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Advice on USB Interfaces to MAC/iPad


jeffincltnc

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I don't have any experience in home recording, but I would like to record some tracks at home from some of my keyboards. Let's assume I am going to be using Garage Band and maybe another DAW like Ableton in the not too distant future. I'd also like the flexibility to be able to record tracks on my MAC Book Pro (mid 2015, i7, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD) and my iPad (2017) as needed or as convenient.

 

I'm sure this is bread and butter stuff to most people, but I would like to pick up an digital interface so I can plug in 2-3 of my boards at once, or maybe mic up my Yamaha upright and record tracks in Garage Band.

 

Any suggestions on what to buy here that's really straightforward? I know that the Focusrite Scarlett are really popular as USB interfaces and work with laptops and iPad (I have the camera connector kit).

 

I'm thinking that the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 checks the boxes with 6 input/output, is a popular selling product and will likely work with everything I need it to. MAP price is $270 and I'm sure I could find a good deal on Reverb from someone who bought one and didn't use it much after taking it out of the box a few times.

 

There are lots of other products and I don't really know one from the other in these price ranges - Steinberg, Pre Sonus, MOTU, iRig, Behringer, etc. Just looking for simple and reliable.

 

Happy to read any recommendations.

 

Jeff

Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Nord Stage 4 HA73, Nord Wave 2, Korg Nautilus 73, Viscount Legend Live, Lots of Mainstage/VST Libraries

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There's lots of good stuff out there in interfaces and it sort of depends on the price point you're willing to go to and how many inputs you need.

 

I'm a big fan of the MOTU AVB interfaces due to the ability to control the setup from any web browser, ease of connecting together multiple boxes via AVB, and the overall quality of audio on their AVB line. Price point is a bit higher, but not in the top tier (Apollo, Antelope, etc. Those brands generally pitch mystical levels of audio quality as the reason for the price. UA's stuff also allows running plug-ins on the interface's DSPs and such. I doubt you want to be in that world unless you're running a studio or like to spend a bundle to have the nicest toys.)

 

Likely the product you'd be looking at from MOTU is the UltraLite Mk4.

 

The big win of easy control from a web browser is when configuring monitoring, etc. It means you can use a different computer or device than the one that is recording to adjust the levels/mixing/routing of the interface.

 

PreSonus is also quite good. Maybe a hair less expensive than MOTU, but I find their design choices a bit less desirable as well. They do make Studio One, which is a pretty good app and getting your DAW from the same company as the interface does mean there's only one company to complain to if something goes wrong. (MOTU makes Digital Performer, also quite credible.)

 

Focusrite makes good stuff at a notably lower price point, at least for the Scarlett line. I've found configuring it via their app over USB to be less pleasant, but it works.

 

Zoom has a couple of interfaces out now which I expect are great quality and highly usable given my experience with their recorders.

 

-Z-

 

 

 

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