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What Audio Interface do I choose with 2 pairs of ADAT I/O?
Old 12th September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Another "what interface" question - this time with 2 ADAT pairs

I recently bought a 2nd hand Yamaha 01V96VCM digital mixer, with an addon 8-channel ADAT card.

I am looking for an audio interface with 2 pairs of ADAT I/O to complement the mixer and give 16 bi-directional channels at 48 khz.

The choices in my budget are, from least to most expensive, the Motu 828mk3 hybrid, Focusrite liquid saffire 56, Steinberg ur824 and Motu 896 hybrid. RME ff800/ufx are other choices I have considered, but both are above my budget and I'll have to wait a few months for these.

Clocking and DA (and to a lesser extent, AD) conversion are top priorities, as I intend to use this device as the master and slave the Yamaha clock to it, and maybe have the main outs go out through the interface. I have 12 pres on the yammy, so more pres are nice to have but not a huge priority unless they are significantly better than the yamaha pres.

3 of my 4 choices have 8 pres each, but the one that doesn't (828 hybrid) is the cheapest. The LS56 costs only about $100-150 more locally, so is probably the most cost effective solution. There is a further difference of about $300 for the ur824 and 896 hybrid.

The last option is to wait a few months, and get an RME ff800/ufx. I am not interested in the TC Electronic Studio Konnekt 48 or M-Audio Profire 2626.

Please advise, and thanks for reading!
Old 12th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
DAW PLUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Do I understand correctly you have no PCIe slots? i.e. a laptop?
Unless you have a rare model with TI firewire onboad, I would stay away from Firewire.
If you DO have a tower with PCIe slots, get the RME RayDAT.
If you need USB, stick to RME. Other brands have nice units as well, but driver wise using USB RME is far ahead.
Old 12th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
For what you want, I'd be tempted to go with the 828 or the LS56. I can't speak from any experience with the 828, but I run an LS56 in my music room at home and am very happy with it. It possibly isn't the most transparent device when running analog signals into it (some tests do seem to suggest that it does add some coloration to the sound) but it still sounds good, the standard pres are relatively noise-free even with the gain fairly high, the Liquid Pres are useful to give some alternative tonal choices and it has heaps of other I/O options. I've found the drivers to be rock solid on Win 7 (64-bit), the Saffire MixControl software is great for setting up alternate output mixes/routings and, of course, if you're running through the ADAT connections, the transparency or otherwise of the analog inputs etc. is basically irrelevant.

I don't know about the 896, but I definitely wouldn't pay $300 over the price of an LS56 to get the UR824. As far as I know, the UR interfaces basically use most of the same circuitry as the MR series, which in turn is based almost entirely on the Yamaha n12. I do know the n12 because I run one of those as well and - although it's a nice piece of gear - I wouldn't say it was significantly better than the LS56. In fact, I'd say the two were very similar and, if I had to give one of them the edge, it would go to the Focusrite. So I'd never buy an MR/UR over a Saffire 56 unless the Steinberg was actually coming in as the cheaper option.

Finally, I would say not to rule out the TC Electronic Konnect 48 entirely. Again, I don't have any direct personal experience, but I have heard very good reports about it from several different sources. Mind you, at the end of the day, I'd still say to give the LS56 a try first - it'll probably be absolutely fine for you and should give you pretty much everything you're looking for at the moment.
Old 12th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
If you have an available PCI slot available in your computer (you don't say what you are using) then look for a used RME 9652 PCI card interface for $300. Get the newer version of the card with 2 midi I/O. It has 24 channels of ADAT I/O via 3 ADAT input cables and 3 ADAT output cables. Make your Yamaha the master and timing can be via the ADAT cables themselves or via word clock cable (if using word clock cable then make sure to position the word clock jumper on the 9652 card for "termination"). RME makes some of the best low latency under load drivers. This will also allow you to add another Yamaha ADAT card to your mixer down the road for 24 channel I/O.
Old 13th September 2012
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Hi guys, thanks for the comments!

I should've mentioned that I'm uaing a mid 2010 imac, so PCI cards are unfortunately not an option.

Adrian, thanks for the advice. For the price, the LS56 does seem like the best option. My choice is really between that and the 828.

The reason I did not want to consider TC or M-Audio is because of driver support. Maybe Im wrong about TC, but I get the impression that they arent particularly good with driver support.
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS ➑️
Do I understand correctly you have no PCIe slots? i.e. a laptop?
Unless you have a rare model with TI firewire onboad, I would stay away from Firewire.
If you DO have a tower with PCIe slots, get the RME RayDAT.
If you need USB, stick to RME. Other brands have nice units as well, but driver wise using USB RME is far ahead.
I should mention that between the 828 and LS56, which Ive shortlisted now, one major difference between the two is the hybrid usb/firewire combo for the 828.

Since the imac has only 1 firewire port, it is useful to have the option of using usb, and keep the firewire port for a recording drive.

If usb driver performance on the motu hybrids is not up to par or significantly worse than firewire, then that makes them a little less enticing.

According to focusrite, there is no problem daisy chaining hard drives with their saffire range. But the liquid mix used to be very finicky about this, so I'm not sure how smoothly the interfaces function with a hard drive daisy chained.
Old 13th September 2012
  #7
Gear Nut
 
FYUnited's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Firewire performance on these newer iMacs with RME is usually rock solid. I've used my FF800 with half a dozen different computers (iMacs and MPBs) since 2008 with practically zero issues. Also I currently have three external drives and the FF800 on the same 800 bus with no issues (recording HD, time machine, and storage). The biggest recording sessions I run though are around 20 tracks (at 44.1 or 48 kHz) simultaneously. So YMMW.
Old 13th September 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by memoryshell ➑️

According to focusrite, there is no problem daisy chaining hard drives with their saffire range. But the liquid mix used to be very finicky about this, so I'm not sure how smoothly the interfaces function with a hard drive daisy chained.
OK - I don't know how well the LS56 will play on a Mac since I'm using it with Win7. Although I haven't heard any particular horror stories either - or, at least, no more than I've occasionally heard second-hand about PC issues (which, as I say, I have personally never experienced so I don't know how many of those might have been down to user error).

However, the one thing I will say is that I've heard that the LS56 pretty much likes to have a FireWire bus all to itself. So if you're working on a single FW port and also want to run an external FW disk, the 828 might be an easier option. I don't know that for sure though - I guess there are folks out there doing it so it probably does work, but it might be a case of getting things set up right. Maybe ensuring the Saffire is first in the chain and the disk is hanging off there rather than the other way around?
Old 13th September 2012
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I'm really hoping someone can chime in about usb performance of the motu hybrid interfaces.

OTOH, I can use a usb2 drive for recording. My needs are not likely to exceed 16 tracks at 24 bit 48 khz. I'm not sure if usb2 would be adequate for this, but I'm guessing from other user's descriptions of their experiences that it would be.

The usb buses are shared by 4 other devices, a novation sl 49 & zero, the yamaha mixer and a launchpad. I rarely use more than 2 of these simultaneosuly, and while recording I can get away with using just one other device i.e. the yamaha, or the sl zero. So I'd imagine that there shouldnt much load on the usb buses, and they should work fine with either a usb2 drive or a motu unit via usb.

The major differences between the two are really coming down to expandability and the included software. The motu interfaces seem more expandable, with the apparent ability to chain up to 4 more devices. I'd only really need to chain one more device if at all, and this would either be a 4pre, 8pre or traveler.

I can only chain the saffire pro 24 or 14 to the LS56, and this also should be adequate for my needs. Focusrite devices chained together have the minor advantage of showing up as one device in a DAW, while an aggregate device needs to be created for 2 motu interfaces chained together. This is circumvented by the included Audiodesk software though.

Motu's cuemix fx seems to have the edge over saffire mixcontrol, with more flexibility and the included fx and analysis tools. I should mention here that I already have the vcm effects from the yamaha, so the dsp fx are not a big deal to me. Cuemix fx does allow one to create 8 stereo mixes with as many input channels as needed. Saffire mixcontrol also allows 8 stereo (or 16 mono) submixes, but with only 18 input channels per mix. Again, 18 should be enough but you never know when you wish you had the extra flexibility.

Another significant difference is that the 828 provides 6 line-ins, which because they don't go through the preamps are probably cleaner than the line inputs on the LS56. A final point of difference is that the LS56 allows 2 independent headphone mixes and the 828 allows just one (the 2nd one always mirrors the main outs).

I now have a more thorough understandinf of the differences between the two, and both should actually be sufficient for my needs. To conclude though, I actually like the LS56 more, but the 828 seems like a more practical and longer term solution.
Old 14th September 2012
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
So I've pretty much settled on the 828mk3 hybrid, for the reasons mentioned in the post above, and will buy it this coming Monday. Another reason, as it turns out, is the price difference between the 828 and LS56, is not $100 like I'd earlier mentioned but more like $200.

Maybe someone can add to this in the mean time to either reaffirm my choice, or give me a compelling enough reason to change my mind. Thanks!
Old 18th September 2012
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
There's a significant difference in sound quality between the 828 and UFX. RME's clock and drivers are also significantly better than MOTU. That's been my experience, anyway. I've never had any kind of problem with RME.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by meedily ➑️
There's a significant difference in sound quality between the 828 and UFX. RME's clock and drivers are also significantly better than MOTU. That's been my experience, anyway. I've never had any kind of problem with RME.
Ditto!
Old 18th September 2012
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Yes, even though I've never heard any of the MOTU mk3's and I've only used a ff400 briefly, I would assume RME products are in general way ahead of stuff by MOTU.

The UFX costs 3x the price of the 828mk3, so there have to be justifiable reasons for the massive price difference, or else the product would not survive in the market.

I had mentioned before that the RME UFX or FF800 are options, but I will have to wait a few months for either of these. Judging by the high regard RME products get in general, this may be a worthwhile and smarter long term investment.

Or I could get it in a year or so. In such a scenario, it may actually make more sense to get an interface with 8 preamps, which could then be used later as 8 mic pres in standalone mode. I should've thought of that before, and now that I think about it the 828 may actually make the least sense of all the ones I mentioned, keeping a future upgrade in mind. I was going to buy the 828 yesterday, but decided to put it off for a few more days. I'm glad I did, and I'm gonna mull over this a bit longer.
Old 18th September 2012
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Also, has anyone tried to use 2 or more ufx/ucx/uc's simultaneously?

Ive also been looking at the UC/UCX, and could add another later if this is known to work well. Its no longer officially supported by RME, and I can't find any info on how well it works. It will be possible for me to use separate buses i.e. 1 unit through usb, and the other through firewire.
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