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Focusrite Saffire Pro 40
Old 8th October 2008
  #1
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dickiefunk's Avatar
Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

Anyone checked this out yet?

Focusrite Audio Engineering | UK Site | Products | Saffire | Saffire PRO 40
Old 6th November 2008
  #2
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jimcroisdale's Avatar
 

Yeah - looks great. Like the Pro 10 and 26, but with more monitoring and input options, at a glance.
Old 7th November 2008
  #3
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jimcroisdale's Avatar
 

Yep - had a look and it's definately what I'm after!

Had anyone got one of these yet? They've just started selling them.

Jim
Old 12th November 2008
  #4
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TheAdam's Avatar
 

Really liking the look of this.

I'm planning to purchase this or the Pro 26, though currently unsure which is more worthwhile, especially as the price difference is not too big.

The 26 has an extra 8 channels of ADAT, though I'm not entirely sure whether this is something I'd really need. The 2 loopback channels of the 40 might possibly come in handy...although likely only on rare occasions.

Are there any other major discernible differences that I'm missing? Are the "super channels" on the front of the 26 just the same (minus XLR connectivity) as those on the front of the 40?
Old 14th November 2008
  #5
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 

What about the latency and the converters? Are they the same as the 10 and the 26? I just ordered the 10 and it's arriving today so I have 30 days to test it out to see if it's the right box for me.

Some question I have for Saffire Pro owners are...

1. I've heard that PCI/e units yield 5ms at a 64-sample buffer size/44.1k. The MOTU Firewire interfaces (pre mkIII) deliver round-trip latency as low as 5.35ms at those same settings. RME Fireface units deliver 6ms at those same settings.

2. I've also heard that other units can actually be DOUBLE these figures at the same settings (11-12ms at a 64-sample buffer size/44.1k) due to using large hidden safety buffers. Anything above 5-6ms… and software based input monitoring is all but useless.

3. Has anyone tested the Saffire Pro 10 or 26 and its latency going through FX in real time? If so... how's the latency?

Also has anyone tried using Centrance latency tool (here's the link) CEntrance, Inc. / Downloads

If YES... it would be cool if you would post your results.

Jamie
Old 14th November 2008
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

It's a shame they didn't bother putting Wordclock IO on the saffire 40.
Old 29th December 2008
  #7
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jonnymags's Avatar
 

Unhappy

Unfortunately my Pro 40 won't be recognised via FW on my MacBook Pro. Awaiting Focusrite tech support to get back to me. All other FW devices on Macbook work fine and it isnt the FW leads!
Old 29th December 2008
  #8
To me it looks terribly ugly and cheap. And if I had to say it all...it looks like they do the same interface in that chinese factory and they only change brand. My opinion.
Old 29th December 2008
  #9
Gear Head
 
jonnymags's Avatar
 

Luckily the Focusrite seem to be working over the holidays - apparently the culprit is a dodgy FW lead shipped with the unit which has caused quite a few to blow the FW ports. They will replace the unit. The bad news is I also tried the lead with a FW drive containing loads of audio files to see if it was the unit and not fw on the Mac. Bad news it blew that too!

Anyone know how to fix a Lacie Rugged drive? unit now ticks like bemb
Old 29th December 2008
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnymags View Post
Luckily the Focusrite seem to be working over the holidays - apparently the culprit is a dodgy FW lead shipped with the unit which has caused quite a few to blow the FW ports. They will replace the unit. The bad news is I also tried the lead with a FW drive containing loads of audio files to see if it was the unit and not fw on the Mac. Bad news it blew that too!

Anyone know how to fix a Lacie Rugged drive? unit now ticks like bemb
move all files from that disk RIGHT NOW!
it's the click of death. yes, I've heard it too.
the sound you hear... it's the writing head scating on the HD surface - it has seconds or minutes life left. if you are lucky, a day or two.

then, have your mac and harddisc repaired or replaced and send focusrite the bill. you also PAY for quality control when buying european brands.
Old 29th December 2008
  #11
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jonnymags's Avatar
 

well I would move the files off it any computer would recognise it via USB or FW but they don't so I guess dead. The Mac still works... no damage done there I think... hmmm better test to make sure FW not fried. I'm a Brit and focusrite are down the road from me... I'll wait for their response before action. I'm feeling all Christmassy
Old 2nd January 2009
  #12
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Jeraz's Avatar
 

For those reading along...

You need to know that regardless of what Apple says, FW is NOT hot-plug worthy!

Don't EVER plug in ANYTHING while the MacBook is running.

I have a MetricHALO ULN-2 Extended, which I consider to be among the best mobile interfaces money can buy (for the MAC) and my MacBook Pro blew the FW ports on it. A little research and I found that it is the way the MacBook Pro FW is designed (and guess what, Apple is leaving FW off the basic MacBook this year...astonishing).

So, my advice with ANY interface or drive with the MacBook Pro:
  • Power down the MacBook
  • UNPLUG the magnetic power cord from the MacBook Pro
  • Make SURE the audio interface is POWERED DOWN
  • Connect the FW AI and any other FW to the MacBook Pro
  • Power up the FW AI FIRST
  • Power up everything else but the MacBook Pro
  • Attach the power cord to the MacBook Pro
  • Power up the MacBook
  • Reverse the sequence to power down BEFORE removing anything from FW ports.

I don't care if you have never had a problem with FW on your MacBook Pro, if you don't follow the above sequence you are risking a fried PHY on either the MacBook or the audio interface side.

Hope this helps...

-Mark
Old 2nd January 2009
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manfriday View Post
It's a shame they didn't bother putting Wordclock IO on the saffire 40.
Wordclock barely works properly on the 26...
Old 2nd January 2009
  #14
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eightyeightkeys's Avatar
Are these all new pre's or are they similar to the green range pre's ?
Old 11th January 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d-dmusic View Post
Are these all new pre's or are they similar to the green range pre's ?
My opinion is that we all have to wait with the focusrite
new line of firewire interfaces. The olds ( 10-26) have some good preamps, but hohnestly, you can not compare them to the red series. Some guy, did it on GS, but with very poor image of dynamics variation and poor knowladge of guitar skill. For that music probably the Audigy will match and for that kind of music you will not need a high grade equipment. The Red, Isa, liquid are awesome,but saffire right now is not. The AD DA was a more semi profesional. They sound like a Line 6 emulations of real mesa boggies. Not very focused at the bottom, but quite sweet at mids and highs. The emu 1820m beats them in all range, beside the hi´s. As they told me, the new line( pro 40) is assumed beginner in this serie; the jitter is improved, better clocking, but less versatilities, as pro 26. I have red´s, i have liquid´s, ISA-S, but right now, I suggest for moRe improved FW interfaces. They simply not sound as previously mentioned gear fo now. In this market is a hughe struggle. They all have to spare some money and this is certainly not good, especially with pro 40, whitch can not be word clocked or daisy chained for right now.
Old 14th January 2009
  #16
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Cover'd's Avatar
Updated info for guys looking for info on Pro 40 and potential issues

I spoke to Focusrite and they said that issues they've had all centre on a batch of faulty Firewire Cables shipped initially and they have a list of potentially affected units here: Faulty firewire cables. .: Focusrite Answerbase

My serial number does actually appear on that list, but I have a 2 metre cable which apparently is ok - the 'deadly' ones are 1.5 metres in length. These cables are either right or wrong from the start, they do not 'develop' the fault

Have hooked the Pro 40 to my MacBook Pro (with EVERYTHING POWERED OFF at the time as you should!), downloaded the Mac OSX drivers and everything appears to be fine

It's staying (for now )
Old 20th January 2009
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Nobody tested it yet ? A frenchie of a forum has incredibly high latencies. He says he as 30ms with 512 samples of buffer.

Anyone tried it yet ?

I must receive it soon and i'm quite nervous
Old 22nd January 2009
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Got it !

First impressions : (note that I had a firebox before so it's kind of my "reference" unit in comparisons)

+ Preamp gain seem good compared to my firebox, especially with my Rode NT2-A (my only static with Phantom)
+ Preamp quality seems really ok as the noise is a lot less important than with my firebox on same "high level"
+ Routing soft is really really great. My firebox had only a mixer with really basic routing (one output pair or one another, zero latency monitoring only on headphones). Here you have 8 stereos mixes you can save, and in each one you can chose what you mix (preamp inputs, adat inputs, DAW outputs...) and on what outputs you want to route it (headphones, monitors, 2 headphones + monitors). So you can have 8 different stereo mixes routed to 8 different outputs (one for the singer, one for the guitarist ...). Quite impressive for me.
+ Except DPC latency reported due to drivers, the unit seems efficient in the conversions, and with right settings (256 samples in my case in Vista) you don't hear cracks and pops.

- Vista drivers seem badly supported as my DPC latency is always around 500-1000 where it was 60-200 with the Firebox
- Knobs don't look solid at all
- Headphones inputs seem fragile and the jacks don't fit perfectly in so they can easily be accidentally unplugged
- Volume knobs behaviour is quite strange. In the first half, they seem like they don't affect amplification at all. But in the second half they are quite sensitive
- Routing soft is maybe too complicated at first
- Samples settings are not very flexible. In the normal settings you have quite few "hidden security buffers" so that's great. But if you use "Safe Mode 1" (goes to Safe Mode 3, Safe Mode 1 being the less safe) which is there to have more security, you already have a LOT of latency (512 samples = 12ms I/13ms O in 48khZ).

Didn't test saffire plugins yet.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #19
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Anyone get a chance to try this suckers on a Windows XP setup? That latency is way too high for soft-synths.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Maybe i can try it on my XP laptop tonight. I'll tell you if so
Old 22nd January 2009
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daal View Post
Maybe i can try it on my XP laptop tonight. I'll tell you if so
Edit : On my vista machine i replaced my via controller (which was fine with firebox) by a brand new belkin TI one and DPC latency seems way more OK. Still not perfect but around 20-400 all the time.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Results on my XP laptop (P4M 1.7gHz 512Mo) are really cool as I got a very stable latency around 100us without advanced tweaking (just disabled onboard ****ty devices). In fact I got quite no change if I plug or unplug the device.

So I guess XP drivers are really efficient.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daal View Post
Results on my XP laptop (P4M 1.7gHz 512Mo) are really cool as I got a very stable latency around 100us without advanced tweaking (just disabled onboard ****ty devices). In fact I got quite no change if I plug or unplug the device.

So I guess XP drivers are really efficient.
What's that translate into round-trip system Latency?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

It doesn't translate into round trip latency at all.

DPC stands for Deffered Procedure Call.

DPC latency (in that case) helps you measure if your computer can be able to handle real time audio. A low DPC latency shows that everything running on your computer (drivers, services, default programs) don't take too long before letting the others play with resources. If that latency is crazy (which was my case at first), you can't expect your system to handle low latency audio.

That's why even with a 512 buffer samples setting (which is not really low), crackles and pops happened when I was playing with my DAW.

IF your DPC latency is correct, then you can try lowering your audio interface buffer samples settings (ie audio input/output latency).

The numbers I gave you about XP tell that if your XP is correctly configured and has low DPC latency before using the saffire pro 40, it should be OK to work with the saffire pro with a low latency setting like 256 buffer samples or maybe 128 buffer samples.

On the saffire pro 40, 256 buffer samples at 48khZ give you something like 6ms I / 6ms O latency, so the round trip latency should be around 13ms. 128 buffer samples should give you something under 10ms round trip latency, which is I think quite enough for any playback, and usable for overdubbing.

Hope I was clear.

Check this utility if you want to know where your computer stands actually : DPC Latency Checker

Cheers,

Vincent
Old 22nd January 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by daal View Post
It doesn't translate into round trip latency at all.

DPC stands for Deffered Procedure Call.

DPC latency (in that case) helps you measure if your computer can be able to handle real time audio. A low DPC latency shows that everything running on your computer (drivers, services, default programs) don't take too long before letting the others play with resources. If that latency is crazy (which was my case at first), you can't expect your system to handle low latency audio.

That's why even with a 512 buffer samples setting (which is not really low), crackles and pops happened when I was playing with my DAW.

IF your DPC latency is correct, then you can try lowering your audio interface buffer samples settings (ie audio input/output latency).

The numbers I gave you about XP tell that if your XP is correctly configured and has low DPC latency before using the saffire pro 40, it should be OK to work with the saffire pro with a low latency setting like 256 buffer samples or maybe 128 buffer samples.

On the saffire pro 40, 256 buffer samples at 48khZ give you something like 6ms I / 6ms O latency, so the round trip latency should be around 13ms. 128 buffer samples should give you something under 10ms round trip latency, which is I think quite enough for any playback, and usable for overdubbing.

Hope I was clear.

Check this utility if you want to know where your computer stands actually : DPC Latency Checker

Cheers,

Vincent
I know all that

i know on my PCI interface (Soundscape/SSL Mixtreme) anything over a 64 sample buffer feels wrong on bass/guitar but keys are okay at 256. Are you saying on XP you can play fine at a 128 sample buffer?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Ok sorry.

At 128 samples on windows XP I didn't notice cracks.

64 samples isn't possible using the Saffire software but maybe by DAW setting.

Vincent
Old 23rd January 2009
  #27
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Pro 40 vs Profire 2626

Was looking at getting a new interface recently and the M-Audio Profire 2626 was looking very tempting. Have now discovered the Focusrite Pro 40 which falls into the same kinda price range and seems to offer the same features.

How do you guys feel the two units compare?
Old 27th January 2009
  #28
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Sugarnutz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Was looking at getting a new interface recently and the M-Audio Profire 2626 was looking very tempting. Have now discovered the Focusrite Pro 40 which falls into the same kinda price range and seems to offer the same features.

How do you guys feel the two units compare?
The big deal for me was that there is no way you can do Protools with the Focusrite. I got a 2626 and all is right with the world. May or may not float your boat.
Old 1st February 2009
  #29
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gimboid's Avatar
 

Does anyone know if the AD/DA and mic pres are the same in the Saffire Pro 26 as the Safire Pro 40?
Old 2nd February 2009
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Don't know for the AD/DA (I only know it's a DICE II chipset), and as for the pres you can read that on the sound on sound forum :


the Pro40 gain structure is different from ANY previous saffire...


this is basically to enable it to cope with very high signal transients , such as those from say a D112 inside an over energetic metal drummers's 24" kick Drum , without clipping either the mic pre or converters.

as a result , the gain knob sometimes gets turned higher than earlier versions.... AND there's a further 11dB Pad switch. for recording jet engines with....

the other issue i've often found, indeed, it's almost endemic , is people tending to record hotter than is necessary, given the quality of the average half decent 24 bit conversion system today.... and the mic pre's feeding it, and the mic's even modest busgets can now achieve, it's no longer like the old days of 16 bit where we had to squeeze every last drop of level out of it to get a decent dynamic range....

meters do NOT need to be in their top 20% ..... EVER.....

(oh, and logic users might like to note there's an alternative set of meter behaviour options in Logic's preferences, that make the channel meters in Logic MUCH more useful.... )
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