Published by Arthur Stone on 30th December 2011
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24
I needed a W7 compatible interface and after reading reviews and Gearslutz I opted for the PRO24DSP. The unit does what many in this category do - it offers a couple of preamps, a few ins and outs and a software mixer; the Focusrite adds a little extra in that it can emulate different monitoring environments (monitors and rooms) through the headphone outputs...a system called VRM or 'Virtual Reference Monitoring.'
The hardware is robust, stylish and has good ergonomics (unless you have large-sized hands). The unit sounds great for this price-range. Maybe 'design classic' is too much but the unit certainly doesn't disappoint and Focusrite are an established and innovative company with a good reputation for support.
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It took me a week or so to get to grips with the software - not that complicated (compared to any other interface) but quite extensive in it's abilities. I've been using for a year now and it's second nature although I'm still finding new features and tricks.
The unit is very flexible with the 4-ins and 6-outs, plus S/PDIF & Adat, DI's, and 2x headphone outputs (each has dedicated level control and shared DSP environment). I usually send a digital signal to the unit via S/PDIF from a Sound Devices702 A/D - the Pro24DSP then sends that signal via firewire to the DAW; the signal from the DAW is then sent back via firewire to the Pro24DSP and out via S/PDIF to a KRK Ergo (for monitoring). This system works great for me and I find the unit rock solid in the 'middleman' role.
Like other budget interfaces, the preamps, although smooth and tasty, lack grunt (in comparison to pro preamps); also the useful gain is bunched in the last 1/4 of the range - not so bad for large-diaphragm condenser mics but hard work controlling the noise-floor with an SM58 and a quiet singer. I do use the preamps quite often though - perhaps not for critical recording - but the sound quality of the preamps and digital converter is appropriate for many sources and the DI's sound ace. Guitars sound good too - through the DI and mic'd.
The VRM technology ( Saffire PRO 24 DSP Audio Interfaces Saffire PRO 24 DSP ) is the icing on the cake; IME it's not a substitute full-time listening environment, rather it's something to run a nearly finished mix through. The VRM emulates different professional and consumer monitors/speakers in either a lounge, bedroom or studio setting. I usually use the studio setting and play through a mix a few times listening on different sets of emulated monitors e.g. similar to Adam, KRK, Quested, NS10, Genelec, etc. - I tweak as I go...so if the bass sounds too heavy on the Quested emulation I can adjust the DAW EQ to compensate and then switch to the Adam emulation to check how the tweak affected the bass. After a few play throughs it's possible to get a mix sounding reasonable on many emulations...then I switch back to normal non-headphone monitoring to finish the mix. It's a great tool - totally immersive, great fun and educational.
I'd have no problem recommending this unit (in the price range) with the proviso that it takes awhile to appreciate it's full potential. With careful settings and mic placement it can produce sounds worthy of more expensive units. It's good value, has great design and style. The VRM is the icing on the cake.
By squirreltrench on 4th January 2012
I recently purchased a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP. It's exactly what I needed and then some.
Two quality mic-pre's, which can be switched from Inst to Line level via the software. Phantom power. Mains level, and 2 headphone levels right on the front. And then all kinds of ins/outs on the back I haven't even had a use for yet. Except I do use the old school MIDI in and out; those works flawlessly.
With the Focusrite software, you can set up independent monitor mixes, so the capability for tracking a small group is there, if you can get all but two items up to line level. I haven't done this myself, but the fact you can do 100% of the monitoring control with the interface means that you can give your artists a good mix with absolutely no latency... because they are monitoring directly, not monitoring what is going into the computer and then back out again.
This package also comes with a few Focusrite plugins for AU. Nothing too earth-shaking with the plugs, but a nice alternative to stock plugs if the occasion arises.
The VRM (Virtual Reference Monitoring) is nice. Again, it's not jaw-dropping, but it can be helpful to simulate other environments in your headphones. If your phones can't reproduce bass, then you aren't going to hear bass in the VRM. You can't create something where it doesn't exist to begin with.
Bottom line: If you are looking for something which is a step-up from a total-entry level audio interface, this one is a great value. MIDI, two excellent pre's, two separate headphone volume controls, knobs on the front for what you need. I am very happy with my purchase!
By brianellefson on 12th January 2012
I've owned mine for about a year now. No problems at all.
I was running it on a Macbook Pro and at that time I had to work with the software it comes with (for linking it up to the DAW engine, etc). But for some reason on my new iMac, I've never had to open that software up - not once. It just worked right from the install without any tweaking.
Happy with the converters and with the pres in it. I'm getting good sounds and without really any latency (iMac 2.4Ghz quad core).
Great for the price! If you only need a few ins and outs, this is a really good piece of gear.
By TripleXbeatz on 17th January 2012
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24
For the price, you'll be hard pressed to find a better FW interface with the I/O and features that the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 has to offer.
With 2 Speakon Jacks on the front to handle both XLR and TRS cables, and two more 1/4 inch TRS Inputs on the rear, you can record four true analog inputs simultaneously.
The rear panel has 6 TRS 1/4 inch outputs, as well as an Optical Input that can do Adat 8 Ch in, and is also switchable via the Mix Control software to Optical SPDIF. Speaking of SPDIF, the unit also has a SPDIF in and out, and offers Midi IN/Out connections as well. The unit is bus powered via FW, but also comes with a Ac Adapter.
The front panel supplies Gain control for both front Ins, a Monitor Gain knob, and Headphone Gain Knob and 1/4 Headphone Jack. The 48V Phantom power button is located directly under the Ch1-2 Gain knobs, and Focusrite has included LED meters for the Four Analog Inputs so you can monitor your input levels right from the front panel.
Included is Focusrite's Mix Control software which allows you to take full advantage of the routing capabilities of this unit. Some users may find it a bit cumbersome at first, but a quick read of Focusrite's user manual is sure to help anyone find their way. Also included is the Focusrite Excite pack which includes Focusrites own plugin pack, Ableton Live LE, some great Drum samples by "Mike the Drummer", and over a GB of loops provided by Loopmasters. They even include a FW cable which I thought was a nice touch.
My personal experience with this unit has been great. The pre's are very transparent, and I get more than enough headroom to capture great recordings. I love how small and mobile it is, so if I need to record on the go, I'm good. Customer support is a bit slow to get back to your emails in my opinion, but I have only had to email them once, over a minor issue I was having.
I purchased mine from an authorized dealer on ebay for $235 bucks. In that price range, you will be hard pressed to find something this nice, with these features. I would, and have recommended this FW Audio interface to several of my friends, and I also recommend it for anyone looking for an inexpensive, quality Interface. Enjoy!
By Brickwerks on 19th January 2012
I had one of the older Saffires, the plasticy little white boxes, for about 4 years. It sounded good but it was a finicky unit that dropped out from time to time, it had problems dealing with different sample rates, and it had popping issues.
Yet for some reason, when it was time to replace it I went with another Saffire unit. Maybe I made that choice because the old unit did sound good when it wasn't causing me problems, maybe I was just hoping the newer products would work better. Regardless of the reason, I'm glad I made that call. The Saffire Pro 24 is a 100% improved product over its predecessor.
The box itself is better built. It's sturdier with better jacks. The display panel is simple but easy to read. The new version of the Saffire Control software is much easier to use and much more stable (though honestly I rarely even need to use Saffire Control, I can just set it and forget it). The recorded audio is crystal clear. Even the headphone amp is solid, with enough juice to power my Sennheiser HD-650 cans.
I bought mine through Sweetwater for around $300, which I believe is actually less than the inferior original Saffire cost me. Definitely a bang-for-the-buck winner and well worth checking out if you're looking for a quality Firewire interface on a tight budget.
By asdfdsa on 22nd January 2012
Saffire Pro 24 DSP
I have the DSP version of this interface, but everything else is the same so I'll add a review here.
First of all, I spent many many hours researching 2-channel interfaces, and can say with certainty that this is the very best interface for the money on the cheaper-end of the scale (as far as audio gear goes). You get 2 pre-amps that are just as good if not better than anything else in the price bracket (though you start to get some noise past '9', and the gain is not linear with the knob, being that a good 25% of the gain if from 8-10 - typical of cheaper pre's...but they sound good none-the-less, nothing special, but work great). You also get a pair of line-ins in addition to the #1 and #2 inputs, great for doing keys and singing, or DI guitar, etc. What's really cool is the amount of outputs you have as well, enough for 5.1 surround sound monitoring, or feeding a stereo pair out into some outboard gear, then back in through the line in inserts - great routing flexibility for such a small box and price! Don't forget the RCA/S/PDIF I/O and the MIDI I/O either!
The LED metering in the front is really useful for setting levels, and functions great. Don't forget about the pair of headphone outputs, not all interfaces have more than one output for phones!
About the DSP. Quite frankly, it's cheap sounding and I wouldn't use the FX for anything other than a cans send to relieve the cpu while tracking - which is a valuable little feature to have, but definitely not always worth the extra $100. The reverb sounds tinny and cheap, the EQ leaves much to desire, though is workable, and same with the compressor plug. The VRM (virtual reference monitoring) I have found no use for, but I imagine if you had to mix with headphones, it could come in handy. It has certain distance and pan settings as well as speaker emulations to get that ''expensive mixing room sound'' (don't let the marketing get to you, haha). Jabs aside, it really is a good unit through and through. The GUI, or mixer interface is laid out simply and works great.
I had a real head-ache setting this thing up with the drivers and DAW routing at first, but after messing around with the OS and computer settings, it ran no problems and very stable - but be sure to have this plugged in and turned on before you start your computer (after it's installed obviously). This is a FW interface, so keep that in mind when you see all the other cheap-ish 2 channel boxes and they're only USB.
Some of the more important features are 24bit/96khz quality, which is great, and you have the ability to light-pipe 8 more channels in with another interface (such as the octopre, or digimax, etc), you can have a total of 16 inputs and 8 outputs (in 48khz mode)! Really good bang to buck.
All in all, I'd say if you're looking for a 2 channel interface with the ability for future expansion, say for recording drums or a live band, and you can only spend under a grand, look no further - I really think this is the best you'll get until you hit the $1500 or so mark to get something like a metric halo. Enjoy recording with this little box, pro results are certainly attainable with it.
By sbellamy84 on 22nd March 2012
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP
Now, I should start by saying that I am an amateur recording engineer with an amateur studio and am by no means a "professional". That being said, I trust my ears and I know enough to know what sounds good and better. I am writing this review for any other amateur out there who is not ready to spend the big bucks, but wants to make great recordings......
I struggled and searched and struggled and tossed and turned and struggled about which interface I should purchase in the 300-500 price range. I have read countless reviews and finally decided that the Focusrite was the best option, (over and presonus or m-audio or others out there). I have had the unit for only a few weeks and have had the time to do a handful of samples with it and holy cow! This things does not dissapoint in any way.
Now for years I have been using a Lexicon Omega. Dont laugh, but it served me well for what I do. Before selling it on craiglist, I took the time to record some samples of different sources and save them. Upon receiving the Focusrite, I couldnt beleive my eyes when I opened it up. All metal chassis, solid build, good feeling knobs, I mean, this thing is nice to look at.
Sound quality did not let me down. I recorded more samples to AB with my original Lexicon recordings and couldnt believe my ears. The new found clarity and tone was amazing. I only gave it a 9 because I know there are better out there, just not for the money.
The pres are transparent and gained well, not too hot and not too low but juuuuust right. The line ins are equally consistent and sound great.
The included software monitoring mixer worked flawlessly and offers a plethera of monitoring options that make this a fun unit to use. It also functions seamlessly with my Cubase DAW and I'm sure would be bug free with other software as well.
I hope this helps someone else make their decision when looking to make the dive into a higher quality interface without starving to do so.
By squirreltrench on 26th September 2012
An update to my previous review:
One minor bummer I have discovered: you can't control how the primary Monitor volume control behaves in regards to the secondary outputs (3, 4, 5, & 6). I have added a subwoofer to my mains; but I have to split the signal from Outputs 1&2 because I can't control Outputs 3&4 (or 5&6) from the Monitor volume knob on front. There is control in the supplied MixControl software, but that is highly inconvenient if the Saffire is what you are using to control your listening volume. But for most people, this will not be an issue.
Despite this minor flaw, this is still a great interface.
Interestingly, in order to get control over how the Monitor volume behaves over the outputs, I would have to upgrade to a Saffire Pro 40. But then I would lose the VRM and the real-time DSP (EQ, Comp, Verb) for live monitoring.
By metoo on 25th February 2013
The Focusrite 24 DSP is very capable interface. Really includes most of the things you would want in any IO - specifically if you are looking for something more than just a simple "2-input", but less than a full fledged professional unit.
Sound quality is superb - with good A/D convertors that are very low noise.
I upgraded from a 16-bit interface, and the sound difference was obvious.
A quick list of Pros / Cons:
All in all its a quality IO, with the legendary Focusrite pre-amp sound quality. They just need to sort out their OS compatibility issues to wind up with a truly stellar product.