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ESI U24XL audio interface for Ax8 recordings review

Discussion in 'Rigs and Routing' started by Johan Allard, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. Johan Allard

    Johan Allard
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    Hi guys,

    So I've been doing a few recordings with my Ax8 recently and so far just been feeding the Ax8 into the front of my Axe Fx 2 and then into Logic X. Workable but obviously not the most elegant solution so I went hunting for a small interface that would ideally just offer SPDI/F input direct to USB. The simplest I could find was the ESI U24XL (http://www.esi-audio.com/products/u24xl/). I ordered one on eBay and it arrived a couple of hours ago so just wanted to post my initial findings.

    So for it works great. USB connected to my Macbook Pro (from a few years back) through a USB hub connected to my Thunderbolt monitor. Simple RCA cable from SPDI/F out on the Ax8 to coaxial input on the U24XL. I had to open the Audio/Midi controller interface in OS X to select the coax input instead of the analog input, selected 48Khz sample rate that Ax8 always outputs. Open Logic X and it worked perfectly at first go. Very happy. No knobs to turn or selectors on the device. No drivers to install. And since it's SPDI/F it's digital all the way into Logic X. Perfect and simple.

    Bonus finding. The audio output into my monitors using the U24XL worked really well as well. Some audio interfaces don't work with the volume adjustments in Mac OS X. If you for instance select the Axe Fx 2 as the audio interface, you can't adjust the volume in OS X, you have to adjust the volume using the physical knobs on the Axe Fx 2 (or mixer, or speakers). So this also replaced my USB audio interface, one thing less to connect.

    The only thing that's not great so far is that there's supposed to be direct hardware monitoring, but regardless of setting it lags noticeably. It's not that big of a deal for me. It would be nice if it didn't but definitely not a deal breaker.

    So all in all, I'd say it works very well and definitely something to check out if you want to record using your Ax8!
    [​IMG]
     
    bradlake, yek and NightWalker like this.
  2. NightWalker

    NightWalker
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    cool little audio card,thanks for the review.
     
  3. massless

    massless
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    (Thanks for the heads up on this via my other thread, made more sense to ask my questions here)

    Is latency lower than going via DA/AD conversion of a regular audio interface? I am using a Scarlett 2i4 currently, latency is OK but not ideal.
     
  4. Johan Allard

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    My understanding is that there's no latency with SPDI/F. It just spits out a stream of 48kHz bits in raw digital format. The audio interface then just picks that up and feeds to the DAW that stores it in the track. The first DA conversion would then happen when you listen back, but it's all digital until then.
     
  5. massless

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    Great, that was my hope - if it has zero (additional) latency SPDIF seems the way to go then. Just have to decide between ESI, ART or a 6i6.
     
  6. Chiguete

    Chiguete
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    What ART are you considering?
     
  7. Chiguete

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    So how do you actually listen to what you are playing? You got me confised, you go from there to the monitors? When you say that you hear lag you meen when you connect headphones directly to it or with the monitors?
     
  8. Johan Allard

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    At home on the Ax8 I have Output 1 connected to a mixer that goes to my studio monitors. Output 2 goes to my Friedman ASM-12. And SPDIF out to the U24XL.

    The U24XL is connected to my MacBook Pro using USB, and Analog output is connected to the Mixer that goes to my studio monitors.

    When I record I normally listens either through Output 1 or 2 on the Ax8 that goes direct to one of the speakers. In the U24XL there's a "direct hardware monitoring" that takes SPDIF in on the U24XL and feed to analog output. This works but adds latency so doesn't really work.

    Hope that makes sense.
     
  9. Chiguete

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    Ok so SPDIF out of the AX8 to in of the U24XL, then USV out of the U24XL to USB of MacBook. Cool :)
     
  10. #10 Davus PG, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    Davus PG

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    So would this work if I wanted to record on say Garageband or any other DAW whilst playing along to a backing track also playing on Garageband whist monitoring with headphones?

    If so would I plug into the U24XL or the macbook?

    Any help greatly appreciated

    Cheers

    David
     
  11. Johan Allard

    Johan Allard
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    Yes, you plug the Ax8 into the U24XL and the U24XL with usb into the macbook!
     
  12. Davus PG

    Davus PG
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    That's great, thank you
     
  13. Chiguete

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    So who is using this and likes it?
     
  14. NightWalker

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    ok i just ordered that audio card,hope i like it,thank for posting your review.
     
  15. Chiguete

    Chiguete
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    Waiting for your review.
     
  16. bzh76

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    hi ,
    i received mine today.
    i plugged it to my macbook pro , connected my ax8 to the spdif input , set the rate to 48khz ....( set the spdif input in the audio/Midi controller interface) ,and .... no sound.
    to hear something, i have to open logic pro X and select the track to record.
    and the funny thing is that i have a big latency et the sound is detuned .....
    what i want ,is just using it to record with the spdif input and , for the monitoring, i have the headphone output of the mac selected.
    am i alone in that case?
     
  17. NightWalker

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    you need to open your daw all the time if you want to hear sound,also on logic set your project to 48khz,you need to connect your headphones to the ESI U24XL,i tihnk that is why you are getting a big latency
     
  18. bzh76

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    thank you for your answer ,
    that's better , with the project set in logic to 48khz i don't have the detune anymore .
    but i still have my big latency .
    the output is set everywhere to U24XL usb ( in the sound preference in os , and in logic), and connected to my monitors.
    perhaps in logic my audio values are not correct.
     
  19. NightWalker

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    lower the buffer size on logic,set it around 256 or lower.
     
  20. bzh76

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    that ' s ok !!!!! thank you !! it works !
     
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