Budget audio interface?

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by MadKaw, Feb 4, 2021.

  1. MadKaw

    MadKaw Electromatic

    75
    Apr 17, 2020
    Michigan, USA
    Thinking about getting one... kind of sort of favor the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Anybody tried more than one and can explain why they like one over another?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jardin

    Jardin Electromatic

    29
    Jan 8, 2021
    NM
    Unless someone has had better experience than I have with them, I would not get anything less than the Scarlett 2i2. I have one and eventually upgraded to a Clarett 8preX when I started having the need to mic a full set of drums etc. Before the Scarlett I tried some presonus 2 channel thing that was so unmemorable I cannot think of the model ....I ended up giving it away to a friend who also writes music and had no money and bought the Scarlett. This was at least 6 years ago, so my Scarlett is 1st generation and they have presumably improved. The preamps are great and in general the are really good interfaces. I just had the typical problem with the pots not having much adjustment until you get to 7 or 8 and then it was all there so gain staging was always fun. But if you take your time and dial it in, the end result is usable for a homespun album or the like (but it is an inexpensive preamp so don't expect too much either).

    I guess it just gets down to what you want to accomplish with it. I now still use mine in my little shop as I often get in the mode at 4am while the rest of the family is sleeping and this lets me work out my scratch tracks pretty much anywhere I want.

    They also work great for outdoor nature recordings which I love. I will often add these tracks to the back round of songs or play along with Nature's Moment as a band if you will. Nothing like having the birds and a creek back you up with song and inspiration.

    Hope this babble helps in some way!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
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  3. slickfaster

    slickfaster Country Gent

    Dec 29, 2009
    USA
    2i2 owner here.. combined with Garage Band and iPad ...
    works great.. just sucks that each song you do ya got to reset audio designations...but after ya get used to jumping through the hoops for each song it’s still a drag....
     
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  4. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    414
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    I use a 2nd gen 2i2 with Reaper; it works very well. For my mics I want a little more flexibility in tuning so I run a two channel Mackie mixer in front of it which allows more fine tuning of input signal.
     
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  5. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I've owned or toured with at least a dozen different MOTU interfaces over the years & they've always been super solid, absolutely reliable & excellent sounding. I haven't used this one myself yet, but I would look seriously at the MOTU M2: https://motu.com/en-us/products/m-series/
     
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  6. larryr

    larryr Synchromatic

    676
    Mar 6, 2012
    Camarillo, Ca.
    I have a Lexicon Alpha. I am not using it for more then 1 guitar track at a time. It's cheap, it works.Cant say much more about it
     
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  7. jetbunny

    jetbunny Electromatic

    85
    Mar 29, 2017
    NYC
    2i2 Scarlett 1st Generation - still works. I got it 2013. No problems at all. Using garageband.
     
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  8. mschafft

    mschafft Synchromatic

    755
    Jan 19, 2017
    Switzerland
    My trusty old M-Audio Fast Track works fine.
     
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  9. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I highly recommend all the Focusrite Scarlet range - all excellent imo.
    I tried M-Audio and Motu first and prefer Focusrite cos the preamps deliver higher quality :)
     
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  10. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    233
    Dec 18, 2020
    UK
    I started off my DAW type recordings with the Lexicon Alpha. As you say, "It's cheap, it works",
    but there's not much gain on the inputs, and for some reason, the XLR on the back didn't work.
    Then got the Scarlett 2i2 2nd generation that was heaps better.
    Recently found myself in a situation where I needed another interface. Immediately thought of another Scarlett and bought the 3rd generation which now has the 'air' buttons.
    Wow! these give a lovely subtle, but noticeable lift.
    Also the 3rd generation have an improved 'direct monitor' way of doing things.

    I'd thought about going for the more expensive Claret, but as the Scarlett fulfils my needs, I can't see any point in paying out more.
     
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  11. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Define budget. The Scarlet 2:2 is about 150 bucks. The Scarlet Solo is cheaper but why would you?

    The only thing I would really consider is how well it matches the system(PC/Mac) and particular OS version.
     
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  12. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    233
    Dec 18, 2020
    UK
    "The Scarlet Solo is cheaper but why would you?" - Exactly!
    Works perfectly on my Mac running Catalina. Also with previous version, Mojave and El Capitan.
    Trialed it briefly on the latest Big Sur, seems ok.
     
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  13. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    If you also perform or need to practice with a PA or monitors, then maybe consider a small mixer that can handle your other needs but one with a USB interface also. I just got a Peavey PV6BT and it is just right for my small acoustic group, and I am starting to use it for some home recording as well. Might not be budget, but it has many other useful features and can be used for live performances as well as recording. There are several other mixers with the USB interface built in as well these days. With a lightning to USB-B cable, I can record video on my iPhone with the audio from the mixer.
     
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  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Mac use is a potential issue with all of them.
    I've never owned a Mac so can't comment on how the 3 brands I've used matches with it.
    But it's only an issue if you own a Mac :)
     
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  15. Jardin

    Jardin Electromatic

    29
    Jan 8, 2021
    NM
    I am on Mac and have no issues with the 2i2.

    Not sure you can beat it for the money.
     
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  16. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    233
    Dec 18, 2020
    UK
    What potential issues have you heard about?
     
  17. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Like @Ricochet I've heard of some compatibility issues with Mac's which is common for them.
    But seems like Focusrite resolved that long ago.

    It's just something Mac owners should check with everything plugged into one
     
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  18. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    414
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    Been using mine with a Mac for a number of years and various OS versions (currently Catalina and Big Sur) with no issues. Just plug it in and select it as input and output, assign to the tracks and go. A buddy of mine just bought a Gen3 and I am looking forward to seeing how he likes it.
     
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  19. MadKaw

    MadKaw Electromatic

    75
    Apr 17, 2020
    Michigan, USA
    The air mode is actually one of the major selling points for me... I am finally showing some hearing loss at the high end... brighter sounds better to me. OTOH, while for now I'm recording for me, at some point I might want other people to listen, too.
     
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