Steinberg UR44 vs Focusrite 18i8

Building a home studio setup is necessary when you are producing the music at home but, we will need various equipment to help do the recording, mixing, and monitoring. Before sending the signal to your computer, we will need and interface like Steinberg UR44 Vs Focusrite 18i8 so the audio quality will be kept to produce professional quality mix. If you are also considering these two models, see what they can offer below so we can get the best option.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Why do you need an Audio Interface
  • What are Steinberg UR44 and Focusrite 18i8
  • What Steinberg UR44 and Focusrite 18i8 Look Like
  • What Steinberg UR44 and Focusrite 18i8 can offer to you
  • How are the Performance of Steinberg UR44 and Focusrite 18i8
  • Steinberg UR44 vs Focusrite 18i8

Audio Interface

People love music and it shows by our huge music industry with so many new musicians trying to introduce and market their work each year. It seems that almost every year we are getting newcomers who are attracting interest from the consumers depend on what the market is currently hyping about. This is indeed a promising land for musician to start their journey into professional as well as making a living out of what they love the most. However, like any popular paths, it is never easy to walk through.

For the most casual listeners, we only need to have a music players, smartphones, or any media players combined with the ideal output fitting your preferences better whether it is speaker, headphone, or earphones. However, for musician we need a lot more equipment on board so then we can record and produce the songs at home. Home studio is a very necessary set we can easily built in our bedroom yet, not all of us are going to have the same sets with the exact same equipment.

This is because our tastes are different and the kind of music we produce are also not always the same which is why getting the one that fits our application the most will be the better decision. For a simple setup, we will only need several equipment from the input like microphone and its stand along with the kind of instrument you play such as guitar or MIDI keyboard. Then we will need computer for recording and mixing with a program of your choice.

The final step is speaker monitor like PreSonus Eris E8 Vs Yamaha HS8 to critically listen to the mix which should show parts that needed to be corrected, if any. In general these equipment are widely available and many of them are affordable as well to let beginners and those with less to spend still getting a reliable items on their set. However, there is another tool we should get to produce a professional audio result called an audio interface which is placed between your input and computer.

This is a very important equipment in almost any set; even those who only use MIDI keyboard as their input because some models don’t have USB port to transfer the signal directly to the computer. Our sound card built in the computer will also not sufficient to accommodate all of your input especially if you have regular condenser microphone without USB built in or use guitar and other similar instrument for the input.

About Steinberg UR44

If this is your first time building a home studio setup or hunting for some of the equipment to support the recording and processing activity, we should consider the requirement of our genre and what we want from the tool first or at least list the features/capabilities we want so we can choose better; balancing between quality and budget. Audio interface may have a sole purpose to accept, maintain, and sending a signal to your computer but, not all of them are the same.

Audio interface commonly have 2 inputs and two outputs for monitoring but, there are those built in with more to accommodate your inputs at once and if you are also looking for the one that can handle more than 2 inputs, Steinberg UR44 is one of the best options to go. This interface is made by a very well-known German company which is parented by Yamaha so we don’t have to worry about the quality, especially in terms of performance.

For starters it is said to be featured with the popular Yamaha D-Preamp microphone preamps and a high sample rate for a professional audio quality. If you are familiar with the UR22 for entry level users, this model is a like a step up and a more complete version of the little brother yet the quality and core are very similar or almost identical.

Steinberg UR44 Design

The first thing we love about Steinberg equipment including Steinberg UR44 interface is the build quality because this piece of tool is very sturdy with cassis made from metal and is solid enough to handle some stress. It has the same color scheme like the rest of UR line with stainless and black aesthetic combined with the brand name on top. Due to the amount of inputs, we have to sacrifice some comfort as well especially on the room for distance between knobs are quite narrow.

Steinberg UR44 Features

As you can see on the sample picture above, the front panel is packed with 4 connectors in which the input 1 and 2 are for instrument level like guitar and bass while the 3 and 4 are line level for either balanced or unbalanced. Above all of those socket are some LEDs acting as peak indicator and phantom power while the right are installed with gain controls combined with phantom power switch at their top. Moving further we have 2 phone jacks along with their volume knobs and another knob for the additional monitoring.

Continuing the journey we have more at the back with 2 line inputs where we can switch the sensitivity between +48dBu – 10 dbV. There are also 4 line output and 2 another main left and right to carry the same signals as the 1-2 outputs. This set is very useful for users who are going to set a second set of monitors. Additionally, we are getting dspMixFx application to be used with your interface which is also available for iPad as well as Cubase AI 7.

Steinberg UR44 Performance

On the performance side, Steinberg UR44 is offering just what you expect from the interface because it is operating smoothly with intuitive layout especially on dspMixFx which making sound manipulating from microphones incredibly simple. It is providing enough gain up to +58dB and like many other similar interface with D-Preamp, the sound quality is very well matching users’ preference with good transparency and low noise level. We also love the Cubase AI because it is supplying template for musician to start a recording project more conveniently.

About Focusrite 18i8 

Before deciding on which product will give you the best benefit, we should see what the other manufacturers are offering since then we can compare and see each of their capabilities just to be sure we are getting the best options. If you are looking for an interface than can accept more than 2 inputs at once, the other reliable model is 18i8 from Focusrite. In case you are wondering, the model in our article today is their newer or 2nd generation yet, currently there is already 3rd Gen.

18i8 Features Design

The most prominent thing about Focusrite interface except for the sound quality is their cosmetic appearance because it is probably one of the most attractive interfaces we can get in the market with the prominent bright red metal chassis combined with black face and back area. We also like the fact that Focusrite 18i8 is always featuring LED around the knobs which is acting as an indicator and a very nice, firm knobs as well as convenient power switch at the back.

Focusrite 18i8 Features

The face area remains the same as its original model with the 4 combo inputs of XLR and TRS jacks in which each one of them are featured with their own gain dial while the phantom power is available for pair both 1-2 and 3-4. Shifting your eyes to the right, we can see monitor dial to control the output level from stereo line outputs on the back with two independent headphone output and their own level knobs. 

On the back we have another 4 line level inputs, S/PDIF In/Out and an Optical input to carry 8 additional channels of digital input or only 4 when working at higher sample rates. We also get a USB connector to connect your PC or Mac.

Focusrite 18i8 Performance

On the performance level, Focusrite 18i8 is working very well and is a good option for the price range but it shines the best on the connectivity as well as the straightforward operation which is especially nice when paired with its Control Software. Its sound quality is nice as you can expect from Focusrite built in preamp with its clear and open sound or ultra-low in latency when monitoring. However, it is attractive for more demanding users as well due to the 8 channels of audio input via digital I/O.

Comparison 

Now, let’s compare Steinberg UR44 with Focusrite 18i8. As you may already know, they are very comparable to each other since both are supporting a similar amount of inputs and outputs for more casual users but, the latter is also offering 2 more line-ins and S/PDIF for a demanding musician which is not present on the other interface but it is also making the model more expensive.

Steinberg UR44 vs Focusrite 18i8

- Four Class-A D-PRE mic preamps
- 24-bit/192 kHz USB 2.0 audio interface; Compatible with Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Mac OS X 10.7.5 10.8 10.9 10.10
- Class Compliant with iPad and compatible with major recording software
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon registration and download.
- Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples, Choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
- Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz. Frequency response - 20 Hz - 20 kHz ± 0.1dB. 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects

Conclusion 

All in all, the decision is all yours to make because not all of us will have the same needs for their setup and it is always best to follow your own judgment on deciding which interface is more ideal for the studio. But, if we are to choose, those who don’t need the additional ins and S/PDIF will probably want to get Steinberg UR44 since it is more affordable and already rich in capabilities.

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