Audio Interface Recommendation

Hi all!

Currently I have a pretty simple setup. I have an M-Audio card in my PC with stereo phono in’s and out’s, they are connected to my mixing desks tape in’s and out’s and I record any audio from hardware into Renoise through the desk. Monitors are connected to the desk also.

I’d like to be able to send specific tracks from Renoise out, into external hardware for processing (For example, into a filter in my modular setup, or if I ever get one, through a Sherman Filterbank, through a distortion pedal etc etc) and then route it back into Renoise for recording.

I am looking for suggestions for any audio interfaces that will allow me to do this, doesn’t have to be internal, could be USB or whatever.

Thanks for any help!

m-audio pci/pci-e card IMO is already quite the best u can get, performance wise. Even expensive interfaces often use the same or similar converter chips. Regarding performance, a PCI/PCIe will easily beat a firewire interface, which will easily beat a USB interface. The better the performance, the smaller the buffer can be under heavy CPU load / your CPU will be more optimally used.

Since Apple decided to let Firewire die, Firewire interfaces are very very cheap currently (used), I would say the best money/value currently. There are huge ones already for 150€. A PCIe firewire card costs around 10€. If you take one which features optical ADAT in/out, you can later extend that device with an additional 8/8 analog-port extender device (Behringer or whatever). Good vendors: Roland / Edirol, tc electronic, digidesign, MOTU, RME (for the rich), ECHO, Presonus. M-Audio isn’t bad either, but esp. take care here of drivers and also never ever power thru firewire cable (weak firewire implementation)

Some tips for firewire:

  • Always check first, if there are recent drivers for your OS available.

  • Do connect firewire thru an 6-to-4-pins / 4-to-6-pins firewire adapter and power the device thru power adapter instead, to prevent nasty shielding or grounding noises. A 4-pin firewire connector lacks of power connections from computer.

Thanks for the reply ffx. Just to see if I’m understanding this correctly, would something like this do what I want… Send a specific track from Renoise out of one of the outputs on this interface, through external hardware, and then back into one of the channels?

Would something like that replace both a sound card and mixing desk? ie I could use the other channels on that interface to plug synths directly in to for recording?

Honestly, I never did that, using external fx, only external synths… So I don’t know.

I recently purchased an ur44 from steinberg. It works great on windows 10. It has many inputs, 2 stereo outputs, 2 headphones outputs and midi in and midi out.
I’m not 100% sure, but it should be possible to route your audio over line out3/4 and through your external gear back to one of the line in pairs.

There is a discussion thread about it, it seems its possible with some hassle: