Hey guys, its a good thing to know that I'm crazy, but I'm not alone. 44 Midi I/Os done with three Motu's (two ExpressXt and a Timepiece AV, all paralell) and 10 PCI Audiointerfaces with Midi, running on three systems, two running Win XP and one still relying on Win98 for "Heritage Synths" editor/librarian software and for running Mesa II to my Akai. Each of the systems is running one of the Motu's and several PCI's all slots are used.
Together with three ADAT's and two MOTU 828, the Marian audio interfaces are given me a total of 60 audio I/O's and I go out with 16 Stereo and 8 Mono tracks onto my mixer. But I'm searching for a bigger console by now, something modular, maybe a MITEC EX based system. Or one of the TASCAM DM Series, I'm still unsure about that, but I'm a hobbyist so I got all the time I need to get deeper into that, and then I will know which one to buy.
Everything is hooked up, 9pin ADAT-Sync from the timepiece to the ADAT'S and on to the first 828, the second is synced over ADAT-optical. The third system has wordclocksync and all three Motu's are timesynced with SMPTE/LTC together with my MPC2000XL. This took a long time to work together like it should.
The reasons for that monolithic system are the same as named above, plus some for the audio routings that the systems enable me to do.
Like many people in this thread I work with Sonar, which is not very popular in Europe till now, I got one system running Sonar 7 Studio, and one is running Sonar X1 Producer (I didn't upgrade the second system cause the benefits would have been small ones, and Sonar 7 is always stable, in running and in timing, and hooks up faster to SMPTE.)
And I want clean MIDI data, and daisy-chaining of MIDI-Equipment is dirty when it comes to sending controls through a device, cause you don't know what happens to the first in line it might always react to the messages in a unpleasant way which is not documented. SYSEX data might get corrupted or even "swallowed".
The same with audio "one signal, one line" means that every signal get to the AD-Converters before passing any analog equipment and in case of effects one more time afterwards, so I can record any clean and effected signal in my system. And then play them out to the mixer again. At last it all runs into a Lynx ONE Pci card, the best converters i got (IMHO, but also in its specs)
Most other homeproducers i know think i overdid it, lol.
So its good to read that I'm not the only one on that way. And yes I consider this kind of working as "oldschool" too, but on the other hand I deeply feel it is more "professional" in some way, as it is extending the modern "in-the-box" working (from which I started with one pc and a M-Audio Audiophile2496, after aeons with a 4 track cassette recorder) and getting me the best of both worlds.
And i love my hardware synths for both, haptics and sound. In direct comparison some vsti's sound as good as or even better than some older hardware, but it's mostly faked. They do just include some kind of compression and a eq and thats all. BUT you can't changed the parameters of this stage, its like being built into them, some even add a amount of reverb. Ergo you get problems if you wan't to add further effects onto them, the sound gets fuzzy. Most don't fit into mixes well, cause their sound is so brushed up, just to shine if you test-listen to them, but this often leads to no usability at all. ReFX Nexus is a good example, lots of ohh's and ahh's when your listening to the presets, lots of F... and S... when you try to mix it with other stuff. I don't own many softsynths, but I love my Rob Papen Predator and my Cakewalk Z3ta+, both sound great in mixes even if the Z3ta tend to be overpresent at times.
So, bye then, love to ya guys, good thing to know your not alone.