Yet another request for INTERFACE suggestions - Gearspace.com
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Yet another request for INTERFACE suggestions
Old 11th November 2009
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
Yet another request for INTERFACE suggestions

I'm an utter novice when it comes to computer recording. I do not use it to it's full extent nor pretend to even know how to. Mostly I use it to host simple 1-VST guitar/bass (Guitar Rig, Amplitube, etc.) solutions and drum (Addictive Drums) VST, and occasionally record some simple instrument tracks to capture ideas. But I've yet to do any serious multi-track recording or heavy VST implementation.

However, I have it in my mind to attempt some more robust VST use in a live environment hosting some sort of serious virtual amp and lots of available effects to morph bass guitar into a dual signal path to drive standard bass sounds in addition to synthy sounds for use in an electronica band. I can do this in hardware but quite honestly it's expensive, takes a LOT of expensive gear, and is really a PITA to manage and control easily due to reliance on physical pedals, mixed into MIDI controlled rack gear, etc. It's out of control. I haven't explored running full VST in depth yet to know how feasible it is, but I'm assuming it is and see a ton of virtualized Moog, filter, etc. VST out there that should seemingly replace and probably vastly surpass the hardware solutions in functionality/features.

My first hurdle is replacing my ancient Aardvark Q10 PCI + 1U rack interface. Has plenty of ins and outs, but is REALLY old, PCI only (so no laptop support), supports XP only, and even then can glitch out due to fairly quirky drivers. I've needed a good reason to replace this and now I have one.

Minimally I need to plug my guitar or bass in, and generate two sets of stereo outs, one for my stage rig one to send to the mixer.

Here what I think my interface requirements are:

* Rack mountable. I could care less if it were 1/2 rack, 1U rack, as long as I can securely bolt it into my rack somehow. I have a couple BOSS VF-1 velcroed to death into a simple 1U rack shelf and they don't move an inch so I'm fine doing that to an interface as well.
* At least two sets of stereo outs - I'm assuming one set of 1/4" and one set of stereo XLR outs so I can send both stereo line and mic level feeds to my power amp and to a mixer simultaneously. At least that's what you'd do with a traditional pre/poweramp rig.
* At least stereo line level inputs in case I want to use some stereo outboard gear to feed the interface. Though I have no particular plans to do that unless I need to run a better instrument DI in front of the interface.
* Probably some additional stereo in/outs in case I want to patch additional outboard gear via an effects loop scenario. Though I have no plans to do that as I hope to replace everything with VST.
* Ideally a good instrument input in case I want to simply run instruments directly into the interface, which is what I often do with the Aardvark. Though I could get some sort of rack channel strip or other rack DI to run into the interface if that's more robust/effective/etc.
* Some sort of mic input would be great as well but certainly not critical
* MIDI in/out so I can control the VST via a foot controller
* If it supported some additional clock slaving capabilities beyond simple MTC that'd be great, though I know little about this. But my synth guy keeps asking me what types of clocks he can feed me to keep rate based effects in sync. Currently I just take a clock over MIDI.
* PC and Mac compatible - I'll most likely run a PC laptop, so PC support is the most important. But it'd be great if the interface didn't exclude Mac as I don't want to rule out my first potential Mac purchase. I'm assuming Firewire would be most ideal assuming there's a reasonably inexpensive and effective laptop firewire card on the market.
* Last, but certainly not least, doesn't cost a ton of money. I buy nearly all of my gear used for this reason. I'm hoping to walk away spending no more than $500 total for the interface and PC firewire card.

I currently own a Gateway T-6836 laptop (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5750, 4GB at 667MHz, 250GB at 5400rpm, Intel PM965/GM965/GL960) I can dedicate towards this use, though I can replace it if necessary (which is where a Mac might come into play).

I look forward to your hardware suggestions.

No need to trash talk the Aardvark in this thread, I'm already well aware of it's limitations.
Old 11th November 2009
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
That's extremely detailed.

* You're worried I'm getting rid of an AWESOME Aardvark? Long live Aardvark!
* You're worried I'm getting rid of hardware for software? 1/2 my gear is already totally digital.
* You're worried I sound so inexperienced but am attempting a complicated venture? Complicated is trying to control an Electrix Filter Factory with a MIDI foot pedal as the FF has no presets and you have to tap dance all the way to town to control every single knob and button via MIDI CC. At least the VF-1s have presets. But add in half a dozen guitar pedals that I have to manually knob tweak and pedal dance on, not to mention carry around. I'm already way into Complicated Land over here.
* You're worried I want to play bass synth when everyone should just use a real synth? What's real these days?

In my dream world I picture some tidy 4U rack housing my interface, power amp, laptop sitting on top (maybe a DJ rack with laptop rack), and everything available in software via presets controlled from a MIDI foot controller. Contrast that with my 8U rack for my pre/effects, a separate 2U for the power amp, a ginormous pedal board. It's insane.

Bah, I should've decided against the fun electronica and played bass in a rock band so I could plug my bass right into an amp head and call it an easy-to-move and easy-to-use day.

But really, it doesn't sound like a tall order to me. Haha.

If nothing else a bunch of people get to read my blathering posts and I get a shiny new interface out of the deal. WOOT!
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Addict
charlienyc's Avatar
wrong forum

although i'm not quite sure what that emoticon was attempting to suggest, it might be an indication of concern that you've posted in the wrong forum. and not even just a little bit.

in any case, consider sending a pm to a moderator or two, asking them to move this thread to a non-classified ad forum.


p.s. fwiw, based on what you're asking, the presonus firebox or firestudio might fit the bill.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
Thumbs down wrong area

this is completely the wrong area, repost it in the low end thread or to much gear to little time.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
See? Now THAT is helpful. I thought I did post it to the Low End forum.
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Nut
🎧 10 years
Maybe you could take a look at

Line 6 Toneport UX8 USB 2.0 Computer Recording Interface

500$, 8 inputs for mic/line/guitar. With this you will also get Line6 PODFarm Platinum software to expant your sound pallete with very good amp/stompbox models.

POD Farm Platinum includes:

78 immortal guitar amps

24 historic guitar cabs

28 thumping bass amps

22 thunderous bass cabs

97 essential stompbox and studio effects

6 must-have mic preamps

Dual Tone capability

Good deal I would say!

Old 13th November 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Ca$h Marty's Avatar
🎧 10 years
It seems me that you are looking for a combination of line ins/outs + midi + mic + DI + rackmount + Mac/PC.

My favorites would be the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 ($499 new) and as a stretch the M-Audio Profire 2626 ($699 new but probably $525 used).

Both seem to fit your criteria and are well-reviewed on this site.
Old 13th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
pascalm's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I have the UX8 Toneport and i wouldn't usually recommend it as i don't love it but for what you want to do it might do the job quite nicely!
Old 13th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the replies.

If a ProFire 2626 would do, and I think it would, a ProFire 610 should as well. Though I'd have to figure out how to securely rack it. But I've seen them as low as $300 used.
Old 13th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Nut
🎧 10 years
I've been using a Presonus Firestudio 2626 for about three years now and I am satisfied. There was an issue with early units that they corrected with a very quick swap. I had that replacement die on me (slowly), which was also replaced under warranty.

I have recently expanded it with a Digimax FS unit (8 additional pres), and could not be happier. Great preamps, wonderful flexibility.
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