#1
Hello,

I'm looking for a pretty simple audio interface. I hesitate between the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, Roland Duo-Capture Ex, Steinberg UR12/22 and M-Audio M-Track II. I will not use more than 2 inputs at the same time (voice and guitar or guitar and bass). I don't really use MIDI at the moment but it would be a nice plus and I have not learn to use a specific DAW yet so I will use the one coming with the interface.

Thanks for your help!
Last edited by bananagab at Dec 28, 2015,
#2
Really i'd advice on downloading Reaper, DAW's included with Interfaces are mostly limited versions of the full thing.

Focusrite makes good stuff, I've used the scarlett 2i4's at work a lot and they really never fail to do their job
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#4
Read the introduction to recording sticky.

I'd recommend the mackie onyx blackjack or the roland duo capture ex if you also want midi i/o.
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#6
I'll +1 the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4. I actually replaced my old interface with a Scarlett because it was reviewed as more stable, and the preamps were way better.

Just some thoughts on the Scarlett:

Focusrite Preamps - Not ISA or RED preamps by any means, but still nice clear preamps, leaning towards a neutral sound. Very good for vocals and guitars, a bit lacking on drums as they lack that big punch you'd want.

Easy to use, never had issues setting the interface up.

Very powerful headphone section. The phone driver is surprisingly loud, and will breakup well past your headphones break point.

They also come with some nice VST plugins (RED comp/EQ and scarletts). The RED compressor sounds very VERY close to the real RED3 (Wish I owned a real one), very punchy and surprisingly transparent, but can pump if needed. The RED2 VST is a nice buss/mix EQ; I don't like it on individual instruments. The Scarlett plugins are also nice to work with.

However, the only issue is dialing in the ASIO latency settings perfectly. I've noticed that the drivers will sometimes 'auto-adjust' your latency on you and you'll need o keep an eye on that.


Other devices in the same 'range' are:

PreSonus AudioBox - the direct competitor to the Scarlett series. Again, PreSonus has decent preamps (their stock preamps are good enough, wish they had an interface option at the 2-4 channel count with Digmax/XMAX preamps in it). Software is also not too bad, don't have the same experience with the PreSonus drivers/software that I do with Focusrite and RME). A plus to these is that they can work on iPad as well.

Roland Duo - Basically the same as the above 2 as well. The thing about the Rolands is that the preamps, when set properly, are very open and clean, but can easily turn crunchy if you aren't careful. Roland software/drives have always been good, and Roland has great resources and have been known (in my circles anyways) and great mobile workhorses, much like MotU USED to be (before they decided to try to hard).

M-Audio M-Track PlusII - I tried one of these out for my laptop and was not impressed. A far cry from the cheap but passable days when Avid owned them. The preamps are crunchy (not in a pleasing way either) and the software wasn't overly impressive either. If there was one good thing is that the rotary pots were solid. So there's that. I'd steer clear of of this one. I think that inMusic ruined this brand.

Steinberg UR242 - So this box is interesting, and I almost got one. To put this box into a nutshell, you get 4 Yamaha preamps (Very similar to the preamps in the 01V96i), a very impressive DSP mixer, and a solid indestructible chassis. AD/DA is a bit hazy, but most people wouldn't notice (has that slightly loose Yamaha low-end). The Sweet Spot Channel Strip was fun to play with, and sounds nice, but I wanted more control out of it. The preamps, going back to those, has the most headroom of all the boxes I tried, but again, that Yamaha low-end. I kinda like that Yamaha low-end in some applications (line signal on synthesizers) but for recording guitar, it can be muddy.

I would avoid Tascam, as their gear has reliability issues (I had one years ago, and the preamps died, actually DIED). Behringer is passable IN A PINCH. Mackie... no experience with much Mackie gear, but I remember their old ONYX800, and it was nice on drums.

MotU is a strange bunch. They'll make a fantastic piece of gear, then get a funny tickle up their ass and make 3 complete skuds (Ultralite AVB anyone?), then release another good box again. I would only recommend MotU if you are doing a lot of location recording, or dragging your interface around for practice/live/tour/everywhere you go. The biggest downfall with MotU is their DSP mixer. It seems to add a slight distortion to the signal. I dunno why, or if it's just a mental thing, but that DSP mixer is messy.

Just my thoughts.

With the above interfaces, any decent mic or guitar will have no issues getting good, clean signal. A word of warning: do NOT bother with passive ribbon mics when using the onboard preamps. They do not have enough clean gain to do it properly. If it's one of the active sE or Sontronics ribbons, you will have the gain. But if you decide to throw a classic ribbon, you will not have the gain to do it.

Another thing to look out for is, as was mentioned, the included DAWs are usually limited in track counts and options. Reaper is a good alternative, and is actually killing some companies with some of their VST EQs and Multiband Compressors.
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#7
@chemist - good review on this gear.
You mention the loose low end on the Steinberg and my guess would be the Yamasha pres, as they were loose and smeary on their digital consoles, like the 02R, etc. Maybe that's just it.