Full-Featured Home Studio Interfaces That Let You Connect A Lot Of GearFeb 8 — By The Tweak
Tweak's Mac & PC Pick
Tweak: MOTU interface have long been regarded as the ideal "Mac" interfaces. But now PC users report success as well. It is my pick for my Mac and I have reviewed the 828mk2 extensively. I love it! Great for LogicPro. The 828mk3 will also work on a PC and has a firewire and USB 2.0 version.
See more in my article Audio Interfaces for your Mac
Tweak's Pick for the Pro
After more than 2 years of development, the time has come: RME presents the Fireface 800, the world's most powerful FireWire audio interface ever. Up to 56 channels record/playback, up to 192 kHz sample rate, and true FireWire 800 sum up to an unsurpassed high-end, high performance and high speed FireWire audio interface.
Technology Alert: Namm 2006
There are now alternatives to getting a soundcard or audio interface. There is a new breed of firewire and USB based mixers that can be used to get audio to your computer. Look at the Mackie Onyx, Alesis MultiMix Firewire, and the Behringer XENYX.
Also take a look at the M-Audio Project Mix
Technology Alert: Namm 2007
USB 2.0 interfaces are finally starting to come online. Check out the Emu 0202, 0404, the Tascam US 144 and the Alesis IO2. See my chart of the USB 2.0 interfaces
Technology Alert: Namm 2008
Probably one of more noteworthy developments is that audio interfaces are appearing on products that never used to have one. Mixers, keyboard controllers, workstations, and even microphones may now have a simple 2x2 audio interface tacked on. How many audio interfaces do you need? One! Make it a good one, not something added on to a guitar multi effects pedal.
There were relatively few new audio interfaces since Namm 2007. Presonus updated their line with the new Firestudio series. Tascam has a new USB 2.0 interface the US1641, which has great i/o for under $400 Motu released the successor the the 828mk2 with, you guessed it, the Motu 828mk3 and some other MOTU interfaces as well
Technology Alert: Namm 2009
So what's going to happen? I think Mixers are about to be come more intelligent and will soon come with integrated big audio interfaces. Currently these exist but start around 3k. But you should know that audio interfaces are already at a high state of the art.
Another thing that has happened: Apple has dumped Firewire on its low end laptops. Then they came out with cheaper Mac Book Pros. The Mac Pros and Macbook pros still have Firewire 800. FW 400 interfaces will still work on a FW 800 port if you have the right cable. But low end Macbooks are forced to use USB2.0 audio interfaces. This has caught the industry with its pants down.
Technology Alert: Namm 2010
Its gonna be a tough year with Windows 7 breaking old drivers. Add to that the potential teething pains of 64 bit versions of your favorite applications on both Mac and PC platforms. There are whispers about a USB 3.0, but that will be a few more years. I am watching Mackie. The new Onyx 1640i is dead on the right direction, as is the Cakewalk V-studio. We are heading towards days of the digital mixer being an intelligent computer peripheral. Hmm...