How to connect external hardware synth's to PC?

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by au38wzh, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. au38wzh

    au38wzh Producer

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    Hi all, after spending some years in-the-box, I'd like to work again with hardware synth's.
    Since it's been a while I've used hardware synth's in my setup (back then I had an audiowerk8 and a Behringer MX 2004), I'm more than happy to get your thoughts about my thoughts about this :crazy:

    What I'd like to connect:
    - 1 Mono-Synth
    - 1 Korg Volca Sample (Mono?)
    - 1 Korg Volca Bass (Mono)

    ..and maybe also this, since I still have it:
    - Korg TR-Rack (Stereo)
    - Emu Proteus (Stereo)

    What I have:
    - Win10 PC
    - RME Babyface (2 Line/Mic inputs)

    My thoughts so far...

    - If I stay with the Babyface:
    Only 2 analog inputs. I could join e.g. the volca outputs and insert it in 1 input of the Babyface and the mono-synth to the other input. Then I can use DAW effects, but it'll be the same effect for the volca's.

    - If I buy a mixer:
    Good for a jam without PC, but need hardware-FX or a mixer with built-in FX.
    It seems the mixer would be rather big, but since I've not much space, it's not really good.

    - If I buy an audio interface with more inputs:
    This seems the best option so far, but it's probably the most expensive one, since I prefer RME.
    At the moment I'm thinking about RME Babyface Pro or Fireface UC/UCX.
    Babyface Pro has 4 analog inputs, Fireface UC/UCX has 8 analog inputs.

    Happy to hear your thoughts about it and maybe someone will come up with smth I didn't think of..:wink:
    Thanks!
     
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  3. lukehh

    lukehh Platinum Record

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    Do you want just to input the audiosignal into your PC or also use them as MIDI devices/control your Hardware synths with your DAW?
    If you want to have both, the RME Babyface Pro seems to be a good choice.
    The Fireface only has Firewire to connect it to your PC...and many people report about problems with the compatibility of the different Firewire Interface cards for PC's. Some work some dont.

    But another question...Why do you want to pay so many bucks? Why not the
    Behringer UMC404HD (99 Euro)
    or with more Instrument Inputs the MOTU 8 Pre USB (589 Euro)
    or the Behringer UMC1820 (179 Euro)

    I really have no idea why the RME gear is so expensive....when I read user comments about the MOTU or even Behringer Interfaces, there doesnt seem to be a big difference.

     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  4. Acid

    Acid Member

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    I could be wrong but doesn't the babyface have 10 inputs (8 extra via ADAT), so you could just get something like the Behringer ADA8200 (£130) or one from the more expensive but better quality Focusrite OctoPre series (about £360 to £600 ish) to add the remaining 8 inputs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  5. Daskeladden

    Daskeladden Platinum Record

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. Acid

    Acid Member

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    A £1000 26 in/32 out Presonus Quantum might be a bit overkill for someone that just wants 3 mono & a couple of stereo ins.
     
  7. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    Just buy a nice little 8ch mixer. Connect the outputs to a Babyface and call it the day. :wink:

    A Behringer, Allen&Heath, Mackie, or Soundcraft one should do the trick. I do suggest A&H or Soundcraft, Mackie also, but whatever makes you happy. Read the specs, look at the wallet, read the specs... you know the drill. :wink:

    If you're so desperate for real-time FX while jamming, I'd rather suggest a hardware one and connect it to the AUX of the mixer? You know - oldschool. Those Lexicons MX 200/300/400 can be had for not much quid now, and they sound really good. Or maybe Lexicon MPX 500/550. Really great stuff. MX400 is actually 2xFX, so you can have it on both AUX sends.

    Cheers!
     
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  8. Fudsey Plange

    Fudsey Plange Audiosexual

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    Most synths operate at consumer voltage on the audio outputs, whereas many pro audio interfaces expect pro voltage levels. So your first choice is whether or not to use interface preamps or levelling amps to boost the incoming signal or not.

    Secondly, it's been a matter of wild controversy ever since the seventies as to whether or not to run a synth in to the console (direct injection) or to amp and mic (in the manner of a guitar). Some people like to do both, some people get a di-ing preamp, some people use a serious preamp, or just rely on the audio interface.

    Personally, I use a levelling amplifier in hardware (ProVLA II) running mullard tubes to raise the voltages, and direct inject that, most of the time.

    It's a matter taste, really.
     
  9. au38wzh

    au38wzh Producer

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    Thank you all very much :wink:

    I'm trying to get rid of big hardware-sizes (except PC-Monitor). Have this in mind, Babyface Pro would be good, but gives me only 4 analog inputs. Next best thing would be Fireface UC/UCX. RME is expensive and my Babyface is still working great, so I think I'll go with the Behringer ADA8200, although it's a bit big in size for my bedroom studio..
    I have to get rid of the rack I still have standing there and is used as some sort of a shelf :rofl:
    But: it gives me 8 more inputs and it's the cheapest solution - unless it won't work out.
    This is also why I bought a RME audio-interface: it's expensive, but it works and is supported not only for 1-2 years. I had a NI interface which didn't work when the OS was updated. So I had to buy another one, the Babyface. It's end-of-live, but driver's still gets updated.

    So, when going with the Behringer ADA8200:
    Do I have to connect ADAT in AND out from ADA8200 to Babyface or is one enough (Behringer out to Babyface in)? I found out ADAT has to be clocked - never had ADAT before.

    @lukehh Fireface UC/UCX have both USB

    Thanks again and have a great day!
     
  10. Daskeladden

    Daskeladden Platinum Record

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    he wants to connect:
    - 1 Mono-Synth
    - 1 Korg Volca Sample (Mono?)
    - 1 Korg Volca Bass (Mono)
    - Korg TR-Rack (Stereo)
    - Emu Proteus (Stereo)

    Pluss microphones, maybe bass/guitar, speaker monitors. I would say he needs it, at least a $600 Quantum 2. (Which of course also has ADAT, and is future proof because of Thunderbolt).
    And by the way all of you that recommend stuff have you actually tested the drivers on Windows? I have tested the drivers on what I recommend. That being said a Behringer ADA8200 through ADAT then you actually don't use the driver for that device. On a RME Babyface the ADAT would allow you to hook up 8 more channels of i/o, or 4 if you use SMUX to run it at 88.2/96k.
    Some say you need two ADAT cables one for in and one for out, and some say you only need one like the one in the quote. I'm not sure what the word "lock" includes

    You should seriously consider either PCI or Thunderbolt audio interfaces in the future. USB is not ideal for audio.
    RME has many excellent PCI audio interfaces, for example:

    RME HDSPe AIO
    (Be sure to buy a PCIe device, not just PCI. I have not tested this but since it's PCIe I would consider this "safe".)

     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  11. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Producer

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    All I believe you would need is the ADAT out of the 8200 into the Babyface.
     
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  12. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    You have to connect only ADAT out from ADA8200 to Babyface's ADAT in, and make Babyface an ADAT slave. Shame Babyface doesn't have Worldclock input. WC would be better. But it's OK. It'll work beautifully and it's probably the best you can do, aside from getting a mixer. :wink:

    I mean, not much fuss - simple, and it won't break your wallet. :wink:

    Cheers!
     
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  13. au38wzh

    au38wzh Producer

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    Thanks again for great inputs!

    I checked again the Mixer-Option (with FX) and yes, it would be nice to work again with a surface feel, but space.. and thats why I decided a couple years ago to get rid of the rack (incl. Mixer, Effects and Synths). The ADAT-Option is great, but would also take too much space, especially with plugged cables. So it's the RME Babyface Pro-Option I prefer (1 Mic and 3 Instruments inputs are/has to be enough).

    But before the final decision I step back for some days and work with what I have.

    Thanks again! :wink:
     
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