Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Gear Talk Audio Interface Soundcard Question

  • This topic has 22 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by face (chris) Janton.
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    Just Lisa

      Hi --
      I have a Presonus 44vsl. It's kind of unwieldy to use if I'm not recording.
      I have been mixing with my computer playing directly into speakers or headphones.
      But, I think it would be better to have the sound from my DAW going out through an interface before the speakers or headphones.
      In which case, I'm in the market for a smaller one.
      Which one one do I want for the best sound quality?

      Rather, which ones do you guys prefer for whatever reasons?
      : )

      face (chris) Janton

        Is there something wrong with the PreSonus 44VSL?

        Computer connects to 44VSL via USB cable. Audio output from computer goes to 44VSL.
        44VSL connects to monitors and headphones.

        You control the volume of your monitors using the Main knob on the 44VSL, same for headphones and Phones knob.

        The 96 kHz/24 bit interface should do just fine for everything.

        Or am I missing something?

        Arthur Labus

          Second that.
          Any another, "smaller", audio interface gives you nothing else as your Presonus.
          In opposite, using kind standard sound card dont give you the quality of audio interface.
          Or am I missing something? πŸ˜‰

          Martin Østervig Larsen

            When you connect your speakers directly to the computer, you are still using a soundcard/interface - it's just the one build into the computer. So you'll get better results with a dedicated interface.

            The PreSonus is probably fine. You will have to spend a lot of money to get something significantly better. I would probably recommend spending the money on room treatment or speakers instead.

            If you want another small interface the Audient iD4 or iD14 might be a good choice. It sits nicely on the desk with a nice big volume control and sounds great.


            Jonathan Marshall

              Hi Lisa,

              I'm going to stick my head out here and say I think I understand because I'm in a similar situation. It's about convenience. Four inputs are great (eight would be better :-)) for recording but when I'm mixing I only need a headphone jack / TRS balanced stereo out to my monitors and some sort of level control. I have two setups - recording in the living room and mixing in the study so unplugging and shifting the interface was also a pain. I bought myself a second-hand M-Audio Fasttrack Pro for about $40. Totally bus powered so no need for another power adapter to plug in, headphone jack on the front of the box. Perfect(ish) - it does have some audio issues when running in four channel mode so I wouldn't recommend (I only need two channels but sometimes it starts up in the wrong mode). I only bought M-Audio because I was running Pro Tools M-Powered at the time which only works with M-Audio interfaces. Now on Reaper I'm not restricted so I would most probably buy a 2nd-hand Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 / 2i4 whichever was cheapest. The Audient would be on my list but they haven't started selling 2nd-hand in NZ and are more expensive so that rules them out for me at present - but in the future ...

              So ... nothing wrong with your Presonus interface - far from it - but if you have a laptop and want to mix anywhere, a smaller interface which powers off USB is far more portable and less of a pain in a cafe, car, etc. Of course headphones straight into the laptop with no interface is even more portable.

              Just my 2c worth.


              • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Jonathan Marshall.
              face (chris) Janton

                Convenience is big. Not clear what this actually means "It's kind of unwieldy to use if I'm not recording."

                I have a little PreSonus AudioBox iTwo that I carry in the "portable studio" backpack along with my laptop and a few other odds and ends.
                Bus powered. Simple to use. I can even use it with my iPad (as long as it gets power from something else like a powered USB hub - oh, yeah, I carry one of those as well)

                My portable studio (not for 16-track recording) is

                PreSonus AudioBox iTwo
                USB hub (with power adapter)
                KORG nanoKONTROL (faders and knobs)
                KORG nanoKEYS (25 key keyboard)
                Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs headphones (closed back)
                Mac laptop

                I can easily take it on the bus (big vehicle, moves lots of people) to go to downtown places.
                If I am just using the Mac I can plug the iTwo into one of the USB ports and I'm all set.

                In the home studio I made the decision to use my XR18 as my main audio interface, so I got really good at unplugging and plugging the box to take out on live gigs. It's convenient for me - small rack with a slide-out shelf, power distribution, patchbay. I can unplug/plug in less than 5 minutes before/after a gig. Mostly I had to learn how to control the audio with no knobs or faders - just kept a copy of X-Air edit running on the Mac with essential faders always on-screen.

                Life got really easy when I broke down and got a monitor controller (Behringer MONITOR2USB) and plugged all the things in there. It's a really handy tool. Multiple headphone outputs (handy for attended mixing sessions), multiple sets of monitors (3), and effectively 3 inputs as long as I don't use the B side from both USB and XR18 at the same time πŸ˜‰

                So, Just Lisa, what would you like to be happening at your mixing station and how can we help you come up with a nice solution? Mine took me 3+ years without any particular help...I believe we're all here to share.

                Just Lisa

                  Hi all --
                  I was very busy with a stage production of The Nutcracker ballet for the past several weeks, but I'm back now.

                  Jonathan had it right, I was referring to the size of the interface. I have very limited desk space in my favorite mixing spot. There's room for my laptop and a pair of speakers and not much else. I only drag out the 44VSL when I am recording, and lately, that hasn't been very much.
                  I'm looking to bypass the computer's soundcard and only need to hook up speakers or headphones.

                  I want to pick up a pair of presonus eris 3.5 monitors -- small footprint and reasonable sound quality. The smallest Kalis are maybe too big. I can't go anywhere to hear them in action though, which is really frustrating. Don't say, "just go to your local pro audio store" because there aren't any! Asked a friend last week, "where do you go for pro audio stuff?" and he laughed. Asked the manager of the auditorium we had our production in and he said there's one in Grandville, which is on the other side of the state from me. You'd think there would be something closer, but no. Ann Arbor, big college town? Nothing. Detroit, home of Motown for heaven's sake? Zilch. It's truly bizarre.

                  But I'm confident you all will help me get it straightened out.
                  : )

                  Oh yeah, also visited production company and had a great talk with Aaron, my favorite sales guy. Went in to pick up gaff tape and ended up staying for an hour talking about renting speakers and stuff for an auditorium when all I really need is a small box! The company is all about the stage and other live events, not mixing, so their monitors and other equipment are geared that way. Got to see the inside of the warehouse, though, and that was pretty cool. It's HUGE with all kinds of lights and cables and those big black hardshell suitcase crates that microphones and speakers travel in. We rented a fog machine from them once.

                  • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
                  face (chris) Janton

                    Could you provide the surface area dimensions where you want to mix? That would help.

                    I use yoga blocks as speaker isolation and stand. 2 yoga blocks side-by-side
                    10 cm wide, 14 cm tall, 22 cm deep.
                    Angled on the back corners of my desk.

                    On top of the blocks I have my JBL LSR305 (mkI) They sound phenomenal in my small room.
                    19 cm wide, 29 cm tall, 23 cm deep

                    My Monitor2USB controller is an output interface πŸ˜‰
                    22 cm wide, 20 cm deep (knobs), 9 cm tall

                    A nice interface like an Audient iD14 would fit on top of the Monitor2USB
                    17.3 cm wide, 6.21 cm tall, 12 cm deep

                    Eris 3.5 monitors
                    14.2 cm wide, 21 cm tall, 16.2 cm wide

                    Kali 6
                    22.2 cm wide, 35.9 cm tall, 26 cm deep

                    If you could fit the blocks on the corners of your desk you could probably accommodate any of the monitors.

                    I expect that the Kali monitors will sound really good, at least as good as my 305s (the Kali folks came from JBL) due to design similarity. The front-facing bass port might help a whole lot as well.

                    In my studio I have a pair of M-Audio AV40s sitting on top of my LSR305s. The AV40 is similar in size and specs as the Eris 3.5. Latest version of the M-Audio is the AV42.

                    I have calibrated the listening position (Sonarworks Reference) for both pairs of monitors. I can swap my mixing to the "small" monitors to the big monitors with a button push on the Monitor2USB and a mouse click on Sonarworks.

                    So maybe a monitor controller for "output interface" and the Eris 3.5? What do you use for monitors right now?

                    I used the M40 for a couple of years and was really happy. Was blown away when I first heard 305s, glad I kept the M40s on top of the 305s...super happy with Sonarworks helping out.

                    Another nifty thing about the Monitor2USB is the 2 headphone ports with the capability of narrowing the sound field to make the headphones "sound" more like a pair of monitors. It appears to be remarkably similar to a $900 SPL 2Control.

                    Happy to toss ideas around.

                    Really would help to know the size of your desk and the dimensions of your room/space...

                    Just Lisa

                      15" by 30"
                      Yoga blocks might fit, but would make the monitors too high. Right now, my face is the same height as the computer screen. It's very cozy. Walls behind me are 5 and 6 feet away, everything is very random and/or covered in cloth. The set up is facing the corner of the room behind me. I'm facing out into a largeish room. The monitors aren't for intense mixing. That's what the headphones are for and I prefer the headphones, but need a break once in awhile due to ear fatigue in spite of low levels. Right now, I have a pair of pretty generic Logitech computer speakers I hook up when I want them. The footprint is 3.5x4 inches.

                      I'm afraid you are over thinking this sitch, Chris. I'm not setting up to go into production. The goals are a better pair of monitors and the interface to bypass the computer's soundcard. It may be temporary. It still needs to be mobile.
                      : )

                      face (chris) Janton

                        Eris 3.5, cable from output on PC to the speaker. See (uhh, hear) how you like it.

                        I don't expect that the computer soundcard D/A is poor.

                        Yeah, try the monitors. Bet the sound is tasty. When I first put in my M40 pair I was really happy. Use the AUX-In jack from PC to monitor.

                        If the Eris monitors are anything like my AV40s you could plug the 44VSL outputs to the Eris monitors. As long as you don't do audio from both sources at once you are fine. I did this for a long time with the AV40. When I wanted the "real" interface I just pulled the 3.5 mm jack from the monitors. Never a glitch.

                        face (chris) Janton

                          Oh, yeah, you can turn the yoga blocks the "other way" and lower the effective height of the tweeters πŸ˜‰ When I just had the AV40s I used the yoga blocks in "tall" mode. Now I use them in "wide" mode...

                          Just Lisa

                            Merry Christmas everyone.
                            : )

                            My husband bought me a very useful gift!
                            (Amazon wishlist. What a wonderful invention.)

                            I had been researching possible solutions to my sound problems, here and at the auditorium and threw some random hardware in the list to look at later...
                            So now, I have Rode AI-1 interface/headphone amplifier.
                            Updated and installed drivers, set quality, bitrates etc, updated Presonus control software (not that it matters, I think).
                            It sounds fantastic. (with my BD headphones, of course.)
                            Is my computer's sound card really that dull?

                            Technical question: how do I want to set up my "volume chain"?
                            There's a volume control coming from my computer -- it's at 50%
                            The dial on the front of the box is maybe ten percent to make a comfortable level.
                            The DAW master is at zero like it should be.

                            Is it better to have the computer volume lower and have the dial control up or the other way around? Does it matter?

                            : )

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