I have a Scarlett 2i2 USB 2.0. Would I get any benefit from the Steinberg UR24C?

I’ve been thinking of getting a better interface than the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, mostly to see if there’s an interface below $500 that sounds better, and I could use more outs to send the audio to two separate amplifiers.

First, the eternal question of the USB 2 vs 3. Yes, USB 3.0 is supposed to be faster, but I’m tired of reading everywhere how this doesn’t matter for audio interfaces because even at 24 bit 192 Khz it still a tiny portion of the USB 2.0 bandwidth, and that USB 3.0 has more bandwidth but does nothing for latency.

So in that respect, what’s the advantage for me of getting a Steinberg UR24C as opposed to for example a Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD, which has more ins and outs, or even just keeping the Scarlett 2i2? How does the 3.0 help me in any way? I know it won’t do anything for latency, but will it allow me to have more tracks playing at once without choking?

As for sound quality, can I expect anything better from the UR24C as opposed to the Scarlett? I would like to add, I don’t think the Scarlett sounds bad. It sounds OK, nothing wrong with it. I only have one other audio interface as reference, a very cheap M-Audio, and both seem the same to me sound quality wise, except that the Focusrite boosts the bass a lot. The M-Audio sounds very flat if you don’t EQ, the Scarlett also sounds rather flat but with a lot more bass, without doing anything to the mids and highs.

USB 3 brings no tangible value whatsoever, unless you need to record over 50 channels simultaneously…
As long as your interface is recent enough to be properly supported (and stable) on your OS, there is no point to update it in the same price category.

To get just a little bit better results, the cost goes up very quickly! (RME, Antelope, Clarett, etc.)
I’m the first to be tempted by better specs on paper, but know it doesn’t make noticeably better results.

So let’s say not record 50 tracks, but I want to work on a project with 120 tracks without hiccups because the USB 2.0 interface chokes, will a 3.0 interface give me the bandwidth to play those 120 tracks with a latency of 256, or am I dreaming too much?

Only if you have an intel chipset that is buggy with USB2 over USB3…, but there are no guarantees.
From the audio side, nothing will change noticeably.

Why should it do that? It’s not involved in playback, it just sends the 2 channel audio to the converters.

As far as I know, when you’re playing anything from the DAW project, the computer does most of the processing. But doesn’t the audio interface do some processing as well? Or are you telling me that all the audio interface receives is a stereo signal with the sample rate specified, say 24 bit 48 Khz, and converts it from digital to analog, and it will do nothing more than that whether you are playing one track or 500 tracks? All the processing is done before leaving the computer?

No. Just D/A conversion.

Good to know. So what’s the point of the Steinberg having 3.0? I mean, as far as you tell me, either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt have the advantage of being able to " record over 50 channels simultaneously…".

But the Steinberg is a 2 channel interface, so what does it do differently with USB 3.0 than with 2.0? Seems to me like just a marketing ploy? I don’t mean to throw crap at it, but given that it’s not any faster than USB 2.0, and for the amount of channels it has it makes no difference, then what’s the 3.0 for?

Because usb3 is the standard these days. All the answers are correct. You are very unlikely to get better performance.

Well, since uncle Jeff lets us all try out things and return them if we don’t like them, I decided to try out the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD and the Steinberg UR24C. I’m sorry to say I’m not impressed at all by the Steinberg.

As usual after rebooting my Mac, I get the New Audio Drivers Found, with two choices for it:

So I select the high precision one, and I get ready to do a simple recording from a vinyl record, which I did hundreds of times with my old Scarlett and then today with the Behringer with no problems.

But as soon as I created an audio track and set it to monitor the input, I was greeted with this:

At first I thought “Great! The aliens are finally here to abduct me and take me to their planet!”, but no, it was just a digital glitch. Or maybe the aliens are running late?

So I went to the manual and searched for anything that might give me a clue, and saw that there was actually a driver and control panel that I was supposed to get, the “Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver”.

So I get install it, and according to the manual I should see this:

But the only thing I see is this:

In the manual it says: “When [Steinberg UR24C (High Precision)] is selected on Mac, Cubase will exclusively use the driver. In this condition, [Steinberg UR24C] cannot be used by other applications.”

Well, that’s all good, but I wasn’t trying to use it in any other application, just Cubase Pro 12, and it’s still giving me the alien signal every time I try to use it. So either the unit is defective, or I missed something.

Any ideas?

Did you tried USB2.0?

No, but I didn’t buy an USB 3.0 interface to use it as USB 2.0

Ok if you think so. I’m out.

Me too if you’re not willing to try usb2. It makes no difference!

Totally agree with this.

But the thing is, these UR/C drivers are certainly hit and miss for a number of users’, on various configured systems.

My UR, has given me hell, here on earth. One minute it’s not working in the USB 2 Port, and needs to be in a USB 3.0 Port, and at some stage, it decides “actually, I don’t like USB 3.0 any more, put me back in the USB 2.0 Port”, and starts to function as it should again.

With my system (W11), the “workaround” is to set the XHCI mode in the UEFI to Manual, and then see whether it wants the USB 2.0 Port or the USB 3.0 Port.

But anyways, looking at the second image you’ve provided, it looks like the software doesn’t recognise the interface, since it only displays the “About” tab.

Have you tried a different USB cable? I’ve read somewhere on the forums that not all USB Type-C cables are compatible.

Are you powering the unit with an adapter wall plug? If not, give it ago.

Barring these suggestions, I’m all out.

Just a side note: Any legitimate common issues that some of us are experiencing with the UR/C interfaces driver, is solely YAMAHA’s responsibility, since they are the ones that issue the drivers’.

The Scarlett interface regarding drivers is a lot easier to set up. The focusrite website is far easier to navigate than Steinberg.
I use a ur22c interface and did buy a Scarlett solo to try believing the recorded sound quality would be a lot better but Im not sure there is a lot of difference discernible. I went back to the ur22c because it dovetails better with Cubase in my experience with the built in plugins etc.
I like the look and the sturdiness of the urc22c whereas the Scarlett was very plasticky. My HP win 10 laptop is old 7.5yrs but still works ok but can not handle too many tracks without having to increase the buffer.

The difference between USB 2 and USB 3 in this respect is not really about bandwith as much as it is about the nature of the specific protocol of data transfer (‘data packeting’).

Simply put, USB 3 can do simultaneous send and receive data. USB 2 not - it is either or.
Now the transfer of data here by USB consists of a series of host requests, followed by corresponding responses from the device. Therefore USB 2 also have lots of polling etc. USB 3 not.

Hence there’s a relevant potential for improved latency of USB 3 not related to the normally otherwise abundant bandwith already present w. USB 2.

Supposedly bandwidth as such is not very likely to be the No 1 potential bottleneck of USB 2 when using audio interfaces w. DAW etc.