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All Focusrite Saffire line Audio interface users- A question for you.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jmm22, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    All Focusrite Saffire audio interfaces come with a plug in VST package that includes reverb compression, EQ, etc. I am curious to hear from any users as to whether they are respectable in use, and how well they stand up against other such VST plug ins, particularly the reverb.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    In regards to what? Other free VST plugs or against commercial high end plugins? Just like most things, the high end plugins cost what they do for a reason. I have not used the Focusrite plugs but have found the GVST plugs to be useful if you end up not liking the Focusrite stuff. Even the really pricey ones don't quite equal the best analog gear but they are quite close IMO.
  3. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    I am not sure what GVST is. I suppose I am saying compared to other free or modestly priced VST's. My own experience is so limited, it is skewed. The only bundled VST plug ins I have ever used came with Cubase LE4, and they are just brutal. They are so bad, every other free VST plug in available as a download on the internet blew them away. They are so bad, they are an embarrassment to Cubase itself, which does work adequately.

    I am wondering if the Focusrite VST's will be sufficient, or whether I will struggle with them for a while only to discover a need for something else. I long discarded the old free dowloads when I switched computers, and would prefer not to download hodge podge in search of free hidden gems. Hopefully, there are at least one or two Saffire users out there to comment.
  4. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    In the absense of any Saffire users, here's my thoughts: pick your interface on the basis of its features, and the stability of its drivers, not for any bundled plugins. If you pick a Saffire and the plugs turn out to be really good, then thats a bonus.

    I'm happy to suggest some free / affordable 'gems' to try if you want... mac or pc?
  5. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    That is good advice, thanks. Although, it is a bit surprising to think that recording.org might not have any Saffire users. The saffire line does appear to extend into the more professional side of things, and all come with the same bundle.

    I am on PC, and would be very appreciative of any recommendations.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Focusrite isn't the company it once was. The Focusrite Red is groovy still but the other stuff is less stellar. The Saffire isn't generally considered as stable in regards to drivers or it's clock as some other interfaces.

    For entry level "Pro" stuff, RME gets the love around here. RME spans the gamut of Pro level equipment including full blown record company stuff like the Micstacy, ADI192 etc. Also the RME drivers are rock solid and frequently updated. Not a sales pitch but just an explanation about why finding a Saffire user might be slim pickin's. Or Slim Pickens if you prefer.
  7. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    I will scout out RME, as this name is brand new to me, but one of the problems with living in a small town is supply. I still travel a good distance to get to the one decent music store that does not require a full day's round trip, and this means having to pretty much go with a product they carry. My initial guess is that they do not carry RME, but I won't know for certain until I call. Sure, one can always order, but a store with walls makes any return or issue that much easier to deal with.

    On the other hand, it is worth noting that the Saffire line in particular does seem to get good reviews, and I am now considering their newest firewire model, the pro 14, which has some new patented jitter and clock technology called Jetpll. The downside is that it is so new, there is vitually no feedback on it yet. I have also managed to reach a live human being at Focusrite tech service for questions on two occasions now, and believe me, that counts for a good deal in my book. Let's face it, if supreme sound was my only critieria, I would be looking at a unit costing maybe $2000 instead of $300, so one who is on a budget must make some concessions. A unit that is respectable and vastly more reliable than my new door stop (Presonus Firebox) will be welcomed.
  8. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    For surgical EQ I suggest ReaEQ from the ReaPlugs bundle (free)

    For more creative / colourful EQ try Vibe-EQ (very affordable, with unrestricted demo)

    Also check out DDMF

    Compressors in the very affordable category include Stillwell's Major Tom and The Rocket and Voxengo's Crunchessor

    In the slightly-more-expensive-but-still-worth-the-money-category try Cytomic's The Glue and FabFilter's Pro-C

    If you want free compressors you could do worse than to click my sig ;)

    Also check out Audio Damage's Rough Rider, though its a bit too extreme to be considered a general purpose comp IMO.

    Reverb: Audio Damage EOS is amazing value IMO.

    You could also try convolution reverb: LiquidSonics have affordable and free versions available, or there is the venerable classic SIR version 1 for free. Download some free impulse files from NoiseVault to load into them.

    That should keep you going for a while I reckon... :)
  9. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    I agree, that will keep me busy for a while.Thanks again.
  10. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    IIRs, I checked out your free compressors. I will try them soon. In the meantime, I have to confess that the whole concept of people making free plug ins is just slightly less perplexing than the origins of the Universe (which I do have a bit of a handle on). Help me to understand. Why do you and other people (bootsy comes to mind) create them? How do you create them? Where do the very diverse graphics come from? If someone wanted to start creating them what things do they need to know, and what resources would need to acquire?
  11. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Well I can only speak for myself of course. I make them for my own use, and because I quite enjoy the process; its a bit like playing a puzzle game, except you might end up with something that's actually useful!

    Making plugins would normally require a c++ compiler plus c++coding skills, and the sdk (software development kit) for the format. Obviously you would also need a grasp of the DSP involved in whatever you were trying to do.

    I don't do it like that however, as I use Synthedit or Synthmaker to do the boring bits like handling graphics or interfacing with the host. Both of these represent blocks of code as "modules" which can be connected with virtual cables, and are somewhere between being modular synths / fx units, and being graphical DSP programming languages. Using those means I don't need the c++ compiler, and I can concentrate on the maths behind the DSP instead of my c++ syntax.

    Of course this also means I can only offer vst format plugs for PC: no mac versions, AUs, RTAS or VST3 will be available, unless the SE/SM devs decide to support those formats as well, which seems unlikely at the moment. It also limits the support I could offer: if a user reports a crash in a specific host (for example) there will probably be no way for me to fix it directly, and I would have to just pass on the bug report to the SE/SM devs and hope they give it priority.

    I have thought about selling my plugs. However, the lack of alternative formats would greatly reduce my potential market share, and the limited support I could offer would make me feel guilty about charging any more than a token shareware price anyway. I would also need to make a manual, probably also a bank of presets, a demo version, and I would have to implement some type of basic copy protection / licensing system. Basically, I can't be bothered with all that boring stuff: once the plug is working I like to just put it out there and accept the kudos of other users as my reward!

    Of course, if a commercial developer is offering a free plug-in it is reasonable to assume its a marketing / promotional tool for the commercial products.

    Graphics can be created in any graphics app such as Photoshop. I use the GIMP (a free alternative) plus two other free apps specifically designed for creating GUI elements: Knobman and Skinman
  12. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Incidentally, since you mentioned Bootsy: he also uses Synthmaker! My FL4TT3RY compressor uses the RMS detection code that he was kind enough to share on the SM forum. :cool:
  13. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Very interesting. Thanks. I notice that for all of the interesting things Bootsy has made, he does not have a compressor. Are compressors any harder to design than other plug-ins?
  14. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Look again! Density mkII released today! « Variety Of Sound
  15. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Thanks, I guess I missed it by looking for compressor in the name. It's called a stereo bus compressor. Can such a thing still be used on individual tracks, rather than the whole mix? Not a clever question I know, but as a novice, nothing is obvious.
  16. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Yes, you can use it on tracks.
  17. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Hi IIRs. I just downloaded your L3V3LL compressor, and will give it some use over the next week. Thanks again. You were kind enough to make several recommendations for effects, and these will indeed keep me busy, but I am missing one more fundamental one, and that is a mastering plug in. Do you have to know of any decent free or inexpensive ones?
  18. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    If you get your mix right it won't need any more than a volume change during mastering. Depending on your target levels you may need a brickwall limiter or clipper to shave a bit off the peaks. Try the free W1, or look here for an alternate version with a gui, or try the Aradaz Maximizer.

    Clipping can sometimes work better than limiting when dealing with short peaks, so maybe try Event Horizon (this also has a limiter mode which I've not tried yet)

    DDMF is planning to release an affordable limiter "soon" No Limits. You might want to check out his "flexible phase" EQ LP10, as even good mixes might need small EQ tweaks to make them fit together into an album.

    If you need any more than light compression, EQ, and limiting / clipping, you will probably do better to re-visit your mix.
  19. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Thanks, I downloaded Aradaz, but could not get anywhwere on the ddmf website. My computer locks up when I try to visit.

    There is something I do not understand. I went to Waves Website (nice looking plug ins, but very expensive e.g., $360 for a limiter) and the Maximizer has a dither button, to dither down to 16 bits. I have viewed many free mastering limiter plug ins, and none seem to have a dither function, including Aradaz. Why does the Waves Maximizer have dither function and not the other Mastering plug ins? How do I dither with these others?
  20. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Strange. Maybe try a different browser?

    Your DAW almost certainly has a perfectly serviceable dither algo built in, and its probably turned on by default. If you wanted to use the dither in Waves Maximizer you would need to make sure the DAWs built-in dither was turned off, otherwise you would be adding dither noise twice and just uselessly raising the noise floor. If your limiter plug doesn't include dither, simply leave the DAW's dither turned on.

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