Recommendations needed for a new audio interface with Cubase 10

I am looking to upgrade my current audio interface at the same time as I am upgrading to Cubase 10 and need some recommendations.

My key criteria are:

  • Very low latency
  • High quality sound / high sample rates
  • Appr. 6-8 line inputs, 48 v, midi connections
  • Seamless integration with Cubase 10
  • Additional software could be a plus

Looking forward to your recommendations

what kinda of connections to your computer would you prefer to work with? and what do you have now?

If you want seamless there is Steinbergs own UR824 and AXR4T, but The UR824 does not have midi, so Steinberg AXR4T.
If you are ok with stuff just working really really well I would suggest an RME, just pick one that has the connections you need.

I currently have firewire and USB 3. I could install a thunderbolt connection as well if it would make a significant difference.

What kind of budget are you looking at? RME would be the obvious choice on low latency - but then at the bottom of the scale the Behringer UMC1820 is very good on a budget and also delivers what you need.

Then there’s SOOO much inbetween lol.

If you’re happy with your current interface but it lacks the number of inputs you require, then increasing inputs via ADAT may also be an option for you (If your interface supports it).

Also, as you mention high sample rates - just make sure the rest of your machine is setup for that too as the higher rates will kill your CPU and add additional storage requirements - so buy an interface that matches your true requirements, and if you’re making use of the pre-amps ensure they are of good quality vs the sample rate.

yes like earlier post suggests, very good advice. Your computer will in many ways dictate your latency.

For me I always will suggest RME, they have the best and most stable drivers. I use the same soundcard I bought 14 years ago. I can record with 0.7 ms input and 1,3 ms output. so if you do a lot of recordings you will have many happy musicians recording with a minimum of latency.

Solutions I haven’t tried but looks very tempting most certainly must be the Universal Audio Apollo cards. As I already have UAD cards that would be a lock for my next device if my RME went down.

Also the Steinberg cards works very nicely, certainly much better then the Focusrite Scarlett boxes.

You might have a look at the Steinberg UR-RT4, it fulfills your minimum spec, integrates with Cubendo, and it’s built like a tank.

Prism Sound Titan with Dante. Best converters, best sound, loads of inputs. I have two of them and will never use anything else.
You won’t find anything else that can compete with it. Some people will claim they are expensive, but to be quite frank - you get what you pay for. All other soundcard realy sound like crap, when you first have listened to a Prism Sound. In addition to that, it has direct monitoring. And the service from the factory. If you have any questions about your product, you can call them directly and they are very helpful. They take their customers seriously.
It his no MIDI but you can buy what ever you want for cheap money.

For most people that would be a final piece of the jigsaw, vast majority of people would be better advised to spend that kind of money elsewhere on instruments/mics/sound proofing/monitors that would add so much vs the minuscule improvements a ‘Made in Britain’ (Thats why it’s expensive) interface would provide them - no matter how wonderful the sound is, you won’t hear or truly benefit from it, unless you’re putting quality in and the listening/performing environment is dead/neutral enough to hear and appreciate.

Not doubting the quality or crapping on it, of course, but there’s so much before and after the interface that would provide way more significant improvements (In my opinion). I mean, who truly uses the vast dynamic range that such interfaces advertise? It’s probably compressed afterwards in mixing too, and if not is a very specific market for people using well controlled rooms and more expensive recording equipment coming in.

I don’t agree with you. You can hear the difference in the headphones. You get what you pay for, and there is without any doubt a clear difference between low-end and high-end gear. There is also a clear difference between a Beringer and ans SSL console. The converteres only have one competitor and those are the ones from DAD. If you want pro sound, you need to have prosound gear. I also use Neumann speakers, Neumann and DPA microphones because I can hear the difference. And I don’t need an accoustic treated room for that.

The major problem today is, that same people think that there is no difference between high-end and low-end gear. I’ve been in the sound industry since 1986. I bought my first Emulator II second hand in 1988 and it was even more expensive than the Titan. Today, you can build a pro studio for less than 25.000 euros.

If you can’t hear the difference, fine with me. In the end, if the user don’t have a clue on what he/she is doing with the outboard, then a pro soundcard won’t make much of a difference.

Unless you have the surrounding equipment you won’t hear the difference to appreciate it - 30+ years experience should’ve taught you that. And i’d take a pretty smart guess that anyone asking for recommendations such as the OP would probably know what they want if they had such requirements and other equipment in place.

Like i said, no doubting it of it’s quality, or knocking you and your choice. It’s important that higher end gear exists to push the boundaries of what can be achieved and i’m sure it delivers you much joy.

However, for the many it’s totally overkill unless your current interface is a weak point in the chain. Most people are shifting out their tunes to youtube/spotify/itunes where the small differences are either nullified or vastly outweighed by more important gear in the chain, room treatment being an obvious one, quality of instrument and mic being another.

An RME costs a fraction of the interface you’ve recommended, for example, and you’d be hard pushed to hear a difference that can be deemed universally ‘better’ if blind tested. As for ‘Pro’ sound, many people produce solely in the box nowadays (VSTi’s etc) so the audio interface is not affecting the final render at all.

I’m really curious as to what you are plugging into it’s inputs to utilise the dynamic range and class of converters to claim there’s a ‘clear’ difference, as you’ve worked in the industry for so long, you must have plenty of productions out there - Could you share with us to demonstrate the quality you’re getting please?

Awesome interface for sure :exclamation:
However, and I am guessing here, I think the OP is looking for something a little less expensive. let’s see…

Lots of good information so far. Thank you.

I really also would need some advice regarding the other part of my question - connection used.
As I stated I am using a PC with USB 2 / 3 connections and I have a firewire 400 too.
I could potentially also install a Thunderbolt card as well but some people say it can create problems with the PC.

Firewire is apparently much more stable for audio than USB but new cards using USB 3 are supposedly better.
For me I would like to be able to work as stated before with low latency and for example USB 2 apparently is not ideal (also considering if you want to be working with lower buffer sizes).

USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt?

Depends on budget really, Firewire is much better on lower end interfaces than USB as it’s on it’s own bus and requires less use of software/cpu time - If you’re on Mac then i’d go firewire over USB for stability and latency reasons personally - but Firewire is also near obsolete now (But that means you can pick up some great gear for less money).

If you want to spend more money on a modern interface then Thunderbolt is best (Or PCI-E if you have it?), but if you’re on a windows machine then USB is more compatible generally. Thunderbolt/Firewire is very much the choice of Mac users by default as the ports exist on all products.

USB interfaces you really need to check for reviews as to how good the driver is for low latency and reliability - this is why companies such as RME have such a stellar reputation, much of the work goes into the system driver.

What have you at the moment?, what OS are you using?, and what kind of budget are you looking at? There’s so much out there to pick from but without some idea of where you are it’s hard to recommend.

- Very low latency: YES but only for recording and not using 3rd party plugins while monitoring, not for midi as USB has more latency than firewire/thunderbolt
- High quality sound / high sample rates: YES. Best converters out the Steinberg interfaces except for their latest 32bit one which is way more expensive
- Appr. 6-8 line inputs, 48 v, midi connections Yes but USB to MIDI cable need as has no midi. USB to midi cables are cheap on amazon and ebay
- Seamless integration with Cubase 10 YES
- Additional software could be a plus Not really anything extra except a reverb and compressor plugin

My suggestion
Apollo Twin mk2 + ADAT Converter
- Very low latency: YES. Lower than the UR824 for everything if you can use and get the thunderbolt version (check compatibility) except for monitoring audio through Cubase but it has it’s own mixer software for monitoring provided you don’t need the extra sends from Cubase’s control room and you get near zero latency monitoring for guitar amp sims and effects if you use it’s own software along side Cubase but it’s still pretty low from within Cubase anyway.
- High quality sound / high sample rates: YES
- Appr. 6-8 line inputs, 48 v, midi connections Come with two but 8 more can be added over Adat
- Seamless integration with Cubase 10 No. You need to use it’s mixer when recording to get zero latency monitoring but… You get LOW latency monitoring inside Cubase AND you can use the DSP plugins included which will give you either low latency monitoring for guitars and basses inside Cubase as a plugin or you can use it’s own software for near zero latency monitoring including monitoring through effects
- Additional software could be a plus Comes with a very nice selection of ultra low latency DSP plugins, plus a monitoring mixer

Extra pluses:
Sits on your desk
Has built in talkback
Has built in Monitor control and selection
Combines multiple devices into one unit which ends up saving money over time

More expensive after you add a good quality ADAT converter to it.

Or you can get both and use the UR824 as an ADAT converter to the UAD Twin Mk2. Then you get the extra inputs of the UR824 as an ADAT converter going to the Twin and if you need zero latency monitoring within Cubase for extra audio sends and to use the full control room functionality, you can swap to the UR824 for that session and monitor through the twin via ADAT to keep your hardware talkback and monitor controller working.

Other options
used Mr816.

- Very low latency: YES, lower than UR824 for midi and same as UR824 for audio but has one less ADAT input
- High quality sound / high sample rates: YES. Best converters out the Steinberg interfaces except for their latest 32bit one which is way more expensive
- Appr. 6-8 line inputs, 48 v, midi connections Yes but USB to MIDI cable need as has no midi. USB to midi cables are cheap on amazon and ebay
- Seamless integration with Cubase 10 YES
- Additional software could be a plus Not really anything extra except a reverb and compressor plugin

Or if you like the Apollo line there is also the UAD Apollo 8.

Or if you wanna go crazy and get the best one there is for Cubase, you can get their brand new interface. The Steinberg AXR4T 28 x 24 Thunderbolt Audio Interface. Ticks all of your boxes plus more but is probably overkill for you since it costs around $2800 and has 20 more inputs than you need lol.

Audient iD44 plus an external Dual channel digital spiff preamp or an 8 channel ADAT converter is a decent option too but lacks the DSP of the Apollo and lacks the Cubase integration.

Right now, the Steinberg interfaces are the only ones offering zero latency monitoring inside of your DAW.

Firewire is extremely rare these days, and as a long time user of USB 2.0 soundcards (RME, Steinberg UR series, Focusrite Scarlett, Tascam) I have no directly USB related problems to report since forever. I am with skijumptoes on the driver though, very important.

I think that we need your budget, and maybe what you have used in the past, to help further.

Usb still has higher latency than firewire for midi controllers and monitoring effects in the DAW and Apple’s firewire to thunderbolt adapters allow firewire to still work on mac’s and even new thunderbolt windows laptops.

USB is fine but if you are playing keyboards and want the lowest latency then thunderbolt or firewire is better as it will give you lower latency at the same sized sample rate to USB.

I think my Apogee Duet was around 27ms and the Firewire tascam I had was lower at around 21ms at the same buffer setting so I guess that’s between a 3rd to a quarter lower latency. The Apogee seems fine though but if you want the lowest possible latency, firewire and thunderbolt interfaces are generally lower.

Not that it ever has bothered me, but you definitely have a point about latency.
And since the OP is on PC without thunderbolt, I’d say the obvious choice would then be RME :slight_smile: Both fw and usb and awesome drivers.

We’ve not had the “Within a $300 budget” reply yet! lol :slight_smile:

What’s with the Apollo Solo, seems the same as the Twin but with less onboard DSP at a cheaper price - is that right?

I’ve often thought of adding an ADAT rack to my setup (Just a cheapy Behringer ADA8200 or Focusrite Octopre), but then i read reports on how ADAT can add latency, cause sync issues and sometimes appear as separate audio interfaces in windows OS, so i’ve held off. But then, the other part of me thinks why do those desktop Apollo’s get such rave reviews if ADAT can be troublesome? It’s very hard to cut through the nonsense online - OR, is it very subjective as to what is hosting the ADAT connection?