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Which 8-channel pre-amp/audio interface (Focusrite/M-Audio/MotU/PreSonus)? Audio Interfaces
Old 30th December 2010
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
Which 8-channel pre-amp/audio interface (Focusrite/M-Audio/MotU/PreSonus)?

Howdy folks,

So I abandoned my previous thread, went on to research and came up with these possibilities:
  • Echo AudioFire Pre8 (it's above my budget, actually)
  • Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 (on paper and on pictures this looks like the winner)
  • M-Audio FastTrack 8R (because in fact I won't be getting FW if I'm not mistaken)
  • M-Audio ProFire 2626
  • MotU 8 Pre
  • PreSonus Firestudio Project
I need to know whether one or another box is gonna be stable on my system.

What do I need in the equipment specifically?
  • 8 pre-amps, XLR/TRS combined, with 48V phantom power
  • ADAT connectivity (to function either as the main interface or a stand-alone pre-amp)
  • Direct monitoring (zero-latency, analog input directly output to headphones)
  • Clean and clear pre-amps that have enough gain for the quieter microphones out there
  • Solid build (no inaccurate, wobbly knobs etc)
  • Good A-D/D-A converters
  • MIDI I/O (not required)
What will I be using it for?
  • Hooking up (just condensors at this time) microphones and possibly instruments as well (electric bass, electric guitar sometimes, electro-acoustic guitar sometimes)
  • Hooking up (active) monitors (just one set)
  • Direct monitoring (no latency, for during recording - if one of these interfaces does not have this, please let me know)
  • Bouncing audio from various applications to my DAW of choice (not required, but it might come in handy and I know the Saffire Pro 40 can do this)
What is my system (or rather, will be)?
  • Laptop
  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • Core i5 @ 2.4 GHz (don't know if it has 2 or 4 cores, will report back tomorrow)
  • 4 GB RAM
Which DAW(s) will I be using it with?
  • Ableton Live 8 (maybe, not sure yet)
  • Adobe Audition 3.0 (I use it sometimes)
  • Cockos REAPER (is my current go-to recording DAW)
  • FL Studio 9 (is my current go-to sequencing DAW)
  • Pro Tools 9 (don't have it, but might want to purchase it later on)
I'm open for suggestions, encouragements and everything else.
If I left some important info out, just let me know.

I hope you guys can steer me in the right direction.

Thank you.

CZ
Old 30th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
foamboy's Avatar
I cannot say enough good things about my Saffire Pro 40! I have used the Presonus Firepod and the M Audio Profire 610 and I like the sound and the build quality of the Saffire MUCH MORE! It is built very solid and the drivers installed easily and have been rock solid on my Vista 64 machine.

Of course,drivers are always an isuue and you never really know what is going to work on your system until you try it out,but the Saffire has worked well for me.

Good luck

fb
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy View Post
I cannot say enough good things about my Saffire Pro 40! I have used the Presonus Firepod and the M Audio Profire 610 and I like the sound and the build quality of the Saffire MUCH MORE! It is built very solid and the drivers installed easily and have been rock solid on my Vista 64 machine.

Of course,drivers are always an isuue and you never really know what is going to work on your system until you try it out,but the Saffire has worked well for me.

Good luck

fb
+1

Another loyal Pro 40 user here. Thinking about upgrading to the Liquid Saffire 56 soon actually.
Old 30th December 2010
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
Sweet! If it runs on your 64-bit Vista machine it should be OK on a W7 64-bit system also.

How is that digital mixer working out for you (I'm very interested in this part of the package)?

Plus, will I run into any problems with the Saffire having no Word Clock support?
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cue Zephyr View Post
Sweet! If it runs on your 64-bit Vista machine it should be OK on a W7 64-bit system also.

How is that digital mixer working out for you (I'm very interested in this part of the package)?

Plus, will I run into any problems with the Saffire having no Word Clock support?
The software mixer is hands down the best I've seen. I've worked with M-Audio's mixer and MOTU's in the past, but the Saffire is the most flexible.

Regarding word clock, all depends if you need it or not. I personally have no need for it so it's not a problem for me.
Old 30th December 2010
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
I figured.

Well I don't know, it doesn't really look like I need it now (maybe later?).

The headphone monitoring is true zero-latency right? I mean, they're not saying 'low latency', so what I understand is that there is no A-D/D-A conversion going on when monitoring the input on the pre itself?
Old 30th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

Yes, headphone monitoring is zero-latency. It's a standard now, nobody would buy an interface that doesn't offer zero latency monitoring.
Old 30th December 2010
  #8
Gear Head
 

Another happy Pro40 owner here. As is stated above, the mixer is very flexible... meaning also that it takes some time to learn it. LOL, I dunno how many times I've gone "WTF, where's my signal?!?!?" just to later after some frustration realize that I've got some weird routing I did for testing the other day...

And a heads up on the headphone and monitor output level control... caused some frustration until I RTFM more carefully You can have the master volume/mute either affecting the headphone outputs or not.

One thing I could nag about would be the wimpy pot knobs and the pot calibration (differences between channel gain). Lol, I was seriously planning to change the pot knobs to bigger ones, at least volume level knobs, but I'm too lazy. The unability to bypass preamps for line input is another thing that makes sometimes wish there was one. But those are minor things for me.

I might stand corrected, but as I understand, even it is called "zero latency monitoring" the signal actually travels through AD-DSP-DA, but it does not take a roundtrip via computer. I mean, the onboard DSP mixer/router is digital, which means that a conversion must be done. It's just close enough to zero to be called zero in practice.

Cheers
Old 31st December 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
OK, hell with this thread. I think I'm feeling just as excited tomorrow as now, I'll order it tomorrow.
Old 31st December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
I have the Profire 2626 which is pretty good i think, but i also have the focusrite octopre mkii dynamic running into it via ADAT...i think it has slightly nicer pre's, and these are the same pre's across the whole saffire range. So +1 for the saffire...
Old 31st December 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Chagalj's Avatar
 

Focusrite LS56 user here, can not say enough good things about this unit. Great driver stability, great pres, great ADDA, great clock, unbelieavable routing possibilities, 2 ADAT and SPDIF in/out all operable at the same time. This unit could easily cost 3-4 times more.
Old 31st December 2010
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
I'll be creating a new topic for this, but anyway, will this one work?
SIIG, Inc. : FireWire Dual-Port CardBus - (NN-PCM222-S4 )

Oh wait, I ordered the Saffire Pro 40 by now!
Old 31st December 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cue Zephyr View Post
I'll be creating a new topic for this, but anyway, will this one work?
SIIG, Inc. : FireWire Dual-Port CardBus - (NN-PCM222-S4 )

Oh wait, I ordered the Saffire Pro 40 by now!
I have the ExpressCard version of the SIIG you listed, which was officially supported by Focusrite. I don't see why the CardBus version won't work.

Congrats on the purchase and welcome to the Pro 40 club heh
Old 31st December 2010
  #14
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
Sweet! Thanks!

Just went looking for info on my system and it looks like it's an ExpressCard slot and not a PCMCIA slot!
Old 8th January 2011
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
Does the DSP mixer actually have built-in effects for monitoring (like an EQ)?
Old 2nd February 2011
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Cue Zephyr's Avatar
Got the card today, the unit works like a dream as far as I can tell. I'll try some tracking this weekend and will try to compare with the 0404 (pre-amp quality).
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