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And the Oscar goes to...
View Poll Results: SSL Nucleus + any Mac + Pro Tools 10 + ...
Apogee Symphony I/O 8x8
0 Votes - 0%
RME Fireface UFX
4 Votes - 44.44%
SSL I/O Bundle
2 Votes - 22.22%
UAD Apollo Quad (incl. thunderbold connectivity)
3 Votes - 33.33%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

Old 1st February 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 

And the Oscar goes to...

Hello everyone! I am about to set up my own recording studio and I am in the process of ordering the stuff I will be working with. I have been reading and reading and reading articles, reviews and posts, but I still have some dilemmas about audio interfaces and mic preamps. I totally realise that the products I will mention have been discussed numerous times on this site, but I am still unable to make the right decision!

I suppose it's useful for you to know that SSL Nucleous, iMac (for thunderbolt's sake) or Mac Pro (for PCIe's sake), Pro Tools 10 (I cannot afford HD), Genelec 8050A and Neumann U87 Ai are among the things I have already decided to purchase. Please also find an attached PDF file, which displays a full list of the stuff I think I may need. I hope these pieces of information will help you advise me better what the ideal interface and preamps are in my case. Please also note that I will possibly be able to buy any of the following products. So money must not be the issue in regard to your suggestions.


INTERFACE - And the nominees are:

* Apogee Symphony I/O 8x8

* RME Fireface UFX

* SSL I/O Bundle + free Duende Native plugins

* UAD Apollo Quad + Thunderbolt connectivity (it's optional but I am willing to get it) + free UAD "Analog Classics" plugins (LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler, 1176LN Limiting Amplifier, Pultec EQP-1A Program Equalizer) + more free plugins due to a UAD-promotion until the end of March 2013 (Studer A800 Tape Recorder, Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb and Neve 88RS Channel Strip)

I realise that it's important to decide first what kind of connectivity I should go for, but I still have a similar dilemma. USB, Firewire, PCI Express or Thunderbolt? Which is best and why it is?


MIC PREAMPS - And the nominees are:

* AMS Neve 4081 Quad

* API Lunchbox (I am not sure about that)

* Focusrite ISA 428

* Focusrite ISA 828

* UAD 4-710D twin-finity

Please note that I am a songwriter/arranger and I am quite the classical-type-of-guy, since I mostly use pianos, strings, wind instruments and sometimes live drums.


So which the oscars go to?


Regards from the Mediterranean Sea,
Kyriacos.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Offers for studio equipment.pdf (71.9 KB, 189 views)
Old 2nd February 2013
  #2
Gear Nut
 

297 views... 0 posts??? Have I said something wrong? :(
Old 2nd February 2013
  #3
Gear Addict
 
jayson_p's Avatar
 

Maybe it's a good thing; could be that nobody has any strong negative reactions to any of the candidates you've chosen and they figure you'll be happy with any of the above.

I'll play though.
In the interface choices you have listed I'd probably go for the Apogee Symphony for the sake of future system expansion. Although in my list the Antelope Audio Orion 32 and SSL MadiXtreme 64 card would be a contender that all the others would be judged by.
For the Mic Pres I'd go 500 series; mainly because that's what I'm already doing and it's a choice I'm very happy with.
From what I can see you've done a pretty good job running down your options, now it's just a matter of making the commitment.
Happy Shopping!
Old 2nd February 2013
  #4
Im not an expert on this area either as Im a more low end warrior - however from opinions I think all your choices are good...

Off the top of my head tho Id first consider how the Nucleus can be set up with a second interface - maybe you can use the Nucleus functionality without using it as an interface? Or I suppose you could make an aggregate device in OSX - but not sure how solid they are.

All those interfaces are good but have their USP. With the apollo obviously you have the UAD plugs. Apogee is expandable and works well with Mac. RME stuff tends to be very solid.

I would first decide how important plugins are to you - or if you are going to build up a hardware front end. If you like using plugins it might be worth considering the Apollo as the UAD plugins are pretty good - although to be fair - you can also get very good native ones now.

API lunchbox are cool but if you are relatively new to gear it might be simpler as you have done just to buy a 4 channel rack - cant go wrong with Neve IMO.

I think you need to decide whether you are going to get a Mac Pro or iMac because that dictates your interface a bit I think...there are pros and cons to each but many find the i7 iMac easily enough. The Mac Pro is good if you can see yourself expanding a lot - you can add storage and IO more easily on that. I would go with a MP if you think you will need serious grunt and heavy lifting and expansion - but an iMac will be very powerful for most reasonable projects, and does have thunderbolt. The MP Id say is a better choice if you plan on being a hired studio getting lots of data in and out - and the iMac is pretty good for more of an artist situation...

A complete shot out there - from what you say - Id go with the i7 iMac 27 with plenty of RAM and Storage. Get the Neve Pre, and then decide the interface based on connectivity and how well it will work with the Nucleus. You can worry about plugins later - the focus needs to be on a stable set-up. You also need to think about what DAW youre going to use?
Old 2nd February 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Hendyamps's Avatar
 

Choice 1
I'd chose the Apollo unit simply for the plug-ins. I have been loving the UAD plugs for a few years now (routinely choosing them over the Waves options), though I have not tried every plug on the market to compare, so YMMV

Choice 2
I have not tried the ISA's or AMS pres but have used a lot of API's and UA preamps (300 series, 500 series, UA 610 and 110).
The API's are great preamps but I have not had a huge amount of success on classical instruments with them. They are never bad but they often lose to other cleaner units to my ears. In fact I'd chose the 110 over the API's any day of the week for that application. But I would never chose the 110 over API on drums and electric guitars. Their aggressiveness is fantastic for that application.
I have not used the 710 but have a buddy that does and he tells me it is similar to the 110 with the tube blend offering a little of the 610 flavor but not completely.
Neve type pres are nice but again I would chose a cleaner and quicker style preamp for classical...Neves are beautiful sounding preamps but relatively slow and colored to my ears.
Not a ton of info to help you but hopefully it does help in some way.
Old 2nd February 2013
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
Off the top of my head tho Id first consider how the Nucleus can be set up with a second interface - maybe you can use the Nucleus functionality without using it as an interface?
I thank all three of you guys so much for taking the time to advise me! I will use Nucleus simply as a controller for Pro Tools 10 (on a Mac) and I will also take advantage of the couple of original SSL preamps it provides. So I do not see Nucleus as an interface. However the connectivity issues you pointed out sound a bit complicated (or even scary) to my ears, since I am not an experience engineer. I really do not want to spend a considerable amount of money on problematic combinations! All your concerns about my case are absolutely right. But how do I know which interface/converter machine will function with Nucleus better? I assume that achieving low latency matters more than getting free plugins, onboard preamps and a large number of I/Os. So which protocol of conversion is considered the most effective? PCI Express? Thunderbolt? I guess not USB nor Firewire, right? This is also highly connected to the decision I will have to make about what kind of Mac I will work with.

So far I realise that Apogee Symphony is well respected by everyone and UAD Apollo Quad is well attractive due to its great plugins. But is that all? If Apollo was evaluated only about its interface and conversion functions, would it reach the bottom of the table? If we forget about that tone of plugins (and even its 4 preamps), is it still a worth-to-buy product? I hope it is, because I have had a crash for Apollo from the very beginning. But you know, it's like I fell in love with a woman I saw in a picture but I have never actually met! This is the first time in my life I will work on a serious audio interface.

Regarding RME Fireface UFX, I am now almost convinced that it has the most fanatic supporters! And this is not necessarily good, because a fanatic supporter is always too objective and often aphoristic with anything else in the market. Why I say that? Well... have a look on the poll I launched! The only people who gave a vote went for Fireface UFX, but NONE of them bothered to write a post and explain to me WHY! Is this a coincidence?

Last edited by Salpion; 2nd February 2013 at 10:20 PM.. Reason: Adding a comment
Old 2nd February 2013
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salpion View Post
I thank all three of you guys so much for taking the time to advise me! I will use Nucleus simply as a controller for Pro Tools 10 (on a Mac) and I will also take advantage of the couple of original SSL preamps it provides. So I do not see Nucleus as an interface. However the connectivity issues you pointed out sound a bit complicated (or even scary) to my ears, since I am not an experience engineer. I really do not want to spend a considerable amount of money on problematic combinations! All your concerns about my case are absolutely right. But how do I know which interface/converter machine will function with Nucleus better? I assume that achieving low latency matters more than getting free plugins, onboard preamps and a large number of I/Os. So which protocol of conversion is considered the most effective? PCI Express? Thunderbolt? I guess not USB nor Firewire, right? This is also highly connected to the decision I will have to make about what kind of Mac I will work with.

So far I realise that Apogee Symphony is well respected by everyone and UAD Apollo Quad is well attractive due to its great plugins. But is that all? If Apollo was evaluated only about its interface and conversion functions, would it reach the bottom of the table? If we forget about that tone of plugins (and even its 4 preamps), is it still a worth-to-buy product? I hope it is, because I have had a crash for Apollo from the very beginning. But you know, it's like I fell in love with a woman I saw in a picture but I have never actually met! This is the first time in my life I will work on a serious audio interface.

Regarding RME Fireface UFX, I am now almost convinced that it has the most fanatic supporters! And this is not necessarily good, because a fanatic supporter is always too objective and often aphoristic with anything else in the market. Why I say that? Well... have a look on the poll I launched! The only people who gave a vote went for Fireface UFX, but NONE of them bothered to write a post and explain to me WHY! Is this a coincidence?
I think you need to check you can run the nucleus as a controller via USB - and not use it as an interface and think about how that works. Bear in mind if you use the Nucleus Pres then you will have to patch them into your chosen interface. You can also consider and read about aggregate devices - which may well work - but Im not an expert on this. A computer generally uses 1 interface at a time - but with Mac some people have success creating an aggregate device in the audio/midi settings. But Most software expects to deal with 1 interface and driver.

The Apollo is a decent choice by the sounds of it but you need to check what the stability is like on the threads people talk about it. Im not sure about how stable it is. Its UA first audio interface. It might be fine tho! The main advantage of the Apollo is recording with and monitoring through plugins in real time - and not everyone finds this neccessary or useful. If you want to commit to processing whilst recording I would suggest real hardware which I prefer over plugins anyway.

You will find a lot of people supporting RME (I have their Fireface I purchased after having a bad time with Focusrite)...because they make stuff with good drivers - and they are solid bits of kit. It may not look as sexy as the Apollo - but having a solid interface with good drivers is paramount. If your system is glitching, and dropping out - its pointless. Thats why I suspect people have said yes to RME - because they feel safe recommending it. It seems to have got very solid feedback with people being pleased-thats a good sign.

I rekon first read about the Nucleus as a controller/aggregate devices. Then Read up a bit more on the interfaces and pick one you feel happy about and has good reports for stability(on your platform)-and you will then know what connection you are dealing with FW/USB/PCIe. They all can work very well from these high quality interfaces. Then consider what connections you will need with your computer and peripherals etc. THen you can pick your Mac.

I used to work in a store so I like discussing these things! If you search for each item you are considering usually there is a good thread on it. In terms of the Nucleus SSL would probably be happy to discuss it with you also.
Old 3rd February 2013
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Burger's Avatar
 

All the stuff you listed is good stuff. best thing would be the ability to compare them side by side. you should probably look out for that.
Old 3rd February 2013
  #9
I actually own ProTools 10, a Nucleus, UFX, and 428...plus a number of other nice pres and a Folcrom. I'm very happy with this setup. You could do a hellofa lot worse IMNSHO. FWIW I use the SSL pres for the Folcrom makeup gain.
Old 3rd February 2013
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
The Apollo is a decent choice by the sounds of it but you need to check what the stability is like on the threads people talk about it. Im not sure about how stable it is. Its UA first audio interface.
Check this link out Universal Audio Apollo QUAD Reviews | Sweetwater.com - Just read the headlines of reviews. It's amazing how enthusiastic these guys are with Apollo! By the way, are reviews from "sweetwater" reliable? Should I take them into serious account?
Old 3rd February 2013
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by climber View Post
I actually own ProTools 10, a Nucleus, UFX, and 428...plus a number of other nice pres and a Folcrom. I'm very happy with this setup. You could do a hellofa lot worse IMNSHO. FWIW I use the SSL pres for the Folcrom makeup gain.
It's great news to hear that Nucleus operates with UFX! I suppose this means it would operate with any other audio interface/converter as well, right? What kind of connectivity you use between Nucleus and UFX? Perharps USB? By the way are SSL Duende Native plugins included in the price of Nucleus? Are they good? In case you have also experienced UAD and Waves, which of the three plugin bundles you find more useful? You are the first Nucleus guy I find online, so please excuse my long questionaire! Any other Nucleus guys out there?
Old 3rd February 2013
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salpion View Post
Check this link out Universal Audio Apollo QUAD Reviews | Sweetwater.com - Just read the headlines of reviews. It's amazing how enthusiastic these guys are with Apollo! By the way, are reviews from "sweetwater" reliable? Should I take them into serious account?
I wouldnt personally put much stock in reviews on that site - Id use the search function here and find the main threads on the apollo - see what people are saying there...
Old 4th February 2013
  #13
I use the SSL pres as the makeup gain for my Folcrom summing mixer, not as mic pres. the Nucleus connects to the computer as a controller via USB. you get 2 of the SSL plugins, the channel strip and Buss Compressor. both are really good. I like the SSL comp better than the UAD, which I own. I've had the Mackie controller and this blows it away. I really love my UFX. it's so versatile/flexible and the conversion is excellent.
Old 9th February 2013
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by climber View Post
I actually own ProTools 10, a Nucleus, UFX, and 428...plus a number of other nice pres and a Folcrom. I'm very happy with this setup.
I have recently read that Nucleus give you only 16 channels to work with. I had the impression that you turn pages and each time you get a new bunch of 16 faders and this is an unlimited procedure. Isn't that right? Did those guys perharps mean that you won't get more than 16 channels on the desk at the same time in front of you?

And one more thing. Is HUI protocol so crap or such a "toy" as people tell it is? I have heard there is no serious comparison with Eucon, which Avid Artist offers. Should I have second thoughts about Nucleus?
Old 10th February 2013
  #15
all control surfaces "page" the banks of faders. I love my Nucleus... you need to make your own decision. try to get a demo if you can. look at the videos on YouTube...
Old 10th February 2013
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Thanks, you are right. I will check some videos out! Have you ever had an experience with Avid Artist? Some people say it is an alternative for Nucleus. Would you say that?
Old 11th February 2013
  #17
Artist is flimsy by comparison. plus no mic pres, and honestly it's not an SSL!
Old 8th June 2016
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Interesting. A lot of votes for the RME UFX.
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