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Typical Interface purchasing question


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Hey guys, typical question I thats been covered, but its been awhile since I have been in the market for an interface.

What do you guys thank is hot right now that has at least a 8 in 8 out, 8 on board pres, Firewire, 96k sample rate, and has extremely good conversion. I'm going to be using it for tracking, mixing with some hardware compression and effects, and 1 MIDI device. Using an iMac with the latest version of Logic 9, PT 9, and OSX. My budget as between $900-$1100. I want something solid.

 

My top 3 based on what I have seen out there are:

1. Focusrite saffire 56

 

2. Digi 003 (upgrading with the Black Lion Audio mod later down the road)

 

3. MOTU 896mk3

 

I really want other opinions, so please weigh in! Thanks

 

-Mike

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I think you're trying to do too much with one device. You won't get a good result with a "do-it-all" box.

 

1) You don't need 96 kHz. That's a marketing gimmick.

2) With that budget and everything you want to fit in it, you won't get "extremely good conversion". You can, however, get perfectly "decent" conversion.

3) Forget about the MIDI I/O. If the interface you settle for has one, great, if it doesn't, buy a cheap one on the side - it shouldn't affect your purchase decision either way.

 

IMO the absolute most important factor when buying any kind of equipment for your music studio is reliability. You want something that works, you want to have an idea and record it, not have an idea and download drivers, uninstall some software, spend 15mn on hold when calling tech support, etc...

 

Regarding your potential candidates:

 

1) Several have reported issues with the Saffire, I would consider that before purchasing one. Focusrite is relatively new to the audio interface game, and I haven't used them myself but usually recommend staying with the "tried and true".

 

2) Digi003 is just about the worst interface you could get for Logic. The digidesign core audio drivers are horrible and very unstable. They require constant troubleshooting. You'll be spending the rest of your life troubleshooting while dreaming of the music you could have made if you'd purchased something else.

 

3) MOTU interfaces are reliable, have been around forever, are tried and true, even if not the most robust hardware (buttons are small and flimsy). I would highly recommend that choice.

 

Other manufacturers to look at include RME (very high quality - maybe the Fireface 400?) and Presonus (about on par with MOTU, for some reason I prefer their hardware).

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I'm using the saffire 56 and haven't noticed any problems with it, you just need to know how it works and maybe takes a bit of time to get your head round focusrites mixer part. But once set you just don't have to look at that anymore, I'm using it with an Imac as well. Very good sounding interface... imho better than the Motu's which i compared besides the focusrite. The liquids on the focusrite are very nice too.

96k is pure overkill and no audible difference compared to 48k. Setting up with Logic only took about 5 mins.

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Its not like the old days, when all we had was tape. I have a 1/2" Otari 8 track and I still LOVE that sound! All you have to do with this machine is select the sel/rep head and you have perfect tracking!

 

If the man wants 96k I say respect him.

 

Do you remember that for some of us 88.2/96k can give half the latency of 44.1/48k?

 

It all depends on your system.

 

I say you don't need to spend big$$$ to get a fast interface.

That is the main reason I use 88.2/96k.

 

IMO there is nothing more annoying than latency even in low latency mode.

 

Better monitoring during tracking makes better performance which yields a better more accurate overdubs while recording, end of story.

 

BTW:

1. Focusrite saffire 56

+1

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Thanks for weighing guys. Let me address a few things though. 96k isn't really a must have, its just nice to have options.I know all about the 192k marketing gimic as well as 96k. I usually record audio at 48k just about all the time. I did have a band ask me to do a project at 96k (funny story). The group read it was a higher quality and insisted that I do it a that sample rate..When they went in to the live room. I switched it back to 48k. Onewave, I would love to do everything to tape, but tape machines are pretty pricey and they cost a butt load to keep up. You're a lucky man to have on though and I bet your tracks are slam'n! Thanks again for weighing in guys!
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Studio517, this reminds me of a client in a big, BIG hollywood studio, shows up and requests an analog tape recorder. The chief engineer asks him if he's sure, tells him all studios are outfitted with a Pro Tools system to record the audio etc... but the producer wants to record on analog tape. So be it, and the chief engineer brings the tape machine to the producer.

 

Recording session starts, the artist does one take, the producer stops the take in the middle, approaches the talkback and discusses how to do a better take with the artist. Then he turn to the assistant and says "ok let's do this again, from the top!". Everybody waits. Producer raises the voice "FROM THE TOP!". Nothing. Everybody's waiting. The producer feels like he's going to blow a fuse, the artist is getting impatient, producer starts yelling at the assistant, who replys with a tiny voice: "the tape is still rewinding!" :lol:

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Love that story!

 

IMO, 96K and 192K aren't worth bothering with. For the price of half the latency (the only real-world benefit, and certainly worth pointing out) you have twice the expense and time when it comes to backing up your files; more than double the time to sample rate convert your files for playback on any system other than your recording studio system; and if you're going to be sending MP3's out to the client for approval or for playing on an iPod, well, fuggedabout it! Oh, and (potentially) half the track count on your computer.

 

I'd LOVE to have tape, even just to print stems to for mixdown. But the expense and upkeep are just too much. Now, if I win Super Lotto, that'll be a different story. :mrgreen:

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I used to own a 24 track 2inch otari machine. The bugger weights 120Kg, a tape on which you can record 20 minutes costs 180 euros. You get quite some hiss, especially when recording again and again on the same tracks.The tapes wear out after some time and you have to bake them. The heads and some mechanical parts needs loads of maintanance. I once had a fly flying into the machine... right between the rolling tape and tapehead... There was recorded a full band on it, all the material was gone including a tapehead. And as said before.. it takes ages to rewind.

 

Why does anyone want tape ? Just for the saturation ? I don't think that's worth all the above trouble.

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I used to own a 24 track 2inch otari machine. The bugger weights 120Kg, a tape on which you can record 20 minutes costs 180 euros. You get quite some hiss, especially when recording again and again on the same tracks.The tapes wear out after some time and you have to bake them. The heads and some mechanical parts needs loads of maintanance. I once had a fly flying into the machine... right between the rolling tape and tapehead... There was recorded a full band on it, all the material was gone including a tapehead. And as said before.. it takes ages to rewind.

 

Why does anyone want tape ? Just for the saturation ? I don't think that's worth all the above trouble.

 

I also had one but with the Dolby SR option...every few hours or days depending on how long the sessions were I had to pull out/put back/reset the calibration cards...a real pita. Then I bought 3 1rst generation Adats and watched them chew up tapes occasionally.

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