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How well do focusrite saffire pres "stack", are they the same pres on the "octopre"? Audio Interfaces
Old 12th September 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

How well do focusrite saffire pres "stack", are they the same pres on the "octopre"?

The title says it all.
I know some cheaper conversion boxes cut corners on their pres. They might sound awesome on their own, but as soon as you track 10-16 channels on the same pres things slowly become distant, dark, brittle and muddy.

Does anyone out there know how well the "Saffire" pres stack on eachother, and if the pres found in the "octopre" are the same pres in the Saffire? (save the 2 liquid pres, of course)
Old 12th September 2011
  #2
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I think the idea of "stacking" has been fairly well de-bunked.
The theory being that : "1 property does not become amplified by the presence of another thing with a similar property". In audio gear at least.

Aside from this, on the handful of occasions I have ever used the new budget focusrite stuff the Saffire sounded better to me than the Octopre. Don't know why.
Old 13th September 2011
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Good to hear.

I've come to the same conclusion in another thread about the same topic. It must be the digital conversion causing the "stacking effect" on many breakout boxes. That being said, I've been asured the Saffire pres/conversion both perform at a rather pleasing rate for many.

You're the first downvote I've heard for the octopres though, so I'll take note of it .
Old 13th September 2011
  #4
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hasbeen's Avatar
Didn't you just post this in the other forum?
Old 13th September 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Hello?
Is this the police?

So you saw it twice, and still chimed in with nothing constructive? lolz.
Old 13th September 2011
  #6
Focusrite's entry into the budget preamp market has always perplexed me... why? Why do you drag a good name through the mud (and the plastic, and the shrill brittleness)?
Old 13th September 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
Focusrite's entry into the budget preamp market has always perplexed me... why? Why do you drag a good name through the mud (and the plastic, and the shrill brittleness)?
Are you saying that you've used them before Ward Pike?
Old 13th September 2011
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Good to hear.
---
You're the first downvote I've heard for the octopres though, so I'll take note of it .
Really? I wasn't aware of them ever being well thought of.

They serve a purpose I suppose. But I am just some dick on the internet so you should treat my opinion as such!
Old 13th September 2011
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
Focusrite's entry into the budget preamp market has always perplexed me... why? Why do you drag a good name through the mud (and the plastic, and the shrill brittleness)?
Well for starters there's a lot of money in selling affordable gear. Also, it's not a given that because it's affordable gear or made with plastic or whatever that it's shrill or brittle sounding. Finally, the descriptions used "shrill and brittle" are subjective. But I'm pretty sure somebody that knows what they are doing can get an excellent sounding recording from just about any modern affordable gear.

As to the original question about stacking, I'm not sure how Sapphire pres "stack". I think the concept isn't a complete myth because I know when I record with my lesser quality rig, exclusively using it's preamps there is an overall sound that has a bit less dimension and a bit less low frequency fullness and a bit more high frequency aggression. But it's subtle and not a big deal at all and I've tracked 40 tracks in a mix with that stuff. I also know it's not the conversion because when I line-in better sounding preamps through the same converters the overall sound comes across as slightly more full, slightly more dimensional and slightly less aggressive in the high frequencies. However, only people that know what to listen for ever notice anything without me pointing it out. So in the end it's always slight (but at times subjectively profound) differences between run-of-the-mill gear and most of the more expensive stuff in my experience.

I read somewhere that somebody once said that "high end" gear can get you those extra few inches, but it only matters if you're only a few inches from the goal in the first place. I agree with that. If you're exclusively in the budget for Sapphire type stuff then there are far more influential things on the sound of your recordings to consider besides preamps and conversion and the concept of stacking.
Old 13th September 2011
  #10
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Hello?
Is this the police?

So you saw it twice, and still chimed in with nothing constructive? lolz.
Yup, this is officer two post. Your question has been answered in 2 forums already.

Constructive here: Read the forum guidelines and try not to post the same question in multiple forums. Have a nice day.
Old 13th September 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

I bet your friends love it when you show up too. haha
Old 13th September 2011
  #12
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
I bet your friends love it when you show up too. haha
Are you trying to be funny?
Old 13th September 2011
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Trying?
Old 13th September 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
Well for starters there's a lot of money in selling affordable gear. Also, it's not a given that because it's affordable gear or made with plastic or whatever that it's shrill or brittle sounding. Finally, the descriptions used "shrill and brittle" are subjective. But I'm pretty sure somebody that knows what they are doing can get an excellent sounding recording from just about any modern affordable gear.

As to the original question about stacking, I'm not sure how Sapphire pres "stack". I think the concept isn't a complete myth because I know when I record with my lesser quality rig, exclusively using it's preamps there is an overall sound that has a bit less dimension and a bit less low frequency fullness and a bit more high frequency aggression. But it's subtle and not a big deal at all and I've tracked 40 tracks in a mix with that stuff. I also know it's not the conversion because when I line-in better sounding preamps through the same converters the overall sound comes across as slightly more full, slightly more dimensional and slightly less aggressive in the high frequencies. However, only people that know what to listen for ever notice anything without me pointing it out. So in the end it's always slight (but at times subjectively profound) differences between run-of-the-mill gear and most of the more expensive stuff in my experience.

I read somewhere that somebody once said that "high end" gear can get you those extra few inches, but it only matters if you're only a few inches from the goal in the first place. I agree with that. If you're exclusively in the budget for Sapphire type stuff then there are far more influential things on the sound of your recordings to consider besides preamps and conversion and the concept of stacking.
My front end is:
-LaChapell 583e
-Blue Robbie
-API 512c's
-Telefunken Stereo Tube Remakes

The focusrite saffire/octo would be my workhorses for bedtrack sessions. I would probably skip them altogether during overdub sessions, so the conversion is important to me too (as the saffire will be my main A/D D/A interface).

http://www.focusrite.com/download/98...Conversion.pdf

I've basically got some great quality pres/microphones and I'm trying to see if I can get away with the focusrite liquid saffire 56 being my A/D interface and gaining some extra workhorse pres at the same time. The variable liquid pres give me a whole lot of options for a few more colors too.
Old 13th September 2011
  #15
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gainstages's Avatar
i have used focusrite high end pres as well as a lot of their more "budget" friendly stuff. I do have the saffire 56 and find the preamps very usable. years ago i was doing complete albums with a mackie console and blackface adats and they sounded good. i can promise you the preamps are much better, and the conversion is as well. there is no reason to not get good sounds out of them overall. of course, i still use my vintech preamps as my primary preamps because they sound fantastic , and I do have apogee converters as well, but certainly there is nothing wrong with the saffire preamps.

as for stacking, thats a complicated discussion with a lot of variables to it, so i don't know that i could say anyone has completely debunked it, but i will say that technique and talent are more important than gear.. back to stacking, certainly there is some truth - if every preamp had a slight boost at say 100hz or something, and you tracked 50 tracks through those preamps, are you actually thinking that you wouldn't notice an exponential problem in your mix EQ as the session got bigger and bigger? it would be muddy as heck, even though each individual track might sound great on its own. so, yes, there is some validity to arguments regarding stacking, but again - the key is to use good technique, and good talent. After that, any gear of reasonable quality should be sufficient.
Old 13th September 2011
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gainstages View Post
i have used focusrite high end pres as well as a lot of their more "budget" friendly stuff. I do have the saffire 56 and find the preamps very usable. years ago i was doing complete albums with a mackie console and blackface adats and they sounded good. i can promise you the preamps are much better, and the conversion is as well. there is no reason to not get good sounds out of them overall. of course, i still use my vintech preamps as my primary preamps because they sound fantastic , and I do have apogee converters as well, but certainly there is nothing wrong with the saffire preamps.

as for stacking, thats a complicated discussion with a lot of variables to it, so i don't know that i could say anyone has completely debunked it, but i will say that technique and talent are more important than gear.. back to stacking, certainly there is some truth - if every preamp had a slight boost at say 100hz or something, and you tracked 50 tracks through those preamps, are you actually thinking that you wouldn't notice an exponential problem in your mix EQ as the session got bigger and bigger? it would be muddy as heck, even though each individual track might sound great on its own. so, yes, there is some validity to arguments regarding stacking, but again - the key is to use good technique, and good talent. After that, any gear of reasonable quality should be sufficient.
That's pretty much the conclusion I've come to as well,
hence my decision for my new setup .

Glad to hear another upvote for the conversion and pres on the saffire 56!
Old 13th September 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gainstages View Post
as for stacking, thats a complicated discussion with a lot of variables to it, so i don't know that i could say anyone has completely debunked it, but i will say that technique and talent are more important than gear.. back to stacking, certainly there is some truth - if every preamp had a slight boost at say 100hz or something, and you tracked 50 tracks through those preamps, are you actually thinking that you wouldn't notice an exponential problem in your mix EQ as the session got bigger and bigger?
Stacking is bull****. We aren't talking about serial processing.
Just take 50 tracks. Add 1dB at 1kHz on all of those tracks. Is 1kHz 50dB louder in the end? Probably not.

Then on the mix buss remove 1dB @ 1kHz. Back to 0.

As if every channel of an analogue system would "stack" anyway. Stupid theory popularised by a fundamental lack of understanding.
Old 13th September 2011
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Just so we're clear, I disagree with MarkRB.

And +1db of 1khz 50 times most certainly wouldn't be +50db of 1khz regardless.
Db increase is a logarithmic function, not a linear one.

...Since we're arguing semantics
:P

And no, analog boards won't stack....
but breakout boxes that convert A/D on every "overdub" and session... DO!
Old 13th September 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Just so we're clear, I disagree with MarkRB.

And +1db of 1khz 50 times most certainly wouldn't be +50db of 1khz regardless.
Db increase is a logarithmic function, not a linear one.

...Since we're arguing semantics
:P

And no, analog boards won't stack....
but breakout boxes that convert A/D on every "overdub" and session... DO!
You're welcome to disagree with me. Didn't I say "fundamental lack of understanding" at some point? I'm sure I did. So what is 50 x a 1dB boost @ 1kHz?

I was obviously (?) exaggerating the problem. Not really semantics.

Science is less forgiving however.

Presumably you have a DAW? Just try it. It's the same silly theory easily proven wrong.
Old 13th September 2011
  #20
Well, Enlightened One and New Blood (curious handles, by the way... mine is my actual name so just call me "Ward")

I checked to make certain I was in the right forum and yes, this is High-End.

We tend to be snobby here and frown on limited chinese mass produced IC based mediocre-sounding stuff with 1Khz bumps. Otherwise, just get a Mackie 1608 and pat yourself on the back for the cost savings you just achieved.
Old 13th September 2011
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
Well, Enlightened One and New Blood (curious handles, by the way... mine is my actual name so just call me "Ward")

I checked to make certain I was in the right forum and yes, this is High-End.

We tend to be snobby here and frown on limited chinese mass produced IC based mediocre-sounding stuff with 1Khz bumps. Otherwise, just get a Mackie 1608 and pat yourself on the back for the cost savings you just achieved.
That's fair enough.
I'm not discrediting your opinion what-so-ever Ward,
nor do I dispute your level of snobiness.

I'm just curious if you can answer the question or not,
have you used the focusrite saffire/octopres?
Old 13th September 2011
  #22
Yeah the snobbery thing...

I own and have used both. I am on Lynx now, but use the saffire in my upstairs rig, or when I leave home.

They certainly are a little different...that is the saffire and the octopre are.

I have said many times here that the octopre has recieved WAY more of a bum rap than it should have, but whatever. Lot of beginners bought them, made bad recordings with them, and subsequently flooded the internet with this mess. Many blamed the poor Octopre.

The saffire's preamps, sound more like a British console's pres from the late 80's and 90's... maybe a Ghost etc. To me anyway.

People say they sound nicer than the octopre...I dunno. The octopre has a wider freq response, lower noise, lower distortion, runs class a... 10-200khz?

It certainly specs better than most 1980's consoles, and lots of records were made on those that did and do well. SSL comes to mind. Same parts inside as those consoles too btw. 5534's and 32's.

I think the octopre sounds better on things like OH's, but not so great on vocals. Kinda sibilant. Actually, I wouldn't use either mic pres for vocals but hey. Everybody is entitled to their opinion though.

The purchase of the Lynx's for me, was because I felt my clients should be seeing the "better" and more expensive converters in my studio when plunking down their money. Plus, I had owned an old Lynx Two card before and liked the sound alot. When I got the Lynx's, I was expecting a major difference...

People are going to flame me for saying this, but the Saffire's converters are very good. I wonder how many people could blindly tell the difference between the Lynx and the Saffire.

Even funnier? I have an EMU 1820m that sounds to my ears even closer to the Lynx.

Just food for thought.

Some of the stuff that gets thrown around here is funny.

The IC thing? Those high end converters everybody is talking about are full of them.

I do like my mic amps without IC's if I have a choice though. Everywhere else, it doesn't matter to me as much. So I see your point Ward Pike.

And yes, as a reference, I have worked with and own a lot of the expensive stuff to compare the FR stuff to.

It's all opinion, which is sometimes influenced by any number of things.

All you can do is listen, compare, and forget about what you think you know, or have heard.

Peace,
john
Old 13th September 2011
  #23
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
That's fair enough.
I'm not discrediting your opinion what-so-ever Ward,
nor do I dispute your level of snobiness.

I'm just curious if you can answer the question or not,
have you used the focusrite saffire/octopres?

Boy, you really don't take a clue well do you.
Old 13th September 2011
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Yeah the snobbery thing...

I own and have used both. I am on Lynx now, but use the saffire in my upstairs rig, or when I leave home.

They certainly are a little different...that is the saffire and the octopre are.

I have said many times here that the octopre has recieved WAY more of a bum rap than it should have, but whatever. Lot of beginners bought them, made bad recordings with them, and subsequently flooded the internet with this mess. Many blamed the poor Octopre.

The saffire's preamps, sound more like a British console's pres from the late 80's and 90's... maybe a Ghost etc. To me anyway.

People say they sound nicer than the octopre...I dunno. The octopre has a wider freq response, lower noise, lower distortion, runs class a... 10-200khz?

It certainly specs better than most 1980's consoles, and lots of records were made on those that did and do well. SSL comes to mind. Same parts inside as those consoles too btw. 5534's and 32's.

I think the octopre sounds better on things like OH's, but not so great on vocals. Kinda sibilant. Actually, I wouldn't use either mic pres for vocals but hey. Everybody is entitled to their opinion though.

The purchase of the Lynx's for me, was because I felt my clients should be seeing the "better" and more expensive converters in my studio when plunking down their money. Plus, I had owned an old Lynx Two card before and liked the sound alot. When I got the Lynx's, I was expecting a major difference...

People are going to flame me for saying this, but the Saffire's converters are very good. I wonder how many people could blindly tell the difference between the Lynx and the Saffire.

Even funnier? I have an EMU 1820m that sounds to my ears even closer to the Lynx.

Just food for thought.

Some of the stuff that gets thrown around here is funny.

The IC thing? Those high end converters everybody is talking about are full of them.

I do like my mic amps without IC's if I have a choice though. Everywhere else, it doesn't matter to me as much. So I see your point Ward Pike.

And yes, as a reference, I have worked with and own a lot of the expensive stuff to compare the FR stuff to.

It's all opinion, which is sometimes influenced by any number of things.

All you can do is listen, compare, and forget about what you think you know, or have heard.

Peace,
john
Wonderful review here.
Just the kind of stuff I was looking for.
Some practical experience from someone who has used the gear along side other high end stuff.

Hmm.. Nice to know about the octopre, you're not the first person I've heard bring this up. That being said, do you know what kind of preamps are on the Saffire PRO 40? ie: If I wanted to end up with 14 of the exact same preamps, should I buy a PRO 40 to ADAT to the saffire 56 instead of an octopre?

Thanks for chiming in
Old 13th September 2011
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
Boy, you really don't take a clue well do you.
You could say the same mister. I'm wondering why you're even still here? haha
Old 13th September 2011
  #26
Gear Addict
 

I went from a Tascam us1641 to the saffire pro 40. Night and day. Way better pre's and conversion. You want the level of a $2000 unit? Buy a $2000 unit. For a box my broke behind could afford, this thing is super impressive and I guarantee, if you cant make a good recording with it, you better learn your craft a little better because it ain't the pres or conversion holding you back.

Sent from my ADR6400L using Gearslutz.com App
Old 13th September 2011
  #27
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hasbeen's Avatar
It may make you feel really cool to be posting your conversation in the high end forum. I guess you need to feel validated at some level. There has been no polite way to ask you to even read the forum guidelines. That's just plain rude in these parts.

I realize that you just started posting and as a new member think yourself above all this but before this post gets moved or deleted, could you please try and humble yourself a little and make an attempt to use the correct forums and try not to cross post the same questions? Thank you again.
Old 13th September 2011
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
It may make you feel really cool to be posting your conversation in the high end forum. I guess you need to feel validated at some level. There has been no polite way to ask you to even read the forum guidelines. That's just plain rude in these parts.

I realize that you just started posting and as a new member think yourself above all this but before this post gets moved or deleted, could you please try and humble yourself a little and make an attempt to use the correct forums and try not to cross post the same questions? Thank you again.
Anyways....
Old 13th September 2011
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hossman777 View Post
I went from a Tascam us1641 to the saffire pro 40. Night and day. Way better pre's and conversion. You want the level of a $2000 unit? Buy a $2000 unit. For a box my broke behind could afford, this thing is super impressive and I guarantee, if you cant make a good recording with it, you better learn your craft a little better because it ain't the pres or conversion holding you back.

Sent from my ADR6400L using Gearslutz.com App
Good to know, that's one extra upvote for the Saffire PRO 40. I've seriously got to consider getting the PRO 40 to ADAT to the 56 instead of an octopre. It sounds like a logical decision.... although, on the other hand, it might be nice for my other 8 pres to have a slightly different color. (As Newton in Orbit commented).
Old 13th September 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
Wonderful review here.
Just the kind of stuff I was looking for.
Some practical experience from someone who has used the gear along side other high end stuff.

Hmm.. Nice to know about the octopre, you're not the first person I've heard bring this up. That being said, do you know what kind of preamps are on the Saffire PRO 40? ie: If I wanted to end up with 14 of the exact same preamps, should I buy a PRO 40 to ADAT to the saffire 56 instead of an octopre?

Thanks for chiming in

I haven't used the 40, I have the 26.

If I were to sell it, or it were to break beyond repair, I would get the 56.

The pres are probably all the same in the saffire units, except for the Liquid ones. I ain't much into emulations, so I am not sure I'd use these, but the i/o on the 56 is pretty hard to beat for the $. I think maybe the only thing that can come close at that price range is the MOTU stuff.

I started all this with a 24 i/o, and sold it. I was having issues with the playback in windows. Worked fine for me on an old g4, but in windows, it would sound great in cuemix, and then sound like 25% of the fidelity was gone on playback, through whatever daw I tried.

Many, many attempts to resolve this, to no avail.

The FR stuff is a little more of a pain to setup, and the latency is not as low as the motu, but it sounds way better to me. If you have a LFAC, this is not an issue. Even without one, like in the case of my little office rig, it is still workable though.

At least what you hear when monitoring is what you get when recorded. The MOTU wasn't doing this for me. Nobody could help, motu, Steinberg, Cakewalk...it was frustrating. I am 100% it was a driver / software thing.

If I had been Mac only with Logic or something, the MOTU would still be here.

j
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