Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:33 AM   #1
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Icon5 Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

Hi!

I have some thinking currently about A/D Converters quality.

When I record my Moog analog synth with my Scarlett 2i2 soundcard, I am really disapointed by the result.
I find that the Moog sound goodness is not preserved by the recording.
I'm not sure what is missing, the dynamics, the quality of the subs, something in the highs too.
I guess that this is coming from some poor A/D Converters quality in my Scarlett 2i2 soundcard.

My plan is to buy a new soundcard with better A/D Converters quality.
But how can I know if I will be happy?

After a lot of reading, I'm considering two interfaces (Windows, USB, 6 line inputs, HiZ input, < 900$):
- The MOTU Ultralite AVB : [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]

- The RME Fireface UC : [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


The MOTU is a lot cheaper, but will I be happy with their A/D Converters quality? Is it really better than the Scarlett 2i2? They have another soundcard with better converters, but it's more expensive (The MOTU 624: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
)
The RME is more stable and has better converters, but does it justify the additionnal 300$?

How can I decide?

Thanks for your help!

Luc

Last edited by lucky one; 08-03-2017 at 04:05 PM..

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Old 06-03-2017, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

MOTU is almost certainly better. I think I had a Mackie Onxy before I had my MOTU 828 MKII and I noticed a pretty significant difference in both my recordings and the signal coming through my monitors. Also, a new 828 may even have better converters than my old one.
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Old 08-03-2017, 04:08 PM   #3
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

Thanks relic!

I guess that if you are happy with a MOTU 828 MKII, I could be too. I just have to check if the Ultralite AVB is comparable to a 828 MKII...

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Old 08-03-2017, 05:06 PM   #4
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

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Originally Posted by lucky one View Post
Thanks relic!

I guess that if you are happy with a MOTU 828 MKII, I could be too. I just have to check if the Ultralite AVB is comparable to a 828 MKII...
My 828 is practically ancient in the world of music gear. I'm sure if you are looking into a brand new Ultralite the sound quality on the Ultralite is the same if not better. The pres on the 828 have plenty of headroom, no decetable noise and don't color the signal. Workhorse pres for sure. The line level inputs are just as clean. MOTU's tend to come feature packed as well. Both MOTU products I own came at a great price used and features-wise are overkill for my simple setup. However, the fact is the always do what they say on the packaging and are rock solid.

While I've not owned many audio-midi interfaces, MOTU have made a life long customer out of me. If I upgrade and can't daisy chain my 828 to the new interface for more inputs, I'm still going to keep it as it makes a really nice line mixer or monitor switch as the 828 works stand alone.
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:15 PM   #5
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

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I've had no end of problems with my Motu Audio Express, as such a brand I would tell anyone to run a mile from.
What kind of problems?
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

Make sure that if you go with motu that you either are aware they use firewire ports, or get the hybrid version which has both firewire and usb. Being a windows 10 user and having a motherboard with no firewire port, I had to figure out the hard way that some stuff doesn't agree with each other. Currently thinking about the 828 mk iii hybrid as an upgrade from a profire 610 which has legacy drivers and isn't always happy with WIN10.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:08 PM   #7
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

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Originally Posted by Numerical View Post
Make sure that if you go with motu that you either are aware they use firewire ports, or get the hybrid version which has both firewire and usb. Being a windows 10 user and having a motherboard with no firewire port, I had to figure out the hard way that some stuff doesn't agree with each other. Currently thinking about the 828 mk iii hybrid as an upgrade from a profire 610 which has legacy drivers and isn't always happy with WIN10.
Aren't all the new ones USB only or all hybrid?

I'm using an older firewire version and I've had no issues in Windows 7 or 10. I installed a PCI fireware card into my dekstop to use the MOTU. No issues. I did find out that a particular firewire chip set (Texas Instruments) is less buggy. It was easy enough to get a TI PCI Firewire card. Plug n play. Easy peasy.

I just don't seem to run into compatability issues on anything. Ever. Knock on wood.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:52 AM   #8
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
What kind of problems?
Had problems installing it, had to mess around with the BIOS in the end.

Whether I switch it on first, or the computer first it doesn't always "connect" with the operating system so I need to sometimes reboot the computer again before it sees it.

It only lasts so long before starts crackling static and everything needs rebooting. I'm not the only one, there's folk on YouTube that have complained about this.

When I turn the volume down it often shoots right up to maximum and nearly blows my ears or the speakers, this is a real PIA.

It doesn't record the stereo image from my hardware properly and I need to invert either the left or right side.

In summary, a lump of shit I've often wanted to through the window. It wasn't cheap either.

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Old 09-03-2017, 06:33 PM   #9
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

Quote:
Originally Posted by FTD View Post
Had problems installing it, had to mess around with the BIOS in the end.

Whether I switch it on first, or the computer first it doesn't always "connect" with the operating system so I need to sometimes reboot the computer again before it sees it.

It only lasts so long before starts crackling static and everything needs rebooting. I'm not the only one, there's folk on YouTube that have complained about this.

When I turn the volume down it often shoots right up to maximum and nearly blows my ears or the speakers, this is a real PIA.

It doesn't record the stereo image from my hardware properly and I need to invert either the left or right side.

In summary, a lump of shit I've often wanted to through the window. It wasn't cheap either.
Wow dude. That sucks. Just out of curiosity, did you build your own studio computer? I've often anecdotally attributed my complete lack of compatibility issues with the fact that my system was built on a clean, legal install of Windows 7. No bloatware or weird factory settings crap going on.

TBH, I think that is most of the issues people have with Windows and audio software/hardware issues.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:20 PM   #10
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Re: Soundcard A/D converters quality ? Focusrite / MOTU / RME

Thank you everyone for your valuable input, it helped me making my mind up.

I will go for the MOTU Ultralite AVB, as the converter quality will surely be good enough for my ears.
I think it's not necessary to invest 270 additional euros for the RME.

I am a little puzzled by the stability on Windows. I have a laptop and I plan to work on USB2.
We'll see if it's stable enough

Cheers,

Luc

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