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New interface purchase, ~$3000
Old 3rd August 2021
  #1
New interface purchase, ~$3000

Hello, all!

After weighing the pros and cons in my last post about the Yamaha mixers, I've decided instead to go for the more traditional interface route. So, I'm looking to spend up to $3000 USD on an interface(s) for remote recording and sessions, and would appreciate some feedback on the top choices. I'd like to have more than 8 channels; 16 would be great, but I'll settle for 12. I’m also a stickler for getting gear that’ll last for the long haul—I don’t like to re-purchase the same types of gear every few years, so longevity is really important to me. Here are the options I've settled on:

1) An RME Octamic II with a paired interface that has ADAT capabilities: current options include the Audient id44 or PreSonus Quantum.
2) The Antelope Orion Studio
3) The Antelope Discrete 8 Synergy Core, with a companion set of utility preamps (something like the Focusrite Clarett Octopre would suffice).

Of those three, are there any opinions or thoughts one way or another? I wish I could justify going above the $3000 price tag, but that's what I have to work with. Feedback appreciated!
Old 3rd August 2021
  #2
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
Hello, all!

After weighing the pros and cons in my last post about the Yamaha mixers, I've decided instead to go for the more traditional interface route. So, I'm looking to spend up to $3000 USD on an interface(s) for remote recording and sessions, and would appreciate some feedback on the top choices. I'd like to have more than 8 channels; 16 would be great, but I'll settle for 12. I’m also a stickler for getting gear that’ll last for the long haul—I don’t like to re-purchase the same types of gear every few years, so longevity is really important to me. Here are the options I've settled on:

1) An RME Octamic II with a paired interface that has ADAT capabilities: current options include the Audient id44 or PreSonus Quantum.
2) The Antelope Orion Studio
3) The Antelope Discrete 8 Synergy Core, with a companion set of utility preamps (something like the Focusrite Clarett Octopre would suffice).

Of those three, are there any opinions or thoughts one way or another? I wish I could justify going above the $3000 price tag, but that's what I have to work with. Feedback appreciated!
I picked up a Motu AVB setup recently, which in quite enjoying the flexibility of for remote recording. 16ch stage box w/ pres and a CR box runs around 2500-3000.
Old 3rd August 2021 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
some remotely controllable stageboxes or multichannel preamps you can feed directly to your computer in which case you can ditch the interface - can recommend yamaha rio, focusrite red/dante series, midas, a&h etc.

for a more traditional setup with preamps and an interface, i'd get an rme interface without any doubt (and also to stay clear of antelope)!

some rme interface have the option to record to a usb stick so you don't necessarily even need to keep a pc/mac running but of course you can use any of the platforms for redundant recording.

select a format for digital i/o's (adat, a3s, madi, dante etc.) and preamps of choice - remotely controllable preamps are mostly more expensive (unless of course you go with used gear) - can recommend midas xl-48, audient (or used yamaha ad8hr, aphex 188, aphex 1788 etc.) and then there are way more expensive toys available from cadac, grace design, neve, ssl, studer, stagetec, dotec, dad, merging etc.

my large rig is madi-based and is hooked up to a rme madiface xt which can deal with 196 i/o's (each) at standard sampling rate (but goes up to 192 if needed).

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3rd August 2021 at 10:18 PM..
Old 3rd August 2021 | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
some remotely controllable stageboxes or multichannel preamps you can feed directly to your computer in which case you can ditch the interface - can recommend yamaha rio, focusrite red/dante series, midas, a&h etc.

for a more traditional setup with preamps and an interface, i'd get an rme interface without any doubt (and also to stay clear of antelope)!

some rme interface have the option to record to a usb stick so you don't necessarily even need to keep a pc/mac running but of course you can use any of the platforms for redundant recording.

select a format for digital i/o's (adat, a3s, madi, dante etc.) and preamps of choice - remotely controllable preamps are mostly more expensive (unless of course you go with used gear) - can recommend midas xl-48, audient (or used yamaha ad8hr, aphex 188, aphex 1788 etc.) and then there are way more expensive toys available from cadac, grace design, neve, ssl, studer, stagetec, dotec, dad, merging etc.

my large rig is madi-based and is hooked up to a rme madiface xt which can deal with 196 i/o's (each) at standard sampling rate (but goes up to 192 if needed).
That's a good point--perhaps I should consider getting the OctaMic II and a Digiface? That way I can expand later if needed.
Old 3rd August 2021 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
I picked up a Motu AVB setup recently, which in quite enjoying the flexibility of for remote recording. 16ch stage box w/ pres and a CR box runs around 2500-3000.
How do you find the MOTU gear, soundwise? My only experience with MOTU is less than stellar, but I am more than happy to change my mind about them.
Old 3rd August 2021 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
That's a good point--perhaps I should consider getting the OctaMic II and a Digiface? That way I can expand later if needed.
there are several models by the name 'digiface': avb or dante which are certainly future-proof but if you don't have any preamps which are using any of the formats, costs are high. then there's the digiface usb with adat i/o's and finally there were was an older model (which still works fine after something like 25+ years!)...

cannot comment on the octamic much; i just used it once ir twice togerher with lots of other gear - worked ok.

imo the xl-48 preamp/converter is underrated and has filters (both hpf and lpf) which can be handy in some situations - iirc our moderator steve remote has been using a couple of these for quite some time.
Old 3rd August 2021 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
How do you find the MOTU gear, soundwise? My only experience with MOTU is less than stellar, but I am more than happy to change my mind about them.
I would say it isn’t quite on the level of the best gear I’ve used (merging, Millennia, Grace, etc) but seems about equal to the UFX, Rednet stuff, etc. That said, I’m still getting used to it myself.
Old 3rd August 2021
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I am a happy user of the Antelope Orion Studio. It replaced a Prism. It sounds really great (much better than RME), and it has 12 inputs. It's matrix system is extremely flexible and easy to use. So far it has never let me down...
Old 3rd August 2021 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
gear rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas_G ➡️
I am a happy user of the Antelope Orion Studio. It replaced a Prism. It sounds really great (much better than RME), and it has 12 inputs. It's matrix system is extremely flexible and easy to use. So far it has never let me down...
lucky you!

i'm mostly touring without pc/laptop but rent/buy locall; i cannot recall how often i had massive issues with antelope gear - if i could get it to work at all (and which is the reason why i started carrying an oldish rme as spare).

by comparison, it never took me more than 5min to install a rme interface and i did not ever experience a single issue or failure (except for a psu in a converter ca. 25 years ago) while the antelope gear, at least the earlier models, were outdated by the moment they got released, support was close to inexistent, drivers not stable, not updated, soon abandoned...

could be/i hope they have become more reliable by now but imo it's telling that one does not get to see any of their gear in any high-profile lication/high-pressure situation such as ob-vans, television studios, state broadcasters etc. - well, except for their esoteric atomic clocks occaonally...

___


full disclosure: i'm not getting sponsored by anyone but i own ca. 15 devices from rme while i got but 2 from antelope - there is only one manufacturer i like even less (and yet i mentioned a product of his in a previous post)...
Old 4th August 2021 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
lucky you!

i'm mostly touring without pc/laptop but rent/buy locall; i cannot recall how often i had massive issues with antelope gear - if i could get it to work at all (and which is the reason why i started carrying an oldish rme as spare).

by comparison, it never took me more than 5min to install a rme interface and i did not ever experience a single issue or failure (except for a psu in a converter ca. 25 years ago) while the antelope gear, at least the earlier models, were outdated by the moment they got released, support was close to inexistent, drivers not stable, not updated, soon abandoned...

could be/i hope they have become more reliable by now but imo it's telling that one does not get to see any of their gear in any high-profile lication/high-pressure situation such as ob-vans, television studios, state broadcasters etc. - well, except for their esoteric atomic clocks occaonally...

___


full disclosure: i'm not getting sponsored by anyone but i own ca. 15 devices from rme while i got but 2 from antelope - there is only one manufacturer i like even less (and yet i mentioned a product of his in a previous post)...
Yes, I know all the stories about Antelope stuff failing, and I wasn't too sure when ordering one...
Yet, I am glad I did, because I have used my unit now for two years without failure. The transparent sound is its greatest asset.

I still have a Motu and a RME unit as backup. The Motu sounds nice but has had some hardware issues. The RME is absolutely reliable and problem free, but its sound is dry and meagre. Even my Tascam field recorders sound better...
Old 4th August 2021
  #11
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I’m a big fan of the Focusrite Pro interfaces. I have a Red 8 Pre and a pair of Clarett OctaPres plus a True Systems Precision 8. That gives me 32 channels of analog I/O plus 32 more channels of Dante I/O.

You can get the Red 4Pre for about $2,500 now, and an ADAT mic preamp like the Clarett OctoPre for about $750. If you keep your eye on the Focusrite store, you can get the Red 4Pre refurbished for about $1519.00.
Old 4th August 2021 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➡️
I’m a big fan of the Focusrite Pro interfaces. I have a Red 8 Pre and a pair of Clarett OctaPres plus a True Systems Precision 8. That gives me 32 channels of analog I/O plus 32 more channels of Dante I/O.

You can get the Red 4Pre for about $2,500 now, and an ADAT mic preamp like the Clarett OctoPre for about $750. If you keep your eye on the Focusrite store, you can get the Red 4Pre refurbished for about $1519.00.
Oh wow, I didn’t realize the refurb rates were so affordable for Focusrite stuff. For my budget, I could get the MP8R—that’s awfully tempting.....
Old 4th August 2021 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas_G ➡️
Yes, I know all the stories about Antelope stuff failing, and I wasn't too sure when ordering one...
Yet, I am glad I did, because I have used my unit now for two years without failure. The transparent sound is its greatest asset.

I still have a Motu and a RME unit as backup. The Motu sounds nice but has had some hardware issues. The RME is absolutely reliable and problem free, but its sound is dry and meagre. Even my Tascam field recorders sound better...
i see - regarding rme's 'sound'
a) there is no generic sound across all their gear (which is no different with any other manufacturer)
b) together with a dozen friends/collegues, i did a properly conducted a/b/x comparison/blind-listening test in the 90's and one of their products did shockingly well considering its price (contenders were prism, meitner, tc, apogee and whatnot)
c) i do have some of their madi converters which imo are top notch: depending on source/spectral balance, i sometimes even prefer them over my studer and euphonix converters (!)
d) i do mainly use their digital format converters (to hook up my massive madi-rig) so 'sound' is as non-issue...

anyway, thx for the update on your antelope interface.
Old 4th August 2021 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
Oh wow, I didn’t realize the refurb rates were so affordable for Focusrite stuff. For my budget, I could get the MP8R—that’s awfully tempting.....
The only catch is that they are often out of stock and when they do come in stock they sell quick so you have to buy quick.
Old 4th August 2021
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Plenty of good input already, but I'll play. With that budget, I'd go the other way around, and get an RME interface with some sort of ADAT 8-pre expansion. Such as...

RME Fireface 802 (~$2k USD)
Focusrite Clarett OctoPre (~$750 USD)

That comes in under budget and provides RME stability/conversion with some very serviceable clean preamps. In your position with those needs and that budget, I'm 99% sure this is the route I'd take. Twelve good channels of clean gain plus room to expand further later on if needed.
Old 4th August 2021 | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Progger ➡️
Plenty of good input already, but I'll play. With that budget, I'd go the other way around, and get an RME interface with some sort of ADAT 8-pre expansion. Such as...

RME Fireface 802 (~$2k USD)
Focusrite Clarett OctoPre (~$750 USD)

That comes in under budget and provides RME stability/conversion with some very serviceable clean preamps. In your position with those needs and that budget, I'm 99% sure this is the route I'd take. Twelve good channels of clean gain plus room to expand further later on if needed.
Now that's an idea. I'll have to consider going that route. Although right now, it appears that Focusrite is falling behind on production (maybe due to the chip shortage). Thanks for the suggestion!
Old 5th August 2021 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➡️
I’m a big fan of the Focusrite Pro interfaces. I have a Red 8 Pre and a pair of Clarett OctaPres plus a True Systems Precision 8. That gives me 32 channels of analog I/O plus 32 more channels of Dante I/O.

You can get the Red 4Pre for about $2,500 now, and an ADAT mic preamp like the Clarett OctoPre for about $750. If you keep your eye on the Focusrite store, you can get the Red 4Pre refurbished for about $1519.00.
Well darn, I just checked and it sounds like the Clarett Octopre and the Red 4Pre have both been discontinued. Looks like I'll have to hope for a refurb or buy used if I want either one of those. I was hoping to get an Octopre new, but that was not meant to be.
Old 5th August 2021 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
Well darn, I just checked and it sounds like the Clarett Octopre and the Red 4Pre have both been discontinued. Looks like I'll have to hope for a refurb or buy used if I want either one of those. I was hoping to get an Octopre new, but that was not meant to be.
Try calling around to a few places. B&H, Sound Productions, and Full Compass are my go tos.
Old 7th August 2021 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
I picked up a Motu AVB setup recently, which in quite enjoying the flexibility of for remote recording. 16ch stage box w/ pres and a CR box runs around 2500-3000.
I’m looking into the MOTU units right now—if you don’t mind me asking, what control unit are you using for the stage box? The 8pre-es looks good, as does the 8M.
Old 7th August 2021 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
I’m looking into the MOTU units right now—if you don’t mind me asking, what control unit are you using for the stage box? The 8pre-es looks good, as does the 8M.
The Stage 16B has the best specs, though the others also seem adequate, especially if you want to connect anything via ADAT, WC, etc.
Old 9th August 2021
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
The MOTU AVB devices are controlled via Web interface. I use the Stage B16 stageboxes with a M64 device. The gain settings of the B16s can be controlled via the M64 (or any other connected AVB interface‘s) webinterface, so no need to switch between the AVB device tabs on screen! For talkback, monitoring and redundancy i connect a Madiface Pro or UFX+ via Madi to the M64. MOTU windows drivers are stable, though. No problems here. The B16s are fanless, compact and lightweight.
Soundwise i‘m more than satisfied with the B16 boxes. On par with the UFX+. I posted a video clip of a Mahler orchestral recording on FB and Alan Meyerson commented it with „Sounds amazing!!“.
Old 9th August 2021
  #22
Gear Head
 
Recently got a UFX + and have no regrets - I've had Motus and black lion modded motus, UA's and I think the RME takes the cake. Total mix is fantastic - especially the routing and you can also have that extra USB stick backup option.
Old 11th August 2021 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
I picked up a Motu AVB setup recently, which in quite enjoying the flexibility of for remote recording. 16ch stage box w/ pres and a CR box runs around 2500-3000.
Okay, I've come back to this thread and I have a confession to make--I am at a loss as to what CR box refers to. Mind helping me out? Thanks!
Old 11th August 2021 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise ➡️
Okay, I've come back to this thread and I have a confession to make--I am at a loss as to what CR box refers to. Mind helping me out? Thanks!
Control room
Old 12th August 2021 | Show parent
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Control room
Alright, that's what I was thinking. I'm really considering the Stage B-16 quite strongly, perhaps with an 8pre-es as a control box. Cool looking stuff.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Nut
 
I bought an 8Pre-es last year and I love it. The ideal interface for my needs. Solid Mac drivers, too. I also contacted MOTUs support a few times and they were always great.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Addict
 
alexvdbroek's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have a Prism Lyra 2. I highly recommend it. The preamps are insanely good. For extra inputs I have a Audient ASP800. Its pretty good too.

My advice is don't scimp on the Interface because its the heart of the your studio. I wouldn't go for the Motu. I'd look at RME or upwards.

Peace,
A.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Still having nothing but great experience with this latest generation of Motu AVB stuff personally, on Mac and on PC. Don’t know why it acquired a bad reputation but I don’t know that it’s (still) deserved. Only hang up I’ve had is that the thunderbolt connection doesn’t work with my 2015 MacBook Pro in bootcamp. That’s an easy enough thing to work around.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
The Stage 16B has the best specs, though the others also seem adequate

What do you mean?

The listed specs on the 8pre-es's mic inputs (118 dB dynamic range, -129dB EIN) at least slightly beats the 16B's (117dB dynamic range, unlisted EIN).
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasbin ➡️
What do you mean?

The listed specs on the 8pre-es's mic inputs (118 dB dynamic range, -129dB EIN) at least slightly beats the 16B's (117dB dynamic range, unlisted EIN).
Tbh I wasn’t aware that was an AVB interface. Was looking only at the 1248 and 8m. Thanks for pointing that out!
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