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student trying to understanding some equipment before I buy

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student trying to understanding some equipment before I buy

Postby Arcanekid » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:24 pm

Hi all,

I'm a 2nd year Audio Student in the UK and was talking to my guest lecturer after a class about me wanting to get some better pre amps than the ones in my current audio interface (an Edirol FA-66)

He suggested a couple of ideas that I wanted to run by your good selves, I have done some research but wanted some opinions due to the fact he suggested selling one of the devices to me.

I just wanted to check my understanding and queries.

First the item he offered me is a Focusrite Octopre MK 1 due to it's 'Class A' construction and also having the 8 compressors built in (i'm a student so want more for my money, worth it?) for £175 making it 'better' than the MK 2.

He also suggested getting the Alesis I/O 26 to hook up to my Imac so I could then use the ADAT connections to then have 16 inputs. I have never used anything todo with ADAT, I'm aware that Alesis developed it and it is widely used in the audio industry. Would this simply being a case of taking the ADAT out from the Focusrite into the input ADAT to the Alesis, installing the correct drivers (providing there are some?) and then protools would then recognise that I have 16 inputs?

so to recap.

- Focusrite Octopre mk 1 worth £175?
- Is my understanding of the ADAT connections correct?

Many thanks for any answers.

My current set up is IMac 20'' mid 2007 upgraded to Snow Leopard 10.6.3. 4GB of RAM, 2.4 GHz Inter Core 2 Duo.
Pro tools 9 ( trying to upgrade to 9.5 but having separate issues, also have free upgrade to PT 10, I have a post in the 'Mac' forum relating)
An Edirol FA-66 Audio interface
Edirol PC50 MIDI controller.

Thanks again,
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Re: student trying to understanding some equipment before I buy

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:45 pm

Your understanding of ADAT is correct and I find it useful as a widely supported way to connect gear together without any grounding issues as it provides electrical isolation.

That looks like a good price for the Focusrite - especially if it includes the ADAT card but be aware that some people who know the products say that the LE version uses a better preamp design. I would also be careful with the Alesis interface - it was one of the first DICE II based units and reports I've seen show that it seems fussier about what it will work with than later models from other manufacturers. I'd have a good look around before choosing an interface.

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Re: student trying to understanding some equipment before I buy

Postby Mixedup » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:06 pm

+1. Your understanding of ADAT is correct, and one of the benefits is as James describes - isolation.

The Octopre MkII Dynamic is better than the original Octopre, as it has better preamps (ie the newer Platinum preamps, with the gain range shifted to make them 'Saffire' preamps).

However, the old Octopre LE with teh ADAT card installed is better than the new Octopre, as it uses the same preamps (except the gain range has been shifted), but includes both ADAT in and out, whereas the new one only includes ADAT out. I've owned/used them all, and of the four models, my favourite was the Octopre LE.

Don't forget that you can also use the modern Saffire Pro units in standalone mode as a bank of converters and preamps. That might be a better altenative if you have the cash, as it will give you (1) the expansion you want (2) a warranty, assuming you buy new (3) a spare audio interface should yours fail in the middle of your projects!

Either way, that's a good price on the Octopre. Tbh, I don't think yuo're likely to get any use out of the compressor-limiters. I never found them to be that useful, and not as good as you can now get in software. Might be handy if tracking at 16-bit for whatever reason, I suppose. But it's a good price or the 8 preamps + ADAT anyway. Just be aware that if you plan to use it for line IO from your DAW, as well as for mic inputs, that you're going to need a D-sub loom, whereas for the other Octopres you'd just need jack/XLR looms.
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Re: student trying to understanding some equipment before I buy

Postby LJOsound » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:28 am

You mention you are looking for "better" preamps, and in my opinion I'd question whether the Focusrite platinum range is distinctly "better" than the ones already in the Edirol, which I think are pretty decent for an interface of that type. If you need more, then yes the Focusrite range is great value, decent amps and would recommend it.

However, if it's just something better you want, maybe consider something else. Focusrite ISA Ones are going for a decent price nowadays (which also includes a digital out- optical SPDIF which would work with your Edirol as it is) the Golden Age Pre73 is also great value for a great pre.

If its quality rather than quantity your after, do a bit of research into what other professionals are using and decide exactly what your needs are.
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