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need interface advice

I have a Edirol FA-66 which has served me well but the unit is starting to fail so it's probably time to upgrade. (I never did like the need to turn the inputs nearly all the way up to get a decent recording with the FA 66). I need 4 inputs, 2 mic with phantom power and at least one Hi-Z, two line ins for my older synth (Roland XP-30), and midi in and out. I don't care whether its USB or Firewire as long as it works well and will last. My computer is an intel iMac (last year's) 2.8 with 4 gigs of ram. I'd also prefer to have a single unit plugged into my system rather than a separate audio and midi interface. I'm not a pro but I like good sound and I have a price range of $200 to $500. I'm finding the choices out there quite bewildering. Any advice would be appreciated.


Staff member
FYI, I moved this to the studio techiniqes forum.

I'm not familiar with interfaces in the priceclass you mention. I have terrific experience with Metric Halo interfaces, I find RME are also very good, but both these brands are priced above your budget.

Presonus may be worth looking at.

kind regards

MF is blowing out some b-stock Mackie ONYX 440Fs for $399. The pres on this are impressive, and it has everything else you seek as well. I just got one & am giddy about not only the sonic upgrade, but the rock solid FW implementation. YMMV, caveat emptor and all that. BTW I cannot figure out what the "b" issue is-one gain knob turns a bit easier than the others, and there is the tiniest imperfection in one spot of the plastic trim, but overall, count me as a Mackis convert.

In a similar quest, I purchased-and returned-both a Focusrite Saffire LE-great sound but absolutely dismal FW implementation, as well as glitchy, spotty, random dropouts-and a Presonus Firebox-horrible monitoring whine, non-existant s/pdif sync & also random FW sync loss. I ended up with a Mackie 400F & am ecstatic-the pre-amps are really, really good, it has never dropped the FW sync (daisy-chained out of my external HD no less) & the s/pdif works as it should. The ONLY issues I've had are due to sample rate incongruities (user error!). MF (as of this post) has b-stock units priced @ $399.oo-which is what I bought. I'm hard pressed to find the "b" issue other than one of the pre-amp gain knobs turns easier than the others. Of course YMMV, caveat emptor, and all.

After reading hundreds of professional and user reviews of a wide variety of products, I decided to go with the Apogee Duet even though it meant buying a separate midi interface and having to re-plug my external synth from time to time in order to record it. The Duet does sound very very good but, had I known about the Mackie 400F at that price, I might have done a re-think. Anyway what's done is done. And the Duet does integrate well with Logic. and it is a bit smaller than the 400f. Thanks for all the advice,