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Complete Overhaul ... computer, interface, drives, etc ...


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My main workhorse is a 2008 Mac Pro and I've been using Digital Performer for about 20 years.

 

My interfaces are (2) MOTU 2408's (PCIe card). I have 48 channels of simultaneous input/output.

 

My setup works great but it's old.

 

I recently switched to Logic (and, of course, Pro Tools) as my full-time DAW and I'm going to upgrade my computer and will need to upgrade my interfaces and figure out what to do with all my current internal HD's.

 

In my Mac Pro, I have my OS drive, Audio Sessions drive, VI Library drive, and Video Editing Drive. All are SSD's.

 

I also have an external 2 disk raid for video editing (SATA drives).

 

This is gonna take some thinking (and money) on how to house these drives for my new Mac. I'm undecided on which mac to get .. possibly the new M1X Mac Mini if it gets announced?

 

At any rate, does anyone have any suggestions on how to re-house these drives for the new computer?

 

Also, I'll need new interfaces .. I'm thinking either:

Antelope Orion 32 https://en.antelopeaudio.com/products/orion-32-gen-3/

MOTU 24i/24o https://motu.com/products/avb/24ai-24ao

 

I don't need preamps on my new interface but I do need at a minimum, 24 ins/outs.

 

Any suggestions on a new interface?

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We are in the same boat as you with a 2009 Mac Pro and a Motu 24i/o and two 2408s.

Also considering the Mini and because we have a console, patchbay and cable snakes, the type of I/O is pretty important for the "hot swap" we can do.

 

We suspect the new 24i and 24o is just the same as before and no analog upgrade.

 

The 16A has more headroom on the inputs compared to the 24i when you look at the specs, so we would need 2 of them to cover the channels of the board.

If we get the Antelope, we would have to spend additional money on DB25 cables.

We've been using Motu for a long time and it always delivered.

And nowadays, in this price range, they all use the same converter chips, so the difference is in the analog path.

 

The other important thing you need is a Thunderbolt 3/4 dock to cover the basic peripherals.

We're already have one from OWC on the video computer and it's great.

 

So there you go.

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We are in the same boat as you with a 2009 Mac Pro and a Motu 24i/o and two 2408s.

Also considering the Mini and because we have a console, patchbay and cable snakes, the type of I/O is pretty important for the "hot swap" we can do.

 

We suspect the new 24i and 24o is just the same as before and no analog upgrade.

 

The 16A has more headroom on the inputs compared to the 24i when you look at the specs, so we would need 2 of them to cover the channels of the board.

If we get the Antelope, we would have to spend additional money on DB25 cables.

We've been using Motu for a long time and it always delivered.

And nowadays, in this price range, they all use the same converter chips, so the difference is in the analog path.

 

The other important thing you need is a Thunderbolt 3/4 dock to cover the basic peripherals.

We're already have one from OWC on the video computer and it's great.

 

So there you go.

 

 

I spoke with MOTU and asked why the 16A is so much higher priced than the 24i/o and they said that the 16A has better DAC. I'm not one to put a lot of stock into DAC's when, IMO, the more important thing is mics and preamps.

 

I'm undecided between an Antelope Orion 32 vs MOTU 24i/o.

 

I don't really need preamps so I'm not sure why I'd go with the MOTU 16A.

 

It sounds like our setups are pretty identical in regards to patch bays, computer, interface, and overall setup.

 

I'm DEFINITELY looking forward to using DSP for FX on headphone cues. At the moment, I use external verbs/compressors to get the musician a good-sounding mix. I use direct hardware playthrough on the MOTU and my current interfaces don't have any DSP because they're so old.

 

Re: Thunderbolt Dock ... I'll look those up. I'm assuming it's a chassis to hold my SSD's and those connect via Thunderbolt to my (new) Mac?

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I don't really need preamps so I'm not sure why I'd go with the MOTU 16A.

 

There are no mic pres on the 16A, but you have input and output on the same unit, and better dynamic range and conversion. You still have the TRS jacks and it's thunderbolt, so like PCIe, it has great latency values. We would need 2 of them to cover 24 inputs on the console.

 

The 24i/o became now the 24i and the 24o, so you have to get both units if you're using a console or use lots of outputs.

But they didn't change the dynamic range. They didn't improve it, they just split it in two and got rid of the TRS jacks and put DB25 on it.

And it's only USB 2.0, which I'm not too crazy about, so I don't know what the latency values are on USB at 64 buffer. They're usually higher than PCIe or Thunderbolt in my experience.

 

And if you need 2 of these new interfaces, you have to get their AVB switch, so another 500 bucks.

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I don't really need preamps so I'm not sure why I'd go with the MOTU 16A.

 

There are no mic pres on the 16A, but you have input and output on the same unit, and better dynamic range and conversion. You still have the TRS jacks and it's thunderbolt, so like PCIe, it has great latency values. We would need 2 of them to cover 24 inputs on the console.

 

The 24i/o became now the 24i and the 24o, so you have to get both units if you're using a console or use lots of outputs.

But they didn't change the dynamic range. They didn't improve it, they just split it in two and got rid of the TRS jacks and put DB25 on it.

And it's only USB 2.0, which I'm not too crazy about, so I don't know what the latency values are on USB at 64 buffer. They're usually higher than PCIe or Thunderbolt in my experience.

 

And if you need 2 of these new interfaces, you have to get their AVB switch, so another 500 bucks.

 

 

Why wouldn't MOTU just make an interface with 24 (or 32) DB25 ins and DB25 outs?

 

 

Antelope 32 channels $2790

 

Motu 24i ($995) and 24o ($995) and AVB switch ($500) $2490

 

Motu 16a (2 of them) $2990

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And if you need 2 of these new interfaces, you have to get their AVB switch, so another 500 bucks.

 

My mistake, 3 to 5 interfaces, you need a switch.

 

Motu 24i ($995) and 24o ($995) and AVB switch ($500) $2490

 

No need for the switch in this case. But no sonic improvement over the old PCIe version. Two grand for the same "old" new unit.

 

Antelope 32 channels $2790

 

Your best bet if you don't use more than 32 channels.

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And if you need 2 of these new interfaces, you have to get their AVB switch, so another 500 bucks.

 

My mistake, 3 to 5 interfaces, you need a switch.

 

Motu 24i ($995) and 24o ($995) and AVB switch ($500) $2490

 

No need for the switch in this case. But no sonic improvement over the old PCIe version. Two grand for the same "old" new unit.

 

Antelope 32 channels $2790

 

Your best bet if you don't use more than 32 channels.

 

 

When I asked MOTU if the 24i (or 24o) would be sonically an improvement over my current 2408 ... their answer was a definitive YES

 

But I'm sure they're just trying to move units.

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When I asked MOTU if the 24i (or 24o) would be sonically an improvement over my current 2408 ... their answer was a definitive YES

 

Technically correct. About 2dB of headroom improvement, from 108dB to 110 dB. It was the same back in 2003 when they came out.

We have two 2408s and one 24i/o in the studio, we know.

 

The 24i/o has 110 dB, so if we go to the 16A we get 7 more to 117dB of headroom.

 

The Antelope has 120dB on their line inputs, even more headroom.

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In regards to external storage ... I have SSD drives in my Mac Pro bays. I'm debating on using those and just getting some sort of dock/chassis and putting the drives in there and connecting that to my Mac Mini ... OR ... getting an all-new drive.

 

I come from the days of SATA drives when you kept different drives for sessions, VI's, OS, etc.

 

Is this still the case with these new fast drives?

Should I keep 2 different drives? 1 for sessions and 1 for VI library?

 

Also ... the connector on the Mac Mini M1 is Thunderbolt 3. If I get a "Thunderbolt 3" drive from, say, OWC, is that actual drive faster than an SSD? Or is it just an SSD drive with a Thunderbolt connector?

 

Does anyone have any suggestions on external storage?

 

The M1 I got only has a 256 GB internal drive so I need to keep EVERYTHING on external storage.

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SSDs are still expensive compared to spinning drives.

I keep using spinning drives for Logic sessions, they're all 7200 rpm. No need for SSDs.

 

SSDs that use thunderbolt enclosures are faster than USB 3 ones.

You don't need fast SSDs for Logic projects.

SSDs are more logical for video stuff.

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SSDs are still expensive compared to spinning drives.

I keep using spinning drives for Logic sessions, they're all 7200 rpm. No need for SSDs.

 

SSDs that use thunderbolt enclosures are faster than USB 3 ones.

You don't need fast SSDs for Logic projects.

SSDs are more logical for video stuff.

 

Great and interesting points.

 

I was scoring a large musical and was using multiple instances of Kontakt and the projects were taking forever to load. Granted, this was in Digital Performer. So, I bought a large SSD for my VI library and it made a WORLD of difference.

 

So ... I already have the SSD's if I wanna take them out of my Mac Pro and put them in a chassis. OR, from what I'm hearing you say, is that spinning drives should still work fine even for multiple VI instances?

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Some VI use disk streaming like Kontakt, so an SSD sample drive will make a difference.

I'm just talking about normal audio tracks, so unless you record at 192k sample rate, SSDs are overkill for audio recordings.

Logic usually loads everything into Ram on project opening.

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