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What is the best 8 channel interface?
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CerebralFonzi
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#1
29th August 2012
Old 29th August 2012
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What is the best 8 channel interface?

Hey all,

I am looking to purchase a new/used audio interface, one with 8 channels with built-in preamps for each channel. I have a budget around $600-700. Any advice on which is the best?
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29th August 2012
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29th August 2012
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I really like the sound and functionality of the M-Audio Profire 2626. It's within your budget. Plus, if/when you are ready to upgrade, you can send it off to Black Lion Audio for their kickass upgrades. I think it costs just under $500 and is a really rockin step up for this unit.
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29th August 2012
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29th August 2012
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The Steinberg MR816x has served me well. In the next year I plan to graduate to at least two channels of high end conversion, but it's really pretty good with this. The main thing that is annoying is that you have to use the insert jacks (only on channel's 1 and 2) if you want to bypass the internal preamps. But obviously that's not a big deal if you don't have any external preamps. I prefer it to the maudio or the motu or the mbox bolony.
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29th August 2012
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Wonder what is in the next "level" of price range (up to 3k)? UFX and Apollo? That's it?
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29th August 2012
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LOL. So, in the 3rd, 4th and 5th post you have pretty much your choices (unless you find some crazy deal on a used higher end unit). Steinberg, Motu, MAudio, or Focusrite. Just pick one. They're going to be, in the grand scheme, very similar.
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29th August 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattMoorman View Post
LOL. So, in the 3rd, 4th and 5th post you have pretty much your choices (unless you find some crazy deal on a used higher end unit). Steinberg, Motu, MAudio, or Focusrite. Just pick one. They're going to be, in the grand scheme, very similar.
They all offer slightly different feature sets- the Motu is not as versatile as some of the others, but theoretically has high quality conversion and nice pres. The M Audio Profire has a pair of ADAT inputs, so it can handle a higher track count than all the others (most of the others have one, I think). Considering the price, versatility, and the fact that down the road, you could get the BLA mod on it, I think the Profire is an obvious choice. Though if you were to move up a price bracket you'd have the Ensemble, the Apollo, and some of the RME gear. Those would all be pretty fantastically solid options.
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29th August 2012
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olshalom is offline
buy a used metric halo mobile i/o. maybe not for 600 bucks. i saw some for 800 on ebay. it's a good sounding unit.
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29th August 2012
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oh, sorry. i didn't thought about the built in preamps. the preamps in the mio have only about 45 dB of gain.
what about Presonus? i got acceptable results with.
better than m-audio or motu.
CerebralFonzi
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30th August 2012
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a friend is suggesting an echo audiofire pre8. anyone use this one? is it better worst than the above mentioned?
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30th August 2012
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I would say the Steinberg 816 but if you can save some cash the Fireface 800 is $1600 for 10 channels, I love mine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralFonzi View Post
a friend is suggesting an echo audiofire pre8. anyone use this one? is it better worst than the above mentioned?
It's pretty similar to the others. Much less popular though. I hear good things about Echo though. For the price, however, I think the Profire beats it. Its as good, if not better, and is cheaper by a decent margin. For the price of the Echo, you'd only be a couple hundred off a used Ensemble, which would be a great option if you have a Mac.
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30th August 2012
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30th August 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexevans917 View Post
It's pretty similar to the others. Much less popular though. I hear good things about Echo though. For the price, however, I think the Profire beats it. Its as good, if not better, and is cheaper by a decent margin. For the price of the Echo, you'd only be a couple hundred off a used Ensemble, which would be a great option if you have a Mac.
OP really could not go wrong with a used Ensemble if he is Mac based. $900-1k these days. A real bargain.

Now he could also get a TC studio Konnect48 for $500 new these days. Its a pretty damn good interface for the money as well.

As far as the best goes its really a subjective question as different people will tell you different things based on their own preferences. I would not touch a M-Audio Profire with a 10 ft pool but that is me.
Its probably not bad unit considering that BLA considered it good enough to mod. Though you have to think hard before buying something and going down the mod road. Is the unit worth the extra investment for the mod? Will you truly be happy with it? Enough such that you won't want to try and sell it 1-2 years out?
These are questions you should ask before thinking about getting something to mod.

Just covering those bases because they were mentioned. lol

Go out and listed to some of these devices if you can.
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30th August 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralFonzi View Post
a friend is suggesting an echo audiofire pre8. anyone use this one? is it better worst than the above mentioned?
I have the echo Layla 3G. I read that the pre's are the same, although the Layla has only 2 pres (plus 8 analog and 8 digital I/Os). The converters are great. I don't want to start an "E. Winer" discussion here, but I don't think you would recognize an audible difference to much more expensive high-end converters that is worth spending the additional thousands of dollars imho (note: I mean the converters alone, not the pres).

What you definitely won't get on an interface within this price range is really great preamps. The echo preamps are OK for an audio interface, but I personally would prefer buying a decent interface with good converters and save some money for separate preamps (if you can handle a soldering iron, you may even consider getting some used console channel strips and rack them up, or get one of the DIY kits from Five Fish audio) . Even my Art MPA Pro II with tube replacement was a very big step upwards from the Layla pres although the MPA is far from being considered "high end". I think this goes for every interface within this price range - you just can't expect great converters AND great preamps (least of all eight of them) for the price of a mid range standalone stereo preamp alone.
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