Upgrading my studio, need interface suggestions

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by mmd, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Cool! Yeah, I still have 3 ADAT tape machines - I have NEVER gotten rid of any recording gear, lol. Shoot, I still have my original Yamaha MT120 4-track cassette machine!!! I used not too long ago on a lo-fi project. That's a cool one because it has 4 direct outs - record to the cassette, use the direct outs to send it to the computer. You get all that crappy cassette recording vibe with the ability to tweak it in the digital world. It offers some neat stuff.

    The HD24 has 3 ADAT in/out. Would the converters on that be good enough? If so, I am set and ready to go - 24 in/out via the HD24 and the HDSP9652.....

    I have heard good things about those Sapphire Pro 40 units. Is there an advantage to FW800 over FW400?

    It's gonna be a bit of a learning curve. I started loading programs and connecting stuff yesterday. I am SOOOO used to just having everything be 150% bullet-proof with the HD system that I am kind of stressed out....

    Thanks!!

    Regarding PT12 - will it ALWAYS have to be connected to the internet to work? I have my iLok....if I keep that thing plugged in, am I good to go? My current system is pre-iLok - never had to mess with one before....
     
  2. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    The good news is that in the ADAT lightpipe system you are bypassing the internal converters and passing pure digital over the lightpipe.

    Your DAW can then pick up this digital stream as an input channel.

    The D/A conversion happens in the saffire unit on playback.

    Each Saffire unit presents all of its I/O to your DAW for selection.

    I use Studio One and when I map the device I/O to tracks in the setup window all 8 analog (mic pres) show up first, then the 8 ADAT, then a SP/DIF. This means I can record from ANY of them, which is really cool.

    2 units means my setup window is twice as big. But they are labled differently so you can tell which unit inputs are which.

    I have also stuck a label on the front of mine for easier Identification when making changed through the Saffire Pro routing mixer.

    FW 800 is simply a faster standard. I'm not sure if its twice as fast or not.

    But they are backward compatible. An 800 will work in a 400 system, just at the 400 speed is all.
     
  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Those units are amazing!

    I do live sound recording as well so I use them in the field too.

    One of the coolest things I have found out about them, and I haven't read about it anywhere yet, is the ability to save a routing mix preset to the Saffire unit itself.

    They allow you to save multiple setups to disk that you can re-call and reload as needed too!

    This has been very handy when I've used the ADATS in the field. I can setup the routing for the mic inputs to route to the ADAT lightpipe and then save it to the Saffire.

    When it is rebooted in the field it loads that preset on boot and it runs in that config as a stand alone interface - NO PC connection needed!

    How cool is that!

    I have also used it with a 1/4" TRS balanced to XLR snake to intercept the FOH signals for live recording.

    I plug the stage snake into the front of my Saffires and capture them to DAW or ADAT, and using the 1/4" to XLR snake I route the Saffire outputs to the FOH mixer.

    The Saffire lets you route EVERYTHING, so don't assume inputs 1-8 appear on outputs 1-8 because that is not the case. By default everything appears on outs 1 and 2 as a stereo out.

    So once its mapped out all the snake signals pass through my Saffire unit and back out to the FOH mixer. Once my gains are set I use a laptop with firewire to adjust the volumes sent to the FOH.

    But now, he can run the show and adjust as needed without having any affect on my signal.
     
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  4. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    I am looking at all that stuff, and I have a headache, lol. It's cool, but WAY more complicated than I think I want to go. Here's my simple question....

    For now (while I learn all the new gear), can I just plug crap into the Sapphire, send it to Protools, record it and monitor back through my monitor matrix built into my analog console? I have all my talk-back, monitor controls, sends, monitor mixes, etc. all set up with the analog desk.

    I basically use protools as a digital tape deck. Yeah, I mix in there, but my main plug-in is going to be the Waves SSL bundle - I am aiming to use that as a virtual console. I will add a reverb and delay to get started, then build up from there.

    To get me as close to my current rig as possible, I want to be able to send 6 busses from my analog console to the back 6 inputs on the Sapphire. What I do now is have a variety of sources plugged into channel strips on my board and use busses 1-6 to feed the interface. Each channel strip allows me to send to various "places" on the desk - Mix B inputs, one of eight busses, the mains, auxes....

    The RME that I installed has me a bit scared because I understand part of it, but it also requires one of those internal mixer things. I am sure once I get up and rolling, and I mess with the "extras" it'll make sense. Right now I am just hoping for plug-n-play, lol.....

    Advice??
     
  5. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    have you loaded the Saffire control program yet?

    I want to be able to send 6 busses from my analog console to the back 6 inputs on the Sapphire.

    Ok. You are going to want to set up your inputs on your Saffire to 'analog in'. That's techie talk for mic pre's.

    Like this example shows. The top of each 'slider' lets you pick the source coming into that slider.
    [​IMG]
    You will set them as analog 3 thru 8. Remember analog 1&2 are on the front!

    This will get your 6 channels from your board into the Saffire. You should then see levels when you test. You will have to raise the volume sliders to hear them back out of the Saffire.

    Outs are defaulted to main outs (#1 & 2) on the back. I think they are labeled.

    I'm at work now, but no worries! It is complicated at first, but once you get the hang of how the interface works it is incredibly flexible and powerful. That's why its tough to get used to at first.

    In your DAW you would have loaded the ASIO driver for the Saffire and set it as your default sound device.

    Wherever you setup your ins and outs in PTs all the ins should appear, first 8 analog ins, then ADAT ins and a SP/DIF in.

    Analog in #1 will bring in the signal from your first input (#3) on the rear. You set it up in the mixer that way.

    Continue to add inputs up to #8. That will be input #6.

    Adjust your volumes on the front of the Saffire for your input levels from the board.

    You should see signal in your DAW as the Saffire sends the feeds into it over the firewire.



    Sorry if I'm cramming a lot in at once. :wow:

    I won't think you're dumb if you didn't get it all in one shot......

    Sometimes I just talk too fast!:facepalm:
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  6. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Cool. Yeah, I can digest that amount, lol....

    I am still loading drivers and software. I set things up for a little while yesterday and spent a few hours installing stuff. It'll take a few more days - or all of Saturday to get things in and working right.

    I did load the Sapphire mix program, hooked the Pro 40 up, and it was "disconnected" so I am figuring I need a driver. PT didn't see it, so I am missing something.

    Tired today (been fighting a kidney stone since last week), so I am not messing with anything tonight. But I'll get it going. It'll be the middle of next week before I start the installation of everything in the desk and making the switch over from PT HD to this new rig.
     
  7. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Oh my! Kidney stones are NO FUN!

    Oh, right off the bat while I'm thinking of it an FYI!

    Don't pull out the firewire cable while it is live. Power off the Saffire first.

    They have specifically mentioned that in their FAQs as possibly causing damage to the interface if its pulled live.

    Check your firewire connections and make sure the port is enabled on your PC. It could be shut off internally.

    The firewire connection should light and lock on the display of the Saffire. The syncing is done at the hardware level using firewire standards. No driver needed. The ASIO driver is needed to present the interface to your DAW.

    Not sure at the minute why that didn't load with the mix tool.

    I took some screen shots last night. I use Studio One, but there has to be a similar setup page in PT where you define inputs and outputs. I have 2 units. Here's how they appear.

    Inputs
    20171113_185700.jpg
    Outputs
    20171113_185728.jpg

    Mixer input choices

    20171113_190152.jpg

    Control panel settings.
    Just wanted to point out that Outs 7&9 feed to the Headphone Jack. And Main outs 1&2 are at the very top labeled Monitor Outs.
    For what you are doing you can ignore the bottom half of the mixer screen. You aren't using any ADAT or SP/DIF outs.
    Also note the lower right hand side shows the connection stats.
    These will change to match whatever sample rate you use in your DAW. I have Studio One set at 48Khz.
    20171113_190437.jpg
     
  8. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Also worth a mention is that there is a 'settings' button on the lower right pic above. One of the things you can do is to rename your unit into something easier than the Hex ID it comes with.
    These names are then offered to your DAW as the unit ID number.

    You can see that in my screenshots above. Unit 1 TOP and Unit 2 BOTOM are my descriptions that I entered into the settings. I didn't know they would show up anywhere else, but it is very handy when dealing with multiple units.

    Like I said they appear to me to be well thought out units with a ton of flexibility and features.
     
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  9. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Awesome! Thanks.

    I am figuring the issue is that I need to download a driver for the FW800 card. I added that in later because I wanted to get one that Focusrite said was compatible. I'll see about that first and give it another go.

    Yeah, I saw about unplugging the FW cable and all the warnings. Glad they make it so obvious.

    I figure once I add the Octo Pre, which we be as soon as I start installing everything into the desk, I would activate/work with the ADAT ins on the Sapphire Control.

    I want to get the Focusrite gear up and running first, then contented with the RME card. That HDSP9652 is my "big boy" for larger projects, so no rush there....
     
  10. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    That shouldn't be needed. Firewire support is native to Windows O/S and I'm pretty sure it is in MAc too.

    I would look in to your hardware or device manager to see if the 1394 port is already installed and operating. That part should be a no brainer. I've put a couple in in my day.

    FYI what's recommended is only that. If you don't have hiccups or bad latency issues, use what you have. Firewire is a standard protocol.

    Some on board chipsets treat it a little differently and can cause issues.
    20171114_124635.jpg
     
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