New Interface help (what to get?)

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by StereoBoxJosh, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Hey guys,

    I'm having a big issue on what recording interface to upgrade to. Keep in mind I'm upgrading from a M-Audio MobilePre USB, so anything will be a significant increase in happiness :) ...hopefully, but I'm being really fickle with everything though and keep changing my mind. Here's what I'm looking at.... I have a few questions as well if you don't mind helping me out.

    I'm looking for an rack-mountable firewire interface with at least 8 inputs. Obviously there are a lot of these, and I was thinking about about going with the presonus fp10 or firestudio project, but noticed they only have xlr inputs. I want to run the microphones through a cheap rack mount mixer (such as the Alesis 12r) first for a touch of EQ or whatever, then out through 1/4" and don't know i can adapt the 1/4" to a XLR like that... So I was looking around at other moderately priced interfaces with 1/4" inputs and found the Echo Audiofire8 and it really caught my attention. But, that one doesn't have preamps for each channel. The Focusrite Saffire PRO 10 has both xlr and line inputs and seems like a reasonable solution to all my answers I just don't know....
    Here's some questions I need your help with:

    1. does running through a mixer first cause a lot of unwanted noise?
    2. Is there anyway to run direct out (from the inserts) and into an XLR input (such as that found on the presonus fp10, firestudio, etc.)
    3. If I use the insert line of a mixer as a direct out, am i right to assume it will be an unbalanced mono signal?
    4. If so, when I plug the regular 1/4" (unbalanced) cable into a TRS balanced input will there be any issues?
    5. Would using the mixer gain/trim knob work with interface inputs with no pre's attached to them?
    6. Why is there 2 firewire ports on interfaces?

    Please help! This forum = my lifesaver :)
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Quite a few questions, but firstly, a general point. The microphone pre-amps on an FP10 are likely to be of much better quality than those in a cheap rack mixer, so you would be losing recording quality by going through the mixer first. However, if you want live sound with recording, you may have to do just that unless you get a recording interface with line-level channel outs. By the way, the FP10 has 6 line inputs on the combo XLR/jacks of channel 3-8.

    1. Not "a lot" of noise, but some.
    2. Not into an XLR, but into line inputs. Wire the TRS insert cable with tip and ring connected on the mixer end to maintain signal into the mixer buses. Wire to a TS jack or to a TRS with ring connected to sleeve. You can use 6 FP10 inputs this way. On other interfaces, you may be able to use all 8.
    3. Yes
    4. You must wire it as in (2), otherwise there could be issues.
    5. Don't understand. The gain trims on the mixer set the level of the signal at the insert outs. The gain trims on the FP10 set the level from the line ins to the ADC.
    6. So you can daisy-chain other FireWire devices.
  3. Thanks for your help!! I think I'm just going to get the FP10... It seems like the most reliable choice at the moment. It's good to know inputs 3-8 on it are the combo XLR/line inputs. I wasn't aware of that at first.

    Any other recommendations before I go out and buy one?

    Thanks again!
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Other recommendations:

    TC Konnekt 24D
    Echo (any of their boxes are nice. Yes, I know you mentioned one of these - it's a good choice)

    The Presonus box is pretty nice though.
  5. Yeah, I'm going to go with that one. Don't know which one to choose though. It's between the FP10 or The Firestudio Project. They have some pretty sweet deals on the firestudio project on ebay...

    for example, $499 for the interface, faderport, and 2 xlr cables.

    or I can go to guitar center and get the FP10 for $399.

    Also, I don't understand list prices. Why does the FP10 cost $399 with a list price of $799 when the Firestudio project costs $499 with a list price of $699 ???
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I'm still a little unhappy about you using a rack line mixer as your pre-amps and EQ and then into a recording interface. This doesn't feel quite right.

    Maybe you should be looking for an 8-channel interface with decent pre-amps that also has an insert jack on each channel. You could then use the inserts to loop in your mixer or external EQ box. In this way you could get the benefit of better sound and only molest the channels you want with external EQ.

    That said, I think most people would record the clean signal and add EQ, effects and dynamics on mixdown. However, you don't say whether this is just a recording session or whether you are playing live and want it recorded. The live aspect alters the options you have for recording.

    PS List prices are fictitious.
  7. Hrmm,
    Yeah I think the mixer idea was a bad one. I just bought a 12 space rack case and I only have 2 rack spaces accounted for... that's probably the underlying reason why I want one so badly :) ...but yes, I finally made up mind. Well, kinda ...I'm hopefully going to buy this package deal off ebay.

    $499 for Firestudio Project w/free $150 faderport and 2 20' whirlwind XLRcables (which probably stink)

    I've read some reviews that say the faderport doesn't work well with any versions of Sonar post 6.0. I use 7.0 PE, so I figure if it doesn't work or I don't like I can resell it on ebay for atleast 80 buckaroos.

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