Author Topic: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards  (Read 16205 times)

jkn

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Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« on: January 16, 2008, 11:58:07 AM »
I swore there was a thread for this already (or it's just been discussed in one of the other gear threads).

I'm comparing the Presonus Firebox and Focusrite Saphire LE which are both in the same price range.   Both say they support midi in/out.   I see normal midi jacks on the Saphire - the Firebox on the other hand has a combined midi/spdif jack...

I admit - I'm confused by the jack on the Firebox (see:  http://www.presonus.com/firebox-photos.html )

Do I just need an adapter of some type?    Would someone mind taking a shot and explaining that one.   I know there are a few owners of these cards on the forum... 

Thanks!

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mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2008, 12:01:19 PM »
That's just a breakout cable connection.  My older Audiomedia PCI card uses one like that, looks like a VGA connector on one end, and several cables come out the other side, such as analog i/o, MIDI and SPDIF.  It's just a way of outputting several things from a space too small to house all the connections.  The device would definitely come with the breakout connector.
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jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2008, 12:35:59 PM »
Ah!   Thanks!   Makes sense.   

Now it's down to which one to get - or if I should spend $200 more for the larger 8/10 input models.  Which I get will likely be which ones go on sale for Valentine's Day (because everyone knows that music gear is a hot item for Valentine's Day!   Big sales at Victoria's Secret, Fannie May Candy, and Guitar Center...)
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mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2008, 12:38:00 PM »
I love my new Presonus Firestudio, not that it's one of the models you're considering.  Excellent build quality, excellent interface software, no complaints at all. 

I also have a Presonus headphone amp (so up to 4 people can monitor on headphones at once) and it's about the size of your interface... same great build quality, good knobs, nice solid metal case.
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jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2008, 01:01:25 PM »
The Firestudio, FP10, and Saphire Pro are still in the running.   I haven't decided for certain which way to go.    I like the idea of being able to route most of my gear directly in and record to seperate tracks.   Even though I'm typically used to going through a mixer and just having a stereo in.   
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Scott M2

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2008, 03:28:40 PM »
Jamie and I use the ProSonus Firebox for our laptop rigs and are very happy with them.
I particularly like the very hot output on the headphone out and have sometimes used it
at sans-laptop shows just as a headphone amp for a loud stage environment.

Sound on Sound review:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul05/articles/firebox.htm

mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2008, 04:09:08 PM »
I'd always vote in favor of getting features that you think you might very well need, if you can stay within your budget.  But even this little box seems to have plenty of capacity.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

APK

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2008, 07:14:46 AM »
John ... another one to look at is the Alesis I/O units. Comparable price and quality. Different design approach.
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mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2008, 07:19:28 AM »
I looked at the Alesis interfaces too but found a huge number of complaints, warnings, and bad reviews online. Most had to do with driver problems and instability, so I decided to stay away.
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jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2008, 08:00:03 AM »
Heidi's pushed me to look at the larger input models...   it makes sense - I like the flexibility of my 8 in / 8 out Aark24 which is what I'm replacing.

I haven't researched this yet - but I'm interested in the mixer that comes with them now...  if I can control aux sends "easily" - move a chunk of my mixing to directly in the pc.   I don't if I'll like this (although I've never tried it) - but I like using the mixer almost as an instrument in shaping the sound through various effects and feedback loops.  (the aux send to effect back to a channel input trick...).
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2008, 08:01:31 AM »
Look at the Presonus web site for the little "videos" that demonstrate the virtual mixing/ routing app that comes with their interfaces.  It's damn cool!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2008, 08:25:30 AM »
I saw it - just haven't watched it yet.   My only real hesitation is not having a knob or slider for that 'physical' thing... although I'm sure there's a control surface.

If I can get the mixing to work in the computer - I might sell the Mackie 1604 I bought off of Vnuk. 
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2008, 09:10:18 AM »
There is a control surface for some of the Presonus interfaces, in fact after I purchased my Firestudio, I found that one of the big online stores (zzounds.com or musiciansfriend.com but I don't remember which) was offering the control surface for free with purchase of the interface.  Still, I got such a good deal on my interface that I don't regret buying where/when I did.  I could probably find a control surface on E-Bay from somebody who received the free throw-in, for pretty cheap now.

Anyway, I don't know if the control surface works for all their firewire interfaces or just the Firestudio & Firestudio Project.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2008, 09:57:16 AM »
Guitar Center's got that deal going on still (until Jan 31)... the control surface appears to be a FaderPort:  http://www.guitarcenter.com/PreSonus-FaderPort-Software-Automation-and-Transport-Controller-103846143-i1126117.gc

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2008, 11:44:27 AM »
Just read a few lengthy threads on the Reaper forum on the various interfaces - the Firestudio gets panned pretty badly due to driver issues - and the Saffire Pro 10.   Both get nailed for something called "round trip latency" - which I don't fully get yet - but appears to be a problem if recording/monitoring while using software fx.   Of course - the recommendation is higher priced RME cards... :)

Guess I'll keep reading.   I can get into a little analysis paralysis right now since I'm not pulling out the credit card yet... :)
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

APK

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2008, 12:42:45 PM »
Remember that there are always people who have problems with any piece of gear because of their setup or way they want to work (but often sheer incompetance) ... and its those people with problems who post the most.
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jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2008, 12:59:10 PM »
Oh yes - always have your salt lick handy... sometimes a grain of salt just isn't enough.  The guy preaching about latency posted the same thing about 15 times in different threads so he's obviously got a bit of a vendetta - he appears to be a DAW builder.  The guy who builds DAW's at ADK Pro audio also posted a couple of times - praising earlier Presonus stuff, but not the Firestudio for some reason.   

All well worth reading more about. 

Also depends greatly on how they're going to be used.   

That and there's also the issue of products that sell a lot more tend to have more problems due to the sheer number of people with them.

In all honesty - I'm confident buying from either Presonus or FocusRite based on the users on this forum that already own the products - I know the people here (mike, you, scott, etc...) know what they're doing and record similar to what my plans are...

Anyway...
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2008, 02:03:59 PM »
Also, especially with Windows configurations, some computers just conflict with the setup (particular the driver's resource demands) of a given interface.  And then, if your only experience with a given interface is that it just didn't work, or there were all kinds of problems, it would be tempting to say "this device sucks, the drivers are buggy, this isn't reliable" when in fact the problem might be, say, a conflict with your Direct X driver or some buggy shareware/freeware app that's running processes in the background, either of which could interfere with the operation of a digital audio device.

So, I'd take a small number of critical reviews with a grain of salt, for sure.  I was pretty alarmed, though, at the uniformity of negative reviews on the Alesis interfaces.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2008, 02:18:15 PM by mgriffin »
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APK

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2008, 02:15:31 PM »
Yep, and its only later that you find out that the guy complaining about his new audio box was trying to run it alongside a couple of UAD cards, another audio card, and etc etc .... the list goes on   :D
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jkn

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Re: Gear: Audio Interfaces / Soundcards
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2008, 09:00:21 AM »
I bought a Firestudio Project... it's on a truck somewhere on it's way...  :)
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