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Focusrite Saffire 6 USB - Any opinions? Audio Interfaces
Old 24th November 2009
  #1
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Question Focusrite Saffire 6 USB - Any opinions?

Hello!

I just bought a laptop mainly to record my demos and to play my VST synth (and record them on my desktop audio pc directly into my RME Multiface, in audio), so I'm looking for a USB interface. I read some threads here and the EMU 0404 seems to be very appreciated.

But there's this new Focusrite Saffire. I don't really know when it'll be available (still not available in France at the moment) but I'm searching for experiences and opinions.

Here is the Saffire 6 :



Quote:
[h2]Specifications [/h2]

Connectivity

Analogue Channel Inputs (Inputs 1-2)

• 2 x XLR Mic/Line/Inst Neutrik Combi-Jacks (Inputs 1-2)
• Automatic switch of Mic / Line (inserting a jack switches from Mic to either Line or • Instrument (instrument selected via front panel)

Analogue Audio Outputs (Outputs 1-4)

• 2 x TRS analogue outputs (Outputs 1-2)
• 4 x RCA Phono outputs (Outputs 1-4)
• 1 x TRS stereo headphone output (switchable to outputs 1 and 2, or 3 and 4)

Other I/O

• 1 x USB 1.1 compliant USB port
• 1 x pair of MIDI I/O

Dimensions

W = 145 mm / 5 ¾ “, H = 45 mm / 1 ¾ ” , D = 220 mm / 8 ¾ “

Weight

1 kg / 2.2 lbs

Controls and Indicators

• 2 x Input gain control dials
• 2 x Signal (green) and Overload LED (red)
• 2 x Instrument LED and switch (red)
• 2 x Pad LED and switch (red)
• 1 x Phantom power switch with LED (red) – global for Mic inputs 1-2
• 1 x USB (Active) LED (green)
• 1 x MIDI (Active) LED (green)
• 1 x Monitoring 1+2 / 3+4 A/B switch
• 1 x Monitoring 3+4 indicator LED
• 1 x Main monitor Level control
• 1 x Mono monitor output switch
• 1 x Playback/Input mix dial
• 1 x Headphones level control
Focusrite Audio Engineering | UK Site | Products | Saffire | Saffire 6 USB

Any opinions are welcome

Thank you thumbsup
Attached Thumbnails
Focusrite Saffire 6 USB - Any opinions?-id-690x1299-url-http-3a-2f-2fwww.focusrite.com-2fmedia-2fproduct_images-2f253.jpg   Focusrite Saffire 6 USB - Any opinions?-id-690x1299-url-http-3a-2f-2fwww.focusrite.com-2fmedia-2fproduct_images-2f254.jpg  
Old 26th November 2009
  #2
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Hi, I am new to computer recording and am also interested to know any opinions on the Focusrite Saffire 6 USB. I have been told Focusrite make very good quality audio interfaces but this is obviously their cheapest model... Should I take the risk on such a new product?

I like the fact that it has 4 audio outputs. Not absolutely essential for me but would open up some interesting options.

I am using a PC Laptop. Vista, 2ghz, 3gig Ram and Cubase. I don't have a firewire port so that limits my options. I read on the tweakheadz website that PC laptobs and usb interfaces don't usualy work well together. Is this true? I don't really have another option tho as can not afford a new computer.

If not the Saffire 6 USB any suggestions in similar price?

Many thanks!
Old 26th November 2009
  #3
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Quote:
I am using a PC Laptop. Vista, 2ghz, 3gig Ram and Cubase. I don't have a firewire port so that limits my options. I read on the tweakheadz website that PC laptobs and usb interfaces don't usualy work well together. Is this true?
Some people have problems with laptop and usb but I don't think we can make a "general rule" about it... Well I hope so because I just bought a laptop which, like you, doesn't have any firewire port.

Anyway, similar to the Saffire 6, I found these models :

EMU 0404 USB
PRESONUS Audiobox
MAudio Fast Track Pro

But I don't know if we can compare these cards...
Old 26th November 2009
  #4
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I was also thinking about the M-Audio Fast Track Pro, but I have read some very variable reviews of it, especially regarding the drivers for vista so I am not to certain about it.

The Emu 0404 is appealing because it is USB 2. I assume this means a lot more information can be sent to the computer at a time which must reduce latency and distortion(?). I won't make use of all those fancy digital outputs though and it only has two 1/4 outputs... but then is something offering 2 inputs and 4 outputs on a USB 1 connection really likely to work very smoothly?

Don't know much about the Presonus Audiobox... a quick google search brought up some negative reviews...
Old 26th November 2009
  #5
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Yes I read some people already complaining about the Saffire being USB 1.1... I don't really know, I suppose it works well or why did they make this choice?

It's still not available in France yet, I don't know if it is in your country?
Old 26th November 2009
  #6
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I don't care how well it works....I had a Saffire 10 i/o for a little over a year and I have issues that are now not covered under warranty so to get it fixed I have to cover any repair bill out of pocket and I took good care of it. Not to mention not long after it's release it was discontinued and the newer models blew it away in features/quality. I don't know maybe I'm unreasonable to think that an audio interface purchase should have a longer useful life than 12 months.

When it worked it was great but I would be reluctant to try a new Focusrite interface without some long term users like people at least 6-12 months out.

The EMU 0404 usb is what I currently use. It has the best data transfer rate, the best converters (by far) in it's class, and excellent preamps. Focusrite doesn't have published specs on the preamps or converters yet, but I'm almost certain the converters won't hold a candle to the EMU. The converters in the EMU are almost as good as those found in Pro Tools HD rigs.

It will definitely blow away any other USB interface. I know specs aren't everything but it sounds good to the ear and looks better on paper.

It's a pretty easy decision if you ask me. I've had mine a few months and no problems running it on my Acer laptop running Vista 64.

Last edited by KeithMoonwannabe; 27th November 2009 at 02:18 PM.. Reason: I said converterers twice meant to say preamps
Old 27th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
The EMU 0404 usb is what I currently use. It has the best data transfer rate, the best converters (by far) in it's class, and excellent converters. Focusrite doesn't have published specs on the preamps or converters yet, but I'm almost certain the converters won't hold a candle to the EMU. The converters in the EMU are almost as good as those found in Pro Tools HD rigs.

It will definitely blow away any other USB interface. I know specs aren't everything but it sounds good to the ear and looks better on paper.

It's a pretty easy decision if you ask me. I've had mine a few months and no problems running it on my Acer laptop running Vista 64.
Very interesting!! But it's hard to make a decision because I read many problems about the EMU 0404 here, like you with the Saffire, I think that it can happen... Anyway, are you sure that the EMU 0404 are the best one? How to be sure?

Thanks for your opinion thumbsup
Old 27th November 2009
  #8
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just compare the published specs. Nothing else that's USB offers anywhere close to the S/N ratio, dynamic range, etc. Preamps on a low end interface are all about the same. They are never going to be full of character. The goal with an interface is to get the best conversion possible and to find a good clean preamp that doesn't really add or take anything from the sound. Thus far the EMU 0404 USB has been great for that. I have yet to read any negative reviews on the 0404 USB, now the 0404 that's a PCI card has had some negatives but it's an entirely different animal. It really doesn't share anything in common with the 0404 USB.

Firewire is another animal but even then it blows away the Firebox and Firepod I used to use, granted the new Mobile series from Presonus looks like they stepped up their game.

I'm not an incredible performer but I attached a clip of me singing and playing acoustic guitar in my untreated apartment bedroom, this isn't a serious recording I just wanted to show what it was capable of doing in a less than stellar environment (ie what the average joe would be using the interface for). I just setup a single CAD M177 through a BLUE Kiwi cable straight into my 0404 USB. I attached an MP3 file at 192 resolution it was originally recorded on Reaper in 24 bit / 44.1 kHz. So this isn't even the best quality recording the interface can do. All things considered I was pretty impressed by the results.
Attached Files

The Daily Planet.mp3 (4.83 MB, 10529 views)

Old 27th November 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaon View Post
It's still not available in France yet, I don't know if it is in your country?
Yeah its been available in the UK since the start of this November.

@Keithmoonwannabe: yeah that 0404 recording is really nice! Have to say the EMU is looking like it might be the winner. USB 2 just seems to make sense...
Old 27th November 2009
  #10
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Yes, nice recording indeed!

I'm really considering this 0404 actually...
Old 27th November 2009
  #11
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Yeah I was really impressed now if I could sing better I'd almost be tempted to buy a more flattering microphone to handle double duty like the M177 did, the Studio Projects CS5 looks like it might be the ticket but alas I digress.

I used to use two mics (one per source) or track separately but I kinda found a great sweet spot that had a nice balance of guitar to voice.
Old 30th November 2009
  #12
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I'm about to order an EMU 0404 but a last question, will it work with Windows Seven? I didn't see any driver for it on the official website :/
Old 30th November 2009
  #13
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the last driver update made it work with vista and I run vista 64. it's not perfect but it works as well or better than any other interface I've tried running on my laptop. Basically Vista sucks and there's no fault to any audio interface or manufacturer it's just a ****ty OS to work with when it comes to audio production. The way the control panel and sound devices are laid out just plain sucks.
Old 30th November 2009
  #14
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I asked to the EMU support who told me that it will work on Windows 7 with the Vista drivers. And a Windows 7 driver will be released if necessary.
Old 30th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaon View Post
I asked to the EMU support who told me that it will work on Windows 7 with the Vista drivers. And a Windows 7 driver will be released if necessary.
that is definitely a good sign, a prompt response, and it sounds like they would be willing to take ownership of the problem and be proactive in solving it.

I'd say go for it.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #16
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Let us know how it goes if you get one. If i get one it won't be till after the new year so I'd be interested to know what you think...
Old 2nd December 2009
  #17
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No problem I just wait that my fav shop (it's to say, the one where it's cheaper lol) to have it in stock again

Emu support sends me an email again to invite me to share my experience and problems, I found it was really good to communicate this way.

To be continued
Old 12th January 2010
  #18
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Well in the end I decided to try out the Saffire 6 USB. I couldn't resist those 4 outputs especially as I would be paying for digital in/out on the Emu which I have no use for.

So far it hasn't been a very positive experience trying to get this to work with my Vista laptop so I thought I'd share on here in the hope that someone has an idea how I can get this thing working! I prepared myself for disappointment before I bought it and I can always take it back and swap for an Emu (or something else?) if I have to... I want those 4 outputs tho!!!

I have downloaded the latest driver from Focusrite...

There are no other devices connected to the computer...

Basically I can run audio through the outputs fine when I play an MP3 in Winamp or Windows Media Player but when I try to use the ASIO driver in a DAW I get problems. The sound plays but it slows the playback right down and every sound is a horrible glitchy mess. This is the case in both Cubase SX3 and Fruity Loops Studio 9. In Reaper I can't even get the sound to play at all.

Obviously I have been in the preference menus and messed with the settings. In all cases I have tried the buffer length on the maximum it will go to and tried various different (slightly baffling) tick boxes....

I haven't even tried plugging a guitar or something in yet!!

I have also emailed Focusrite so will see what their response is like...

So... what am I missing...? Here's my specs in case it helps...


Hewlet Packard Compaq Presario CQ50 Notebook PC
AMD Sempron SI-40 2.00ghz
Vista 32 bit Home Basic - Service Pack 2
3.00GB RAM

I have the latest Saffire 6 USB driver installed

No other devices connected to laptop

tried in following DAWs

Cubase SX 3.11
Fruity Loops Studio 9.0 XXL
Reaper v3.14159

Thanks!
Old 15th January 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cross hare View Post
Well in the end I decided to try out the In Reaper I can't even get the sound to play at all.

Obviously I have been in the preference menus and messed with the settings. In all cases I have tried the buffer length on the maximum it will go to and tried various different (slightly baffling) tick boxes....
I've used my focusrite usb 6 on a HP laptop (Vista - Athlon X2 QL-64) as well as on a P4 desktop (XP) and a Sony Vaio (windows 7) without any problems at all. I'm using the latest version of reaper.

When you describe the problem it sounds like there is a problem with the buffer size (have you checked your CPU load?) but since you tried to change it without success I basically don't know...

To bad you're having problems. I'm really satisfied with mine and have spent less than one minute to install it on any of the computers. And since I’ve hadn’t had any problems at all I guess I’m not really the best person to help.
Old 15th February 2010
  #20
urB
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So can you tell us a bit about the focusrite 6 usb, preamp noise and conversion quality?
thanks a lot, I am considering buying one but can't find any review... Other choise would go to tc electronic desktop 6...
Old 27th February 2010
  #21
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Anyone know if the 2 outputs on the E-MU are seen as a Stereo Pair?

I like the OP am interested in an interface with multiple outputs. The Focusrite seems nice but the USB 1.1 worries me. I need a least two separate outputs - to send loops to different amplifiers.

I have a M-Audio Fast Track Pro but the input 2 is blown. I use Ableton 8 and main 1/4 outputs are seen as a pair - 1/2 so I can't do what I'd like to with those outputs so I have to use one of the RCA outputs.

The FTP isn't too bad though I have this broken input and the preamps suck.

Thanks
Old 10th March 2010
  #22
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Latency

Can anyone comment on the latency your studio runs with using XP, Saphire USB-6 and Reaper?

(currently struggling with a studio sporting 143ms of latency, which is ruining my recordings!) :(
Old 7th April 2010
  #23
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From a Saffire 6 owner

I own a Focusrite Saffire 6 and can vouch for its awesomeness. I have no latency issues on my Vista laptop -- the drivers are very light on the system, and everything installed with no problem. As one poster commented, with a usb interface you want pre-amps that don't take away from the quality of the source input. The Saffire has pristine sound through the two mic-pres.

Another issue brought up in this forum is the usb 1.1 connectivity. While Firewire and usb 2.0 are much faster, the speed isn't needed with a 2-input interface. Not an issue.

The Emu has great conversion rates, which the Saffire rivals. In my experience, extra conversion quality isn't needed. 24-bit recording is better quality than most ears can hear. You're doing well with the Saffire.

In short, you'll be thankful for the multiple input and output options with the Saffire over its rivals, and your computer will appreciate the custom drivers, especially if you run Windows. Plus, you'll hear more detail from your mics and enjoy low latency recording. Buy it!
Old 5th May 2010
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadOwl View Post
Another issue brought up in this forum is the usb 1.1 connectivity. While Firewire and usb 2.0 are much faster, the speed isn't needed with a 2-input interface. Not an issue.

!
What about playing back all your tracks in a session?Lets say you have an Ableton session and you have 25 stereo tracks running will there not be issues sending all this info through usb1?
I am thinking of buying a saffire 6 but to be honest I am very wary of Focusrite as I have been stung by them before in that I purchased a saffire pro 10 then they immediatly stopped making it and producing drivers for it so I have had all kinds of issues trying to run mine with windows 7,focurite suggest using driver legacy on the IEEE interface but this made my system unstable.
I also purchased a lm32 from them and had nothing but hassle.
I don't trust focusrite really.
Old 5th May 2010
  #25
Focusrite
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneakyalien View Post
What about playing back all your tracks in a session?Lets say you have an Ableton session and you have 25 stereo tracks running will there not be issues sending all this info through usb1?
I am thinking of buying a saffire 6 but to be honest I am very wary of Focusrite as I have been stung by them before in that I purchased a saffire pro 10 then they immediatly stopped making it and producing drivers for it so I have had all kinds of issues trying to run mine with windows 7,focurite suggest using driver legacy on the IEEE interface but this made my system unstable.
I also purchased a lm32 from them and had nothing but hassle.
I don't trust focusrite really.
Hi there

The 6 USB only has 2 inputs and 4 outputs, so there will only be a maximum of 6 audio channels streams over USB. The 25 stereo tracks in Live would all be mixed in Live into a single stereo mix going to your headphones/monitors, and so there would still only be 2 audio channels streamed over USB.

Regarding the other issues that you mention, Windows 7 drivers for the Pro 10 are on their way (also for the Saffire, Saffire LE, and Saffire Pro 26). These have been delayed due to our dependance on a third party for drivers for this particular product. However, please rest assured that we have not stopped, and will not stop supporting products as soon as they're discontinued.

If you are still having problems with your Pro 10 on the Windows Legacy FireWire drivers, and also with your Liquid Mix 32, please feel free to drop me an email via our contact form (The Official Source for Focusrite Product Support and Information .: Focusrite Answerbase) and I will do my best to help you out.

Best regards

Andy Poole
Focusrite Technical Support
Old 19th May 2010
  #26
Gear Head
 

Saffire 6 USB noise issues

Hi, I'm new here and I just got a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB today but I'm having noise problems with it. First of all I used to use an M-audio Delta 66 sound card along with my Fostex PM1 monitors and 1/4" TS cables and I never had any issue like this. The noise is definitely not coming from the monitors as it only happens when theyre connected to the soundcard and they were fine with my old one, also the cables worked fine with my last card.

I have just bought a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB sound card and after a few seconds of plugging it in via the USB cable, the noise starts. It is a constant high tone along with a noisy rumbling, which increases when for example I open a new web page (it is not doing it to mouse movements though as I've heard has happened to other people with noise problems, however if i click and hold a scroll bar or something that alters the sound of the noise). I've tried plugging my monitors in with TS jack cables and also my PC speakers through stereo mini jack to 2x 1/4" jack cables and the interference is exactly the same with both leads and speakers. Also another thing that I havent seen mentioned in other cases of noise and interference is the sound (music im playing, not the noise) is extremely quiet, I can turn the output volume right up on the card, and my monitor and speaker volume to max and its still too quiet whereas with my last card it would have been unbearably loud. The headphone output is also very quiet even with the volume turned right up although noise cant be heard through the headphones (this could just be because of how quiet it is and I cant hear the noise as its at such a low level).

Anybody experienced this before or have any ideas what could be causing it? I've read about similar things but they dont seem to be the same problems I have.

I've already spoken to Digital Village where I bought it from and phoned Focusrite to see what they think, one of their support team asked me to try it out on another PC which I did and had the same problem, a lot of noise and very low volume of music being played. They seem to think because its the same on 2 PC's (they thought it could be being caused by faulty power or something) it must be a faulty unit and they're going to pick it up and replace it for me.

I'd just like to know if anybody here has had a similar experience or can think of anything else that could be causing it before they come and get it, I'd hate to be sent another one only to have the same problem with it although so far it does seem like a fault with the unit.
Old 19th May 2010
  #27
Gear Head
 

Also before I get this card replaced for the same one, I'd like to know if this card is capable of recording synths etc. inside cubase or any DAW e.g. playing a synth on a midi track and recording the output to an audio track. As my card isnt working properly I can't really tell if can do it or not, I tried but the recording was so quiet you couldnt hear it or see anything in the waveform unless you zoomed in fully. After increasing the volume by 20dB 3 or 4 times in sound forge the recorded sound was eventually audible and did not include any noise. So is it capable of this and whatever is wrong with my card is just destroying the signal making it extremely quiet? Also should it be capable of recording sound from cubase/any other sound source into SoundForge? I also tried this and got no reading on the meter at all (there were only 2 options in the record box - microsoft soundmapper and Saffire 6USB).
Old 27th May 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
On paper the EMU 0404 has better specs than the Saffire 6. Lower noise and better dynamic range. What we dont know is how good the preamps on the Focusrite sound (musically), compared to the EMU ones.
Old 27th May 2010
  #29
LdC
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sever View Post
Also another thing that I havent seen mentioned in other cases of noise and interference is the sound (music im playing, not the noise) is extremely quiet, I can turn the output volume right up on the card, and my monitor and speaker volume to max and its still too quiet whereas with my last card it would have been unbearably loud. The headphone output is also very quiet even with the volume turned right up although noise cant be heard through the headphones (this could just be because of how quiet it is and I cant hear the noise as its at such a low level).
Have you turned up the Mixer knob? It sets the balance between the output from your DAW and direct monitoring of the device's inputs, so if it's set too low, the DAW output will seem quiet.
Old 27th May 2010
  #30
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LdC View Post
Have you turned up the Mixer knob? It sets the balance between the output from your DAW and direct monitoring of the device's inputs, so if it's set too low, the DAW output will seem quiet.

I just received my replacement this morning and it works perfectly so it turns out the other one was a faulty unit.
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