Best Audio Interface for Cubase-Thoughts/Opinions

Hey all,

I’ve been seeing some horrific issues with audio interfaces all over the Cubase fora. So I thought I’d ask: What is the best audio interface for Cubase?

For me, I have yet to see anything that works as effortlessly, silently, and reliably as my RME FireFace 800. The matrix software (TotalMix FX) gives complete control over routing every input to every output, and runs 100% independent of Cubase. It’s so reliable I often just forget it’s there. It connects seamlessly and just… works.

The pre-amps are, as one would expect at the price-point, good, but not “Wow!” I’ve heard worse, and definitely better. It has a high-Z input that works fine, but also offers “compression” and “amp simulation” that are, IMHO, horrid. LOL

A/D-D/A sounds great. Again, I’ve heard better, but not without spending at least the same amount for just A/D as I spent on the interface.

As for other options, so far Thunderbolt sounds like a bit of a mess (I’ve encounter two users of the new Apollo boxes who have both had to return them).
USB (2 or 3) seems, at a professional level, unusable.

How about you guys? What are your experiences?

Hey enjneer! Can I ask you a question about your Fireface 800?

In that other thread ( ), did you write that using your set up your singer could get a Cue Mix with latency-free reverb and latency-free tempo-synced delay on their vocals? And that other artists could get a different set of latency-free FX in their cans?

The thread got a bit confusing (to me), so I just wanted to clarify … thanks!

My best advice is to keep your pre amps, converters, and sound card if you use one separate products. Let’s you improve you rig incrementally. Also, if you HAVE to upgrade a component due to a daw or computer upgrade, it will be far less costly. See my sig for my setup. Works well for me. I’ve had the best luck with PCI based systems.

Yes, I could set that up if I wanted. It’d be a bit tricky, but I could. Since TotalMix is completely separate, I could Software monitor Cubase while sending from TotalMix before the signal gets to Cubase!

Meanwhile, I could have Cubase setup with a second audio track, recording the same input, with its fader all the way down, but sending pre-fader to a plugin delay. Then send that to cue mixes.

My FireFace is one of the older models, so it doesn’t have onboard FX. Not sure if you could do this on the new RMEs, but I bet you could. Except tempo-based delay. Doubt that even the new RMEs would be able to “understand” DAW’s tempo.

And I can have a total of at least 5 completely separate, stereo cue mixes, using both Control Room and TotalMix.

Yeah. Couldn’t agree more. If it sounds good, keep it! There’s always a way to integrate gear.

To go back to the original post. I use a Fireface UC and like engineer, I find it is absolutely bombproof. However, I did see a thread here where someone had updated the drivers and firmware and came unstuck. Does anyone have any more info on this?

I’m jealous. Would love to have the onboard FX!

I’ve been a MOTU user for years and the PCI-based stuff has been rock solid with my Mac. Obviously, that all changes with the new Power Macs and Thunderbolt. But their new line of TB interfaces look just as good and will definitely be the route I go when the time comes for a new computer.

Isn’t the RME UCX a USB 2 device? I looked at that long and hard before deciding on my Steinberg UR28M, and iirc it was USB 2, and certainly seemed to be in the professional category, from what I could tell …

Don’t know the UCX. Silhouette mentioned the “FireFace UC…”

I haven’t seen any USB interfaces that performed reliably enough for me to call “professional level,” that’s all. I’d love to know if anyone’s rocking one out!

Really??? :confused: There are quite a few IMO. The Fireface UFX actually gets better performance with USB than FW, according to RME.


Not saying there aren’t any. Just my experience with several of them had been unimpressive.

The Fireface UFX…which actually gets better performance with USB than FW, according to RME. Also, the Quartet (Avid for PC) I have would definitely be called “professional” gear IMO. :slight_smile:

Yeah? Great! My statement of my experience wasn’t a diss to you or anyone using a USB interface. If you think USB interfaces are the best, then I want to hear about it.

I really don’t know about USB and Fire-wire interfaces. Don’t feel right somehow, though must be because a lot of people seem to use them without issue. It’s just that so much connectivity is done via USB 2 now-a-days, printers, external hard drives, mouse, keyboards, various dongles and what have you. I’m surprised there are so few USB 3 interfaces around. And fire-wire seems to be dying the death.

I’ve got an old Emu 1820m which I’ve had for about 11 years, which hasn’t been supported for yonks. I managed to get a mobo with one PCI slot last year so it should be good for a few more years but PCI is destined for the dustbin of history, isn’t it? Trouble is, I don’t think I’ll get anything with so much connectivity for anywhere near the price I paid for the EMU. I mean, Adat, spdif, 2 midi ports, line I/Os, pre-amps… most of which I use and all that work flawlessly with Cubase.

RME recommend using USB, to get better performance. I would be hesitant to use USB from another manufacturer. Anyway I will discover soon enough when I finally swap out my MR816x for a Fireface 802.

FireWire 800 is working bloody brilliant for me right now.
I share your wariness of USB. So many devices trying to access the busses so often. And yeah, FireWire is dead(-ish). But nothing else on my system accesses the FireWire bus, so it’s been stable as heck.

Thunderbolt seems dicey at the moment. Hopefully by the time I’m ready for a change, Thunderbolt will be mature.

My bro had an Emu PCI card forever. It worked brilliantly for him.

Hi all, i’ve been using the UR-44 since it arrived almost a year or so ago after my previous interface bombed out. For my needs the interface had to have MIDI inputs, 2 inputs and 4 outs (2 monitor sets). It has been rock solid ever since and i have had no issues with it.

Ever since its release, there was a Bios update and also some driver updates with additional DSP content. I have not made any updates to the device and as such am still on Driver 1.0.0 with all others at v1.0. Steinberg has also confirmed that there was no need for update at this time which may affect Cubase and or the UR-44’s performance. So if it aint broke, i’m not gonna mess with it. :wink:

The previous audio interface was more or less abandoned by their manufacturer and drivers were never updated since mid 2013. The final update broke the bios of the device and it was shambles ever since.

Also, as i had come from a previous DAW, the UR-44 performed as well as it could. Set up was a littler trickier then due to buffer settings and other settings especially on the MIDI buffer side; other than that once you get it going… its rock solid. As for integration with Cubase 8, it just works and nothing could be easier… no settings were needed except for the main control panel settings for Sample Rate and Buffer.

There was a suspect i had when it was recommended the USB port be connected to a USB2 /3 (blue) input instead of a USB1.0 / 2 (black) port. it could mean that in future, Steiny may just update the bios to convert it to USB3… hmmm just hoping though… :laughing:

Three years ago when I was looking for a new soundcard I rang up support at RME as I was thinking about getting a PCI based unit. The support guy said that it was their contention that the USB drivers in many previous cards from other companies were badly written. As a company they had spent a long time researching this problem. I said that as a guitar player I was wanting low latency. He replied “exactly, which is why I think you will find the USB version will do exactly what you want”.Like enjneer I had been very prejudiced against USB units. I talked with the guy’s who were building my new computer and they confirmed they were seeing excellent results too, so I went ahead.

Two things stood out immediately. 1 the sound quality was so much better than my previous card. 2 the gliching at lower latencies were gone. Also the build quality was fantastic. I even liked the Total Mix software once I understood it.

Which leaves me with the inescapable conclusion that this is a company I will stick with.