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About upgrading audio interface

46 posts since 7 Jul, 2008

Postby Ustun; Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:38 pm About upgrading audio interface


I know that this is a verry basic question but when you don't know it it becomes a bit complicated :) I have a Presonus Firebox which is now more then 10 years old and working perfecly. I just want to know that if I buy a new audio interface - A MOTU 828 mk3 hybrid is in my mind - will there be anything different on the recording aspect and what will it be? I produced with virtual instruments generally and I'm a newbie in recording and I just don't know this little detail :)

2166 posts since 11 Mar, 2002, from Central NY

Postby CapnLockheed; Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:40 pm

You're kidding right?.....If your Firebox is still working why on earth are you looking to replace it?? The only "little detail" that would change is that the 828 MkIII also supports USB....as long as your DAW has firewire ports then what's the point?? You gain nothing except ADAT I/O and USB connectivity....fine if that's what you need....but if you don't need those things....then my advice is...IF IT AINT BROKE DON'T FIX IT!! :roll:
the secrets to old age: Faster horses, Richer Women, Bigger CPU's

67 posts since 24 Feb, 2006, from Wynnewood, PA

Postby Vaylos; Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:22 am

Going to agree with Cap.

The only thing you'll gain from the MOTU is maybe better DAC chips or (possibly) marginally better preamps which at that price range would only be a very subjective improvement. And if you're primarily using virtual instruments rather than recording mic'ed sound sources, you probably don't care much about the mic preamps. And at those prices, well, it's not so much about the flavor or sound of the preamps as it is making sure you've got decent clean gain.

I've had an Echo Audiofire 4 for about 6 years now, and it still gets used despite having a Mackie Onyx 1620i firewire mixer. (I primarily got the mixer for recording live gigs) The Echo gets used for smaller stuff, and at home or with the laptop.

So yeah, whatever budget you have for the MOTU, I'd put it towards something that will have a larger effect on the quality of your work, be it a better software synth or effects plugins, maybe a hardware synth you've been eyeballing, upgrade the monitors (again potentially only marginally better at the $750/pr level) or acoustic treatments for the room, etc. etc.
"Whatever you do, make good art." -- Neil Gaiman
46 posts since 7 Jul, 2008

Postby Ustun; Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:36 am

I understand that recording quality will stay quite same after the upgrade.

I do agree with you both either. And my Firebox do work really well and I really like it. But unfortunately I'm having some compatibility issues with it with my new Macbook Pro - I guess, I hope-. The audio just get muted from time to time when I work with DAW's - Logic and Live - and last month I experienced a live performance with Ableton Live with around 20 mutes, I disabled - enabled the audio engine to get back the audio as I do as a solution but as you can imagine the performance was really awful and I was verrry upset with it then with that rage I decided to buy a new audio interface. I know that it is really pricey but I could not find a better deal with the input-output number that has a Firewire 800 port. I just don't want to convert anything to anything different since I'm using a Firewire 800 laptop right now.

I'd like to spend this money to a hardware synth to actually, I totally agree.

If you have any other opinions about the issue or about the interface then I'd like to hear it too.

Thanks for the replies!
67 posts since 24 Feb, 2006, from Wynnewood, PA

Postby Vaylos; Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:11 pm

Believe me, I understand your pain on the firewire stuff. My Mackie doesn't play well with my laptop. Apparently my laptop uses cheapo J-Micro controllers to power both the card reader and the firewire. This means that Even if I were to get an external firewire card, it would still travel across the J-Micro firewire chipset, and not improve my situation.

I'm not as familiar with the mackbooks, so can yours take an external card? Like getting an external firewire card to plug in and use that instead of the Macbook's internal firewire chipset? Firewire cards, even the TI-based cards are pretty well dirt cheap, and that might be a solution to consider.

FWIW I think current macbooks use Agere chipsets for the internal firewire ports? I don't know if they have express slots or the ability to insert external firewire cards. And I don't know if the card reader would be separate from the Agere chipset. Maybe a macbook guru can chime in and answer whether or not the card reader uses a separate chipset than the Agere? Or if it can even take an external card?

Otherwise, if you need a USB audio interface, well, I'd consider staying on the cheap end and try to get the same functionality that you have currently. Maybe one of the Presonus Audioboxes would work, or one of the Focusrite Scarlett interfaces? It kinda depends on how many ins and outs you really need. I know the cheap 2i/2o audiobox only has the two front inputs and the 2 outputs on the back. And the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is similar in that regard.

The next steps up if you need the extra inputs or outputs might be the AudioBox 44VSL which has 4 in on the front, and 4 out + main outs and headphones on the back. Or possibly the Scarlett 8i6. Both those are $250.

Anyway, considering a cheap external Texas-Instruments firewire express card for your macbook pro might be something worth looking into. But I'm not 100% sure on that because I don't know how the card readers are integrated. :P
"Whatever you do, make good art." -- Neil Gaiman

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