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hi, I do mostly classical recordings I use for the pourpose and ALESIS HD24 with an analog mixer, I am thinking to buy a very good 8 channel preamp with ADAT lightpipe out to feed Alesis HD 24.
Since I have a macbook pro I was thinking to buy a product that could be used as stand alone preamp and audio card for LOGIC so I could record simultaneously on DAW and on ALESIS HD24 to have a backup of all material.
Many collegue use just daw based system, but honestly I think that Alesis HD24 is absolutely relialable on live recording. Any comments and suggestion will be appreciate
thanks in advance for your contribute.


Jeemy Sat, 04/24/2010 - 05:36

Yes. I just don't use one - I have 8-ch pres without ADAT or Firewire, and 4-ch pres with both within an RME FF800, so there is nothing that I can personally recommend.

Take a look at [[url=http://[/URL]="http://recording.or…"]this thread[/]="http://recording.or…"]this thread[/] where a similar situation is discussed and possible answers are a Focusrite ISA 828 (which doesn't have Firewire afaik), or the RME FF800 (which I do use, and highly recommend and has both ) plus 4 more channels of preamp.

TheJackAttack Sat, 04/24/2010 - 08:55

What sampling rate do you record at? For the HD24, if you are only at 44.1k/48k then you don't need ADAT for your preamps. If you have an HD24XR then you are good all the way to 96k and you really don't need ADAT. The converters in the HD24XR are very good.

Now for stand alone interfaces with what I would call entry level professional preamps, they start with the TC Electronics Konnekt 48 and the RME FF800. These each have four built in preamps. More importantly, they have line inputs/outputs and ADAT inputs/outputs as well. Each of these units can be utilized in stand alone mode meaning that they can be used as AD converters with no connection to a computer at all.

In my opinion-especially for classical recording which is what I do-you are best off looking at regular preamps. The models I'd recommend are the True Systems Precision 8, the DAV BG2 or BG8, Grace, and Millennia. Any of these choices are excellent for what you require and can be routed into the Konnekt 48 or FF800 used either as stand alone converters or as computer interfaces. This is essentially my rig combined with an HD24XR, rackmounted Glyph hard drives, and a high quality flash recorder for triple redundancy. It makes for an outstanding mobile rig.

I do also have some preamps that have built in ADAT conversion. The Onyx 800R is no longer manufactured but are very decent despite the Mackie name. The RME Octamic II is another good option and the RME Micstasy is used by labels too. I still think your most flexible option is using the Konnekt48 or FF800. Better converter boxes can be had but they get really pricey.

Cucco Sat, 04/24/2010 - 09:08

Unless the landscape has changed recently, I don't know of any preamps with Firewire and lightpipe that I would lump into "high quality." In fact, while I do know some interfaces that have good preamps (RME, Prism, etc.) and Firewire and I do know of some great pres that have digital outputs (Focusrite ISA series, Grace, etc.), I don't know of anyone who offers both. That being said, the RME and Prism should both be able to be set up to provide their analog ins as an output to their ADAT and set to work that way without the computer. However, that's only 4 pres and neither would rank up there with the Millennias, Graces, Trues, etc.

That being said, I used to use an HD24 for precisely what you're talking about. I found it, at best, cumbersome. At worse, it was a headache. Yes, it's stable as heck and sounds pretty good (either through ADAT on the regular version or analog on the XR version), but there are options that, to me, seemed more logical.

Personally, I use a laptop with the RME Fireface and a Glyph Firewire drive as my primary rig. I use True systems preamps as the front end. The Trues have two sets of outputs. The primary output goes straight into the RME (or into additional converters and then ADAT into the RME when needed). The secondary outputs go to a summing mixer. In my case, when using <8 channels, I use a Dangerous Audio D-Box which also gives me the ability to monitor and provide talkback too.

When going larger than 8 tracks, I'll usually use an outboard console or a larger summing mixer. The 2 channel output then goes to a variety of back-up devices including Korg MR-1000, MR-1, MicroTrak II, etc. In many cases, if I dial in the mix right, I'll use the DSD 2-track from the Korg as my main audio file.

If you're finding that this is too complex, or you'd prefer to not work with the computer, I would urge you to look at the True Systems preamps. The built-in flexibility of a split signal is unbeatable and it will allow you to track to multiple locations at once. Pick up a good interface (try the RME - it will allow those 8 channels plus 2 of the preamps on the front) and use it on your computer when you need to.

Just some thoughts.

PS -
We have an Acoustic Music forum here dedicated to classical, on-location recordists. Check it out! Cheers!

Boswell Mon, 04/26/2010 - 09:17

The converters in the stock HD24 are not in the top league, so unless you can find an EC-2 upgrade kit (turns the HD24 into an HD24XR), you should be looking at ADAT input into the HD24.

The points you need to consider for attaining your stated goals are:

1) High-quality pre-amps, at least 8 channels

2) ADAT output of pre-amps, or analog-output pre-amps with a separate ADAT-output ADC

3) Ability to go to 96KHz on at least 8 channels (HD24 has max of 12 channels at 96KHz)

4) Monitoring line mixer (not in the recording signal path) with soloing and pan facilities and headphone output, switchable from monitoring of record channels to replay.

5) Stand-alone use as a pre-amp and converter input to your computer (probably via FireWire), and also for redundant concurrent recording to computer and HD24.

As the others have advised, there are various combinations of pre-amp, converter and/or interface from different manufacturers that would cover this need. The only product that comes to mind that would do the entire job at the required quality level is the Allen+Heath Zed-R16. I know this is primarily a mixer, but it does have the features of high-quality pre-amps, 16-channel ADAT interface for HD24 I/O, FireWire interface to a computer, monitoring mixer (overkill!) with solo and pan, and 48/96 KHz operation. It would also give you analog mixdown capability directly from the HD24. I would be the first one normally to advise in general against mixers for recording where no live PA in involved, but the Zed-R16 struck me as an almost exact match to your needs.

planet10 Fri, 04/30/2010 - 08:20

i may be wrong about this but heres a thought........
an 8 channel mic pre with ADAT outputs is available such as the digimax by presonus BUT used for classical recording i wouldnt do it, TOO NOISY. My thought would be this, get a TRUE Systems 8 channel mic pre patch that into the HD24 via analog inputs use the either the ADAT output or the analog output of the HD24 into your, say for example an RME Fireface 800 into your Logic DAW now you have 8 PRISTINE mic inputs into the HD24 which had really nice a/d/a's and inputs via analog into a PRISTINE a/d/a of the RME
backed up, done, move on to the next one.

so chime in as there may be some glitches in that signal chain ???? ive never done it that way live but i do it when i bounce live stuff recorded onto the HD24 into my Nuendo system via ADAT Lightpipe and no problems.

TheJackAttack Fri, 04/30/2010 - 08:38

The glitch is that the HD24 converters are not as good as needed to get up to 88.2k or 96k which is pretty customary for classical genre-even live. If it were an HD24XR or had the EC2 upgrade kit for the plain HD24 you would be on the money. Generally with the basic HD24 you'd want to be ADAT in and out.

True System 8 are wonderful preamps though. I wouldn't be without them. I also think you're right, that the Digimax is NOT a good idea for classical music. By the time you get to high quality preamps combined with an ADAT output you are already looking at Grace or Millennia etc.

planet10 Fri, 04/30/2010 - 09:59

so with that in mind, (the HD24 not having the best a/d/a for higher sample rates) and he went with my suggestion on micpre/interface option you could put the HD24 second in the chain as just a 48k backup since you are coming out of the a/d/a analog anyway into the HD24. and if your DAW took a dump you take the HD24, analog out of that back into the FF800 analog in, convert to 96k into Logic. analog is analog and you should be able to up sample from there right??

Boswell Fri, 04/30/2010 - 10:33

The HD24 analog outs are not the same as the analog inputs, they are digitized and re-constructed. If I understand waht you are suggesting, you T-off the pre-amp outputs into both the FF800 and the HD24, acting as a backup. If you then had to use the HD24 recording, you would want to go lightpipe into the FF800 (up to 16 channels at 44.1/48 KHz, 8 channels at 88.2/96KHz), and into Logic at whatever the original sampling rate was.

TheJackAttack Fri, 04/30/2010 - 11:24

Not contradicting Boswell in any way, I use a different chain just because it's what I'm comfortable with and works for my specific modular needs.

Microphones --> True8.
True8 --> FF800 via dsub/TRS
FF800 --> HD24XR via ADAT (88.2k) and a (FF800 Totalmix) summed 2-bus spdif feed into a flash recorder and of course into the DAW
DAW recording to a Glyph or DIY hard drive enclosure.

I have used a small variation of this as well (about 40% of the time).
True8-->via dsub TRS snake into FF800 and via TRS/TRS directly into the HD24XR
FF800-->DAW and FF800 TRS direct out into summing mixer-->flash recorder
DAW-->external hard drive

If I use a different set of preamps-almost never-then I adjust as necessary. This is just what I do to ensure triple redundancy because I'm a 100% mobile rig. It's also why mixdown is a PITA for me because I have to set it all up in the house and tear it down so I don't make the wife mad or topple a monitor/stand over on the baby. Someday I'll have my own shop/studio for storage and mixing and repair.

TheJackAttack Fri, 04/30/2010 - 11:30

Oops. Didn't answer the question directly.

Yes, if one used say the True Systems Precision 8 which has dual analog output then it is quite easy to use the HD24 as a redundant recorder at 24/48k (preferably 44.1k for CD). With the FF800 doing the conversion to ADAT of course 24/88.2k is good enough for the HD24 to have primary position.