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RME FF800 vs Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 i/o Audio Interfaces
Old 4th September 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
RME FF800 vs Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 i/o

[Apologies in advance - a somewhat well reheased argument; have searched but not yet come across a direct comparison]

Any thoughts on how the Fireface 400 / 800 stacks up against the Saffire Pro 26? I really only concerned about converter quality, stability, latency and clocking.

Money no object, I'd take the RME, but the 800 is nearly double the price of the Pro 26 (and you get less pres, though I'll be using mine with a DAV BG2 and SPL Gold Mike).

Am I going to be compromising sound quality (i.e. converter quality) by going with the Focusrite? I've not been able to do an A/B comparison, and sadly can't see that I'll get the opportunity.

I could get the FF400 for the same price as the Pro 26, but I'd be loosing some useful functionality (principally world clock on BNC for sync with another system; also extra adat ins, though i suppose that's not critical).

Thanks,
Dan
Old 4th September 2007
  #2
Gear Head
 

Hi Dan,

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobo View Post
I could get the FF400 for the same price as the Pro 26, but I'd be loosing some useful functionality (principally world clock on BNC for sync with another system; also extra adat ins, though i suppose that's not critical).
Both RME Firewire units have BNC word clock output and input (with switchable 75-ohm termination).

Best,
Jeff
Old 4th September 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
So it does! Must have missed that in the reviews / I/O specs.

I'm mixing ITB - either summing in Paris DAW or, most of the time, in SX on the laptop.

Sync wise, midi sync from Cubase in laptop to the Oasys PCI in PC 2. Audio outs from Oasys back into Cubase.

I've not been using any of the (limited) midi features in Paris, so I guess it's just a question of getting it to lock to the SX laptop for digital audio transfers in either direction (ADAT, spdif).

it is as simple as hooking up the digital audio leads and midi cables and letting it fly? (presumably i'll set the SX laptop to master and the rest to slave). (nothing's ever that simple, is it?!?)
Old 4th September 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Windtaken's Avatar
 

I have the saffire (not pro) and I later upgraded to an FF800.

The conversion on the saffire is warmer than the FF800 but lacked the clarity and depth of the FF800. The FF800's conversion isn't that great either. I found it to have harsh highs noticeable on separate tracks but painful when layering them. To me, it seems like a matter of personal preference. I might prefer the Saffire if I were doing pop.

After getting the FF800, I also bought a 2192 and clocked the FF800 to that. Recording through the FF800 analog inputs significantly reduced that high frequency harshness. Clocking to the 2192 also made the mids clearer in DA.

I read on here that someone was having problems clocking the Saffire Pro externally - something to look into and maybe test for yourself. When trying these out, don't be fooled by the initial brightness of the FF800 or the warmth of the Saffire. They lead to harshness and to muddiness in each upon layering.
Old 4th September 2007
  #5
Gear Nut
Many thanks - very interesting and very helpful comparison, explanation and listening tips.

I'm doing solo acoustic music (guitar), but also acoustic with percussion, vox, brass, strings and fuller band projects (rock / folk). Clarity and depth sounds more appealing than warmth - if only because my Paris system sounds warm, and i'd rather be backing off on treble to counter the harshness than adding it on dull signals. Besides, I'm leaning towards the FF400 anyway (seems pretty stable), as I could probably get by without the extra mic pres and the extra ADAT i/o.

I guess I may be able to get more out of the FF400 if it was externally clocked by something tighter, but at the moment I can't really justify a 2192. (So much for Steady Clock!)

Any other comments welcome.

Cheers,
Dan
Old 5th September 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Windtaken's Avatar
 

Good luck dude

But what you say is funny cause my FF800 crashes more than my saffire...lol

My opinion is that the mic pres on the saffire are better than the fireface. I never did a shootout though - just based on usage over time. Neither of them are comparable to high end pres though. Maybe grab a Daking and an API later and you've got eight channels again.

If you're looking for depth and clarity, you may prefer the Lavry over the 2192, which is cheaper! You could even get Lavry A/D only and use the D/A that you already have with the FF400 or Saffire Pro. Just gotta think about expandability with these middle range products. Where I am now, all the FF800 does is headphone monitoring and digital in/out connecting to the 2192.
Old 5th September 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
stevetgn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windtaken View Post
The FF800's conversion isn't that great either.
I'm sorry but I think you are wrong and totally disagree.
RME make superb converters and the FF800 has some of the best converters going, especially at the price. Their clocking system is also one of the best.

Search the forum, somewhere someone posted some A/B audio files as a blind shoot out between Apogee and the FF800. Most people preferred the FF and assumed it was the Apogee.

I run 2 x FF800 and I also have 2 Focusrite ISA220 with their "British made high end" converters, The FF is better.

If the FF is crashing chances are you have poorly fitted BNC connectors this is a common problem with many brands
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