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Steinberg MR816X

Steinberg MR816X

4.25 4.25 out of 5, based on 7 Reviews

An amazingly neat, simple, catchy, GOOD FireWire interface


3rd December 2011

Steinberg MR816X by Zillo

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Steinberg MR816X

Nowadays it's getting pretty hard to pick a candidate in this market, which is full of solid and reliable interfaces, we got so many choices and price tags all over the place, so when I found myself running for my next interface I decided to let my ears decide and forget about wallet problems… For one, I told myself, I wanna be happy with what my ears really dig and do not care about the rest! So with big help from friends and local music stores I set up my personal shoot-out between 6 interfaces with very different price points and critical acclaim.

To cut the long story short, this interface managed to blow the competition away, convertion-wise, in less than a hour of critical listening (blindfolded, I must add). I was surprised as you probably are now, but the real treats that this sweet piece of hardware can offer are yet to come!

This 1-rack space unit comes loaded with all the features you expect from a pro interface, up to 24bit 96 kHz recording, 8 preamplifiers, Neutrik combo connectors, discrete pads and phantom power for each of the channels, one Hi-Z input, 8 outs, 2 hardware inserts (very useful for either patching your usual hardware comps/EQs or your boutique preamps), ADAT, wordclock and SPDIF i/o.

This added to the amazingly simple MR Editor software mixer which is capable of achieve zero-latency monitoring for up to eight different audio outs makes this unit an incredible workhorse. Plus, if you are a Cubase user (which sadly I'm not) you are offered countless integration options which allow you to barely touch the mouse while setting up for tracking! Two infinite-run knobs take care of sample rate settings and phones, master and reverb levels. Wait… reverb? Yes, my friend, the interface comes with his own high quality on-board verb that you can slap on any of the can sends in just two knob twists, and without loading an aux track in your DAW or taking away CPU power from your computer.

The pres sound very clean and transparent: the sonic quality and headroom is spotless! The unit is very well-built and elegant, the dedicated power supply can tell (two power switches, very sturdy and heavy)! You can daisy-chain up to three units of the same kind, thus offering up to 24 analog ins and outs.

I've been using this piece for equipment for a few months now and I really cannot say anything negative about it. Studio recording, live recording with 4 real-time separate stereo mixes, everything smooth and no hiccups at all even on portable, non-optimized systems, this baby can accommodate your needs and for the price you pay, I'm sure this is the best bang for the buck out there, you can just believe me or try the MR816X!

  • 2
26th January 2012

Steinberg MR816X by mikedboh

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Steinberg MR816X

The mid-range interface market is a crowded place nowadays. I spent the past 2 years trying to decide which direction I wanted to go. I was upgrading from an ancient PCI based aardvark q10. Not a bad interface, but aged for sure(no win7 driver support either!)

I read review upon review, and even tried a few different interfaces(firestudio, motu mk3) up against my aardvark q10 but I just couldn't find what I wanted. There wasn't enough reason to spend this amount of cash for what seemed like a minimal upgrade.

I started hearing the buzz about the Steinberg MR series and decided to take my chances in buying one without hearing it first. I got an amazing deal from an authorized dealer on ebay and dove in head first.

D/A conversion
My first impression was WOW. I could hear in to the mix a bit deeper, and my monitors actually seemed to have better midrange than before. It was more listenable and easier to get the mix just right.

A/D Conversion
The A/D conversion stacks up against units from RME/Lynx for sure. I would classify the converters as mostly transparent, with an ever so slight shimmer in the hi-end that I could not achieve with my aardvark Q10.

Mic pre's/inputs
First off, the mic pre's on this unit, although very beautiful sounding, do have a rolloff around 50hz that varies whether you are using a TRS input or XLR input. There is a graph on GS somewhere that illustrates this. I would consider it barely audible in the real world, but it is worth mentioning. It's almost like a very mild low roll off filter. Aside from this fact the mic pre's sound amazing, even when pushed. I compared them to my Universal Audio Solo 110 on bass and guitar recorded direct, and was able to achieve similar results with both. Keep in mind the UA-110 is a $700 single channel mic pre, and you're getting 8 pre's for $700(plus ad/da, etc.) I do wish there was more than 2 inserts to bypass the pre's - although the pre's do not add apparent color to the signal. At least 4 inserts would have been nice(I just don't know where they could have fit them!)


Stability
I have had zero issues from day one with this unit running Windows 7 64-bit and Sonar 8.5.3. I record at 88.2/24 and have used 96 buffer with 30+ tracks with full blown effects. Usually I run at 128 to be safe but I have run it lower quite often. No dropouts whatsoever. Steinberg site states that Hyperthreading isn't supported, but I had no issues with it enabled on my i7 2600k, nor did I have any type of performance increase by turning it off. This unit is rock solid.


All in all this is an amazing buy. Not just for the $$$, but out of every interface costing under $2000. I have achieved better mixes since upgrading to this unit, both because of the amazing D/A conversion and the beautiful sounding mic pre's(try them on overheads! sounds sublime!)

1st April 2012

Steinberg MR816X by Orlandojoey

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Steinberg MR816X

Steinberg's MR816x received much praise in the Gearslutz forum for its Class A preamp quality. Looking to update from a 6 input MAudio Profire 610 to a firewire interface with 8 analogue inputs and 2 SPDIF I decided to give Steinbergs interface a try. I liked the unit's appearance and its price. I bought it new from guitar center for $499 with a $100 voucher; much cheaper than the Apogee Ensemble or the RME Fireface.

I read many reviews that claimed the driver was a mess and difficult to install, but I had very little trouble getting the unit up and running. It worked flawlessly with my API A2D preamp running SPDIF and operating as the master clock. Running Pro Tools 10 with a non-MAudio or Avid interface was a very satisfying feeling! The preamps sounded good compared to the API on most sources and I was able to modestly track a full band in my recording/practice space. It has very clear and open preamps with a wide stereo sound. I found the units "MR Editor" to be easy to understand and had no trouble routing the inputs to various outputs for monitoring and mixing issues.

MR816X is not without issues however. I own a RNP 2 channel preamp and was disappointed to see that when running into the MR816X's 2 line inputs, it appeared to add some gain to the signal. I had to set the gain on the RNP a couple notches lower than I ordinarily would to account for the increase in signal. It did not appear to color the sound in anyway though, so it seemed like a relatively small issue compared to my overall satisfaction with the unit.

After working with the Steinberg for a month I decided to expand the unit and bought another. In retrospect, I feel as though this was a mistake. Steinberg claims that up to 3 units can be linked together using firewire 400 cables. Unfortunately, the second unit was very unstable. It crashed repeatedly and the 2 units never seemed to have a solid dependable link to each other. I would hate to deal with the headache of using 3 of these units simultaneously. Perhaps it has something to do with the firewire 800 input on my Macbook Pro, but I found many other users on Steinberg's message board who experienced the exact same problem. It also disappointed me to see that Steinberg had not responded to the issues that many users had posted on their board. Poor customer service indeed.

In order to work around this I decided to connect the two units via ADAT lightpipe. This has been a more stable configuration, however I am only able to record 16 simultaneous tracks. I bought the unit with the intention of having 18 tracks, 8 from each Steinberg and 2 from the API A2D. Unfortunately the MR816X only accepts 6 ADAT and 2 SPDIF simultaneously.

In conclusion, I think the MR816X is a great buy at its price point. It would serve anyone interested in buying a 8 channel audio interface or ADAT expansion for another interface. The preamps are indeed wonderful sounding. Based on my experience, I would not expand using exclusively Steinberg interfaces. Their claim that 3 of these units can be connected to provide 48 inputs appears to be false.

16th March 2013

Steinberg MR816X by Heartfelt

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Steinberg MR816X

The only real weakness of this interface is the brand name. It will never garnish the praise of Apogee or other well known brands as Yamaha and Steinberg are better anchored in the workhorse range.

This box sounds great, is stable and handles low latency needs with no hiccups.

I purchased this after ownership of Echo products. I immediately noticed a tighter bottom end and greater depth in the DA. The conversion, despite the low-ish Dynamic Range is really great.

As a front end, it is more than capable and sounds better than the plethora of low end conversion and pres. The Yamaha Darlington Pres (or D-Pre) are excellent, warm, full and present. Comparing board or interface pres to one another, I find it a little less open on top than the Presonus SL16 XMAX pres but the difference is mild. You can make and album with nothing but this box and it would be fantastic.

Line level inserts would have made this a real winner although the analog path is not a detriment to whatever you plug into it.

Great box for the price. Another consideration would be the Presonus 1818VSL.

30th May 2015

Steinberg MR816X by hoodun

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Steinberg MR816X

This interface is all you will need in terms of converters to get major label sounding recording. A lot of the music you listen to that was recorded in the 80s and 90s was recorded onto a 16 bit ADATs. Sure they were also alongside 2" Studers but the ADATs are in a mojority of the recording during that time, often used for vocal tracks for easier comping as opposed to cutting tape. That said, a unit like this would have been fought over and lives would have been lost. It sounds heavenly in comparison to an ADAT.

I have used a lot of interfaces. Apogee AD16/ Duet/ Ensemble, RME, Mytek, Audiofire, MOTU, HD192, M Box Pros, etc. I replaced this with an MBOX Pro 3 and while the MBox Pro 3 made my mix sound much better to my ears. It was not an accurate representation of what was going on so it made it slightly harder to get a good mix that sounded great on different sources. However, the M Box Pro 3 could also easily get you a major label sounding recording if you know how to use it.

This MR816x to me makes it easier to mix and it sounds to me like a piece of gear that you would not be disappointed with in any studio, as long as you did not see it. Though, personally, I see nothing wrong with a German name in audio and Yamaha makes some of the best musical equipment in the world. Go to any symphony Hall on the planet and the chances are that you may see a Yamaha Grand Piano. The company knows what sounds good. Write down a list of German audio companies...

My only gripe with this unit is the complete piece of crap knobs on the monitor and headphone amp pots. Other than that quality wise it is fine (preamp knobs are cheap but they feel like they will not fall off). Especially in a studio environment. These headphone amp knobs however, I see falling off eventually or breaking. I am replacing the knobs with something that feels less cheap since a lot of time is spent turning the headphone and monitor controls. There is no build quality rating so I adjusted Ease of Use here.

I would not waste my money on anything much more expensive these days. Unless you were going for extremely high quality audio e.g. Earthworks mics zoomed in to things like a multi-million dollar stratovarius in multimillion dollar sound rooms. Seriously, do not waste your money, if you do not have it to throw away on converters costing 10-20x as much in a less than perfect sounding room. It would be a ridiculous move.

Wear the Yamaha and Steinberg tag proudly. They are both incredible companies putting out gear that should not be looked down upon. Anyone with an ear will tell you the same, as long as they are not effected by placebo effect.

  • 1
21st April 2017

Steinberg MR816X by lsume

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Steinberg MR816X

I paid right at $1000.00 when I bought my Yamaha MR816X to feed my version of Cubase. I have owned a Yamaha LS500 and a handmade Yamaha classical guitar and very recently purchased a Yamaha NCX2000R. It's my opinion that Yamaha makes the finest classical guitars in the world. I certainly understand that there are many who would disagree with me about my opinion. However, when you consider the deep pockets that Yamaha has and their engineering capabilities coupled with their artistic side, I don't know who could beat them. An example for my aforementioned might be like a singular software company trying to break the market for word processors by beating Microsoft. I don't think that is ever going to happen. Another example might be CAD software. I personally am not a fan of the Windows operating system as most older mechanical engineers would probably agree. I'm an older mechanical engineer who got his degree from LSU back in the spring of 1982. After serving 4 years in the navy, I went back to LSU with a family. I own an older version of Cubase. I purchased my first version in the year around 2000 and, as I recall, my first analog to digital board was made by Roland. After many conversations with a Roland tech. I was told that the interface could not work with my Cubase. After over about 200 hours, I was finally able to get it working. I suggest that anyone wishing to get into digital recording should go to school to learn how to do it. The Yamaha MR816X was incredibly easy to use once I got the software downloaded. I realize that this topic is very old but thinking Yamaha is a wise choice from start to finish. Steinberg Cubase is now rated as the number 1 professional digital recording software on the market as I've read. Since Yamaha has many engineers and are heavily invested in the music business, it's logical to choose Yamaha.

 
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