I apologize if this topic has been covered at length.
I currently am using an Apollo Twin Duo audio interface. There is a lot of hype surrounding audio interface quality and videos online demonstrating that I will greatly improve my sound quality ad/da if I upgraded to a Lynx or a Prism interface etc.
I heard a big difference in a particular online blind test video on YouTube comparing the Apollo with the Prism. Most people commenting including myself were able to decipher the superior sounding Prism in the tests quite clearly. Or somehow was this test flawed?
There is a difference. The sample rate also affects the playback, I couldn't believe it when I about a month ago went from 44.1khz to 96khz. Im using focusrite clarett.
Especially on the high frequencies and bass. Even my girlfriend noticed a difference in the sound, I didn't even tell her what I was changing, she said put it back "bass was better and highs smoother". (same reaction I had)
From what I've gathered, any improvement in sound when going to a higher sample rate has to do with the converter's design as opposed to extended frequencies that you're perceiving. Dan Lavry wrote about this.
Secondly, I recently got an RME Babyface Pro FS. While it does seem to be more stable than my MOTU was when running through a PCI firewire card, I'm not sure I hear any difference between them. In fact, I'm still using my MOTU Ultralite mk3 as a S/PDIF output and I forget that it's different conversion. This is yet another example that, if there's a difference, my hearing and/or room doesn't support making it obvious.
Ethan writes about the concept of gear being 'audibly transparent'. Though this definition my have some subjectivity baked into it, it's comforting to know that beyond a certain point, 'better' in terms of low noise, etc., doesn't matter.
That being said, I much prefer the TotalMix FX software mixer, the louder headphone output, level dip switch and the more convenient ergonomics of the hardware.
My first interface was an M-Audio Fast Track and I thought the MOTU sounded better than that. The sound probably did change between the MOTU and the RME but it was too small for me to be sure. I'll probably get a Clarett 8pre for more outputs, at some point.