Help Me Buy My First Interface!

ranjam

New member
OK, for pretty much the same $$$, my local music store has the Tapco Link USB or the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. Which one would be the prefered choice? Or is it six of one vs. half a dozen of the other? This is for a desktop PC. I don't care about any software that comes bundled; I just want the interface to work and sound good. I know I am not spending a lot on this, but still I think if I ask now, I may avoid disappointment and embarassment later. Thanks for any tips and advice.
 

RD423

New member
My personal choice I would have to say the M Audio just because you would be able to get the protools m audio software which now days protools is industry standard and you would be able to take your music to any studio and mix or edit there. A friend of mine has the m audio and it sounds good for the price. But I know you said you don't care about the software so it's all about which would be the best for you.
 

dgatwood

is out. Leave a message.
My personal choice I would have to say the M Audio just because you would be able to get the protools m audio software which now days protools is industry standard and you would be able to take your music to any studio and mix or edit there.

Pro Tools is overrated, IMHO.... :) Besides, if you ever decide to mix or edit at a pro studio, you can always use OMF to move your project between whatever app you use and whatever they have (or just freeze all the tracks to disk and skip the project file entirely).

As for the interfaces, the Mackie has a fair number of people complaining about pops and crackles while recording, but if it works with your machine, I'd expect the sound quality to be better. On the other hand, you'd be hard-pressed to find any USB interface without people complaining about pops and crackles. It tends to be par for the course in the USB audio world.

Whichever you buy, make sure you buy from a company that has a good return policy. In all likelihood, a USB interface will either work correctly with your machine immediately or you'll screw around with it for years and never get it to work reliably.
 

Nightfire

Aspiring Idiot
The Mackie Satelite is under $200 and is firewire rather than USB. And the preamps are getting good reviews.


Mike
 

RD423

New member
Pro Tools is overrated, IMHO.... :)

LOL... Yeah I used to think so to and then I got a job at a studio and they were using it and now it's my best friend. I think it is so much easier to mix using protools than a lot of other programs but we all know recommending programs is all just based off of personal opinions. OK now done with the ranting basically just make sure whatever interface you get is compatible with the program you plan on using.
 

dgatwood

is out. Leave a message.
LOL... Yeah I used to think so to and then I got a job at a studio and they were using it and now it's my best friend. I think it is so much easier to mix using protools than a lot of other programs but we all know recommending programs is all just based off of personal opinions. OK now done with the ranting basically just make sure whatever interface you get is compatible with the program you plan on using.

By contrast, I used to think it was pretty cool until I started to talk to people who have to maintain computers that run it.... :D
 

RD423

New member
LOL. I've never had a problem with protools period, the only issues I've had was with the pc, So then I converted over to mac and never had any other issues as of yet :D
 

ranjam

New member
Mac is likely 'better', but I don't feel like getting new everything. I hadn't heard about the 'pop' issue on any interface. But I did read somewhere that Fast Track USB has 'issues' with XP and Service Pack 3 :confused:.
 

pipelineaudio

Well-known member
fastrak usb had an issue where the output signal was going back thru the inputs. Make sure you can return it in case you get one that wasnt fixed. The drivers seem to be working ok on xp3, but if theres a specific issue I'd like to look into it

Mac will only be "better" if the software you want to run on it only runs on mac, which could well be the case
 

danico4not

New member
if its for a desktop pc, get an m-audio card.

a delta 44.
4 in/4 out 1/4 TRS
(any of the delta series are solid in my opinoon)
plus m-audio has great support for drivers.

the good thing about this interface is that its a pci card, so it connects directly to your motherboard. no latency worries, or any of that jazz. If you have to get a mixer to satisies XLR ins, do so..
 

dgatwood

is out. Leave a message.
if its for a desktop pc, get an m-audio card.

a delta 44.
4 in/4 out 1/4 TRS
(any of the delta series are solid in my opinoon)
plus m-audio has great support for drivers.

the good thing about this interface is that its a pci card, so it connects directly to your motherboard. no latency worries, or any of that jazz. If you have to get a mixer to satisies XLR ins, do so..

I disagree. I'm not impressed with the sound quality of the Delta hardware. I remember when I switched from a 1010LT to an M-Audio FW1814 and I remember how much clearer everything sounded. It was like a veil was lifted and suddenly everything was crisp. YMMV, of course. This sound quality difference shouldn't surprise anyone who has seen how many electrolytic caps are present on the Delta boards. There are so many cans that it looks like the storage area outside an oil refinery. :D

IMHO, if you're going to spend $150 on a Delta card, you're awfully close to the cost of a much more modern interface that sounds better, is likely to be just as reliable (and possibly more reliable), and will still be working long after the PCI standard is dead and buried (PCI is on its way out in favor of PCIe, which isn't compatible with legacy parallel PCI cards).

Also, my experience with M-Audio Delta drivers, at least on the Mac, was that they've been utter crap ever since they were bought by Digi (buy your competition and drive their products into the ground, perhaps?) and started incorporating support for Pro Tools M-Powered. Every driver after that caused problems for me up until I bought a machine that no longer had any legacy PCI slots and I sold the thing.

Their PC drivers have also lagged way behind the rest of the industry, dribbling out Vista drivers all the way up until something like a year and a half after MOTU had all their hardware working in Vista, if memory serves.... I'm not too impressed by that. And M-Audio is still working on 64-bit Vista (in Beta) while MOTU shipped theirs in non-Beta state in January... of 2007.... And people complain that MOTU's Windows support is bad? :D

I could probably rant for a week about my M-Audio experiences, but I'll save a few bits and suggest that you search for some of my rants on the subject before considering their hardware.
 

Minion

Blow Me !!!
Ive been running a delta 44 and a 1010LT for a couple years now and it runs flawlessly ,Not even the slightest hickup pluss it sounds better than my Buddies alessis Multimix FW but that isn"t saying much....

I got both of my Delta"s used on e-bay for under $200 for both and I can record up to 14 tracks at a time pluss midi.....

While I agree that there are better interfaces out there it is hard to beat 14 ins for under $200 and for me on XP SP2 useing mackie Traction 2.1 it has been rock solid and super stable....

Cheers
 

ranjam

New member
Unfortunately, I don't have any open PCI slots. It pretty much has to be from a USB slot. But apparently (did someone mention it here?) the Tapco has Mackie pre's, so that ought to be pretty cool. I may just try it this next weekend. With work and family, I had to come up with some strong persuading to have Sunday 'Dad's Recording Day!'
 

NYMorningstar

Recording Modus Operandi
If you could hold off a little and save a few more dollars, the Tascam 2488 MkII is an awesome 24 track recorder 36 channel mixer. It's portable and you'd be able to record a whole band. Think future...
 

ranjam

New member
Well, what I do now is record to a Zoom HD16 and then dump that into my computer and tweak it with Cubase. So the number of inputs isn't such a big deal to me. There has been, oh, 912 times so far that I wish I didn't have to drag out the Zoom, power it up, wait for the hard drive to settle down, and then try and add say one little cymbal splash or a quick fill, or a guitar lick to the Zoom and then dump it to my computer. That's whay I thought an interface could save a whole lot of steps. I'd still use the Zoom for 99% of my recording, but if there is a quick lick I need to add, it's a nice dream that that interface is always sitting on top of my computer and ready to go. Does this make any sense? I may just try the Tapco this weekend and see what it's all about.
 

Nightfire

Aspiring Idiot
Apologies for reviving a thread thats two months old...BUT...did you ever get the Tapco? And did you like it?
Im in a position where I need something with two mic inputs, cheap, fast.


Mike
 

Guitar Hack

New member
I use the Tascam US 144 MKII interface. It works well and has two inputs as well as a midi input. Plenty of adjustments. Most interfaces will work fine. You would probably want at least two inputs to record stereo.
 

White_Devil

New member
I use line6 POD Studio UX1 and have no complaints about it :), my only detail is that i just have 2 channels max, but for me, i use virtual drums, and record bass and then guitars with just one channel at the time, so is not a big problem ;)
 
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