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What's the best inferface?

Here's where to talk about preamps, cables, microphones, monitors, etc.

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Here's where to talk about preamps, cables, microphones, monitors, etc.

What's the best inferface?

Postby rhodkin » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:26 pm

I'm trying to decide on a new audio mic/line interface for recording demos and have come down to the Apogee One and the soon to be released MOTU Microbook 2. Has anyone used an Apogee One (or other similar units for that matter) who could give some feedback on it?

The price range of the above is about $250, which is what I'm aiming at.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby Phil O » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:12 am

I don't own either, but a friend of mine has the Apogee One and really likes it. I've listened to some stuff he's done with it and it sounds great. I can't comment on the Microbook but MOTU stuff tends to be solid. I have two original 828s still in working order. Hopefully someone who actually owns one of these will chime in. Good luck with your purchase. I don't think either will be a problem.

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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby FutureLegends » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:19 am

My experience is that the one you can afford is the best! ;)

I guess between those two though it comes down to how much I/O you need. I believe the MicroBook II has many more than the Apogee One. The MicroBook seems to be MOTU's answer to the Duet/One.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby HCMarkus » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:01 pm

Used 828mkII... great conversion and tons of i/o.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby rhodkin » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:24 pm

Okay thanks guys!

I'm going with the Apogee One. I'm told the converters in Apogee products are top-notch and it's super portable! I only need it for songwriting/demo type stuff so it should work out great!
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby mikehalloran » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:08 am

The 828 mkII also has excellent converters - there are other threads on this.

The ONE is definitely more portable. I am not a fan of its inability to do a stereo recording having only one mic pre and an instrument input.

The Duet would be my choice. It has a lot more functionality for the price and is just as portable. I'm staying with my 828 Mk II, however.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby wvandyck » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:41 am ... isted.html

The praise for the 828 mkll is about its converters, not the mic pres.

I have one and it still works.

Short story:
Apogee = high class audio.
MOTU = huge bang for the buck in terms of a features to price.

The ONE sounds great! If you only record one track at a time, then the ONE is Otherwise the Duet is the best option but at a higher price point.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby rduerddy » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:13 am

I have an 828mk 2 I found at a garage sale for $100 (lucky me)

I love it! But the day may be coming when Apple will no longer include FW800 ports!
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby rhythm_kitchen » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:32 pm

Anyway I'd choose the mic first. Noise in your environment is often the deciding factor here (tracking vocals).

My other comment is compatibility with platform and DAW app.

If you plan on using a Windows laptop down the road (choose USB-2 but avoid USB-1.1). Otherwise I would stay with 1394a (one can always add a SIIG Firewire card for a roll your own PC). SIIG uses a Texas Instruments chipset and driver.

Personally I would go with the best vocal sound with your chosen mic/mic-amp and limiter (hardware or software but I prefer hardware).

Also a t/r/s line input w/ an insert to bypass the onboard mic-amp (pre). This is crucial IMO.

It was a lot easier when one could awesome the onboard mic-amps were mediocre.

+1 to have BOTH an input AND output level.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby Prime Mover » Wed May 16, 2012 3:12 pm

It think it sounds like he's planning on using the onboard mic pre, so he won't really have to worry about having one with a passive ADC. The Apogee mic pres are supposed to be some of the best onboard mic pres on the market, so unless he's planning on spending upwards another $1000 on an outboard mic pre, it's probably not worth it. I think people worry too much about mic pres, anyway. You're going to get more bang for your buck putting more money into a better mic. Secondly, by tuning your recording environment with traps and diffusers, and only a distant third, aquiring high-end outboard mic pres.

And call me new-fangled, but I'm not sold on the neccessity of pre-limiting your input signal with hardware compresson. Sure, I have an RNC sitting around for that purpose, but it's just collecting dust these days. With the quality of todays ADCs and 24bit recording, your noise floor is going to be very low, and the quality of plugin limiters/compressors is very high. I had an old-school producer friend convince me to hardware limit, and I realized that it didn't make any decernable difference in the end. For someone who grew up working with hardware, it may be comfortable and familiar, and "feel better", and in the end, may very well squeeze the last ounce of quality out of the recording, but for someone starting out in todays digital domain, I don't think it's a crime to do it all in the box.

Most of it is finding the right mic. And everyone is different. I have a mic that sounds absolutely beautiful on a friend of mine, but it's only about 95% the way there for my voice. I haven't found the perfect mic for me yet, but I'll find it one day.
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Re: What's the best inferface?

Postby Timeline » Mon May 21, 2012 4:31 am

My opinion...

The perfect mic is still the original, (not remanufactured), U47 with VF14 tube, K47 capsule.

I disagree about hardware in front of digital being unnecessary though. It is all about which hardware and how it's used which makes digital better, much better. Those afraid of a little noise are missing out on outstanding tone. Compared to the noise of multitrack machines in our past, there are few high quality vintage outboard pres and compressors which will add enough N to even hear in a final mix even in the most radicle over compression scenarios. In these uses gates and expanders can solve most of the issues. As well digital noise from analog sources are generally processed out a bit depending on the SR and bit rate anyway. I find using early UREI limiters in front on vocals helps greatly on low level vocal passages dynamically and tone. I never use more than about 3-4 db though. This will not effect noise mush at all.

I use digital pres more for convenience than anything else as the added pres are additional inputs in some IOs. I find them best used for overhead drums as you want perfect stereo phase response. The new UFX Fireface likely has the best bang for the buck built in pres but it's not cheap.
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