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Old 18th May 2006
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by kingofswing
The RME Fireface has better conversion than you may think.

FWIW a very good freind of mine (a private studio owner / producer) just sold his apogee rosetta 800 and Motu's (after trying mine out for a few days) for the rme fireface 800 (x2). In comparison to the RME, both he and I found the Apogees to sound a little pale / bland.

I still think people will disagree with me here. I just find the RME clean and sweeter sounding.
Well, something that I think is easy to forget when it comes to Apogee is that most of the professionals that use Apogee converters use them as the analog mix door to the digital world. In that kind of context the overall loss of quality due to bad conversion is much less because everything is already summed up and contain a big dose of warmth and intimacy to compensate for the sound degradation during the conversion process. This might make Apogee a little overestimated for ITB tracking. If you need great conversion for ITB tracking I think Lavry or Prism would be the route to consider. You can push these pretty well as you are tracking to the DAW and in that way compensate to be able to compete with the analog counterparts. The tracking phase is very critical for the final sound quality and I think that's where the RME Fireface 800 can't compete when it comes to making professional sounding records. I have an RME Fireface 800 and I notice that I lose some important harmonic content, the sound becomes a little thinner, the sound over the velocity pitch is not as natural (the expressions are not translated as well) and the decay is a little shorter. These things result in a little "flat" type of sound, in my opinion the "sound of music" dies a little. It feels "compact", which is a sign that the frequencies have been squeezed together into groups, rather than have been translated with a natural frequency spread. I can hear this really well in the treble department, where the sound often is rather thick, instead of thin due to a nice high frequency spread, which would make the music more natural and more pleasant to listen to.

But generally I think the RME Fireface 800 is well worth the money. I think it's mostly a matter of what kind of tracking/recording method you use and what kind of sound quality you are aiming for that should decide whether the Fireface 800 is enough or not. But let's put it this way, for a top notch studio I don't think it's realistic to expect that the choice would be a converter at 156 EUR/input.

When it comes to using the Fireface 800 as a unit for AD->DA->AD approach I think you should forget that route with the Fireface. The sum of that process WILL degrade the sound too much and I strongly recommend that you only convert once.