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What Multi-Channel Mic Pres have analog outs AND ADAT Optical outs?
Old 2nd August 2008
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

What Multi-Channel Mic Pres have analog outs AND ADAT Optical outs?

Warning - long post ahead....

Kind of hard to explain but I'd like to pick up a 4 - 8 channel mic pre that would mainly be used for a live rig, to supplement a small Mackie (Onyx 1220) that only has four onboard mic pres.

I've got a SM Pro Audio PR8-E for this right now but I hate the wall wart power supply and it does not have input pads, stuff like drum overheads can make it clip pretty easy. It sounds "ok" but nothing special.

I started thinking about this and I have a recording rig (in my studio) with some high end pres (Great River, Hardy M-1, Calrecs, True Systems P-2) and I love those units, but I'm limited to 10 channels at a time. Now usually that is enough for basic tracking but I realized it would be nice to get a pre for the live rack that I could press into use if needed for studio work (e.g. room mics, scratch vocals, etc.)

I would not be running critical tracks through this multi-channel pre but obviously a decent sounding unit would be good to have.

NOW, the reason why I decided I would like to have the ADAT out, is my studio rig has two MOTU interfaces, one of which is a 2408 MKIII, with the 8 channel ADAT interface.

I figured if I got a pre for the live rack, but could use it with an ADAT input going into the MOTU that would be useful.

In theory I could just use my other interface (MOTU 24 i/o) for conversion but it will be hooked up full time to my tt patchbays, having an optical input to the MOTU 2408 MK III would be cleaner.

Looking around the market though I don't see a lot of units that offer:

1. ADAT optical output AND

2. Individual analog outs

I don't need FIREWIRE out or USB out (that rules out a lot of units).

The MOTU 8 Pre is decent but does not have analog outputs other than the stereo out, and that rules it out for doing live work.

It seems like the only units that do what I want to do are:

1. PRESONUS - D8, DigiMax LT, Digimax 96K

2. Focusrite Octapre with the optional card

3. M-Audio Octane

I'm leaning towards the Presonus because I hate the tiny buttons and lack of contrast on the control panel of the Focusrite (remember most of the time it will be in a live rack) and I'm not that enthused about the M-Audio, for one it's two rack spaces and they have really pissed me off over the years with their lame technical support.

Anybody have opinions on these units, have used or compared them?

Am I missing something on the market I am not aware of?

I'd prefer keeping this under $1000 as it really will get used most of the time in a live rig, but at the same time I'd like a sonic upgrade from the SM Pro Audio unit.

Thanks

Analogeezer
Old 2nd August 2008
  #2
Gear Nut
 

IIRC, the Behringher ADA8000 will do all you're asking for. And it does it surprisingly well for the price. Of course, YMMV....

Jack
Old 3rd August 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
tnjazz's Avatar
I know you already have Onyx pres with your mixer, but you're overlooking by FAR the best unit in the $1000-ish price range that does what you're looking for: Mackie Onyx 800R.

You'll need a DB25 to TRS for the analog outs, but that's not really a big deal. The conversion, pres and everything else run circles around the units that make up the rest of your list.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #4
rlg
Gear Maniac
 
rlg's Avatar
 

I've got a Presonus Digimax FS patched into a Fireface via ADAT for extra non-critical things (extra synths lying around the studio, mics for communications purposes for non-singing artists, etc.). It works fine, I just don't record anything from these inputs. Keeper tracks go through the Myteks. Pretty flexible unit, though. ADAT outs, and analog inserts on every channel, and direct outs for every channel. Also, there's an 8-channel DAC via ADAT, which I use for individual headphone cue mixes. Bottom line, IMO, perfectly useable, but not great.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
bitman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by overbias View Post
IIRC, the Behringher ADA8000 will do all you're asking for. And it does it surprisingly well for the price. Of course, YMMV....

Jack
Yes, but: Not at the same time. In order for the ada8000 to be an analog out preamp you have to jump the adat i/o. Loosing the optical outs.

Otherwise, the ADA8000 is indeed a good bang for buck box.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitman View Post
Yes, but: Not at the same time. In order for the ada8000 to be an analog out preamp you have to jump the adat i/o. Loosing the optical outs.

Otherwise, the ADA8000 is indeed a good bang for buck box.
Yep I was going to say that but you beat me to it....seems like a dumb design to have to do that...

Analogeezer
Old 3rd August 2008
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnjazz View Post
I know you already have Onyx pres with your mixer, but you're overlooking by FAR the best unit in the $1000-ish price range that does what you're looking for: Mackie Onyx 800R.

You'll need a DB25 to TRS for the analog outs, but that's not really a big deal. The conversion, pres and everything else run circles around the units that make up the rest of your list.
I guess I had ruled that one out because frankly the Onyx pres don't make me go "wow" all that much and the 800R is not that cheap of a unit. Also the Firewire drivers for the Firewire card in the Onyx 1220 just flat out suck.

I might go back and revist that though, what is the digi out multi-channel interface? I don't usually record over 48k anyway.

Keep in mind too that 90% of the use of this would be in a live rack.

Thanks for putting that back on my radar screen though.

Analogeezer
Old 1st September 2008
  #8
Gear Maniac
3 choices

I was also looking at four different pre amp as well.

1. Audient ASP008 ADAT
2. Mackie Onyx 800R
3. PreSonus DigiMAX 96k
4. PreSonus DigiMAX LT (with ACP 88)

All of the pre amps had things I liked and disliked about them. I wish I could combine all of the features into one pre amp. But I know there would be cooling and such problems.

I think it would be really nice to have dynamic control. The DigiMAX 96 has a buildin mic limiter that is supposed to be very nice. But no eq conrol unless you go analog with out board gear. Both the DigiMAX add a little bit of color but have alot of gain.

The Mack Onyx also has a LPF on each channel with I think is nice. And variable impedence. But no dynamic control. I also like the fact is has kind of a british warmer sounding feeling.

From what I heard the audent is very cleen (no color sounding) and it has variable inpedence on each channel and variable LPF. It also is the most expensive.
Old 1st September 2008
  #9
Lives for gear
 
remo's Avatar
 

Presonus Digimax FS
Old 1st September 2008
  #10
Gear Head
 
thestranger's Avatar
 

+1 for the digimax fs. very versatile unit.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #11
Gear Nut
 
Drumminkiger's Avatar
 

I also have a digimax FS and i use it for everything live or studio. The pres and conversion are nothing to write home about, but they are pretty good for the money and sound nicer then the stock pres in my digi 002 imo. Its an exremely useable piece of gear, though it doesnt have pads. It does have inserts and digital outs though and those were a big plus for me. I think i'll just get or make some inline pads someday for use on mine.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 
FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 

I'm probably totally missing the point here, but what is your signal routing going to be for the live setup?

Do you want the analogue outs to mirror the adat output, or do you want to be able to route the analogue ins to analogue outs using a different config to the adat outs?

I'm not a live recording person really so I'm just curious, but it's possible there is a way with the ADA8000 to use the analogue outs simultaneously, but it could throw up some timing and feedback issues maybe, I don't know theough, I haven't tried it myself, I just thought of it.. heh
Old 2nd September 2008
  #13
Might be too much money for you but the Focusrite ISA828 with the optional digital card would do what you ask as well. While probably not the world's best mic amps it's definitely a step up from most of your other options, but it's also quite a bit spendier!
Old 2nd September 2008
  #14
Quote:
but it's possible there is a way with the ADA8000 to use the analogue outs simultaneously, but it could throw up some timing and feedback issues maybe, I don't know theough, I haven't tried it myself, I just thought of it..
i'm able to route my ada8000's any way i want on my creamware card.
Old 3rd September 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
 
FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 

Wasn't sure so had a quick flick through the manual, and it seems to be a hardware restriction that adat in is only routed to analogue outs and vice-versa.

I was thinking that if you're tracking into a daw, you could duplicate all the adat input channels, and send one set of 8 tracks straight back out again via adat, so that you then have them available at the analogue outs as well.

Don't know if that would work in practise though with what you want to do, if at all..?
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