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Author Topic: I am looking for a new USB interface  (Read 5999 times)

Kevin Maxwell

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I am looking for a new USB interface
« on: June 03, 2012, 12:02:58 am »

I bought a new computer and the OS is Win7 Pro so it is 64 bit. I have been using a USBPre and I am not very happy that Sound Devices is no longer supporting it. So they havenít come out with 64 bit drivers. I thought I was buying a quality unit and didnít think it would be abandoned. Now admittedly I have never written a driver so I donít know what is involved. I would have thought you would just need to tweak the old one a little and recompile it with a 64bit compiler. But I am probably being naive. With this experience with Sound Devices I will never buy or recommend one of their products anymore.   

I tried a demo version of a 3rd party 64bit driver that doesnít seem to work as well as I would have hoped. It seems to reset the USB pre every time I stop or start a measurement. It is about $55. and the only way to pay for it (if it was any good) is by credit card. I donít give some unknown person in some other country my credit card number. If they took PayPal I might think about it. 

So now I am looking for a new USB interface. But after what I spent for the computer I am trying to not get carried away with an expensive unit like the OctoPre.

I would like a unit with 2 preamps so I will be able to measure with 2 mics. And I was hoping to be able to use the internal generator in Smaart and route it out one of the outputs of the USB interface. I was told by Rational Acoustics that I couldnít do that with the Sound Devices USBPre because they use different clocking for the input and output side of the device. And that this caused the input and the output signal to drift.

So what is a reasonably priced (less then $300.00) USB audio interface (64bit) that has 2 preamps and can be used with the internal generator in Smaart and have it stay in sync? Will the Roland Quad pre do what I want? I am looking for something around the size of my S.D. USBPre so it will fit in my pelican case with all of my other stuff. 

All mention of the S.D. USBPre is referring to the original version and not the updated version 2.   
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 11:55:40 am »

I bought a new computer and the OS is Win7 Pro so it is 64 bit. I have been using a USBPre and I am not very happy that Sound Devices is no longer supporting it. So they havenít come out with 64 bit drivers. I thought I was buying a quality unit and didnít think it would be abandoned. Now admittedly I have never written a driver so I donít know what is involved. I would have thought you would just need to tweak the old one a little and recompile it with a 64bit compiler. But I am probably being naive. With this experience with Sound Devices I will never buy or recommend one of their products anymore.   

I tried a demo version of a 3rd party 64bit driver that doesnít seem to work as well as I would have hoped. It seems to reset the USB pre every time I stop or start a measurement. It is about $55. and the only way to pay for it (if it was any good) is by credit card. I donít give some unknown person in some other country my credit card number. If they took PayPal I might think about it. 

So now I am looking for a new USB interface. But after what I spent for the computer I am trying to not get carried away with an expensive unit like the OctoPre.

I would like a unit with 2 preamps so I will be able to measure with 2 mics. And I was hoping to be able to use the internal generator in Smaart and route it out one of the outputs of the USB interface. I was told by Rational Acoustics that I couldnít do that with the Sound Devices USBPre because they use different clocking for the input and output side of the device. And that this caused the input and the output signal to drift.

So what is a reasonably priced (less then $300.00) USB audio interface (64bit) that has 2 preamps and can be used with the internal generator in Smaart and have it stay in sync? Will the Roland Quad pre do what I want? I am looking for something around the size of my S.D. USBPre so it will fit in my pelican case with all of my other stuff. 

All mention of the S.D. USBPre is referring to the original version and not the updated version 2.   

Put a looping WAV file of pink noise on your music player or use the internal noise generator on the console.  There is nothing inherently superior about the generator in Smaart that I have found (Arthur? Harry? Langston? Did I miss something?).

I'm using a Tascam US-144MkII with 64 bit AISO drivers. The only downside is size/weight... it's built like a tank.

I also have an old M-Audio MobilePRE USB that has 64 bit drivers available but I've not tried them as the machine I use it with has 32 bit XP Pro running.
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 01:46:12 pm »

Put a looping WAV file of pink noise on your music player or use the internal noise generator on the console.  There is nothing inherently superior about the generator in Smaart that I have found (Arthur? Harry? Langston? Did I miss something?).

I'm using a Tascam US-144MkII with 64 bit AISO drivers. The only downside is size/weight... it's built like a tank.

I also have an old M-Audio MobilePRE USB that has 64 bit drivers available but I've not tried them as the machine I use it with has 32 bit XP Pro running.
If I were to use the Quad pre (since I assume it has 4 inputs that are available at the same time) I gather I could use a line level input for an external pick noise source like I do now and then use the 2 preamp inputs for 2 mics. I mentioned the capability of using the internal generator so if the device only had 2 inputs then I would be able to use 2 mics for measurement and an output to feed the pink noise to the sound system. Does this make sense as to what I am trying to do?
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Doug Fowler

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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2012, 04:24:37 pm »

If I were to use the Quad pre (since I assume it has 4 inputs that are available at the same time) I gather I could use a line level input for an external pick noise source like I do now and then use the 2 preamp inputs for 2 mics. I mentioned the capability of using the internal generator so if the device only had 2 inputs then I would be able to use 2 mics for measurement and an output to feed the pink noise to the sound system. Does this make sense as to what I am trying to do?

Kevin -

You can use the internal software generator by making its output appear on one of your audio interface's outputs.
Split that output with a Y-cable and patch one side back into your interface's reference channel. The other is of course output to the PA.

Make sense?

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Arthur Skudra

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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2012, 10:03:47 pm »

Kevin,
The Roland Quad Capture only has 2 mic preamps for the first two channels, two 1/4" balanced outputs, and SPDIF input/output for the other two inputs/outputs.  So to be able to use one of the two analog inputs for your reference loopback would only allow one microphone on the other input.  That said, since the quad capture is based on similar technology as the octa capture, I'm going to assume that you can indeed use an internally referenced generator with that particular interface, because I'm able to do so with my octa capture.  Nevertheless, buy your quad capture from some music store with a good return policy just in case it doesn't meet your requirements.  That's what I did when I bought my octa capture when it first came out and nobody else was using one yet with Smaart.  I haven't regretted my choice!  Overall I'm really impressed with what Roland has done with these new interfaces!

As an alternative, you can use one of these with your quad capture:
http://www.gefen.com/gefentv/gtvproduct.jsp?prod_id=5278
Which now opens up the possibility to use any analog source with your SPDIF input.  I tried it with my Octa Capture's digital input for iPod playback, and it works like a champ!

Tim,
What Kevin is referring to is the ability with Smaart version 7.3 to internally "loop back" the reference generator so you don't have to chew up one of your inputs on your interface for a reference input.  So with an appropriate 2 channel interface you can have two mics *as well as* an internally looped back generator at the same time.  The caveat is that you need to have an interface where the clocks are internally synchronized.  Most recently made interfaces have this capability.  The 10 year old USBPre doesn't.  The new USBPre2 does.  I do it with my Octa Capture, I have access to ALL 8 mic preamps for my microphones, and the internal loopback does not occupy one of those preamps!

« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 10:07:12 pm by Arthur Skudra »
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2012, 11:31:28 pm »

Kevin,
The Roland Quad Capture only has 2 mic preamps for the first two channels, two 1/4" balanced outputs, and SPDIF input/output for the other two inputs/outputs.  So to be able to use one of the two analog inputs for your reference loopback would only allow one microphone on the other input.  That said, since the quad capture is based on similar technology as the octa capture, I'm going to assume that you can indeed use an internally referenced generator with that particular interface, because I'm able to do so with my octa capture.  Nevertheless, buy your quad capture from some music store with a good return policy just in case it doesn't meet your requirements.  That's what I did when I bought my octa capture when it first came out and nobody else was using one yet with Smaart.  I haven't regretted my choice!  Overall I'm really impressed with what Roland has done with these new interfaces!

As an alternative, you can use one of these with your quad capture:
http://www.gefen.com/gefentv/gtvproduct.jsp?prod_id=5278
Which now opens up the possibility to use any analog source with your SPDIF input.  I tried it with my Octa Capture's digital input for iPod playback, and it works like a champ!

Tim,
What Kevin is referring to is the ability with Smaart version 7.3 to internally "loop back" the reference generator so you don't have to chew up one of your inputs on your interface for a reference input.  So with an appropriate 2 channel interface you can have two mics *as well as* an internally looped back generator at the same time.  The caveat is that you need to have an interface where the clocks are internally synchronized.  Most recently made interfaces have this capability.  The 10 year old USBPre doesn't.  The new USBPre2 does.  I do it with my Octa Capture, I have access to ALL 8 mic preamps for my microphones, and the internal loopback does not occupy one of those preamps!

Arthur Ė Thank you very much that is what I am looking to do. I was planning on seeing if one of the dealers I work with will get me a device at a reasonable price. Minimum mark up if any. So the return policy wouldnít be great because I would be asking them to go out of their way to do me a favor. The Quad pre looks like it might do what I want without costing me too much. And the Gefen device looks like it could be very helpful.

I am a little bit surprised that there doesnít seem to be a device that has more then 2 and less then 8 inputs. A 4 input (with at least 3 mic preamps) unit in a small form factor would be great so that I could grow into using more mics as I can afford them. I am looking to improve what I do and I think adding an additional mic into my measurement routine would be good to do. I am always trying to improve myself.   

Now that means I have to get to know Smaart version 7 better. I have stuck with 5.4 because I like the way it works I hated 6 and I am still waiting for 7 to include some of the things they took out after 5.4. They are nit picky little things and if I use 7 more maybe I can learn to work around it.

And in case anyone asks I have been using Smaart since version 2 and have paid for all of the upgrades when they came out, all the way up to the current Ver7.
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Arthur Skudra

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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 11:49:05 pm »

I am a little bit surprised that there doesnít seem to be a device that has more then 2 and less then 8 inputs. A 4 input (with at least 3 mic preamps) unit in a small form factor would be great so that I could grow into using more mics as I can afford them. I am looking to improve what I do and I think adding an additional mic into my measurement routine would be good to do. I am always trying to improve myself.
Maybe the Presonus AudioBox 44VSL would fit your situation?  Check with the folk at Rational Acoustics tomorrow, I think they have one in their office.  Once you go multi mic, you'll never go back!   :)
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Re: I am looking for a new USB interface
¬ę Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 11:49:05 pm ¬Ľ


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