Whoops, been really busy in the garage lately, try PMing me next time..
What I will say is that the TC Electronic stuff is really nice. I don't see too many people in the US running the gear because we have "cheaper" brands that have the marginal quality people aim for. M-Audio comes to mind (even having worked with them for a while, a lot of their lower end gear is just that).
I think you made a great buy. The Tannoys are a bit on the big side if you have a smaller desk (my desk is long, but somewhat narrow, making speaker size a big issue), but by no means bad speakers. Like many of the speakers similar to them, just watch out for any power supply issues. They might have a strange thumping noise that goes away after being powered on, that's a sign of trouble to come. I have little passive speakers powered by a sub because of that reason, if I were to have a problem, I replace the sub, or just get a little amp. Since I'm mostly using headphones, it doesn't affect me much. To explain that a little, I do sound design work, not so much music work (in the past it was the other way around). With sound design, headphones are preferable, so you can really hear the mix, where speakers are more for touch up afterwards, relating the mix together for perspective. That's why I have big AKG 701s, so I can get to a point where I almost "forget" I'm wearing them, and can focus on the mix. Unless you're in a truly soundproofed room (and most are only 80-90% there), tiny sound leaks can throw you off by a lot.
Without getting into the technicalities of the interfaces and their built in pre-amps, I think you got a great little unit. USB interfaces have progressed a lot, but I find firewire to still be superior in many ways, even if it's not strictly necessary for smaller units, where the data speed is almost irrelevant.
I typically use much larger studio and live performance rack setups, in the past couple years I've lost touch with some of the smaller units, as the ones I specifically have are really just convenient to have on the go, but I wouldn't go so far as saying they could compete with the TC unit in terms of build quality and sound quality. My larger gear, different story, but they're completely different in both budget and quality. That said, I may be getting a new job soon where I move into even bigger sound gear that makes almost everything I own look bad....
And as far as your original statement, I agree 100%. There's no really good "enthusiast" interface that sits between mediocre sound cards and full on interfaces.
|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2670v2--Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8--HR-05 IFX|128gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|240gb SSD, 640gb, 1TB, 2TB HDDs|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.