Alesis Core 1 USB Audio Interface Review/Test

Today we're covering the Alesis Core 1 USB Audio Interface. This is a very small audio interface that plugs directly into your computer, or into your iOs device using the iPad camera connection kit. I do not own this kit so I was unable to test this out, but they do list this on the box.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $50 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Interface
  2. USB Cable
  3. Cubase LE Download Card
  4. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality of this thing feels awesome. It has a full metal case, nice XLR connection, and sturdy dials. On the front of the interface you just have an XLR input. On the back of the interface you have a headphone volume control, 3.5mm headphone out, line volume, line/guitar switch, and a usb output. 

The headphones do not offer zero latency monitoring, so you have no way of monitoring what you're recording unless you run through a DAW. On that note, when running this through a DAW, the latency is horrible (approximately .5 seconds) even with my buffer size set to the minimum available.

The interface lists 24-bit Resolution and a 48kHz sampling rate. This interface does not offer phantom power and therefore will not work with any condenser microphones. You can only use this with a dynamic microphone or a 1/4" instrument. 

I also found that I needed to set my input volume to 100% to get a decent volume out of my SM58, and even with that setting, I still had to boost the audio by +12db to get the levels in the video. However, it is a relatively quiet interface and the noise was surprisingly decent even at 100%

Pros

  • Good construction
  • Works with iPad (based on box)
  • Low noise floor

Cons

  • Horrible latency
  • No zero latency monitoring
  • Low output for mic

Conclusion

I do not recommend this interface at all. Based on the horrible latency, the lack of zero latency monitoring, and the horrible output level for the mic, I find this to be completely unusable. I think that this device was generated mainly as a guitar interface, but with the latency experienced, it fails miserably. Look elsewhere if you're looking for an audio interface.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP.

Buy the Alesis Core 1:
US: http://amzn.to/2aJa4JB
UK: http://amzn.to/2a9Uh8C

BSP-027: YouTube Drama

00:00 - Intro
01:13 - Shoutout?
01:30 - Giving Up Sugar
02:55 - Murdered At The Door
04:37 - YouTube Drama
08:50 - New NES
11:13 - New Han Solo
12:20 - Jupiters New Satellite
13:05 - Stranger Things
15:20 - I Love the 80’s
17:35 - FitBit Customer Service
19:10 - Favorite Mic in your Collection?
20:56 - What’s a good audio interface?
22:05 - What’s most important in reducing hiss?
24:10 - Low Budget Studio?
29:21 - Outro

On today's episode of BSP, I talk about a new lifestyle I will be embarking on, and it requires your help. I talk about my thoughts on all the youtube drama going, what I think is causing it, and how I think it can be avoided.

For news, I briefly talk about the new NES, and Han Solo, and then I talk about an amazing new TV show titled "Stranger Things" which is available on Netflix. I then share my experience with FitBit's customer service department.

Then I go into the questions which include my favorite mic, good audio interface, reducing hiss/line noise, and a complete low budget studio.

Follow BSP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bandrewsayspodcast
Follow BSP on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bandrewsays

http://www.geeksrising.com

Blue Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp Review / Test

Today I am testing out another "cheap" microphone interface. This time it is a device by Blue Microphones that is designed for a single microphone; The Blue Icicle.

What's In the Box 

  1. Blue Icicle
  2. 6-Foot USB Cable

Performance / Features

The build quality is not that great. It is a plastic enclosure, and it feels very light. The volume knob is plastic as well, and it is wobbly. 

The design is incredibly simple, on one end is the XLR connector to plug your microphones XLR cable into. The other end has a USB port to connect the device to your computer. On the body is a single knob that controls your microphones input volume, and lastly the word ICICLE lights up when it is connected to the USB port.

The Icicle is listed as providing +48v of phantom power and when measured, I showed +44.4v of power making it through the XLR Cable. This power should be sufficient to power most, if not all, condenser microphones. 

Pros

  • Cheap Interface
  • Good sound
  • Low amount of noise
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Cheap build quality
  • No Latency Free Monitoring

Conclusion

This device is pretty cool. It powers condenser microphones and it has a very low amount of noise. The NW-1500 sounded great through it. I don't think you need this if you are just going to be using a dynamic microphone though, I think you would be fine with just a simple XLR to USB Cable. Other than that, this is a nice option for a single XLR Condenser microphone user who wants to record to their computer.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Blue Icicle: http://amzn.to/1SoI6o7
Behringer UM2: http://amzn.to/1WYlPMI  
XLR to USB Cable: http://amzn.to/1QCXZU8

Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface Review / Test

Today is the first review I am completing of an Audio Interface. I am diving into these devices because the USB Audio Adapters that I have been recommending have been altered and no longer provide sufficient voltage to power certain mass produced condenser microphones. So today I am starting with the $30 Behringer U-Phoria UM2 Audio Interface. This is a 2-input / 2-output USB device so you can connect an XLR or 1/4" sound source to your computer.

What's In the Box 

  1. Interface
  2. USB Cable
  3. Quick-Start Guide

Performance / Features

The build of this thing is all plastic and it does not feel durable. The input jacks feel a little bit loose and the gain controls are a bit wobbly as well. However, if you keep this on your home studio desk, I don't think you will have any trouble with this thing. You just need to be careful with this thing.

The interface offers two inputs. The first input is a combo jack, meaning it can accept an XLR cable or a 1/4" cable. The second input is strictly a 1/4" cable. Next to each input there are two lights, the first is to let you know that the interface is picking up the signal, and the second light will blink red when you are clipping (too loud).

We also get +48v Phantom Power on this thing. There is a switch on the back that allows you to toggle the power on/off. I measured the voltage pass through when the power was switched on and I measured ~+46v. So this should be able to provide sufficient voltage to most, if not all, condenser microphones.

The interface provides two outputs as well. The first output is a 1/4" headphone output jack on the front. The second is an RCA output on the back so you can connect this to studio monitors, or an amplifier. 

When it comes to noise, this thing gets pretty noisy once we pass 75% on the gain knobs. Fortunately, when using a condenser microphone, I doubt you will get above 60%. However, if you're using a dynamic microphone, you may need to crank the gain and you may get stuck with some nasty hiss.

Pros

  • Extremely Cheap
  • +48v Phantom Power
  • Gain Control Knob
  • Clipping Indicator Light

Cons

  • Plastic build quality
  • High Noise Past 75% Gain

Conclusion

I really like this interface. I think it's a great starting interface since it is so cheap. It offers a single XLR input so you can plug in your condenser microphone and get a full +48v. I would recommend this to anyone who is considering getting a USB Soundcard to power a condenser microphone. Those soundcards are not designed to power microphones, therefore you will have to invest in a phantom power supply, and that takes your total cost to around $25-$30. You might as well just purchase this interface instead. It provides more features and was designed to actually work with your microphone. 

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP.