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Upgrade Audio interface or preamp?
Old 27th May 2022
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Upgrade Audio interface or preamp?

Upgrade Audio interface or preamp?

Hi
I have a UR242 audio interface and WA273 preamp
The WA273 is nice and give me a great gain boost but I want to reach to the next level so i I don’t know what is the right decision for me
Buy Apollo X6 and stay with WA273 or buy Neve 1073 SPX and stay with UR242
What do you think?
Thanks!
Old 27th May 2022
  #2
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BT64's Avatar
What's wrong with your current level?
What are you looking for?
Old 27th May 2022
  #3
JAT
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The weakest link is the audio interface. But if it works for you you’ll need to spend Apollo money to get a better sound.
Old 27th May 2022
  #4
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tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You'll probably upgrade both eventually.

But I'd start with the interface. The Warm is a perfectly respectable piece of gear — maybe not as accurate to a vintage 1073 as some of the more high end offerings, but still a great mic pre. When you're ready to "upgrade" the Warm, I'd look into BAE, Vintech, Aurora, Great River, or maybe a Chandler LTD-1. I had the 1073 SPX and a while back and I returned it. It was OK, but not as good as I'd hoped. My Wunder PEQ2R easily beat it, as did my friend's Vintech X73.

On the interface side, I'd look into the Apogee Symphony Desktop. The Apollo is a great system, but not my preference sonically.
Old 27th May 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai ➡️
You'll probably upgrade both eventually.

But I'd start with the interface. The Warm is a perfectly respectable piece of gear — maybe not as accurate to a vintage 1073 as some of the more high end offerings, but still a great mic pre. When you're ready to "upgrade" the Warm, I'd look into BAE, Vintech, Aurora, Great River, or maybe a Chandler LTD-1. I had the 1073 SPX and a while back and I returned it. It was OK, but not as good as I'd hoped. My Wunder PEQ2R easily beat it, as did my friend's Vintech X73.

On the interface side, I'd look into the Apogee Symphony Desktop. The Apollo is a great system, but not my preference sonically.
Yeah, I will start by upgrade the audio interface from UR242 to Apollo X6 (I hope a new series will not come soon LOL) it also good for my Apple M1 Pro driver the UR drivers not good enough
About the preamp, the WA273 is very good when it come to gain but I also search about a preamp with little "color" and also EQ the WA273 in my opinion is transprent but maybe I wrong cause the UR preamp are very bad
Old 27th May 2022 | Show parent
  #6
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
Yeah, I will start by upgrade the audio interface from UR242 to Apollo X6 (I hope a new series will not come soon LOL) it also good for my Apple M1 Pro driver the UR drivers not good enough
About the preamp, the WA273 is very good when it come to gain but I also search about a preamp with little "color" and also EQ the WA273 in my opinion is transprent but maybe I wrong cause the UR preamp are very bad
I’d start with your interface. Get a good one!
I’d not personally get the UA, simply because I’m not keen to be on their plugins leash.. (although they’re pretty good/excellent).

MOTU 828, or an Apogee Symphony (or also Metric Halo ULN-8 mkIV, they also have their own dsp system with every plugin included, the caveat is that you need to pass through their mixer to take advantage of the dsp, which is great btw.. also they’re all included in the buying price and their interfaces last very long).

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 27th May 2022
  #7
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The Steinberg interface is a nice piece. Nothing wrong there. The WA preamp is fine. Upgrade if you need more inputs in the interface, or more flexibility with the preamp. If you are upgrading to improve the basic sonic quality of your recordings, you will be disappointed in the result. Upgrade for features and flexibility.
Old 27th May 2022
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
This is all quite decent gear you have there so I think you really need to consider everything to figure out what is the best "upgrade".

What mics you currently own and what kind of music you record as well as how should be part of the equation in your choice of what to do.

A different mic or even a hardware compressor/limiter might get you more mileage than a "better" interface or micpreamp.
Old 27th May 2022
  #9
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
I have a Steinberg UR242 audio interface and a Warm Audio WA273 preamp... I want to reach to the next level so I don’t know what is the right decision for me... what do you think?
With no further knowledge of what you're recording, where, how and for whom, what or how much it's almost impossible for anyone to make meaningful recommendations in terms of what 'next level' might be and what the 'right decision' is.

Are you doing v/o for a podcast or recording marching bands? We just don't know.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 29th May 2022 at 08:18 AM..
Old 27th May 2022
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You could sell both and buy a Prism Lyra (unless it is very important to have a Neve 1073 preamp sound). That would be a substantial upgrade to the interface.
Old 27th May 2022 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent ➡️
You could sell both and buy a Prism Lyra (unless it is very important to have a Neve 1073 preamp sound). That would be a substantial upgrade to the interface.
This is assuming that the OP only needs one mic input.

Currently the OP could record four mics with the current gear available.

The two WA273 channels into the line inputs of the UR242 and as well the two mic inputs on the UR242.

Like I mentioned earlier (and James did as well) there is no way to even attempt to figure out what the best course of action might be without more info about the OP is doing.

Also it seems pretty unlikely that the OP is going to be happy with a clean basic interface micpreamp (no matter how quality it might be) when the current preamp is a Neve clone and one of the upgrade possibilities in the original post was the Neve 1073 SPX.
Old 28th May 2022 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
With no further knowledge of what you're recording, where, how and for whom, what or how much it's almost impossible for anyone to make meaningful recommendations in terms of what 'next level' might be and what the 'right decision' is... what do you think?

Are you doing v/o for a podcast or recording marching bands? We just don't know.
I make a pop songs so my recording is vocals,acoustic and electric guitars and some percussion
Old 28th May 2022
  #13
Lives for gear
 
There's no such thing as a bad sounding interface or mic pre these days - you may get a new flavour you prefer - all these things are subjective.
Old 28th May 2022
  #14
Gear Guru
 
chessparov2.0's Avatar
 
Your Room is a primary consideration.
So...
How good (or bad) does your recording area sound?
Hold tight and improve that first, if need be.

Be aware of audio Marketing Spiel too.
This is coming from someone who loves sonic gimmicks on occasion!
Chris
P.S. Got clips?
Old 28th May 2022 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Your Room is a primary consideration.
So...
How good (or bad) does your recording area sound?
Hold tight and improve that first, if need be.

Be aware of audio Marketing Spiel too.
This is coming from someone who loves sonic gimmicks on occasion!
Chris
P.S. Got clips?
I agree with you but the UR242 is not good enough for today if you never used it you will never know IMO
My room is good but not perfect let’s say 7/10 so it’s still need a upgrade
I have 4 mics: SM7B,SM57, SM81 and MXL 770
That’s my order to improve my studio:
1. Apollo
2. Room
3. Better condenser mic
Old 28th May 2022
  #16
Gear Guru
 
chessparov2.0's Avatar
 
Can we "hear" your room?
Will give us more clues on where you stand.
Chris
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Can we "hear" your room?
Will give us more clues on where you stand.
Chris

It's quite clear where he stands, he thinks his interface is unusable which is incorrect.

The Apollo costs more because it has more I/O, dsp, and you are paying for entry to the UA world of plugins as well as some plugins to start out with.

All quite valid stuff and worth it to some people but if someone thinks suddenly their tracks will be more professional sounding because of the Apollo's D/A conversion over the Steinberg they better be ready to crank up their imagination to eleven.
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️
All quite valid stuff and worth it to some people but if someone thinks suddenly their tracks will be more professional sounding because of the Apollo's D/A conversion over the Steinberg they better be ready to crank up their imagination to eleven.
Quite, I currently have three interfaces a UAD Apollo 8p, an RME 802 and a UA Volt 276 - there are incredibly subtle differences in the sound - they all sound great.
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #19
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tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
I agree with you but the UR242 is not good enough for today if you never used it you will never know IMO
My room is good but not perfect let’s say 7/10 so it’s still need a upgrade
I have 4 mics: SM7B,SM57, SM81 and MXL 770
That’s my order to improve my studio:
1. Apollo
2. Room
3. Better condenser mic
I mean this as respectfully as possible — you have this precisely backwards, my man.

Wrong mic in the wrong room = garbage no matter what other gear you throw at it. I say this despite being a preamp/converter snob.

Of the mics listed, the only one I’d consider for vocals would be the SM7. Luckily, that mic will reject a lot of the room, so you can get away with lackluster acoustics. But that’s supposing it’s a good fit for what you’re recording.

As far as A/D goes, I haven’t tried the Steinberg, but I sincerely doubt the Apollo will be the drastic leap in sound quality you’re hoping for.
Old 29th May 2022
  #20
Gear Guru
 
chessparov2.0's Avatar
 
It's generally harder on the younger generation.
They usually have no/hardly any exposure...

To real Pro AE's and real studios.
Chris
Old 29th May 2022
  #21
Gear Head
I wouldn't blow money on a preamp unless either:
a. You're getting a compressor for tracking, and need a preamp between the mic and your compressor.
b. You don't have enough mic pres on your interface, but have extra line inputs.

Tone chasing with preamps is not worth it from the perspective of financial investment. It's like a 1-2% difference in tone. No preamp will "blow you away."

And to echo everyone else, the differences from upgrading your interface will be so minimal that placebo and confirmation bias will be just as big of a factor when evaluating sound quality.

If your recordings are noisy, maybe try a low self-noise mic like the Rode NT1? If your recordings sound low-quality, you're either using the wrong mic for the source or a poorly treated space. It's not the A->D converters.
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Can we "hear" your room?
Will give us more clues on where you stand.
Chris
Enjoy!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/13Is...w?usp=drivesdk

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai ➡️
I mean this as respectfully as possible — you have this precisely backwards, my man.

Wrong mic in the wrong room = garbage no matter what other gear you throw at it. I say this despite being a preamp/converter snob.

Of the mics listed, the only one I’d consider for vocals would be the SM7. Luckily, that mic will reject a lot of the room, so you can get away with lackluster acoustics. But that’s supposing it’s a good fit for what you’re recording.

As far as A/D goes, I haven’t tried the Steinberg, but I sincerely doubt the Apollo will be the drastic leap in sound quality you’re hoping for.
My room is not bad but also not perfect.
I can use MXL 770X also on vocals is a little harsh but it’s great multi pattern budget mic.
I will buy a new mic after I buy Apollo and improve my room
Thanks to everyone I will buy Apollo X6 and not 1073 SPX
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
Enjoy! https://drive.google.com/file/d/13Is...w?usp=drivesdk

I want to reach to the next level

Thanks to everyone I will buy Apollo X6

I will buy a new mic after I buy Apollo and improve my room
You are of course free to spend your money however you wish.

But having listened to the short excerpts you've provided of what I take to be some basic jamming on your acoustic guitar into the recording chain you've described i.e. SM81 >> WA273 >> UR242, I think the investment in reaching 'the next level' you seek (at least in terms of recording) would be better directed at expanding your understanding of mission-critical things like mic placement, room acoustics and monitoring. Perhaps even learning how to set up your instrument differently/better in order to maximise the available tone out of it. All this before we even get to post-production/mixing etc.

These improvements could cost you as little as a €20 book as opposed to the €2,000 you're planning to spend on a brand new Apollo interface.

Right now I suspect you could use your existing SM81 (a fine acoustic guitar mic btw) to record a musically and dynamically identical clip to the one you've provided through just about any modern pre/A-D and the material differences in the end result will be minimal at best; it's highly unlikely it's going to sound 'next level' in any case, however much you tell yourself 'I want to believe'.

With all that said, there are many psychological studies that indicate spending more on activities we love like hobbies, sports, creativity etc can increase our wellbeing and make us happier doing them, so from that angle by all means go for it; there's every indication from your responses here that this would probably be the case.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 31st May 2022 at 10:50 PM..
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #24
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BT64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
That’s my order to improve my studio:
1. Apollo
2. Room
3. Better condenser mic
My order would be:
1. Better mic
2. Room
3. Learning how to use it.
4. If I have money to burn, other interface.
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BT64 ➡️
My order would be:
1. Better mic
2. Room
3. Learning how to use it.
4. If I have money to burn, other interface.
I’m sorry but my interface is bad I don’t have money to spend but the UR242 is a cheap and sh** interface
My dilemma now is Apollo x4 or X6
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #26
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BT64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
My dilemma now is Apollo x4 or X6
If you have the budget, knock yourself out.
But don't expect a drastic difference.
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
I’m sorry but my interface is bad I don’t have money to spend but the UR242 is a cheap and sh** interface
My dilemma now is Apollo x4 or X6
Your interface has better noise and distortion specs than traditional consoles in million dollar studios of yesteryear - there is nothing stopping you tracking professional quality content. It may not be the greatest interface but it's certainly not sh**
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
I’m sorry but my interface is bad I don’t have money to spend but the UR242 is a cheap and sh** interface
My dilemma now is Apollo x4 or X6
In the end is a journey, and everyone of us need to go through these stages..
while the steinberg is a cheap interface and has its limits, it’s probably not the puece stopping you of recording good sounding tracks..
BUT if you’re in for an upgrade and want to upgrade the interface (and converters), then it is a good move to get something better than the steinberg, but again I’d suggest to buy something that LAST a long time and that you can expand in the future, in case you might need or want to add a dedicated AD or DA or simply more channels or whatever project/upgrade comes up.

That’s why I’d not choose the UA ones, not because they’re not good, but they bundle their plugins with a ticking system and they like to update their line every 2-3 yrs.. this is not sonething I’d do, personally. Despite they do have good sounding interfaces (and I like the workflow/UI of their X4 or desktop interfaces).

What other posters said is true though, the room and your mic (the one that FITS your vocals/source like a glove, without or very minimal processing) plays a big role, along with a good DA and monitoring system.

But as I said it is a journey and at some point you’ll address also the other points, IF needed.

I wish you all the best, try to enjoy the process, it is a “discovery” after all..
Buy quality that can last, and try to support small quality companies, where possible.



Cheu
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 ➡️
In the end is a journey, and everyone of us need to go through these stages..
while the steinberg is a cheap interface and has its limits, it’s probably not the puece stopping you of recording good sounding tracks..
BUT if you’re in for an upgrade and want to upgrade the interface (and converters), then it is a good move to get something better than the steinberg, but again I’d suggest to buy something that LAST a long time and that you can expand in the future, in case you might need or want to add a dedicated AD or DA or simply more channels or whatever project/upgrade comes up.

That’s why I’d not choose the UA ones, not because they’re not good, but they bundle their plugins with a ticking system and they like to update their line every 2-3 yrs.. this is not sonething I’d do, personally. Despite they do have good sounding interfaces (and I like the workflow/UI of their X4 or desktop interfaces).

What other posters said is true though, the room and your mic (the one that FITS your vocals/source like a glove, without or very minimal processing) plays a big role, along with a good DA and monitoring system.

But as I said it is a journey and at some point you’ll address also the other points, IF needed.

I wish you all the best, try to enjoy the process, it is a “discovery” after all..
Buy quality that can last, and try to support small quality companies, where possible.



Cheu
Thank you, do you have a alternative for UAD? (Don’t forget that UAD have also great plugins(
Old 29th May 2022 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorrok ➡️
I’m sorry but my interface is bad I don’t have money to spend but the UR242 is a cheap and sh** interface
Not sure where you got that idea, but to each...
If you drop bucks on a different interface, it is possible that confirmation bias will make it sound better to you. That's something. And it can offer actual value in some situations... placebo effect.
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