Interface comparison - UA vs Audient

40 First Steps

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I'm shopping for an interface, hoping to stay under $2k and have at least 8 pres. I'm thinking of buying one the of below interfaces and then add additional pres via ADAT.

* The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X has 2 mic pres and is expandable to add 8 more via ADAT. $1,086 on Sweetwater
* The Audient iD44 has 4 mic pres and is expandable to add 16 more via ADAT. $699 on Sweetwater

Pairing either with something like the Audient ASP800 ($850) meets my budget and desired number of channels.

Do folks have an opinion on the 2 interfaces? Do most of these comparisons come down to personal opinion, or are there real pros / cons of one vs the other? My goal is to be able to capture quality, clean drum sounds that I can provide to friends running much more sophisticated rigs to ultimately refine/shape the sound. Wide range of music styles include rock, country, singer/songwriter, contemporary Christian, and even some theater tunes.

At some point soon I'm going to have to dive in and purchase one and start finding these things out for myself. But my MacBook Pro w/ Logic won't arrive for a couple weeks so I've still got time to be influenced.

Dave
 

scaramanga

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Both companies have a rep for solid analog circuitry in their interfaces. The Apollo likely costs more because it opens up the UAD plugin ecosphere, and their LUNA DAW. Do you want access to these tools when you mix? If not then the Audient is a better choice.
 

bpaluzzi

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Keep in mind that connections via ADAT will inject some latency. You can correct for it in the DAW, but I tend to try to keep all mics for a single source on either internal OR external, not both (I.e., in your setup, I’d make sure to run all the drum mics on the 8 ADAT-connected pres, and use the onboard for different sources)
 

scaramanga

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Keep in mind that connections via ADAT will inject some latency. You can correct for it in the DAW, but I tend to try to keep all mics for a single source on either internal OR external, not both (I.e., in your setup, I’d make sure to run all the drum mics on the 8 ADAT-connected pres, and use the onboard for different sources)
Will some DAWS auto-correct? I haven't used light pipe with Protools in a long time.
 

dcrigger

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Keep in mind that connections via ADAT will inject some latency. You can correct for it in the DAW, but I tend to try to keep all mics for a single source on either internal OR external, not both (I.e., in your setup, I’d make sure to run all the drum mics on the 8 ADAT-connected pres, and use the onboard for different sources)
In my experience, there's absolutely no reason to do that... I've been recording drums daily with mics split across the main interface and light pipe interfaces for years without absolutely zero issues regarding latency. Or the need to take any manual steps or making any adjustments to compensate. There's nothing to compensate - the DAW keeps everything in phase accurate sync across all interfaces.

Think about how they record film orchestras - dozens of mics, split across multiple interface expanders - all being recorded in the same room at the same time - with close mics and mid field mics and distance mics - all working the way supposed to.

Now if you're referring to a system with an expander having greater latency - I don't know. But splitting across interfaces shouldn't change anything because the DAW is going to defer to the slowest source and line everything thing up with that. It may all be later folding back into the headphones but it's all going to in sync with itself - 8 active inputs or 64 active inputs.

Maybe this was a problem wayback when - but I've seen nor heard anything of it for as long as I can remember.
 

dcrigger

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I'm shopping for an interface, hoping to stay under $2k and have at least 8 pres. I'm thinking of buying one the of below interfaces and then add additional pres via ADAT.

* The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X has 2 mic pres and is expandable to add 8 more via ADAT. $1,086 on Sweetwater
* The Audient iD44 has 4 mic pres and is expandable to add 16 more via ADAT. $699 on Sweetwater

Pairing either with something like the Audient ASP800 ($850) meets my budget and desired number of channels.

Do folks have an opinion on the 2 interfaces? Do most of these comparisons come down to personal opinion, or are there real pros / cons of one vs the other? My goal is to be able to capture quality, clean drum sounds that I can provide to friends running much more sophisticated rigs to ultimately refine/shape the sound. Wide range of music styles include rock, country, singer/songwriter, contemporary Christian, and even some theater tunes.

At some point soon I'm going to have to dive in and purchase one and start finding these things out for myself. But my MacBook Pro w/ Logic won't arrive for a couple weeks so I've still got time to be influenced.

Dave
I agree with Matt - unless you are wanting to delve into UAD plug-ins, the Audient probably really is the best value. The ID44 really does sound great IMO - that plus having 2 light pipes makes it again, a great value IMO.
 

Ray Dee Oh King

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I own the Audient ASP800. I pipe it Into a focusrite scarlett 18i20 and have no issues whatsoever with latency. The Audient pres are phenomenal IMO. Cleanest sound ive had recording yet. The first two channels with the extra beef on em really shine. I cant say one bad thing about the ASP800. Im contemplating selling the Focusrite for an Audient Interface to pair up with it. All my recordings are done through the Audient and I have several in the video section.
 

bpaluzzi

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In my experience, there's absolutely no reason to do that... I've been recording drums daily with mics split across the main interface and light pipe interfaces for years without absolutely zero issues regarding latency. Or the need to take any manual steps or making any adjustments to compensate. There's nothing to compensate - the DAW keeps everything in phase accurate sync across all interfaces.

Think about how they record film orchestras - dozens of mics, split across multiple interface expanders - all being recorded in the same room at the same time - with close mics and mid field mics and distance mics - all working the way supposed to.

Now if you're referring to a system with an expander having greater latency - I don't know. But splitting across interfaces shouldn't change anything because the DAW is going to defer to the slowest source and line everything thing up with that. It may all be later folding back into the headphones but it's all going to in sync with itself - 8 active inputs or 64 active inputs.

Maybe this was a problem wayback when - but I've seen nor heard anything of it for as long as I can remember.

I’m just telling you what the experts have told me. Using multiple interfaces in a pro studio (e.g. recording an orchestra in a full protools rig) is in no way comparable to a prosumer rig with different a/d converters in the separate pieces

DAWs are also not able to correct for latency over ADAT, as there’s no way to report the latency to the DAW to have it corrected.

Whether or not the latency is something that you’re concerned with is definitely a personal decision, but it’s definitely there.

It varies, depending on the master interface and the ADAT preamp used, but it’s generally in the range of 24-48 samples at 96k - the equivalent of having a mic out of phase by a few millimeters. Again, that may or may not be a concern for your individual recording needs.
 

scaramanga

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I’m just telling you what the experts have told me. Using multiple interfaces in a pro studio (e.g. recording an orchestra in a full protools rig) is in no way comparable to a prosumer rig with different a/d converters in the separate pieces

DAWs are also not able to correct for latency over ADAT, as there’s no way to report the latency to the DAW to have it corrected.

Whether or not the latency is something that you’re concerned with is definitely a personal decision, but it’s definitely there.

It varies, depending on the master interface and the ADAT preamp used, but it’s generally in the range of 24-48 samples at 96k - the equivalent of having a mic out of phase by a few millimeters. Again, that may or may not be a concern for your individual recording needs.
I would not split a stereo pair between interfaces.
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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I expanded my Apogee system with a UAD satellite almost exclusively for the Ocean Way plugin. For recording drums in a small room, that plug-in is freakishly amazing even though it eats up your processing power. UAD all the way in this case.
 

dcrigger

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I’m just telling you what the experts have told me. Using multiple interfaces in a pro studio (e.g. recording an orchestra in a full protools rig) is in no way comparable to a prosumer rig with different a/d converters in the separate pieces

DAWs are also not able to correct for latency over ADAT, as there’s no way to report the latency to the DAW to have it corrected.

Whether or not the latency is something that you’re concerned with is definitely a personal decision, but it’s definitely there.

It varies, depending on the master interface and the ADAT preamp used, but it’s generally in the range of 24-48 samples at 96k - the equivalent of having a mic out of phase by a few millimeters. Again, that may or may not be a concern for your individual recording needs.
Thanks for that reply - not something I had heard about. But also by the numbers you're giving something I would certainly take into account if I desired to split a stereo pair (which I wouldn't imagine doing - seeming like just asking for trouble). But when looking at micing a drum set across interfaces - when we are talking a few millimeters.... Then if I hear that as a problem, wouldn't I just move the mic to compensate? Seeing as I placed the mic in the first place by ear (or looking at the end result on the meters) to begin with.

Personally I find with recording that there is a lot of stuff that's "there" - and if we all concerned ourselves with correcting for all of those things... few if any projects would ever get started, let alone completed. :)

I just find I've never been able to afford to get lost in those weeds - that have close to no discernible effect on the outcome. I recognize that truly excellent outcomes are achieved by chasing down every bit of the minutia - but just know this has to balanced with what my clients need and are able to hear themselves. If that makes any sense.

So back to the original premise - I've ran for years with Close BD, Close SD, Stereo Overheads, 3 tom mics and HH on one interface - and Far BD, Woofer, Alt Close SD, Bottom SD, Room mics and often an alternate pair of overheads on a light pipe interface with zero negative comments regarding phase from a few dozen engineers and producers. Personally I would chalk up any phase issues to my ability to place mics than the interfaces "adjusting" them off by a few millimeters. :)
 

dcrigger

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The good thing about UAD is that the heavy processing takes place on the interface. So it free’s up the RAM on your computer.

There are still not many other interfaces that do this too.
I think the trend may be that - with all of the recent horsepower showing up in the new computers (the M1 macs for instance) - this ability to hand off processing will become less and less valuable.
 
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I think the trend may be that - with all of the recent horsepower showing up in the new computers (the M1 macs for instance) - this ability to hand off processing will become less and less valuable.

You will always need the max power, so I think external processing will not go away quickly.

LUNA and Live takes a lot horsepower for instance. That will still he the case with the new M1 (which isn’t the all mighty either, tests have shown).
 

dcrigger

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You will always need the max power, so I think external processing will not go away quickly.

LUNA and Live takes a lot horsepower for instance. That will still he the case with the new M1 (which isn’t the all mighty either, tests have shown).
Go away completely - I doubt it. But I'm reminded of that period of time where it was touted that nobody would ever be able to do any serious multi-channel work (beyond a few tracks) with native audio. And yet today, just about the only people needed Protools hardware based systems are those that need to be able to record large simultaneous track counts with very low latency. And granted those people very much need that capability... but with all of the personal recording spaces, overdub rooms, mix rooms, etc., those more, usually large, full feature type studios are but a small fraction of the overall pro market.

But still - those types of systems haven't gone away completely.

Though the argument for using dedicated (always more expensive) hardware for DSP horsepower may not be nearly as strong. Because if we can eventually get that horsepower within a generic computer, it will be extremely cheaper - and I believe that will happen... I believe it is inevitable. And when it does, there will be zero need for the sort of plug-in DSP power that the UAD hardware provides.

As for the M1 - yes, I've seen all of the tests. And at this point, there seems to be a lot of cherry-picking going on - on both sides. Certainly Apple's been accused of it - but on the side of the fence, so has Linus Tech Tips. It's all somewhat moot until more software is natively coded for the architecture. Because clearly anything running through Rosetta2 is at a disadvantage. So clearly the juries out regarding the M1 architecture. Though the music production specific testing I've seen presented has been impressive for sure - and of course the original M1 was the "baby consumer" version. So as always, we'll see...
 
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True.

Computers have come a long way (and we can thank Steve for that too) and the future looks good for us users.

Im still in doubt between the expendable 2018 i7 or the locked M1 coming from “the bin”.
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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Wholeheartedly agree with those saying that external or expanded processing power is a must. If you're running any sort of DAW using a typical amount of good plugins, you will rapidly tax your system. For anyone that is curious - the UAD DSP chart shows just how much processing power each iteration of their plugin uses per core. So, for their Duo systems for example, you get two cores. Something like the Ocean Way Studios uses about 40% of a core for just one instance. You really don't want to max out your cores, so, for a Duo system, you could run maybe 4 iterations of Ocean Way before you're basically out of plugin power on your Duo system, and that isn't accounting for any additional stuff running on there. You'd probably never need 4 iterations of Ocean Way running on a session, but it illustrates the point. The "better" plugins usually eat more power, even with UAD stuff. For instance, the UA 1176 Rev A uses about 18% of a core for a stereo iteration, while the "free" UA 1176SE Legacy uses only 2%. The biggest drag is that depending on your setup, you really can't track through the plugins without insane latency.

ProTools loves to crap out when your processing power is maxed out. Totally a drag when you're in the thick of mixing or editing.
 
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bpaluzzi

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I think the trend may be that - with all of the recent horsepower showing up in the new computers (the M1 macs for instance) - this ability to hand off processing will become less and less valuable.
For mixing / mastering, absolutely. But dedicated DSP chips are always going to be better for real-time actions like low-latency recording. Computers are (by design) multi-purpose machines, and there's no way to ensure that something else isn't ramping up the demand on processes just when you need your CPU to be processing a convolution reverb. It's hard enough for the computer architecture to keep the disk i/o running smooth enough to allow multiple tracks to be written, let alone trying to also maximize available processor power.

Dedicated hardware will always have a purpose, even for prosumer uses (IMO)
 


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