Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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preservation
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Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by preservation » Sat May 02, 2020 7:31 am

HEY FOLKS

I have a 2-input Presonus VSL22 from around 2011 or so.
It works fine and I appreciate that it has Midi IN/OUT.

I do the unthinkable and record my guitars straight into the interface. Of course it doesn't sound great, but I love the simple workflow and I can almost always give the recordings more OOMPH in Reason (compression, amp sim, etc).

I've been wondering if it's worth it to upgrade, however. The Motu M2 seems like a better version of what's working for me, and I imagine the new drivers or converters will sound much better. Is it wrong to think so?

My comfy budget is around $250, and yet I've had other musicians tell me I need everything from a simple Di (Quilter Phantom Block) to a Neunaber Neuron or Strymon Iridium. I'm beyond confused.

I'd like to keep things cheap and cheerful since I'm mostly satisfied with my sound and don't want to blow $400 on a slight change in sound.

NOTE: My bandmate uses and loves the Izotope Spire but I don't like the phone/iPad interface. It does sound nice, especially for vocals, but I'm comfy with my MacMini.

Any advice for this noob would be appreciated.

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marqueemoon
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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by marqueemoon » Sat May 02, 2020 7:41 am

IMO workflow is everything in recording. If you’re comfortable and the technology doesn’t get in the way that’s how you get the best performances.

In other words if you’re happy enough with the sound quality of what you have I’d leave well enough alone.

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by Larry Mal » Sat May 02, 2020 9:08 am

A better interface would give you better analog to digital conversion and better dynamic range, as well as less noise with better preamps.

I am skeptical that a budget of $250 will get something that makes much difference, though. Of course, prices with audio interfaces have been coming down over the years and you can see improvements with newer units over older ones at almost all price points. In other words, $250 will get you more now than $250 got you ten years ago.

Still... I would wait until the budget is more in order to maximize your purchase, personally.

That being said, though, this unit is new and not expensive:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... -interface

And would probably be much better than your old unit.

It has MIDI in and out, also.
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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by Telliot » Sat May 02, 2020 9:47 am

I love recording guitars and bass straight into my interface. It gives you all kinds of flexibility down the line, including reamping, if that’s something you think might be appropriate for the song. Much of the time I’ll use effects or an amp sim and call it good. Of course it depends on the type of music you play, this just happens to work well for me.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by Dok » Sat May 02, 2020 11:49 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 9:08 am
A better interface would give you better analog to digital conversion and better dynamic range, as well as less noise with better preamps.

I am skeptical that a budget of $250 will get something that makes much difference, though. Of course, prices with audio interfaces have been coming down over the years and you can see improvements with newer units over older ones at almost all price points. In other words, $250 will get you more now than $250 got you ten years ago.

Still... I would wait until the budget is more in order to maximize your purchase, personally.

That being said, though, this unit is new and not expensive:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... -interface

And would probably be much better than your old unit.

It has MIDI in and out, also.
I was about to suggest the same interface, as well as the MOTU M4 - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... -interface

Honestly, these things are just amazing value for the money. MOTU is a great company with great products and you will mostly likely be very happy with anything you purchase from them.
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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by preservation » Sat May 02, 2020 5:36 pm

Thanks guys.

I looked at the SSL2+ but some YT vids show wiggly knobs and and XLR input. That spooks me.

M2 seems to be my best bet, but I’d hate to find out that it’s not really an interface issue.

I think I’ll try the M2 or Quilter PhantomBlock in front of my old Presonus. One of those is bound to inform me whether anything really deserves replacing at my current budget.

The M2 is getting rave reviews and sounds good on YT vids. The Phantomblock is $100 and might give me some oomph.

I HATE “utility” purchases. If it were up to me I’d just buy guitars, pedals, and amps. :'(

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by preservation » Mon May 04, 2020 10:15 am

I’m just here to let you all know that I found a solution.
DON’T RECORD GUITARS IN REASON.

I just went direct in Garageband and my guitar sounds clean and strong.

There’s nothing wrong with my old Presonus unit.
I don’t need a DI.

Everything is fine.


Propellerheads just need to stick to softsynths.

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by Telliot » Mon May 04, 2020 10:26 am

Yep, I use Logic Pro X and the amp sims are pretty amazing.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by Larry Mal » Mon May 04, 2020 10:32 am

Or get Waves GTR or Amplitube.
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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by preservation » Tue May 05, 2020 3:33 am

Guitars sound great. Been on Cloud IX since yesterday!
On the Garageband end I might use a bit of extra track compression, but that’s mostly it.

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by somanytoys » Tue May 05, 2020 6:50 am

Well, that was the best kind of fix - cheap!

Glad it worked out for you in such an easy way. And you also have some good suggestions if you ever need to use any other plugins for amp sims.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Is it worth replacing my audio interface (home recording)

Post by parry » Tue May 05, 2020 7:10 am

preservation wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 10:15 am
I’m just here to let you all know that I found a solution.
I just went direct in Garageband and my guitar sounds clean and strong.
Glad to hear you got that sorted out, and are happy with it. Being at home with the family 24/7, I've skipped recording amps in favour of plugging straight in to my Scarlett 2i2 and using the amps/pedals in Garageband. Truthfully, I was very pleasantly surprised by the sounds I was able to get and really wish I'd started making demos this way, sooner. It made sounds much easier to manage and work with.

Not that anyone should care... and to help solidify a case for ignoring everything I say... :D
here's the kind of racket I'm causing, and my first attempt at recording this way: https://soundcloud.com/aux-audio-896356067/tracks
Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.

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