Audio Interface Vs Small Mixing Board

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Audio Interface Vs Small Mixing Board

Postby ARNKxx » April 16th, 2016, 7:09 am

Hey guys.

So up until this point, I've been using the Steinberg UR44, "6x4 USB 2.0 audio interface with 4x D-PREs, 24-bit/192 kHz support & MIDI I/O" to connect my equipment. Full specs, http://goo.gl/1eFXrs.

However, I just purchased an Allen & Heath ZED-12FX (http://goo.gl/78G5vO) because I have a few new pieces of equipment to plug in, and was wondering if there would be any reason for holding on to the UR44?

At this point, is the mixing board fully capable of taking over the duties of the UR44 audio interface, or would there be any reasons to use them together in some way?

Thanks for any insight.
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Re: Audio Interface Vs Small Mixing Board

Postby Farview » April 16th, 2016, 7:56 am

I'm not in a position to look at the specs on the mixer right now, but I thought that the mixer will only do two channels at 16 bit through the USB. I also didn't think that it did midi.
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Re: Audio Interface Vs Small Mixing Board

Postby J-Bot » April 16th, 2016, 5:41 pm

I looked at the manual to refresh my memory, but yeah, the cheaper A&H Zed and ZedFX series only transmit the stereo 16bit audio over the USB connection. And the ZED series don't support MIDI I/O. To get per-channel audio input over USB like with the UR44, you'd need at least the R16, which is a 16-ch $1500 firewire mixer. IIRC, anyway. (I think even the MixWizard is ony 16:2)

In a pinch, you might be able to route some channels to ALTS, and send the alt outs to the inputs on the UR44. But you'd definitely have to do some outboard mixing of some sort directly on the ZED. (some don't necessarily view that as a bad thing). But yeah, if you need per-channel input into your DAW, don't ditch the UR44 just yet. You might be able to use the ZED to do a submix, and send that stereo mix into the UR44 (like doing a drums submix, and sending that stereo mix into the UR44 off the analog outputs).

One of the reasons the older Zed series only send stereo over USB, is because they use the old USB 1.1 protocol, which doesn't have enough data bandwidth to efficiently support per-channel audio throughput. To get per-channel audio throughput, I think the device itself has to use at least USB 2.0, or firewire (IEEE 1394), so there is enough bandwidth to support multiple channels of audio.
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Re: Audio Interface Vs Small Mixing Board

Postby ARNKxx » April 16th, 2016, 11:33 pm

Thanks J-Bot, appreciate the insight. It sounds like I may make do w/ the UR44 and figure out if I can utilize the ZED.

Actually, what do you think about this (it can be setup for USB multitrack): http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MixWizard412?
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Re: Audio Interface Vs Small Mixing Board

Postby Farview » April 17th, 2016, 8:10 am

I'll have to look at the manual because it doesn't say how many tracks it transfers through usb, or if it's 16 or 24 bit.

However, a decent 24 bit interface that has enough inputs to accomplish what you need to do will last a lifetime. A low level mixer will wear out, if you don't outgrow it's capabilities first. If you use the mixer as an interface, you will have to replace both when the mixer no longer serves its purpose.
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