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Recommend me a good audio interface and DI box

rustinpeace91

New Member
I've started recording my album and am 2 songs in and am realizing that the gear I'm using just aint cutting it. I'm using an FM3 for guitar recording, then a M Audio FastTrack for everything else. The latency on the M-Audio fast track is awful. Probably because it's almost 10 years old, it's especially bad when trying to do Midi keyboard input. The FM3 has what I'd call an "acceptable" amount of latency when recording guitars, but for bass there seems to be a lot more latency. I have no idea why. I'm using a real bass, not the pitch shifter with a guitar and I'm not pushing the CPU at all on the FM3. Also sometimes when bouncing a track with lots of MIDI drums, they can get a little messed up if I'm using the FM3 as the main audio interface, so I think it's fair to say I need an upgrade for my actual dedicated interface.

I want something with as little latency as possible. It doesn't need too many inputs. I'd be using as a dedicated interface and use it to record vocals, and maybe bass direct In. What is a good one I should look at? I'm a bit tight on money and would like to stay under say, $500, but as little latency as possible would be great. It doesn't need a ton of inputs as right now it's a one man show and I'm not micing drums up. I guess it couldn't hurt to have multiple inputs if I want to eventually rent a space to run my tracks through an actual amp. Also I want to have DI tracks for the rest of my songs (the 2 I already recorded can be re-recorded if they need to honestly), in case I want to get this album professionally mixed/mastered in the future when I have more money. Is there any benefit to having an dedicated DI box and having a processed FM3 signal and a raw signal that doesn't go through the FM3 at all? or should I just use the FM3 for this? I've tried doing this and I've noticed that the DI signals aren't great. They have a little bit of extra gain to them and there is a fair amount of latency between the processed signal and the direct signal, would a good DI box change this? or is there something within the FM3 I need to look at.
 

GlennO

Fractal Fanatic
A good interface can reduce your latency a bit, but usually there are other factors that will have a greater impact on your latency for your virtual instruments when you're using your midi keyboard. For example, your computer cpu or how you have your DAW configured. What size audio buffer are you using?

When recording guitar (or bass) through the FM3, latency shouldn't matter, assuming you're monitoring direct instead of through your computer. The best way to work with DI tracks and reamping is to use the FM3 as your audio interface, but no, there isn't much point to using a DI box with an FM3.
 

rustinpeace91

New Member
I don't think my CPU at all. Again when I'm running a track with 25+ tracks or a ton of mono synths I've yet to get my CPU usage over single digits. I have a gaming computer and run Reaper which doesn't seem to tax the CPU that much.
 

Repartee41

Inspired
How are you monitoring your tracks? When using the FM3 to record I'd plug your monitors/ headphones directly in to that, which should eliminate latency. When using the M Audio, plug in to that one.

Make sure your buffer size isn't too high, with a powerful CPU you can get away with a lower size.
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
Hop on Sweetwater and look through the Presonus lineup. I’ve worked with them for years on the performing side (not employed, just beta work) and have found all of their gear to be solid and reasonably priced for what it offers. Watching the recording guys do their thing, I’ve never noticed the interfaces dragging them down. I’m no expert on that side of the studio window, but if I were looking I’d start there.
 
Update: The scarlet wasn't cutting it because of latency and the mic pre's are not up to par for vocals. The headphone amp does not drive hi impendence headphones very well either. I just purchased a Focusrite Clarett 2pre and couldn't be happier. It runs for around $500 but worth every penny. Zero latency, a lot more power in the headphone amp, and Vocals sound much better.

I love my Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, it's an inexpensive box around $169 and it sounds great. 24/192 interface. For vocals it would be best to use a dedicated mic pre or try the FM3. I use Bandlab Cakewalk for my DAW (Free) and Wavelab Pro for mastering which I have used since it came out.
 
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vangrieg

Fractal Fanatic
I want something with as little latency as possible. It doesn't need too many inputs. I'd be using as a dedicated interface and use it to record vocals, and maybe bass direct In. What is a good one I should look at? I'm a bit tight on money and would like to stay under say, $500, but as little latency as possible would be great.
If you ever want to plug an instrument into your interface, you can't beat MOTU M2/M4 currently, and for what these cards give, there's barely anything comparable for the price.

There are many more options if you just need to use line inputs or mic preamps.

And no, there's no point in buying a DI box with a decent audio interface.
 
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