I’m currently replacing my venerable M-Audio Delta 66/Omni I/O audio interface and looking into budget-minded USB interface options. I’ve narrowed my search down to the MOTU M4 and the Steinberg UR242. I’m running Windows 10 running Cubase 10.5 and need two mic/instrument inputs and two line inputs, which both of these devices offer.
What attracts me to the MOTU is, well, it’s a MOTU and looks very nice, good build quality, and from what I’ve gathered it has exceptional sound quality and very low latency for the price range. It also has the very lovely LCD input and output metering on the front panel, and offers flexible routing and monitoring.
The UR242, on the other hand, while being solidly built, isn’t as attractive as the M4 aesthetically and only has simple peak LEDs for level monitoring of the inputs on the front panel. I’m not sure how big of a deal that is, though, as the control panel software for the UR242 has full metering, so it’s just a matter of looking at the computer screen instead of a front panel display, I assume. I do like the ability to apply DSP to the input signals for monitoring (i.e. EQ, compression and reverb) with zero latency (direct monitoring), which makes the recording process smooth and enjoyable.
Both interfaces are similarly priced, with the M4 being a little bit more than the UR242, so that’s not really a factor in the decision. So my question is, which of these is the better interface to go with for use with Cubase 10.5? Is the performance and sound quality of the M4 so good that it’s worth forgoing the DSP and monitoring features of the UR242, or is the sound of the UR242 up to or close to the level of the M4 and the seamless Cubase integration that the UR242 offers makes it a stronger choice?
I’m interested to hear opinions on this as right now I’m completely torn and indecisive between the two, but I need to make a choice by tomorrow as I have a song production that I need to get done by this weekend.