Converters and Laptop interface

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by boy44, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. boy44

    boy44 Guest

    Until now, I have been tracking to a Mackie hard disk recorder (SDR) and then dumping all the tracks onto my computer for editing/mixing, but I have decided that this process is too inefficient and am going to sell the recorder and record straight to the computer. So now i need an audio interface, but I'm having problems finding any that will suit my needs and price range.

    My preferred computer connection is firewire, because I am using a laptop now, but sometime in the future i plan to get a dedicated-to-audio desktop. The problem seems that all firewire interfaces are all in one boxes with a mix of a few preamps, line ins and outs, a few digital i/o choices, maybe a midi or two, and a perhaps a control surface. I would like to have most of these as separate pieces so they can be upgraded in the future. Here are the features I need:

    1. laptop digital sound card (preferably firewire, pcmcia if its the only option)
    2. around 16 analog inputs with decent converters (no preamps)
    3. around 16 analog outputs with cheap as cheap as possible converters to mix headphone signals from
    4. 2 channel high quality analog output for monitoring

    Is there any product (or combination of products) that can accomplish this that I don't know about? I know the price range makes a huge difference in this. I cannot afford two the apogee rosetta with firewire cards, which would be a good solution.

    One option I considered was a RME Digiface which has 3 ADAT optical inputs/outputs to pcmcia (or pci card which i could get when i get a desktop), but I read in other posts about this same topic that ADAT is starting to be phased out. My hope was that I could get a good sound card now that would last for a long time and cheaper AD/DA converters now that I could upgrade later. (ie get two Alesis AI3's now and later on get a better 16 channel AD only converter). But If the ADAT in the Digiface wont be the preferred way of transfering from the better converters to the computer, I will be stuck having to buy a new card in the near future.

    So what is the newer/best digital I/O option and are there any laptop cards which would accomodate it?

    I'm really stuck on what to do here so I would be very grateful for any help.

    p.s. Im using a mac powerbook g4, and still deciding between getting cubase or logic.


  2. boy44

    boy44 Guest

    Ok, so after considering all the options I could find, I think I am going to probably just get a RME Multiface with pcmcia card which would give me 8in/out at 96k plus 96k stereo out and then I could get an 8 channel 48k AD/DA like the AI3 and clock it from the Multiface. I could get all this used for $800-$1000

    Then when I get rich I can just get a whole new setup of desktop and better converters straight to pci or firewire.

    Does this sound like a good choice? Also I read that RME drivers are better suited to windows and im using MacOS 10.2(probably 10.3 very soon) will this be a problem at all? Is there any other setup that would give me the same thing/better for a similar cost?

    Thanks again,
  3. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    rme has a good line of products!
    if you have the budget i'd go for the fireface 800!
    if not the motu products are also good!
  4. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    It's astonishing how few decent pcmcia options are out there. The Digiface and Multiface are way more portable than any competitors that I know of, and would appear to have an advantage in terms of quality. I'm not sure what the advantages of the Fireface 800 will give you over the other two (except for four mic inputs that you might not be impressed by). It's also rack size which is a disadvantage if portability is an issue. If I was you I'd choose the Multiface.

    John Stafford
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