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8+ input interface/software recommendations for intermedia..

Last response: in Home Audio
June 28, 2005 6:41:37 PM

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Hi all, thanks for years of great advice! I recently had to sell my
Aardvark Q10 (hard times), which did a fine job, and I'm now looking
for a replacement (good times!) -- preferably from a company/companies
that aren't going to go out of business.

I already have a screaming box (P4 2.26GHz, 1G RAM, XP, 3 fat 7200
drives) -- no, not solely dedicated to audio (times aren't THAT great),
but I've done my last two records with it, along with the Q10, an
ancient version of Cubase VST24 (3.7!), and a decent mic locker, with
very few problems.

I'm primarily multitracking live jazz, so I need at least 8 audio xlrs
w/preamps, phantom power. Some kind of post-fader capability would be
nice, at least supporting some outboard compression, but I can deal
with mixing in the box -- Oh, how I would love a control surface,

I'm not afraid of wires, so I don't neccessarily need an all-in-one
solution like the Onyx 1620, Digi002, or Tascam FW-1884, particularly
if there is a more cost-effective solution! I'd love to keep in under
$1000, maybe up to $1500 if I can go with a full-version of some pro
software. I love my old Cubase, but I'm doing well enough that I'd like
a supported package (if you catch my drift). And OH, how I hate LE and
teaser software cluttering up my computer.

My skills improve with every project (I'd say I've reached a competent
intermediate level), so I'd like expandability, and I'm doing more and
more scoring work, so video integration would be nice -- That's not too
much to ask, is it? My dated Cubase ALMOST managed to do it smoothly
with it's video module.

I've considered rigging up a mac mini as an affordable portable
solution (and dedicated audio machine), but it looks like once you get
that system up to snuff you're spending a grand just on the computer
which, as I said, I already have. My point is that portability would be
sweet, but if I can stay in my sub-$1500 range, I'll just drag my tower
to the gig.

I really appreciate any recommendations!
June 29, 2005 4:18:26 PM

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Um...The firepod looks like a good replacement for the Q10, and appears
to be very flexible/expandable. Comes with Cubase LE that would save me
$100 upgrading to SX.

Any thoughts on that?
June 29, 2005 9:28:05 PM

Archived from groups: (More info?)

> Um...The firepod looks like a good replacement for the Q10, and appears
> to be very flexible/expandable. Comes with Cubase LE that would save me
> $100 upgrading to SX.
> Any thoughts on that?

That's exactly what I was going to recommend. You might also look into a
small format PC (ie Shuttle XPC) for live recording.
June 29, 2005 10:03:45 PM

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Yeah, the more I hear about it, the better I like it!

In fact, I can't even find any serious limitations of the bundled
Cubase LE, including video capabilities. Steinberg has a comparision of
LE, SE, SX and mentions LE only supporting four physical inputs, but
according to the Presonus FAQs:

Q: Why can I only record 2 inputs at a time in Cubase LE? / Why can I
only use 2 outputs in Cubase LE?
A: You can record 10 simultaneous inputs with the Firepod in Cubase LE.
You need to activate the other inputs/outputs in order to use
them...Now all physical outputs on the Firepod will be available to
choose from as an output for each track in the software. At this point,
you should be able to record from any physical input and playback out
of any physical output on the Firepod in Cubase LE. I guess Steinberg means 4 stereo? In any case, that's pretty nice
expandability: $1000 for another Firepod (in theory, see below) AND the
upgrade to SX! Plus, I can hang another external drive off it? Lovin'

I can't find real details of what the 1.12 driver available on Presonus
is all about. Lots of hope, but no facts:

"Presonus includes one 3' - 6 pin to 6 pin firewire cable with the
Firepod. Presonus has stated that a driver update will be available
sometime in the October/November time frame for the Firepod. This
update will allow for the use of two Firepods simultaneously so that 20
channels may be recorded at once. There should also be some driver
optimizations with these drivers so that latency may be slightly
reduced for a given computer system. Presonus is unwilling to make any
additional comments on the upcoming driver release at this time."
- a review on Presonus Firepod page, 10/04.

"It will feature a much more solid Windows driver, lower latency, 24bit
WDM, and fixes other current issues, etc." --Rick Naqvi, Presonus
( review comments 01/04)

"The software update will act as a mixer for the input channels going
into the main CR output and cue output via the Mix control. This will
enable the monitoring levels to be controlled while maintaining the
highest possible recording signal and zero latency." --Music Tech
magazine review 11/04

"The only lacking feature is the once-promised ability to daisy-chain
two or more to gain dozens of inputs." review 4/26/05

This one comes close, and it's the most recent:

"You have to call Presonus to get the driver to link the Firepods
together but they are very cool and will email it to you same day..."

and this seems very promising as regards expandability

"...Cool thing about the Firepods is if you are coming direct of a
board you can use them just as an A/D converter and bypass the preamps" forum 6/4/05

I'd love to hear more anecdotes about creative uses of the Firepod
beyond computer --> firepod --> instruments, particularly

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