I just wanted to chime in on the i88x. I've had mine for about 4 months now, use it every day on a Mac G5
2.5 dual with Panther. I'm running the v. 1.05 mlan tools here's my studio setup.
Logic Audio>Mac G5>i88x>Motu 2408 Mk3
,Tascam DM24>Apogee Trak 2.
I use the i88x as master, in aggregate interface in Panther with the Motu 2408.
Here's how I get it all to work. Aggregate Interface> i88x master, 2408 slave, DM24 Digital mixer slave to Adat sync from i88x, Motu Slaves from DM24 via Word Clock, Apogee Trak 2 slaves from Adat sync from DM24. No problems what so ever everybody seems to be happy and sounding good. No digital glitches, I don't notice any extra strain on my CPU as others have mentioned but there is an offset on the Adat port it's about 3 ms and internally there is none if you are going directly from the mic pres. I have tested and rebooted a few times and seems to be fairly consistant within 5 samples or so.
Great mic pre's on this little box plus 128x oversampling and 2 Gb+ of ram for the DA/AD converters. I know this box pretty good and what you won't find on any posts is that you can use the mic pres directly out of the box from the line outs and also through the inserts bypassing all the mlan stufff completely. The 2 biggest Yamaha design flaws on this unit are; 1.) you can only monitor 2 inputs at a time with the no latency monitoring on this box... big undersight by Yamaha, you can record more than 2 but only monitor 2 with no latency.
note: If you need to play back and monitor more than 2 channels with no latency, your going to have to find a work around with this box. When I have more than two channels I use the outputs for channels 1&2 and send them to the analog inputs of the Motu 2408 and monitor everything with the MOTU no latency Cue Mix Console, works fine, I still record through the i88x digital ins and get the great DA converters on the Yamaha (for inputs 1&2 only)
2.) i88x mlan has to be the master clock, leaving not very many options for studio clocking.
If you own only one piece of digital gear, this clocking issue won't be a problem, but if you have lots of digital gear as I do this presented some serious time spent in working around how to clock everything.
I have 4 ribbon mics and it works great on two of them. The AEA R-92 it can't quite get enough gain to do the job for acoustic guitar, also my B&O BM3 it won't even get close to providing enough gain for it as that mic needs insane amounts of clean gain 60dB plus... that mic has shot down many a high end mic pre.
Back to the i88x it works fantastic on my Royer R-121's and a Beyer M500 infact better than my Avalon VT 737sp's on those mics.
The mlan firewire interface is the only reason this box is priced so cheap, they've had lots of driver problems for PC which I understand most have been resolved as of the last update. I had some latency issues with it when I first bought it but those seemed to be resolved with the latest OSX 1.05 update. I use it on a Mac G5
dual 2.5 with Logic Audio as my DAW. It's well built and sounds just as good as the RME Fireface 800
in my opinion, and better than the Motu and Pro Tools LE Gear. just doesn't have the same ease of use or options for clocking but it's about $1000 less expensive also. A BIG BANG FOR THE $$$ that's for sure!!!
PRO's and Con's:
The internal clock on this unit is as good as it gets and it allowed me to say goodbye to my Aardvark external clock, easily it did the same job better and I've never missed it. The mic pre's are very nice, smooth, quiet and detailed. The i88x requiring to be the master clock might cause some problems for some users who are using other external master clocks for their studio. Also the limited no latency monitoring is bound to cause problems if you're planning on recording more than 2 tracks at a time. For the money it's a great buy when you consider the quality of the hardware. Ease of use, ehhhhh,,,, not for the newby studio owner. Once you get it setup and working it does an excellent job but it's the setting up part that you should set aside some extra patience for. It took me some time to figure out just how to get all my equipment clocked but once I did it has been very problem free and Ive been very happy with it.