Another "What Soundcard" question

I am running Cubase 5 and it is more than I need. It runs flawlessly on my 7 year old Windows 10 machine. None of my compositions would come near to having Cubase break a sweat. I originally went with the Pro version years ago and continued upgrading until I got to version 5. This version does EVERYTHING I’m looking for in home recording software. For that matter I would probably be best served by one of the other versions, but since I originally decided to go this route… here we are.

I have not done any recording for the past 4 years. I am just a hobbyist, and when my old sound card became obsolete with Windows 10 I put the hobby aside. I am now ready to get back into it, thus this explanation in order that you better understand my needs and requirements.

I live in the analog realm. I route all my signals (various analog effect processors) and microphones through an older Mackie analog mixer. At this point in time I only have 1 effect that has an SPDIF connection. I am leaning towards an RME 9632 which would allow me to continue using my analog mixer’s i/o while also giving my some room to grow into the digital realm. I record 1 instrument at a time.

I would prefer to keep any solution around or below $600. I am not stuck on RME and would be open to other options that may allow me to ditch the Mackie mixer (not altogether) while allowing me to record Analog, digital and midi. Low latency is a plus. Although an internal sound card is not mandatory, it is something I prefer.

Well, if your budget is $600 tops you’d better not get stuck on RME? :slight_smile: Most affordable modern interfaces are USB2 and most range from 2 to 8 analogue inputs. You don’t mention what external FX units you actually have and how many inputs you will need? But I can tell you, some very old FX devices are not worth connecting anymore because they are by far superseded by modern digital FX. So first you should decide what devices or ports from your Mackie you want to connect to your computer? So how many analogue inputs you will need on this interface? Only then you can start to shop for a device that will fit your needs.

Thank you for your response. It appears the hardware forum is quieter than it used to be.

I am taking your suggestion and researching USB interfaced options. I would really like to keep everything simple, including a small footprint on my desk, so this may be the direction I take. I am somewhat obsessed with the expectation of getting the lowest latency as possible out of my soundcards/interface. I also think I will be going with a 2x2 configuration. I really don’t need as many inputs as I once thought I did.

Any suggestions, possibly what I should stay away from, would be appreciated.

There’s lot’s of choices in 2x2 interfaces. Focusrite, M-audio are some and the new Steinberg USB-C series also looks very interesting for this price range? Behringer is a cheaper range and I’ve heard good things about these. However the mic preamps seem to be only average but if you mainly use your interface for VSTi’s and mixing it’'s not such a big deal. Can’t really say what you should stay away from? Haven’t heard anyone shouting about a very bad experience with some model lately?

We all want the lowest latency possible but that also depends on the speed and quality of the computer you’re going to connect it to? If your computer lets you get away with using 64 or even 32 buffer sizes you can get like 2-4 ms of round trip latency? But a little higher won’t hurt that much. It differs per person. Some have no issue with 10ms, others have issues working with 6ms. But on average 5ms and below should be fine.

Before going “pro” I have used the behringer xenyx x2442usb together with Cubase 5 for a very long time. This gives you a mixer with more than descent preamps, fx, compressor and a lot of inputs. Connection to the PC with a single USB cable and it’s recognized without problems on Windows. Price is below 300$ (if you take the smaller models, they are even cheaper).

Never had trouble with it, except maybe some small latency with my electronic drumkit (but that was probably more an issue of the crappy PC I had at the time).