If you don't need conversion then just getting 2 channels of better quality preamps is good idea. However, I'm not so sure that the RNP is going to be that much better than the Onyx...granted, I've never used the RNP....maybe it really is the cat's meow
. You should probably A/B them. Both are carried by the online stores so you could just order them both and return either (or both).
I ran a 400f through its paces a couple of months ago, and I was quite impressed. The A/D conversion is really quite nice, and, assuming the 800r uses the same converter circuitry, you could have 8 rock-solid preamps and conversion for under $1000.
For $700 you could get the 400f, with four preamps, plus inputs for those higher-end preamps you'll get later on. I really think the 400f is a great deal on the low-end if you need more than two channels of i/o, A/D/A conversion, two headphone amps...
Man, that's hard to beat.
The problem with the RNP is that you're ALMOST spending enough money for a full-on high-end mic pre. Why not just save for it. Potential options:
- A DAV BG-1 is about $675. That's 2 channels of full-blown, big-time, mains-powered Decca sound for a little more. People really seemed to like this one. Kinda Plain Jane on the outside, like the RNP, but the money's inside the box...like the RNP
I like Plain Jane anyway. Check out the review.
- Even better, you could buy a Hamptone HJFP2 for $575 and put it together yourself. Thats 2 channels of high-end, transformer balanced, Class A gear for about the price of an RNP plus about 15 hours of fun and educational elbow flux. The DI smokes on this puppy, and you'll have it for the rest of your life!
- You could look at the used market as well. Great deals there in your price range. I paid $650 for a used Metric Halo ULN-2 which (along with outstanding conversion, and routing options) has two pristine
See what you can find. You'll probably have one less wall-wart getting in the way.