One of my hobbies is enjoying music. My buddy and I saved up for an 8-track Tascam recorder within the early 2000s and bought hooked on recording tracks. Once digital audio workstations got here down in worth, I tossed apart the magnetic tapes. Recently, I made a decision to improve my laptop to the most recent 27-inch iMac, and I noticed an excuse to alter up my music-making peripherals as nicely.
My previous audio interface, which interprets microphone and instrument alerts into one thing that a pc can perceive, makes use of a FireWire 800 connection. Apple hasn’t shipped any computer systems with FireWire since 2012, so to get my mini studio again up and operating, I may both purchase an adapter for $7 or a complete new interface for about $200. Naturally, I went with the latter. I selected the most recent iteration of Steinberg’s UR22C ($190) due to its built-in MIDI ports, Yamaha’s D-Pre preamps and — neurotic although my reasoning could also be — its USB 3.1 connection.
The overwhelming majority of audio interface producers nonetheless use USB 2.0. Companies love Focusrite declare that, whereas USB 3.Zero has a a lot higher bandwidth than USB 2.0, it does not scale back a sign’s latency and subsequently has no sensible profit. What these firms are lacking is the truth that USB 3.Zero differs from USB 2.Zero in the way it handles one thing referred to as information polling.
With USB 2.0, information is transmitted after the host (the pc) asks the machine (the audio interface) if it has any information to ship. The machine could have information to ship, however has to attend till it is pinged — or polled — by the host to truly ship the info. With USB 3.0 — and by extension USB 3.1 — the machine can ship information as quickly because it’s prepared. In brief, USB 3.Zero and USB 3.1 do present decrease latency.
What this implies for musicians is that there shall be much less time between pushing a key on a synth and the ensuing audio enjoying from the audio system. And sure, a USB 2.Zero interface would in all chance deal with my audio wants completely wonderful, however why downgrade after I may improve to USB 3.1?
The UR22C labored completely wonderful out of the field. Typically I’ve to enter Apple’s Logic Pro preferences and make some changes to get rid of any lag, however to my ears, I did not even have to. I attached my Nord Lead 2X in stereo mode for some panning results, set the interface to max bit price and pattern size, and hit document. Even although the UR22C needed to course of two tracks concurrently, I could not discover any issues within the recordings.
I’m trying ahead to plugging my Shure Beta 57 mic into one of many unit’s two mixture inputs and testing out the Yamaha D-Pre preamps, that are normally solely present in higher-end items.
In phrases of construct high quality, the UR22C is spectacular, however not fairly as much as snuff with my earlier interface, the Presonus FireStudio Mobile. The UR22C is housed in an understated black and grey metallic enclosure and appears pure atop my black JBL 305 monitor. Where the unit falls brief, for my part, is its controls. The FireStudio Mobile had microswitched knobs, so altering acquire setting was tremendous intuitive. The solely factor shut supplied by the UR22C is a detented 12 o’clock setting on its combine knob. One good characteristic although is the outsized output quantity knob, which makes it straightforward to regulate when switching between loud and quiet synth presets.
Overall, I’m proud of the UR22C, although a part of me questions whether or not I ought to’ve simply gotten over my USB 2.Zero neurosis and bought the extra extensively used Focusrite Scarlett 4i4.
“IRL” is a recurring column by which the Engadget workers run down what they’re shopping for, utilizing, enjoying and streaming.