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Advantages to upgrading to a better soundcard? (pg. 4)
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palm
quote:
Originally posted by strathos
http://www.google.com/search?q=bsod

or

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bsod


oh the "getting an axe" lol, i love when that happens
Magnus
quote:
Originally posted by dainja
I own a 2496. It's OK but it doesn't have balanced inputs/outputs, has few inputs in the first place and sounds good but not amazing.

Do you need more inputs? Outputs? Mic preamps?
Alot of other sound cards are more expensive because they have more inputs/outputs/mic preamps/etc, all of which may be useless to you.

I have the Focusrite Saffire LE. It's the same as the Saffire but cheaper, without the built-in effects.
-It sounds stunning compared to the 2496. Very, very good (but obv you need a good setup to be able to tell the difference).
-The mic pre-amps are also pretty good but I typically use my standalone preamp/condenser mic/compressor setup.
-There's a crapload of balanced inputs/outputs
-The Saffire driver software (where you set inputs/outputs/levels/monitoring options) is not intuitive or user friendly at all. But it works.
-It's FireWire so you should make sure you have a good FW chipset (like a Texas Instruments one)


My production partner had the 0404 for the first year we were producing. The FW chipset in his laptop didn't allow him to use his FW card so we had to use that USB 2.0 card. There are almost no "GOOD" USB sound cards. The standard simply doesn't offer the stability/latency needed for ultrafast pro audio.

With that said, it did the job, with a few crackles and pops (nothing too bad though). I wouldn't recommend it unless you absolutely have to. The Saffire sounds WAY better and it's more stable.


I haven't tried the MOTU, but from my research last time I was shopping, the Saffire had the best bang for the buck.


Thanks dainja! So you think I would be better to get the Saffire LE over the MOTU Ultralike MK3? Its much cheaper and would save me a couple of hundred bucks. I also was told that MOTU is primarily a Mac company and that although their products work on the PC, the drivers are crap. Or is this not the case? How are the drivers for the Saffire on the PC?
cryophonik
quote:
Originally posted by Magnus
I also was told that MOTU is primarily a Mac company and that although their products work on the PC, the drivers are crap. Or is this not the case?


I've been using my MOTU 828mkII (FW version) with a PC for years now with no issues - the drivers have been rock solid for me. That said, given your needs, the Saffire LE is probably a better choice IMO.
DJ RANN
quote:
Originally posted by kitphillips
No worries, I wouldn't say my ears are great and I'm not much of an engineer, so you're probably more qualified on this stuff than me in that sense;)


I'm really not too keen on M audio stuff, even around here I've heard a lot of bad things about their drivers and sound quality. In that range I think presonus makes better kit, they've got enough connectivity at least.


That's the strangest thing but I do know what you're talking about - I while back on here a few people were really complaining about M-audio, but I'm with Storyteller on this one. I used a 2496 for 5 years and wish every card was as stable or as good value. I mean in that entire period I had one driver issue, and it was my own fualt relating to a service pack upgrade. I used to do some tech support for various brands and M-audio (outside of motu) was by far the least hassle and easist to troubleshoot.

quote:
Originally posted by kitphillips
My Digidesign m box is pretty bad IMO, I'm more and more thinking that it sounds like its got a blanket over it, I think because I bought an echo indigo for DJing which (it sounds like) has better quality its become more obvious to me. Thats whats got me thinking about converters, mics and preamps more... Problem is, I can't objectively quantify the differences, but after a month of using something I know that they're there. Thats why I'm relying a lot on reviews of more experienced people. So its interesting to hear that you're not keen on the digi 192s.


The intrinsic problem with the Digi stuff is that the cheaper versions (mboxes) are just designed to get more people interested in the brand and the quality wasn't all that great. They were decent value in terms of getting protools for cheap, they had mic pres on them etc, but their component choice was ty and they aren't that clean. Don't get me wrong the 192's don;t sound "bad" at all, just really lifeless, and when you're spending that much money on converters they should be incredible. A lot of really top engineers revert back to tape at some stage of an important project for this very reason.


quote:
Originally posted by kitphillips
I do disagree with you about those factors you listed though, because if your doing recording then its best to get the best quality you can into the box, then at least if you improve your monitors and room later you can go back and remix. Obviously if you're just monitoring through the interface it doesn't matter.


That's true but I have trouble seeing how you can properly judge your playback of that recording (i.e. tell whether your mic postioninng was correct, eq was correct etc.) unless you have a good monitoring setup in the first place, and I wouldn't record anything through crappy cables. That list is cheap fixes - even guitar center sells mogami starquad cable for a couple of bucks a yard. Speaker stands - you can buy em for $50 or make them for less or Auralex isolators are about $40. Then compare that to the cost of decent monitors like 824's ($1000?) and it's drops in a an ocean when you consider the benefits are quite big.

check out sasha's studio - bit foam, an old rug. not expensive stuff.

http://www.solid-state-logic.com/users/all/sasha.asp

quote:
Originally posted by kitphillips
I suppose my perspective is a bit different in that sense, I'm not only an EDM producer. Because I do so much live recording, I do really want to have good kit, because its not like a synth performance where you record the midi and can recapture the audio any time. A guitar, piano, violin or vocal performance happens once, and by the time you buy a new converter, you may never get back that perfect take...

If I was just monitoring through a DAC I would probably not even bother with an apogee, I might even stick with that M audio. Especially given I don't have good monitors (only AKG 240s).


See you point, but I do reckon there's benefit to be had (but somewhat less) if you are just monitoring, because the playback will be enhanced with a better DAC, and therefore you hear frequencies better, with more clarity and hopefully eq, mix, etc. better.

One more thing about M-audio. I think a lot of people who are/were familiar with their original offerings (PCI card) had a very high opinion becuase they got it right with those, and I think they fell down a bit when it came to their newer USB and FW offerings - in fact I remember a lot of peopl having issues with the very first batches of the FW410, but this was eventually sorted with a firmware update.
dainja
quote:
Originally posted by Magnus
Thanks dainja! So you think I would be better to get the Saffire LE over the MOTU Ultralike MK3? Its much cheaper and would save me a couple of hundred bucks. I also was told that MOTU is primarily a Mac company and that although their products work on the PC, the drivers are crap. Or is this not the case? How are the drivers for the Saffire on the PC?


NP
Like I said, I know nothing about the MOTU card. I haven't used it. However, if the Saffire software interface doesn't bother you I see no reason not to go for it! It's a really solid interface, and definitely great value.

The drivers for the Saffire are great. It was simple plug n play - no rebooting and BS like that needed (like M-Audio drivers).

However, like I said, the "mixing" interface you use to assign channels to monitoring, etc. is absolutely horrible. It works but it's not intuitive.


As for people saying that M-Audio got it's reputation from PCI cards. I tend to agree, their PCI products made their name and their FW offerings I've tried have all had serious problems when it came to drivers. =
EgosXII
ok guys sorry but 1 more Question from a n00b:

echo audiofire 4
saffire LE
Motu Ultralite (much more expensive, so a little hesitant over this one unless it's really worth it)

i'm in a similar situation as the friendly thread starter, but am on a mac: i'm interested in recording from a mic once in a while, but nothing major, and pretty infrequently, so don't need too many inputs, mostly need a strong driver as my current novation xiosynth card is suffering and causing latency :(

from posts so far it seems like i'll be heading for a saffire, just wondering if the audiofire would be better since i'm a mac user etc...??
cheers :D :D
kitphillips
@ RANN, Thats definately been my experience of the mbox, very dull and quite mushy sounding. I'm using the built in mic pres so I'm sure that doesn't help. It sounds nice for guitars and things, but vocals just don't cut through enough IMO.

As far as monitoring, I guess you just do what you can with it. no environment can ever be perfect and some environments just cant be fixed at all. At least with good converters you can always go back and remix your stuff at a later date, although you won't get the full benefit of it now. Of course, its always better to have good converters for monitoring, but if I was doing everything in software with VSTs, I'd look into better monitors and environment long before better converters personally. But as it is, I'm doing a lot of recording so I'll go for converters before monitors.

Egos, I hear the saffire has shoddy drivers compared to the MOTU, which I think are quite good (but haven't owned one). Fousrite preamps that they put in the mbox aren't great either, so be aware of that.... I don't know much at all about the echo.... MOTU gets recommended by everyone for being solid and sounding pretty good. But you pay for that reputation too.
EgosXII
didn't see the post just above mine saying saffire's good, my bad :(

thanks though kit! :D

anyone have any experience/comparison of echo vs focusrite? cheers :)
DJ RANN
quote:
Originally posted by EgosXII
ok guys sorry but 1 more Question from a n00b:

echo audiofire 4
saffire LE
Motu Ultralite (much more expensive, so a little hesitant over this one unless it's really worth it)

i'm in a similar situation as the friendly thread starter, but am on a mac: i'm interested in recording from a mic once in a while, but nothing major, and pretty infrequently, so don't need too many inputs, mostly need a strong driver as my current novation xiosynth card is suffering and causing latency :(

from posts so far it seems like i'll be heading for a saffire, just wondering if the audiofire would be better since i'm a mac user etc...??
cheers :D :D


my 2 cents......go for the audiofire. It sounds really good, is nice and stable, has very low latency, has a sensible hardware layout (pre's on front, lines on the back) in a nice small solid box with volume controls on the front. No stupid mixer software to deal with either and echo's support has always been quite good.

The motu will be really solid and stable, sound marginally better but I'm not sure it's the extra $200 for your situation for just slightly better converters and a bit more connectivity.

Haven't used the Saffire LE in a long time but also remember the mix software being a major turnoff and a complete pain. The sound quality is good but remember the box itself being a bit plasticy?

Anyway, I'm not a regular saffire user so maybe my opinion is not respective of their products.
DJ RANN
quote:
Originally posted by kitphillips
@ RANN, Thats definately been my experience of the mbox, very dull and quite mushy sounding. I'm using the built in mic pres so I'm sure that doesn't help. It sounds nice for guitars and things, but vocals just don't cut through enough IMO.

As far as monitoring, I guess you just do what you can with it. no environment can ever be perfect and some environments just cant be fixed at all. At least with good converters you can always go back and remix your stuff at a later date, although you won't get the full benefit of it now. Of course, its always better to have good converters for monitoring, but if I was doing everything in software with VSTs, I'd look into better monitors and environment long before better converters personally. But as it is, I'm doing a lot of recording so I'll go for converters before monitors.

Egos, I hear the saffire has shoddy drivers compared to the MOTU, which I think are quite good (but haven't owned one). Fousrite preamps that they put in the mbox aren't great either, so be aware of that.... I don't know much at all about the echo.... MOTU gets recommended by everyone for being solid and sounding pretty good. But you pay for that reputation too.


That's really good advice - way, way better to spend money on your good speakers before a converter, you'll get so much more of a performance increase for less money. I was just trying to make the point that if your monitor situation is already good then you can benefit from upgrading you soundcard, from say an M-audio to a Motu.

Egos, to add to what kit said, my personal view of focusrite equipment was flawless until the M-box - after that it was like they sold out and the mic pres on the mboxes are exactly how he describes, dull and mushy. I think the saffire's pres suffer from the same problem but again this is what I've heard, not what I have personally seen or heard for myself.

The motu is solid, stable, sounds good but expensive. If your on a budget the audiofire offers more for the money but if you've got the extra $200 to burn then you'll like the Motu, a lot.

Zild
I recorded the guitars on the song on my myspace with a 2496 if you're interested in hearing what one sounds like.

myspace.com/zild

Anyone know what would be a step up from a 2496 for someone recording guitars?

with pair of balanced outputs if possible...
hundred
jeez, got my audiophile 192 working and the sound is way different from the integrated sound card...alot more reverb or something, hope i set it up right :eyes:
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