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Subject:USB Audio Interfaces
Posted by: DKeenum
Date:1/9/2003 2:04:03 PM

I've searched the "archive" but found very little info on USB audio interfaces. At least one acid user loves his Edirol UA-700, but I don't see a lot past that. One of the reasons may be that there are not a lot of usb audo users out there. Anyway, I have a 1 gHz Dell laptop that I would like to use with a usb interface if I can. I mainly use acid 4.0b and my OS is 2000. 2 channels of in and out are fine with me. I've researched the different devices pretty thoroughly, but I can't get a handle on what is working in the real world. Are there any happy usb audio people out there that would be willing to share there experience?

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: joelboy
Date:1/9/2003 4:24:14 PM

I just returned my M-audio Duo and purchased the M-Omni Studio With a Delta 66 card. I was disappointed in the Duo's inability to monitor the track I was recording. I suppose with a mixer there is a way to monitor, but I wanted to keep the studio set-up simple. So, there are some limitations with USB. I don't really think there are many USB audio users out there. Maybe I'm wrong! I think most are using usb for MIDI in and out....
Good luck.

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: Buckskin
Date:1/9/2003 5:11:39 PM

I have a Tascam US-428, and know a couple of people with a US-224. We are all very happy with them.

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: bwb
Date:1/10/2003 7:22:38 AM

I initially bought an M-Audio Duo but returned it after finding that it didn't support Hi-Z direct input from an electric guitar. I bought an Edirol UA-5 instead and I've been very happy with it. I primarily use it with a desktop, but I've used it with a laptop on occasion.

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: Laurence
Date:1/10/2003 7:57:36 AM

USB audio takes a little extra CPU horsepower. If your system is barely cutting it,USB audio can drag your system down to the point where it isn't really viable. If however, you have a reasonably fast P4 or Athlon, you won't even notice the difference and it will work extremely well. The same is true of Firewire audio interfaces by the way.

Windows XP Service Pack 1 really improved USB audio performance. The only problem is that it was a significant enough update that most manufacturers had to rewrite their USB audio interface and there where a lot of problems during the transition.

USB audio is a stereo only solution. There are some USB surround sound audio interfaces, but they don't offer you six actual audio ports. What they do is to accept a compressed Dolby AC-3 audio stream and decompress it in hardware and from there assign it to the surround sound outputs. This is great if you want to play back as surround sound DVD but of no use at all if you want to work on a surround sound project in Acid.

The biggest thing when using USB audio is that you aren't trying to do anything else over that same USB port at the same time. If you have a USB printer connected to the same port for example, that's okay, but don't try to print anything at the same time you're playing back audio. The best thing is to have your USB audio interface on it's own USB port. If you look around, you can still find some of the 4 port USB 1.1 cards where each of the four USB interfaces has it's own separate USB controller. I picked up one of these last month at Circuit City for about $20. This is in addition to the three USB 2.0 ports already built into my motherboard. Now with 7 USB controllers, I have no USB port sharing issues whatsoever.

I personally like using USB audio. It has allowed me to go with an extremely small and quiet Shuttle SB51G based system which only has only one PCI and one AGP slot. I'm the guy who posted the positive comments about the Edirol UA-700. I still really love it. Think about it: one tiny PC, a single box connected with a single USB cable, and I have everything I need in the way of audio, midi and guitar and vocal recording. The only thing I can't do is a 5.1 mix, but I'd need to buy more equipment for that anyway.

Laurence Kingston

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: merlyn60
Date:1/10/2003 11:31:47 AM

I use an Event Ezbus USB control surface and I love it. Its a combination digital mixer/computer audio interface (audio and midi)/software control surface. Only problem is that the ASIO driver doesn't play nice with Acid 4.0(a or b), but, according to Sonic Foundry, that problem is being addressed as we speak.

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: DKeenum
Date:1/10/2003 12:46:07 PM

I went back and looked at the ua-5. It looks promising and has what I want: balanced and unbalenced inputs, asio, and simple operation - and I guess what I'm really interested in.. it works. Do you use the asio drivers?

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: bwb
Date:1/10/2003 2:14:16 PM

I've used both the ASIO and WDM drivers of the UA-5 with good success under Windows 2000.

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: dorkus
Date:1/10/2003 7:47:58 PM

I've tried most of them. Here's a quick summary of what I've found:
M-audio Duo is totally stupid because you can't monitor while overdubbing. It works great if you don't have to monitor your recorded tracks.
EMI 2/6 only works in 16 bit mode if you are monitoring. It is a resource hog and will stutter more than all of them.
I liked the Edirol UA20, but it made my computer crash every 2 - 3 times that I went into record.
The Digigram VX pocket (PCMCIA - good for laptops) has gotten some good feedback, but I could never get one going. Also, they get HOT (you can barely touch them after about 20 minutes) and seem flimsy.
I finally ended up with a Tascam US224 - and with some tweaking, it works really good. In addition to the ins and outs, you get some control surface stuff. I made a good preset that works really well in Acid. My biggest complaint is that there is some crosstalk while recording and monitoring at hot levels.
My suggestion is to buy from Guitar Center (or something like it). I returned all of those units up above with no hassles. Working with usb takes some work.

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: Iacobus
Date:1/10/2003 9:11:58 PM

A USB controller dedicated just to audio will definitely help you out as far as USB 1.1 goes. Note that I said a USB controller, not a USB port. An example of such a controller can be found here.


Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: ramallo
Date:1/11/2003 6:07:35 AM


The two best USB and pro grade devices are: Sound Devices USBPre , Apogee Mini Me


Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: DataCowboy
Date:1/12/2003 12:12:49 AM

I have both a EMI 2|6 and a Midiman Quattro that I use on laptops for live performance. Both work well, and as long as you're not requiring multihchannel 24 bit output, they sound very good and the recent drivers are now very stable.

However, I would only recommend a USB audio interface if you needed portability. Otherwise get a PCI-card based system or a firewire interface.


Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: kingkasual
Date:1/12/2003 1:09:28 AM

i use an edirol ua-100, which i love for its built-in Boss guitar effects in the software--However i've had major problems with recording/playback and am building a DAW with plenty of power and Intel chipset 845blahblahblah (as per the edirol tech support people) and hoping this does the trick-i'm determined to make this set-up (ua-100/acid 4.0) work. Any hints on lengthy live audio (guitar solos, bass lines) in acid 4.0b usb or otherwise, anyone?

Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: Iacobus
Date:1/12/2003 3:55:40 PM

Chris, did you see my earlier post? If you have a USB 1.1 setup, you will want to have the UA-100 on a USB port to a USB controller all by itself. (USB controllers usually have two USB ports; do not put anything on the other port.)


Subject:RE: USB Audio Interfaces
Reply by: doctorfish
Date:1/12/2003 9:48:52 PM

I've heard good things about Digidesign's MBox, which is a 2 channel
USB interface with two Focusrite preamps. Digidesign is releasing
ASIO drivers for all their hardware now too so it should work
with Acid.


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