A new audio board: solid as a rock

I have a new need. Thinking to purchase a new audio board.
This has to do with an issue with my NativeInstruments Kontrol Audio6 when used with an Arturia controller, Keylab 61 mkII.
it seems I got a number of stuck notes. There is a post here about that.

Since when using a Yamaha Montage as audio engine, these events do not happen, I am trying to isolate the bug. If it is inside audio board, I need a new one.

My theorical request: to have two stereo outputs as TRS jacks or XLR to drive PA and monitoring: I love to keep control of these two outputs from my seat behind the keyboards (to manage foolish guitar players who NEVER keep volume as in soundcheck…)

I saw here three brands used with good results: RME Babyface (I love their hi-fi product ADI-2), Behringer UMC404HD (low latency and low cost), Focusrite Scarlett (whatever model)
New MOTU M4 catches my attention too (SABRE converters).

I got bad experiences in the past with M-Audio drivers.

Any other suggestion?

Hi Furio,

I have the Babyface and swear by it but before you get another interface I must add that the NI interface may be fine, I would try using the Montage as a MIDI only controller with the NI interface still connected to C3 and see if you still get stuck notes before moving to the next step.


1 Like

@dave_dore, another wonderful hint.
Yes, this must be tested…

Some comments on your candidates:

  • Babyface: great piece of kit, excellent low-latency performance (but a bit pricey)
  • Behringer UMC: surprisingly good audio latency performance, but a bit fiddly with MIDI (MIDI port keeps changing its name)
  • Focusrite Scarlett: looks like the latest generation is a winner, but no personal experience
  • MOTU M4 - looks yummy!

If you can live with 2 outputs, I’d also recommend the Zoom UAC-2 - this is my favorite “light” solution. Great low-latency performance, relatively cheap and solid! In my R&B band, I run my rig mono, so one output drives the PA, the other my monitor. I have reserved a controller on my keyboard to control monitor volume in my Cantabile “master rack”, so no need to fiddle with the interface to control monitor volume.



1 Like

Mono? No way!
Serious Leslie simulations must be stereo to give a serious illusion.
Other chorus or phasing sounds can play very thin if mono managed. Not in phase channels can disappear if in mono.
If I will buy a new one, it will be surely 4 outputs (two stereo couples)

Hmm, that’s a matter of mixing philosophy - and it depends on the style of music you’re playing.

If you have serious mono compatibility issues with your setup, that - to me - would be a fundamental cause of concern, TBH. And in a band context, I’m not a fan of keyboard sounds that spread across the whole stage - I prefer all instruments (including keys) to be localized; Leslies that wobble across the stage make me dizzy (from a mixer / audience perspective). And most concerts I’ve been to recently have been pretty much mono - makes little sense to mix stereo for the few people who actually hear both sides of the stereo mix at the same level. In a club context, with some extremely exotic speaker setups, stereo makes even less sense - and mono compatibility is even more important when we play club gigs where the instruments get played mostly via our individual amps.

My “big setup” is run in stereo, but with drastically reduced stereo width (so mono compatibility is important as well) - and our mix is usually completely in mono (we use a mixer matrix setup to convert our mix to mono before feeding it to the P.A.). Stereo is just used when we record our live mix.

BTW: the Hammond B3-X sounds absolutely great, even in mono :wink:

But, again, that’s partly live mixing philosophy - and music style. I can understand that prog keyboarders need more stereo width for their soundscapes, but for my styles (Classic Rock & classic R&B), I’m totally happy with mono or very limited stereo width.

To each their own…



even though I use a 2 x stereo setup I´m with Thorsten. You mentioned that phasing or chorus sounds get thin when not driven in stereo. This is correct, but if you face the truth we have the following situation in most cases:
A) The FOH guy accepts to mix stereo. In this case 20% of the audience get a true stereo effect (those in the middle) and 80% only hear one of the stereo channels (which can sound even worse than mono!)
B) The FOH guy refuses to mix in stereo (and this is the case very offten). Here you are forced to mono.

Resuming this it is a good idea to do a stereo mix with the goal to sound great in mono.

My 2 cent, regards, humphrey

1 Like

If you are working with a professional sound man in club/theatre sizes venues and above, and you give him a stereo mix, the first thing he will do is mix it to mono as he needs to create a mix for the whole audience…

In terms of recommendations, I am using 1st gen Focusrite Scarlett 2i4s and they are rock solid.

I will mention, as I have done on previous threads, that some MIDI/Audio USB interfaces do not like being plugged direct into USB 3 ports. I get a shit load of stuck notes on my MOTU MIDI Express 128 if it is in a USB 3 port, but it is absolutely rock solid in a USB 2 port.


As Torsten said, it is really a user choice. When playing a REAL Hammond with Leslie, there is no true stereo. Plenty of doppler though, but a “serious illusion”?..no…not in the real world. The wide spread is unrealistic to many long time Hammond players, and tends to throw performance off, as does the wide spread electric piano vibrato. I do use stereo when using in-ear monitors, but not wide spread. Stereo for most venues is non-existent, and most FOH people refuse to mix stereo. The only Concert I’ve seen, where true stereo was effectively used, was a recent “Tool” show, but I doubt that most audience members even noticed, as it was very subtle. So, for a “serious” Leslie simulation, wide spread is not part of the equation. Room feel is though. But, as Torsten said, to each his own.

50+ years serious Hammond player


Yeah, first thing I do on all electric piano sounds is switch the tremolo to mono - the ping-pong stereo trem makes me dizzy and throws off my playing, especially in in-ears. It’s a nightmare, having your piano wobble between your ears :dizzy_face:




Wurlis were always mono anyway. I loved Wurlis since Joe Zawinul played one on “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” with Cannonball Adderly.

@Corky How’d I do jacking the thread?

1 Like


You’ve learned a lot from the master’s hijacking techniques grasshopper. Very proud of my many students. :laughing:

Good call on the Cannonball Adderley!! Love it. Makes me miss my Wurlie. I bought it new in 1971. Unfortunately, I sold it in 1977. Big mistake.

I am an amateur, my technique is rather poor.
I play for fun, and I have very limited experience in real music production.
I played a real Hammond twice, for demo tapes that didn’t become real records.
In both cases engineer placed two mics to capture Leslie.
Obviously the stereo mix didn’t use wide spread with 100% panning on extreme.
But space information was used to give some depth to organ takes.
I cannot imagine producing a song with keyboards without using some stereo.
Wide or not, depending from a huge number of factors.

Using an audio board for some audio projects, recording or playing or both, I will never accept to use one channel.
A 4 channel output is for me essential. I need monitoring while playing in small pubs. Where service is nothing else than the band itself.
Simple personal opinion

Ehi guys…
I love this song and Joe Zawinul.
Music quality here is huge.
He made a recent version with synths with his Syndicate band too.
Maybe in my top ten list…


I guess we are all talking from a stage and live context. Stereo in an album mix is a totally different matter. :slight_smile:


Live? In studio? Who knows…

Being an avid amateur, I do what I can to get fun with music.
Every time there is “something” where the request is for a no-profit or extremely low budget, I am available.
I am not good enough to be paid, and I do it everything for pure fun.
During last 10 years I had some funny games with that, such as:
I recorded some demo tapes for amateur bands, mixing with plug-ins inside my notebook.
I did some recording of an amateur choir (classical music).
I produced a soundtrack for an horror short movie.
I made a soundtrack for a theater tragedy.
I play in two bands live, one is a benefit project.
So a good audio board for me must be like a swiss knife, good for everything.
NI Kontrol Audio6 was nice until now, I am thinking if there is something better: you guys here are helping me to decide.

I mostly use in ears for monitoring and hate playing in mono, but it’s true that most serious venues run mono anyway so it’s worth checking if your sounds are ok in mono.

For your average wedding band or bar situation, some amount of stereo is fine.

As for interfaces, I have almost blind (seriously near-sighted?) faith in RME. I know they’re pricey but you’ll be set forever, their driver support is phenomenal. Fair resale value too if you do retire your gigging setup at some point.

Behringer has been hit and miss for me. I used an X18 and an XR18 for a while with a trio where I also mixed FOH, always got glitching whenever I had to adjust anything during playing (or anyone adjusted their in ear mix with their own app). I’ve upgraded to an X32 rack since and it has been surprisingly rock solid. In an ideal situation my RME FireFace UCX would sound better but I’d be mixing it through the X32 anyway. Waaaayy more ins and outs than you need but they’re cheap now and a good piece of kit. I run it at 48KHz and 256 samples which just works for me with midi.