Audio interface with 4 (four) independent channels through USB

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Member Since: Jan 07, 2011

I am looking for an USB interface for a Mac to allow me to output FOUR independent, analog mono channels (or 2 stereo) through USB and record them using a DAW on separate channels.
So it should be 4x4 type of interface.
I found TASCAM Tascam US-144MKII, but it as far as I can tell by reading its manual it can output only 2 analog channels at a time and two digital ones - it is no good for me as I need 4 analog inputs/channels (i.e. one guitar, one mono keyboard and two mics).

Then I found Lexicon Omega - can anyone confirm please it can really deliver 4 independent channels through USB 2.0?

Is there anything else in this price point (up to $200)?

Thanks for feedback,


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Since: Jan 02, 2011

Jan 07, 2011 06:30 am

Hi there am looking for the same thing (see other thread).
Lexicons looked to be good but for some reason don't appear to work...

Since: Jan 07, 2011

Jan 07, 2011 07:24 am


So you're saying Lexicon doesn't work with Mac OS X? What is the exact problem?



MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Jan 07, 2011 11:49 am

M-Audio Fast Track Pro -- I'm pretty darn sure the Omega will handle it as well.

The note on the Tascam is probably about monitoring outputs.

Since: Jan 07, 2011

Jan 07, 2011 01:56 pm

MassiveMaster - check here:

Clearly TASCAM can handle only 2 (two) independent analog input/outputs, the other pair is for digital in/out only.

Unfortunately I can't find any similar video for Fast Track Pro but looks like (after reading PDF manual) it has only 1 pair of analog inputs, too, the other pair is for digital signals.

So far Omega is the cheapest one that I can use to multitrack 4 independent inputs, each on its individual track.

But I'd like Ninjaman to elaborate more about the problems he had :)

Since: Jan 02, 2011

Jan 07, 2011 03:06 pm

Sorry Folks, should have been more specific...I was about to buy one but reviews of the Lexicon and the aparent bugs, lack of product support etc. put me off- I have not used one.

See Amazon UK

Evan Zombie writes-
"This device is terrible. Not when it works, when it works it's fine and is actually a pretty impressive piece of recording equipment. But the USB interface is beyond a joke, it constantly disconnects itself whenever it feels like, sometimes not returning for a few hours. It crashes not only XP, but Vista and OS X. The 'support' you get from Lexicon is pathetic. They haven't updated the patch on the software for 2 years at time of writing, and when I wrote to them explaining my issues, they simply told me to download the patch.... Seriously, don't bother with this."

Mr A Rooney writes-
"Never again will I go near a lexicon product.
I thought this seemed a bargain compared to similar well known products, but even though I work with pc's for a living, this just refuses to work.
I have tried all the "tips and suggestions" littered around the internet, and even different versions of xp / vista, but try as I might, it won't install, or will appear to install and then disappear 2 minutes later never to return. Truth is, even if there is some convoluted solution out there (sites recommend weird combinations of buttons to hold to reset), it shouldnt be this hard.
To add to the frustration, the "support" website is permanently unavailable, so I cant even get a refund or get it repaired. All in all this has been a totally miserable experience. Maybe I was just unlucky, but with non-existent support, I guess its just money down the drain.
P.S. Had to rate 1 star as Amazon does not allow 0."

They may be disgruntled ex Lexicon employees but it was enough to make me think again.

It was also what bought me to the HRC in the first place.

Suggest you also google-

'Lexicon Omega Problems'

May be different when used with a Mac?

The above were written in 2008 and 2009 so they may be out of date. If so can anyone confirm this?

Should do what we're asking but-

It's more than $200
Has anyone used one?

Since: Jan 05, 2009

Jan 08, 2011 01:59 am

yes, i have it for nearly 6 months now.

it has 6 separate audio channels in and out with two more digital tracks (i do not use)

its connected between my mixer and the pc via usb. it comes with a software tool to adjust the level of input and output to the other gear. no trouble so far at all.

i use it only as a recording a/d device - means i record up to 6 analogue tracks separately. Usually I split the drums into kick/snare/l+r overheads and play two basstracks (mic/line) during the recording.

i do not use the micpre or the headphone jacks. I think the mackie vlz3 pre's are better quality. maybe you guys think different.

so far a good buy with flawless function and easy to install.

the results are audible in my HRC musicbox ;-)

take care!

sorry forgot, the price was around 370 usd. i use it with sonar and a simple i7 930 pc system on xp.

Since: Jan 07, 2011

Jan 08, 2011 03:57 am

Thank you for your feedback, Fast Track Ultra is indeed a great device but quite expensive for me. I was really hoping to get some good news about Omega but apparently it may be "hit and miss" kind of thing :(
If any one can think of any other budget alternatives please let me know.
Thanks again for your prompt advices and I hope to be a frequent guest here at HRC.


Since: Dec 04, 2007

Jan 08, 2011 01:18 pm

Have you tried looking at the Line6 UX2 USB version?

It should cover your need for inputs, and be able to record 4 tracks simultaneously in the DAW. However it only has the 2 1/4" outputs for playing back over the monitors, and no midi i/o so that may not work for your situation, depending on why you need the 4 analogue outputs. But it should be able to record 4 independent channels (5 really) in the DAW. It's somewhat of a hit around here as well, plus you get a fairly meaty guitar fx package.

Note: Even the omega appears to only have the 2 line-out jacks on the back along with the S/PDIF and Midi I/O. So maybe the UX2 will work for you afterall, and it's right at the top of your budget at about $200 USD.

Might be worth checking it out.

Since: Jan 07, 2011

Jan 08, 2011 01:32 pm

J-bot, thanks.

I have UX1. UX2 has more inputs but only 2 mono output USB buses, the same as UX1. Therefore it can only send 2 (two) independent signals or tracks to a DAW via USB.
I don't care about analog outputs at all. I just need at least 4 independent USB tracks and UX2 can't deliver. UX8 can, but it is way too expensive for what I need.
Believe me, I searched a lot and although I'm new here at HRC I'm not a complete rookie to recording at home and USB audio interfaces :)
Before asking here I did my homework and searched Internet, read dozen of manuals for various interfaces etc.
The manufacturers don't clearly state the number of USB buses and usually you need to guess, try ot ask others to find out.
TASCAM for example advertises the MK144 as having 4 channels. What they don't clearly state is that only 1 pair is for analog inputs, the other is for digital ONLY. It took me a while to confirm (thanks to the Youtube video).

So UX2 will not the work :( but again, I do appreciate your answers guys.


Since: Dec 04, 2007

Jan 08, 2011 02:19 pm

Huh, could have sworn the UX2 supported USB2.0 Maybe not. I'm guessing the problem is the USB 1.1 standard which is limited to 2 simultaneous ins, and they don't always tell you which version of the USB bus the interface uses. So just need to make sure the interface uses USB 2.0, and it should be fine. I know for a fact USB 2.0 can handle at -least- up to 16 simultaneous inputs.

Note: If the product specifically says it's USB 2.0, then you're good. If it just says USB, then assume it's the old 1.1 standard.

The tascam US144 MKII model is USB 2.0 compliant, so I'm not sure why it wouldn't handle 4 simultaneous inputs. It has 4 seperate inputs, 2 XLR, and 2 1/4" jacks. so it should be able to handle 4 inputs simultaneously easily. 2 1/4" and 2 XLR.

Also, I'm thinking that video involves the original US122L and US144, -not- the MKII units. Maybe someone around here could verify? Reason I'm suspect is the US122L is the old model name, which was USB 1.1 The new MK II's look different, and the new US 122 is no longer designated with the "L" in the model name.

Edit: I'll do some hunting on my own later today I gotta hop out for some errands for awhile. I'll look into it though when I get back.

Since: Jan 07, 2011

Jan 08, 2011 03:14 pm

J-bot, an interface can have 64 inputs that it mixes internally down to just to outputs and sends to USB - # of inputs doesn't translate into outputs at all.
USB 1.1 or 2.0 - again, yes usually 2.0 supports greater number of features but believe me, in this case USB 2.0 on UX2 still means ONLY 1 stereo pair or 2 mono independent channels. Still not convinced? Check the thread at Line 6 forums:

Or better, this is from Line 6 UX series configuration manual - it shows UX2 settings, on the left number of inputs (4) and on the right number of outputs (2):

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Jan 08, 2011 10:05 pm

It looks like the Omega might bus it down to 2 output as well, if this thread is accurate:

And no worries man, I believe you about the UX2. I did some more reading and checking and read the UX2 is incapable of doing more than 2 outputs as it's a limitation of the hardware unit, not the bandwidth. It's just the nature of the beast I guess.

At this point, I'm not sure what to look at in the $200 price range. The MKII units have four input jacks, but who knows if it actually uses all of em, or mixes em down internally before sending it across the bus?

I did read the Tascam US-800 can do 6 separate simultaneous inputs as 6 separate tracks in the DAW (it's an 8-in/4-out interface) But again, the actual ouput from the device is only 2 channels (RCA ports), so it has to mix down the output signal somehow after it's sent out from the DAW. Plus it sounds like even numbers route to the right channel and odds to the left. But if it can record 6 into the daw as 6 separate tracks maybe that's good enough. It's not that much more than $200. Only about an extra 20 to 50 depending on where you get it.

Otherwise, I think it's getting a bit over my head at this point (even though I'm an IT contractor/consultant) and there's no way for me to know if a device mixes the input channels down before sending it across the USB bus and into the DAW unless someone's done some extensive reviews on it. So at this point I will bow out and let the more experienced members take a crack at it heh. :)

On another thought I'm suspecting the incapability of recording as many separate simultaneously inputs as are available on the device are a trick of the cheaper devices to conserve USB bandwidth and attempt to achieve lower latencies. I could be wrong, but it makes me wonder.
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Jan 09, 2011 03:37 am

tascam us1641 does 4 outs

Since: Jan 07, 2011

Jan 09, 2011 08:35 am

J-bot, regarding Omega:

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