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Focusrite Safire Pro 40? Any good?
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mpabisz
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#1
23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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Focusrite Safire Pro 40? Any good?

Is this a good audio interface? I'm upgrading from a Fast Track Pro. Will I notice a difference in audio quality that gets recorded? I also need 8 inputs, so I figure this does the trick. Also the price is right - $548.36 - includes shipping and customs fees into Canada.i was also looking at the presonus fire studio project. I'm so flustered with all these options. Any help would be appreciated!!

Thanks
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23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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Its good as long as your firewire card has the Texas Instrument chipset, I cant compare it to what your replacing, but the Pro 40 has a nice warm clean sound and decent preamps with 55db of clean gain...drivers also are good...many low enders own this audio interface.... also you can use as i do, your external preamps if you own any...
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23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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I think you will hear an improvement, considering that the focusrite unit is a step up in both the pres and the conversion over the m-audio unit. Any decent LDC mic should show up the difference for you.

Frequent posters here on GS seem to both adore and despise Focusrite gear by turns, mostly depending on their experience with the software end as far as I can see, particularly drivers. Search around GS and see what luck folks with similar computers as yours are having with drivers, stability, etc.

I have the now discontinued Focusrite pro10, and love it. Very solid pres from the old Focusrite green series on the unit, and decent converters. I use mine with a Grace lunatec v3 on the spdif in for two money channels, giving me ten inputs in all. Plus I get the Grace's superior pres and conversion thrown into the FW feed to my comp. The software interface is not intuitive, but also not too daunting; you can get audio passing through pretty quickly.

My pro10 is very stable with my older macbookpro running Logic 9, no driver issues as it uses core audio. I received it (ebay score @ $180 US) with no manual or disc, but within a quarter hour, I'd downloaded the software and manual from Focusrite (who still keep it archived on their site), installed it, and a few minutes later I had audio into Logic. That impressed me from the get-go, and so far this older Focusrite unit is still giving it up.
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23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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I picked one up recently and have been using it for a few months now. I like it a lot. The gain is very clean and super quiet. The software routing took a day to get into, but now is very easy to use and they provide presets for mixing and recording, so you have to do very little to get great hardware monitoring.

My only complaint right now is the headphone outputs. They just aren't powerful enough. If you have a dedicated headphone amp, use it.
mpabisz
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23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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Thanks is a lot guys!
I hope the Windows drivers are good. Also, it should work good with cubase, right?
#6
23rd October 2011
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I've been using a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 for several years. If it were to die I would replace it with another.

I also have a USB connected MAudio Fastrack Ultra 8R. It works OK and has lower latency than the firewire connected Saffire Pro 40. BUT, the preamps on the Ultra 8R are no where near as "pristine" or "transparent" as the Saffire Pro 40. What you input to the Pro 40 is what is recorded. What you input with the Ultra 8R gets slightly "colored". For example, I recorded a clean pedal steel guitar track with the Saffire Pro 40. The Pro 40's power switch developed a problem and while waiting for a free replacement from Focusrite I needed to fix a spot on the steel track. I used the Ultra 8R to fix the steel track and the fixed part turned out sharp and more trebly than the original. I had to go back and fix it after I got the Saffire Pro 40 working again. If you are recording distorted guitar or possibly snare and cymbals the Ultra 8R's preamps probably would not be an issue.
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23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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I have had mine for I guess, about a year now.

I use a mac and logic. They released a new version of software for it recently, that cured the one prob I seemed to have, sometimes when I turned it on, Logic would not recognise it. But since that latest update, I haven't seen it happen again (Fingers crossed).

I got mine for about 350 AUD delivered into Australia and at that price it was a dead set bargain.

I have had prior interfaces such as, Apogee Duet, RME9632, AW4416 etc etc and I think the saffire is really quite good.

I recorded my latest single on it. www.ozlandmusic.com on the front page of my webiste is a you tube video link you can have a listen to it there.

The saffires preamps were used on the Kick drum, the room mics, and the tom mics. I have other preamps that were used for everything else. But, even those external preamps, still pass through the pro 40s pre's via the line in. its used as my only audio interface.


I am very happy with mine, if it broke, I would replace it. I would recommend it to a friend.

good luck with your choice

cheers

Wiz
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24th October 2011
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Pretty cool tune, did you use the Saffir's pre's on the tune you posted or external ones?....clean sound....what mics were used? Nice dobro..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz_Oz View Post
I have had mine for I guess, about a year now.

I use a mac and logic. They released a new version of software for it recently, that cured the one prob I seemed to have, sometimes when I turned it on, Logic would not recognise it. But since that latest update, I haven't seen it happen again (Fingers crossed).

I got mine for about 350 AUD delivered into Australia and at that price it was a dead set bargain.

I have had prior interfaces such as, Apogee Duet, RME9632, AW4416 etc etc and I think the saffire is really quite good.

I recorded my latest single on it. www.ozlandmusic.com on the front page of my webiste is a you tube video link you can have a listen to it there.

The saffires preamps were used on the Kick drum, the room mics, and the tom mics. I have other preamps that were used for everything else. But, even those external preamps, still pass through the pro 40s pre's via the line in. its used as my only audio interface.


I am very happy with mine, if it broke, I would replace it. I would recommend it to a friend.

good luck with your choice

cheers

Wiz
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24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimsi View Post
Pretty cool tune, did you use the Saffir's pre's on the tune you posted or external ones?....clean sound....what mics were used? Nice dobro..
Thanks.

As I mentioned some of the drum kit used the saffires pres. The Tom microphones passed through them, as did the kick.

Drum mics

Rode NT5's overheads, JLM Baby Animal Mic pre (I built this 8)...)
Snare JLM TG500 mic pre, Shure SM57
Rack Tom, Shure SM58 Saffire Pre
Floor Tom, Audix OM5 Saffire Pre
Kick, Audix D5, Saffire Pre

Room mics were Mojave MA200 and MA100 into saffire pro preamps

Drum kit is Gretsch Catalina Jazz kit with Sabian Pro cymbals

Elec Guitar, JLM TG500, shure SM57 , Strat into Fender princeton resissue.
Acoustic Guitar, Maton Messiah, AKG 414XLS, JLM Baby Animal Mic Pre
Dobro , regal wooden resonator, Mojave MA100 SD mic, into TG500 mic pre
Vocal Mojave MA200 LD mic, into Baby Animal Mic Pre, JLM FC500 compressor.

Bass, was a session player out of Nashville, I think it was a fender jazz into Neve 1272 mic pre.


Some of the tracks got outboard EQ via API 550B eq.

In the mix there is some use of the IK multimedia Black 76 and White LA2A

Delay is logics delay.

Cytomic Glue buss compressor

Slate VCC with Neve on the Channels, and Trident on the Mix buss.

All the stuff passes through the saffires pres, because thats the way it is. I just set them up for unity gain when using external preamps.

I track and mix with a 0VU equals -18dBFS so the peaks I hit are no more than about -10dB

It was professionally mastered.

cheers and thanks for asking, probably more info than you wanted 8)

Wiz


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#10
24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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Yeah the inputs do pass through the pres on the saffire, they say they done, but they do...sounds good and thanks...a well seperated mix
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz_Oz View Post
Thanks.

As I mentioned some of the drum kit used the saffires pres. The Tom microphones passed through them, as did the kick.

Drum mics

Rode NT5's overheads, JLM Baby Animal Mic pre (I built this 8)...)
Snare JLM TG500 mic pre, Shure SM57
Rack Tom, Shure SM58 Saffire Pre
Floor Tom, Audix OM5 Saffire Pre
Kick, Audix D5, Saffire Pre

Room mics were Mojave MA200 and MA100 into saffire pro preamps

Drum kit is Gretsch Catalina Jazz kit with Sabian Pro cymbals

Elec Guitar, JLM TG500, shure SM57 , Strat into Fender princeton resissue.
Acoustic Guitar, Maton Messiah, AKG 414XLS, JLM Baby Animal Mic Pre
Dobro , regal wooden resonator, Mojave MA100 SD mic, into TG500 mic pre
Vocal Mojave MA200 LD mic, into Baby Animal Mic Pre, JLM FC500 compressor.

Bass, was a session player out of Nashville, I think it was a fender jazz into Neve 1272 mic pre.


Some of the tracks got outboard EQ via API 550B eq.

In the mix there is some use of the IK multimedia Black 76 and White LA2A

Delay is logics delay.

Cytomic Glue buss compressor

Slate VCC with Neve on the Channels, and Trident on the Mix buss.

All the stuff passes through the saffires pres, because thats the way it is. I just set them up for unity gain when using external preamps.

I track and mix with a 0VU equals -18dBFS so the peaks I hit are no more than about -10dB

It was professionally mastered.

cheers and thanks for asking, probably more info than you wanted 8)

Wiz


Verb is space designer.
#11
24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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Saffire pro 24 dsp

I just got the Saffire Pro 24 DSP to replace my 002r to make life a little more mobile. I love it. The VRM is a very handy feature and the fact that the two built in pres have their own DSP for EQ and dynamics. Plus built in DSP handles confidence reverb. Fantastic product for fantastic price.

-Dan
#12
24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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I'll also throw in my vote for the Pro 40. With the aforementioned FW issues in mind, I love it! If you can run it, you wont regret buying it.
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mpabisz
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24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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Okay, since it's my thread I'm throwing something else into the mix, which personally I have my heart set on - Focusrite saffire 56. Anyone using this?
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24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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good build quality with 2 liquid channel preamps that can immulate high quality preamps costing thousands(probably not as good as the real preamps)...takes up 2 rack spaces 6 normal preamps and can record up to 24bits/192k saffire pro 40 does 24/96... ive seen many great reviews here and elseware....
mpabisz
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24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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I have actually found a great thread about the saffire 56 on GS:

Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56

^that is for anyone in the future that will be looking at the saffire 56. You're welcome!

Thanks for all the help, guys, and possibly gals! I love this site!!
mpabisz
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24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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One more question. I hope this isn't a stupid question. With the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56, how do you record an electric guitar into that? All quarter inch inputs seem to all say line level. Can I record an electric guitar straight into it?
#17
24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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I have had a Pro40 for some time. I wouldn't describe the pres as 'warm', but transparent. good enough for demo work, but for professional I soon found an upgrade necessary.

meanwhile, I only use the Pro 40 as interface and for routing the monitor signals (with external Pres and A/D converters).

Under Win 7 64bit, the drivers are stable. I've never had any issues with the Saffire's software, it has run fine ever since. Latency is good.
#18
24th October 2011
Old 24th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpabisz View Post
One more question. I hope this isn't a stupid question. With the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56, how do you record an electric guitar into that? All quarter inch inputs seem to all say line level. Can I record an electric guitar straight into it?
You use a DI into the XLR ins to record guitar direct (if you really want to record guitar direct!).
mpabisz
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#19
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tagger View Post
You use a DI into the XLR ins to record guitar direct (if you really want to record guitar direct!).
So this is a separate unit itself?
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#20
25th October 2011
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I NEED to record guitar straight into the unit itself, as I don't play guitar myself. I dont want to but a guitar amp. So the Liquid 56 is not capable of recording straight guitar?
#21
25th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz_Oz View Post
Thanks.

As I mentioned some of the drum kit used the saffires pres. The Tom microphones passed through them, as did the kick.

Drum mics

Rode NT5's overheads, JLM Baby Animal Mic pre (I built this 8)...)
Snare JLM TG500 mic pre, Shure SM57
Rack Tom, Shure SM58 Saffire Pre
Floor Tom, Audix OM5 Saffire Pre
Kick, Audix D5, Saffire Pre

Room mics were Mojave MA200 and MA100 into saffire pro preamps

Drum kit is Gretsch Catalina Jazz kit with Sabian Pro cymbals

Elec Guitar, JLM TG500, shure SM57 , Strat into Fender princeton resissue.
Acoustic Guitar, Maton Messiah, AKG 414XLS, JLM Baby Animal Mic Pre
Dobro , regal wooden resonator, Mojave MA100 SD mic, into TG500 mic pre
Vocal Mojave MA200 LD mic, into Baby Animal Mic Pre, JLM FC500 compressor.

Bass, was a session player out of Nashville, I think it was a fender jazz into Neve 1272 mic pre.


Some of the tracks got outboard EQ via API 550B eq.

In the mix there is some use of the IK multimedia Black 76 and White LA2A

Delay is logics delay.

Cytomic Glue buss compressor

Slate VCC with Neve on the Channels, and Trident on the Mix buss.

All the stuff passes through the saffires pres, because thats the way it is. I just set them up for unity gain when using external preamps.

I track and mix with a 0VU equals -18dBFS so the peaks I hit are no more than about -10dB

It was professionally mastered.

cheers and thanks for asking, probably more info than you wanted 8)

Wiz


Verb is space designer.

Nice job man!

That JLM stuff is good huh?

The FR stuff is no slouch either. So many people bag on it, and it's really pretty good.

Nice writing and recording!
john
#22
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Nice job man!

That JLM stuff is good huh?

The FR stuff is no slouch either. So many people bag on it, and it's really pretty good.

Nice writing and recording!
john
thanks for the nice words...

Well, I originally bought and built the Baby Animal preamps. I had previously been using Great River.

I was so impressed with the JLM pre, that I sold my great river. Not that they are bad by any stretch of the imagination. But, the Baby Animal suited me better...and I had a great deal of fun building it, and there is a sort of joy in using something you built, which might be lame, but its true...8).

Then after that I bought their FC500 compressor, and fell in love with it on vocals. I got a PEQ500 which is their take on the Pulteq, and then the TG500 which paired with the SM57 gave me the sound I was chasing for micing my guitar amps.

Joe Malone (JLM) is in Australia, and that had a lot to do with it. I had lots of conversations with Joe, and he was really helpful, and I wanted to support someone local. Of course if they didn't sound any good...they would have gone long ago..8).

Then I got the API550B eq, and I really really like it. The way its stepped, is something that I really like.

I am contemplating getting JLM's LA500 (their take on the LA3A) but to be honest since getting the IK Multimedia stuff, I don't know if I will be building the lily.

I track vocals using the compressor FC500, because I like the way it sounds when I sing through it. Eveything else gets tracked sans compressor. So its a 6 a one half a dozen the other thing.

Though, I might buy and build a LA500 for my Xmas present this year...8)


Re focusrite preamps. They are fine. there is a difference between the other press I have and the focus rite, but then there are differences between all the preamps, I also used to have the Apogee Duet, the first one, and its pre's were good, but different again.

I think, having different preamps and miss, makes it fun for me. I personally think they give me better outcomes, because I mix and match at the source, to get things the way I want. But, I certainly wouldn't put off recording music or sell a kidney, if all I had was the focus rite preamps.... you just have to get the best out of what you have I guess.


always enough rambling 8)


cheers

Wiz
#23
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpabisz View Post
I NEED to record guitar straight into the unit itself, as I don't play guitar myself. I dont want to but a guitar amp. So the Liquid 56 is not capable of recording straight guitar?
My saffire pro 40 has an INPUT switch on the first two channels.

these function just for that purpose.


I looked at a sound on sound review for the 56 version, and it has these as well. They are the same as mine. The caveat is that they don't emulate each DI on the preamps the liquids emulate.

I would suggest, when you get the unit , try them...if you don't like the sound, a DI box would be a relatively inexpensive purchase. But, I would think the INPUT would be sufficient.

cheers

Wiz
mpabisz
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#24
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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Okay. I'm learning so much here! So I can plug a guitar into a line input? I just thought they needed preamps. Well, I guess that's what DI box is for. Any cheap ones that are not too bad?
#25
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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yeah you can record guitar directly into the 56's inputs the 2 1/4" jacks on the front are line levels inputs...I record line level at times through my system for some lead guitar work that I play...
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpabisz View Post
Okay. I'm learning so much here! So I can plug a guitar into a line input? I just thought they needed preamps. Well, I guess that's what DI box is for. Any cheap ones that are not too bad?
#26
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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i dont think its going to be a huge jump in sound quality , your going from one budget soundcard to another.

maybe a little but not much

thought about getting a real pre amp instead of one built into a soundcard , if thats what your after?
#27
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpabisz View Post
Okay. I'm learning so much here! So I can plug a guitar into a line input? I just thought they needed preamps. Well, I guess that's what DI box is for. Any cheap ones that are not too bad?

Not really, and I made a typo, I wrote INPUT when I should have written INST.

sorry about that.

See the deal is, IMPEDANCE.

Guitars need to see a HIGH IMPEDANCE presented to them real high, like 1 Meg OHM

most line inputs will have an impedance of 10K ohms.


where mic preamps have a different impedance again. some are variable.



So, to summarise.

The saffire has a INSTRUMENT input switch on the first 2 channels. It changes the input impedance of the LINE inputs on the first two channels.

When you plug your guitar into the LINE input of CH1 or CH2 you would select the INST button. This will change the input impedance of the line input to 1Meg Ohm, from whatever it is for LINE level signals.

So you plug in say a keyboard, you don't have the INST switch on.

You plug in a bass, guitar etc you have the INST switch on.

No need to purchase and external DI, unless you don't like the sound of the Saffire.

I really hope that helps and I haven't confused you further...8)

cheers

Wiz
mpabisz
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#28
25th October 2011
Old 25th October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz_Oz View Post
Not really, and I made a typo, I wrote INPUT when I should have written INST.

sorry about that.

See the deal is, IMPEDANCE.

Guitars need to see a HIGH IMPEDANCE presented to them real high, like 1 Meg OHM

most line inputs will have an impedance of 10K ohms.


where mic preamps have a different impedance again. some are variable.



So, to summarise.

The saffire has a INSTRUMENT input switch on the first 2 channels. It changes the input impedance of the LINE inputs on the first two channels.

When you plug your guitar into the LINE input of CH1 or CH2 you would select the INST button. This will change the input impedance of the line input to 1Meg Ohm, from whatever it is for LINE level signals.

So you plug in say a keyboard, you don't have the INST switch on.

You plug in a bass, guitar etc you have the INST switch on.

No need to purchase and external DI, unless you don't like the sound of the Saffire.

I really hope that helps and I haven't confused you further...8)

cheers

Wiz
Thank you! I understand now. INST also =guitar. Thanks a lot everyone.i have most of the info I need. You all are very helpful. I cant wait to get the liquid 56 now. It's mi d of funny how this thread turned into.a thread about the 56 instead of the pro 40. Oh well O.o
#29
26th October 2011
Old 26th October 2011
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I have one of the older Pro-series units at home. No complaints; it's clean and clear and has never given me problems. The sound of the thing is certainly better than my old Mackie board, which was... narrow and constricted, to my ears.

A couple of my friends have them as well and no one has an issue, save for the aforementioned annoying software interface. It does play nice with Logic on my Macs.

No, wait, I do remember one thing- Rode NT5s on drum overheads, simply because of the output of the mics and lack of a pad. A minor caveat.

I like the sound better than the ubiquitous Presonus Firepod; don't really know why, just do. Seems vaguely a little more polished. Could be pres, could be conversion, could be the operator.
#30
26th October 2011
Old 26th October 2011
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I've owned this audio interface for some time and Its definitely an upgrade from M-audio you mentioned. its not bad card at all especially at this price point
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