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Advise me: audio interface or usb mixer?


stoken6
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Hello all,

 

I posted in this thread (CLONK) about advice for a small mixer that could serve as a USB audio interface as well as small-scale live PA.

 

On further research, I found several opinions stating "don't waste your money, get a proper audio interface not a mixer". My questions:

1. Would the latency of a dedicated audio interface be lower than that of a "typical" USB-equipped mixer like the Alto 802?

2. Would this still be the case for class-compliant audio interfaces and class-compliant USB mixers? (I'm looking for something that can connect to my iPhone, and I would assume that latency is more a function of the driver than the hardware).

 

Cheers, Mike.

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It's hard to say because it depends both on the hardware and the designer/developer's commitment to driver development on your operating system.

I would suggest asking yourself how many inputs would you need at once, and how many tracks would you be recording at once?

Then select an interface from a reputable company with a reputation for excellent drivers and support.

If you can share this information, plus what operating system you are based on and your budget - we can make suggestions.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Thanks Elmer,

 

I just need two inputs, of which one is a mic, for recording/audio-interface purposes, recording one track at a time. (I was thinking about a mixer simply because a USB-equipped mixer doesn't cost much more than a reputable audio interface, and can pull double duty in live PA).

 

OS is Windows and iOS.

 

Budget is c. $150-200

 

Cheers, Mike.

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Then your answer is most definitely an interface.

 

Your budget dictates your choices.

 

I"d say Steinberg UR12

 

Presonus Audiobox IONE

 

Both these interfaces are within your budget and support Win/MacOS/iOS

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Or you could have both!

 

Check out the Yamaha AG03. It's a little tiny mixer with 3 inputs that is also a high-quality 24/192 audio interface. It would suit your purposes ideally, it's quite affordable, sounds great, and is built like a tank. Even the AG06, which has six inputs and some very nice and usable built-in effects, is within your budget. I swear by them.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

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Budget is c. $150-200

Cheers, Mike.

There's also the Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer which sells for around US$200. Similar to the Alto Live 802 Mixer.

 

Personally, for live music, I feel much safer when my devices are dedicated to one task. If an all-in-one USB mixer goes down, it can leave you pretty high and dry. My live music setup includes: 2x audio interfaces (for backup) and a portable mixer - it's a pretty flexible for many situations.

 

Portable Mixer: Yamaha MG06X

Audio Interfaces: iRig Pro Duo and Mackie MDB-USB

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Check my recent thread. https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3039300/lowest-latency-usb-c-interface-for-stage-mainstage-etc#Post3039300 Almost all the interface options are in your budget and would do what you want (not sure 100% on iOS capabilities so you"d have to check that).

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Budget is c. $150-200

Cheers, Mike.

There's also the Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer which sells for around US$200. Similar to the Alto Live 802 Mixer.

 

Personally, for live music, I feel much safer when my devices are dedicated to one task. If an all-in-one USB mixer goes down, it can leave you pretty high and dry. My live music setup includes: 2x audio interfaces (for backup) and a portable mixer - it's a pretty flexible for many situations.

 

Portable Mixer: Yamaha MG06X

Audio Interfaces: iRig Pro Duo and Mackie MDB-USB

 

I have a MG10XU and it"s pretty good. Windows can be weird but that"s not necessarily a driver problem as much as it might be my inexperience with Windows for Audio in the first place.

 

I"m still going to say an interface would be better overall for sound quality etc.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Sorry, for "small scale live PA" I imagined working with a band... like 12 inputs or better.

 

Also, note: for iOS you're also going to need a lightning to USB adapter. And check carefully for iOS compatibility as mentioned above.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I have the MG10XU as well, and it has been working perfectly as my interface. I haven't noticed ANY latency, and the quality is really good.

 

Mine cost $269, but since it is a gigging board as well, I got the Sweetwater bundle that included a case and a couple 30' mic cables.

 

I use it with Windows 10. The drivers that Yamaha has for it on their site installed and worked perfectly

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Now everybody's got the blues."

 

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I've just recently dipped my toe in the DAW waters so no claim to being an authority, but I think Audient iD14 would be a strong contender. Especially if you favor "color" vs transparency for vocals. It's DI for guitar is also getting good buzz (poor choice of words, sorry) but I have not been able to try it out.

 

I believe DB uses an iD4, among others.

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I can vouch for the MG series to be good and usable mixers and quality USB converters. You will get, say -80dBr peak amplitude from the mix rail into your ADC, and the audio regime my MG16XU governs your signals with isn't standard yamaha or like anything else. For me the quality without additional considerations was good enough not to complain about on my big monitoring system, which IMO makes it quite ok.

 

The additional audio quality a separate USB interface (i.e. without the mixer) could give out for the money probably isn't of much use for musical or studio purposes, the Yamaha's are pretty good. They use Usb Audio Class 2.0 protocol which gets recognized in standard Linux. Windows has drivers, but should also just connect, don't know about Macs, Android probably is like Linux. Sampling frequency according to the UAC2 protocol is set by the clock generator in the interface, so that the Usb signals follow the device sample rate, with no audio sample rate conversion, which is the preferred method.

 

Audio interfaces might have more attention to ADC/DAC quality at some level (for the same price), but the type and quality of the Yamaha is pretty good, so apart from input noise and some additional distortion (varies per audio level) I don't think it's a must to go separate interface.

 

T

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Thanks everyone.

 

So on the subject of latency - I always assumed that class-compliant devices would all use the same driver, and so exhibit the same latency. Companies like RME have a reputation for low latency because of their proprietary drivers. Fair assumption?

 

(I want class-compliant devices so I can use with iOS devices as well as Windows).

 

And @Theo - your response was perfectly targeted. I'm not looking for the absolute ultimate in audio fidelity (how can I for $200?), it just has to be "good enough".

 

Cheers, Mike.

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