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Audio Interface Question


Silver Supporting Member
I am hoping to revamp my recording rig soon. Being the dinosaur I am, I am a bit overwhelmed by all the choices out there - so I am lookng to my tgp comrades for advice. I am currently running a MAudio Delta 1010/Cool Edit/Cubase rig. I went with the 1010 because of the number of analog inputs...and that's still important. I record live a lot, so portability, and the # of analog ins are most important. I don't really need buit in pre's since I run out of my MixWhiz, if I am doing project stuff I have a couple nice(ish) pre's to choose from - so I just don't need buit in pre's. A Firewire/Laptop rig would be sweet, 16 analog ins would be the most I would ever need, but I need a minimum of 12..any advice/suggesitons?
Hi jerry.

The problem with portable rigs is more often than not the efficiency of the transfer protocol. USB for recording 12 channels at a time? Don't count on it. Even firewire barely makes it. Sure the manufacturers claim to be able to attain it with their USB/firewire interfaces, but in practice, I have not seen a USB interface handle more than 4 simultaneous inputs well and a firewire interface handle more than 8 well.

In any case, i have not seen any USB or firewire interface in the market that have 12 ANALOG inputs. You can usually daisy chain two or more 8-channel firewire interfaces together to make 16 channels though. As for USB, from my experiences, they will fall flat on their faces if asked to handle anything more than recording a few simultaneous tracks.

If you really need to run a laptop to record 12-16 channels flawlessly, I'd suggest you take a look at PCMCIA card interfaces instead. You laptop needs to have a PCMCIA slot though, and they are usually found on higher end laptops like the Macbook Pro.

RME makes good ones: http://www.sweetwater.com/c709--RME--PCMCIA_Audio_Interfaces

You mentioned you don't need built-in preamps. That assumes you are recording only line level signals like synths or POD outputs. If you have a mic, or if you need to plug in say a bass guitar directly, you will need a preamp to drive the signal into something recordable.

Maybe you make electronic music purely from synths and computers? I can't imagine anyone not needing at least a few preamps if looking to record a typical band setup with singers, guitars, bass guitars and drums.
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Gold Supporting Member
I guess it depends on what you use, but I have an ancient computer and can record plenty of tracks via FW.

G4 500mhz Power Book with only 512 mb of RAM, a PCMCIA FW card that feeds a 7200 RPM drive and some interfaces that connect to the internal FW port: a Metric Halo 2882, a Metric Halo ULN-2 and a Presonus DigiMax. That gives me a total of 18 inputs and I can record them all. I should mention that I upgraded the computer's hard drive to a 5400 RPM model.

Now mixing on that would be slow going, but I can track all day long.


i just got an rme fireface 800. its awesome. sound quality is way up there. the converters are where its at i think.


I use a PreSonus FP10. The preamps are good, the converters are good, the drivers are solid, and they're inexpensive enough that I'll probably be buying a second one to daisy chain for a total of 16 inputs.

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