Recommended Firewire i/o hardware unit (M-Audio?)

MagnumSSS

Member
Messages
486
Hey fellas. So, this is the last major piece of the puzzle for me. I've decided on a Mac Powerbook G4 for my computer, Logic Pro 7 as my sequencing software, and now I need to pick a i/o hardware unit with firewire connection

I've been looking at the M-Audio 410, but would appreciate some advice based on my needs:

-4 inputs (at least two need to be mic preamps...XLR, 1/4 balanced, 1/4 unbalanced).....

-? outputs (I guess I need 2 for sending to speakers...not sure if
I need more....not doing surround sound).

-Firewire connectivity

-Excellent sounding preamps

-Phantom power

-Headphone outs (obviously)

-Maybe some effect loops/aux. sends for rack units??? Not sure...

-Midi connection....or should I just connect my midi keyboard to the powerbook via USB?

....I think that's it.
 

MagnumSSS

Member
Messages
486
no opinions?

I've moved on to investigating the Edirol and Aardvark products in addition to the M-Audio products. Will investigate Presonus and Motu as well. Any recommendations is appreciated.
 

LSchefman

Member
Messages
13,432
I got my son a MOTU 828 to use with his ibook, and Digital Performer.
He really likes it, and the stuff he's doing with it sounds great. It has lots of features, and more mic pres, etc., than some of the stuff you mentioned.

I don't know anything about the Aardvark interfaces, but I can tell you from owning one that they make a great master clock and SMPTE interface. They're a good company. A good clock makes an audible difference, in my opinion.

My guess is they'd use the same clock in their digital audio products.

If you have enough analog I/O, you may not need effects loops.

None of the products you mentioned are going to have the best preamps, but some are very good. The digidesign stuff, for instance, uses focusrite-designed preamps, though they are not the high end versions.

Presonus stuff has quality control problems that have been experienced not only by people here, but in a recent magazine review where a unit failed, was replaced for the reviewer, and failed again.

I would also look at the Mackie small mixer that doubles as a digital audio interface, according to the product announcements. People take Mackie gear for granted, but the mic preamps are actually quite good, and the feature set is strong.
 

MichaelK

Member
Messages
6,476
PreSonus QC really is the absolute pits. Out of six interfaces owned in my family between my son and me, four failed.

With all these companies making interfaces with similar specs I think the only way to make a real comparison is to check them out in person and hear how they sound. If you ask on the internet you won't get a comparison, you'll get an inventory of what people own. Which IMO is not helpful.
 

MagnumSSS

Member
Messages
486
true that Michael, but some folks have tried more than one unit. I was hoping one of them posters might drop a line.

I think what I need to do is compile a list of what interfaces I'm interested in. Then go try them out.



Question about the RME, MetricHalo, and Motu pieces that do processing inside them. Is this kinda like a ProTools HD system where the software runs it processing on the hardware unit's processing power? Or, does it just take the load off the CPU somehow? I'm a little confused here.............but I'm definitely considering this as I could get away with a less powerful Powerbook, and get a better quality interface/mic pres in the process.........so it seems......
 

fatang

Member
Messages
151
RME's Fireface is a great option, their drivers and support really set them above a lot of competitors.

MOTU has their Traveler box coming out soon but that may be more than you need. The 828 is like a Swiss Army knife of interfaces.

Aardvark AFAIK is out of business so I wouldn't go down that road.

PreSonus makes great solutions for the money, I've heard about the QC issues but haven't experienced them directly.

The Mackie Onyx eq and pre's are really nice, there's also a rack option.

Tascam took the table top FW1884 and racked it into an affordable box. The 1082 has less inputs but I've not been hands on with it yet.

Robert
 

MagnumSSS

Member
Messages
486
nice breakdown. The RME stuff is luring. I've been at their site checking out the interfaces. A bit pricey for me at this time though. I'll have to do some hunting........
 

jzucker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,962
Presonus Firepod is the best bang for the buck. 8 Mic Preamps, 2 instrument preamps, 8 line ins, 8 (or 10) balanced outs,digital i/o, can be slaved with other firepods or fireboxes, yada yada. The firebox looks pretty cool too.
 

jzucker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,962
Originally posted by MagnumSSS
true that Michael, but some folks have tried more than one unit. I was hoping one of them posters might drop a line.

I think what I need to do is compile a list of what interfaces I'm interested in. Then go try them out.



Question about the RME, MetricHalo, and Motu pieces that do processing inside them. Is this kinda like a ProTools HD system where the software runs it processing on the hardware unit's processing power? Or, does it just take the load off the CPU somehow? I'm a little confused here.............but I'm definitely considering this as I could get away with a less powerful Powerbook, and get a better quality interface/mic pres in the process.........so it seems......
There's minimal processing going on in any of those boxes. The only processing going is is some routing if inputs/outputs and mixer control. There are no effect algorithms in the boxes if that's what you're thinking.
 

jzucker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,962
Originally posted by MichaelK
Well, there ya go. :)

BTW, Jack neglected to mention that he receives special deals from PreSonus as an endorser.
What's that mean? In exchange for a 10% discount, I'll use an inferior product?!? Come on. :confused:

Why do I have to go through this every time?

I'm not an endorser. They gave me a discount because the first 2 units I bought had to be sent back. In fact, I also use the m-audio interfaces which I think are great but m-audio doesn't currently make a firewire interface with more than 2 XLR inputs. I had problems with the Motu and the Digi-002 but the audio quality is great on those.
 

jzucker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,962
Originally posted by splatt
i, myself, certainly meant no harm --- just clarifying my position, in case of questions.
dt / spltrcl
I know. I was referring to MichaelK but I didn't mean anyone any harm. Michael's a good guy and I've learned much from his wealth of knowledge on many subjects.

:)
 

mtfingers

Member
Messages
119
Having done a tremendous amount of research on this topic, I've come to the following conclusions:

1.) The Presonus Firepod is probably everything you would want. Nice mic pres, and there are 8 of em. Midi I/0, 2 firewires, spdf, etc. I was just about to get one at dealer cost, no less, when...

2.) A freind of mine sold me his MOTU 896. Man this thing is stunning. 8 neutrix (sp?) connectors for the 8 mic pres with selectable 48 v phantom power on each channel. I/0 out the wazoo, but NO midi. A nice touch is the 10m segment led's for the analog section, and PROGRAMMABLE led's for the adat/analog whatever-you-want outputs, and leds for aes/ebu and mains. But the most important thing is that it sounds GREAT. I tried it running into my laptop, and even then, it sounds amazing, just using headphones...BUT...

3.) As everything happens at once or not at all, I was in the process of getting a Tascam 1884 at the same time, I just couldn't pass up the great deal on the MOTU, and I have just had the Tasacam for a few days. It might be overkill for what you want, but it does everything in the universe you would want a unit like this to do, it sounds good, has two firewire connects, adat, spdf, and FOUR midis! The control surface works great, has 100mm motorized faders, selectable in banks of 8, a really nice feeling jog wheel, XLR and balanced 1/4" ins on each channel, as well as insert.....blah, blah, blah......and more and more.

Anyway, sorry to take up so much of your time, but I hope this helps.
 




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