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looking for a "Pro" Audionterface, suggestions needed

Discussion in 'Backline' started by exoslime, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. exoslime

    exoslime Member

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    Hiya,

    i´m lookout to purchase a new audiointerface and i´m kinda stuck in my research a little bit, the last 6 years i used my mackie onyx 1620 analogmixer with firewire option card as recording interface, it has 1x Stereo Ouput, 16 Analog Inputs, of which are 8 Mono and 4 Stereo.
    sofar i´m quite happy with the Mackie as it never let me down in the last couple of years, but i want to make progress further so i want to purchase a new audiointerface.

    my requirements are:
    i do prefer firewire as my pci-e chassis is quite full with my two uad-2 quad cards
    but if there is a nice solution possible with pci-e or thunderbolt i might consider that and have to rearrange my studio computer for that

    16 or more analoge Mono Line Inputs, ideally 8 Monochannels and 4 Stereochannels, with a decent preamp quality
    up to 8 Microphone Inputs, switchable Phanompower and decent preamps

    i do want at least 8 discrete mono analoge outputs

    4 digital SPDIF/In and outputs, as i do want to to connect devices like Axe FX and Kemper to it and want to avoid additional D/A A/D conversion as i have to do with kemper/Axe FX these days when using the analog outputs to fed a stereo channel in my mackie mixer

    and i also most likely going to purchase an Universal Audio 4-710 Preamp, which also has a digital output that i want to hook up on the new interface too. so that already makes 3 digital inputs i wanna use on my audionterface

    what else do i need, a clocking device to keep all those digital devicses all in sync?

    i really look forward for your advises, as currently i´m a bit lost now :)
    many thanks
    exo
     
  2. Gujukal

    Gujukal Member

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    How much are u willing to spend? RME makes some pro interfaces, RME Fireface 800 costs around 1100€ but it's not exactly the latest interface out there. RME Fireface UFX also looks pretty sick but it almost costs 2000€.
     
  3. exoslime

    exoslime Member

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    money is actually not an concern, i tend to buy once for the next decade so it doesn matter if its a few hundred bucks more or less of its great quality fits my main requirements.
    but yeah, i hope i can be under 5000€ for the complete new audio interface system, lol

    the RME Fireface UFX does really look slick, but i wonder how can i connect all the devices as this only has a few inputs, is there something like a breakoutbox where i can connect for example, all the digital devises?
    my main problem is, that i really dont know what i need to have so that everthing is working together, the RME Fireface UFX does indeed look like a great starting point
     
  4. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Member

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    That many SPDIF and line inputs is going to be the difficult part... Only thing I can think of that comes close is the Allen & Heath ZED R16.
     
  5. prayfordarkness

    prayfordarkness Sent from the Golden Hall

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    If you're not too concerned about the cost, I would strongly encourage you to go with a UA Apollo Duo, or a Quad I guess if you want to spend the extra, but seeing how you already have two Quad cards, why bother? This way, you're sticking with a brand you already know and use (and will likely be buying more of in the future, in the form of the 4-710), you get a little extra DSP power for your mixes, and you get a killer interface that fits most of your needs. The 4-710 doesn't NEED to be connected digitally, either...
    I have an Apollo Duo and a UAD2-Quad, and I couldn't be happier with that setup. The Apollo is a very high quality interface, it's very stable, and it sounds amazing!
    Another little bonus to that, is that the last firmware update for the Apollo that came out last week finally unlocked the Unison technology. So the Apollo can very accurately model high end preamps now, by physically changing the impedance and voltage for its on board preamps, to match the ones they are modeling. So they released The UA 610-A & B preamps (the 610-B is free to all Apollo owners, btw), plus the API 212L, from the Vision channel strip. I haven't used the API preamp, but the 610's both sound incredible! There's a very noticeable "warming up" of anything that you track through them. Very cool technology, and IMO puts it above the UFX in terms of both audio versatility and audio quality.
    UA will be releasing more Unison preamp models in the future as well, so that likely means Neve and SSL, as they already have channel strip plugins available for both.

    I know it doesn't fully meet all your requirements, but I can't thing of anything comparable that does. You could easily add another 8 mic pres to the Apollo via ADAT, and still have your 4-710, so that'd be 16 mic inputs... Otherwise, yeah you might have to look at a mixer setup. Presonus StudioLive 24, maybe? I don't know what kind of external connectivity that has.
     
  6. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    RME Fireface 800.
     
  7. Revson

    Revson Member

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    Fireface 800 coupled with an Audient ASP008. The extra spdif option is tricky though. It looks like AxeFx can record directly via USB though
     
  8. jipchen

    jipchen ForesterStudio

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    Yeah I was going to suggest the Universal Audio Apollo Duo (or Quad) as well. Other interfaces you should look at: Fireface UFX, Fireface 800, SSL X Logic AlphaLink AX with an RME RayDat (or similar, the SSL MadiXtreme 64 card also works). Are you on a Mac? Then the Metric Halo I/O 2882 is also definitely worth looking at (8 mic pres, ADAT in, S/PDIF in and AES/EBU).
    And if you're on a Mac and money is no problem: Metric Halo ULN-8 or LIO-8. Those a really hi-end interfaces, but they don't have as many input options as the RMEs. The ULN has 8 great preamps and 8 digital AES/EBU Inputs while the LIO-8 doesn't have the preamps, so 8 inputs + 8 over AES/EBU. Both have no S/PDIF inputs at all. But: All Metric Halo interfaces can be daisy-chained with Firewire. So in theory you can use two I/O 2882s, and you can mix ULN and LIO interfaces.

    The Fireface UFX has 12 analogue inputs (4 are preamps, 8 are "free" for external preamps) and 8 analogue outputs, plus 2 ADAT In+Outs (=16 channels) and a AES/EBU digital input. One of the ADAT In/Outs can be used as S/PDIF.
    The Fireface 800 on the other hand has only 10 analogue inputs (4 of them are preamps, so only 6 inputs for external preamps), 2 ADAT In/Outs (16ch) and S/PDIF.
    So if you want more than 12 (FF UFX) or 10 (FF 800) analog inputs you'll have to add for example an RME ADI 8 converter for additional 8 inputs. Or use an 8 channel ADAT preamp: RME Octamic D or Octamic II, Audient ASP008 ADAT, Focusrite Octopre mkII...

    And yes if you're going to use more than one other digital unit, you're going to have to think about clocking. Of course even one has to be clocked but it's pretty easy because ADAT doesn't only carry the audio signals but also clocks, and I think S/PDIF does that too. For more units wordclock is the way to go. In my setup, I clock three units and I don't have a dedicated clock generator like the Apogee Big Ben or the Antelope Isochrone OCX, because some converters etc allow for the clock to loop through (the RME ADI 8 does that for example). If they don't, you'll need these things as far as I know, so the wordclock can clock the first additional digital device as well as go on to the other one(s). A wordclock connection always has to be terminated with a 75ohm resistor at the end of the chain, but most devices have a switch for that. If not: this does the job.

    By the way as far as I am aware there is not a single interface with more than a stereo S/PDIF input. The UA 4-710D is handy though, because you can connect it with ADAT and it has 4 free analog inputs on the back (ADAT is always 8 ch if you're using 44.1 or 48kHz). If you get the Metric Halo LIO or ULN you could connect it via the 8ch AES/EBU. Most if not all other interfaces have ADAT and only 1 or 2 AES/EBU inputs though.
     
  9. Revson

    Revson Member

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    The FF800 has 10 analog ins. 1-8 on the back as TRS line inputs with 1, 7, and 8 being doubled on the front and 9 & 10 on the front only. Using an Octopre as an ADAT extender, you just set the RMEs clock to ADAT 1 and the Octopre becomes the master. Any spdif devices should take the clock output from the RME just fine.

    I used to have my rig set up just like that when I had an Eleven Rack. 8 channels of Seventh Circle Audio pres connected to the line ins on the back, Focusrite Octopre connected via ADAT, and 11R connected via spdif, and channel 9 or 10 was used for a talkback mic. The only real problem with it was if I needed to change sample rates, I had to set the 11R as my interface in Pro Tools, set the new sample rate, close PT, open it again, and then reset the FF800 as my interface.
     
  10. jipchen

    jipchen ForesterStudio

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    Oops you're right. I had the Fireface 800 myself for several years, before posting I looked it up and the site said 8 analog inputs lol.
    But what you describe is weird because from my knowlegde it shouldn't work that way (in theory). I had the FF 800 and an RME Octamic D and used the Octamic as the master, but then the Fireface can't be the clock for another unit. In my case it wouldn't sync with another ADAT converter/preamp.
    There's always just one way at a time to clock things (in theory, and that's what RME advises): Wordclock, or ADAT, or S/PDIF etc. A unit can't be both master and slave. I don't question it worked for you but as far as I know you (can) get audio degradation (jitter) and drop-outs that way.

    But hey if it works... If it doesn't, he can still get two wordclock bnc cables, the t-connector and use the interface as the master and clock the other devices through wordclock. It's not expensive if you don't buy a seperate clock generator.
     
  11. ArthurD

    ArthurD Member

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    If you are not concernd about price, and want to last a decade, why not go for Burl audio converters or Antelope converters and great pres?
     
  12. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    I'd go with the UFX/audient combo. To get all of the Spdif you want you'll need to consider something like the mutec mc-4 to convert to/from adat.
     
  13. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    I'd buy Egan's UFX.
     
  14. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    He said he wanted to keep it under 5k euro so I'd think that most of the ultra high end options are out. An empty burl chassis is $2500 with no converters. It's $1500 for every 4 channels.
    The Apogee is probably the best bang for the buck in the high end stuff but owning a UFX and a Symphony I feel confident saying that while there are differences they aren't earth shattering.
     
  15. exoslime

    exoslime Member

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    WOW, many thanks for all the replys, the time you took to write down all the detailed informations, you guys are incredible!

    i see, this idea with having multible spdif-in is not very common, so i might need to scew the idea, and just use 1spdif and decided which unit i use with spdif and which one still on analoge I/O
    its not a leg-breaker

    2nd hand buy is always an option for me, so thanks for pointing out that egan sells his rme ufx :)

    btw, i´m on pc so the metric halo stuff is not working.

    now i´m going to digest all your suggestions and make some more research on those units :)

    many many thanks again for your help
    Chris
     
  16. mickrich

    mickrich Member

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    I highly recommend the Allen and Heath zed-r16.
    I have access to an ssl 4k and neve vr both with latest avid converters where I teach and can get a mix sounding just as good with the zed. Amazing value for money and a fantastic studio centre piece. Mic pres are excellent and the eq are superb and you 16 channels of both.
    If cost isn't a concern I would get its big brother, the gsr24m.
    I have often sung the praises of the zed-r16 on here and a few guys have bought them and are as happy as I am.
     

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