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Steinberg CSX mr816
Old 14th September 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Steinberg CSX mr816

Has anybody seen one of these yet? Looks to me like a pretty sweet unit, but I'm extremely skeptical of Yamaha hardware and driver quality after the huge failure of mLan. I use an 01x/i88x combo currently and it's as stable as it's ever been with the new drivers, but still not anywhere near rock solid. If anybody has seen a review yet I would love a link to it.
Old 22nd September 2008
  #2
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ricfoxx's Avatar
Mr 816

Cant tell you about the 816 but I own the Yamaha N12 with the same technology and it is the best Prosumer product I have used. Pres are good, eqs are good and the morphing compressor is useable. The AD/DA conversion is clear. For those with home or smaller project studios, this or the N12 is a no brainer.

Take good care
-ric
Old 4th October 2008 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Hello, I just got mine this past week. Glad someone else was as interested as I in this unit givin Steinberg's and Yamaha's driver issues.

I am using Cubase Studio 4.5.2 with this unit. First of all, when this unit integrates with cubase, it seems to do so very well. But Steinberg left out too many things. I cannot adjust the line level inputs AT ALL. This is an issue since I use external mic pres and some soft synths/keyboard/etc. You cant even monitor the input level. You can only monitor the output of the input if that makes any sense. It almost seems like they want you to use the onboard pres, which are good, very clear and transparent. But I like my array of outboard mic pres though. Once Cubase is started, you have no way of using the included MR Editor as they call it, to manage the input and output. Cubase Direct Moniroting does that all. Also, I tried to use the digital ins on the unit with the digital outs of my SSL Super Analog Mic pre. And this was an issue also. When you choose left or right digital in, you only hear through the left or the right. So this was imposible as well.

So in other words, this unit is almost unless to me since I cannot use any of my outboard gear. I wish I had my MOTU back. I was reading that with the full version of Cubase, there is a small knob on the input channel that lets you adjust the input prior to the EQ and what not. I am not sure if that will let you change the gain of the entire channel input though. For now, so I can complete a recording, I am using the 20db Pad on the input so I can connect my BAE pre to the unit via analog. Using this I have to then either give the BAE more gain than I want or boost the onboard pres a little to bring the level up 5db or so. This sucks! Steinberg, are you going to address this??? I still have 20 days left on my return policy from Sweetwater though thank god.

BTW. The D/A conversion is very very good. Probably the best feature. There is also NO MIDI ports so I will have to go and purchase a USB/Midi converter I guess.
Old 4th October 2008 | Show parent
  #4
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jdvmi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tguy View Post
Hello, I just got mine this past week. Glad someone else was as interested as I in this unit givin Steinberg's and Yamaha's driver issues.

I am using Cubase Studio 4.5.2 with this unit. First of all, when this unit integrates with cubase, it seems to do so very well. But Steinberg left out too many things. I cannot adjust the line level inputs AT ALL. This is an issue since I use external mic pres and some soft synths/keyboard/etc. You cant even monitor the input level. You can only monitor the output of the input if that makes any sense. It almost seems like they want you to use the onboard pres, which are good, very clear and transparent. But I like my array of outboard mic pres though. Once Cubase is started, you have no way of using the included MR Editor as they call it, to manage the input and output. Cubase Direct Moniroting does that all. Also, I tried to use the digital ins on the unit with the digital outs of my SSL Super Analog Mic pre. And this was an issue also. When you choose left or right digital in, you only hear through the left or the right. So this was imposible as well.

So in other words, this unit is almost unless to me since I cannot use any of my outboard gear. I wish I had my MOTU back. I was reading that with the full version of Cubase, there is a small knob on the input channel that lets you adjust the input prior to the EQ and what not. I am not sure if that will let you change the gain of the entire channel input though. For now, so I can complete a recording, I am using the 20db Pad on the input so I can connect my BAE pre to the unit via analog. Using this I have to then either give the BAE more gain than I want or boost the onboard pres a little to bring the level up 5db or so. This sucks! Steinberg, are you going to address this??? I still have 20 days left on my return policy from Sweetwater though thank god.

BTW. The D/A conversion is very very good. Probably the best feature. There is also NO MIDI ports so I will have to go and purchase a USB/Midi converter I guess.
OUCH, that doesn't sound good. I was looking at picking one of these up in December when the drivers were updated to work with the XS and N12, but now I'm not so sure. Thanks for your feedback!
Old 5th October 2008 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Any idea how this would compare to a Fireface 800 in terms of AD/DA quality?
Old 6th October 2008 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Addict
 

A/D and D/A are very good in my opinion. I never owned or heard the Fireface 800. My Apogee Rosetta is still better though. These units resemble the converters off of a Pro Tools 96i/o or 192i/o interface. Call me crazy but they do. They have that hi-fi sound where the Apogee has a fuller, less hyped quality.

Oh and another thing I found out over the weekend. The Reverb and Compressor can only be used if mixing OR recroding. Not both at once. In other words, if you are using the Rverb to record, then you cant use it on your playback until it was disabled for recording and visa versa. This was frustrating. So I had 2 types or Rverb running while tracking, one for monitoring playback and the onboard reverbX for tracking. Plus while working with Wavelab 6, this interface had issues with the headphone out. It would only work if the master was set to outputs 3/4. What the hec??

Anyway, I would give it a 6 out of 10. Good quality, poor functionality. Anyway, if anyone else has used this, please chime in. Or if a Steinberg rep reads this, please....please give us an update!
Old 25th October 2008 | Show parent
  #7
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Geosync's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tguy View Post
A/D and D/A are very good in my opinion. I never owned or heard the Fireface 800. My Apogee Rosetta is still better though. These units resemble the converters off of a Pro Tools 96i/o or 192i/o interface. Call me crazy but they do. They have that hi-fi sound where the Apogee has a fuller, less hyped quality.

Oh and another thing I found out over the weekend. The Reverb and Compressor can only be used if mixing OR recroding. Not both at once. In other words, if you are using the Rverb to record, then you cant use it on your playback until it was disabled for recording and visa versa. This was frustrating. So I had 2 types or Rverb running while tracking, one for monitoring playback and the onboard reverbX for tracking. Plus while working with Wavelab 6, this interface had issues with the headphone out. It would only work if the master was set to outputs 3/4. What the hec??

Anyway, I would give it a 6 out of 10. Good quality, poor functionality. Anyway, if anyone else has used this, please chime in. Or if a Steinberg rep reads this, please....please give us an update!

You should go to steinberg.net and ask how to use the MR816CX. It does everything you say it doesn't do and more..
I have only beriefly played with it, say 20 minutes or so and did all of the things you say it can't do..

Steinberg.net is the place to go as they to not monitor gearslutz.
Old 31st October 2008 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Addict
 

George, thanks for your response. I did indeed go to Steinberg with this issue. They did note that this was a problem i'm afraid. I was told that there would be a fix in the future and to hang out for a while. I am a loyal steinberg/cubase person so that is what I am going to do. Even with the full version of Cubase, there is no way to adjust the line input other than the -26db pad. Trust me I have already tried it.
Old 31st October 2008 | Show parent
  #9
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wakestyle's Avatar
Well since you couldn't adjust the input line levels, how did you feel about the dynamic range? I mean did you have any clipping problems when plugging in some really hot line level signals?

I'm still interested in this unit, and btw I just use cubase to adjust input volumes (although my levels are set to default). Maybe yamaha just set the channels up for maximum headroom? Or did you feel you needed to turn them down?

The dreadful problem i'm always getting with "mid-ranged" convertors is not enough headroom when plugging in high output devices.

cheers.
Old 1st November 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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Geosync's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tguy View Post
George, thanks for your response. I did indeed go to Steinberg with this issue. They did note that this was a problem i'm afraid. I was told that there would be a fix in the future and to hang out for a while. I am a loyal steinberg/cubase person so that is what I am going to do. Even with the full version of Cubase, there is no way to adjust the line input other than the -26db pad. Trust me I have already tried it.
Can you not use the MR Tools stand alone app to adjust the line levels as well as the digital input levels while using Cubase? Sorry to seem so dense I just haven't spent enough time with it.
Old 1st November 2008 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 

You cant use the MR Editor while Cubase is on. There is a lot of Dynamic Range on this unit and like I have said before, the converters are very very good. If the pad is not enabled, yes I will clip using my external mic pres, but with the pad on, I have to drive the mic pre just a little more than I like. Keep in mind that is with the mic pres that dont have have an output gain (i.e BAE 312, Avalon M5, etc). The mic pres that have an output gain, I can increase that a little to make this unit work.

The onboard mic pres are the best in any FW interface I have heard though. They are very clean and transparent sounding but yet musical as well. Great for Guitars and Instruments. Vocals too but just a hair to thin for male vocals.

Anyway, hope that helps...
Old 11th November 2008 | Show parent
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Hi folks!

Let me do please just a couple of questions. Does it work with software different from cubase? Can someone post a real A/B comparison using a classic fireface 800... talking about jitter and converters...? There's a little bit of mystery around this unit, and that's interesting to me. I saw a lot of international engineers in the forum here and I hope that someone can do the job.
Greetings from Italy.

Frank
Old 11th November 2008 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Will work with all software but you'll get more of your money's worth with the tight integration into Cubase.
Old 12th November 2008 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Automatic Transmission....

I am used to having an engineer handle everything, so when I got the MR816CSX I was a bit nervous. Had to get a violin overdub on supplied tracks without an engineer. Got out my modded Oktava MK219, plugged it in (phantom power worked great) and away I went -- complete with monitoring. Sounded surprisingly wonderful with the unit's own pre.

It is so simple. The MR816 is completely intuitive and beautifully integrated with Cubase.

This user is ec-friggin-static. Can't wait for my engineer to come by this weekend so he see it (and me) in action!
Old 12th November 2008 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Yes, if you are using the onboard pres, you are in good shape. They sound nice on instruments. I would image that they would sound extra nice on violin due to the clarity of them and transparency. For me, most of my work is with accoustic guitar and vocals. I spen a lot of shcarole on my mic pres and intend to keep using them. Besides I did a shootout on my own with Guitars and my mic pres. The 816 held its own but didnt beat out my BAEs (1272s and 312s), the SSLs, or the avalons. Just didnt have any "flavor". But if you are looking for something transparent for instruments, OHs, room mics, these will come in extra handy.
Old 12th November 2008 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 

They sound quite good on vocals too. I've heard it sound great with male voice/Mojave 200 and it sounds impressive on the female vocalist on the Steinberg videos, not sure what mic she uses but perhaps a good tube mic wouldn't hurt to get the character from that. But rest assured you can sing through it!
Old 15th November 2008 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Picked one up a couple of days ago. It sounds really good and I like it quite a bit as it removes the latency limitation for tracking audio with stuff like cpu heavy VSTI's playing, you can track with full buffers and use the hardware dsp. Nice.

Having ASIO DM talk to the Cubase Control Room mixer is a major plus. Very cool... you can build multiple headphone mixes with DM and also use the dsp.

One MAJOR oversight...

The digital I/O serves double duty as FX busses so when you switch the dsp over to "External FX" to use the DSP when mixing you lose all access to *all* of the digital I/O.

What does that mean? It means that if you use the MR816CSX to feed a digital console or a 3rd party DA, you cannot use the hardware DSP during mixing. There is no way to "switch" say, 3 pairs over to the dsp for mixing, while retaining a fourth stereo digital pair (S/PDIF) to use as a digital output.

And there are only 4 total pairs of digital I/O, you cannot use 8 ADAT and the S/PDIF at the same time, only 6 of the ADAT with the S/PDIF. Not sure why they limited it in these ways.

When you select external FX you lose *all* the digital I/O... S/PDIF and ADAT. For people with analog feeds to their monitors, no biggie. For people like me who use, and prefer to use, a standalone DA ... big problem.

The onboard DA is quite usable though so you can use that. It sounds rather good. I'm still debating if I'll sell my DA-10 and just use the MR816 to feed my monitors.
Old 15th November 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBeast View Post
Any idea how this would compare to a Fireface 800 in terms of AD/DA quality?
The 816 is as good, maybe better.
Old 15th November 2008 | Show parent
  #19
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakestyle View Post
Well since you couldn't adjust the input line levels, how did you feel about the dynamic range? I mean did you have any clipping problems when plugging in some really hot line level signals?

I'm still interested in this unit, and btw I just use cubase to adjust input volumes (although my levels are set to default). Maybe yamaha just set the channels up for maximum headroom? Or did you feel you needed to turn them down?

The dreadful problem i'm always getting with "mid-ranged" convertors is not enough headroom when plugging in high output devices.

cheers.
These are not mid-range converters! They have a ton of headroom. They designed these originally for their large format digital consoles, live and studio.
Old 15th November 2008 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 

No these aren't mid-range converters. The quality is very good.

Again, I'm on the verge of just bypassing my DA-10 so I can use this thing in the studio to feed my monitors via it's analog outs. The fact that the conversion is good enough to even consider doing that speaks volumes.

No way would I use my Traveler DA in place of the Lavry DA-10. The MR816? Maybe... I'm still deciding. heh

I'm not quite sure what the big tado about the line inputs is, every line/mic input has gain control and pad and individual 48v.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBeast View Post
Any idea how this would compare to a Fireface 800 in terms of AD/DA quality?
I'd be surprised if, when taken as a whole - preamp to AD and output to DA, the FF800 was a sonic match for this unit. The long line of very happy N-Series mixer owners can probably attest to the very good sound quality.

This unit is basically a rackmount N-Series.
Old 16th November 2008 | Show parent
  #21
Here for the gear
 

My great folks... Good to know you all alive and kicking. But please tell me, what converters does it use???? BurrB, Crystal, what? Can some tell about its quality compared to a standard rme ff800? Maybe I'm in the wrong place here.. sorry.
Thanks.
Old 16th November 2008 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitmaster View Post
My great folks... Good to know you all alive and kicking. But please tell me, what converters does it use???? BurrB, Crystal, what? Can some tell about its quality compared to a standard rme ff800? Maybe I'm in the wrong place here.. sorry.
Thanks.
I have stereo Lavry Blue AD and Black DA-10 and they compare favorably. That is to say they seem to be of high enough quality to not matter. The Lavry's are like straight wire to my ears, they don't do *anything* to the sound and the MR816 behaves in much the same way. What I recorded so far sounds exactly like what I put into it... which is my preference in AD.

I personally don't care if they put cow chips in there as long as it sounds good so... Burr, Crystal... who cares.

Last night I did a long A/B session between the DA-10 and the MR816 DA and the DA-10 was better (smoother) across the midrange with more detail, but not by much. I had to listen to a lot of material to be sure I was hearing what I thought I was hearing and of course I still can't be sure since I didn't do it blind. I would say there is just a *tiny touch* more midrange hardness to it's DA as compared to the Lavry DA ... but not by much... and not enough to really matter I think.

Still trying to decide if I should bypass the DA-10 so I can use the MR816 dsp when mixing. Tough decision. I'll probably record the output of both into the Lavry Blue and match the results to see if the frequency spectrum matches what I think I hear.

Tracked some drums in my crappy room this morning and the pre's and conversion are easily better than my MOTU Traveler.

I'd be very surprised if any FW unit anywhere near this price point sounds as good from input to output.
Old 17th November 2008 | Show parent
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Sir Lawrence,
thanks for your post. Thank you very much indeed.
What is the noise level in a flat mode (no preamps; a short circuit jack to the input under test; max output level)? Can u do this test? Can u use other that cubase with the mr816 ?
I would to thank u again.

Frank.
Old 17th November 2008 | Show parent
  #24
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitmaster View Post
Sir Lawrence,
thanks for your post. Thank you very much indeed.
What is the noise level in a flat mode (no preamps; a short circuit jack to the input under test; max output level)? Can u do this test? Can u use other that cubase with the mr816 ?
I would to thank u again.

Frank.
You can use the MR816 with just about any DAW that talks through ASIO.
Old 18th November 2008 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Well, this adventure didn't end well for me. Count me as a "former" user.

Cubase.net .:::. View topic - Well Mine Died Already
Old 18th November 2008 | Show parent
  #26
Here for the gear
 

I hope my experience is better than yours. What's certain is that my MOTU experience was similar to your Steinberg experience. 2 bad 896MkIIIs. Burned, and done with MOTU.
Old 18th November 2008 | Show parent
  #27
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Geosync's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Well, this adventure didn't end well for me. Count me as a "former" user.

Cubase.net .:::. View topic - Well Mine Died Already
Are you PC or MAC?

Seems like with all of the plugging and unplugging a PC's registry/ IRQ system could get confused. Maybe not your I/O at all.. Worth a though
Old 18th November 2008 | Show parent
  #28
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PC. It's the unit for sure. There was no plugging and unplugging beyond the installation of a video card and a firewire card. The IRQ thing was me just doing an uninstall of existing hardware and letting it reinstall automatically on a different IRQ to see if that change would persist through reboot. It doesn't.

As I said in the forum post, it no longer shows up on the laptop I initially tested it on for two days before installing it in the studio. It doesn't even recognize the hardware device as being plugged in.
Old 27th November 2008 | Show parent
  #29
Here for the gear
 

Well, I had big problems installing this unit, had no clue why, until I installed this Windows hotfix, which adressses a problem with SP3 where a FW device speed is reduced from 400 to 100. It solved all my problems and the MR816 now runs flawlessly.
Old 13th December 2008 | Show parent
  #30
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skygod's Avatar
Driver Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
PC. It's the unit for sure. There was no plugging and unplugging beyond the installation of a video card and a firewire card. The IRQ thing was me just doing an uninstall of existing hardware and letting it reinstall automatically on a different IRQ to see if that change would persist through reboot. It doesn't.

As I said in the forum post, it no longer shows up on the laptop I initially tested it on for two days before installing it in the studio. It doesn't even recognize the hardware device as being plugged in.
Lawrence don't feel bad. I spent 6 months trying to find something minimalist to work with a mobile business E1505 Dell in hotel rooms on the road on business trips for quick do whatever w/o spending a lot of money on something not dedicated for such, and the inherent problem with these Dells is the 4-Pin Firewire that is unpowered and doesn't work with any pro audio FW devices barring getting something like a dual 6 pin SIIG FireWire 800 CardBus Dual Part #: NN-8CB212-S1a that I'll probably wind up getting sooner or later. I just dont like dongles hanging off the sides of the laptop.

So I finally found something by accident around a month ago in the TASCAM US-1641 totally USB 2.0 capable and the Steinberg-Yamaha drivers crashed it as well. I loaded both the TASCAM US1641 and Cubase 4AI drivers and software that came with it correctly and the system was up and running fine w/o glitch for a week, and still even after I downloaded all the AI4 updates from steinberg and it worked perfectly for a week via USB w/o a glitch recordng all XLRs on the front loaded on mics and all TRS inputs from the rear loaded from outboard synths in real time and guess what?

Yup Same thing happened as soon as I added a guitar track using a Line 6 Guitarport and associated amp farm 2.0 the entire shebang crashed on Cubase and stopped working and it all locked up.

So I disenrolled cubase from the vista laptop and reloaded it to no avail. So I removed Cubase completely and all artifacts of the steinberg drivers and reloaded the TASCAM US 1641 drivers and now the US-1641 works fine with Reaper latest update and also with 32 Bit n-Tracks studio latest update. Both are full license. Oh well.

It is NOT probably the steinberg-yamaha drivers. It is for sure their drivers. They haven't yet worked the bugs out for ASIO or WDM. Steinberg and Yamaha I am a long time Yamaha user and guess what? Need to fix those drivers folks. They are gobbling up everything in their path so it seems, and when they don't get their way they crash the system? The 'wellfukkithen' philosophical approach to BUS architecture time-slicing/time-sharing of system resources and bandwidth is hardly a good approach to CPU sharing of resources ya? The n12 and the MR816CSX were both on my short purchase list this XMAS to add to studio tracking rooms at 24 tracks each room. I'm on hold now thank God I read this post or I'd be in the same predicament before I screw up my main studio computers. Everybody loves the n12 and the MR series. Great achievement! They just have to learn how to play with all the other MFGs children in the sandlot -

Merry merry and happy happy -

~skygod~
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