Roland VS-2480 vs Mackie Onyx/Tracktion

Discussion in 'Digital Recorders' started by SaviorSound, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. SaviorSound

    SaviorSound Guest

    I'm looking for opinions on which would be a preferred setup. I am currently using a Roland VS-1680 now and would like to upgrade to either the new VS-2480DVD or possibly going the PC DAW route with a Mackie Onyx 1640 including the firewire card which comes with Tracktion (Mackie's software) or maybe get Logic or Cubase. Is anyone using the Onyx firewire setup? If so what software? Any regrets? I'm leaning toward the Roland because of my familiarity with the VS but would like to check out the pros & cons of both rigs. Any opinions?

  2. SaviorSound

    SaviorSound Guest

    OK, no opinions huh?
  3. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    The 2480 is not bad at all for an all in one DAW. It is extremely portable, has 16 mic inputs, and has lots of effects possibilities with the new VS8F3 card w/ 3rd party plugs. If portability is a major concern, I'd consider it. Its mix bus and file portability are some drawbacks to consider. Also - if you want to add ADAT type AD conversion, you need to buy Roland's Proprietary "RBUS - to - ADAT" box. The 2480 also uses RDAC data compression - just like the 1680 does (or linear mode with only 16 tracks avalible).

    I have a 2480 (previously had the VS880EX in the mid 90's), and I decided to move on to something with more power and flexibility. I went with a PC and Nuendo, along with some RME hardware. Now I have like 2 racks of gear, my CRT, and my Mics to drag around with me (I'm portable for now) - so my setup/tear down time is killing me, BUT I am getting some satisfying results. Having access to loads of Plugins is also another plus. File "portability" is also magnitudes easier in a PC/Mac setup IMO.

    Most people don't consider the 2480 to be a "pro" piece of gear, but pro results are possible with a good engineer and good talent (as with ANY system). You also have the VS8F3's limited power to deal with. The 2480 CAN use some killer plugs, but you an only run 1 or 2 Plugs per card. In a PC, you can run as many as your system will handle (usually dozens of plugs are possible).

    Unlimited Recording tracks in a PC/Mac DAW are also cool (no bouncing needed), and automation and editing are also usually easier on a PC/Mac DAW. Most DAW's can also do "Sub Groups" for group processing - but the 2480 will need a "bounce" to accomplish this effect, and then you loose your ability to control the elements of the Group seperately.

    The 2480 is a nice machine, but it is like 5 years old now (would you buy a 5 year old PC :eek: ?) , and for $3500 or so, you could have a descently fast PC, a descent Firewire audio interface, and some budget software - WITH the ability to upgrade freely as you feel the need.

    FWIW - The 2480 makes a killer PA board (That is what I use it for now :) )

    Food for thought. I would have gone directly to a PC setup if I was starting from scratch.

    PS - Check out - and goto their Forum. The most knowlegable group of VS users on the face of the Earth!!!

  4. SaviorSound

    SaviorSound Guest

    Thanks for the input Randy. I can get a brand new VS-2480DVD for $3,150 with a free flat screen monitor. That's really not that bad for 16 mic pres in an all-in-one DAW. Portability is not an issue, it will be a permanent install (basement studio). My next question would be, what would it cost to get set up with a PC (or Mac) based DAW? I would need a mixer with some decent pres (that's why I was considering the Mackie), an interface, a decent computer with a ton of RAM, huge hard drive and a monitor, software and plug-ins. Would going this route not cost nearly twice the $3k investment for the Roland? or am I missing something? Any suggestions for a powerful DAW on a shoestring budget? Also good editing software without a steep learning curve would be nice too! Randy, how do you like Nuendo?
  5. jblack

    jblack Guest

    I Just started using the Mackie Onyx 1220 with the Firewire card. And so far I love it. I'm recording onto a PC using Samplitude V8. I've been hooked on Samplitude for about 3 years now. I think its a wonderful DAW program.

    I'm sure you've been researching so you know what you're getting with the onyx. I like the fact that I can record live and mix the raw recording later in Samplitude (it has tons of editing features).

    I've been tweeking my set up for a few years, so I don't know what everything that I have costs off hand, but You can get a very well equipped PC with monitor(s) for under a grand. You don't need a separate audio interface or sound card with the Onyx FireWire setup which can cost anywhere from $750(1220) to $1650(1640).

    If portability is an issue, get a well equipped laptop. Also, when purchasing a PC, be sure not to waste disk space, RAM, and money on all the extra garbage software that most manufacturers usually include. You might want to have a PC shop build one for you.

    But if you still want to go hardware, I've heard good reviews on the latest Korg DAWs.
  6. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Like Kurt has mentioned about the Onyx w/ Digital Firewire, you could have more flexibility by using an analog mixer w/o a digital interface (also save $$$), and then buy a SEPERATE digital interface to allow patching and other applications that are just not possible with the Onyx's FW card. This makes perfect sense to me, as your options are open for expansion by keeping the analog and ADC/DAC in a seperate unit.

    The initial cost may be slightly more, but it beats having to replace both units or do un-needed patching when you want to get more advanced with your capabilities...

  7. skygod

    skygod Guest

    I'm just an ol'fashioned kinda guy

    do you think the onyx live series peq is specific enough for recording? IMO the live desk line was not designed for that, and here in NJ some who tried it for recording were disappointed with the noise floor and lack of headroom with all channels loaded and $*^t canned'em on the ebay recycler. the smaller fire wire capable units up to 16 ch I guess are ok for keeping it all digital in a non pro home studio environment for making demos.

    as for me I like to keep it all analog. I'm too old fashioned and set in my ways for better or worse ... yup analog voices moving air into mics, to analog desk to tape. sorry no modelling for me thank you -- mics on top and on kits, in front of cabs pushing air, and vocalist who have to sing it until they get it right and no eventide pitch correction or dinner for you until were done you (bad girl )(or bad boy)(or bad transvestite)(or enter you planet and species here _________)!

    the high maintenance analog tape still around collcting dust has been replaced by very active 24/96 tracking platforms [Radar Nyquist and Alesis HD24XR 24/96] ... but that’s as far as I’m willing to compromise with 1s and 0s --> only for tracking and storage. the rest of the story for me is analog playback, and mixed down in and thru an analog desk side chained with analog outboard, and analog time based effects added at mixdown.

    there is something logical about moving faders and tweaking parameters and knobs on analog outboard gear. I refuse to work in the one dimensional box. am I automation phobic? hardly ... once upon a time in a past life I was a mainframe and mini systems analyst and programmer for the US DOD and woke up one morning tired of converting the real world to 1s and 0s and being affiliated with techno propellorheads all day along with their arrogant anti-life anti-reality and always denying the existential despair of the human race and always ready for mutual destruction of the entire universe with our grandiose toys of mass destruction, because that’s what we must ultimately achieve to win and advance the great american corporation! nuff said.

    I know being an anlog guy is purely anathema and blasphemy to many of youz, but unlike the rest of the world that is clamoring to receive the 'digidesign 666' mark on their foreheads, I belligerently refused it and was castigated by the anti-analog-digidesign-antichrist and was beheaded at madame guillotine with the crowrds cheering on "kill the filthy infidel analog bastard' at the order of robespierre the CEO of the icon 666. now I'm in heaven with Jesus recording heavenly analogs of the saints and this is my ghost posting on this forum.

    you also mentioned roland 2480 and korg? both good companies and admirable products with certain I/O and noise quirks, but there’s a new sheriff in town ... see the akai dps24mkII. amazing. what is it 56 ch? steep learning curve at front end ---amazing input, throughput, and output at the other end. link two of these and you have 110 channels and an amazing os and architecture. If I were to start all over again today from scratch, that is the 'route 66' I would drive my corvette down and use this as the centerpiece of my studio and build around it in many eclectic directions.

    as far as an analog desk, see trident 8T 16 and the dream series. huge bang for the buck, and a real recording tool In fact, Mssr. John Oram is working on a design for me for a custom desk. He's awesome!

    wanna know how old fashioned I am? see:
    and enjoy it if you can ... maybe some of you old timers can still remember when ....

    best regards gang


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