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RME vs. MOTU firewire interfaces...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Rocket Brother, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Rocket Brother

    Rocket Brother Member

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    Hi
    Sorry for the long post.
    I´m pretty new to high quality home recording, I´ve mostly just recorded from a small mixer into a minidisk to save ideas, evaluate my own phasing, timing and so on.
    Any serious recordings were done at a studio with someone else operating all the knobs.
    Now I feel ready to setup a small but good project studio at home.
    I´m going to go with high quality gear from the get go as I get more inspired by high quality gear and I usually catch on quite quickly with things like this and want to awoid having to upgrade in 6 months time.
    I´ve been reading a lot of posts and reviews here and elsewhere to get an idea of what might work for me.
    I know one can´t buy talent or experience - but good gear can never be a bad thing.
    I have a few things from my guitar rig that I can use like a TC 2290, a TC g-major and a good collection of nice stomp boxes, guitars and amps.
    The rest of the rig I´ll have to go out and get now.
    I´m thinking along the lines of :
    1) Apple Macbook Pro
    2) A GOOD firewire interface with high quality converters and balanced and unbalanced as well as digital I/O
    3) A set of active nearfield monitors – mayby Dynaudio MC-15, BM5A, or BM6AmkII or something different?? (topic for another post)
    4) A Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra for direct guitar recording and efx.
    5) A couple of mics, one for vocals and one or two for my guitar cabs and acustic guitars
    6) Mayby start off with Garage Band or upgrade to Pro Tools or Logic

    I´m thinking of mounting the firewire interface and the Axe-Fx in a small rack, so I can use it at home and at the same time have a grap-and-go studio/live rig.

    Anyway my question in this post regards the choise of firewire interface.
    RME Fireface 400 or 800 or MOTU Traveler.
    Now I have been looking at the MOTU Traveler for a little while, and a friend of mine had one not to long ago and was pleased with it, but now he´s upgrading to the RME Fireface 800, and recommened me to look at RME as well.
    The Traveller I think would do fine and has the needed I/O, I could mayby even use the stand alone mixer function in it from time to time, and the headphone monitoring (RME has that as well) would give me a much needed nighttime recording/practicing option.
    I can currently get a discount ~ 30% on the Traveler, and has to take that into consideration as well.
    However if the RME is a significant step up quality wise with regards to converters and so on, and the upcharge is fully justified, I´d be ready to pay for that.
    If anybody has experience with both units, you input and thoughts as to pros and cons, value, userfriendlyness and so on would be greatly appreciated. Comments from people with in depth experience with just one of the interfaces are also very welcome.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
    RB
     
  2. 52ftbuddha

    52ftbuddha Member

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    Contact each company with a question and measure their responses. Try a phone call also, see what they are like on the phone. I used the products of one company you list a long time ago and thought I would give them another shot this helped me with my decision. Check Sound on Sound for the latest on interface compatibility. As someone who is on their 5th IO I can tell you that you should not believe the hype of some vendors. Buy try and return the rest. Use a credit card and a retailer that does not punish you with a restocking fee. You may be surprised at the difference or lack thereof of many products. The Fractal thing seems like a very closed box not good, looks like a muse receptor where you cant drive software you want. Save yourself the agro and buy NI Guitar Rig. Never heard of the Fractal company never seen it reviewed and never seen it in a store in LA or NY or in anyones rig. IO's I have had Event darla/echo, apogee rosetta, rme multiface cardbuss, TC konnekt. I have gone from wanting many IO to just really good IO and the DSP is nice. I do not need any more in the way of mic pre I us a 57, blue dragonfly and km184. Simple is better and cheaper is better still, ask yourself will the investment give me a better return than if I invest the money somewhere else. I have always got my money back out of a guitar computers IO and the rest are a necessary evil but change overnight and become valueless very quickly.

    rob
     
  3. Orren

    Orren Member

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    I reviewed the MOTU Traveler for Electronic Musician, and I owned the RME Fireface 800 for years. The MOTU Traveler is good. Also, I believe a company called Black Lion Audio can mod it for you, to make it even better.

    The RME Fireface 800 is a class above. My entire album (see below) was recorded using an RME Fireface. It's software is much better and more flexible. It has true foldback (recording inputs to outputs in software, no need to connect a physical cable). It's full matrix (any input to any output, whereas the MOTU CueMIX allows any input to stereo outputs only). The converters and the internal clock are higher quality. Also, RME support is orders of magnitude more responsive.

    Hope that helps,
    Orren
     
  4. mds

    mds Member

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    RME is a top notch company. Everything they make is a good value and is very solid.

    The MOTU traveler is a great portable interface. I've had one for a few years and it is rock solid, has a wonderful form factor, and is very flexible.

    Sonically its a bit up in the air to me...RME has very nice converters, but the mic pres are...can I say terrible? ;-) The MOTUs aren't amazing mic pres, but I think they're a bit smoother. The A/D is so-so on the traveler, the D/A isn't too bad for this class of device.

    I'd say pick the one that has features, form factor, and i/o that meets your needs. An upgrade of an outboard mic preamp will make either interface sound 5 million times better (thats an exact calculation...haha).

    Mike
     
  5. Nomadgtr

    Nomadgtr Member

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    I'm very pleased with the RME ADI-2. A tremendous improvement over my previous A/D D/A converter which was an Emu 1820. I don't think you can get a better converter at that price point. The next step up is Apogee, Lavry etc. but for considerably more money. If you have the money pair the RME converters with some good mic pre's and you'll be very happy. I went the API lunchbox route with an A-Designs P-1 and Great River MP500NV and feed both of these into the RME box then go SPDIF into the computer. Really outstanding sound quality. I've never been more happy with my setup.
     
  6. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    i have to agree here.
    i was loaned an RME fireface 800 for an extended period of time while my gear pimp was awaiting on it's initial delivery of apogee gear.

    it really is in another category altogether. better sonics, clocking and a far more comprehensive software routing program as well as stellar support from RME. i think the MotU stuff is reasonably priced and i know folks that have used them to record albums. it's all a question of making the entire rig contiguous. from the sounds of it (pun?), U're well on the way w/ the TC gear.

    get the AlBook and start w/ garageband. i wouldn't even think about protools unless U're going for TDM rig. compared to logic, PTLE is an arcane, feature inhibited piece of promotional software.
     
  7. Rocket Brother

    Rocket Brother Member

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    Thanks to everybody for the input, it´s very helpull - please keep it coming.

    Thanks that was very helpfull - could you elaborate on the Black lion Audio mod??
    What it is, does, cost, turnaround time and so on.
    I guess it would void the warrenty though, right??
     
  8. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes...what IS this 'Black lion Audio mod' you speak of?
    I have a Motu ultralite...what would the mod be for?
     
  9. jawjatek

    jawjatek Member

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    +1 more vote for the RME FF 800. The pres are OK to me, not great but certainly useable. Love the routing and mixer. Just make sure you have a solid firewire I/F on your computer, preferably with the TI chipset. HTH
     
  10. mds

    mds Member

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    I disagree with this statement. PTLE is excellent if you're accustomed to using it. It definitely has some stupid drawbacks, but so does Logic, DP, etc. They're all viable solutions and each has its pros and cons.
     
  11. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    :(
    Black Lion Audio is no longer performing the mod on the ultralite Motu.
    Any other suggestions?
     
  12. wstsidela

    wstsidela I'm bonafied Gold Supporting Member

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    Great thread. Thanks for the info.
     
  13. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    perhaps this is the reason that digidesign continues to market a product that is in no way comparable to contemporary native DAW software.

    virtually all other native platforms have unlimited tracks, plug in delay compensation across all channels and subs, highly developed MIDI implementation, etc., etc.. all except PTLE. if i was a PTLE owner i would be hollering and screaming at digi to get a piece of software that is fully contemporaneous w/ all of the other native software available.

    i must admit that i am entirely stymied at the concept of those defending digidesign and their marketing ploy of selling a native system that is far inferior to virtually all other native platforms. if PTLE were developed into a piece of software that had all of the features that were standard on all other native systems, it would truly be an awesome platform.

    as it is now, i simply see it as a piece of promotional software that is hampered by a lack of features that serious recordists use everyday. of course, the impetus of the promotion is to try and sell PTHD systems. what w/ the advent of faster and faster computers the necessity of a PTHD system to deliver low latency is becoming moot.
     
  14. 52ftbuddha

    52ftbuddha Member

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    I am going to have to go with the easier pronunciation zeer-oh. You sir are spot on and I am not quite sure about the loyalty of mds, it seems confused at best. PTLE is not comparable to any major audio recording platform no matter what computer system you pick. It is not as featured as the lite packages from Steinberg or Apple. It is clearly as you suggest a promotional tool. HD is on its way to where the mid price point consoles went, I offer counseling to my writing partner on a daily basis. I feel bad for those that have sustained it and have made business plans based upon its relevance. It may take ten years but I will suggest that it is not in Apple's interest to assist or sustain a competitor for one of its markets.

    rob
     
  15. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    I respectfully disagree with this statement, I've been using the Fractal Axe-FX over a year both live and in the studio and in my opinion NI guitar rig is a joke next to it (Yes I own it), also there are many happy Axe Fx users out there, and the reason why you won't seen them at LA or NY stores is that the company can't build enough units, last I heard there is over a 4 month waiting list, usually there is a reason for a waiting list that long..
    E.B.
     
  16. Orren

    Orren Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by that. But I assure you that in no way is Apple trying to "sabotage" Digidesign on the Mac, nor is Apple not giving Digidesign all the support and resources that they offer all 3rd party Mac developers, hardware or software.

    What really isn't in Apple's interest is for Digidesign to continue to be the industry leader—and be Windows only.

    Orren
     
  17. retro

    retro Member

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    Well I have one more suggestion...if two pre's are sufficient.

    Metric Halo's ULN-2 is a killer Mac box...

    Conversion...clean pre's with plenty of gain (Jensen Transformer option)...support...MIO console...

    Really great product.


    After I got the ULN-2, I ended up getting 2, 2880's also for a project.

    Set them up as aggregate devices the day I got them and threw them on a plane the next day and hit the road recording live performance's for a recording artist. Never a hiccup. Just rock solid performance all the time.


    For me personally the ULN-2's I/O fit my needs well and sonically I haven't found anything better yet. Their stuff could sell for a lot more IMO.

    If it might fit your needs I would highly recommend checking MH out.

    http://www.mhlabs.com/metric_halo/news/
     
  18. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    :rotflmao
     
  19. 52ftbuddha

    52ftbuddha Member

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    Digital tube, what studios do you work in and what market. I work in LA and I have not seen this device in my work and by what you suggest would like to. Who has them? I will be at NAMM so I will look for it but I would much rather rent one and try it. Does Brauer have one?
     

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