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Thread: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

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    Default Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    I'd like to find a multi-channel PC sound interface with 8 discrete, line-level analog inputs (7.1), and capable of at least 96/24 sampling rate (192/24 would be even better). Any specific recommendations? I'm leaning toward something that uses a USB interface and external box to keep analog audio signals outside of the noisy environment inside a PC.

    I had thought about something like the Tascam US-1800, but that appears to only have balanced mic inputs, not unbalanced line inputs.

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    Board Operator JonUrban's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    I use one of these and it works great. It comes with a program that lets you independantly adjust the record volume of each channel, which is a big deal when you're working with old or poorly recorded tapes as a source.

    http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/828mk3
    :-jon

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    at your sevice ma'am kap'n krunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonUrban View Post
    I use one of these and it works great. It comes with a program that lets you independantly adjust the record volume of each channel, which is a big deal when you're working with old or poorly recorded tapes as a source.

    http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/828mk3
    Roger this...this is the best value for your money...I have a 828 mk II...
    Avatar: a Goddess...Capucine -...The Ice Queen
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    "LIFE is NOT in Stereo , it's in SURROUND, so why limit your music to stereo...? By that same train of thought we should've stayed in MONO..." -Me

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    Senior Member staygroovy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    Hey kap'n, this is right up my alley.

    I swear by RME gear. It's built like a tank, no flimsy plastic shells, and in my experience they never break down.
    Have a bunch of Multifaces that are all still working after 8 years of heavy use, as well as some Fireface 400's that are kicking ever day.

    Things to consider about the RME interfaces:

    - They make their own low-latency drivers, and update them often. They never, ever crash. Also the firmware has a safety area so you can always backtrack to older firmware if something went wrong during upgrade. Nifty!
    - They have word clock input and pass-through so you can use them in professional environments
    - The internal clock is super-low jitter and definitely on par with anything that's out there.
    - The Fireface 400 will function without external power if you connect it via a full Firewire 400 cable with Macs (not the miniature PC version, that one doesn't pass power)
    - The models I mentioned also have an additional 8 In / 8 Out via optical, which can really do wonders when you are interconnecting multiple units (only @ up to 48 kHz) I use mine digitally with TOSLink while word-clocked, never any issues.
    - The A/D-D/A converters sound very punchy and clean, two mic pre's on the FF400 are extremely respectable.
    - Has built-in MIDI in/out (FF400 has two-in / two out special Mini-DIN to four MIDI connectors)
    - Full DSP mixer application, it's pretty straightforward, if you want to get super-fancy you can remote-control the mixer with anything that speaks HUI Protocol like Mackie controllers.
    Best of all, if you are using a laptop with PC card slots (PCMCIA), you can find complete Multiface systems on eBay for $250.00 including the PC host card, cable and universal voltage power supply.
    Only limitation is 24bit / 96 kHz, that model doesn't go to 176.2 or 192 kHz. (the FF400 does)
    There is an option to run those from tower computers with a different PCIe card, as well as for laptops that have a 3/4 ExpressCard slot, but that second option would be making it more expensive. ($500 just for the Express Card adaptor)

    There is also a newer model of the Fireface 400 that is hybrid USB / Firewire. Again that's going to be pricey, somewhere in the $1,200 range.

    For my money, the deals on the older Multifaces (slate grey front panel) you find on eBay are unbeatable, as long as you don't need mic pre's. Not sexy-looking by today's standards, but will last another 20 years.

    If you just want to do TOSLink and no analog besides headphones, there's also another model called 'Digiface' which is excellent for all-digital systems. Again, very cheap on the used market.


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    1K Club - QQ Shooting Star winopener's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    Nice RME, however PCMCIA is totally dismissed on modern laptops.

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    at your sevice ma'am kap'n krunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    Staygroovy,
    IIRC, this is the stuff that the Neil W (The Guru and all around QQ star) uses....
    Thanks!
    Avatar: a Goddess...Capucine -...The Ice Queen
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    "LIFE is NOT in Stereo , it's in SURROUND, so why limit your music to stereo...? By that same train of thought we should've stayed in MONO..." -Me

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    Senior Member staygroovy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    Quote Originally Posted by winopener View Post
    Nice RME, however PCMCIA is totally dismissed on modern laptops.
    Well, of course you are correct, and sorry for not making myself clearer, but the point of my post was: if kap'n krunch is on a very tight budget, there are some slightly older laptops that are screaming fast and will not break the bank, coupled with this it makes a very powerful music system that will last for years and years, yet was extremely affordable.

    If he has more budget, he can either still buy a Multiface but make it work with an Express Card host adapter instead of the PCMCIA one. (or if he doesn't mind it looking ugly, he can buy a $20 Express Card -to- PCMCIA adapter that is a bit bulky sticking out, but ensures compatibility with older cards for people who have laptops with Express Card ports only - that's still a $480 savings)

    If he has yet more budget, he can jump to Fireface 400 and just work from a laptop that has a Firewire port.

    Lots of options and different price points. I own them all and rely on them for day-to-day operation, and can report that from personal experience this gear is like Mercedes or BMW, you buy it when your kids are in kindergarten, and you may still be using it by the time they get into college.

    I sort of like that, in a way and figured he might too. This is definitely stuff that's on the pro end of things, with features that will not necessarily motivate the casual user, but that are indispensable for those who need 100% mission-critical performance as well as the ability to interface with bigger systems.

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    Default Re: Recommendations for multi-channel sound interface?

    Just a quick update - I went with the MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid. Tonight I'll be attempting my first CD-4 vinyl rip.

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