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Verification? Can you use an audio interface with a live streaming service?

2020-07-17

Theme:Software

Sound House carries many kinds of "audio interfaces" for music production. Combined with DAW software, it is an indispensable device for recording and playing back audio. But at one point, I suddenly wondered, "How would it work for streaming?" In order to answer this question, I tested some audio interfaces with streaming services one by one, focusing on smartphones!

The audio interfaces used for the test are the "Focusrite / Scarlett 4i4", which provides high quality music production at an affordable price, and the "Focusrite / iTrack Solo" designed for iPhone/iPad with Focusrite quality.

FOCUSRITE / Scarlett 4i4 (gen. 3)

FOCUSRITE / iTrack Solo

[Test environment]

◼ Smartphone: iPhone XR / iOS 13.5.1

◼ Audio Interface: Focusrite / Scarlett 4i4,Focusrite / iTrack Solo

[Input]
Ch.1: audio technica / AT4050 condenser microphone
Ch.2: Fender / Stratocaster electric guitar (direct connection via shield)
Ch.3-4: Input audio from audio player in stereo (Scarlett 4i4 only)

  • iTrack Solo connects to an iPhone with the included Lightning cable
  • The Scarlett 4i4 and iPhone are connected using the genuine Apple USB-Lightning 3 camera adapter.
  • As connecting the Scarlett 4i4 and the iPhone requires a power supply, I connected them via a self-powered USB hub (see image)

Now let's see the test results!
* For the purposes of this article, I will use the above environment. Since the operating status may change depending on the smartphone model, OS version, application version upgrade, and so on, please try it out at your own risk. For the latest support status for each model and version, please check with the manufacturer's website.

The tests were carried out by dividing them into three categories: [live streaming app], [call/web conference app], [video/music app].

Grid service Audio I/O result details
Live streaming 17LIVE iTrack Solo Monaural, but input is possible on both channels
Scarlett 4i4 CH1,2 are input in monaural, but CH3,4 are not input
Poco-cha iTrack Solo × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely and input
Scarlett 4i4 × CH1,2 are input and PANNED left and right, CH3,4 are not input
TwitCast iTrack Solo × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely and input
Scarlett 4i4 × CH1,2 are input in monaural, but CH3,4 are not input
Instagram iTrack Solo Monaural, but input is possible on both channels
Scarlett 4i4 CH1,2 are input in monaural, but CH3,4 are not input
LINE LIVE iTrack Solo CH1 is input but CH2 is not input
Scarlett 4i4 CH1 is input, but CH2,3,4 are not input
You Tube Live iTrack Solo × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely separated
Scarlett 4i4 × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely separated
CH3,4 are not input
Call/Web conference Zoom Zoom iTrack Solo CH1 is input but CH2 is not input
Scarlett 4i4 CH1 is input, but CH2,3,4 are not input
Skype iTrack Solo × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Scarlett 4i4 × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
FaceTime iTrack Solo × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Scarlett 4i4 × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Google Duo iTrack Solo × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Scarlett 4i4 × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Line call iTrack Solo × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Scarlett 4i4 × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
iOS call iTrack Solo × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Scarlett 4i4 × Cannot be used because it is a normal call
Video/Music iOS video app iTrack Solo × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely separated
Scarlett 4i4 × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely separated
Tiktok iTrack Solo CH1 is input but CH2 is not input
Scarlett 4i4 CH1 is input, but CH2,3,4 are not input
Nana iTrack Solo CH1 is input but CH2 is not input
Scarlett 4i4 × CH1 is input, but PANNED completely left
Acappela iTrack Solo × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely separated
Scarlett 4i4 × CH1 left, CH2 right and PANNED completely separated CH3,4 are not input

As a result of our testing, we found that the iPhone is greatly affected by the specs of the app! The summary is as follows.

  • I was able to input channels 1 and 2 without any problems with a monaural application! However, in some applications such as Zoom and LINE LIVE, only one channel was input. In addition, even devices such as the Scarlett 4i4 that have 4 or more input channels could not use channels 3 or 4 with the iPhone application.
  • With a stereo application, the sound of the CH1 microphone was completely swung to the left, and the sound of the CH2 guitar was completely swung to the right for input.
  • With [Call/Web conference application], all but Zoom cannot be used. The call function on the terminal side appears to be prioritized, and neither input nor output from the audio interface worked.
  • When recording, it is often impossible for the app to monitor the input sound, so it is necessary to turn on the direct monitor function. (This is a function that most audio interfaces have)

Next, of the apps in the list, I also tested the services mainly for computers, You Tube Live, Zoom, and Skype, on a computer.

[Test environment]

◼ PC: Mac Book Pro (Mid 2017) / Mac OS 10.14

◼ Audio Interface: Focusrite / Scarlett 4i4

PC You Tube Live Scarlett 4i4 CH1 is input, but CH2,3,4 are not input
Zoom Scarlett 4i4 Input up to 4 channels in monaural
Skype Scarlett 4i4 CH1 is input, but CH2,3,4 are not input

It turns out that the computer side also depends on the specs of the service side, just like the test with the smartphone! Interestingly, the results are completely different from the smartphone app.

For live-streaming services, it may be possible to configure the interface a little better by using an encoder. There are also convenient functions for screen sharing and games, so you may want to try combining them depending on the service you are using.

This time, these are the results. Specifications often change with updates in the app itself, and the service side also changes from time to time. Therefore, the above results are for reference only. Let's prepare the best streaming environment through trial and error! !!

Arita

ポップスからクラシック、ノイズミュージックにいたるまで、発注にNGなし!をモットーに、コンポーザーとして映画音楽やCM音楽などを作っていました。そういったこともあり、インスピレーションを与えてくれる機材に敏感です。といいつつ最近は少し大人になって、純粋に「良い音」を追求するのがインスピレーションに繋がることに気づいてきました。

FOCUSRITE / iTrack Solo

FOCUSRITE

iTrack Solo

¥12,700(excl. tax)¥13,970(incl. tax)

Audio interface, iPad / USB2.0, 2in2out

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FOCUSRITE / Scarlett 4i4 (gen. 3)

FOCUSRITE

Scarlett 4i4 (gen. 3)

¥24,800(excl. tax)¥27,280(incl. tax)

Audio interface, USB-C, gen.3

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