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Digidesign 003 vs. RME Fireface 800+Mackie Control Pro

Hey there,

Got a little query I'd like to ask you guys about. Im setting up a rig involving 2 Focusrite 8 channel preamps. I was going to go with the Digidesign 003 Factory, but then realized that it only has one ADAT input, meaning that one preamp will go into the ADAT and the second will have to be outputed through the 25pin jack output into the jack inputs of the 003, probably resulting in considerable quality loss.

The other option I could choose to go with is the RME fireface 800 as the audio interface, which has 2 ADAT inputs for both preamps. I can then connect a Mackie Control Universal Pro control surface to the RMEand bam Im good to go.

Let me know what you guys think...



RemyRAD Fri, 10/24/2008 - 17:58

My question to you would be if you intend to use Pro tools? Then you'll have to have at least a Digidesign or M-Audio device and ProToolsLE or, M-Powered.

You don't have to track with ProTools but if you want to mix with ProTools, you'll need some of their hardware. And what to do for overdubs? Other software or ProTools? If you're going to use another software package, then something like a MOTU 2408, with its corresponding internal computer PCI card might be more of what you want? Especially since the device has 3 sets of optical, light pipe ADAT connections bypassing any onboard audio electronics. But if you're using a laptop, then your RME choice, would be just the ticket.

But then again, if you want to become a ProTools monster? I'd take the analog outputs as you described into the 003. You're not going to find a substantial loss of quality. In fact, I doubt whether you'll hear much of any difference? A lot of that really has to do with what kind of musical material you are recording? Distorted guitars with raucous drums? Maybe a Mozart violin Concerto? And of course, you are using only the finest microphones? Or a bunch of bargain Russian & Chinese built stuff?

It really comes down to the integrity of the engineering.
Ms. Remy Ann David

BobRogers Fri, 10/24/2008 - 23:33

I have a digi 002 unit and a Focusrite Octopre connected with ADAT. So I have two types of signal path available to me - through the digi or the Octo. I have connected and compared lots of devices along both signal paths: mics, instruments, and preamps. There is no way that I'd call the converters substantially different. In fact, I wouldn't say that even the preamps are substantially different. I choose the signal path based on features (e.g., the octo has a trim pot/pad on the line level and a built-in compressor/limiter (that I'm not very fond of)).

It's probably just the problem of trying to put your question in a short post, but it really comes off like you are basing an important decision on a very minor difference. As Remy indicates, there are so many points in the signal change where the differences are so much larger than the comparison between these two pieces. And other factors like workflow and long term expansion plans are probably much more important to your decision than the differences in audio quality.