I'm just moving into a new place, and am slowly starting to get a few tools for music. Firstly, I got a new audio interface, the Focusrite 2i4, to replace my beloved Mackie Blackjack. This wasn't on purpose, but I was visiting Archambault to take a look at audio interfaces, and the sales guy told me about the weekend scratch card offer, that would give 10% (or more!) off over the pre-father day weekend. So yeah, took that offer up!
In any case, the 2i4 is really well built, solid metal, just like the Blackjack. Two inputs, with individual gain controls and pads for each. Phantom power can be supplied to both inputs via a single switch. There are other controls for mixing between the output from your daw and the inputs, so-called direct monitoring.
A large knob is the master gain controller for the monitor outs, and the headphone jack seems to be really strong, my grados were loud enough a very small twist from zero. Won't have any problems driving the higher impedance 'phones I'm sure!
One thing I've noted - which may be a manufacturing defect on mine - is that at really low volume settings on the headphone gain control causes the right output to be softer than the left, which makes everything sound to be coming from the left lol. Using a high output level fixes that, and I have to turn VLC's gain down.
There's midi in/out on the back, and two sets of outputs. Outputs 1/2 either use the balanced 1/4 jacks or phono, and outputs 3/4 are exclusively sent out via the phono jacks.
It is much bigger than I'd like, but still fairly compact. Archambault also had the MOTU Microbook II on sale, and I was sorely tempted to get it, but I decided that the lack of midi in/out was the deal breaker. Plus, it was a fair bit more expensive so...
Also tried a few DPs when I was there. The Yamaha P105 was ok, pretty good for the price, but I was not a fan of the sound. Felt very bassy and the highs didn't seem to be there. Next, I tried the Roland FP7F :3
Oh my wolf. I love it. But the price tag is already a big no-no. There were a few other rolands like the FP4F around, but it wasn't powered up. It's not in my price range anyways.
Other usual suspects from Korg were around, as well as a beautiful RD300NX. All out of my budget though. The current piano I do want to try that is just in my budget is the Kawai CL26. I've played this in Rose Morris whilst I was in London, and I remember thinking that if I had the space, this would be the perfect piano - good price, small size and I remember the sound and touch were nice.
Apart from the piano, it's studio monitors, that's about it. I will most likely use my lapel mic for recording as it seems to do the trick. Hopefully in another few weeks things will settle down :)