In case that you are planning to replace or upgrade your audio interface device with a better one yet still affordable, then I would suggest you either a Steinberg UR44 or a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. They both are great products just below five hundred bucks. Many people are satisfied with their performance, and since there may be not so many articles about them, I would not raise an eyebrow if you are still uncertain about which device that you should purchase. We will take a look at what these dudes can offer to you.
Steinberg UR44 is an audio interface unit with rugged full metal casing, so it is pretty durable. The main feature that the model boasts is its latency-free monitoring. Steinberg UR44 is capable a convenient, latency-free monitoring with FX due to the already included dspMixFx software in the product. So, its performance is good. The device uses 24-bit/192-kHz USB 2.0, has 6 inputs (4 of them comes with Class-A D-PRE mic preamps) and 4 outputs.
Focusrite Scarlett is praised for its decent connectivity. Available in three versions, 18i20, 18i8, and 6i6, the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 is the one that is on par in price with the previously mentioned Steinberg UR414. The model also has rugged metal unibody chassis. Hence, it also has some durability power. The audio interface works with 24-bit/96-kHz, slightly lower than Steinberg UR44. However, it comes with a lot of supports: Ableton Live Lite, Scarlett Plug-in Suite, Red 2 & Red 3 Plug-in Suite, the Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Novation Bass Station, and Loopmasters samples. Connectivity is the primary advantage of the product, as it comes with 18 input ports and 8 output ports including a stereo S/PDIF coaxial input which is absent in Steinberg UR44.
Steinberg UR44 Vs Focusrite 18i8
|Steinberg UR44||Focusrite 18i8|
|Key features||- 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
- Four Class-A D-PRE mic preamps
- Rugged full-metal casing
- Class Compliant with iPad and compatible with major recording software
- Latency-free hardware monitoring and Onboard DSP plug-ins||- Four award-winning Focusrite mic pres with 18 inputs and 8 outputs
- Two independent headphone outputs each with a level control
- Rugged metal unibody chassis
- High quality 24bit 96KHz audio interface for Mac, PC and iPad
- Includes an authorization code for Ableton Live Lite, Scarlett Plug-in Suite (RTAS/AU/VST), Red 2 & Red 3 Plug-in Suite (AAX/AU/VST), the Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Novation Bass Station, and 1GB of Loopmasters samples|
|Customer ratings*||4.7 out of 5.0 stars||4.6 out of 5.0 stars|
|Best deal*||SAVE 30%
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On normal condition, Focusrite 18i8 is more expensive than Steinberg UR44 by about fifty dollars. However, most users will likely find that they need more inputs and outputs down the line after awhile. Therefore, it is most probably better to opt for Focusrite 18i8. But, if you are on a tight budget, then Steinberg UR44 will do well.