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Studio Audio Interface

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Moonfury, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Moonfury

    Moonfury Active Member

    Hey, folks!

    I'm considering a new audio interface. I'm thinking of some kind multi-input firewire interface, which doesn't have any complicated stuff on-board, so it's just like 20-something-analog-inputs-to-firewire-rack-converter with nothing except that, no eq's, no compressors, etc. And to use it with a similar the-same-input-number-rack-preamp. So the question is: do you think such choice is sensible? Or should I better consider something like StudioLive 24 by Presonus? If my thoughts make sense, then are there any audio interfaces, like I mentioned, in the market?

    Thank you, guys, and all the best to you ;)
  2. Cleanpants

    Cleanpants Active Member

    A lot of that would depend on your budget I think. There are some very high quality converters out there (I'm personally a big fan of RME). If you're looking specifically for FireWire though, I'm not sure you're going to find one that has 24 I/O without getting three 8 I/O units and doing the daisy chain thing.

    MOTU makes a 24 I/O converter-only box, but it is a PCIe based system, not FireWire. Here's the product info page for that: MOTU.com - 24I/O Overview

    Good Luck
  3. Moonfury

    Moonfury Active Member

    Thank you, Cleanpants!

    Daisy chain is a nice idea. If I connect 3 x 8-input firewire interfaces with daisy chain, will I be able to record 24 separate channels in recording software? And how will it affect latency?
    I also have another question.. There is, for instance, audio interface Liquid Saffire 56 Audio Interfaces Professional 28 In / 28 Out with 2 Liquid and 6 Focusrite Pre-amps which claims to be 28/28 input/output.. How come? I can only see, like, eight.. What does that number mean then?


    -----* edited *-----

    By the way. No, I'm not looking for a specifically firewire interface. I'm looking for a better solution for my future studio. It's just that I thought that FireWire would be better. But as I read reviews, I find out, that PCI would be better in terms of reliability and lower latencies. So with PCI it works this way: there are two modules, generally, one - the pci card in the computer and the other - audio interface. They are hooked with AudiWire cable. And then I can record up to 96 separate tracks simultaneously, right?

    Thanks again ;)
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I would not daisy-chain interface boxes at this level but instead get an interface that has expansion inputs. This type usually has a number of built-in mic pre-amps and line inputs. In addition there are ADAT inputs, each of which will handle 8 channels at standard rates (44.1/48KHz), and then there may also be a 2-channel S/PDIF input.

    If you are setting up a mid-level studio, I would recommend the RME FireFace UFX as your base unit. This fits the above formula having 4 mic inputs, 8 line inputs, 2 ADAT inputs (16 audio channels) and 2-channel S/PDIF. I would then get two 8-channel pre-amplifiers with ADAT output to connect to the ADAT inputs of the UFX. To get sonic variety, it would be worth having the two external pre-amp units as different makes and models. This setup gets you 20 mic inputs and 8 line inputs. The line inputs can of course be used to connect to the outputs of single-channel or dual-channel pre-amps to add mic or DI inputs with additional sonic colour. The UFX has 10 analog output channels for driving studio monitors and foldback headphones for the performers. If you do go this way, come back to us for recommendations of 8-channel ADAT-output pre-amp units.

    You would need a FireWire interface board that uses a TI chipset for your computer. If your computer has PCIe (PCI express) slots, get a PCIe interface. The older type of parallel PCI boards cannot be plugged into PCIe slots.
  5. Moonfury

    Moonfury Active Member

    Thanks, Boswell!

    I feel really noobish, because I've been recording my band for like several months, but never got into details of expanding inputs, especially never dealt with ADAT or S/PDIF.. I'm really intrigued with Cleanpants's suggestion to go MOTU 24 I/O + PCIe 424 as a core unit. Why would it be worse than your suggestion? I guess because MOTU won't have internal preamps? But I guess it's a good thing on the one hand, because this way I will be able to insert compressor/limiter between the external preamp and the audio interface.


    -----* edited *-----

    Especially, what I find a good thing, is that if I run out of inputs, I can easily add one more MOTU 24 I/O and record 48 separate tracks simultaneously (up to 96, I guess).
  6. Moonfury

    Moonfury Active Member

    Could you please tell me about a good choice of ADAT mic preamps, Boswell? I guess, I'd need not only ADAT output, but also simple analog outputs. I've read a bit about Focusrite Octopre mk2 Dynamic, and the reviews are quiet different.. Some say it's great, some say they got it and never use it, because it sucks..

    By the way, what is there with S/PDIF input on Fireface UFX? Will I be able to use, when both ADAT inputs are already used?

    Thanks again ;)

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