Cheap Junk part II: M-AudioI pulled my old M-Audio Quattro interface out a couple days ago and hooked it up to the computer. It works well, despite being 'only' USB 1 and therefore not the fastest way to get audio in and out of the PC. The Quattro does have pretty decent AD conversion (the same as in M-Audio's Delta series, I believe) and I'm only using it as a two channel input, although it can theoretically handle up to four in and four out. Also, I'm working with the MME drivers and ignoring any ASIO at this point -- my Power Tracks software does not really work that well with ASIO.
So I'm not exactly tasking the unit. Eventually I'll see just how much it can handle. I've actually used this interface in the past mostly for its midi capabilities and never really took the time to explore it as an audio device. And then I got myself (supposedly) better equipment and it ended up on the shelf. But I think I'll try using it more, if only for the simplicity of its plug-and-play aspect. Firewire can be such a pain to get working properly at times.
Yes, it is sort of obsolete. But then, so is a lot of the other stuff around this studio!
M-Audio (as with Behringer, mentioned in the last 'Cheap Junk' post) has a reputation for not having the best quality control, though their equipment is well enough designed. The company, these days, is part of Avid, which also owns Digidesign, creator of Pro Tools. I've had okay results with the M-stuff I've owned or used. At Artists and Vagrants Central, the 'sister studio' in Tennessee (this was when I was still trying to use A&V South as my studio name), they use a pair of their Luna mikes regularly. They're not at all bad and I prefer their sound to the 'typical' Chinese microphone -- not so shrill.
And I use my own DMP3 preamplifier a lot. It's a great little unit and definitely the best deal at its price (which puts it in the 'low end' category). I would not hesitate to rack up a bunch of these preamps and use them for just about anything, including a symphony orchestra. No, they would not be the 'best' by any means, but they would be more than adequate for the job, clean and accurate, with plenty of gain.
Right now, I should be getting off line, turning that Quattro on, and recording a song or two (of course, I didn't...not getting much of that done these days).