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Apogee Ensemble, Fireface 800, or Rosetta Symphony? Control Surfaces
Old 17th August 2007
  #1
Deleted 86c3d96
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Apogee Ensemble, Fireface 800, or Rosetta Symphony?

I am upgrading my stuff. I guess this is a low-high end question, or a high low-end question.

I have no plans on cutting records at home. My working assumption is that if what I am doing is worth anything more than art, someone else will foot the bill for professional production facilities, but I want the potential to self produce MP3's for download that sound reasonably good (I have earned my ears and skills). I took a sizable break, and I am in the rebuilding process, and it is getting time for the next level. I don't expect to need more than 3 audio tracks recorded at any one time.

I currently use a Project Mix I/0, an MacBook, and Logic Pro 7.2/Reason. I am primarily a writer/performer in a more traditional vein.

While the ProjectMix is okay, it really leaves something to be desired on the sonic quality, and as a control surface for Logic 7.2.

I am upgrading to a more high end prosumer work environment. I am buying a Mac Pro Quad 2.66 Intel machine, UAD1a expert pack, a Mackie Control Universal and Extender (purchased already), Native Instruments Komplete 4/Kore Bundle, and an Apogee Ensemble, and a few better mics. I am trying to build an elegant work environment.

However, I am a bit torn on the whole audio interface affair. I have it narrowed down to 3 choices:

1. Apogee Ensemble - $2000
2. RME Fireface 800 - $1500
3. Symphony System - Rosetta 800/X-Card/Symphony Card ($3000 plus)

The RME has a lot of flexibility and I/0, but seems more suited for the Windows XP environment. The Apogee Ensemble seems to have the sweet spot of a near professional sound for a firewire interface; but a little pricey; the Rosetta 800/Symphony with Logic looks like a poor man's Pro Tools which may improve sonic quality and performance over the Apogee Ensemble, but would require purchase of quality Mic Pre's.

Your thoughts would be welcome.
Old 21st August 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
hangman's Avatar
 

thats a rather inflated price on the Ensemble.
shop around, you can find them for more like $1600
Old 21st August 2007
  #3
JPZ
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I've used all of these but went with the Ensemble, paid about 1600. I don't consider it "near" professional as it sounds noticeably better than my Digi 192's. Great box
Old 21st August 2007
  #4
Gear Head
 

I suppose it really does depend on what you consider acceptable audio quality because there will be differences between the selected units.
I personelly use the FF800 and find it a wonderful bit of kit, is it any worse quality than an ensemble? I couldn't say, however for the price and what it does i am totally satisfied with the ff.
Another thing worth considering is, if im not mistaken the ensemble is Mac only, or at least i think it is, it may not bother you if you only use mac lol, i had considered the ensemble but in the end i went with the ff.

The fireface is a good unit, the total mix software offer comprehensive routing capabilities, and the drivers i have found to be really solid (on mac at least, never tried it on pc)

I',m unsure what the quality of the ad/da is purely because i have never used anything other than the fireface, I have never been dissapointed in it though.
Old 21st August 2007
  #5
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barryjohns's Avatar
 

I will assume you like Logic Pro and can work well in it. Those being said, go with a Rosetta 800 and a Symphony Card. You will be blown away by the performance with Logic and a MacPro. I used this setup for a while and it rocked. The performance was as good as Protools HD. I could run a 32 buffer all day with a ton of plugs going. I ended up going away mainly because I really dislike Logic and bought a Protools HD2. I am the happiest I have ever been. However, if I could have liked Logic, it along with Apogee converters and a symphony card are simply amazing.

I also used the FF800 prior to going the Apogee/Symphony route. The FF800 is a very good converter, not as good as the Rosetta though. It works very well with Logic and you can run it at FW800, which will enable very low buffer settings with a sizeable amount of plugins. You can get them used all day for a grand or less.

Go Symphony........You won't regret it.

Here is some reading.....

Apogee Symphony After Dust Settled-Not All it's Cut Out to Be

Who Dumped Protools HD for Logic/Symphony?

Apogee/Symphony Performance Compared to Protools HD

Protools HD or Appogee Symphony/Rosetta
Old 21st August 2007
  #6
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Audio Hombre's Avatar
 

i love the fireface 800 but lust for a symphony setup seeing that i often use logic.
Old 21st August 2007
  #7
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thearnicasync's Avatar
 

FWIW, you may want to consider that the Ensemble comes with four pretty great clean sounding mic amps too. They're on par with syteks, true, etc. in my opinion. I've heard the FF and the pres don't really compare, imo. That way, you could get to work and eventually kick down for a dark, vintage-y pre (if ya want, anyway) for vox, bass, etc. Then you have a couple of flavors, and heck you could record drums, guitar, and vox for demos that would sound pretty great!

kb

Last edited by thearnicasync; 21st August 2007 at 07:32 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 21st August 2007
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by barryjohns View Post
It works very well with Logic and you can run it at FW800, which will enable very low buffer settings with a sizeable amount of plugins.
Thats interesting, i was under the assumption that using 800 rather than the firewire 400 would not result in a lower latency, i'm pretty sure the manual says it's really for when using more than one unit.

I' would be curious to know if this is true because less latency is always a good thing.
Old 21st August 2007
  #9
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audiomichael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by baybud View Post
Thats interesting, i was under the assumption that using 800 rather than the firewire 400 would not result in a lower latency, i'm pretty sure the manual says it's really for when using more than one unit.

I' would be curious to know if this is true because less latency is always a good thing.
The buffer is more dependant on the computer than the interface. If you've got a blazing fast computer, then you can run lower latency, as long as your interface has got good strong drivers, which the FF has. I'm told that the Apogee drivers are pretty solid now too.
Old 21st August 2007
  #10
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stevetgn's Avatar
I run 2 x FF800 can't praise them enough for the money.
You might find this thread an eye opener!
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...ce-b-test.html
Old 21st August 2007
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
The buffer is more dependant on the computer than the interface. If you've got a blazing fast computer, then you can run lower latency, as long as your interface has got good strong drivers, which the FF has. I'm told that the Apogee drivers are pretty solid now too.
no i totally agree with youm ,my only queery was whether the extra bandwidth of the firewire 800 would allow for a lower latency fireface side, i'm pretty sure in the manual it says not.

I've got a pretty good comp, mac pro 2.6 quad, but i'm hating the fact that i can't really take advantage of logic with it, hopefully with logic 8 they will make use of the cores more effectively.
Old 21st August 2007
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetgn View Post
I run 2 x FF800 can't praise them enough for the money.
You might find this thread an eye opener!
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...ce-b-test.html

oh yeah, for the price they cannot be beat, there are still a few things about total mix that get on my nerves but they ar egreat value.
Old 21st August 2007
  #13
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barryjohns's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomichael View Post
The buffer is more dependant on the computer than the interface. If you've got a blazing fast computer, then you can run lower latency, as long as your interface has got good strong drivers, which the FF has. I'm told that the Apogee drivers are pretty solid now too.

Not entirely true. The buffer is also affected by the bandwidth of your I/O. That is why you can run a much lower buffer setting using the FW800 of the FF800 over the FW400 of the FF800. Yes the computer plays a big part in it, but it is not just the computer alone. For example, I could run a 64 buffer with the FF800 with a reasonable amount of plugs going. However, when I had the Symphony connected, I could run at a 32 buffer with a ton, I mean Ton of plugs with no problem. The 2 work hand in hand together.
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