Interface recommendations


I’m looking to upgrade my Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 audio interface and would like any suggestions based upon user experience etc.

The budget is upto £500 GBP. Okay with Firewire, USB or Thunderbolt (up to TB3)

I would prefer an on-board MIDI IN but that’s not essential.
On-board headphones socket and volume preferred.
Balanced outputs for 2 sets of monitors

Must haves: monitor/volume control, mute, phantom power, low latency, XLR & 1/4 inputs, XLR or Balanced TRS outputs

The main use is for in-the-box production using VST Instruments and sample libraries. Some music pieces have a lot of tracks (200+).

Looking for 2 key things: 1) something that can cope better than the Saffire with the type of work, e.g. solid drivers, large asio load, low latency, reliable, no dropouts/glitches

and: 2) Improved sound quality

Any help or advice appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

check motu (mark of the unicorn) interfaces.
check if you can find the older ultralight MK3. (newer ones are a bit above you price setting)
build like a tank, has onboard efx, sound is perfect for all conditions including live
it doesnt look impressive, but once you know what it can handle it is impressive
using this for years now

but hey, there are a lot of good soundcards

kind regards,

I 2nd the idea for a used Ultralite MK3. I have two USB/Firewire hybrid units, one as a backup, that I use for live playing, gorgeous reverb, like having 8 channel strips in a mixer. Here in the US you can find them on ebay for 200-300 USD. It fulfills every need on your list.

You can get away these days with spending very little money since the tech has been out there so long.

I may have to up the budget.

In terms of sound quality, what would I gain?

i wouldn’t go higher end then needed. An expensive soundcard in a setup that is not aligned for it doesn"t sound better then a soundblaster from a computer since it only reproduces what comes in and delivers it through a sound system that brings it out.

In the end you will need not only matching speakers for your environment, your environment on it’s own is a very important thing to consider too, decent cables, mic’s, other gear,… so you can spend as much as you can do and the more you spend, most of the time, it sounds better too, if the system is aligned.

The advance of the ultralite is that it can be used for almost all solutions and it will do it’s thing. You can actually drive a car over it without breaking it. But it has it’s weak point too. Mine had it’s power inlet broken after it dropped in the wrong way. But it was a very cheap fix of 25 bucks or so.

I wouldn’t try the above with my 18i20.

So, in essence, If you use it (or any high end card) on e.g. a stage with decent gear, or a high end studio, it will make a big difference. you will notice that everybody is going to say: "wow man, that sounded fantastic. And it does make a big difference. On the other hand, e.g. in a cheaper home setting, it probably won’t make a big difference.

The suggestion given was as something that is suitable for many situations and affordable. Yes it will be good enough for stage, and yes it will convince in a home setting too, and yes it will last for years. Focusrite is a very good soundcard too, and as you may notice, i use that too. But if you compare both, well, the thing where motu is outperforming the focusrite is stability in terms of the driver, precision in controlling the mix, the tools, the efx etc…

kind regards and remember to love your choice once you made it :wink: