What Audio Interface to record Kemper + extra ?

  • Have an old M-Audio Profire2626 Firewire, but since 2- 3 yrs not compatible with Mac OS X anymore. Also It used to work chaining with adaptors Firewire --> Thunderbolt 2, but now with the last generation MBPro USB-c/Thunderbolt 3, the extra adaptor Thunderbolt 2 --> 3 does not work either. I hear audio quality i has not really advanced in let 3-5 yrs ?


    Most of time will be only myself guitar + drum on Logic Pro. But have analog drum kit and expect in 6-12 m to start recording full trim more often.


    So basically my M-Audio works fine but is dead for DAW recording. So options is see:

    1) a) get a new Audio interface ( couple of line ins, couple of MIC in's, couple of outs for monitoring , and also ADAT in/out

    1 b) when I need to record full drum, or more then 4 or 6 inputs , connect Profire via ADAT in/out to this new interface, and have 8 extra Inputs


    2) get a compete full new Interface. Seems Focusrite Scarlet 18i20 2nd Gen USB has pretty much 8 MIC pre in/out + ADAT + SPDIF ( ideal for kemper ?) . Not many others have all these different inputs.


    3) Then again, I could get a behringer XR18 or a X32 and have mix desk and USB Interface at same time and forget about old Interface


    What are your experiences with Focusrite + Mac OS X - I hear Focuswrite also has issues updating their drivers. Don't want same issue as with M-Audio again.

    Is SPDIF best for kemper ? Univ Audio has some sexy interfaces, but their added value are the built in DSP with effects - but I assume with Kemper, I don't really need that ? Kind of kills it all off to use amp simulator of UA Apollo series.


    Any experience or thoughts to share ?

  • Hi!

    I use Scarlett 18i20 2nd gen, it’s really comfy and good sounding via analogs. The point is - the mic preamps activate just at the moment you connect XLRs, so my advice - use TS/TRS cables to connect your Kemper or use S/PDIF, since mic preamps (turned on when XLR connected) manage to worsen the audio quality and add some noticeable noise.

    Good luck!

  • If it fits your budget, I'd say look into an RME UFX or UFX II. They're extremely reliable, rock solid drivers and low latency. Lots of inputs too. I'm still using my Fireface 800, which I bought in 2007. Had to replace the whole motherboard last year, but the company was willing to do so even though it was over 10 years old. I still use it, even though i have an Apollo 8p, because the routing capabilities are superior. I just slave it to the Fireface using ADAT, so I have all the extra inputs and mic pres.

  • At your service, mate!

    No, not a single one. Also the Focusrite Control software really helps with routing and monitoring everything from DIs to main outs and spdifs.

    No driver issues on Mac OS X for 18i20 ? That is great news. And they keep up to date with OS X Upgrades ?


    I like RME, and hear loads of good things, but RME Fireface UFX II is about 4x as expensive versus Scarlett 18i20 for very similar i/o and specs ( RME seems 2 ADAT pairs vs 1 ADAT Pair 18i20 - rest looks same), or what am I missing for 1000 Eur difference in price ?

  • If it fits your budget, I'd say look into an RME UFX or UFX II. They're extremely reliable, rock solid drivers and low latency. Lots of inputs too. I'm still using my Fireface 800, which I bought in 2007. Had to replace the whole motherboard last year, but the company was willing to do so even though it was over 10 years old. I still use it, even though i have an Apollo 8p, because the routing capabilities are superior. I just slave it to the Fireface using ADAT, so I have all the extra inputs and mic pres.

    The slaving of my old Profire2626 via ADAT for those old 8 XLR's into this new audio interface is something I hope will work, and would allow me to buy a smaller new one ( ie 4i4) but for small difference I might still prefer and analog 8 in, just to be certain.

    The smaller ones like UA ApolloTwin or RME Babyface are not that cheap - not sure why anyone with Kemper would pick UA Apollo Twin as I expect onboard UA effects less good than Kemper.


    Are you saying you prefer the RME for its routing interface over the Apollo ? Profire2626 routing interface was very confusing - especially the standalone setup.

  • The slaving of my old Profire2626 via ADAT for those old 8 XLR's into this new audio interface is something I hope will work, and would allow me to buy a smaller new one ( ie 4i4) but for small difference I might still prefer and analog 8 in, just to be certain.

    The smaller ones like UA ApolloTwin or RME Babyface are not that cheap - not sure why anyone with Kemper would pick UA Apollo Twin as I expect onboard UA effects less good than Kemper.


    Are you saying you prefer the RME for its routing interface over the Apollo ? Profire2626 routing interface was very confusing - especially the standalone setup.


    If you're aiming for 8 inputs, don't look at anything with less than that. I was suggesting the UFX and UFX II, which have a whole lot of analog inputs, besides a lot of digital ones. If Universal Audio, Apollo 8 or 8p, but they are really expensive.


    On the Apollo though:

    The Kemper FX are outstanding, and you don't really need the Apollos preamps for that.


    But, let's say you are profiling: in such a situation, you'd find the emulations of a Neve or SSL or API preamp followed by an LA -2A or a 1176 really fun to use.


    Or alternatively, if you're creating a mix, the UA plugins are great in those situations as well.


    Of course, the drawback is that you get locked into Universal Audio's ecosystem, and their plugins are really expensive when not on sale.


    Personally, I find the plugins really good. And I am more than happy to have the DSP on the interface handle the plugins rather than my prosumer iMac. If you check on some other sites, a lot of people will tell you the same thing.


    Routing wise though, it is like the Stone Age. I was really disappointed when I found that I couldn't route more than one input to the same output within their Console app, for example. Whereas with the RME, I can route every single input on my device to multiple outputs, at multiple settings.

  • what am I missing for 1000 Eur difference in price ?

    1. The RME basically is a 30i30 over the 18i20 … with the downside of only 4 Mic pres

    2. The RME can be equipped with a super nice remote called ARC USB. Great great piece of gear!

    3. The RME comes with much better drivers (lower latency if this matters).

    4. The software mixer Total Mix FX is a whole different league compared to Focusrite control.

    5. The RME offers DUREC … multitrack recording direct to pendrive

    6. The RME doesn't have coax S/PDIF, so if you really want to use the digital output of the Profiler, you will have to invest in e.g. a Behringer Ultramatch Pro 2496

    7. The RME comes with DSP for EQ, Compressor, Delay, Reverb


    Generally speaking, the RME is worth every single penny although it's not cheap by any means and it's not the perfect unit for Profiler users due to the lack of coax S/PDIF.

  • Having another look at RME, but finding it a problem to spend 2000+ EUR and not even have a SPDIF coax. Check review - all say great AI regarding drivers latency and pre's but smal benefit versus large price increase. Maybe an RME UC - but that one has firewire, but is <1000EUR.


    Anyone experience with MOTU ? They have several Audi Intf with all in/outs i need ( and have thunderbolt 2 or 3), and some have this AVB ethernet, allowing you to mix via web browser from any tablet/phone. Also has DSP onboard, so can work as standalone mixer with effect without have PC connected.

    Anyone experience on latency with Mac OS X ? Looking at MOTU Ultralight mk4 700 EUR --> 1248 AVB (1400 EUR).

  • If XR18 would have SPDIF, might even consider that for Audio Interface ( or X32) but fear latency is too big.


    For mixing, X32 behringer family has RTA Real Time Audio Analyser, is great to add EQ and remove feedback, or isolate instruments in the mix. Anyone know of similar features with RME or MOTU ( or UA Apollo) ?

  • To be honest with you, if you're not looking for the last bit of quality, go for the Focusrite. The price is really good for what you get and if you seriously would consider Behringer as an option, then RME is way overkill. :)


    Regarding Analyzer: I think this is something where RME really shines with the free DIGIcheck


    You mentioned remote mixing via web browser for AVB interfaces. RME also offers its TotalMix FX Remote app for iPad (for free). It's even possible to assign individual permissions, so in a studio environment, you could offer each musician an iPad with control of his/her own monitor mix while the audio engineer keeps control over everything.


    Again, I know it's not exactly cheap to enter the RME world. But you definitely get the money's worth of quality, if you need it.

  • impressive. This might push me towards RME. and the RME UC has a Spdif coax connection and is more reasonable in price. Only has 2 mic pre’s but has ADAT so I might be able to recover old profite 2626 when I need more than guitar.

    Only found Digi~Check v4.5 from 2007 for windows XP. Are there more recent versions ? Does it exist for OS X ? Is it part of Totalmix remote as well so one can use it on tablet ? CAn’t find anything similar on MOTU or Focusrite tools. Would have to fallback on Logic Pro Analyzer but would prefer it DSP based.

  • Quote
    What are your experiences with Focusrite + Mac OS X - I hear Focuswrite also has issues updating their drivers. Don't want same issue as with M-Audio again.

    I don't know were you've heard that?

    I know where you are coming from, after a really bad stint with M-Audio having drivers that never worked for years. Then Tascam with an interface that got abandoned since they didn't really do their software in-house...

    I spent a lot of time researching what manufacturers really do support and use Macs themselves... and Focusrite came out on top, and this is 10 years ago!

    Bought their (then) new Saffire Pro 40 and have never had any problems using it at all! No driver issues at all! Sill using it on my brand new Mac using the FW400 -> FW800 cable -> Thunderbolt 2 adapter -> Thunderbolt 3 adapter... And it works like a charm!

    If this should break I would gladly buy a Focusrite interface again!

  • Anyone experience with MOTU

    It's the only brand of interface I've ever used.

    For mixing, X32 behringer family has RTA Real Time Audio Analyser, is great to add EQ and remove feedback, or isolate instruments in the mix. Anyone know of similar features with RME or MOTU ( or UA Apollo) ?

    IIRC MOTU's CueMix FX had this since way back; I can only assume it's been ported to the AVB line as well.

    I spent a lot of time researching what manufacturers really do support and use Macs themselves... and Focusrite came out on top, and this is 10 years ago!

    Strange. You looked at MOTU, right Janne? Mark of the Unicorn goes back to the early '80s in its association with Apple, and Digital Performer was Mac-only from 1983/4 -> just a few years ago.


    You mentioned driver obsolescence - you can still use the oldest MOTU interfaces, be they MIDI or audio (going back to the early '90s), on the latest operating systems; the company has always had a policy of backward-compatibility (load projects from 1984 in 2019's DP10) and non-obsolescence (all interface drivers updated when necessary) for all its software and hardware.

  • the RME UC has a Spdif coax connection and is more reasonable in price

    A few remarks on different RME interface options, hoping to clarify a few things for you :)


    1. RME UC (875 Euros)

    This interface hit the market 10 years ago and it doesn't have TotalMix FX, it only has the regular TotalMix. This means, you don't have EQ, Dynamics, Reverb, Delay, you can't use the TotalMix Remote app and it doesn't have direct connection of the great ARC USB remote control either.


    2. RME UCX (1169 Euros)

    This interface hit the market 7 years ago and it comes with TotalMix FX including all 4 DSP effects categories mentioned above. It should (haven't tried) work with the TotalMix Remote app. It still doesn't have the ARC USB direct connection though.


    3. RME Babyface Pro (689 Euros)

    This interface hit the market 4 years ago and it comes with TotalMix FX, includes EQ, Reverb, Delay but lacks the Dynamics! Also, it doesn't have coax S/PDIF but you can extend the inputs via optical ADAT. No connection for the ARC USB though but this interface has it basically built-in. TotalMix Remote app should work.


    4. RME UFX II (1999 Euros)

    This interface hit the market 2 years ago and features all of the current bells and whistles … but as mentioned before, it doesn't have coax S/PDIF. The even more expensive UFX+ is basically the same interface with the added MADI.


    Even if it sounds a bit frustrating, the above mentioned 4 options are the affordable options from RME. Everything beyond gets really expensive due to the additional infrastructure required to leverage the massive potential.


    One remark regarding the onboard DSP effects. By default, these effects are only used for monitoring and will not be recorded. It can be changed but this doesn't make much sense. Here's why I really like to have the DSP effects:


    1. When I record vocals, it's nice to add a touch of compression and EQ and maybe a touch of reverb to the vocalist's headphones. Makes him/her feel a bit more comfortable as opposed to totally dry. But I don't want to record it "wet".


    2. I use the EQ quite a lot when recording bands playing "live" in the studio. Still I don't want to actually record "wet" but it helps a LOT for the monitor mixes. Dynamics I typically use for bass and vocals (again, monitoring only).


    TotalMix FX is a breeze to work with, can be remote controlled in many ways. It requires quite a bit of screen estate to have everything accessible but I wouldn't want it to be any different.


    If you're not running a studio and just record yourself, most of the "fancy" stuff won't matter much to you. Even the latency topic doesn't matter at all when you record guitar, vocals, etc. and use direct monitoring which all modern interfaces offer. Latency and buffer settings only matter when you play virtual instruments via MIDI keyboard or by using eDrums.


    If you're on a tight budget, go for any of the Focusrite USB interfaces like the Scarlett 18i20 2nd gen or the Clarett 8pre USB (better preamps). They are good value for money, no doubt. And for a small, personal home studio they do the job really well.


    Hope, my novel helps :)

    Martin

  • Strange. You looked at MOTU, right Janne? Mark of the Unicorn goes back to the early '80s in its association with Apple, and Digital Performer was Mac-only from 1983/4 -> just a few years ago.

    Yes I did and MOTU was definatly one of the contenders but price wise here in Europe Focusrite gave more bang for the buck... The other serious contender were RME, but at that time they were basically 100% Windows focused and did all Mac drivers as a second thought. Brilliant hardware but there were a lot of issues were people had to wait for updates... (and expensive also)

    This have changed these days and now we also have UA and Apogee as great choices!

    I still think Focusrite has the better price/value ratio AND a great Mac support.

  • I think I must've misunderstood your post, Janne. Here's the quote I answered with the most-relevant part highlighted:

    I spent a lot of time researching what manufacturers really do support and use Macs themselves... and Focusrite came out on top, and this is 10 years ago!

    Sorry bud; my bad. I thought you were saying that Focusrite was "more-Mac than MOTU or any others", IOW, that they "came out on top" for "Macness" 10 years ago when you checked. :D

  • It's the only brand of interface I've ever used.

    IIRC MOTU's CueMix FX had this since way back; I can only assume it's been ported to the AVB line as well.

    Strange. You looked at MOTU, right Janne? Mark of the Unicorn goes back to the early '80s in its association with Apple, and Digital Performer was Mac-only from 1983/4 -> just a few years ago.


    You mentioned driver obsolescence - you can still use the oldest MOTU interfaces, be they MIDI or audio (going back to the early '90s), on the latest operating systems; the company has always had a policy of backward-compatibility (load projects from 1984 in 2019's DP10) and non-obsolescence (all interface drivers updated when necessary) for all its software and hardwar

    Great to hear you're really happy and log time user of MOTU.


    Seeing Lightbox' extra info, RME UC doesn't seem option anymore (will research Optical SPDIF --> cinch SPDIF conversion first though) , so think I likely decide between

    - MOTU 1248 AVB (1400€) 32i34 with 4 XLR/pre

    - MOTU 624 (also with AVB; 800€) - 16i16 with 2 XLR/pre

    - Focusrite Clarett 8preX (1100€) - 26i28 with 8 XLR/pre

    - Focusrite 8pre (800€) - 18i20 with 8 XLR/pre


    All have Thunderbolt (some also USB) and SPDIF cinch, and ADAT (expandability) - and MOTU have AVB for future expansion if recording increases.


    Other aspect will be software

    + MOTU Pro Audio has web based mixing - also via IOS phone/tablets

    + MOTU drivers

    + MOTU onboard DSP, FFT / Spectr Analyser

    + Focusrite drivers

    - ? Focusrite Control soft ( no tablet remote ?)


    Based upon input hardware, seems Focusrite gives better/ more Pre's for similar budget. Looking at other aspects, MOTU provides extra DSP and looks Mixer / Audio tools are more evolved. IF the MOTU FFTS analyser runs using Mac processing, then I might as well use Logic Pro FFT, if it uses its onboard DSP, then its a clear advantage.