Originally Posted By: Planobilly
Thanks Simon...One of the main concerns is how long I will have the interface before it becomes a working piece of junk because there are no drivers for the windows version I need to use.

That's often why I suggest some of the more expensive brands, as you're somewhat more likely to get continued driver support. My RME Fireface 800 came out in 2004 and still receives driver updates. My MOTU Traveler mk1 still works in Big Sur and it came out in 2005! That said, I do know of a few very expensive brands that discontinue drivers a lot quicker than the 16-17 years my interfaces have been supported.

Originally Posted By: Planobilly
I was also looking at the Focusrite Clarett+ 8Pre USB-C Audio Interface. It is at the top of the budget range at $1000.

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface at $550 is the least expensive and has 8 xlr/1/4" inputs.


Will any or all of the above run on Windows 11?

Can't speak for the 18i20, but my 2i2 works well in Win11 so far. As for the Clarett, afaik the main difference between it and the Scarlett is in the preamp quality, so it depends on whether you want to spend an extra $450 on nicer pre's.

Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Originally Posted By: Planobilly
Which is best? Thunderbolt? USB-C? USB-2? Does it really matter?

Will any or all of the above run on Windows 11?


It is surprising that USB 2 is more than fast enough for digital audio. I wouldn't get a Thunderbolt interface unless your computer already had it.

One single channel of 24/96 audio is ~2.3mbit, where the USB2 bus is spec'd for 480mbit but realistically hits around half that.
One hundred channels of 24/96 audio is 230mbit, just under half the USB2 bus spec.

Now I've never seen a USB2 interface that supported 100 channels, but 8-16ch interfaces can work with USB2 perfectly. In fact, many of these "USB-C" interfaces simply use a type-C plug, but still interface over USB2.

The upshot with Thunderbolt is that it is technically a direct PCIe connection which bypasses many of the USB bus limitations. USB in particular requires a fair chunk of CPU overhead as it requires the computer to poll the USB device, which is why USB devices typically have higher latency than Thunderbolt/PCI/Firewire.

Originally Posted By: Planobilly
There are all kinds of stuff to wish for/drool over...Avalons, Universal Audio, Manley...lol

I had an Avalon 737sp for a while, it was very nice and extremely well built (I know, because I took it apart to replace a cracked tube socket, which was all that was wrong with it after a decade). Sound-wise, I much preferred the Universal Audio stuff - for a single channel strip I really liked the LA-610, but if I was buying anything from them it'd be a 4-710d. I've used both on a lot of recordings though lol.
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