Which interface: Ultralite, Konnect, FW410, Firebox, Saffire

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
dave999z
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Which interface: Ultralite, Konnect, FW410, Firebox, Saffire

Post by dave999z » Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:14 pm

Hello everyone, I am deciding on an interface to use with my Mac Pro (and occassionally to take out and record with my powerbook G4).

What I'm wondering most about is the sound of the mic preamps. At this point I'll just be recording myself at home (vocals and mic'd guitar cab, one at a time). It's just a bedroom, not treated. I'll probably get a studio projects C1 mic. The computer is in the same room, so there'll be some ambient noise. Point is, under these conditions I do not think a standalone mic pre is warranted. Therefore, I will actually be using (heavily) the mic pre on whatever interface I get, so I'd like it to sound as good as possible, recognizing that the mic pre in a $500 audio interface is not going to be world class.

Here's my second issue... Like most everyone, I will connect a set of powered monitors (deciding between blue sky pro desk and adam a7) to the interface. But I also have a set of NS10s that I want to connect just through a stereo receiver. So I'd like a second pair of outs to go from the interface to the stereo receiver so that I can A/B my mixes through the NS10s. Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but can I connect a pair of 1/4" outs from an interface to a pair of RCA ins on a receiver (obviously using a cable with the right connectors). For example, the Ultralite has +4/-10 bal/unbal TRS output jacks. Will those work to send to a stereo receiver?

These are the interfaces I'm deciding among. Any thoughts about these, or other recommendations, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

MOTU UltraLite $550
TC Konnect8 $300
M-audio FW-410 $300
PreSonus Firebox $300
Focusrite Saffire $395

P.S. Would the mic pres in the RME Fireface justify the jump to $1000?



Dave
Mac Pro: 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon
Metric Halo ULN-2 interface
Akai MPK49 controller
Adam A7 monitors
Sennheiser HD 650 headphones
Studio Projects C1 mic
Ableton Suite 8 | Komplete 5 | impOSCar

the girl next door
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Post by the girl next door » Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:23 pm

I used to have a 410 something that pissed me off was you couldn't use the Inputs for our Virus C at the same time as the Mic inputs so we had to record the C to Audio before your singer came round..
I also had a Motu 828 which when recording our singers through the Mic inputs gave off a hissing sound which isn't the case with my RME Fireface 400 so it was deffo the MOTU and not the setup.
dave999z wrote:P.S. Would the mic pres in the RME Fireface justify the jump to $1000?
If you can afford the Fireface..Then get it !!

ARDJ
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Post by ARDJ » Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:32 pm

i've owned the 410 and upgraded to the motu ultralite about 3 mos ago... couldn't be happier, drivers, support, latency are all rock solid. this is a no brainer in my decision

dave999z
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Post by dave999z » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:07 pm

If you can afford the Fireface..Then get it !!

Aside from the hissing prob you described with the MOTU, does the Fireface have better sounding / better spec'd mic pres?


Thanks for the response.[/quote]
Last edited by dave999z on Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Mac Pro: 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon
Metric Halo ULN-2 interface
Akai MPK49 controller
Adam A7 monitors
Sennheiser HD 650 headphones
Studio Projects C1 mic
Ableton Suite 8 | Komplete 5 | impOSCar

the girl next door
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Post by the girl next door » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:09 pm

dave999z wrote:
the girl next door wrote: If you can afford the Fireface..Then get it !!
Aside from the hissing prob you described with the MOTU, does the Fireface have better sounding / better spec'd mic pres?


Thanks for the response.
DEFFO...

It rocks...Never had a problem with it...Great sound..
You can't go wrong with RME stuff

Dr Dub
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Post by Dr Dub » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:43 pm

perhaps you should add the Presonus Firepod to your list.

If got cheaper recently, 399 Euro and has 8 pretty good preamps.

The converters could be a little bit better in the RME, but i think the preamps

are very good for an interface.

I had the same decision as you not long ago, and my list was very similar, i
went for the Firepod because for me personally it has some advantages.

1. The price is good (was not the main Reason)

2. You get 8 preamps: Even if you don t really need them, i think the opportunity to record a drumset without any hassle is a big big plus.
And you can leave all your gear connected, which is nice for a good workflow

3. No fancy Software-Mixer: If you don t need complicated monitoringsetups for different musicians, that is nice because you can do it all on hardware. You can use asio4all without loosing any functionality, which is not the case with motu or RME. So you have a solution if the original driver doesn t work with a specific setup. (Great in my opinion)

4. It has preamp outs for channel 1 and 2, so you can use these as sends and use all kinds of hardware FX, for example a compressor (big minus for the ultralite, i think)

5. If not connected through Firewire, it acts as a 8channel preamp with individual outs for every preamp, so even if you get an other interface, you will find some use for it. I think, for 400 bucks you can t really get a better 8 channel preamp, so you could think of the firewire interface as add on.

Just my 2 cents

quadrant6
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Post by quadrant6 » Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:00 pm

Perhaps also on the list should be the Mackie Onyx 400f, according to most, the mic pres blow the ones you've mentioned away

there have been issues with both mac/win but i think most are now sorted. Anyway, worth considering.. I am :)

cosmosuave
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Post by cosmosuave » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:15 pm

Knock FW410 off of your list... I have one and still do but it is a PITA..
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ilia
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Post by ilia » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:25 pm

dave999z wrote:
If you can afford the Fireface..Then get it !!

Aside from the hissing prob you described with the MOTU, does the Fireface have better sounding / better spec'd mic pres?


Thanks for the response.
I don't think the preamps are Fireface's highest selling point. They are clean and adequate, but I personally don't use them, since I have a dedicated preamp (which cost more than the FF itself). But then I wouldn't choose a soundcard based on preamps. Having good converters and rock-sold performance at low latencies (48 samples buffer) is more of a priority.

synnack
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Post by synnack » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:28 pm

+1 on ultralite.

I bought it because i wanted an interface with good clean mic preamps to record guitar. They rule.

dave999z
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Location: Washington, DC

Post by dave999z » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:43 pm

quadrant6 wrote:Perhaps also on the list should be the Mackie Onyx 400f, according to most, the mic pres blow the ones you've mentioned away

there have been issues with both mac/win but i think most are now sorted. Anyway, worth considering.. I am :)
You have me thinking - I'm reading reviews on this.


Everyone, thanks for your input thus far.
Mac Pro: 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon
Metric Halo ULN-2 interface
Akai MPK49 controller
Adam A7 monitors
Sennheiser HD 650 headphones
Studio Projects C1 mic
Ableton Suite 8 | Komplete 5 | impOSCar

snakes and ladders
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Post by snakes and ladders » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:56 pm

If your thinking about a firface and your on a mac then consider a Metric Halo ULN-2.
It has better converters than Apogee and second only to Lynx and the Mic Pre's are as good or better than a lot of of dedicated Mic-pre's. Plus the MIO console has the best and most flexible routing (this is my opinion) of any of the Soundcard manufacturer's.
If your buying that calibre of monitor give them some decent converters and the plus is the quality of the pre's (massive gain (up to 72 dB) with an EIN of -129 dBu) is extra icing - google and do some research

Spend the extra cash and you'll be right for years

Cheers
Mac 24", Remote SL, Live 6.05, Operator, Sampler, Metric Halo 2882, Focal Twin 6be

Jaan
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Post by Jaan » Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:05 pm

Presonus Firebox - you'll save yourself money and you'll have a stable soundcard with good preamps. I can get 2ms latency with my Firebox, and it runs very smooth.
filthy

Actuel
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Post by Actuel » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:21 am

I haven't used one but the M-Audio NVR10 has received high marks so far. Definitely worth a look: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/NRV10-main.html

edit: here's a youtube overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vh6OVI7pXg

dave999z
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Location: Washington, DC

Post by dave999z » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:52 am

Actuel wrote:I haven't used one but the M-Audio NVR10 has received high marks so far. Definitely worth a look: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/NRV10-main.html

edit: here's a youtube overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vh6OVI7pXg
At first I was deliberating whether to get a combo control surface/interface or a separate (smaller) interface and something like a tranzport or alphatrack. I decided to go with the latter, because I want the option of portability with my powerbook if I want to go elsewhere to record.

The NRV10 looks very cool, but for me it'd be the worst of both worlds: i.e., it's not portable and it's not a control surface (does not send MIDI data).
Mac Pro: 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon
Metric Halo ULN-2 interface
Akai MPK49 controller
Adam A7 monitors
Sennheiser HD 650 headphones
Studio Projects C1 mic
Ableton Suite 8 | Komplete 5 | impOSCar

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