Audio interface

Has anyone ever attempted to make their own audio interface, and Is making such an interface that connects via USB/Thunderbolt ect, any harder than making a synth?

Simple audio interfaces are nothing more than a codec chip with USB and a few op-amp stages.

For example

You’ll find this kind of chip in low-end audio interfaces, or gear with USB connectivity. The AudioDamage odio is probably based around that too.

All interesting chips are fine-pitch SMD. And I don’t really see the point of DIY if it’s just to build something already available on the market at ridiculously low prices and good quality, with no customization/hacking/modding options. You’ll find such projects (often focused on the output rather than the input) on diyAudio and the likes.

Interesting, thanks :slight_smile: I wonder then, if it is the preamps and power supplies we pay for in high the end stuff like Apogee? No doubt the name adds value to the product!

I was thinking D.I.Y might be an option, but as you say, you can get pretty decent interfaces so cheap nowadays, like THIS

Thanks again!

You pay for high-end ADCs, the engineering of the DSP stuff (PlugIN / routing engine), for professional support, all the nice software stuff. You pay for licenses needed to support AES, ADAT, MADI and such fancy things…And this development never ends, as they need to follow up new OS. These interfaces are dedicated for different clients, which use them as working tools, so the price isn’t really an issue here.

Also, you can’t just drop a chip into a circuit. An iterative PCB design process and proper testing (which requires expertise and expensive tools) is required if you want good results. Read up on the ODAC development notes for some fascinating insight into this.

I’ll take a look at those developments notes t2k, thanks.

I do not know how people record their music, but I guess most use a mixing desk that then goes through an audio interface to their computer, like I do. Anyway I have been thinking, I don’t need a mixer, or an outboard audio interface, I just need a eurorack module with 16 line ins that has a thunderbolt connection strait to my Mac. The interface could have 16 line level ins, and 2 balanced line outs to go to my powered monitors…I could then mix all my eurorack modules, but keyboards and other synths inside logic aswell. I would also have use of Logics plugins, imagine sending my Grids, Peaks and Dredrum combo through a multiband compressor and eq’ing that with an Oxford or Waves EQ Lovely!

Thunderbolt enabled audio intefaces have a round trip with Logic Pro of about 1.5ms, this is as good as a protools HD system, and with the power of Mac’s these days, One could have 16 audio ins each with multiple effects at near real time!

I know one can already do this with an audio interface and Logic, but having a complete eurorack system with its own multi channel audio interface, really, really appeals to me! It would make outboard effects units and mixing consoles redundant!

To add to that, you wouldn’t even need volume or preamp control on the module, as all that can be done in logic, so no knobs needed, just 16 really clean sounding 3.5mm connections, the only volume control one would need would be on the ouput stage…

My mixer has a Firewire audio interface built in.

You can however use a 16 in 16 out interface and hook it into the channel inserts in a mixer.

Nice one 6581punk, mine only has 2 ins! :smiley:

I noticed I was running out of channels, even with a 14 channel mixer so the idea occurred to me about getting a 16 channel audio interface and keeping my mixer as a sub mixer…

When I had the room, I had one of those cool old roland mixers from the 80s and used the multichannel daw inputs as tape inserts along with the master and fx sends also going to a soundcard input. To save room i just keep things hooked inline now with a patchbay in the middle for as needed routing, and have a 16x8 soundcard (saving the other 8 outs for modular stuff maybe).

@herrprof, when you say 'tape inserts, do you mean you used an old tape machine for saturation effect? I know some people who still use a tape for that, but they do have the space!

Thats’s my problem, space, I have not got the room and want to keep everything as condensed as possible which Is why I am going to have to get a 16 in sound-card! I will sell my old 2x2 audio interface and probably my mixer two…

As I am on a budget, I was looking at THIS and THIS

I would really love to buy a nice RME or Apogee interface, but my job does not pay so well lol :slight_smile: Also, a good friend of mine suggests although the high-end devices are great, I do not necessarily need one as I will be using line level inputs, if I had expensive mic’s, then maybe the Apogee might be better for the mic pre’s.

Being lucky in the respect I have many friends who are professional sound engineers with their own residential studios, I get to hear some amazing pieces of kit Hearing my music through an Amek mixing console with an expensive compressor on the inserts, then have that fed into a Protools system and using Lexicon reverbs and other effects, is mesmerising! my friends studio my friend Mark also works at Airfield studios in Cornwall run by Joe Partridge from Kiki Dee, Joe also worked on the original soundtrack for War of the Worlds (played the guitar) MUSE also recorded their first album there. Having Joe Partridge cook me a meal is my claim to fame :smiley:

I recently got a Firestudio Moblie from t2k on the forums, and it works very well as an audio interface. The MIDI has no lag after setting it up properly as well. I use it with an old Mac G5 and a souped up windows 7 rig that has a lone firewire port. It allows me to use either computer as an overpowered, stand-alone digital synth. If you can find one cheap, I do recommend them. The only issue is that they do run hot after some time, but they save a lot of space.

The preamps on it are very crisp as well, and it can be bus powered. It packs quite a punch for such a small device. Just make sure the firmware works on your computer, or it just won’t work. This is true for all Presonus devices.

I just had a look at the Presonus interface Matthew, seems a great price! They would have better preamps than the Behringer too no doubt?


Thanks nightworxx :slight_smile:

Technically the Behringer isn’t too bad, but unfortunately their software and software support are known to be lousy. They are way worse than AKAI, and involved people know what such a statement means… o0

@nightworxx Most of their interfaces are class compliant and don’t require any drivers at all.

Yes, berhinger is very good at making class compliant devices.

@Adam not that cool. The old tascam mixers have inserts from the tape output you can stick in the channel strip, so Id have my gear in channel 1, record it direct out to tape and then monitor the track from the DAW with a click of a switch. You can also use an old analog mixer for analog summing if you think that helps. but to me daw summing is good enough.

This applies to OS drivers, but not to the rest of the software as editors, mixer software et. al…
Most of BCF/BCR stuff for example technically never left alpha statdium, even as they tried to call it beta. One of my pals works for Behringer and so i had the chance to see some of their game in an early release state and my take on this stuff was quite annoying. And this approach is possibly one of the reason, why they push the release date of their new controller generation further and further.