Recommend me 16 input USB interface

… or at least 16 input. Trying to keep costs low. So far I’ve seen some Tascam offerings (need more XLR mic preamps but can supplement with mixer inserts. Presonus also seems to have one that needs a second preamp to handle the input count.

I need it to record drums and will be used solely as that and stay at our rehearsal place, so want to keep costs low.

So best bang for the buck if possible, or cheapest one that will give me decent multimic drum sound.

Thanks in advance!

The absolute cheapest way I can think of to get 16 inputs is to get this:

and tack on one of these:

That gives you 16 inputs and 16 outputs, all with preamps for $450. I can say I’ve had the UMC 1820 for a few years now and it has not really given me any issues. The drivers are very bare boned, but they just came out with an update that makes it a little bit better.

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This works out at the same price - plus it’s a mixer. I’ve got one and I can thoroughly recommend it.


Huh. I wonder why that version cost less than this one:

As far as I can tell, the only difference is form factor and the rack version has XLR aux outs instead of TRS.

You are correct. Other than this difference, they are exactly the same unit. Actually the TRS outs are a bit of a ballache, I had to construct a TRS-to-XLR loom for my monitor sends. (I use the unit for live PA work).

As far as I know, the X18 came first, and when the XR18 came out, instead of ditching the X18, they continued to sell it. I think the price difference is a supply-and-demand thing. The XR18 is more popular because of its rack capabilities, hence the price is hiked. The X18 is not so usable in that sense. Nevertheless I think it’s one of the best-kept secrets in both the PA and recording worlds.

BTW, the Windows software is much better than the Android software. I use a little netbook/notebook thingy, with my (Android) smartphone as a backup.


Behringer software and drivers support truly worries me. I’ve had nothing but issues with one of the smaller UMC devices, very half baked drivers.

UMC1820 and probably used PreSonus or Focusrite ADAP 8 input pre looks definitely like what we need though.

Tascam seems to have a 16 input interface that does USB2 connection, maybe I shall look into that as well?

I guess technically it’s 16 input, but only 8 of them are mic inputs. the rest are either line or spdif, so you’d still need to get some preamps to plug mics into all 14 analog inputs. I have the old version US-1641, and I can say that I’ve found the behringer drivers to be more stable, but that’s just on my machine.

And it also looks like the tascam drivers have come a long way since the us-1641

On a side note, I bought a 4 channel U-Phoria interface and I absolutely love the preamp in it - took my voiceovers from “meh” to smooth and silky!

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I will second this recommendation, except mine is the XR18. I recorded a grand piano with mine last weekend and will be recording a couple live acts this Saturday. The preamps in this thing are fantastic.

That’s good news. I’ve been having so much trouble with my setup (Focusrite saffire pro 24 with windows 7 running on an i7 motherboard with a Texas instruments firewire card) that I’ve been wondering it’s not my computer but the Focusrite … And a few more mic inputs would be welcome. So I’ve also been looking at the reviews of the Behringer UMC 1820. Glad to hear some of you guys might agree with the positive reviews.

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Thats funny - I was running a FireWire Focusrite Saffire (an ancient model) into an ancient MacBook for my voice recordings. I struggled with that thing for years. I was using my Rode NT2a through it and the only way I could get my recordings to anywhere near a decent level was to crank up the input until I had unacceptable background noise. The Behringer basically saved my life in this regard!

My problem is latency (I’ve spent many hours on several forums trying to find out what exactly is the problem). I get by because I can use the direct monitoring option to record, but playing any midi instrument is basically hopeless. I have to program everything. But the mic pre’s are great…

The NT2A is not a hot mic, it has an average sensitivity and is also know as one of the quietest (low self noise) LDC mics available.

The Saffire has a 60db gain on the mic inputs, which is about average for interfaces. I’m assuming that the Behringer has the same gain, but am unable to verity because finding technical specs for a Behringer product is difficult.

Thanks for the info - I don’t really pay attention to the specs of my microphones! I agree it’s one of the quietest mics our there - these things can pick up noises from miles away! But with the Saffire the noise of the preamp was wholly unacceptable - almost unusable in fact.

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We have 2 mixers at our studio - one Yamaha and one Behringer with 8 inserts each, so the Tascam technically can do the job if I were to run 8 patch cables on the inserts.

The one I am looking at is the Tascam US-16X08, which is 8 pres and 8 analog inputs for $300. I guess I’ll just have to try it to see if it will work quality-wise.

Well, whatever it is, I’ve never had an issue with lack of gain. To be fair I’ve never had that as an issue on anything I have ever used. It never occurred to me that there may be preamps that don’t have enough gain.

What’s you end up ordering @Descent? Just curious

Well, that $ went to buying CDs for the band…so on the next budget meeting, plus the Christmas sales will probably start so prices will drop in a month or two.

I’ve gotten really interested in this one:

Looks like it can record full 24 tracks at the same time, so that might be perfect for what I need. Only downside is there’s no midi and the screen is 4x3 or something miniscule like that, but everything else looks very appealing. It reminds me of the AKAI units on the market that were just like tape recorders.

The other question is whether you can send out different mixes on that for tracking, as an interface will probably have that capability, but if I can forego the PC that’ll be great in terms of portability and creativity. By the looks of it, it is also an audio interface with 24 channels so it might double as that. Who knows?

If not for this one, I’ll probably get the Tascam US-16X08 and slave my Presonus FP10 which when disconnected from PC turns into 8in/8out preamp. That’ll also save my old gear so I won’t feel like tossing it out, as it is perfectly good.

Be careful with those things. It never says that it’s a multichannel audio interface anywhere in the description. That usually means that you can record sepratate channels onto it’s internal storate, but the USB section is likely just a 2 channel interface.

IF it’s not USB 2 (which it doesn’t claim it is) then it’s not sending 24 channels of audio down it’s pipeline and back.

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According to the manual, it looks like a connection to a PC allows you to import wave files to the TASCAM or use the PC as a USB storage device.

I couldn’t find any information that indicates it can be used as a DAW control surface or that stem wave files can be exported/imported in a PC based DAW.

You may want to download the full manual or contact TASCAM for additional information.