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Audio Interface Roll Call
#3035062 03/25/20 10:33 PM
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Given that there are 2,349 different modules of audio interfaces, what are you using, why, and with what family of computer?

For my office computer ("Studio B"), I'm using the Apollo Twin USB with Windows 10. I like the effects for sure, but it's also compact and easy to hit the right buttons at the right time.

For the main studio (also Windows), it's the PreSonus Studio 192. There are two main reasons: Since I'm using Studio One a lot these days, the integration is a big plus. Also, I like that it has an ADAT interface, so I can get extra inputs in conjunction with the TASCAM US-20x20, and the mixer application is pretty comprehensive.

I've also used the Zoom UAC-8. I think it's underrated, it's an excellent interface. If I wasn't using the Studio 192, I'd be using the Zoom with the US-20x20. I also gotta say the MBox Pros were really good interfaces, I think the name was al albatross because the original MBoxes were, shall we say, lacking. The Mackie interfaces I've tested have given a good account of themselves, as well.

For doing seminars, and for use with my MacBook Pro, I use the Presonus 6|8. I can count on it, it fits in my carry-on, and it's cute. When space is really at a premium, IK Multimedia's iRig Pro I/O gets the nod.

Frankly, although these days every manufacturer says they have "the best most bestest wonderful transparent preamps ever!!," the state of the art is such that they're all pretty darn good. I really don't think the limiting factor for most audio productions is an interface's mic pres.

What about you?

Last edited by Anderton; 03/25/20 10:41 PM.
Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035065 03/25/20 11:06 PM
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I'm down to using just two interfaces.

On my older MBP (the last 17" that I've mentioned I cling on to because of the UAD expresscard) there is the original Presonus StudioLive 1642 interface. The big plans I had for that have yet to materialize for various reasons however the unit also sees frequent use as just an ordinary mixer around here.

On my newer MBP (2013 model I believe) I use the MOTU 828x thunderbolt unit. Obviously it integrates well with Digital Performer and is a lightweight single space unit that I'll be hauling along when I get some more backing tracks completed.

Otherwise I still have an old Presonus FP10 unit that used to be attached to my desktop Dell XPS i5, I think one of the win10 updates may have rendered it useless but I held onto it because at one point I thought I might be using it for a preamp (it has 8 XLR amped inputs which I believe is rather rare among interfaces in this class). Also in the closet somewhere is the Line 6 KB37 unit. I always liked it and have kept it but it just never seemed to be very handy to use unless you really have need for the keyboard part which I rarely did.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035066 03/25/20 11:08 PM
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Fairly recent transition from MOTU Hybrid (Firewire and USB 2) interfaces - an 896 MkIII and an Audio Express. I have a love/hate thing for their software and certain features on the interfaces.
I also found their preamps to be just a bit flat sounding, not bad at all and certainly useful but not inspiring either.

Before that I had a Mackie with 4 Onyx mic preamps, single rack space. That was Firewire only and Mackie never supported any firmware updates so system upgrades left it behind. Plus all the pots got scratchy.

Now I have a Presonus Quantum, the single rack space with 8 total preamps. I like that 2 of the input jacks are on the front and are Mic/Line with switchable DI, that is super handy. I like that the mic gain contol is a single digital controller on the front with simple track selection and/or Universal Control software. No pots on the inputs to get scratchy - I liked that about the MOTU stuff too. I also like 2 headphone outs on front with their own volume controls. It is really easy to use this interface, the preamps have a bit more sparkle and there are 2 Thunderbolt 2 sockets in back so I put a hard drive in the back of the rack. Overall, I am happy with this, I can't think of anything that bugs me.

Running a 2014 MacBook Pro, still on High Sierra but Catalina seems inevitable soon. I need to create a boot disk with a copy of my current system and software - Adobe and some other things I use will get tossed off the boat when Catalina is installed. Waveform 11 is compatible, not sure about Universal Control yet. I've got a large LG monitor off the HDMI port and I've got Universal Controll set up to use the full screen on the laptop.
I leave the Thunderbolt cable plugged in, I have a 4 port active USB thingie for external backups and interwebz. I've found it's best to unplug the internet while recording, had a crash or two that stopped when I started disconnecting. Easier than figuring out why!!!!

I'm happy, I have enough channels to dedicate some of them and leave some open.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035139 03/26/20 11:23 AM
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My favorite is a Mackie 1200F. It has 12 mic inputs, oodles of line level and ADAT optical inputs, and gobs of outputs. One of its particularly nice features is that there are four front panel headphone jacks, each with its own volume control, and each fed from its own audio stream, so that in a DAW, they can be assigned to a bus output or even a track. In addition there's a very sensible DSP mixer with a tab to select the mixer for each output. It still sounds very good, but it's Firewire, the newest ASIO driver available for it works with Windows 7 but there's zero support beyond that. I don't know about MacOS support. And this is early 2000s design, so the DSP isn't as fast as what we see today. Mixer throughput delay - mic in to line out, bypassing the computer - is about 1.5 ms. A modern interface can do about 1/10 of that.

On the work desk, I have a Behringer UMC202HD, in the electronics workshop, there's a Mackie Satellite, and in the antique laptop that's my on-line-radio recorder, there's a Digigram VX Pocket PCMCIA card. I also have an IK Pro Duo or something like that for portable work when I want something other than one of my handheld recorders or Korg MR-1000. I also have a Mackie 1640 mixer and a couple of smaller Mackie Onyx mixers with a Firewire interface.

I keep wanting to get a USB interface with 4 inputs and 4 outputs, but that would probably replace the Satellite in the shop to give me more flexibility for test setups, but it wouldn't get a lot of use out of it for music.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035152 03/26/20 01:29 PM
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Bought the new UA Apollo Twin X. But it was faulty and I had to send it back. Will be getting a replacement soon.

This should be a big upgrade from the Roland Quadcapture I've been using for I can't remember how many years....

I put together a new computer - PC - just for the occasion. Big muscley i9 with those new M.2 drives (those suckers are FAST!).

nat

Last edited by Nowarezman; 03/26/20 03:20 PM.
Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035166 03/26/20 02:43 PM
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I'm still in need of an upgrade, and will be for a minute. I have 2 Native Instrument Audio Kontrol 1 interfaces, one on a desktop, one on a laptop. Thay are simple and problem free, do what I need, so I am good for now.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035178 03/26/20 03:40 PM
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TASCAM DM3200 connected to an iMac via FireWire in the main studio.

Audient iD4 connected to an older Macbook in the live tracking playpen.

Both computers running DP10.

dB

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035179 03/26/20 03:49 PM
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My old Windows XP and 7 DAWS had eMu 1820 and 1820m (better mic preamps). The 1820m died, and was replaced with a 0404, which is only used to feed audio into the Win 7 machine. Haven't really used any DAW capability in a while, but my shop PC3X and either PC361 or SK1 feed audio through the eMu on the way to the amplified speakers. For some reason, going through a mixer gives a better sound.

Current device is a Focusrite 18i8 version 1, bought just after version 2 came out. USB interface, and have the drivers for both Win and Mac. At the moment, it is connected to my Macbook Pro, with a couple of condenser microphones input, and using GarageBand as the DAW to produce an audio stream of the Bible Study lessons that I teach while the church is meeting only by online methods. Then I take the audio stream, put it into VSDC Free Video Editor, add some still images for video, and put it on my fresh new YouTube channel.

I'm very much not an expert at this, but it is doing a lot better than the built-in microphone on my HP Zbook 17 Win 10 notebook, which was what I used the first lesson. Audio sounded ok, but level was all over the place as I would turn my head a bit. I know, this is a very simple usage, but it is getting used more than it was. I like the Focusrite, it is possible to use it standalone as an audio mixer as well as with a computer.


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Jim
Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Greg Mein #3035186 03/26/20 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Greg Mein
On my newer MBP (2013 model I believe) I use the MOTU 828x thunderbolt unit.
Did you find Thunderbolt a life-changing experience, or just another incremental upgrade?

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035211 03/26/20 06:06 PM
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I have one audio interface. It's a Resident Audio T4 thunderbolt 2 interface, and I've used it for five years with a late-2015 iMac 21.5" with OS's El Capitan through Mojave without too many issues. The driver has been fiddly occasionally with updates so I found that the original older driver actually worked best. I do routinely need to adjust buffer settings or restart the computer to eliminate crackling issues sometimes but I don't think that's necessarily an audio-interface problem. Latency is amazing thanks to Thunderbolt, almost none if you're able to run a low buffer setting. I can run at 128 and not notice hardly any latency. Sound quality is great too - 96khz. Four combo inputs, four outputs, direct monitoring with DAW mix adjustment, and phantom power on all four inputs (switchable)


Yamaha: Motif XF8/YS200/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Korg: Krome 61
Kurzweil: PC3
Roland: JV-1000
Casio: CT-370
Kimball Valencia/Broadway/Conn 465/WCOC Reed Organ/Allen ADC-220/Accordions
Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035236 03/26/20 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Did you find Thunderbolt a life-changing experience, or just another incremental upgrade?

I essentially did it as a convenience update when I began using this MBP on live gigs (went from an 828mk3). This MBP has SSD which was a very noticeable difference from the MBP I'd been using so at the same time I also bought an external thunderbolt SSD for my music files. I figured I was in pretty good shape for anything I could throw at it then but the key to this setup has always been stability for live use. Audio recording on this setup has been minimal.

So, although there was a significant boost in performance, I believe the SSD drives had more impact for my purposes.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035241 03/26/20 07:53 PM
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When I installed my Dante setup, I wrote a detailed post elsewhere.

A shorter summary is this:

When the RME UFX no longer had enough ports, I was ready to be done with USB and its distance/cable/bandwidth limitations. I wanted something that sat directly on the PCIe buss or Thunderbolt. I chose the Focusrite Dante interfaces. The PCIe card is rock solid and 3.3 ms of latency @ 48khz. There is the ~$500-$700 Dante "tax" in the form of adapter cards for some boxes, but I love the modularity. I can no longer "outgrow" my interface. I can just add another one to the network in whatever capacity or configuration I need - even from different vendors. I run about 40 channels across it between the synths and then all the feeds back into a Dante-connected Midas M32 for monitors, clicks, cues, etc. It is rock solid and "just works". The digital patch bay is wonderful and having Ethernet for audio distribution let me pull up a huge stack of cables and stick them back in drawers. My studio wiring got simpler for sure, despite gaining more channels of IO.

I have three Ethernet networks in the studio: I have a Dante audio network (on a dedicated POE switch for the AM-2 headphone amps), a VEP network for samples, and an Internet network in the studio. All run on separate physical ports into the DAW (4 port Intel PCIe NIC cards work great and no DPC latency issues). My Genelec monitors all connect their control network via Ethernet cables too. These cables are SO much cheaper than Canare or Mogami! So at least at my place, it appears Ethernet is the future.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035247 03/26/20 08:46 PM
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Thanks for that, and the link to the detailed post. I've had a chance to check out Dante, and I agree with you on all your points. Unfortunately it's a bit too rich for my blood, and my studio is compact; I get extra inputs through ADAT light pipes. But someday...

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Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035403 03/27/20 08:49 PM
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If I was in the market for a new interface it would be Dante all the way. But I'm still extremely happy with my 11 year old RME HDSPe AES-32 PCIe card through an Aurora 16VT. I'm not sure that Dante exceeds its specs and even if it does I don't think it would make a difference for my application. I'm running most VSTs at a 32 sample buffer size with no audio pops. The card is still supported with periodic driver updates and amazingly it still list for more than I paid for it 11 years ago. Unless PCIe goes away I think I'll be using this for the foreseeable future.

Btw while waiting for a replacement after my mb fried last year I set up my back up PC to use USB direct in to the Aurora (no PCIe on the old computer). But the latency was extremely noticeable. Still its nice to have a back up.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anti-Markyboard #3035414 03/27/20 10:14 PM
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Yeah, PCI still rocks. When Thunderbolt came out on the Mac, the Macophiles were talking about how they were able to obtains such incredible low latencies and how it was such a huge deal. I told them all the needed to do back in the Cheese Grater days, or on Windows, was to use a PCI card...

I think marketing will always triumph over technology!

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035418 03/27/20 11:25 PM
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Yeah, PCIe is where it is at. On any modern CPU, there are PCIe lanes that are handled directly by the CPU, and some that are serviced through the South Bridge chip. The South Bridge is basically a multiplexer. It uses a few high-speed connection lines to the CPU and then breaks out smaller chunks for lower speed things like USB, SATA, etc. Typically, there are more ports than there is bandwidth to the CPU, but no one notices this.

I put my Dante PCIe card in slot #2. Slot #1 is the video card. This means that my audio interface is a first class citizen. It is directly connected to the CPU's memory space and there is only the latency of electrons moving at the speed of light.

I'm with Craig. This is the best way to interface that there is. I get that Thunderbolt and things are fast. But PCIe is the fastest, most direct connection.

I'm sure that RME's PCIe interface works splendidly. And Lynx and the few others that make them. AVID's HDX cards are also super stable. These are more expensive, it is true. But they are also massively expandable and yet still maintain the same latency. Wonderful for those that care.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035421 03/27/20 11:55 PM
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I am using the RME Fireface UFX, which is an older audio interface. It sounds great, and you know how picky I am about my sound. It also works great. It. Just. works. Installation requires almost nothing. The drivers are really stable as well. I've heard this is true of other RME audio interfaces as well.

I don't have anything currently like Dante that is hooked up to PCIe. I am not saying RME is the best or anything like that, but it seems to be rock solid and sound good, and well, it's what I own, so I'm very good with that. If I had giant issues or had a larger budget, I am sure I would probably use something like an RME PCIe interface, who knows. I like some of the Apollo stuff as well, at least conceptually.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
KenElevenShadows #3035426 03/28/20 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I am using the RME Fireface UFX, which is an older audio interface. It sounds great, and you know how picky I am about my sound. It also works great. It. Just. works. Installation requires almost nothing. The drivers are really stable as well. I've heard this is true of other RME audio interfaces as well.

I don't have anything currently like Dante that is hooked up to PCIe. I am not saying RME is the best or anything like that, but it seems to be rock solid and sound good, and well, it's what I own, so I'm very good with that. If I had giant issues or had a larger budget, I am sure I would probably use something like an RME PCIe interface, who knows. I like some of the Apollo stuff as well, at least conceptually.

I can't recall anyone saying anything but very positive things about the RME products. The stability of the drivers is constantly commented on.

nat

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Nowarezman #3035443 03/28/20 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I am using the RME Fireface UFX, which is an older audio interface. It sounds great, and you know how picky I am about my sound. It also works great. It. Just. works. Installation requires almost nothing. The drivers are really stable as well. I've heard this is true of other RME audio interfaces as well.

I don't have anything currently like Dante that is hooked up to PCIe. I am not saying RME is the best or anything like that, but it seems to be rock solid and sound good, and well, it's what I own, so I'm very good with that. If I had giant issues or had a larger budget, I am sure I would probably use something like an RME PCIe interface, who knows. I like some of the Apollo stuff as well, at least conceptually.

I can't recall anyone saying anything but very positive things about the RME products. The stability of the drivers is constantly commented on.

nat

Oh, I completely agree! I had a great experience with RME. I just ran out of ports, and then out of ports on the ADAT expansion.

They are rumored to have the best USB drivers in the industry - it is why I bought it in the first place. But I don't miss USB and wouldn't go back. It is also true that the world of 8ch + ADAT interfaces no longer meets my needs, so it is a bit academic.

I still have an RME UCX as the audio I/O for the laptop rig, however.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Nathanael_I #3035453 03/28/20 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
I can't recall anyone saying anything but very positive things about the RME products. The stability of the drivers is constantly commented on.

nat

This was part of my extensive research back in early 2001 right after I switched from Mac to PC. I wanted to give myself the best chance of making my midi setup work as well on Windows as it did on the Mac and also add audio. RME came up as consistently reliable, highest performance and substantially more expensive (unfortunately) then other solutions. But worth every penny imo not to ever have experienced the "Windows sucks" thing for years and years.

I didn't know it at the time of purchase but the cost amortized over near 20 years was cheaper than just about any other solution due to only 1 upgrade. I started with a RME DIGI 9636/52 PCI card (branded under Steinberg Nuendo) and an RME ADI-8 PRO DS 8 channel converter. Both worked extremely well from the start and it wasn't until I upgraded PCs and wanting a 16 channel converter that I went with the AES-32 card. Sold the ADI-8 at a pretty good loss but I still have the old 9652 PCI card.

Turns out (just looked) it's not that the old backup PC doesn't have PCIe or more importantly PCI slots - it does. It's that I no longer have any ADAT interfaces. But I also see there's a dongle included in the RME box. I just installed the cards in that backup PC and next time I bring it to life I'll give it a go.

Add that to the "doorstop" thread. w00t

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3035962 03/31/20 11:33 PM
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I was using a Lexicon Omega interface whose drivers were so spotty, it led to an ambient period for me, because I never knew when it would drop out. Saving that kind of material was at least doable, whereas you'd go mad with intricate pieces. With respect, a very rare Lexicon failure, but I retired it with a rubber body mallet. I felt good. I knew that I would.

A REALLY good friend bought me a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for my birthday and its still plodding along flawlessly. Class-compliant, so no idiot driver issues. When the day comes, I'll buy the next USB 3.0 version of this one. Simple solution, a perfect fit for me, great tool.


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Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3036736 04/04/20 06:46 PM
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Well damn, talk about interfaces I had the weirdest (I actually mean sucky) thing happen yesterday. I finally decided to go ahead and upgrade my Digital Performer to ver. 10. Literally minutes after I'd downloaded it I was setting up to do more work on my backing tracks wondering if I should install the new version or try to get more work done first, I flipped on the motu 828x and......nothing. The LCD screen was backlit but blank, none of the level indicators were lit and the 828 Audio Setup screen didn't pop up on the computer.

After verifying it wasn't just a dream sequence I popped it open and looked around but didn't see any obvious problems so it'll have to go to motu for repairs/exchange. So today I've drug out the old Line 6 KB37 so maybe I can try moving forward rather than letting the whole weekend go to waste.

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Greg Mein #3036738 04/04/20 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Greg Mein
Well damn, talk about interfaces I had the weirdest (I actually mean sucky) thing happen yesterday. I finally decided to go ahead and upgrade my Digital Performer to ver. 10. Literally minutes after I'd downloaded it I was setting up to do more work on my backing tracks wondering if I should install the new version or try to get more work done first, I flipped on the motu 828x and......nothing. The LCD screen was backlit but blank, none of the level indicators were lit and the 828 Audio Setup screen didn't pop up on the computer.

After verifying it wasn't just a dream sequence I popped it open and looked around but didn't see any obvious problems so it'll have to go to motu for repairs/exchange. So today I've drug out the old Line 6 KB37 so maybe I can try moving forward rather than letting the whole weekend go to waste.

Consider checking for a firmware update or even re-installing the firmware first. I would contact MOTU support and see what help they can provide.
Great company and products, they might be able to help you recover your interface in place. It's worth a try, will only cost you some time. Good luck! Kuru


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Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3036747 04/04/20 07:55 PM
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Also check anything obvious - cables, whether there's an internal battery that keeps presets alive, that kind of thing.

Every six months or so my ancient microwave oven's keypad stops functioning. I take it apart, reseat a ribbon connector, close it back up, and it works for another six months smile

Re: Audio Interface Roll Call
Anderton #3036764 04/04/20 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
an internal battery that keeps presets alive, that kind of thing.

Every six months or so my ancient microwave oven's keypad stops functioning. I take it apart, reseat a ribbon connector, close it back up, and it works for another six months smile

I had it opened up, looked around for any burnt stuff and fiddled with the couple of cables in there. I looked for any type of battery as was a common problem with the midi timepiece units but didn't see one or see any info about that on searches. Without a display or computer comm there's no ability to try firmware updates, master resets or any "high level" troubleshooting and I suspect a power supply issue. This is the same thing I do on a daily basis but without schematics and parts layout I'm not likely to get anywhere on a unit with this kind of part count.

I started a tech link at motu yesterday but don't expect to hear back over the weekend. A couple years ago when a firewire port on my 828mk3 died there was a $99 flat fee to send it in and I imagine that's what I'll need to do with this one. I actually bought this one when I sent the other in because it seemed like a good time to start using my MBP with thunderbolt.


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