Is my interface too old and inexpensive?

Hi, it’s a dumb question, sorry:

Are older drivers/interfaces more likely to have worse audio than newer ones?

Similarly, is audio quality one of the main things that separates an inexpensive interface from an expensive one?

I’m just wondering how long in the tooth my UR28M is getting, and whether buying a newer, more upscale interface would be worth it.

I’m hearing an odd mechanical aspect to tracked vocals … made me think about this as a potential issue.

Thanks!

List some potential replacements you’ve been considering.

imo, you would hear zero difference unless you bought something like an axr4t or high priced rme unit.

Ok, thanks @Poinzy and @steve . Based on your kind responses, I’ll focus on other causes for what seems like tonal oddities in tracked vocals (mic, headphones … cables?).

But just for my info (I’m a weekend warrior hobbyist, but i still like to know about these things if possible) … Do newer interfaces, or more expensive ones, significantly affect the accuracy of AD/DA conversion enough to be audible (compared to an older but reasonable mid- budget one like my 7 year old UR28M)?

Or is the point of uber-expensive drivers mainly just to affect how small the buffer can get before drop outs, not the actually sound quality?

Thanks!

This topic has been covered in countless places. I suggest a visit to Gearspace.com if you want more info.

Thanks, @Poinzy . I have been looking elsewhere, I appreciate that suggestion. For example, this SOS article addresses this a bit, but not definitively: How To Choose An Audio Interface

Looking at gearspace also, thanks for the heads up, but I’m not as confident the quality of the responses there would be as good as what folks here might offer.

I can live without knowing the answers to my questions, lack of that knowledge is not the limiting factor to the quality of the music I create! :smile:

I still use a Fireface 800. I have it since 2005.
The quality of the microphones and the preamps will matter more than the quality of the A/D.

I think this is a setup issue… not a general fault of the unit. Make sure to set your buffers not too short.

1 Like

I’m using a ten year old Yamaha N8, sounds awesome, they’re available for around 150 on Ebay sometimes…just get one of them, can’t go wrong, you do need a firewire connection tho.

1 Like

I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but I once spent hours trying to track down a mysterious mechanical clicking noise only to find it was the metal wristband of the flautist’s watch. My point is, the problem is not always in the computer.

I have a selection of audio interfaces dating back to about 2007, none need replacing.

1 Like

@MrSoundman ,

Dang flautists!

Thank you again, everyone :slight_smile:

Just a short word to say I agree that the most important impact of updating gear will be on your wallet, not on the tangible results.

I just did an upgrade from Tascam 20X20 USB3 interface which sounds fine to a Quantum 2626. 2 reasons :
Latency on the Quantum is 2.5ms X 2 so pretty much invisible to tracking / playback. You get more delay taking a step back from the speakers. The 20X20 was more like 15ms X 2 and just throwing timing off, I was constantly adjusting things.
Drivers / Control panel support. the Quantum is a new modern interface with active support and updates for M1. I’m moving to an all M1 setup and waiting for a Mac Studio to arrive. The older Tascam is a USB complient audio device so it techincally doesn’t need drivers from the OEM, but the control panel hasn’t been updated since 2016 ! Sure its running for now under Intel emulation on a mac mini M1 ( I have 2 setups ) but I know a couple years from now that will stop working. Tascam has updated the control panel for their newer interfaces, but those updated app doesn’t talk to the old hardware. The new control apps have also been updated for hiDPI / 4K screens while the old ones for the 20X20 are looking kinda small. Thats a shame to orphan your hardware like this because it works fine on PC, but I see limited life left on mac and I’m planning to sell this interface.
The other thing new interfaces do is have more stable clocks for AD/DA. Don’t get sold on an expensive external word clock if your interface has under 10 years old, and certainly the last 5 where clocks have gotten MUCH more stable. For an older interface it might make a difference in offering more detail, but a lot depends on the rest of your recording chain as to if this will or won’t be revealed. My guideline is if an average person on average listening setup can hear it, its probably worth doing, if not, then probably not. Mics, positioning and room acoutstics can play the biggest differences to an average person listening. After that, as the saying goes, If it sounds good it does ! Upgrade when it doesn’t work, or when the improvement is significant enough.

2 Likes

I have been using my RME Fireface UC for at least 10 years. RME constantly update their drivers, even for legacy gear. I recently bought myself a Golden Age Preamp together with a Shure SM7. It has made a major difference to my recordings. It is great to have a high quality mic pre. I am afraid I had to buy one on account of the very low output of the SM7.

Got it, thank you all. Looks like my UR28M is a keeper.