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Thread: Advice on buying an audio interface for composition/ mixing

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    Question Advice on buying an audio interface for composition/ mixing

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    Hi, I'm new at music production, so I'll explain as best I can, hopefully I get the terminology right.

    Basically I'm going to be making beats and dabbling at orchestral scores, so I won't be using recording equipment. Mainly using synths and samples to create instrumentals and scores and then mix them. I just need it basically as a great soundcard and also plug in a midi keyboard and studio monitors. I want to start using an audio interface soon as a step up from the ASIO4All driver I use on my PC. I have around $250 at max to spend but if there's some magical interface that will improve the quality for cheap I'll take that


    Right now I'm looking at a couple audio interfaces:

    1) Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6

    Amazon.com: Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6: Musical Instruments

    I've only known of Native Instruments for a couple months now but they are amazing with their hardware and software products! So I find myseld looking at this audio interface they have. Only thing is it uses USB 2.0 and my Dell XPS 2720 has USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports. I'm wondering if I can maximize them better.


    2) Resident Audio T2 Thunderbolt

    Amazon.com: Resident Audio T4 Thunderbolt Audio Interface: Musical Instruments

    I have a Dell 2720 XPS and it has a Thunderbolt port which I never use. Apparently Thunderbolt has twice the speed of USB 3.0 and better latency.

    So am I on the right track? Am I going overboard and can get something cheaper that has amazing quality? Or should I save more money and go for something higher?

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    I have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, and while I know you didn't mention it as your alternatives, well it's fairly similar - but it's on a really decent sale on Amazon:
    Amazon.com: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface: Musical Instruments

    See if it matches your needs, it could save you some cash if it's good enough in your eyes You also seem to get a good amount of bonus software with it

    Though as a whole, don't be shy to invest a little extra in getting good overall features - you don't know how you'll produce in a few years, so investing for the future may mean that you don't have to sell it eventually and buy a new one that matches your new needs.
    Not saying you should go overkill of course, but having an interface that works in many scenarios is always good. Though the ones you're interested in seems good and versatile in my eyes.

    PS. I may be wrong, but Isn't USB 3.0 all about running USB speeds above the previous limits, rather than a new fixed speed? I mean for instance there are USB memories capable of reading at 450 MB/s, which means USB 3.0 can transfer lots of data really fast (including data sent to or from the AI). Thunderbolt seems to be really nice and be superior to USB 3.0 (!), but I don't think USB 3.0 would bottleneck
    Last edited by steffeeh; 04-20-2016 at 01:21 PM.

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    What's the different between the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and 2i4? Apparently Guitar Center and Amazon have a sale on them right now.

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    2i2 have no MIDI in/out or unbalanced line in/out, and you need MIDI in/out if you'll use a MIDI controller. You need to check the various connectors on the back and the front to check if the AI has the inputs/outputs that you need

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    I love my Steinberg UR28M because its conveniently set up as a monitor controller with mono/dim/mute and 3 speaker selections at the touch of a button. I use a higher end converter for mixing but its great for production and composing. I've actually mixed some good records on it as well. Maybe a little higher than your price range but may be worth a look.

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