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Old 10th October 2008
Here for the gear

Are there any professional audio interfaces to just drive a surround system?

I don't work in a music studio, but I am a full-time in house sound designer working on AAA games.

In our profession, most of our recording is done in Foley rooms or with portable recorders, but we still need to design in the DAW, output to 5.1 and mix trailers with professional quality. To me, this means low noise floor, 24/96 (or higher, but not essential), low failure rate of equipment (must be robust too), good customer support, low latency, etc. You guys know what makes for good equipment.

I've looked at a few options. I really like the RME Fireface 400, but the Audio Director here doesn't want to spend the money for it which, to me, seems foolish... but sometimes you can't teach old dogs new tricks. He still thinks mixing a game means loading individual .WAV files in Audition and manually gaining them.

Then I looked at the Edirol UA 101 which I hear is a nice piece of gear for the price, but it's way more I/O than I need (10x10).

The closest thing I've seen to what I'm looking for is M-Audio's Firewire 410 which is 2x8 and can output 24/96, but it's a P.O.S. from what I've read in the reviews and sounds like crap.

Can you guys think of anything that's worth looking into? I'm pretty set on getting the Blue Sky 5.1 Media Desk for monitors and we've got nice computers here (USB 2.0 firewire, ASIO drivers, 4 GB of RAM, etc), it's just getting an audio interface. Basically, I need it to be of high enough quality that I can create professional assets, do MIDI I/O and drive a 5.1 system at 24/96. Any other inputs above and beyond that aren't as important.

Oh, and we use Sony Vegas. Not Pro Tools.