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Old 12-15-2018, 01:15 PM   #1
Rednroll
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Default USB Audio Interfaces with S/PDIF IN?

Hi folks been out of the DAW/studio game for awhile and am currently looking into getting back into it but this time around with a minimalist setup approach using a laptop on Windows 10 Pro and keeping as much as possible inside the box.

Outside the box I want to keep things as compact, minimalist and portable as possible while still getting pro audio quality sound.

I wish there was a compact USB interface which fit my audio i/o needs and was also able to function as a control surface but in my search for such a device it does not seem to exist. Therefore, what I've decided to do is go with a compact control surface and a separate USB audio interface.

For the control surface after looking at the Presonus Faderport and the Behringer X-Touch ONE, I've decided to go with the Behringer X-Touch One.

For the audio interface here are the minimal functions I need.
2- Mic/Line Pre-amp inputs with 48V phantom power.
1- S/PDIF digital input
2- Audio Monitor Outputs (Prefer balanced outs)

I currently own a USBPre v1 audio interface which had served me well and would have worked well if not for the fact it was discontinued and driver support for newer Windows OSes killed it. I'ld like to avoid that situation again and go with a more reliable and supported brand.

I came across the NI Komplete Audio 6 USB interface which seems perfect for my needs. However, after doing some research I found it does not seem to be a very well supported device where it has been hit and miss in the reliability department and if you just happen to fall into the miss category, there is no support from NI. I haven't completely eliminated this as an option yet.

When I start looking at other audio interface options, it seems I need to step up in price and size levels to find one which includes a S/PDIF input. For example I'm currently considering the Focusrite 18i8 or Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820. However both of these have more i/o than I really need/prefer, they're larger in size and I'ld be paying more for things I don't need such as 8 analog inputs. All their more compact offerings don't seem to provide a digital S/PDIF input.

Are there other compact USB audio interfaces which include a S/PDIF digital Input and are known to be reliable which I should be considering? Or should I just roll the dice on the NI Komplete Audio 6 and ignore the bad experiences I've read about? RME? M-Audio? Roland? Steinberg? Others?


As an FYI for the need of the S/PDIF digital in. I own a TC Finalizer and a DBX 376 Tube channel strip which I plan to include in my studio setup. Since both of these devices have S/PDIF digital outs, the quality of the audio interfaces built-in Mic Pre's are not that much of a concern for my studio setup but plan to use the built-in Mic pre's for remote recording setups.

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Old 12-15-2018, 02:11 PM   #2
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I think you can get a 3rd party driver for the USB Pre. It's just a firmware loader. The device itself is USB Audio Class compliant.

That said, I also gave away mine and it still wouldn't get you spdif I/O.

What's your budget?

Have you considered an RME Babyface Pro? Driverwise, that's about the best you can get and their support lasts very, very long. Even their oldest stuff still works with their current drivers.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:47 PM   #3
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i agree that RME is the way to go, if possible, but you would have to get a converter if you are expecting an rca spdif connection - the babyface only has optical.
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Old 12-15-2018, 03:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. I just checked out the RME Babyface Pro and it does look like it fits into what I'm after. The $600 price tag and having to complicate the setup by adding a S/PDIF to Optical converter into things look to be the downsides for what I'm after.

I'll add it to my list of considerations but for that price, I'ld really like it to be a perfect fit and not have to deal with the additional coax to toslink adapter. I do know RME makes good stuff and provide reliable driver support. In my previous DAW I ran with Echo Audio interfaces and their driver's were always good as well, but here I am 10+ years later and see they jumped out of the Pro Audio game as well. Ironic how I stepped away for those 10+ years and come back to find out Audio interface driver support is still hit and miss among audio interface developers.

I was trying to keep my budget price under $300.

I have downloaded the 3rd party driver for the USBPre, I may give that a shot as well.

Last edited by Rednroll; 12-15-2018 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:08 PM   #5
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I use a rather cheap SPDIF (coax and optical) converter to drive my Monitors directly from the PC audio output (optical). It does not feature XLR (symmetric) but just cinche, but sitting next to an audio I/O box this should not be problematic.

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Old 12-16-2018, 02:37 AM   #6
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I just googled upon this link, which is a nice USB audio interface matrix from tweakheadz and shows interfaces which include a S/PDIF I/O. However, it seems to be very out dated.
http://tweakheadz.com/audio-interfac...parison-chart/

The M-Audio fast track ultra had me interested but then I learned M-Audio has been sold again and is now an unsupported product by Avid without a driver for Windows 10.

I looked at the latest available drivers for the NI Komplete Audio 6 which was released in 2015 and states supports "Windows 7 and above", which doesn't bring a lot of confidence.

Here is a more recent comparison review of interfaces, but doesn't call out which have a s/pdif I/O.
https://www.gearank.com/guides/audio-interface

It's interesting reading the reviews since all of them seem to call out Windows 10 driver support being one of the bigger disappointments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focusrite
No thanks to regular operating system updates, most of the issues raised about the 18i20 pertain to problems with OS updates and driver compatibility. And while Focusrite does the best they can to keep up with them, there are still some who quickly write up negative reviews without waiting for updated drivers to solve their issues.
What a headache I've stumbled into. We are approaching 2019 right? I feel like I've time warped back to 2009.

Last edited by Rednroll; 12-16-2018 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:47 AM   #7
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Optical to electrical conversion is dirt simple. It needs just a few components. And optical connection has the big advantage of providing complete electrical isolation. No ground loops...

But I agree it's yet another box in the chain.
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
Optical to electrical conversion is dirt simple. It needs just a few components. And optical connection has the big advantage of providing complete electrical isolation. No ground loops...

But I agree it's yet another box in the chain.
Yes, I'm not going to eliminate that as an option. It's more of a preference thing of not having to add another box in the chain as you mention.

I'm currently leaning toward the Presonus 18x10. It seems to be one of the few USB interfaces which includes a s/pdif input and having Win10 drivers available which have been released within the past 10 years. It has more I/O than I need and the size is larger than I hoped but it at least fits my minimum requirements at a good price range. Browsing through the reviews on Amazon, the negative reviews all seem to be related to things which won't have an impact on me such as problems with Protools. The positives seem to indicate it's working well in Widows 10.
https://www.amazon.com/PreSonus-Stud...ct_top?ie=UTF8

It feels odd that I'm shopping for a USB audio interface and putting a higher priority on Windows 10 driver support than actual sound quality. Heck, even the Behringers which have been known for being packed full of features but low on sound quality I still have near the top of my list of considerations.

Last edited by Rednroll; 12-16-2018 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:52 AM   #9
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Don't underestimate the Behringers. Hardware wise, they're as good as the rest of the flock. But I have no idea about Widows drivers

I think you should look at drivers first. I haven't had any problems with Presonus. You only need to figure out which driver you need. On older OSes, that requires a bit of experimenting. Fortunately, they support their stuff for a very long time and keep older drivers available.

But, as I already said, I do mainly OSX...
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:54 AM   #10
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Here's where I'm currently at while considering my current list of options.

1. PreSonus Studio 1810
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZYF37XV...v_ov_lig_dp_it
+ Has Win10 supported drivers (2.9.2 released 10/18)
+ Seems like Presonus is actually currently supporting the product
+ Has coax s/pdif I/O
+ Sound quality reviews seem satisfied.
+ Within my target budget range
- larger in size than I would prefer
Bonus item considerations
+ Has Midi connections
+ Has optical Input for flexibility (ie I could still get a coax to optical converter and simultaneously plug my TC Finalizer and DBX 386 into it)

2. Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 (2nd Gen)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E6T547Y...v_ov_lig_dp_it
+ Has Win10 supported drivers (4.36.4 released 6/18)
+ Seems like Focusrite is supporting the product, but not efficiently.
+ Has coax s/pdif I/O
+ Sound quality reviews seem satisfied.
- Slightly over my budget target
- larger in size than I would prefer
- User complaints about Win 10 driver problems as of March 2018 (Hoping those problems are fixed in latest June 2018 released driver)
Bonus item considerations
+ Has Midi connections
+ Has optical Input for flexibility

3. BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC1820
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EXI8Y9S...v_ov_lig_dp_it
+ Has Win10 supported drivers (4.38 released 3/18)
+ Seems like Behringer is supporting the product, but not efficiently.
+ Has coax s/pdif I/O
+ Within my budget (good value for what you get)
- Troubles getting drivers installed and setup
- It's a Behringer, can't trust the quality or functional reliability
- Sound quality reviews seem hit and miss.
- larger in size than I would prefer
- User complaints about ASIO Win 10 driver problems
Bonus item considerations
+ Has Midi connections
+ Additionally has optical Input and output for flexibility
+ Could rack mount it with DBX and TC devices

4. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YPRPJ6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
+ Sound quality reviews seem satisfied.
+ Has coax s/pdif I/O
+ Within my target budget range
+ Preferred size
- Does not have officially supported Win10 drivers (4.2.0 released 11/15)
- Seems like NI has completely dropped support of the product
Bonus item considerations
+ Has Midi connections

5. RME Babyface Pro
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XU0DYLE...v_ov_lig_dp_it
+ Has officially supported Win10 drivers (1.166 released 12/18)
+ RME driver support top notch
+ Sound quality reviews stellar.
+ Preferred size
- Doesn't have coax s/pdif I/O
- Has optical I/O requiring coax to optical converter
- Price double budget, not a good value hardware wise.
Bonus item considerations
- Single Midi connection?

Other considerations still under investigation.
Roland OctaCapture
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HNYZSX0...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Steinberg UR28M
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OQ4N7Q...v_ov_lig_dp_it

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Old 12-16-2018, 06:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
Don't underestimate the Behringers. Hardware wise, they're as good as the rest of the flock. But I have no idea about Widows drivers

I think you should look at drivers first. I haven't had any problems with Presonus. You only need to figure out which driver you need. On older OSes, that requires a bit of experimenting. Fortunately, they support their stuff for a very long time and keep older drivers available.

But, as I already said, I do mainly OSX...
Yep, I think the Behringer is starting to climb up on my list of preferences. Someone asked a question on Amazon in regards to audio quality of the Behringer vs. a Focusrite and the answers seem to lean towards the Behringer from those who have owned both.

Quote:
A1: I own both and the Behringer one is superior by far ESPECIALLY for vocals. The Midas pre-amps blow every interface in this price range out of the water - definitely my favorite USB interface yet

A3: Honestly, I'm not sure why the one person answering this question was complaining about lack of Windows 10 support on the Behringer because I've been using it on Windows 10 for the past year and a half.
That said, between the two, since I do own and have used BOTH for the same amount of time, I would HIGHLY recommend the Behringer over the Focusrite. It offers better audio quality at a fraction of the price. Offering both higher bitrates and much better pre-amps, you'd be silly not to grab the Behringer.

A5: I haven't used the Focurite, but late last year I was using a $1600 interface that became obsolete (because the manufacturer refused to update it to work with the current operating system) and when forced to buy something new I didn't want to spend $1600 again. So I took a chance on this and have to say that it sounds every bit as good as that $1600 interface. This is no lie. So I would imagine that it's every bit as good as the Focusrite.
It seems odd because I was trying to decide between the Presonus Faderport and the Behringer X-Touch for a control surface and ended up going with the Behringer because it provided more functionality, better flexibility since I could expand it by adding their expansion controller, and it cost less. Now here I am with the USB audio interface and seeing a similar situation and starting to lean towards the Behringer again for the same exact reasons.

Last edited by Rednroll; 12-16-2018 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:30 AM   #12
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tough decisions. i've owned numerous interfaces over the years and it can be difficult to know what your priorities should be until you've incorporated it into your setup.
i would say for build quality, drivers, support, longevity etc. RME are clear number one, followed by Steinberg/ Yamaha & Roland / Edirol tied for second.
Bang for buck would be Behringer, i think.
I've never used a Komplete 6 or Presonus though, and (cheaper) Focusrites have given me hassle in the past. Just my two cents. Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
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tough decisions. i've owned numerous interfaces over the years and it can be difficult to know what your priorities should be until you've incorporated it into your setup.
i would say for build quality, drivers, support, longevity etc. RME are clear number one, followed by Steinberg/ Yamaha & Roland / Edirol tied for second.
Bang for buck would be Behringer, i think.
I've never used a Komplete 6 or Presonus though, and (cheaper) Focusrites have given me hassle in the past. Just my two cents. Good luck.
I appreciate your feedback. It's definitely a tough decision. I tend to do a ton of research before making a final decision since I know I'll be having to live with that decision for quite a long time. I don't tend to sell my gear. I like to learn from other's experienced problems/mistakes instead of just jumping in and trying to deal with the problems and end up in a tough situation after purchase.

If the RME was even in the same ballpark of prices as the other options I was looking at, it would definitely be near the top of my list. But when you have the Presonus and Behringer's sitting at less than half the price and providing double the functionality, user reviews seeming pretty positive...then it really makes the RME a tough pill to swallow. It seems Behringer has stepped up their game and I may give it a whirl. I purchased one of their headphone studio booth distribution amps in the past, and while it definitely wasn't the quietest headphone amp at high volume listening levels, it served the purpose well and that's what I'm after this time around. I'm not looking for the best, just hoping to get something that works without headaches, and planning to use it to do some small projects with a final destination of YouTube videos.

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Old 12-16-2018, 03:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rednroll
4. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YPRPJ6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
+ Sound quality reviews seem satisfied.
+ Has coax s/pdif I/O
+ Within my target budget range
+ Preferred size
- Does not have officially supported Win10 drivers (4.2.0 released 11/15)
- Seems like NI has completely dropped support of the product
Bonus item considerations
+ Has Midi connections
I use this one for live playing with Win 7 and for other stuff with Win 10. No problem at all with the drivers. They provide very low latency.

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Old 12-16-2018, 04:06 PM   #15
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I use this one for live playing with Win 7 and for other stuff with Win 10. No problem at all with the drivers. They provide very low latency.

-Michael
So no problems on a Win10 OS and using the Komplete Audio 6?
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:05 PM   #16
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Hi Rednroll-

I've had no problems at all with the Komplete Audio 6 and Windows 10 x64.

-Susan
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Hi Rednroll-

I've had no problems at all with the Komplete Audio 6 and Windows 10 x64.

-Susan
Thank you! Maybe I was concerned for nothing all along on the Komplete Audio 6 after reading some user review frustrations related to drivers. Now I think I'll chew on debating with myself on getting either the Komplete Audio 6, Behringer or Presonus. All 3 are in the $200-$300 price range I was targeting.

If anyone has any further experience comments on either of these devices, good or bad, I'ld love to hear more.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:25 AM   #18
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So no problems on a Win10 OS and using the Komplete Audio 6?
None that I know of. In fact the driver is dated "2011"
-Michael
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Old 12-17-2018, 05:21 AM   #19
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Another +1 on the Komplete 6. I use it in several scenarios on several machines (Win7, Win10, 32 and 64 as well as OSX) and it just always works. Never experienced a glitch or an incompatible driver.
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:33 AM   #20
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The Windows sound system has been greatly updated between Win 7 and Win 10, but I understand that with ASIO, the software uses a direct link to the device driver, and hence the Windows version should not harm at all.

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Old 12-17-2018, 03:23 PM   #21
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I've been looking for a usb interface too that has a coax spdif input.
I'm looking to record the spdif out on an API A2D Mic Pre.

I have no problems with my home rig, as I have a all digital card (Lynx Studio AES16), but I'm looking for a portable rig just to record two channels into Reaper on a Windows machine.

I have an Avid Mbox (3rd gen), but it has clocking problems.
I have an older Motu firewire HD rig which works, but it's too big, and Windows 10 doesn't support firewire 400 from what I understand.

Here's another Presonus unit I found for around $250.00
https://www.presonus.com/products/Studio-68
Has a breakout cable for midi and spdif.

Aphex has an small unit $130.00
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...BI%3A514&smp=Y

Zoom has one with Spdif input $130.00.
https://www.zoom-na.com/products/pro...udio-interface

That PreSonus Studio 1810 looks good.

I've had no experience with any of these.

I would probably consider one that has updated drivers, good tech support. I'll study this more.
Regards,
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Old 12-18-2018, 06:09 AM   #22
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Thomann is good place to order stuff, but it also lets you narrow your search very well.


Try this and taylor the options on the left to taste. It'll give you a good overview if you still need it.


https://www.thomann.de/gb/usb_audio_...-53833-last=32
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:18 AM   #23
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I like the NI audio 6, Presonus, and the Behringer. Now that I've thought this through a little more I think I'm going to get the Behringer. Originally my thought was that I was going to set the audio interface on my desk along side the control service, where in that instance the smaller foot print of the Audio 6 would have worked best since I don't have a lot of desk surface space.

I then looked at my gear I had stored in a closet and forgot I had a DBX 286A pre-amp vocal channel as well as a Lexicon MX400 dual reverb unit in addition to the DBX 376 and TC Finalizer I planned to use. This got me thinking that instead of putting the sound interface on my desk, it may be better to put it in a rack with all these other 1U devices I already own. I then decided to purchase a DBX PB48 which is a 1U patch bay which should provide me some flexibilty of which Mic-Pre I want to record through by using patch cables. So my thought is the Behringer will be best since it is rack mountable and has more I/O to accomodate the use of all these other devices I forgot I owned. My thought was also by having a sound interface in a portable rack, it will be a better setup to double for any onsite field recording work.

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Old 12-19-2018, 07:23 AM   #24
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I once had been warned regarding the latency of the Behringer Windows driver.

Maybe this is fixed now...

-Michael
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:48 AM   #25
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I once had been warned regarding the latency of the Behringer Windows driver.

Maybe this is fixed now...

-Michael
Thanks, this is definitely something I should look into more.
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Old 12-21-2018, 04:11 PM   #26
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+1 on the KA6 by NI. I've been running mine on Win10 since day 1 with zero issues. It's actually a great unit and thus far has withstood the test of time. I got mine for 200$ at a guitar center, and, I believe NI has them on their official online store for 200 thru the holidays.
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Old 12-22-2018, 04:46 AM   #27
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I once had been warned regarding the latency of the Behringer Windows driver.

Maybe this is fixed now...

-Michael
Good video here by Igor using Reaper, Igor mentions a 3-6mS latency with a Behringer using the WDM driver. In his comments he mentions 12ms latency with ASIO driver.

This is consistent with what I'm starting to find when researching more, is that the WDM driver seems to be better than the ASIO driver on the Behringer devices.

Is 3-6mS latency good or bad?

Video was posted 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWZEs0idBj8

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Old 12-22-2018, 06:08 AM   #28
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So far all my research is seeming to indicate that the Behringers are performing well on latency and at it's price point seems to be at or above everything else in regards to sound quality, and feature set wise blows everything at its price point out of the water.

The only hang up seems to be with folks having a hard time getting over the Behringer name, where admittedly I fall into that category as well.

I also learned Behringer has acquired Midas and TC Electronics which have always been respectable names in the industry Just unsure if that is a bad thing for those brands or a good thing for Behringer. Probably both.

At this point, I think I'm pretty much sold on the Behringer 1820 where it seems the only way I could go up from it in all the important categories for an USB audio interface, would be to step up to a similar RME offering device where the price would go up exponentially as well. For my needs of what I'm after, it seems the Behringer should serve me well. I say that now, but will cross my fingers and hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the behind later.

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Old 12-22-2018, 07:39 AM   #29
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I very happily use a Behringer XR18 that features the same Mic preamps and the same A/D converters as the new Behringer Audio interfaces. (I had no latency requirements in that applications, so I don't know anything about that.)

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Old 12-22-2018, 06:03 PM   #30
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I believe the consensus regarding our ability to perceive latency is something like anything less than 8ms is (practically speaking) indistinguishable.
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Old 12-23-2018, 05:03 AM   #31
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I believe the consensus regarding our ability to perceive latency is something like anything less than 8ms is (practically speaking) indistinguishable.
With live playing, latency is very important, while when recording (without listening to the current input), it's completely irrelevant. While mixing multitrack recordings, it might be annoying but usually not a big deal.

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Old 12-24-2018, 04:55 PM   #32
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I believe the consensus regarding our ability to perceive latency is something like anything less than 8ms is (practically speaking) indistinguishable.
Thanks! Exactly the info I was looking for where it sounds like the Behringer falls into that window. Now I just need to figure out how to determine latency once the one I purchased arrives.

Latency performance likely won't be a major factor for me. I'm mostly going to be using it for recording small YouTube video productions which will mainly be some VO recordings where the people I'm recording won't be monitoring themselves and I likely won't be doing any overdubbing. It's always good to know I should be covered either way.

As further background, my 7 y/o son started taking Karate classes, where the folks teaching the classes are doing volunteer work and his classes are only once a week and I suggested to the instructors that it would be nice if they had some Youtube vids where the kids could watch and use for practice throughout the week. I offered to volunteer my recording and editing services to put the videos together, where it seemed like a good opportunity for me to get back into recording.

So I'm currently working on putting a portable rack together which will include my DBX Mic-Pre channel strip processors, a patch bay and this Behringer audio interface to be able to do some onsite recording at the gym where the classes are held. Being rack mountable was one of the benefits which leaned me more towards the Behringer over the NI and Presonus options.

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Old 12-25-2018, 04:47 PM   #33
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According to the Internet, TC Fanalizer has ADAT. I do not have the device, but you can check in the manual about possibility to connect dbx to it and route the signal to ADAT. Then Babyface is an option. On the safe side, RME UC has S/PDIF, ADAT and World Clock.

I do not understand why some people use $1000 amps to record $5000 instrument on $2000 computer and consider to save $300-$400 on the crucial part of the whole setup, the audio interface
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Old 12-25-2018, 08:01 PM   #34
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I do not understand why some people use $1000 amps to record $5000 instrument on $2000 computer and consider to save $300-$400 on the crucial part of the whole setup, the audio interface
If you've been around pro-audio gear long enough, and have built multiple DAWs then personally to me it's simple to understand. It boils down to audio interfaces have a limited shelf life. All audio interfaces tend to be reliant upon the OS, where OSes are continuously evolving. I've purchased higher end audio interfaces in the past. They all still work...on the older OSes I originally purchased them for but the company will eventually abandon them because continuously developing drivers for legacy products which have been discontinued and are no longer providing that company with sales revenue, is not a profitable business investment. I've worked for studios which have retired $20K-$40K digi-design audio interface hardware, so it's not like the more you pay has any guarantee that the audio interface will continue to be supported for the newer OSes.

Personally in regards to the RME Babyface, I asked myself "What would the babyface provide me over the Behringer, Presonus, or DI A6 to make it worth the additional $300-$400 investment?" The only thing I could think of would be potentially better drivers which wasn't worth the additional $300-$400 for me and my intended uses because software drivers do not gain me any sound improvement as you seem to be eluding to in your comments. For a similar price range as the Babyface, I was actually more interested in the Roland OctaCapture since it provided onboard DSP processing for the extra $.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0048KM70Y...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Maybe you can provide some insight of what the extra $300-$400 the RME would provide me over the Presonus, Behringer or NI A6?

To that point, As I originally stated I have multiple DBX mic-pre channels which I've been happy with for recording vocals and voice over work. So why would I invest in potentially and/or subjectively better quality RME mic-pre's in the Babyface as compared to the Behringer when I can just bypass the Mic pre's via digital in from the digi out of my DBX mic-pre channel processors? Thus, that is the reason I was specifically looking at interfaces which supported a S/PDIF input. I also consider a compressor and a De-esser to be vital pieces when recording vocals or any other live instrument for that matter in addition to the Mic-Pre, where the Babyface interface does not provide those pieces of processing....but the Roland OctaCapture does.

Your thoughts about the routing of the DBX Mic-pre channel through the TC Finalizer and outputted through the TC ADAT outs is a good thought. You're essentially using the TC as a coax to optical converter. However, I own the original TC finalizer which does not provide ADAT optical outs. It provides S/PDIF and AES/EBU Digital outs. 24/96 Codecs and ADAT outputs were added in the TC finalizer 96K which followed the original Finalizer release. My TC Finalizer is approaching an age of being 20 years old, and still works great. It has been a great original $1300 investment which has withstood the test of time. I can't say the same for any of my past audio interfaces. Those audio interfaces served me well but eventually fell into a non supported device state when OSes continued to evolve. Chasing the holy grail of top of the line gear is a futile path to pursue. I've learned that many years ago. Something "better" will always be coming out in a year or 2. When I stopped working in studios over 10 years ago, RME wasn't even considered to be one of the top of the line audio interfaces, they were considered to be a good value project studio entry level audio interface device company. It seems they have since evolved into a preferred higher end professional standard. I say good for them, but in another 10 years in the future, I'm certain there may be a new kid on the block filling that market segment. To see into the future, it often helps to look to the past. 10-15 years ago, we all had to own Digi Design hardware interfaces to record those $6K instruments as you describe, your tale and reasoning has been told many times over and will continue to be told. Then Digi-design purchased M-Audio because they learned they were missing out on the home studio project market segment. They've since abandoned supporting M-Audio and sold them off. It's a tough business....good luck to RME now trying to fill that niche market. I often find saying you own top of the line gear and that you're some type of "audiophile" is more for the folks with fragile egos who don't tend to be very good at the craft.

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Old 12-26-2018, 01:46 AM   #35
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The entire RME range runs the current drivers...

My FF400 is over ten years old, and uses the latest driver.
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Old 12-26-2018, 03:44 AM   #36
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Second on the rme stuff. Your paying for driver support for as long as the connection socket stays relevant. I have a fireface uc, that started in win xp ... still works in win 10 .. also works on my current macbook pro 13 inch from 2011.. and every other computer i connect to it provided i have the updated driver. ITs not only a better driver, but also has historical solid evidence of legacy support. Total mix, is pretty much a digital patch bay any input to any output. Nothing really like it and how useful it is. Its been the only interface company that always works without any hassles on every type of system(mac os windows). You pay for compatibility and solid performance on every type of computer. The babyface pro will work until usb is fully abandoned. The company only focuses really on interfacing and nothing else.

You would pay for rme for legacy support into the future as long as usb stays current. IF you computer dies, and you need a new one with a new type of usb protocol but the same socket, chances are the rme babyface will still work... I can't think of another manufacturer that does this type of legacy support.
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Old 12-26-2018, 04:47 AM   #37
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It boils down to audio interfaces have a limited shelf life.
Yes. So why you still want support companies which artificially obsolete devices on own wish?

Digital technology move one, there is no ISA, AGP. PCI is almost obsolete. But audio interfaces are declared obsolete just to sell you new devices. And sometimes they are not even "new".

Examples:
* Roland. All interfaces (also inside e-instruments) are Edirol based. Without any visible changes, with far from the best drivers and latency. In addition, they had no problem dropping support. Including $5000 VS-700. They have programmed (!) the end of life for it, by limiting the range of windows versions on which drivers can be installed. They are still working with a "hack", and the code is essentially the same as for other still "supported" devices.
* Presonus. Check VSL history.
* Behringer. On the box of entry level mixers, they had "ultra low latency" label. And there was ASIO driver. One day that driver has DISAPPEARED from Behringer site and replaced with the statement "install ASIO4ALL".
* M-Audio. Really old interfaces still work in Windows 10. But "newer" are obsolete.

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Personally in regards to the RME Babyface, I asked myself "What would the babyface provide me over the Behringer, Presonus, or DI A6 to make it worth the additional $300-$400 investment?" The only thing I could think of would be potentially better drivers which wasn't worth the additional $300-$400 for me and my intended uses because software drivers do not gain me any sound improvement as you seem to be eluding to in your comments.
I was not writing about the sound quality. I am not pro-audio, not even "semi-pro". And I am not an "audiophile".
But I am a software engineer. In a part of my activities close to the hardware (drivers), (microseconds and better) synchronization, data acquisition and (HW/SW) processing.

Quote:
Maybe you can provide some insight of what the extra $300-$400 the RME would provide me over the Presonus, Behringer or NI A6?
That can sound as a nonsense, but RME just "works". Especially on Windows that is not as "automatic" as someone can assume.
Good written drivers working with well designed hardware. Not easy to find combination these days.

Developing such systems is rather expensive. And the number of sold devices is (relatively) small. So all companies are forced to save somewhere. RME has decided to save on production costs (they are not manufacturing in Germany) and partially on supplementary components (power supplies, most if not all negative reports are about them, after 10-15 years of use).
But not on quality and software. Also there are conservative, logical, perfectionistic and do not like bloat in the same spirit as REAPER developers.

Not always mentioned extra "bonuses" of RME:
* on Windows, you can run many programs in parallel, also in "exclusive" mode. F.e. you can run two DAWs in ASIO and record both in a screen capture. Try to do this with other interfaces...
* flexible routing, combining hardware IN/OUTs and software IN/OUTs, always in sync and without extra latency.
* true mobile and well working on bus power (Babyface only).

Also note that many reports of "ultra low latency" with other interfaces is a fake or requires special conditions.
Primary origins for "fake" reports: incorrect interpretation of displayed by some software numbers and working in tests but not usable in practice settings.
Special conditions are f.e. thunderbolt compatible and optimized system working under 96kHz/32 samples buffer. When your system is stressed too much by that and you "relax" settings, you can easily become a (bad) surprise...

I already had completely stuck Roland once, not only till reboot but till driver re-installation. That is how I have bought Babyface Pro. I have imagined the feeling of ~250 people listening that crazy sound my stuck interface could produce next day during performance.

I do not claim that is always the case, f.e. relatively low latency on modern $1 Realtek chips is not a fake. And we use several Focusrite interfaces for conferences (WDM mode), many years and without glitches.

Babyface Pro is USB 2 device. And so it can not hit the sky of absolute lowest latencies of Presonus Quantum or RME UFX+. But its 3.2ms is real, on any computer and with relatively relaxed settings (48kHz/48).


PS. I have no problems installing low end CPUs (when I do not need the speed) but I do not try to save on motherboards, SSDs or power supplies. I prefer things working stable over unstable high performance.
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Old 12-26-2018, 09:02 AM   #38
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Yes. So why you still want support companies which artificially obsolete devices on own wish?
Just like any other company, there are no guarantees RME will continue to stay in business and continue to make audio interfaces.

Here's the last company I invested in for audio interfaces. They also made great stuff with great software drivers which "just worked".
https://echoaudio.com/pages/about-us

Guess what? Someone must have made a decision that the Pro Audio interface business is volatile and difficult to continue to support with the continued changes of OSes and the interface connections which they have no control over. They took all that expert experience and changed their focus to make audio testing interfaces instead. No artificial obsolesce, it was a complete obsolescence product shift. This type of thing has happened to just about every pro audio interface company on the planet but some how you have this belief that RME is the one company that will defy the odds right? A company which is charging premium prices in a niche market? Good luck with that thinking until some larger company decides to come along and purchases them. That's what constantly happens in this business market. Bigger fish eat the smaller fish and then their business focus strategy changes.

My decision is to not invest good money into a volatile business market but instead invest in good enough products which meet my needs today for $200-$300 and then when those needs change in the future due to connectivity and OS changes, invest in another $200-$300 product if needed at that time. At the end of the day, we're both planning on spending $600. You're investing your $600 all at once by predicting and relying on RME that they will continue to support their legacy products. I'm investing my $600 by breaking it up over time and ensuring I'm purchasing products that I know will work at the time I need to make a change and not relying on predicting the future.

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Originally Posted by azslow3 View Post
Examples:
* Roland. All interfaces (also inside e-instruments) are Edirol based. Without any visible changes, with far from the best drivers and latency. In addition, they had no problem dropping support. Including $5000 VS-700. They have programmed (!) the end of life for it, by limiting the range of windows versions on which drivers can be installed. They are still working with a "hack", and the code is essentially the same as for other still "supported" devices.
* Presonus. Check VSL history.
*Behringer. On the box of entry level mixers, they had "ultra low latency" label. And there was ASIO driver. One day that driver has DISAPPEARED from Behringer site and replaced with the statement "install ASIO4ALL".
* M-Audio. Really old interfaces still work in Windows 10. But "newer" are obsolete.


I was not writing about the sound quality. I am not pro-audio, not even "semi-pro". And I am not an "audiophile".
But I am a software engineer. In a part of my activities close to the hardware (drivers), (microseconds and better) synchronization, data acquisition and (HW/SW) processing.
You speak of ASIO4ALL in regards to Behringer as if it's a bad thing and being a software engineer, I'm kind of surprised by this since you seem to be lacking the insight benefits. When I see a company steering their customers towards the ASIO4ALL driver, I see this as a good thing which all the other audio interface developers should be doing. That is a path to commonize the driver for all these audio interfaces. Why are all these audio interface companies still wasting development time building their own drivers and continuing to support the development of those drivers? Wouldn't it be better if purchasing an audio interface was more about the hardware and less about the actual driver support? Isn't that the problem we're really debating over?

I will also point you to a successful example that is taking that same approach. As a software developer I'm sure you've heard of Google with their Android OS correct? Isn't that what the Android OS paradigm is really about? Google makes the standard interface drivers, connectivity interfaces to them and builds them into the OS? That way developers have 90% of what is needed to make their device work already built within the OS and spend the other 10% of development making refinements customized to their particular device application.

So from my viewpoint, I see Behringer being much more innovative than RME in pursuing a path to what we all really want from an audio interface where RME is gripping tight to continue down a path which doesn't provide their customers with devices which will guarantee them of what they really want from their interface which is the flexibility that it will continue to work with future OS updates across multiple OS platforms and connectivity interfaces. It's the Open Source paradigm where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole which BTW is a very similar paradigm which Reaper is built upon and it took a genius like Justin to figure out from Reaper's initial conception.

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Old 12-26-2018, 09:19 AM   #39
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Just like any other company, there are no guarantees RME will continue to stay in business and continue to make audio interfaces.
They have a long track record of actually doing so, far and above many others; interfaces is their one and only, primary business.

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You speak of ASIO4ALL in regards to Behringer as if it's a bad thing
It is bad, it's shifting responsibility onto a less than ideal third party driver that only exists because vendors fall short on that responsibility - it is a cost-cutting move only, not a technical advantage. It's also possible they just don't have the expertise to do audio drivers really well - but that should be a bit of an ironic red flag for someone selling an interface that needs/does exactly that. Regardless of vendor, the difference is often whether they are a "sound card" company (RME and others), or some company just wanting to add sound cards to their line. There is difference between those two.

It should be about your budget really, since talking one's self out of RME for other reasons is going to fall short. Lesser devices are simply not the full package RME (and some other vendors) deliver. I have one RME device going back to 2008, still fully supported across the board. If the Behringer works for you, get that, but it is not an RME no matter how we try to make it so; it just isn't.

The fact RME does and has continued to support stable working devices that are 10+ years old (likely longer, no time to check) is probably more valuable than many other attractive qualities, unless one doesn't mind having to buy gear over and over.

Last edited by karbomusic; 12-26-2018 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:42 AM   #40
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It is bad, it's shifting responsibility onto a less than ideal third party driver that only exists because vendors fall short on that responsibility - it is a cost-cutting move only, not a technical advantage.
That's just your opinion and not based upon any facts and just demonstrates your lack of understanding of Open Source code. The way Open Source code such as ASIO4ALL works is that it is shared publicly available code. When a developer uses it, they can make improvements upon that code, where ALL of their improvements have to be released back into the Open Source community. That way the code is continuously improving and evolving through the expertise of many instead of a single company. Isn't it better when code is continually being improved based on the input of many? Wouldn't it be better for you as a customer if the expertise of RME, and all the rest of of these companies were combined and trying to solve the same audio interface challenges/problems were working on the same code instead of 50 separate developments of code which are all intended to solve the same problems?

This is all part of the requirements of the Open source software licenses.

Companies such as RME don't like this because it releases any proprietary development they have done to the public, thus into the hands of their competitors where they feel they lose any competitive advantages. That's the reason you won't see RME supporting open source code such as ASIO4ALL.

As one example of Open Source, Reaper uses the LAME MP3 encoder/decoder. I'm sure Justin and the other folks working on Reaper are smart and talented enough to develop their own MP3 encoder/decoder but why would they? Because they want to prove to the world they can make a better MP3 encoder/decoder? According to your statement it's because they're falling short on their responsibility. Really? How about it's because they realize it takes a lot of time to develop it from the ground up and continue to maintain it and instead they can re-use code that already exists and spend more time developing things which are more important to you as a customer such as the user interface and adding features which you will have a greater appreciation for?

Open Source code use is in your best interest as a customer. That's the soul purpose of Open Source code, yet you're going to criticize it?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-s...tware_movement
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The open-source-software movement is a movement that supports the use of open-source licenses for some or all software, a part of the broader notion of open collaboration.[1] The open-source movement was started to spread the concept/idea of open-source software. Programmers who support the open-source-movement philosophy contribute to the open-source community by voluntarily writing and exchanging programming code for software development.[2] The term "open source" requires that no one can discriminate against a group in not sharing the edited code or hinder others from editing their already-edited work. This approach to software development allows anyone to obtain and modify open-source code. These modifications are distributed back to the developers within the open-source community of people who are working with the software. In this way, the identities of all individuals participating in code modification are disclosed and the transformation of the code is documented over time. This method makes it difficult to establish ownership of a particular bit of code but is in keeping with the open-source-movement philosophy. These goals promote the production of high-quality programs as well as working cooperatively with other similarly-minded people to improve open-source technology.
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A major advantage to open-source code is the ability for a variety of different people to edit and fix problems and errors that have occurred. Naturally, because there are more people who can edit the material, there are more people who can help make the information more credible and reliable. The open-source mission statement promises better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.
So yes, you are correct it provides an advantage of lower cost to develop. It also provides more flexibility, and better quality and reliability which are all the things you as a customer want.

Also as part of the open source license it requires a list of which open source code has been used within a product development. You may want to open that list within Reaper and take a peak at it and then tell me again how it's causing the Reaper developers to fall short on responsibility.
Here's a peak on this website which shows code that has been used and also how contributions and fixes have been made to it:
https://www.reaper.fm/lgpl/

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