Anyone had any experience with M-Audio USB sound interfaces? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 18th, 2004, 05:22 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
Anyone had any experience with M-Audio USB sound interfaces?

Hi guys. Looking at getting a new sound card and want to go external so that I can reduce possible noise, and also so I can record to my laptop when out in the field.

I've been looking around and found a few devices from M-Audio in my price range of US$500. They are

QuattroUSB
OmniUSB
DUOUSB

Just wondering if anyone's had any experience with these and what were the like. Also, other suggestions welcomed. I wanted to go firewire over USB (don't like USB and really like Firewire) but the one that M-Audio offers only has unbalanced inputs.

Thanks
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 05:26 PM   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
M-Audio's 410 has 2 balanced inputs. It's a Firewire box. In fact, none of the Firewire devices are unbalanced to my knowledge, unless they have an older product that wasn't at NAMM this year. Anyway, you are indeed better off with Firewire vs USB, latency is much easier to deal with. We use the M-410 in our training tours, as it's very small, lightweight, works on a laptop, and has a decent preamp for the cost. Meters suck a little though.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 05:27 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 173
Aaron,

I have been real happy with my Duo. I rarely need more than one mic, so USB hasn't been much of a limitation for me. In fact, I just updated the driver, and somehow, I can now use ASIO drivers for windows, so I don't have to switch back and forth when I go into Vegas.

But, the Firewire 410, is not much more expensive and has two balanced mic pres.


Martin
Martin Garrison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 05:43 PM   #4
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
I had a sonica (the smallest one) hooked up to a system but had
some major driver problems. In the end I could only get the older
driver from the CD to work and not the newer one from the site.
Could've been just my particular setup ofcousre. My setup has
changed drastically (and thus no need for the sonica anymore)
with a new XP installation so I'm planning to check it out again
sometime in the near future to see how easy it is to setup on this
system.
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 05:45 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: London, England
Posts: 126
USB duo is very good value for money. Audio specifications (on paper) looks as good as the firewire 410. It's a bit of a pain to use if you are working with a mixture of 48k and 96k files, as you have to shut down your editing software to change the sample rate. The meters are unusable. You have to use the meters in your recording software.
But it needs mains power.
Patrick
Patrick Bower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 06:58 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
Douglas, if you go to the downloadable manual Here On page 7 is states that the combo connectors are Unbalanced and I could not find any mention of balanced connectors in the document. Now I'm not saying the that the document isn't wrong but that's what made me worry.

I would much prefer a firewire device of course, but sounds like those using USB have had some luck too.

Cheers
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
A quick call to David M at M-Audio's tech support just confirmed that it IS a balanced connector, electronically balanced vs transformer balanced. it's pretty rare you'll find XLR's being unbalanced. I didn't download the owners manual, because it's 4 meg, and I'm on a dialup...so forgive me for not being totally informed as to what it says.
USB is fine if you don't mind only a couple channels at a time, and latency doesn't bother you.

[edit] from the M-Audio 410 webpage as well:
2 analog audio input channels
Two independent analog input channels accept a wide variety of input signals. A front-panel switch for each channel selects between 1/4” TS (-10dBV) line-level input on the rear and Neutrik (1/4” TS and balanced XLR) mic/instrument input on the front. Connect microphones, guitars, keyboards, samplers, CD players and more. The driver software allows you to route these internally to any analog or digital outputs. [edit]
For the very few more dollars, you gain 5.1 capability, a decent pre, and HD audio
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 07:59 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
Douglas, that's good to know. Yeah I found that really strange that the manual said unbalanced, especially for a device like that.

BTW, what is the difference between electronically balanced vs transformer?

Thanks
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2004, 08:15 PM   #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
The "Too simple" explanation is that electronically balanced means the balancing load is created using circuitry vs using a transformer. For many years, electronic balancing was considered almost satanic. Some audiophiles still feel this way. Jensen is one of the finer transformer makers out there, and they really pushed the market into believing that only transformers were 'professional' whereas electronic balancing was for wanna-be's. Then when Tascam started using electronics, the whole industry shifted.
Electronic balancing has excellent frequency response, but in *extremely* nasty noise environments, they may allow the induction of noise. For instance, if you were standing next to an electromagnetic generator or something. They also require power.
Transformers require power, and have some high frequency loss issues, but are very stable. They are also comparatively heavy. Electronics can be the size of a gnat's butt while a transformer is usually no smaller than a dime. Transients also sound differently through transformers, resulting in sometimes more, sometimes less pleasing sound. This is where you hear people talking about the "sound" of a preamp, or rather, a big part of it.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 23rd, 2004, 04:55 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
Douglas, sorry to revive this but I'm still searching and have another query re the Firewire 410.

Now the specs below look OK - especially compared to my on camera audio on the XM2, but I was wondering if you would consider this device good enough to record audio for doccos and short films? Now I won't be going to Hollywood or on any sort of Major TV station, but I would be hoping to achieve a quality that would work for short film fests, TV/DVD/Video in people's homes and probably a local TV station or two if I could wangle that.

I can't get hold of one of these to try out unfortunately, and I know I'm asking a pretty subjective question, but I'd like to be able to record, in a quiet room and not have things hissing like a mother. (Assuming my mics are ok of course)

Frequency response 20-40kHz ± 1 dB.
Signal to noise–108 dB
Dynamic range: 108 dB (A-weighted)
THD + N: 0.00281% @ 0 dBFS


Cheers
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 25th, 2004, 12:21 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 55
Aaron:

I went through this question with these guys re: recording directly to my Mac. There were a lot of great responses if you can find the thread.

btw, there is a "brand new" M FireWire Audio interface with warranty" on sale at Ebay (3706077551). Its currently at $301 with a day+ to go. (Sorry if someone here is bidding on it and I just passed this info on...) I usually don't find these ebay deals to be much better than buying online from a dealer...which is exactly what you're doing in this auction. But who knows?

Try Northern Sound and Light, too (northernsound.net). They have a code system for figuring out "lowest price" under the MAP price (which is the lowest price they can print). 1 star = 10% off. 1 Planet =5% off. 2 stars and a planet = 25% off lowest price listed online.

I really think you can get the Firework for around $500...

ALSO: While researching the M Audio 410, I came across a website for audiophiles and they were totally trashing it and the company (for responsiveness). So, as usual, with too much information, I've done nothing. Sorry, I don't keep track of that stuff but I'll look for it if anyone is interested.

I think I'm going to rent and try different stuff out. I LOVE the idea of recording directly into my MAC while conducting audio-only interviews.
Diane Bogosian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 25th, 2004, 01:21 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: London, England
Posts: 126
"I'd like to be able to record, in a quiet room and not have things hissing like a mother. (Assuming my mics are ok of course)"

I have the M-audio USB duo, and I don't hear any hiss. It's absolutely fine for voice. I assume the firewire 410 would be just as good (but more expensive). The only time you might want something better would be if you were recording music.

Patrick
Patrick Bower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 25th, 2004, 01:53 PM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727

Diane, thanks for that. If you come across the URL for those people trashing the 410 again, I'd like to see it. I'm going to go and see if I can trial one of these devices or something. The problem I have with this is that I never buy from NZ stores, they are just a rip off (The Firewire 410 is NZ$1799, I can get it from B&H for NZ$600, inclusive of shipping) and I don't feel happy making them loan me an item and then just giving it back and buying elsewhere ;)

Patrick, no offense but I'm curious about the statement (That lots of other people make too) about it being OK for voice. I assume this is Freq Response we're talking about here, cause hiss (if it was there) would be a problem for anything, music or voice - right.


Cheers
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 25th, 2004, 03:19 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: London, England
Posts: 126
Whether you will find the sound good enough depends more on what you are recording (and your microphones, and where they are positioned) than on the sound card.

Dialogue has a very limited frequency response, limited dynamic range, and your ears won't notice even if there is a little bit of distortion. On the other hand an acoustic piano has a wide frequency range, a wide dynamic range, and your ears are exquisitely aware if a piano doesn't sound just like a piano should.

You won't hear hiss with dialogue as you can record it all at just below maximum volume. You can't record classical music so it is all at high volume because some of it is actually meant to be quiet. Then when you play it back, you have to turn the volume up more, because the orchestral climaxes are supposed to be louder than dialogue. This means that you may hear background hiss in the quiet bits.

Patrick
Patrick Bower is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:27 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network