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Thread: Best budget audio interface

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    Best budget audio interface

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    Hey everyone,

    So I'm going to buy a pair of JBL LSR305 studio monitors and I'm also looking for an audio interface to use with them.

    It has to be a USB interface. I'm only going to use as kind of an intermediary between my laptop and the speakers. I'm not going to plug any MIDI controller, instrument or microphone to it. I have no interest in input ports besides the USB port, and the only output ports I need are for my studio monitors. I'd prefer they were TSR/XLR for the balanced connection, but RCA is okay as well.

    I don't have a well defined budget, but I'd say less than 100$.

    I've been researching a lot about this already and I ended up with three audio interfaces that fit my needs without any unnecessary extras:

    - Lexicon Alpha Studio;
    - M-Audio M-Track;
    - Behringer U-Phoria UMC22.

    If you guys have better suggestions, please mention them. I'm not an expert at all in this.
    Last edited by evilmonster18; 1 Week Ago at 11:20.

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    If you are SURE you won't need the extras...https://www.andertons.co.uk/audient-...iABEgLytPD_BwE

    Excellent name for audio/converter quality and the 'Big Knob on Top' is much handier than a dinky front VC. Also ALWAYS go for XLR or at least TRS BALANCED outputs. At its price I did not expect that JBL to have balanced inputs but it does! Use them.

    Other AI reccies? Presonus 96, if really strapped, the Alesis i02 Express is very good for the money.

    N.B. If you run the JBLs and an AI with the laptop powered up you MIGHT get a hum/ground loop problem (proved if it goes away on battery power) Panic not, fixable.

    Dave.

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    So, basically you just want a D/A (digital-to-audio) device to drive some more expensive speakers from your laptop? The [lowly] Behringer UCA202 will probably do what you want, at least until you do decide you want something with inputs!
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    So, basically you just want a D/A (digital-to-audio) device to drive some more expensive speakers from your laptop? The [lowly] Behringer UCA202 will probably do what you want, at least until you do decide you want something with inputs!
    Indeed it will Keith and there is at least one report that shows the D/A converter is actually very good (A/D not too hot). The problem is that there would be no analogue control of the output, output is unbalanced and is at neg 10 and might not fully drive the JBLs.

    That said, for what, $30? The UCA 202 is really too handy a gadget NOT to have around!

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    If you are SURE you won't need the extras...

    Excellent name for audio/converter quality and the 'Big Knob on Top' is much handier than a dinky front VC. Also ALWAYS go for XLR or at least TRS BALANCED outputs. At its price I did not expect that JBL to have balanced inputs but it does! Use them.

    Other AI reccies? Presonus 96, if really strapped, the Alesis i02 Express is very good for the money.

    N.B. If you run the JBLs and an AI with the laptop powered up you MIGHT get a hum/ground loop problem (proved if it goes away on battery power) Panic not, fixable.

    Dave.
    That's a bit more expensive than what i intended to spend. I know when it comes to audio interfaces, people shouldn't look too much at money since the audio chain is only as good as its weakest link, but for that price i could also get the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, which basically everyone on the internet vows for.

    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    So, basically you just want a D/A (digital-to-audio) device to drive some more expensive speakers from your laptop? The [lowly] ... UCA202 will probably do what you want, at least until you do decide you want something with inputs!
    Yeah, I had my eyes on that one as well, but everyone says not to trust Behringer products since they tend to give a lot of random problems.

    Indeed it will Keith and there is at least one report that shows the D/A converter is actually very good (A/D not too hot). The problem is that there would be no analogue control of the output, output is unbalanced and is at neg 10 and might not fully drive the JBLs.

    That said, for what, $30? The UCA 202 is really too handy a gadget NOT to have around!
    Are the balanced outputs really that important? I mean, the studio monitors' cables will run for 2 meters tops. Does it really make much of a difference for such a short distance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by evilmonster18 View Post
    ...
    Yeah, I had my eyes on that one as well, but everyone says not to trust Behringer products since they tend to give a lot of random problems.

    Are the balanced outputs really that important? I mean, the studio monitors' cables will run for 2 meters tops. Does it really make much of a difference for such a short distance?
    I've had the predecessor one of those Behringer things for a very long time - 8 years at least, along with their basic 2(XLR)ch mixer. No problems. In fact I've got a 4XLR input mixer and an 8ch ADAT unit. Cheap well, yeah, I wouldn't take it on tour or pack it around for bar use. But, for home use or occasional use outside it'll be fine. (I think their "problems" are due as much, if not more, to the fact it's users who bought the cheapest possible piece of equipment and then flogged it... But, I digress.) That D/A has no moving parts and no power supply other than the USB power - I wouldn't be worried one bit about it failing if it works the first week.

    And, no, for a line-level run of 2 meters, unless you're wrapping those cables in some other cable with high EFI output, it's unlikely to matter if you use unbalanced lines. Us older folks all had unbalanced lines that long between our turntables (much lower output), tape decks, CD players and amps/receivers and didn't complain about noise. You might even have cables that long between an A/V receiver and 5.1 soundbar for all I know.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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