firewire interface questions.

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MitchK1989
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firewire interface questions.

Post by MitchK1989 » Thu May 22, 2008 6:04 pm

first off: Am I looking at much better sound by purchasing real seperate mic pres (such as a brick, which I can get for 300 or so canadian in good condition locally at the moment) instead of just using ones built into a firewire interface?

and secondly... If the answer to the first question is yes... Where can I find a good firewire audio interface with a decent number of line inputs and outputs that can do low latency in a stable fashion on mac (I know motu doesn't have good driver rep. on windows, but on mac they appear to be solid, for instance) and most importantly does not have a bunch of pre-amps that I'm paying for? Maybe something with just line ins, line outs (for effects sends and such), and some digital connections (Lightpipe, etc.)...

Thanks in advance for any help. I was looking at a presonus firepod (the predecessor to the FP10... Also available locally), but that's covered in built in mic pres which aren't really necessary.

I don't need any built in effects or any of that nonsense in an audio interface.

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Post by Belaya » Thu May 22, 2008 6:56 pm

RME Fireface 400 is a fine unit :wink:

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Post by MitchK1989 » Thu May 22, 2008 7:06 pm

Belaya wrote:RME Fireface 400 is a fine unit :wink:
Yeah, that's one of the ones I was looking at, actually... It's quite a bit more than I'd like to spend for 8 line ins and outs though...

EDIT: How about an RME multiface II? It looks to be cheaper than the FIREFACE 400 and runs off of my expresscard slot... Which should be fine, right?

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri May 23, 2008 6:31 am

MitchK1989 wrote:How about an RME multiface II? It looks to be cheaper than the FIREFACE 400 and runs off of my expresscard slot... Which should be fine, right?
Nope, cardbus is different from expresscard. You need a PCMCIA slot to use the Multiface. They're good units though.

You say the Fireface 400 is more than you want to spend on 8 ins and outs, but if you want to capture the improvement in sound you'll get from good outboard pres properly you'll need something at least that good.

Here's a few options to think over:

Motu 896HD (secondhand) with Black Lion Audio mods
Metric Halo 2882
Apogee Ensemble
RME Fireface 400

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Post by MitchK1989 » Sat May 24, 2008 3:00 am

actually, RME does offer an expresscard setup for use with a multiface.

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_hds ... sscard.php

HDSPE expresscard 34.

Perfect for a macbook pro...

I think I've more or less decided on the multiface II with HDSPE (winds up costing about the same as a fireface 400... So I'm trading 2 built in pres for the lower latency of an expresscard solution)

I just need to wait a bit until I have the coin... In the meantime I need at least one pre... Probably a brick for starters, since I can get a good deal on one locally.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat May 24, 2008 6:10 am

Ah cool, that looks like a great solution then. :thumbright:

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Post by xpander » Sat May 24, 2008 10:13 am

get yourself a 828mk3, it's fantastic! it has hardware dsp (eq, compression, etc) for no audible latency use as a stand-alone mixer, too.

works perfectly on my duo core 2 imac. already looking at replacing the 896 with a second 828mk3.

when i bought the 896 that was THE multitrack firewire interface.

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Post by supercluster » Sat May 24, 2008 8:31 pm

How would the 838mk3 work with a macbook pro? I've read some reviews that said the drivers were bad. Would that interface well with a laptop?

Also:
Mitch, If you spring on the RME multi face with express card... let me know how it treats you. I'm trying to decide on an interface and I've used the Multi face before... just not with a macbook pro/expresscard.
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Post by xpander » Sun May 25, 2008 2:30 am

supercluster wrote:How would the 828mk3 work with a macbook pro? I've read some reviews that said the drivers were bad. Would that interface well with a laptop?
i've never had trouble with any MOTU drivers on my macs. i've used both the 896 and 828mk2 with both my old PowerBook and my current MacBook along with my giant iMac. the 828mk3 was simple as anything on the mac to get running, i can't imagine having problems running it on my MacBook.

tip to the wise:
all macbooks' 1/8" headphone and mic ports double as optical mini-Toslink i/o... i used to play stuff from my MacBook in my studio by connecting it with a simple Toslink cable to my 828... so cool! the 828mk3 has two pairs of optical i/o's that are switchable between lightpipe and toslink, another cool feature.

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Post by MitchK1989 » Sun May 25, 2008 3:19 am

supercluster wrote:Also:
Mitch, If you spring on the RME multi face with express card... let me know how it treats you. I'm trying to decide on an interface and I've used the Multi face before... just not with a macbook pro/expresscard.
I'll be sure to let everyone know how it works if I get it. It might not be for awhile though as I just started my summer job... I'm in the process of selling quite a bit of gear though (including my AN1X and Ozonic) so I may have the money soon if they sell.

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Post by otto » Sun May 25, 2008 6:26 am

I recently bought a Motu 828mkII and it seems like it would fit your needs fine. I'm also using it with windows without any problems.
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Post by MitchK1989 » Mon May 26, 2008 2:20 am

Yeah... It basically comes down to the cheaper firewire option (motu 828) or the more expensive expresscard option (multiface II)

How does chaining motu interfaces work? I know it just uses firewire, but is it basically just a built in 2-1 firewire hub, or does it actually lock the clock between the two like ADAT and other digital audio connections? Does it then show up as one interface? If it's just going to require me to make aggregate devices... I could do that with any interfaces I want and a hub, lol.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon May 26, 2008 3:21 am

With the Motu firewire interfaces you have to make an aggregate device and clock them together with wordclock, so yes, you could just do it with any interfaces you wanted.

I know a lot of people have trouble with aggregate devices though, and I had no dramas getting two 896HDs and a Traveler, all with ADAT converters as well, working on a G5. I think this might have been due to the Motu's good drivers, I'm not sure it would have worked as easily mixing and matching interfaces from different manufacturers.

I would go the RME over the 828mkII in terms of sound quality, don't know if the mk3 is a step up. I would seriously be considering the Apogee Ensemble over the Multiface though, they can be had for around $1500 if you shop around and the pres are very good by all accounts. $250 more for four very good pres seems like an option it would be stupid not to take.

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Post by xpander » Mon May 26, 2008 7:06 am

setting the 828 & 896 up together is easy... you put a firewire cord between the two and you sett them as an aggregate device in the motu setup. they both sound fantastic & perfect.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon May 26, 2008 8:45 am

xpander wrote:setting the 828 & 896 up together is easy... you put a firewire cord between the two and you sett them as an aggregate device in the motu setup. they both sound fantastic & perfect.
You should clock them together externally with word clock as well, the computer sync drops samples over time. You probably won't notice it unless you run them both to another device digitally, but if you want real sample accuracy it's worth it for the $10 the word clock cable will cost you.

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