You’re looking to take your recordings to the next level. Chances are, it is your audio interface that will need upgrading. After all, whats the point in a high-end microphone if you can’t hear what it truly sounds like?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you are already aware of the value of a high-end audio interface, otherwise, you wouldn’t be looking. Nevertheless, let me explain my thoughts. From a visual perspective, it’s very easy to notice when something is recorded on a cheap camera, compared to that of a high-end camera. Audio works in the same way. If you record something, you want to know that the full spectrum of audio has been captured, especially if you work with audio on a professional level. Not only does this make the mixing process easier, it ensures you don’t have to spend hours polishing a… bad mix.
So, let’s bite the bullet, dent the funds and ensure you’re getting something worth the money. Up first, my personal number one choice, having made this decision for myself.
Our Top 5 High-End Audio Interface Solutions
Now, depending on your requirements, UAD will have a product to match. Not only do they offer full-scale interfaces up to 32 channels, but they offer the same world-class quality translated into more compact, 2 channel models such as the Apollo Twin. If you’re looking for fewer channels whilst maintaining a studio-grade performance, then look no further.
If you already own a healthy stack of preamps or an analogue mixing desk, then UAD also has you covered with their Apollo 8 and 16. However, If you don’t have any preamps and would like it all under one roof, then the Apollo 8p has your name on it with 8 channels of pre’s + an additional 8 to expand your inputs (with ADAT capabilities). That’s 16 channels in total!
One feature that sets UAD’s Apollo range apart from the others, is their award-winning DSP (Digital Signal Processing) powered VSTs. Each VST follows years of meticulous design, and there are few plugins on the market that can compete. UAD give you the option expand your DSP power by buying Apollo models with additional cards, such as the DUO or QUAD (or expand with their ‘Satellite’ DSP card series). Once you hear these VSTs, you won’t want to apply anything else to your mix – so make sure you get enough power to stack them up.
The Fireface UFX II combines flexible recording and playback operation with RME’s industry-renowned low-latency hardware and drivers. RME’s unique DURec (Direct USB Recording) function and TotalMix FX mixing and routing software deliver a comprehensive set of features that will appeal to both professional recording engineers and high-end home studio users.
With 60 channels of audio (30 inputs and 30 outputs) and support for sample rates up to 192 kHz, the new Fireface UFX II is the ideal audio solution for a variety of professional audio applications such as recording, mixing, monitoring and live performance.
Apogee, for sure, has earned its spot in our top 5.
The Apogee Ensemble is the first Thunderbolt 2 audio interface to provide outstanding sound quality, very low latency and unrivalled studio functionality all in one package. The new Apogee Ensemble includes 8 advanced stepped gain mic preamps, front panel guitar I/O, monitor controller functions that include talkback, digital connectivity for a total of 30 x 34 I/O and two headphone outputs. Merging groundbreaking new features, acclaimed innovations and an effortless user interface, Apogee Ensemble is the ideal tool to capture your ideas when they come.
Focusrite needs no introduction when discussing interfaces, with their Scarlett series being arguably the most popular of all time. Now, Focusrite is going a little deeper. The Clarett series won’t break the bank too much, but still, offers superb studio-grade quality.
The Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre X is an Audio Interface packed full of the latest Thunderbolt technology and offers very impressive speed and high-audio quality with an incredibly low-latency of less than 1ms! Another great feature of the Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre X is the Clarett microphone preamps, these replicate the impedance and transformer resonance of the classic ISAs.Portable, Lightweight and professional, the Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre X provides exceptional clarity when recording and would be a great addition to anyone’s studio setup. The flagship 26 In / 28 Out interface has been designed with the permanent racked studio install in mind, featuring extended ADAT i/o, and separate rear panel inputs for mic and line, as well as dedicated phantom power, phase reverse and high pass filters on every channel.
Motu has been at the interface game longer than most. Arguably this means they have had a lot of time to refine their products. Not only for quality but for their consumers. One thing is for certain, they are not a brand to be overlooked.
The Motu 1248 Thunderbolt audio interface gives you top class dynamic range and large console style mixing capabilities. With the Motu 1248’s 66 channels of audio I/O (32 ins and 34 outs), the 1248 also supports USB 2.0 audio class compliant connectivity that is USB 3.0 compatible. The 1248s powerful DSP delivers large console style mixing with 48 channels, 12 stereo busses, and 32-bit floating point effects processing, including modelled analogue EQ, vintage compression and classic reverb.
The 1248’s extensive routing grid patches ins to outs, or splits inputs to multiple destinations. Use the Motu 1248 as a stand-alone mixer and control everything from the 1248’s innovative web app running on your iPadGäó, iPhoneGäó, tablet, smartphone, and laptop. Connect a second MOTU AVB interface (1248, 8M or 16A) with a simple Ethernet cable. Add more I/O with the MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately). Build an AVB audio network with multiple switches and sub-millisecond latency, even over long cable runs. Stream hundreds of channels among devices and computers on the network. From initial tracking to final mastering, the 1248 delivers superb sound quality, state-of-the-art operation and reliable performance.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts on 01273 665400 if you would like to discuss this in a little more depth!