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Should I go portable?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by Isaac Adni, May 17, 2016.

  1. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    I've already bought a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (4 preamps and USB) for £250 off amazon. I am still within my return window. Should I instead return that and get a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, second hand, off eBay for around £200, although it works out at around the same price due to the cost of a FireWire cable and the £25 FireWire to Thunderbolt adapter? The Saffire is an interface with 8 preamps that are extremely similar to the Scarlett, but it's rackmount. Since I do most of my recording at school, with school mics/instruments, or at other people's houses, should I just stick with the Scarlett 18i8, or should I carry around the rackmount? 4 inputs does seem like what I'll normally need to record drums, but the school would be happy to lend me even more mics and say in the future I want more... Or I want to record a band at once?
    Or are there any other interfaces I should think about around £250-350?
    I guess the nub of it is whether 4 vs 8 mics for drums will make a big difference?
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Four microphones (kick, snare and two overheads) is normally quite enough for a conventional drum kit, especially in a non-acoustically treated space.

    You don't make it clear whether you would want to be recording other microphone channels at the same time as the drum kit, other than to hint that you might at sometime in the future want to record a whole band. If so, then that's an argument to consider an interface that has more than 4 microphone inputs. However, such an interface considerably would be more bulky to carry around. You should also bear in mind that if it develops a problem, there is likely to be no warranty or service available on items bought through Ebay. A BIN price of £200 for a Saffire Pro 40 is quite a lot below market value for a unit in good condition, so you might want to ask yourself why the seller has pitched it that low.

    Since you mention Thunderbolt, are you are recording on to a Macintosh?
    audiokid likes this.
  3. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    At the moment, it doesn't seem like I'll record drums and other instruments at the same time. But things change, and two years ago I hadn't even started producing music...

    I am on a MacBook Pro with 2 USB ports and 2 Thunderbolt ports.

    EDIT: The Focusrite warranty is only 1 year, so I don't think that's too much of an issue. The Saffire Pro 40 that was going so cheap has already gone, but there's another one for collection in person going for a similar price, although I'm not sure I can be bothered to go, test and collect.

    EDIT 2: I've heard that unplugging FireWire while things are powered on can fry the interface and the PC. Is this true? If so, then maybe I shouldn't get a FireWire interface... but surely through the thunderbolt adapter my Mac won't fry?
  4. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    The interfaces have gone on eBay. I guess I was too undecided to get it in time. When I go pro, I'll go properly pro, but now's not that time.

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