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any Focusrite Saffire user here?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by k1, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. k1

    k1 Guest

    please users, give some review on Focusrite Saffire.
    how stable drivers?
    how accurate MIDI?
    DA AD converters quality?
  2. axel

    axel Guest

    i am curious too!!
  3. k1

    k1 Guest

    shipment will be started mid July, as i was told at a shop....
  4. Graysun

    Graysun Guest

    Saffire vs. Firebox vs. others

    I haven't tried it, but the technical specifications seem to be very similar to the Digidesign M-Box, which Focusrite helped develop.

    I've been researching the options a bunch and have found that an important factor in capturing a quality recording is the Frequency Response, or "bandwidth" of the audio captured. The Tech Specs will tell you a lot about the capabilities of a product.

    The Saffire's FreqResp is 20Hz - 20kHz, about the same as the M-Box.

    While the Presonus Firebox is 10Hz-50kHz... (see Preamp Bandwidth)
    http://www.presonus.com/firebox.html ...much much better.

    The RME Fireface 800 is awesome, with the following stats (although it's much more expensive):

    Frequency response @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 5 Hz – 20.6 kHz
    Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 5 Hz – 45.3 kHz
    Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: 5 Hz - 90 kHz

    M-Audio gear is in either 20-20kHz or 20-40kHz.

    It's funny, the less expensive 410 had better freqResp. It might be newer.

    While the Saffire looks very sweet, and has some GREAT software bundled, including onboard DSP, i'm beginning to believe that simply capturing a good signal is critical for making quality recordings. If you're looking to bring in sound sources by microphone or line in, i'd go with the Firebox. If you will be doing everything within the computer, it doesn't matter as much.

  5. k1

    k1 Guest

    thanx, this makes sense!
  6. tele_player

    tele_player Guest

    That might be fine if you were comparing specs that are real, and all created the same way. I wouldn't assume either.

    I doubt you'll be able to choose the 'best' of these interfaces based on published specs, and you probably couldn't really hear any difference among them.

    On the other hand, the Saffire is the only one with builtin DSP for running plugins, which is unique in this price class, and almost unique at ANY price.
  7. axel

    axel Guest

    oh... i agree with tele_player, tech specs often say very little to nothing, they certainly don't give you any idea about, e.g. the character or colour of the sound, for example in the home hifi department it's even worse... i like NAD and linn a lot, but most of their tech specs are far under all that japanese stuff... they just sound much, much better to me then all that high spec. tech number nonsens... you find that in everything, mics, boards, compressors, just look into behringer specs... ha ha ha :p numbers say (nearly) nothing in the end...
  8. cynics1207

    cynics1207 Guest

    This is a uk leading magazine editor reply to me,

    Hi Ken,
    I just reviewed the Saffire unit and it seems very good for the price, particularly the mic preamps, which are based on the Focusrite Green series. If you can't afford RME or one of the other big interfaces, then Saffire seems like a good choice and the included plug-ins are pretty good too other than the guitar amp simulator, which is somewhat rudimentary.

    And i've just place my order after reading all this review...

    Saffire Reviews

    Play - UK Magazine - July 2005

    "Combining the I/O control in SaffireControl with the kind of pre-amp quality you'd expect from Focusrite, and the awesome tracking and monitoring plugs that require zero CPU from your computer, means it's true - you really can simulate a professional recording session in the comforts of your own bedroom, and all for under £350. For me, that's not just a giant step, that's the moon and back!"

    Read the full review

    "The package also offers a flexible software application called 'SaffireControl', which enables you to perform a number of nifty functions."

    "One thing I liked a lot was Focusrite's obvious desire to make Saffire appeal both to seasoned pros and newbies alike. When using these plug-ins, you can toggle between user-friendly templates for vocals, guitars, pianos and other instruments, or open up the plug-in and get into more specific tweaks with conventional controls."

    "Focusrite have even made this simple with a 'float' button that keeps the control surface open at all times."

    "It gets better, as monitor reverb can also be set up to aidthe recording process. Again, this is an adjustable control that allows you to set an amount (dry/wet mix), a room size, the diffusion level and a clever tone control, which filters various. The single dial is capable of producing low-pass, hi-pass and band-pass tone, so finding a useful setting shouldn't be a problem."

    "Using this system, and the handy labels on the outputs themselves, Saffire is capable of producing surround mixes in both 5.1 and 7.1. In fact, you could make almost any system you wanted, including direct feeds for stereo monitors and a sub bass unit for example."

    "There's a lot to like about this box. It sounds great, does what it's supposed to and yet has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. SaffireControl is focusrite's ace in the pack here, and is designed to appeal to both the novice and the experiences user."

    "I suspect Saffire will do very well. Despite looking like a departure from their existing range, Focusrite have actually drawn from their strengths here by combining their M-Box experience with years of proud dynamics processing history, and it's a winning combination."

    Build - 8/10
    Value for Money - 9/10
    Ease of Use - 8/10
    Versatility - 9/10
    Quality of results - 9/10

    "Sounds great and will appeal to complete novices and cynical pros alike."

    Jono Buchanan, Future Music, September 2005

    “Saffire redefines the use of FireWire interfacing, providing a unique DSP input processing system, software mixing and integral VST/Audio Unit effects. Most importantly, however, despite adding considerably more functionality than the Mbox, the Saffire’s retail price still falls under the £350 mark … it’s a lot of interface for a relatively small outlay.”

    “Pleasingly, the unit seems to have been put together with an informed understanding of the demands placed on an audio interface during recording:”

    “By having eight outputs, the Saffire is clearly equipped for surround applications; however, by having four separate stereo outs, Saffire also enables you to configure separate headphone and monitor mixes (something impossible to achieve with basic, two-output audio interfaces).”

    “SaffireControl, however, takes this idea one stage further by using the software to access Saffire’s DSP chip – thereby opening up the potential of processing a signal as it ‘goes to tape’.”

    “The plug-ins themselves sound fantastic – to our ears, close to the sound and performance of the Forte suite of plug-ins for Pro Tools, which flatter almost any sound being passed through them. As an added bonus, the plug-in presets offer a quick-and-easy starting point for processing…”

    “Saffire feels much more sympathetic to recording than simple X-in-X-out audio interfaces, SaffireControl software makes the process of working with monitor mixes considerably less painful than other audio interfaces.”

    “Focusrite has a lot to be proud of with its first audio interface. Rather than playing the numbers game with the amount of ins and outs, Focusrite has concentrated on providing a dependable solution to computer recording that is immediate, enjoyable to use and with a sound that befits such a respected brand. The plug-ins, preamps and A-D/D-A converters all deliver the depth and transparency so important to a successful recording. Put simply, no other FireWire interface offers this kind of flexibility and superlative audio quality – certainly not at this price. Indeed, Saffire really illustrates what computerbased recording should be about: no confusing latency workarounds or sloppy compromises on conventional studio wisdom, but a system that both oozes and encourages professionalism throughout.”

    “Conclusion: Saffire illustrates just how much FireWire audio can deliver: a superb-sounding interface with a unique and exciting combination of DSP processing and software control.”

    Marc Cousins, Music Tech, Issue 30

    "[Focusrite] certainly tried to bring something different to the part. Rather than simply put an audio interface and a one-in, one-out MIDI interface in a box, the Focusrite engineers have given their unit 24 bit/192kHz processing capability and added on-board DSP so that the included reverb, compression, amp modelling and EQ plug-ins can be run without burdening the host CPU and without suffering latency."

    "The generous provision of outputs makes sophisticated monitoring or external mixing possible, and means that the Saffire is also well suited to surround mixing."

    "Focusrite have used a high current drive headphone-amp circuit so there's no shortage of level here!"

    As an all in one product for desktop recording, the Saffire is going to be a tough act to follow, especially at the price. The combination of good mic amps, generous I/O and included effects is seriously attractive."

    "The designers have really captured the opto compressor feel nicely. This works really well on vocals and guitar to make them sound bigger than life, and though you can hear the compressor working when you hit it hard, the side effects are musical rather than irritating. they've also given users a very comprehensive equalizer that sounds more analog than it does digital, and having the option to switch the upper and lower curves to the different modes really extends its usefulness."

    "To me, the reverb sounds like 'plate meets spring' but without the undesirable artifacts of either, and while it may seem a little bland if heard in isolation, it really sits very nicely in the mix, supporting vocal and instrumental sounds rather than rolling all over them."

    "The ability to set up multiple monitor mixes is excellent, as is the ability to control all he output levels from one physical front-panel knob for surround work, and the idea of providing the inbuilt effects and processors as separate plug-ins that can run on an AU or VST host is also very welcome."

    "The subjective audio quality of the converters is good for the price, and t hey are perfectly good enough to do serious work."

    "The mic preamps are also worthy of a mention, as these are comparable with what you'd get in a good-quality rack unit, so you're not going to be shopping around for external voice channels or preamps."

    "Given that Saffire has four inputs, 10 outputs and firewire connectivity, it is going to be a hard act to follow, especially when you take into account its on-board DSP processors and effects."

    "For situations where one or two musicians are likely to be overdubbing at a time, it is close to ideal"

    "As a new entry into this tough market, the Saffire seems to be in an enviably strong position and I can't see how it can fail to do well for Focusrite, especially as the included software manages to be both comprehensive and straightforward without forcing the user to trawl through menus."

    • Extremely attractive price
    • Good I/O provision
    • DSP effects plus native plug-in counterparts
    • Can function as a surround monitor controller.

    • Nothing you can complain about given the price!

    Paul White, Sound on Sound, September 2005
  9. Ken7

    Ken7 Guest

    Have these shipped yet?

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