Best 8 channel ada setup under $1k

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by aphid, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. aphid

    aphid Guest

    I'm looking to get off my vs-880ex and onto a computer based DAW. I have preamps and outboard gear just need a good ada converter. I was wondering what people would recommend under a grand. I would prefer to use firewire for portability's sake. Also, I would also like it to have atleast 8 ins and 8 outs and be able to COMPLETELY bypass the preamps so I can use my own and not worry about some cheap IC coloring my tone. In fact if there is just a decent line level firewire converter with NO pre's I would be happy :)

    Here is what i've been looking at so far:

    Presonus FirePod
    Focusrite OctiPre
    Motu 828 mkII
    Layla 3g
    Delta 10/10
    Behringer ADA8000 with a PCI ADAT card (cheapest)

    but like I said, if anybody knows of a firewire based ada converter without pres that has 8 ins and 8 outs that would be awesome! Midi isn't important to me right now but would be appreciated!
  2. PCM

    PCM Guest

    check the motu traveller. Basically an 828 but smaller and nicer and MIDI too. Supposed to be a pretty nice piece of gear. Maybe a used RME?
  3. aphid

    aphid Guest

    yeah, that looks nice. it looks like it has 4 preamped inputs and 4 line leve inputs. do you know if there is a way to bypass the pre's on this box completely so they don't affect the sound?
  4. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    behringer ad8000 ive not used it but if you get that and a adat lightpipe in that sould work. i dont like motu at least what ive heard. unless i was goin laptop based i would choose between these two.

    Delta 1010

    the RME would give you alot more versitilty and expandability but
    the Delta is Mpower compatable, and while unless you have 15K to spend i dont recomend ProTools having the ability to import some one elses project is what made me buy another delta1010 intsed of sellin the one i had and getting a RME.

    btw i use Cubas SX3 for my daw and i love it.
  5. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Check out the RME Multiface, about $1k for the interface and PCI card, which connects to the interface via firewire. It has 8 analog I/O, 8 channels ADAT optical, MIDI I/O, SPDIF. No pres, just converters and a great virtual mixer for signal routing.
  6. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    M-Audio Octane

    8 Channels of ADC
    8 Preamps

    Wordclock i/o

    - Each preamp has it's own Balanced Direction out.
    - Each Channel also has a Balanced line input so you can go
    directly to the coverters and bypass the preamp.

  7. aphid

    aphid Guest

    yeah, the octane looks cool but its just adat out... which means i have to get a separate card. i guess, its not the end of the world though but i think if i where gonna go that route i'd get the behringer ada8000...

    if i go that route, does anybody know of a cheap but stable adat pci card? i was looking at the terratec EWS88D if I did go the adat route but they dont' seem to be available anymore. Sucks because they where only$150....

    Sooooo, it seems that my choices are now focused around the:

    Motu Traveler
    Presonus Firepod
    Delta 10/10
    Behringer ada8000 with a cheapo adat card (?)

    So far, I think they stronest contenders are the Firepod and the Delta 10/10. Does anybody know if the Firepod is any good?

    Also, frob, does the Delta have preamps in it? I just saw what looked to be line level inputs on the back. That's no big deal, in fact I'd prefer not to deal with cheesy preamps and just run direct from mine. If it does have preamps can they be bypassed completely?

    Anybody have any other opnions on other gear? Preferabley firewire with bypassable pre's :)
  8. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Hi aphid,
    just my two cents here.

    The Motu traveler looks really nice. You save a bit though if you go by the 828mkII and get a few more inputs as well. The 828mkII is plenty good for most uses if you ask me (I use one for classical on-site recording). One of its really good things is the flexible powering, but this also means that often you will need an external wall-wart power supply. Must say I hate those.

    The Behringer has surprisingly good mic pre amps if you ask me, given the price. The line in though is a bit noisy, don´t ask me how as it probably is part of the same circuits. Not necessarily a big problem, but definitely not in the same class as the Motu 828mkII (yes I have an ADA8000 as well). This might be a good bet anyway for those extra channels you desperately seek for.

  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Am I missing something here??

    I don't mean to be a putz, but - you mention you're looking for the best ADA under $1k - many of the items you mention perform no DA function, only AD. Also, you're wanting to avoid cheesy preamps? Most of the items you mention, even if they have a line in, still go through the preamps.

    As well, the ADs your talking about here are kind of "bottom of the barrel." I don't want to make any assumptions about your current gear, however, if you're looking for an AD this inexpensive, then I'm guessing you don't have a rack of APIs or Neves. IOW, you're not going to do any worse than the pres in these boxes versus the pres in a stock mixer or a presonus type pre.

    My advice - if you're looking at spending under $1K - get the Alesis AI3 (I think that's the model #) and an RME HDSP card. This will give you decent to good line-level AD conversion as well as a damn good PC interface card. If you decide to upgrade your converters in the future, the RME will be able to accept them. Plus, some of their cards will give you Line IN/OUT plus ADAT IN/OUT so you'll actually have some DA conversion too.

    Just my $.02

    J. :D
  10. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    If you do go "that route" spend the extra money and get the Octane.

    Frontier Dakota?

    Lynx has some very good sounding cards you may want to take a look at. Don't know if they have an 8 channel one though.
  11. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I would definitely recommend the MOTU units over the Alesis/RME combination. The converters in the MOTU (828mkII at least...haven't heard those in the Traveler, but they're supposed to be a bit better) sound much better than the Ai3's to my ears, and they spec out better as well. And they're capable of running at 96 kHz if that kind of thing excites you...I've always run mine at 44.1 khz and been happy with the sound. On the 828mkII the line inputs are separate from the two preamps, so you've got 8 line-level inputs and outputs plus two mic inputs. Plus you have eight channels of ADAT lightpipe I/O and the ability to expand with MOTU's other Firewire devices. I don't know if there's a way to bypass the preamps in the Traveler or not, and I'm not sure if there's an audible difference between the first four and second four inputs at line level or not.

    If you can go PCMCIA, though, RME's Multiface/Cardbus combo may be a good way to go. I haven't directly compared the two (and I haven't heard the new Multiface 2 at all) but most people seem to think they're a step above the MOTU converters, or at least as good. My general impression was that they were at least as good and not significantly better, although I didn't get to compare them side by side. The new ones may be even better. In any case, though, you'd be saving about $250 with the MOTU. I don't think you'd go wrong either way.

  12. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I use outboard pres into a 2ch rosetta via spdif into my 828 mkii for more critical tracks (vox, lead instruments) and yes, you can bypass the pres (actually there are only 2 pres, the other inputs all need pres) I am happy to use the 828 mkii converters for less critical parts, such as drums, rhythm guit etc. when I need to use more than 2 ch at a time.
    this solution works well for me and I also use the clock from the rossetta instead of the clock from the 828 mkii. the reason i went in this direction was that I first bought the 828 mkii, then a friend brought over his rosetta and we plugged it in via spdif into the motu and I was definelitely converted. there is a lot more definition with the apogee converters and the apogee clock certainly tightened up the low end and the drums. I (only) paid about $700 for the apogee on ebay plus the $700 for the motu. that's not a bad solution, though i would have preferred the 8 ch rosetta- but we are talking about 4K here after you add the firewire card.
  13. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    I have a buddy that own's the firepod. It has 8 eureeka pre's that dont suck. You also have the option to run the pre's on the first 4 channels, or the last 4 channels, or run all 8 at the same time. The Firepod also comes with a HD4 headphone amp free if bought by the 31st, plus there are auctions on ebay selling these units new with an Audio Technica AT2020, free mic cable, and a mic stand. Now im not plugging that auction, to make any money, as it is not mine to sell, and wont make a darn thing. There are also SM57's going with these things free (different auction). This item is "hot" right now and people are trying to upstage one another much to the ameusment of the buyer in the market of the firepod.
  14. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I'd agree that they don't suck, but they're not the same preamps that are in the Eureka. They may be based on the same design but they're transformerless, whereas the Eureka is a transformer-based preamp.

  15. aphid

    aphid Guest

    I like the idea of using the rosetta for intensive tracks and being able to use the onboard pre's for non critical stuff. The question is, has anybody heard the firepod pre's compared to the motu 828 mkII or the motu traveler?

    I guess, going back to my original argument though, that onboard pres aren't that important though and whatever I buy it has to be able to bypass them completely. My plan is to build 8 tracks of SCA preamps and I have two Groove Tube bricks right now. Might be nice to have onboard in the meantime I guess :)

    One thing I've learned from everybody so far is that Adat isn't a bad route if you get a good PCI card because it will allow you to expand or upgrade later down the line clean and cheaply. Only draw back is that you are limited up to 48k(?) Not a deal breaker in my book but something to consider if I ever start doing work for DVD's and such. Would using an external converter like the rosetta aleviate this or is it a limitation of the transfer protocol itself?

    So the runners up sma to be:

    Presonus Firepod
    Motu Traveler
    Motu 828MKII
    RME Multiface + RME PCI Card
    M-Audio Octane + Frontier/Lynx/RME PCI card

    It seems motu is getting the most votes... And the traveler, if all its input pre's can be bypassed, seems to be the better choice of the two.
  16. aphid

    aphid Guest

    Has anybody used the Motu 896HD? What did you think and how much is the street price on this thing? Zzounds has it at $1k.

    It has everything I need (bypassable pres on all 8 channels and firewire compatibility) but sadly no midi.... not a deal breaker though.

    Most people at the stores have been raving about the RME Multiface but, alas, it comes with no pres to carry me in the meantime...

    If I went down the Multiface road, does anybody know of a good 6 or 8 channel strip/mixer that could do justice in the meantime? has that friggin' studio projects 8 channel strip thing come out? I'm also anxious for their dual channel tube preamp but haven't heard anything about it in a dog's age...
  17. maikol

    maikol Guest

    Aphid wrote:
    I don't think ADAT is a real limitation. You just have to divide the number of channels by two when in double SR. But i guess not all the gear has this ability. I think it uses the s/mux protocol to manage high SR on ADAT optical (?), but , again, it might be good to check if the unit does it...

    i own a multiface /pcmcia from RME and i'm very happy with it, but it's not stand alone firewire (although it uses some kind of firewire protocol between the multiface and the card i think)...
    the converters are good for the price. They even became very good for the price when being clocked to a better device.

    i found it better soundning than the 828mk2 in these conditions...

    anyway,i've often seen peolple talking about the very good quality for the price of RME's converters.

    i've had a m audio 410 for a while, and found it was very bad... dunno how the other m audio sound , but that one has been enough for me...

    good luck!

  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I've been using the Dakota card with AI3 for 3 years now and the set up is very stable and flexible. No 96k but I run @ 24 / 44.1 anyway so it's not an issue for me.

    At this point I am looking at some better converters (either the Tangos or some Apogees) but I plan to stick with the Dakota card ....

    The Dakota gives you 16 channels in and out on ADAT and s/pdif or AES/EBU as well which is very handy. I use the s/pdif outs to monitor through a stand alone CDr patched the 23/ 24 channels of my SR24. The AISO monitor automatically pipes the input signals to the first 16 channels of the mixer when recording for latency free C/R
  19. Snakefinger

    Snakefinger Guest

    The firepod lacks software and the preamp pots lacks feel

    Hi, i am in the same position, thinking about buying either firepod, mackies onyx 400f or the traveler. I've read that the motu preamps beat both the mackies and the firepod. The firepod also lacks software for setting up individual cue mixes (although i've read that is coming). I've also read a review in Music tech magazine that the pots on the firepod have incremental steps which increases so much for each step that its difficult to use them.


    The Traveler gets somewhat of a beating in this review:

    Ceartainly, ADAT compatibility is a must if you're thinking of expanding your setup in the future.

    Ah, this is to difficult...[/url]
  20. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    If you want to bypass the pres get an 828mkii, not a traveller. the 828 has 8 analog inputs you can use with outboard pres plus the two with pres- the traveller has 4 with pres and four analog inputs, so if you want to bypass the pres you have only 4 analog inputs, not 8. they both also have adat inputs and spdif
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