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Thread: Comparing 8 Input USB / Firewire Interfaces

  1. #1
    Witterings is offline Newbie
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    Comparing 8 Input USB / Firewire Interfaces

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    I think I'm going to have to go down the 8 input USB / Firewire Interface route, I want to use it mainly for recording drums but also the rest of a band sometimes as well.
    If anybody has any input on the following selection it would greatly appreciated, with the current economic climate I am very budget conscious as well although I don't want to spend good money on something that's not up to the job as that's just a false economy.
    I'll mainly be recording onto Reaper and whilst I'm still very new to this have heard a lot about latency causing problems so if any are paticularily vunerable would try and avoid them. There also seems to be a debate whether USB 2.00 or Forewire is the way to go and I'm not sure what the differences are although whilst my current computer has a Firewire connector it seems to be "going out of fasion" and if it's likely to be phased out would probably avoid it as if I upgrade the computer in the future and there's no Firewire available I'll have to change the Interface - again though anyones input on that greatly appreciated as well.

    The two I'm most interested in at the moment are:

    Tascam US1641 http://www.tascam.com/products/us-1641.html
    In all honesty because currently budget conscious it's the cheapest and if it'll do a good job then I'd probably go with this unless there are some serious negatives or the others offer much more in comparison

    And

    Zoom R16 http://www.samsontech.com/products/p...fm?prodID=2009
    I like this in case I ever do want to record live gigs and it's portability however I'll be recording straight to Reaper most of the time and if the budget for development of this was concentrated on the recording as opposed to the Interface and as a result other interfaces were better / more compatible / easier to record to Reaper then I'd forgo the added benefit of an easily transportable recorder

    Others I've seen but again know nothing about and have no reason to favour one over the other are:

    PreSonus FireStudio http://www.presonus.com/products/Det...px?ProductId=5

    Presonus FP10 http://www.millennium-music.co.uk/pr...ail/key/p/ppp/

    Line 6 TonePort UX8 http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com/en/74121

    MOTU 8Pre http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/8pre

    Any input, advantages / disadvantages and comparisons especially taking into account ease of use, effects, reliability, latency especially if there are known problems with any that may act as knockouts would be very much appreciated !!!!!

  2. #2
    Washburn100's Avatar
    Washburn100 is offline Force of Nature
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    Tough choices to make, there are so many great interfaces these days.

    One note about the Presonus options is the included console software thingy. From what I know, gives you direct monitor capability (zero latency). You may want to look into that a little more.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    TeyshaBlue's Avatar
    TeyshaBlue is offline It's the smell..
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    That's an interesting pairing. Both have some of the same capabilities, but then they diverge. The Tascam offers 16 channels of throughput and supports a higher sample/bit rate.

    The Zoom offers 8x8 at a lower sample/bit rate....24/44.1. The standalone recording feature is pretty cool but the control surface functionality is a real nice bonus.

    I pondered these and a few others (Lexicon Omega, mAudio Fast Track Ultra among others) and eventually went with the Zoom R16. I'll likely never use the standalone recording functions, although I create a nice recording using only it to test/push it's features. What sold me was the control surface functionality....I freakin hate mousing faders and settings, so being able to do this on the interface itself was a nice surprise. The ZOOM does not support 64bit OS at this time, but it is in developement. It has been a very stable interface especially with the release of the 1.10 OS update and version 1.1 drivers.
    There's a user named johnnymegabyte who compared these and opted to go with the Tascam 164UF, so you might give him a shout as to how that is working for him.
    Here's a thread of his with some details... Anyone tried Tascam M-164UF ?
    Both units support hardware monitoring, so there are no latency issues to deal with.
    Last edited by TeyshaBlue; 01-12-2010 at 14:24.
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    Witterings is offline Newbie
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    Thanks for the replies !!!

    TeyshaBlue,
    Are you using the Zoom to record to other software on your PC and if so how is it for that, as mentioned I'm mainly intending to use Reaper.
    I have seen some mention of latency issues, any thoughts / input on that or is it something that's been resolved with Driver / Firmware updates ???
    Can any of the inputs be used for Mic with XLR, Mic with TRS or guitar / bass, some of the other models I mentioned I think most are just XLR inputs so if we want 2 x guitars and bass as well at the same time it may cause an issue. Also the mics we have at the moment for vocals have TRS Jacks rather than XLR although it wouldn't be a huge issue to buy a couple of new leads if need be and we don't have any pre-amps, would we need some for the mics ??
    You also mention it doesn't support 64 bit OS, in simple terms can you tell me what that is as and what difference it makes, whilst I'm still learning there's an awful lot to take in !!!!
    Once again thanks for your input so far !!!!

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    I own the R16. It is 8x2 in usb mode. The control surface works quite well. The standalone recorder is quite good. The built-in FX are passible for most demo work.

    As a USB interface, I would look elsewhere. While I have achieved 8 in to Sonar, I've had to dial up the latency to about 50ms to make that a realty. Overdubbing is nearly impossible with this approach.

    It's best application is clearly as a standalone and 8 ins/16 tracks for $400 is a real deal. Of course the 32gb SDHC card will set you back another $100.
    "Who's that singing? That can't be me, I don't sound like that."

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    TeyshaBlue is offline It's the smell..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witterings View Post
    Thanks for the replies !!!

    TeyshaBlue,
    Are you using the Zoom to record to other software on your PC and if so how is it for that, as mentioned I'm mainly intending to use Reaper.
    I have seen some mention of latency issues, any thoughts / input on that or is it something that's been resolved with Driver / Firmware updates ???
    Can any of the inputs be used for Mic with XLR, Mic with TRS or guitar / bass, some of the other models I mentioned I think most are just XLR inputs so if we want 2 x guitars and bass as well at the same time it may cause an issue. Also the mics we have at the moment for vocals have TRS Jacks rather than XLR although it wouldn't be a huge issue to buy a couple of new leads if need be and we don't have any pre-amps, would we need some for the mics ??
    You also mention it doesn't support 64 bit OS, in simple terms can you tell me what that is as and what difference it makes, whilst I'm still learning there's an awful lot to take in !!!!
    Once again thanks for your input so far !!!!
    I'm using it with Sonar Producer 8 and it's working just fine. On a whim, I installed Reaper on a netbook a few weeks ago just to push the limits of the little Atom processor those use. It worked quite well with Reaper so I wouldn't anticipate any problems with there. Plus, the Reaper community is awesome and help is readily available.
    All of the inputs are combo XLR/ 1/4" inputs. All 8 input channels can go either way. Phantom power is only availble on two of them, tho so some planning is required.
    Contemporary OS, Operating Systems have evolved to 64 bit processing as opposed to the commonly available 32bit that most of us have been using for years. 64bit systems have the potential to be much quicker, but I've not noticed much in my experiences with it, few that they have been. Also 64bit can access much more memory than a typical 32 bit system.
    I'm running Vista Home 32bit on my rig.
    Mike..have you updated your OS and drivers? I found the R16 to be much, much more stable after the upgrade. I routinely run 8 - 14 tracks with no latency issues whatsoever....often tracking as many as 6 tracks at a time.

    I don't want to come off as a shill for ZOOM...it has it's fair share of issues and limitations, which in the sub $500 market, that's what you choose...which set of issues and limitations will impact what you expect to do and which won't. For me, and the smaller projects I'm working with these days, it's an ideal fit. The 16/44.1 limitation is moot for me. That standard has been perfectly capable for CD and remains sonically, more than adequate. If I were summing more than 16 channels, then the higher bit rates would be helpful, but since I'm not, it fits my situation perfectly.
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    Witterings is offline Newbie
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    Many thanks again, lot of info there, do appreciate !!!!!!!!!!

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    Feeeeg is offline Newbie
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    I may be way off base here, but from the research I have done I think I have discovered that usb 2.0 is faster than firewire in burst.

    but conversely the firewire is faster in sustained data transfer.

    I did not go too far into research, as I made most of my decision based on budget alone, and went with the tascum us1641.

    From other side research that I have done, i believe that tascam is discontinuing the us1641 for a firewire version, and the price on said unit dropped drastically in decemeber, and now most suppliers have them on backorder.

  9. #9
    Lance135 is offline Senior Member
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    I'm always concerned with driver support on discontinued pieces of gear. However, since every interface will likely be discontinued eventually (except the M-Audio Delta 1010 - they will keep selling it until the end of time, I think), as long as the company is still in business, they will likely keep updating their drivers.

    As for USB 2.0 vs Firewire 400, I tend to think of Firewire as a lower latency interface (though not as good as PCI, potentially), which makes a big difference when controlling software synths with a Midi controller.
    Avid Student of Home Recording

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    johnnymegabyte is offline Force of Nature
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feeeeg View Post
    i believe that tascam is discontinuing the us1641 for a firewire version
    US1641 is being replaced by US-2000. http://www.tascam.com/products/us-2000.html
    Looks like more knobs, possible a quasi mixer capablity

    I just got the Tascam M-164UF. 16 channel analog mixer with FX and 16 channel USB 2.0 Audio Interface (no MIDI or SPDIF). However, CH 1-10 are direct, 11-16 are FX 1&2, Sub + Stereo Mixer = 16.
    More channels than I need. It works great too

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