my bad. Well $299 is double or even triple what the other units cost, so yeah I'd hope you'd get more, though frankly most of those features are either found on less expensive units or IMO aren't that big of a deal for most. For some it might be but I suspect that is a small percentage. And again I think that they're fine machines (I love the scroll wheel thing). Just IMO not worth the pricey tag for most.


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