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Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 or 40 to replace a 002?
Old 14th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Bungler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 or 40 to replace a 002?

My 002 is dying and I'm looking to replace it soon. I've been looking at the Focusrite Saffire 56, but after seeing the Saffire 40 I think it might be a better choice for cost. I know it doesn't have the two Liquid channels... is it REALLY worth a $500 price bump? Anything new coming out I should wait for?

I'd like to stay in the $500 - $900 price range. Preferably something I can order through Guitar Center online (yeah, yeah...), as I have a close friend that can offer me excellent pricing.

Needs:

- ADAT optical
(have an ADA8000, don't use it much anymore, but incase)
- SPDIF on RCA
- At least two mic pres
- Firewire

I'm recording and producing mostly my own music. I use Superior Drummer and an Eleven Rack. Something with a decent pre would be nice for vocals. Not recording full live drum kit right now but I do want the ability to in the future. You can get an idea for the stuff I record from the song in my signature.

Any help or suggestions are appreciated. Personally I think the Saffire Pro 40 is the way to go but I'm curious to see other options. I am willing to spend more if need be.
Old 14th September 2012
  #2
Gear Nut
 
Dot.'s Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
56 and 40 sound the same, you just gotta ask yourself do you need liquid pres or no. 56 has some extras: wordclock, 16 adats. if you dont need more ins with adat then 40 would be way to go.
Old 14th September 2012
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Bungler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Is the wordclock in the 56 worth it? I'm also up for non Focusrite suggestions as well, if any.

I forgot got to mention I really am looking for a step up from the 002, not just trying to match it in quality (or lack there of, haha).
Old 15th September 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I really like my LS56, i didnt however buy it for the liquid preΒ΄s, the main reason why i got the 56 with the main being that it has 16 ADAT IO compared to the 8 ADAT IOΒ΄s on the pro 40, it has a few more nice features like separate phantom power switch on every channel and a built in patchbay (choose line or mic input connector from the mixcontrol software).

If you dont need the extra ADAT IO, im sure you will be just fine with the pro 40. I dont use the wordclock myself either, i clock my ADAT interfaces via ADAT, one of them are a ADA8000 BTW and it works just fine.

These interfaces seems to be priced differently in the US and Europe where in the US the LS56 costs twice of the pro 40 and here in Europe the Pro 40 costs 2/3 of the LS56.

Prices at Thomann in Germany where i buy most of my stuff:

Pro 40= 498 Euro
LS56 = 698 Euro
Old 15th September 2012
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Bungler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks everyone!

I think the Saffire 40 seems like the way to go for my needs. Anyone have any suggestions to look at the aren't the Saffire 40? Comparable interfaces?
Old 15th September 2012
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I have used Focusrite interfaces for probably the last 10 years so you can see where my suggestions are. I don't think you can go wrong with either of those two options.

Unless you can splurge on an RME I'd vote Focusrite.
Old 15th September 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
icecubeman's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Pro 40 has little bit more transparent converters but the 56 liquid preamps are briliant, if I were you, I would go for 56
Old 16th September 2012
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Bungler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
RME FireFace 400 vs Liquid Saffire 56?

Did RME discontinue the FireFace 400? Sweetwater says it's no longer available and many other retailers are showing low supply.
Old 16th September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by icecubeman ➑️
Pro 40 has little bit more transparent converters but the 56 liquid preamps are briliant, if I were you, I would go for 56
I'd be surprised if the Pro 40 converters were any more transparent than the 56 - the two interfaces have identical internals but for the Liquid Pres and the extra I/O on the 56. Identical converter chips in both as far as I know (certainly identical specs).

Of course, running things through the standard pres on the 40 (or 56) will probably be more transparent than going through the Liquid Pres, but that's to be expected. I guess it's also possible that the extra circuitry in the 56 could make a slight difference in converter performance, but it would probably be virtually undetectable I would have thought.

I know that the 40 seemed to score a few dB higher than the 56 in the DA-AD converter test thread (the one that's currently under review) but I was never sure about the accuracy of those results. A comparatively large sample/clock shift had been applied to the Pro 40 results, which makes me wonder whether they had ended up being artificially boosted somehow or, conversely, whether the 56 results also needed to be adjusted/re-aligned and would then come out looking better.

In either case, they're both good interfaces for the price and I'm very happy with the LS56 that I currently use. I'd certainly recommend taking a look-see at one.
Old 17th September 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
icecubeman's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Based on real loopback test, you can find it here on Gearslutz, ultimate shootout ADDA I think, I cannot find exact link now. PR40 was way better in trasparency measurement
Old 17th September 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You can't go wrong with either one. I have the 40 and have been supremely pleased with mine. Got to have the TI chipset though
Old 17th September 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by icecubeman ➑️
Based on real loopback test, you can find it here on Gearslutz, ultimate shootout ADDA I think, I cannot find exact link now. PR40 was way better in trasparency measurement
Yes, that's the one I was referring to. The thread is currently under review owing to one of its regular outbreaks of trolling/bickering. The Pro 40 results in there had a rather odd-looking clock/sample offset applied - much larger than the offset required by the LS56 or by most other interfaces/converters. Under the circumstances (and given that the converters are more or less identical between the two units) I suspect one set of results or the other was probably awry. If that thread is ever reinstated, I might ask the originator whether he could take another look-see at the Focusrite results to see if something was amiss somewhere. Although he may not have the time for that as he tends to put most effort into the higher-scoring units (which is where the real interest lies - none of the Focusrite interfaces came out well in that particular test so don't tend to get any extra analysis time).

Anyway, if the results are revisited and some error is found somewhere, I'd like to think that the LS56 results would jump up to the same point as the Pro 40. I'm not holding my breath though! Given that I tested my own LS56 twice and at least one or two other people tested theirs and got very similar results, I suspect that if there is something wrong somewhere, it will involve the Pro 40's results heading south instead. Still, you never know...!
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner ➑️
You can't go wrong with either one. I have the 40 and have been supremely pleased with mine. Got to have the TI chipset though
Focusrite also recommends VIA as well, i have VIA chipset firewire on the motherboard of the computer that i built at the beginning of this year, it works great with the Alesis IO26 that i use at home.

Since i use my LS56 at the studio with a laptop that has TI chipset i havent tested it with VIA myself though.

Here is a link http://www.focusrite.com/answerbase/...ty_article.pdf
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
icecubeman's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww ➑️
Yes, that's the one I was referring to. The thread is currently under review owing to one of its regular outbreaks of trolling/bickering. The Pro 40 results in there had a rather odd-looking clock/sample offset applied - much larger than the offset required by the LS56 or by most other interfaces/converters. Under the circumstances (and given that the converters are more or less identical between the two units) I suspect one set of results or the other was probably awry. If that thread is ever reinstated, I might ask the originator whether he could take another look-see at the Focusrite results to see if something was amiss somewhere. Although he may not have the time for that as he tends to put most effort into the higher-scoring units (which is where the real interest lies - none of the Focusrite interfaces came out well in that particular test so don't tend to get any extra analysis time).

Anyway, if the results are revisited and some error is found somewhere, I'd like to think that the LS56 results would jump up to the same point as the Pro 40. I'm not holding my breath though! Given that I tested my own LS56 twice and at least one or two other people tested theirs and got very similar results, I suspect that if there is something wrong somewhere, it will involve the Pro 40's results heading south instead. Still, you never know...!
Ihave Pro 40 and 56 and I did those test by myself, so I know what I am talking about...
Old 18th September 2012
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
i have two of the pro 40's and i ****ing love them. i was hanging on to a windows xp set up just to keep using my aardvark q10 pro (i loved the preamps in them) until i heard the focusrites and finally caved.
Old 18th September 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by icecubeman ➑️
Ihave Pro 40 and 56 and I did those test by myself, so I know what I am talking about...
In which case, the results must surely have seemed odd to you too? Two interfaces from the same family, built by the same manufacturer using the same converters and almost certainly based on the same circuit topology, having absolutely identical measured performance specs (noise, THD, etc.) across the board on both input and output sides. And yet they score very differently on a loopback test, with one of them showing a much larger sample alignment shift than the other?

I know that various things were changed in the loopback test setup as new information came to light. One of those things was that DiffMaker's auto-alignment feature wasn't as good as originally thought and that a better alignment could sometimes be achieved manually. I wonder whether the test runs for the Pro 40 and the LS56 were actually aligned differently before null testing (since the Pro 40 results came in some time after the original LS56 ones were submitted if I remember right). In that case, even though the actual loopback test runs were carried out correctly in both cases, some variance could have been introduced during the alignment/analysis phase. If that's the case, then I guess it could go either way - maybe the ranking for the 56 could be improved if a more accurate manual alignment was carried out, maybe not.

It would certainly be interesting to try to find out why there was such a noticeable difference anyway. Although the way things are going over in the Forum suggestions area (where the removal of the original test thread is currently being discussed), I'm not holding my breath for it getting reinstated any time soon.

In any case, the more important point here is that - regardless of any test results - the Pro 40 and LS56 are a cracking pair of interfaces and offer a lot of bang for the buck. They're definitely worth an audition if you're looking for a FireWire interface in their price range. Personally, I'd go for the LS56 (in fact, I did) but the 40 is a great alternative if you don't need the extra bells and whistles (and want to save a bit of cash).
Old 19th September 2012
  #17
Gear Nut
 
Bungler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Ordered the 56 last night! Shipped this morning.

Oh yeah!!
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
icecubeman's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungler ➑️
Ordered the 56 last night! Shipped this morning.

Oh yeah!!
Very smart You will love liquid preamps, top notch
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungler ➑️
Ordered the 56 last night! Shipped this morning.

Oh yeah!!
I think you will be very happy with it
Old 19th September 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungler ➑️
Ordered the 56 last night! Shipped this morning.

Oh yeah!!
Yep, I'm with icecubeman and Neonknight on this one - good call. If you have the same experience as I have had, you'll find it's a great piece of gear.
Old 20th September 2012
  #21
Gear Head
 
recordingrev's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
A little late on this, but the LS56 is awesome if you can swing it, mostly because of the liquid pres do allow you to get different sounds out of your mics, which makes mixing easier in the long run. Did a video review of it here if it helps anyone:

Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 Review [Video]

Cheers!

Graham
Old 19th October 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
dlmorley's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Nice review!
Old 19th October 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 
the donal's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm going for the 56 in November- I like the expandability and the idea of the liquid channels (not heard them to make a judgement yet).

I'm assuming it'll be good with a VIA chipset too- my 002R was fine with this, despite being touted as only liking TI FireWire.
Old 19th October 2012 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by the donal ➑️
I'm going for the 56 in November- I like the expandability and the idea of the liquid channels (not heard them to make a judgement yet).

I'm assuming it'll be good with a VIA chipset too- my 002R was fine with this, despite being touted as only liking TI FireWire.
Quoting my earlier post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neonknight ➑️
Focusrite also recommends VIA as well, i have VIA chipset firewire on the motherboard of the computer that i built at the beginning of this year, it works great with the Alesis IO26 that i use at home.

Since i use my LS56 at the studio with a laptop that has TI chipset i havent tested it with VIA myself though.

Here is a link http://www.focusrite.com/answerbase/...ty_article.pdf
Old 19th October 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
the donal's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neonknight ➑️
Quoting my earlier post
Ye gads, I missed that! Cheers for answering this before and after I asked!
Old 20th October 2012
  #26
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
+1 for Pro40! Recently replaced my Mbox with it and couldn't be happier. Also grabbed a GAP 73. The 2 together still cost considerably less then the 56. Only thing I wish was that it had a proper BNC wordclock I/O.
Old 20th October 2012
  #27
Here for the gear
 
CapStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I've just bought my LS56 and i like it very much so fare. I run it on a windows 7 64bit rig with Cubase and its rock stable.
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