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Some help with final DAW and preamp decisions for firewire..

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Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:56:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hope some of you fellow RAP-er's can lend me your experience.

I'm in the process of planning/finalizing a DIY recording workstation to be
used for recording, mixing, and editing. My plan is to use it with either a
Mackie 1620 firewire-enabled console, or a Presonus Firebox firewire
mixer/preamp. In either case I will be sending a firewire signal of up to
eight channels into the DAW, and monitoring at least a two-channel mix out
back through the firewire to the console/mixer. I've done research and
narrowed my choices, but the final selection could use some actual
real-world input, and since all my recording activities heretofore have been
to tape (analog or DAT), I'm flying a bit blind.

The two workstation finalists are two Shuttle small footprint and
ultra-quiet boxes, each outfitted with a main boot HD (160mb Western Digital
"silent" ultraDMA drive) and a separate recording or media drive (SATA
Western Digital 10,000rpm "Raptor" 74mb drive). Either will also have 1 Gig
of appropriate ram, and plenty of USB 2.0 and Firewire connections. The
difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that one would
use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
(PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64 and a
socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory. In each case the memory
chips would be of good quality and low latency (cas of <3). Both
workstations would be running Windows XP professional SP2.

My main question therefore is -- will there be a real world difference
between these two systems when it comes to laying down tracks, and if so,
how would it manifest itself? I'd particularly appreciate hearing from
folks who've actually had experience with both, or faced this choice
themselves.

A separate question concerns the quality of the mic preamps/mixers. The
Mackie 1620 contains their ballyhooed Onyx low-noise mic preamps. The
Presonus has their usual mic preamps. Each contains eight inputs and will
be used to record chamber music, jazz, and small-group rock and folk-rock.
Some of the recording will be live, some done in good semi-studio
surroundings. The Mackie setup will cost approximately twice that of the
Presonus, but it's extra control features would only be of use (if at all)
for the rock recording, which will be less than half of what I do. I put a
premium on really good sound quality (especially for the chamber and jazz
work) and would love to be able to afford a bank of Great Rivers,
Milleniums, or Grace's, but I simply can't afford them right now. I will be
using a mixture of Sony condensers, dynamics, and a Royer amplified stereo
ribbon mike.

So the question is: for this use and with these mics, will there be a
dramatic difference between the two choices in quality of preamplification
and resultant sound. Or should I make the choice based on convenience,
size, and cost factors? Or is there some comparably priced firewire
input/output/mixer/preamp combination that I should consider in additon.

Any and all help in answering these questions will be appreciated. Thanks.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 4:42:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> The two workstation finalists are two Shuttle small footprint and
> ultra-quiet boxes, each outfitted with a main boot HD (160mb Western
Digital
> "silent" ultraDMA drive) and a separate recording or media drive (SATA
> Western Digital 10,000rpm "Raptor" 74mb drive). Either will also have 1
Gig
> of appropriate ram, and plenty of USB 2.0 and Firewire connections. The
> difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that one
would
> use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
> (PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64 and a
> socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory. In each case the
memory
> chips would be of good quality and low latency (cas of <3). Both
> workstations would be running Windows XP professional SP2.

I think the 10k rpm drive is uneconomical, 7200rpm is fine for 24 channels
of 24/48. If that's not enough, just get a second 7200rpm drive to share
the load. You should also have each audio drive on its own controller, so
for small format PC's that often means a Firewire drive, not a bad idea.

> My main question therefore is -- will there be a real world difference
> between these two systems when it comes to laying down tracks, and if so,
> how would it manifest itself? I'd particularly appreciate hearing from
> folks who've actually had experience with both, or faced this choice
> themselves.

Laying down tracks isn't the problem as much as mixing with lots of
plug-ins. A 300MHz celeron can record and play back 24+ tracks no problem.
The Athlon 3000 is ample CPU for a typical mix.

> A separate question concerns the quality of the mic preamps/mixers. The
> Mackie 1620 contains their ballyhooed Onyx low-noise mic preamps. The
> Presonus has their usual mic preamps.

The Firepod does not have the same caliber preamps as their Digimax units,
which are a step down from their M80's pre's. The Digimax LT (24/48, ADAT)
costs $200 more than the Firepod (24/96, Firewire). My experience with the
Firepod gave me the impression that the pre's are about on par with
mid-level mixing desks like an Allen & Heath GL2200. I would expect the
Firepod to marginally outperform the Mackie, and better yet the Firepod can
be powered with 12-24V DC, so you can run it anywhere off SLA batteries with
a laptop. It also indicates that the power is more thoroughly regulated
than the Mackie, which is as important as the caliber of preamp componentry.
The Mackie can't be used for recording directly after the preamp, which
means if you rent some high-end preamps you'll be running them through the
whole mixer, rather self-defeating. The Mackie also only has two return
channels from the host computer, while the Firepod has 12 analog and two
digital.

For $600 the Firepod is a steal just for 8 channels of 24/96 A/D and the
Firewire interface. Think of the modest-but-very-useable preamps as a
bonus. What I'd like to know is if you can use two of them on one computer
and sync via s/pdif...
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 11:54:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1NednXCXe5ifpaPfRVn-gg@comcast.com>, "Harry Lavo"
<hlavo@comcast.net> wrote:

> The
> difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that one
> would
> use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
> (PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64 and a
> socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory.


I would have to recommend two motherboards/cpus that are the same, or at
least compatible in case you have an urgent need to swap components. And
a 74gb drive may not be enough if you choose to record at high sample
rates, unless you don't mind doing a lot of data transfer. You might
want to consider an external firewire drive with hot-swapable trays.
Related resources
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 12:07:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1NednXCXe5ifpaPfRVn-gg@comcast.com> hlavo@comcast.net writes:

> My plan is to use it with either a
> Mackie 1620 firewire-enabled console, or a Presonus Firebox firewire
> mixer/preamp. In either case I will be sending a firewire signal of up to
> eight channels into the DAW, and monitoring at least a two-channel mix out
> back through the firewire to the console/mixer.

Be very sure you understand what the Onyx Firewire option does, and
doesn't do. It's a very good and cost effective way to record what's
going into the mics when you're mixing a live show, but signal routing
is hard-wired and not as flexible as you'd want for studio work.
Consider it as a 16-input sound card with "courtesy" monitoring
outputs that can only go one place - to the monitoring section of the
Onyx mixer. These issues come up all the time from people who wish
Mackie had done this differently:

- Recording is direct from the mic preamp and doesn't allow using the
(pretty darn good) channel EQ on the mixer or outboard processor
through the insert jack when tracking.

- There's no way to mix the multitrack recording on the mixer. It's
all in the computer.

- Since you can't assign the 2-channel playback to a channel, you
can't use it in a headphone mix created with auxiliary sends. If
you overdub, you have to listen to the control room/phones or main
output. OK for a one man band, but not good for a group.

Visit the Mackie web site, download the Onyx Firewire manual, and read
it through very carefully. It's a really good option for a specific
job, but it's not a replacement for the kind of interface that turns
your computer into a multitrack recorder.

> The Mackie setup will cost approximately twice that of the
> Presonus, but it's extra control features would only be of use (if at all)
> for the rock recording, which will be less than half of what I do.

Understand that when recording from the Onyx Firewire interface,
unless you use an outboard front end connected to a mixer line input,
there are only two things you can record - the mic preamp output
(pre-everything) or the stereo mix output. There are no options, no
buttons, no jumpers, and no modifications to change this. The preamps
are quite good, a little quieter and smoother than the VLZ Pro,
typical of a better than average transformerless mic preamp.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 3:56:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Zigakly" <zigakly@nospam.cx> wrote in message
news:90u%d.11558$RM2.11445@read1.cgocable.net...
> > The two workstation finalists are two Shuttle small footprint and
> > ultra-quiet boxes, each outfitted with a main boot HD (160mb Western
> Digital
> > "silent" ultraDMA drive) and a separate recording or media drive (SATA
> > Western Digital 10,000rpm "Raptor" 74mb drive). Either will also have 1
> Gig
> > of appropriate ram, and plenty of USB 2.0 and Firewire connections. The
> > difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that one
> would
> > use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
> > (PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64 and a
> > socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory. In each case the
> memory
> > chips would be of good quality and low latency (cas of <3). Both
> > workstations would be running Windows XP professional SP2.
>
> I think the 10k rpm drive is uneconomical, 7200rpm is fine for 24 channels
> of 24/48. If that's not enough, just get a second 7200rpm drive to share
> the load. You should also have each audio drive on its own controller, so
> for small format PC's that often means a Firewire drive, not a bad idea.
>

Actually I'll be recording up to eight channels at 96/24. And the S-ATA
runs off a different controller than the IDE main HD, so I think I'm covered
there. You think a 7200 rpm SATA drive about 60%) the cost of the 10,000)
would suffice? How about if I extend the channels to 16?

> > My main question therefore is -- will there be a real world difference
> > between these two systems when it comes to laying down tracks, and if
so,
> > how would it manifest itself? I'd particularly appreciate hearing from
> > folks who've actually had experience with both, or faced this choice
> > themselves.
>
> Laying down tracks isn't the problem as much as mixing with lots of
> plug-ins. A 300MHz celeron can record and play back 24+ tracks no
problem.
> The Athlon 3000 is ample CPU for a typical mix.
>

That's one place where I probably won't have a problem, as much of my
recording/mixing will be done with only minimal modification. And for now,
my intensive rock mixing will probably be limited to eight tracks. I'm one
of those people who believe in using the minimum number of mics to get the
job done.

> > A separate question concerns the quality of the mic preamps/mixers. The
> > Mackie 1620 contains their ballyhooed Onyx low-noise mic preamps. The
> > Presonus has their usual mic preamps.
>
> The Firepod does not have the same caliber preamps as their Digimax units,
> which are a step down from their M80's pre's. The Digimax LT (24/48,
ADAT)
> costs $200 more than the Firepod (24/96, Firewire). My experience with
the
> Firepod gave me the impression that the pre's are about on par with
> mid-level mixing desks like an Allen & Heath GL2200. I would expect the
> Firepod to marginally outperform the Mackie, and better yet the Firepod
can
> be powered with 12-24V DC, so you can run it anywhere off SLA batteries
with
> a laptop. It also indicates that the power is more thoroughly regulated
> than the Mackie, which is as important as the caliber of preamp
componentry.
> The Mackie can't be used for recording directly after the preamp, which
> means if you rent some high-end preamps you'll be running them through the
> whole mixer, rather self-defeating. The Mackie also only has two return
> channels from the host computer, while the Firepod has 12 analog and two
> digital.

I agree that the Firepod seems to be an extradinary value over the Mackie
for the reasons you mention below. The Mackie Onyx does claim to output
individual channels from the preamp (analog) ahead of the mixer circuitry --
perhaps an improvement in this Onyx design? And yes, the return mix of only
two channels does bother me somewhat..but when recording/monitoring that is
all that is likely to be used in my case. The surround mix can use
different software/equipment if need be for post-session mixing. And as you
note, the Mackies do add one desireable feature...the ability to daisy chain
two mixers. However, the quality of the preamps is a key issue...I simply
don't want to make much compromise here, especially, as I said, for
recording chamber music and jazz where I want to get the most natural sound
possible.

> For $600 the Firepod is a steal just for 8 channels of 24/96 A/D and the
> Firewire interface. Think of the modest-but-very-useable preamps as a
> bonus. What I'd like to know is if you can use two of them on one
computer
> and sync via s/pdif...
>

Interesting question...have you aked Presonus?

Thanks for a thoughtful response to my question. It has been helpful.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 4:03:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1111407055k@trad...
>
> In article <1NednXCXe5ifpaPfRVn-gg@comcast.com> hlavo@comcast.net writes:
>
> > My plan is to use it with either a
> > Mackie 1620 firewire-enabled console, or a Presonus Firebox firewire
> > mixer/preamp. In either case I will be sending a firewire signal of up
to
> > eight channels into the DAW, and monitoring at least a two-channel mix
out
> > back through the firewire to the console/mixer.
>
> Be very sure you understand what the Onyx Firewire option does, and
> doesn't do. It's a very good and cost effective way to record what's
> going into the mics when you're mixing a live show, but signal routing
> is hard-wired and not as flexible as you'd want for studio work.
> Consider it as a 16-input sound card with "courtesy" monitoring
> outputs that can only go one place - to the monitoring section of the
> Onyx mixer. These issues come up all the time from people who wish
> Mackie had done this differently:
>
> - Recording is direct from the mic preamp and doesn't allow using the
> (pretty darn good) channel EQ on the mixer or outboard processor
> through the insert jack when tracking.
>
> - There's no way to mix the multitrack recording on the mixer. It's
> all in the computer.
>
> - Since you can't assign the 2-channel playback to a channel, you
> can't use it in a headphone mix created with auxiliary sends. If
> you overdub, you have to listen to the control room/phones or main
> output. OK for a one man band, but not good for a group.
>
> Visit the Mackie web site, download the Onyx Firewire manual, and read
> it through very carefully. It's a really good option for a specific
> job, but it's not a replacement for the kind of interface that turns
> your computer into a multitrack recorder.
>
> > The Mackie setup will cost approximately twice that of the
> > Presonus, but it's extra control features would only be of use (if at
all)
> > for the rock recording, which will be less than half of what I do.
>
> Understand that when recording from the Onyx Firewire interface,
> unless you use an outboard front end connected to a mixer line input,
> there are only two things you can record - the mic preamp output
> (pre-everything) or the stereo mix output. There are no options, no
> buttons, no jumpers, and no modifications to change this. The preamps
> are quite good, a little quieter and smoother than the VLZ Pro,
> typical of a better than average transformerless mic preamp.
>
>

Thanks, Mike, for making clear what was only vaguely clear to me before. I
did recognize that the mixing features would be largely wasted on this unit,
but the combination of good preamps (by reputation, which you seem to
confirm) and the eight channels of firewire in at 96/24 seemed attractive at
the price. The mixing capabilites for live use or for analog recording
seemed almost a throw-in. Size is a negative compared to the Presonus,
obviously. Now if Mackie would just put their preamps into a firewire front
end like the Presonus......
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 4:07:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"jackfish" <jackfish@north.org> wrote in message
news:jackfish-6B776E.08541721032005@news.mts.net...
> In article <1NednXCXe5ifpaPfRVn-gg@comcast.com>, "Harry Lavo"
> <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote:
>
> > The
> > difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that one
> > would
> > use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
> > (PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64 and a
> > socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory.
>
>
> I would have to recommend two motherboards/cpus that are the same, or at
> least compatible in case you have an urgent need to swap components. And
> a 74gb drive may not be enough if you choose to record at high sample
> rates, unless you don't mind doing a lot of data transfer. You might
> want to consider an external firewire drive with hot-swapable trays.

Thanks for the input. I stayed away from the external HD (except for
archive storage) primarily to minimze latency in monitoring during the
session. Same reason for choosing the 10,000rpm drive. If you are using
this approach, is latency an issue? Here's a specific case where real-world
experience has to provide the answer.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 6:02:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> The Mackie Onyx does claim to output
> individual channels from the preamp (analog) ahead of the mixer
circuitry --
> perhaps an improvement in this Onyx design?

Hah! I didn't think they'd be daft enough to do that. A Firewire interface
for a mixer should be able to tap directly after the preamps,
post-EQ/pre-fader, or post fader. If the mixer offers any less than two of
those three options, it doesn't have the versatility that price-point calls
for. If only one is available it's got to be post-EQ/pre-fader. They
finally put a reasonable EQ in a mixer and they bypass it for the recording
outputs... those guys will never learn.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 6:25:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> > > The
> > > difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that one
> > > would
> > > use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
> > > (PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64 and
a
> > > socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory.
> >
> >
> > I would have to recommend two motherboards/cpus that are the same, or at
> > least compatible in case you have an urgent need to swap components. And
> > a 74gb drive may not be enough if you choose to record at high sample
> > rates, unless you don't mind doing a lot of data transfer. You might
> > want to consider an external firewire drive with hot-swapable trays.
>
> Thanks for the input. I stayed away from the external HD (except for
> archive storage) primarily to minimze latency in monitoring during the
> session. Same reason for choosing the 10,000rpm drive. If you are using
> this approach, is latency an issue? Here's a specific case where
real-world
> experience has to provide the answer.

Latency is a non-issue. When recording overdubs the performer(s) listen to
a mix of the prerecorded content and an analog feed of what they're playing.
The Firepod has a knob that lets you blend the analog inputs with the
outputs from the computer for zero-latency monitoring, so you mute the
channels being recorded. You can also set up pre-fader reverb sends on the
channels being recorded so the performer(s) hear ambience to what they're
playing, but is not recorded. A Behringer MXB1002 and an FMR RNC come in
really handy for tons of tasks including when performers are picky about
their monitor mixes and you don't have a full console.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 11:04:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Zigakly" <zigakly@nospam.cx> wrote in message
news:sIF%d.11596$RM2.1391@read1.cgocable.net...
> > The Mackie Onyx does claim to output
> > individual channels from the preamp (analog) ahead of the mixer
> circuitry --
> > perhaps an improvement in this Onyx design?
>
> Hah! I didn't think they'd be daft enough to do that. A Firewire
interface
> for a mixer should be able to tap directly after the preamps,
> post-EQ/pre-fader, or post fader. If the mixer offers any less than two
of
> those three options, it doesn't have the versatility that price-point
calls
> for. If only one is available it's got to be post-EQ/pre-fader. They
> finally put a reasonable EQ in a mixer and they bypass it for the
recording
> outputs... those guys will never learn.

No, in this case it makes sense...they've split it, with the analog outs
coming post-EQ/pre-or-post fader, but the firewire outs coming out pre-eq,
pre-fader. That way the mixer can serve as a road mixer for a band and
still deliver a clean, non-eq'd signal to a laptop or other DAW for later
mixing/processing.
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 11:07:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Zigakly" <zigakly@nospam.cx> wrote in message
news:a2G%d.8720$If1.1921851@read2.cgocable.net...
> > > > The
> > > > difference between the two (aside from about $200 in cost) is that
one
> > > > would
> > > > use an AMD 3000+ XP Athlon and and Socket A motherboard using DDR333
> > > > (PC2700) memory, while the other would use an AMD 3000+ Athlon 64
and
> a
> > > > socket 939 motherboard with DDR400 (PC3200) memory.
> > >

Thanks, Zigakly, for your helpful comments. Does seem the Firepod is
probably the way for me to go...now I've got to figure out how to get my
hands on one to pre-test the mic/preamp combo quality.
> > >
> > > I would have to recommend two motherboards/cpus that are the same, or
at
> > > least compatible in case you have an urgent need to swap components.
And
> > > a 74gb drive may not be enough if you choose to record at high sample
> > > rates, unless you don't mind doing a lot of data transfer. You might
> > > want to consider an external firewire drive with hot-swapable trays.
> >
> > Thanks for the input. I stayed away from the external HD (except for
> > archive storage) primarily to minimze latency in monitoring during the
> > session. Same reason for choosing the 10,000rpm drive. If you are
using
> > this approach, is latency an issue? Here's a specific case where
> real-world
> > experience has to provide the answer.
>
> Latency is a non-issue. When recording overdubs the performer(s) listen
to
> a mix of the prerecorded content and an analog feed of what they're
playing.
> The Firepod has a knob that lets you blend the analog inputs with the
> outputs from the computer for zero-latency monitoring, so you mute the
> channels being recorded. You can also set up pre-fader reverb sends on
the
> channels being recorded so the performer(s) hear ambience to what they're
> playing, but is not recorded. A Behringer MXB1002 and an FMR RNC come in
> really handy for tons of tasks including when performers are picky about
> their monitor mixes and you don't have a full console.
>
>
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 11:58:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <DP-dnZ5h_ZnGkaLfRVn-gg@comcast.com> hlavo@comcast.net writes:

> Thanks, Mike, for making clear what was only vaguely clear to me before. I
> did recognize that the mixing features would be largely wasted on
> this unit, [Onyx + Firewire]
> but the combination of good preamps (by reputation, which you seem to
> confirm) and the eight channels of firewire in at 96/24 seemed attractive at
> the price. The mixing capabilites for live use or for analog recording
> seemed almost a throw-in.

That's a healthy way of looking at it. The Onyx is a good 16-input A/D
converter with decent mic preamps and you can use the mixer section
for monitoring.

> Size is a negative compared to the Presonus,
> obviously. Now if Mackie would just put their preamps into a firewire front
> end like the Presonus......

Well, Mackie does have the Ony 800R, 8 mic preamps in a single rack
space, with analog, AES/EBU. amd ADAT optical (S-Mux on dual outputs
for sample rates above 48 kHz) outputs. The noise specs on the A/D are
a little better than on the Onyx Firewire, but I can't say as I notice
the difference (or if I do, at least I don't care about it) in real
life. Two of the inputs have switchable input impedance, something
that I haven't yet found a mic in my collection that prefers any of
the low-Z settings but it's there to play with. Two inputs can be
switched to high-Z for instrument DI, and two inputs (the two with the
adjustable impedance) can be switched to give you left-right from an
M-S mic pair. The channels can be switched to line inputs for outboard
gadgets if, say, you want to use a multi-function channel strip for a
channel or two.



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
March 22, 2005 12:06:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <DP-dnZ5h_ZnGkaLfRVn-gg@comcast.com>, "Harry Lavo"
<hlavo@comcast.net> wrote:

> "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
> news:znr1111407055k@trad...
> >
> > In article <1NednXCXe5ifpaPfRVn-gg@comcast.com> hlavo@comcast.net
> > writes:
> >
> > > My plan is to use it with either a
> > > Mackie 1620 firewire-enabled console, or a Presonus Firebox firewire
> > > mixer/preamp. In either case I will be sending a firewire signal of
> > > up
> to
> > > eight channels into the DAW, and monitoring at least a two-channel
> > > mix
> out
> > > back through the firewire to the console/mixer.
> >
> > Be very sure you understand what the Onyx Firewire option does, and
> > doesn't do. It's a very good and cost effective way to record what's
> > going into the mics when you're mixing a live show, but signal routing
> > is hard-wired and not as flexible as you'd want for studio work.
> > Consider it as a 16-input sound card with "courtesy" monitoring
> > outputs that can only go one place - to the monitoring section of the
> > Onyx mixer. These issues come up all the time from people who wish
> > Mackie had done this differently:
> >
> > - Recording is direct from the mic preamp and doesn't allow using the
> > (pretty darn good) channel EQ on the mixer or outboard processor
> > through the insert jack when tracking.
> >
> > - There's no way to mix the multitrack recording on the mixer. It's
> > all in the computer.
> >
> > - Since you can't assign the 2-channel playback to a channel, you
> > can't use it in a headphone mix created with auxiliary sends. If
> > you overdub, you have to listen to the control room/phones or main
> > output. OK for a one man band, but not good for a group.
> >
> > Visit the Mackie web site, download the Onyx Firewire manual, and read
> > it through very carefully. It's a really good option for a specific
> > job, but it's not a replacement for the kind of interface that turns
> > your computer into a multitrack recorder.
> >
> > > The Mackie setup will cost approximately twice that of the
> > > Presonus, but it's extra control features would only be of use (if at
> all)
> > > for the rock recording, which will be less than half of what I do.
> >
> > Understand that when recording from the Onyx Firewire interface,
> > unless you use an outboard front end connected to a mixer line input,
> > there are only two things you can record - the mic preamp output
> > (pre-everything) or the stereo mix output. There are no options, no
> > buttons, no jumpers, and no modifications to change this. The preamps
> > are quite good, a little quieter and smoother than the VLZ Pro,
> > typical of a better than average transformerless mic preamp.
> >
> >
>
> Thanks, Mike, for making clear what was only vaguely clear to me before.
> I
> did recognize that the mixing features would be largely wasted on this
> unit,
> but the combination of good preamps (by reputation, which you seem to
> confirm) and the eight channels of firewire in at 96/24 seemed attractive
> at
> the price. The mixing capabilites for live use or for analog recording
> seemed almost a throw-in. Size is a negative compared to the Presonus,
> obviously. Now if Mackie would just put their preamps into a firewire
> front
> end like the Presonus......
>
>
>

Uhh... you mean like this:

http://www.mackie.com/products/800r/index.html
Anonymous
March 22, 2005 11:20:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1111446794k@trad...
>
> In article <DP-dnZ5h_ZnGkaLfRVn-gg@comcast.com> hlavo@comcast.net writes:
>
> > Thanks, Mike, for making clear what was only vaguely clear to me before.
I
> > did recognize that the mixing features would be largely wasted on
> > this unit, [Onyx + Firewire]
> > but the combination of good preamps (by reputation, which you seem to
> > confirm) and the eight channels of firewire in at 96/24 seemed
attractive at
> > the price. The mixing capabilites for live use or for analog recording
> > seemed almost a throw-in.
>
> That's a healthy way of looking at it. The Onyx is a good 16-input A/D
> converter with decent mic preamps and you can use the mixer section
> for monitoring.
>
> > Size is a negative compared to the Presonus,
> > obviously. Now if Mackie would just put their preamps into a firewire
front
> > end like the Presonus......
>
> Well, Mackie does have the Ony 800R, 8 mic preamps in a single rack
> space, with analog, AES/EBU. amd ADAT optical (S-Mux on dual outputs
> for sample rates above 48 kHz) outputs. The noise specs on the A/D are
> a little better than on the Onyx Firewire, but I can't say as I notice
> the difference (or if I do, at least I don't care about it) in real
> life. Two of the inputs have switchable input impedance, something
> that I haven't yet found a mic in my collection that prefers any of
> the low-Z settings but it's there to play with. Two inputs can be
> switched to high-Z for instrument DI, and two inputs (the two with the
> adjustable impedance) can be switched to give you left-right from an
> M-S mic pair. The channels can be switched to line inputs for outboard
> gadgets if, say, you want to use a multi-function channel strip for a
> channel or two.
>

Yeah, that unit has a lot going for it. But the interface would require a
lot more complicated setup on the input side of the DAW, and might even
limit some of my software choices.....I'd really prefer to stay with
firewire. When I looked at it, I thought to myself "if only they brought
out a Firewire version.....". Then the issue would be solved. Seems to
me that now that they have the 1620 Firewire box in production, would be
almost a trivial design excercise to redo or bring out a Firewire version of
the 800. Mackie, you listening.......?
Anonymous
March 22, 2005 11:29:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"jackfish" <jackfish@north.org> wrote in message
news:jackfish-72EA2E.21063221032005@news.mts.net...
> In article <DP-dnZ5h_ZnGkaLfRVn-gg@comcast.com>, "Harry Lavo"
> <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote:
>
> > "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
> > news:znr1111407055k@trad...
> > >
> > > In article <1NednXCXe5ifpaPfRVn-gg@comcast.com> hlavo@comcast.net
> > > writes:
> > >
> > > > My plan is to use it with either a
> > > > Mackie 1620 firewire-enabled console, or a Presonus Firebox firewire
> > > > mixer/preamp. In either case I will be sending a firewire signal of
> > > > up
> > to
> > > > eight channels into the DAW, and monitoring at least a two-channel
> > > > mix
> > out
> > > > back through the firewire to the console/mixer.
> > >
> > > Be very sure you understand what the Onyx Firewire option does, and
> > > doesn't do. It's a very good and cost effective way to record what's
> > > going into the mics when you're mixing a live show, but signal routing
> > > is hard-wired and not as flexible as you'd want for studio work.
> > > Consider it as a 16-input sound card with "courtesy" monitoring
> > > outputs that can only go one place - to the monitoring section of the
> > > Onyx mixer. These issues come up all the time from people who wish
> > > Mackie had done this differently:
> > >
> > > - Recording is direct from the mic preamp and doesn't allow using the
> > > (pretty darn good) channel EQ on the mixer or outboard processor
> > > through the insert jack when tracking.
> > >
> > > - There's no way to mix the multitrack recording on the mixer. It's
> > > all in the computer.
> > >
> > > - Since you can't assign the 2-channel playback to a channel, you
> > > can't use it in a headphone mix created with auxiliary sends. If
> > > you overdub, you have to listen to the control room/phones or main
> > > output. OK for a one man band, but not good for a group.
> > >
> > > Visit the Mackie web site, download the Onyx Firewire manual, and read
> > > it through very carefully. It's a really good option for a specific
> > > job, but it's not a replacement for the kind of interface that turns
> > > your computer into a multitrack recorder.
> > >
> > > > The Mackie setup will cost approximately twice that of the
> > > > Presonus, but it's extra control features would only be of use (if
at
> > all)
> > > > for the rock recording, which will be less than half of what I do.
> > >
> > > Understand that when recording from the Onyx Firewire interface,
> > > unless you use an outboard front end connected to a mixer line input,
> > > there are only two things you can record - the mic preamp output
> > > (pre-everything) or the stereo mix output. There are no options, no
> > > buttons, no jumpers, and no modifications to change this. The preamps
> > > are quite good, a little quieter and smoother than the VLZ Pro,
> > > typical of a better than average transformerless mic preamp.
> > >
> > >
> >
> > Thanks, Mike, for making clear what was only vaguely clear to me before.
> > I
> > did recognize that the mixing features would be largely wasted on this
> > unit,
> > but the combination of good preamps (by reputation, which you seem to
> > confirm) and the eight channels of firewire in at 96/24 seemed
attractive
> > at
> > the price. The mixing capabilites for live use or for analog recording
> > seemed almost a throw-in. Size is a negative compared to the Presonus,
> > obviously. Now if Mackie would just put their preamps into a firewire
> > front
> > end like the Presonus......
> >
> >
> >
>
> Uhh... you mean like this:
>
> http://www.mackie.com/products/800r/index.html

Unfortunately, a nice unit but with no firewire output. I want to keep it
simple, and building around a split ADAT interface into a DAW is not my idea
of simple. Thanks for the suggestion though. If it only had the firewire
output it would be *THE* unit for me.

If you know of a simple way to use the ADAT interface into a PC with limited
slots, let me know...I'm new to this digitial conversion/interface stuff and
might be missing something.
Anonymous
March 22, 2005 1:33:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <jackfish-72EA2E.21063221032005@news.mts.net> jackfish@north.org writes:

> > Now if Mackie would just put their preamps into a firewire
> > front end like the Presonus......

> Uhh... you mean like this:
> http://www.mackie.com/products/800r/index.html

The 800R doesn't have a Firewire connection. 8-channel ADAT optical
interface cards for a computer are fairly cheap but that limits you to
48 kHz sample rate. That's fine for an old timer like me, but I figure
that anyone who buys a device today that's capable of 192 kHz sample
rate will want to at least use 96 kHz. The 800R can accommodate this
through the optical outputs using the S-mux protocol, but that's not
too common on computer interfaces. Off the top of my head, I can think
of the Sonorus (http://www.sonorus.com/studio.html), but that costs
about as much as the Mackie 800R.

One nice thing about Firewire is that it makes the connection to the
computer cheap.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 10:20:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Harry Lavo" <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote:
>
> If you know of a simple way to use the ADAT interface into a PC with
> limited slots, let me know...





How about this?

http://www.frontierdesign.com/products/dakotamain.html


(P.S. Please trim when replying)

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 10:21:31 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Lorin David Schultz" <Lorin@DAMNSPAM!v5v.ca> wrote in message
news:4N80e.98659$fc4.43273@edtnps89...
> "Harry Lavo" <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote:
> >
> > If you know of a simple way to use the ADAT interface into a PC with
> > limited slots, let me know...
>

Thanks, Lorin. Didn't know of it. Might fill the bill.
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 4:29:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Harry Lavo" <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:MLGdnSincKEfgN3fRVn-rw@comcast.com

> If you know of a simple way to use the ADAT interface into a PC with
> limited slots, let me know...I'm new to this digitial
> conversion/interface stuff and might be missing something.

How about no slots required?

http://www.behringer.com/BCA2000/index.cfm?lang=ENG

It does require a USB port.
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 4:39:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Harry Lavo" <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:l_2dnQFffPV286LfRVn-ig@comcast.com...
> "Zigakly" <zigakly@nospam.cx> wrote in message
> news:sIF%d.11596$RM2.1391@read1.cgocable.net...
> > > The Mackie Onyx does claim to output
> > > individual channels from the preamp (analog) ahead of the mixer
> > circuitry --
> > > perhaps an improvement in this Onyx design?
> >
> > Hah! I didn't think they'd be daft enough to do that. A Firewire
> interface
> > for a mixer should be able to tap directly after the preamps,
> > post-EQ/pre-fader, or post fader. If the mixer offers any less than two
> of
> > those three options, it doesn't have the versatility that price-point
> calls
> > for. If only one is available it's got to be post-EQ/pre-fader. They
> > finally put a reasonable EQ in a mixer and they bypass it for the
> recording
> > outputs... those guys will never learn.
>
> No, in this case it makes sense...they've split it, with the analog outs
> coming post-EQ/pre-or-post fader, but the firewire outs coming out pre-eq,
> pre-fader. That way the mixer can serve as a road mixer for a band and
> still deliver a clean, non-eq'd signal to a laptop or other DAW for later
> mixing/processing.
>
>

So it's best suited only for live recording, only when the SR needs match
the recording needs (no unmic'ed drums), and if you want room mics you have
to give up mixing channels. That's your idea of versatile?
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 5:28:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Zigakly <zigakly@nospam.cx> wrote:
>
>So it's best suited only for live recording, only when the SR needs match
>the recording needs (no unmic'ed drums), and if you want room mics you have
>to give up mixing channels. That's your idea of versatile?

The assumption is that whatever you are using for recording will have a
matrix in it so that you can configure which channels get recorded and
which do not.

And yes, you will have to give up PA channels for room mikes unless you
use an outboard box for them and keep them off the PA console.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 10:06:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <ZHi0e.11754$RM2.4334@read1.cgocable.net> zigakly@nospam.cx writes:

> > No, in this case it makes sense...they've split it, with the analog outs
> > coming post-EQ/pre-or-post fader, but the firewire outs coming out pre-eq,
> > pre-fader. That way the mixer can serve as a road mixer for a band and
> > still deliver a clean, non-eq'd signal to a laptop or other DAW for later
> > mixing/processing.

I guess we're talking about the Mackie Onyx here, this month's
most-complained-about mixer. Just to clarify, there are "normal" mixer
outputs = stereo main bus and aux sends, ALT3-4 bus made popular by
Mackie from the VLZ days, and "Recording outputs" to distinguish them
from what most people call "direct outputs." Those are straight off
the mic preamps, no post nuttin' (except preamp gain) and the same
signal feeds the Firewire interface. The main mix bus (post
everything but the master fader) also feeds a pair of outputs of the
Firewire interface.

> So it's best suited only for live recording, only when the SR needs match
> the recording needs (no unmic'ed drums),

What do miked or unmiked drums have to do with anything? Are you
saying that this is what defines the need for EQ or outboard
processing? Maybe in your dictionary. However, yes, the Mackie Onyx as
a recording mixer is indeed best suited for live recording, or for
recording where you will be doing all your processing on the recorded
signal. The method in this madness is twofold:

First, it's unlikely that you'll want to use the same EQ for live
sound and for recorded tracks. The more amps and drums you have, the
less likely these will be alike. And for nice sounding acoustic music
with the right mics, it's not likely that you'll want to muck it up
with EQ anyway.

Second, we usually EQ for different reasons when recording than when
mixing live sound. Often in recording, the final EQ decisions will be
left until all the parts are recorded. What we use, and how we EQ it
will mostly be determined by what makes the tracks fit together best.
If you have pre-EQ'd tracks, you may have something you'll want to
un-do. If it's recorded, the un-do button won't work.

You can, however, record a mix, as equalized. This is well suited for
live-to-stereo recording.

> and if you want room mics you have
> to give up mixing channels. That's your idea of versatile?

That's what I do (actually, I plan for them so I'm not giving up
anything that I would use for something else). But I think that what
you're saying is that the Onyx Firewire option isn't a multi-in/out
audio interface. Anyone who reads the available literature with their
brain fully engaged should recognize that. If that's what you need,
then get over your "no EQ on the recorded tracks" hangup, buy the
mixer without the Firewire option, and buy yourself some nice audio
hardware for your computer that has as many inputs and outputs as you
need.





>
>

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
!