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Topic: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
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    Decatur Illinois
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    OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    Can anyone give me suggestions for a soundcard/breakout box that has more than 8 XLRs in? I'm using a Tascam US-428 right now and it offers only 4 inputs. I'd really like to have more than 8. I know that I could go with one of MOTU's PCI card based systems and add on more breakout boxes but it gets really expensive really fast. I'm using Cubase SX3 and I'd really like to be able to track a band live in my studio. 16 inputs would be nice but seems impossible to find in a single solution. I'm open to suggestions. Thanks.

    Eric

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    you are somewhat limited by however you choose to get from the A/D converters to the computer.

    ADAT lightpipe is limited to 8 channels, Firewire and USB also have limits, though I'm not sure what they are.

    M-Audio has a Firewire box that will transfer 18 channels at once, but it only has 8 A/D converters, if you want more you still need an external A/D with a lightpipe output.

    I know that MADI supports lots and lots of channels too, but that gets VERY expensive very quickly!

    If I were looking for a reasonably priced solution I'd look for a used stand-alone hard disk recorder. Units from Mackie and Fostex show up on eBay all the time, and they have up to 24 channels of A/D (and D/A).

    I don't know if the larger ones still have the direct I/O to the computer, I have a D-108 and I can use it as an A/D converter, and I remember at least one of the 16 channel units had two lightpipes.

    Good luck, and if you find something please post it!!

    Bill
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    I would actually consider going out and getting a couple dead boat-anchor ADATs. Should cost basically nothing and they have pretty good converters in them. Then, with the light-pipe you have 8, 16, 24 channels of decent I/O!

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    I'd be careful about the Adat approach... some of the earliest models did not behave well in A/D mode if I remember correctly. And (please let me put my flame suit on a minute), they don't sound as good as some other budget priced lightpipe based converters. At least that's my impression.

    The Fostex units weren't bad, and one of the Mackies (possibly all of them) were darned decent. I use the Frontier Designs Tango, and I like it. If someone handed me an Apogee or a Prism I'd probably still keep the Tango around for extra channels.

    Bill
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    Well the ADATS sure aren't going to work if you want to go above 48Khz. But I thought they sounded decent; not stellar but decent. I guess there probably are better budget alternatives in this day and age though!

  6. #6
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    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    Thanks for the replies. So it looks like I either have to go with an additional set of converters or go with motu and double up on breakout boxes or get the 24I/O (which is all TRS connectors). I guess I'm just suprised that no one offers an all in one solution for 16+ channels of mic inputs. Thanks again guys.

    Eric

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    Quote Originally Posted by EricWatkins
    I guess I'm just suprised that no one offers an all in one solution for 16+ channels of mic inputs.
    Not exactly...

    At the pro-sumer level I think that 8 channels is a stretch for a couple of reasons - cost and other resources. How many home recordists have more than 8 channels of high quality preamplifiers, or 8 good microphones, for example?

    In fact, I'd wager that many folks make due with one or two microphones, and just do multiple passes.

    When you get to the point where you are using a lot of microphones the assumption was you probably had all the other gear, and would shell out for a professional class converter system.

    I'm not sure the marketers got it right, but having worked for one company that targeted the pro-sumer space, I know what assumptions we made, and both cost and capabilities were assumed to be limiting factors.

    In my own studio I still have a 48 channel console (96 inputs at mix down), and I don't always use all of them, but it is nice to have the option. I don't yet have 96 channels of A/D or D/A, nor do I have a computer that could handle the load even if I did<G>!

    Presently I have two 8-channel, bi-directional converters and two 2-channel bidirectional converters, so I can handle 20 channels in one pass. I'd like to add one more 8-channel box, but I haven't had the need yet. (I'm also limited to 18 channels in or out of the computer at the moment without resorting to some real trickery!)

    Bill
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    I've heard very good things about the presonus firepod. http://www.zzounds.com/item--PRSFIREPOD


    Don't have one myself, but I plan to get one when I can afford it. I've researched most of the ones in its general level/price range and it seems to have the most satisfied customers and pack the most bang for the buck. It's been a few months since I've looked around, so you might want to search around to see if something newer/better has come along.

    chris.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    A Behringer ADA8000 gives you 8 channels of I/O for $200 and just 1U of rack space. Buy as many as you need, then find some soundcard(s) with lightpipe input and you're good to go.

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Lots of analog I/O???

    I'd take a look at the FireWire mixers from Alesis and Mackie. If you need more actual I/Os, i.e. no submixing, you could get a digital mixer with lots of outs (most likely three lightpipes) and the new $500 M-Audio FireWire box with four lightpipe I/Os.

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