USB Preamp


I’m thinking of getting a simple USB interface that has

- phantom power
- clean sound
- can replace my sound card

can someone suggest what, and where is a good place to get one?

I was looking at the M-audio mobilePre and the Fast track, does anyone have experiences with those and know how the sound will compare to my current setup: Tube preamp into SBLive?


Welp K, I’d suggest the following site, here’s your particular device featured.
There’s alot of good reveiws about this partiular device.
I’d say if your trying to get the best sound out of the guitar you might need a amp simulator, like a Tbox I think they’re called.
Funny thing is, for another hundred dollars, more than the Madio USB device, you could get a Tascam 4 or 8track digital recorder, which would alomst eliminate the need for the computer during recording. But I’ve also read the limitations of the stock memory don’t allow the device to be as usefull as they can be.
Anyway that site has alot of great products at below average prices.

good luck

Be aware that many products that claim have “phantom power” have 12-20v instead of 48v. Only check this before to suit your needs.

Hey KR. I use the M mobile pre USB. I did some research before settling on it and found mixed reviews. I found the happy customers, users, to be happy with the sound quality, price and its phantom powered MIC inputs. Thats pretty much what I was looking for. I took me a little bit to get use to setting up prefrences, latency/buffering, but now I couldn’t begin to complain about its performance. Hope that helps, Bob

I’m happy with my Tascam US-122. Only 2 in and 2 out but has phantom power, guitar input and direct monitor switch.

yea I found some pretty good and pretty terrible reviews for both the MobilePre and the US-122. It seems for some people the mobilePre has some serious latency issues, and the US-122 has lots of noises on PC’s (fine on Mac’s)

what systems are you guys running, and do you have any problems with latency/crackles/pops? I’m running XP pro on Ath1.3

oh and does the US-122 record multiple tracks simutaneously?


m-audio omnistudio that I use is really good. I loke it a lot.

Hey KR. Latency, it’s just no good! I had trouble with my settings because I was obviously trying to run noise free while also keeping cpu usage down. Running in ASIO would be easier, meaning Buffering would be dictated by my soundcards driver. I do, however, use more of my processors resources running low/very low latency. With WDM, I’ve been able to stablize my cpu usage and latency/buffering. This is trial and error. I found it to be aggrevating. I think most out there complaining about USB and/or M-Audio/Tascam, quite possibly just haven’t found the best working set-up for their soundcards. Not sure, I could be wrong. I have though heard of problems with AMD processors and USB. But, I don’t know how much of that is fact or otherwise. I’m just getting started myself. Thats why I opted for the M USB. I moved from Boston to Raleigh N.C. a few months back and needed to figure something out for recording. I could no longer just leisurely stroll into the studio to record. Kind of stinks. But when I got here I started thinking more and more about this PC recording etc. I started with the M USB because I liked its entry level features. I’ve used M firewire stuff. I trust their products, and although mixed reviews, the better reviews made more sense. Once I get the ball rolling and get use to this stuff, N, I’ll surely upgrade, but for now I couldn’t be happier with what I’m using. I just bought a refurbed Gateway PIII 933 machine to be used solely as my DAW. I’m far from mastering N, or any of this stuff, so I cannot justify buying the most high tech of high techs. I’m a songwriter, I’m still on a budget. Hopefully soon. Hope any of this helps, Bob

I use an Edirol UA-5. It is incredibly clean and very versatile with inputs. I found it on ebay new in the box for about $175. It normally retails in the high 200’s.

Good luck.

I’ve got Edirol UA5 and it was very good on most system,
good asio driver and sound quality.

And i’ve got Digidesign MBOX, work very very well with N-track

My Tascam US-122 works well with my Toshiba Celeron 2.8 laptop, XP SP2, with 1GB RAM. I use n-Track, Cubase LE and Gigastudio (both the last two free with the US-122). I only have a mouse and the US-122 on USB. You will get problems if you connect other USB devices. I use a separate firewire hard drive for the music files, samples etc. and get low enough latency. Some have reported problems getting the US-122 to work with Windows XP SP2, see the reviews on Harmony Central for example, but I suspect their machines were not properly tuned for audio. I did as many of the tweaks described on as I could without affecting use of the laptop for other applications, and I followed the set-up advice in the Tascam documents; everything worked OK from the moment of plugging in. One of my local music stores uses 4 or 5 of them for their demo set-ups and they have no problems.

There are plenty of options out there. You need to know how many ins and outs you want, whether you want mic and guitar impedance/sensitivity or just line, MIDI included, and so on. But they don’t all work for every situation. I had an M-Audio Audiophile USB that never was good for me, so I changed to the US-122 and all is now hunky dory.

Good luck, happy tracking, cheers

I’ve used a Maudio mobile-pre USB interface for more than a year now with the company-issue laptop (i’ve recorded with N for over 3 years now using my work laptop) and I really like the mobile-pre. Mainly cuz it has PREAMPs…granted it will only record 2 channels, but I can hook up my mic and my guitar together and lay down a track with a prerecorded drum track, and instantaneously have a working track of a song…add vocals, fake bass, accordian (casio) mix to taste and voila! I’ve got a polka that even my polish grandma would like!!

The big issue for me was mobile recording, the mobile-pre is self-powered off the usb, I’ve never used the phantom power, but I like that I can take all of it in a simple computer case and record (as long as battery lasts) till my hearts content.

By the way, had a chance to test out Maudio’s help line cuz I got a new computer couple months ago. Man, they stuck by me till the end, never saw such great support from ANyone before.

No I dont work for Maudio, but they have done me great with their product and I applaud them.

You could probably find something less expensive now that does the same thing, but I have to admit Maudio does a great job on “getting it working”.

In response to “Digi”, no, the mobile-pre does not work with WDM drivers as far as I’ve seen…I can only get ASIO to work… and latency is only if you are trying to use live mode!

My latency trials with simple .dll effects are really great: complex effects are obviously going to add to the leadtime and slow the output.

Man, I got long winded here!


Sorry to add here, but you have to search like I did to find what you need. Latency is a moot point as far as I’m concerned…the delay between soundcard interface and your computer to output is always going to be something that you have to live with, ASIO being probably the best for this. The only time in the digital domain that I use actual “effects” is only to hear what they do after downloading them from the internet…so I might try a “reverb” or a “chorus”. other than that, there is no other reason to go live and talk about “latency” is there? In a DAW, you add them after, it is not meant (yet) to be a signal processor to your output.



if you are just doing audio recroding then you probably don’t need to use LIVE mode and latency is not a big issue.
If you are using midi and recording using soundfonts then latency will be an issue as you will need to record in LIVE mode or get a hardware synth so you can monitor external to n-track whilst recording/playing your midi instrument.

The way I do it (on the few occassions I record midi) is to record using the built in sounds of my keyboard to monitor and then just routing to a VSTi afterwards.
For those that just a have midi controller keyboards though LIVE monitoring may be the only option.

Also some people like to hear fx (especially reverb on vocals) when recording so unless you have a hardware unit you need to use LIVE mode for that too…