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Anybody tried both? The Mackie unit seems to have a few more routing options and has more preamps - though quantity of preamps isn't really that big a deal for me. Any impressions of the comparison of quality of pres and converters of these two units.

I know, I know, I shouldn't even be thinking about this while I'm pissed off at my digi 002R...but I am.


Cucco Tue, 04/01/2008 - 05:48

Dang Bob - you're all over the place this morning! Keep up this spending, Alice will be going to Radford!! :-0

Anyway - I've used the Fireface 800 (currently - and love it) and the Mackie 800R (obviously a slightly different beast).

Here's the deal -
The Mackie has 12 preamp inputs plus the adat input. However, all of the preamp inputs go through the preamp stage, regardless of whether you're using line or mic inputs.

The preamps on the Mackie are good. Very good. There are only a few things that they don't do well with (heavily driven source material and ribbon mics). Their gain range is annoying in that they seem to have over 50% of their throw in the last 25% of the dial. Also, resetability is not really an option.

The RME -

Also has great preamps. IMO, they are more "open" than the Mackies where the mackies are more punchy. However, they handle heavily driven stuff just fine and actually do quite well with ribbons.

Also, in addition to the 4 mic preamps, you have 8 line inputs which go straight to the ADC. Okay, so that's a slight fib. If you use all 8 line inputs and all 4 mic inputs then "input 7 & 8" will have 2 of the mic pre's signals and 2 of the line input signals going to the same non-discrete channels. This isn't too much of a problem if you're okay with mixing them on the fly.

As for routability, I'm astounded on a daily basis for what the RME box can do. It is, quite honestly, the most flexible piece of hardware I've ever used in my life.

For example, on that recording I was doing down in Charlottesville that I invited you to - I had 5 separate mixes set up -

one mix was for me - it fed my monitors so I could hear what I was mixing while I was mixing it.

one mix fed a pair of cans internally - this mix had a little more of the electric bass and the tonal bass drums in it b/c the band director was asking for that even though I wanted a more "even" mix in my monitors.

Another mix was for the drum instructor - he wanted to hear nothing but drums.

Another mix included a click track plus the same mix that I fed my monitors

The final mix was a flat mix sent out to a HP amp at the field so the drum major could hear it if necessary (wound up not needing this one).

The nice thing about all of these different mixes - it didn't affect the performance of my computer at all since all of the routing took place in the digital realm within the confines of the RME box only.

Add to that the fact that I can run 10 tracks without any extra conversion and up to 28 with external conversion, I'd say it's tough to beat.

Of course, you might also want to consider the TC Konnekt 48. It's been getting some positive attention from other folks around here too.

I recently bought the Konnekt 24D for my in-studio rig and really like it. The mixer, IMO, isn't as intuitive as the RME, but I haven't spent as much time with it yet. Also, the RME seems to work at lower latencies a little better. A situation that won't make a hill-of-beans difference on a location job, but when overdubbing vocals in a studio, it was enough that I had to switch out and get my RME. (I'm working on correcting this though).

The nice thing about the TC (IIRC) is that the 4 preamps are active along with the 8 inputs. Also, the built-in effects are quite nice.

The down side, again IIRC, is that there's a max of 8 adat inputs versus the Mackie's and RMEs 16.

Anyway - these are just some somewhat random thoughts on the boxes.

Enjoy your forced-decision-making-process.


Cucco Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:00

Crankitup wrote: Interesting, Cucco. I am considering purchasing a Fireface 800 pretty soon. Would you recommend it over the Konnekt 48?

I cannot and would not make that recommendation.

For my needs, the RME suited me better. At the time that I purchased, the TC 48 had just hit the market, so I did compare between the two. However, my experiences with the 24D have been quite positive thus far.

My experience with the RME has been nothing less than business-altering for me. I'm certain that the TC box would be well-suited in most if not all environments as well, the RME just happened to be my choice.

Sorry - I know this doesn't help. :-(

Cucco Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:01

AwedOne wrote: Cucco,

Would you say the RME Fireface 800's preamps are better sounding for drums, than the Mackie's? I'm planning to get either API or Great River pres for vocals and acoustic guitars, but I need something better than the Tascams in my interface for drums.

Wow..tough call.

Ultimately, I'd probably lean towards the Mackies for their slight bit of character. However, I wouldn't reach for either of them first.

I'd reach for my Aphex 107 before either of those (for the slightly thicker but airier sound...)

Did I mention I just ordered an ISA428? Now THAT works great on drums.

Boy, I'm just as unhelpful as ever today...sorry.

Cucco Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:05

Sorry - no clue.

RME has a very good open user's forum which would probably address any specific questions.

I can tell you that, along with just about any other Firewire device, the quality of the FW chipset in the host is as or more important than just about any other factors.


anonymous Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:08

Hmm, I'm having a tough time deciding. Plusses of the konnekt are: 12 line ins (sweet), an external control knob, 2 headphone jacks...

the fireface looks like it has a better build quality, better software, 10 line ins...

It's kind of a toss up. How would you compare the pre's, the converters, and the build quality?

anonymous Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:12

Cucco wrote:

Did I mention I just ordered an ISA428? Now THAT works great on drums.

yeah, I've been looking at the Focusrite also, but only 4 preamps as opposed to 12...

Here's a really newbie question for ya -

If a unit only has 4 preamps, but 8 channels, can each preamp process 2 simultaneous input sources at once? this has always confused me about the way companies hype their products.

Cucco Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:15

Not quite.

The 428 with the digital board fitted has 8 digital outputs.

There are 4 transformer coupled preamps and 4 transformerless line-inputs on XLR.

Of course, you'd still need an interface. But...take a Focusrite 428, digital board and a Konnekt 24D and you've got a great setup for around $2700. The TC preamps are clean, the ISA preamps are clean but a tad aggressive in the mids and you can add a boat-load of different pres later.

Sorry Bob - we're way off topic now.

Back on topic -
ProTools sucks, RME rocks, TC's dang cool, Mackies are groovy...
Did I mention PT sucks?


BobRogers Tue, 04/01/2008 - 13:13

Actually the thread has a lot of info for me. And besides, I've calmed down since Sweetwater's tech guys shipped the wiring harness for the power supply at 9 AM. If that fixes the problem I'll be able to take a slower more careful approach to my eventual changeover. But it's going to happen eventually. Last night was the worst case of recordus interuptus I've experienced.