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Posts posted by robertw

  1. Hi Rado,


    I started this thread with the intention of having a wide-ranging discussion about what's available in terms of interfaces. Several people, including you, have expressed views, which is great.


    Having tried the RME Babyface daily for three weeks, and having now had a chance to compare it to the USBPre 2, I've expressed my own view.


    As I said, I have no reservations about the sound quality of the Babyface, but I can't discern any meaningful sound difference between the Babyface and the USBPre 2, and, in my view, on every other consideration the USBPre 2 is a more attractive product. Personally, having now used both interfaces, I don't think that it's even close.


    I also stand by my view that RME's attitude on its own forum suggests that RME employees don't understand that they make their living from the people who buy RME products.


    I hope that people down the road, looking for an interface, may come across this thread and find the various views that have been expressed useful - yours and that of others as well as mine. I would certainly like to have had access to this kind of discussion before I made my own decision.



  2. I replaced the RME Babyface with a Sound Devices USBPre 2.


    I am much, much happier. I have no reservations about the Babyface's performance when it comes to sound, but the USBPre 2 is better built, there are no breakout cables to mess with and, because the controls are all analogue, it does not require getting one's head around a software package. Whatever the merits of RME's Totalmix for recording and live performances on multi-channel devices, it is overcomplicated overkill for a two channel interface. In addition, if I run into a problem with the USBPre 2, I'm confident that I can make a call to, or send an email to, Wisconsin, and that I'll get some help. From what I've seen of RME, including the attitude of its employees on their own forum, I have no such confidence about RME products.


    I could go into the differences between the two products in detail, but it comes down to this. I would buy a USBPre 2 rather than take an RME Babyface for free. For me, the difference is that dramatic.

  3. Just go Sound Devices and you won't have to question the build quality, sound quality, or customer service. You'll forget the price, but you won't forget these things.


    Mark O.

    Well said.


    The USBPre 2 was my initial inclination (the "obvious choice", as I put it in the first post), and may well be where I end up, although perhaps after a bit of a journey  :)



  4. robertw: " The question now is whether I just buy a USBPre 2 or take a harder look at Apogee's Duet for iPad and Mac, "

    all up to you...



    I'm laying out my considerations because other people, now or in the future, may find it helpful, regardless of whether they agree with any particular thing that I say. Not to mention that other people have contributed valuable insights.

  5. Having read the USBPre 2 manual again, the RME Babyface is going back tomorrow.


    The problem isn't the RME product, although I have come to the conclusion that Totalmix (despite its merits with RME interfaces with multiple inputs and outputs) is overcomplicated for the Babyface. The problem is my distaste for the tone of RME employees on what RME is pleased to call its "community forum". RME employees can be abrupt with, and talk down to, their customers, and continue to pretend that the Totalmix manual is clear despite widespread complaints that whoever wrote it is a stranger to plain language; and I, on the other hand, can choose to buy someone else's product.


    The question now is whether I just buy a USBPre 2 or take a harder look at Apogee's Duet for iPad and Mac, and maybe even Apogee's ONE for iPad and Mac. Apogee integration with iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad) is unmatched by any other interface, and one can run the ONE on two AA rechargeable batteries.


    I want to have another look at Apogee, in part, because yesterday I watched Bentley Motors's new video for its $300,000 Mulsanne, shot with an iPhone and some cheap add-on lenses (and, I should say, a not so cheap stabilization rig), and edited on an iPad with a $5 app.


    Here's the video (with, interestingly, 467,000 views in four days), with some "making of" footage starting at around 3'20":



    And here's Apple Insider's article on who made the Bentley video and how it was done:



    The Bentley video underscores the need to think a bit outside the box, and maybe outside the "usual" vendors, given current developments in technology.



  6. RME stuff works great, but you need a computer to get at it's settings (front panel is really tedious for this, possible in a pinch but a miserable experience, as with MOTU).  I decided I like things a little more straightforward and analog for location recording when possible.


    If I was building up for a multitrack laptop playback gig again I think this time I'd go with another RME half-rack USB box--TotalMix is very flexible, although a little scary at first. 


    phil p


    Very much in line with my experience so far.


    The physical controls on the RME Babyface are fine for casual playback (e.g. listening to music on an airplane), but it's quickly obvious that one should work from a computer (or iPad screen when using one in place of a computer) and Totalmix for anything that requires precision.


    Having persisted with Totalmix (as you say, it's "a little scary at first"), I quite like it, but I'm wondering whether I'm coming around for objective reasons or due to satisfaction at starting to master a new, but somewhat complicated toy.


    I do think that RME makes a solid product and that Totalmix, which works with its whole line of interfaces, is powerful software once one figures it out. Basically, I have to decide whether the Babyface + Totalmix is overkill/over-complication for the Babyface's number of inputs/outputs and my needs; and, whether I'd be happier in the end with an interface that is controlled by buttons and knobs rather than from a computer/iPad screen. Hence re-reading the USB Pre 2 manual tomorrow.


    Appreciated your comments.

  7. Update...


    I purchased an RME Babyface.


    I'm struck by how fundamentally different it is to use an interface controlled by software (like RME's interfaces) and an interface that is wholly analog (like the Sound Devices USB Pre 2 and SPL Crimson).


    RME uses software (Totalmix FX) that, while versatile, has a fairly steep learning curve, not helped by a manual that, while accurate, is not user-friendly, and a "community forum" run by RME employees who don't seem to get the idea that they are there to assist the people who bought RME products and from whom they earn their paycheck. While I have not asked a question on that forum, I am struck by fairly frequent arrogance and condescension, and ultimately a failure on the part of RME employees to understand that they are in many cases talking down to, and being dismissive of, their customers.


    There's no question in my mind that Sound Devices's manuals and support are significantly better, but there are things that the RME interfaces can do that a USB Pre 2 can't. That said, while the equivalent RME product (Babyface) is less expensive (I paid US$160 less than for a USB Pre 2), at this point it's clear to me that the time necessary to learn RME's Totalmix FX software makes the price difference insignificant if one values one's time at more than $5 to $10 per hour. On the upside, Totalmix FX offers interesting functionality, and the accompanying meter and loudness software (Digicheck) is excellent. In some ways, I prefer Digicheck to iZotope Insight.


    I will make a decision this weekend about whether to keep the RME, or return it and purchase a USB Pre 2. Based solely on what I perceive to be the attitude of the two companies, I would go with Sound Devices in a heartbeat, but looking at functionality, it's a somewhat difficult call.


    I do wonder whether whatever attachment I have to the RME at this point is the result of having been persistent in figuring out Totalmix FX, and so I'll be spending part of this weekend once again reading the USB Pre 2 manual. If the USB Pre 2 will do what I need (and want), the RME is gone.

  8. Richard, glad those links are at least potentially helpful (they've certainly helped me). My non-lawyer understanding is that mind-in-the-gutter reality TV and heart-in-the-heavens documentary are both judged by the same four fair use factors. Those factors spelled out by Richard Stim:


    But of course copyright holders may view promulgators of reality TV as more lucrative litigation targets....


    When it comes to classic documentary vs reality television, I think that it's a question of degree (how real is the "reality" TV) and how gun-shy one is of litigation.


    As an aside, and definitely in the fictional realm... in supplemental material to the the DVD for Sidewalks of New York, Edward Burns talks about guerrilla shooting, no permits for outdoor scenes, etc. There's an important scene that they shot in a video store in the Village, and if I recall correctly, he says that one of the issues was to shoot the scene without having any of the movie posters in the shop appear on camera. In other words, had the camera picked up posters advertising popular films, they were concerned that they could be sued by the people advertising the films.

  9. You did that guy a big favor my making him understand that what he was embarking on was an adventure, a quest of a sort, but not a vacation by any definition of that word I know of and not a real job either. ...


    It seems obvious that the person who is being trashed in this thread understood that perfectly well from the outset, and that the whole point of Vin's post, and subsequent posts, is that such an adventure or quest should be slammed, and the person involved characterized as "unethical", "stupid" and "a prick", unless he or she is working at rates that members of this forum approve of.


    So I guess the next installment is an attack - unethical stupid prick - on someone who decides to work as a sound recordist in Bolivia, or Pitcairn Island, or Sumatra, at a rate, plus transportation, accommodation and meals, that somebody on this forum decides is inadequate.


    <I agree,  I can't understand why Vin even corresponded with this jerk for as long as he did !

    "...I WAS- doing something nice when this started - i was having a tall cool vodka...Heh!
    BUT - someone's got to do it, it's a dirty job. 



    Well that pretty much explains it.


    And no, it isn't a necessary "job" to trash someone in public (named or not, and quite possibly a member of this forum), especially if what you report about what he or she said makes it abundantly clear that you have (at best) paraphrased everything.


    It's pretty obvious that others will disagree, but as far as I am concerned the whole post is petty, and obviously not an accurate report of the discussion, and also pretty obviously fueled by birthday vodka.

  11. Robertw - the English is good enough out there. The person's identity has not been revealed. And 27 is young? 


    First of all, there's a big issue about your own behavior in this.


    Secondly, no native speaker of English talks the way that you have recorded this conversation, which raises the question of whether you effectively made the whole thing up.


    Thirdly, as a matter of English, referring to a 27 year old, especially if one is older, as "a young man" is completely normal. Sorry, but the fact that you would ask about that mostly feeds back into the issue about the bizarre, improbable English that you attribute to the person with whom you were allegedly communicating.

  12. So to sum up...


    Young guy wants to go to India, and is happy to do it in exchange for airfare plus accommodation plus meals plus $11/hour.


    Then, having had what he thought was a private discussion with a member of this forum, it turns out that he was surreptitiously recorded (if the discussion was oral) or has had his text messages made public (if the discussion was via text). In either case, Vin has chosen unilaterally to publish the young man's comments, except that they cannot possibly be accurately reported if the man is, as suggested, a native English speaker, and the result is that the young man is being characterized here as "unethical", "stupid" and "a prick".

  13. Checked out all of these products today.

    It's come down to RME and Sound Devices.

    I'm leaning toward RME because it seems to offer first rate quality, and is actively developing its product, which Sound Devices is not, and costs $690 instead of $850.

    Universal Audio's Apollo Twin is also interesting, but is based on a model (it's all about pre-amp plug-ins) that I don't understand well enough to buy into, although a friend tells me that this model is the future.

  14. Thanks Audioguy1979, Constantin, Ramallo, Vasileios and Wyatt for your helpful comments.


    Not the only issue, but here's how these interfaces compare in price:


    Sound Devices USBPre 2: US$850

    Universal Audio Apollo Twin Solo: $700 ($900 for the Duo, but the additional chip is probably overkill for my needs)

    RME Babyface: $690

    Apogee Duet for iPad and Mac: $600

    Apogee ONE for iPad and Mac: $350 (or a couple of them for $700)


    Next step, a visit tomorrow to an audio shop that carries all of these.

  15. Apogee have the Duet II, is nice


    Thanks. Just spent some time checking this out.


    The Apogee Duet 2 has been superseded by Duet for iPad and Mac (US$600). The new version connects seamlessly with iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) in addition to Apple computers.


    There is also an Apogee ONE (with one mic input) for iPad and Mac ($350). What's interesting about this interface is that it will run not only on a USB connection or mains, but on batteries. According to Apogee's web site, two rechargeable AAs will power the ONE, and provide 48v phantom power to a mic, for over two hours (and depending on how one reads what they say on the question, perhaps over three hours). Which means that one could use the Apogee ONE - a rather compact piece of kit at H 1.25" W 2.25" L 6.4" - with an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad as a mobile field recorder.

  16. Thanks Constantin.

    The RME appears to be very highly regarded, and is apparently as much as US$160 cheaper than the USBPre 2 (which in November of 2012 suddenly went up in price by 31% from $650 to $850).

    As far as I can determine, there has never been a discussion on JW Soundgroup comparing audio interfaces, and certainly none comparing what is currently on the market.

    While I am personally interested in a two input/output interface, it would be interesting to also see discussion about current audio interfaces that handle more inputs/outputs, whether in this thread or in a separate thread.

  17. (Just a guess but it would be nice to see how it was really  done)


    I, and I imagine others, share your curiosity. Looks like Mr. Porter is in a position to elaborate :)


    Another thing worth noticing is the (I imagine deliberate) decision to use the camera freehand without any kind of stabilization.

  18. I'm in the market for an audio interface to record to, and play from, a current model 15" MacBook Pro (via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt) and, in the nice but not essential category, a current model iPad (via an independent power source for the interface and the iPad camera connector kit). 


    I already use a Sound Devices 7 series recorder. For the interface, I need only two mic inputs, and output to headphones and two speakers, so the obvious choice is a USBPre 2.


    However, there appear to be credible alternatives at similar or lower prices - for  example, RME's Babyface, Universal Audio's new Apollo Twin (although it requires AC power, i.e. cannot be powered by the computer), the new Zoom TAC-2, and the discontinued (but evidently well-regarded, and available second hand) Apogee Mini-Me.


    I like, and am used to working with, the sound from my Sound Devices recorder, and I understand that the USBPre 2 is likely to sound similar. However, if anyone has experience with, or views on, the alternatives mentioned above, or others, I'd be grateful for your opinions. Just want to get a sense if there are alternatives out there, especially given that there are some new interfaces on the market, that I should take a hard look at.



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