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  #1  
Old 07-19-2013, 10:38 AM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Any suggestions? In my current setup, I have an iMac core 2 duo, 3.06ghz w/8g of ram. Also a 17" macbook pro, 2.3 ghz, 8gb ram. PT 10 and 11.

Both computers can do firewire or usb. I'd have to daisychain the firewire audio drive on the iMac (done it before, no problem), but on the macbook pro, I could either stick to my Lacie ssd on the thunderbolt port for audio, or use a firewire audio drive and run the Saffire Pro through the thunderbolt port with the thunderbolt to firewire adapter. I have three usb2's on the macbook; interface, axiom pro 61, iLok. The macbook pro with mBox3 is my current preferred setup. I'm upping to 8 xlr ins.

So, presently, either system works. But for the future, especially with the macbooks, it seems as though there will be less usb ports! I'm seeing two thunderbolts, but only two usb3's. And of course, no express card, so to use UAD, I'd have to daisychain a UA Satellite. I'm also noticing no ethernet on the 15" models with two thunderbolts! What a difference from what I have now! (Cheez-------You probably have to get a thunderbolt Cinema display to get enough connectifivity to run a laptop system. So much for portability!)

So; the Scarlett is newer, but Focusrite have confirmed current compatibility and at least unofficially committed to keeping their firewire stuff working with thunderbolt.

The only other differences are the word clock and connectivity to iOS devices with the Scarlett, and I believe, somewhat better tracking latency with the firewire.

I plan to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously, using all 8 ins of either device.
And I like the future "upgradeability" of both with the optical digital and spdif to increase io later. Can usb2 handle recording 8+ tracks simultaneously?

Any advice, insight and recommendations are appreciated, I'll probably pull the trigger this weekend.

Thank you for your time. The DUC is a great resource!

Tim
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2013, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
Any suggestions? In my current setup, I have an iMac core 2 duo, 3.06ghz w/8g of ram. Also a 17" macbook pro, 2.3 ghz, 8gb ram. PT 10 and 11.

Both computers can do firewire or usb. I'd have to daisychain the firewire audio drive on the iMac (done it before, no problem), but on the macbook pro, I could either stick to my Lacie ssd on the thunderbolt port for audio, or use a firewire audio drive and run the Saffire Pro through the thunderbolt port with the thunderbolt to firewire adapter. I have three usb2's on the macbook; interface, axiom pro 61, iLok. The macbook pro with mBox3 is my current preferred setup. I'm upping to 8 xlr ins.

So, presently, either system works. But for the future, especially with the macbooks, it seems as though there will be less usb ports! I'm seeing two thunderbolts, but only two usb3's. And of course, no express card, so to use UAD, I'd have to daisychain a UA Satellite. I'm also noticing no ethernet on the 15" models with two thunderbolts! What a difference from what I have now! (Cheez-------You probably have to get a thunderbolt Cinema display to get enough connectifivity to run a laptop system. So much for portability!)

So; the Scarlett is newer, but Focusrite have confirmed current compatibility and at least unofficially committed to keeping their firewire stuff working with thunderbolt.

The only other differences are the word clock and connectivity to iOS devices with the Scarlett, and I believe, somewhat better tracking latency with the firewire.

I plan to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously, using all 8 ins of either device.
And I like the future "upgradeability" of both with the optical digital and spdif to increase io later. Can usb2 handle recording 8+ tracks simultaneously?

Any advice, insight and recommendations are appreciated, I'll probably pull the trigger this weekend.

Thank you for your time. The DUC is a great resource!

Tim
Hi Tim

I would go with FW interface before any USB2 connections as I think there will be a significant difference there but that is just "My opinion" and I guess there will be other thoughts so I will stick with my thoughts and use the Firewire. If USB2 can handle 8 track recording at the same time I would think Yes as USB2 has been around for awhile and music has been made on that config but I stand corrected if this is incorrect

If you want to use the T/Bolt ports there are great adapters like Tbolt - FW and Tbolt - ethernet etc and it works perfectly.

Best Regards
Christopher
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2013, 12:51 PM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

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Originally Posted by Southsidemusic View Post
Hi Tim

I would go with FW interface before any USB2 connections as I think there will be a significant difference there but that is just "My opinion" and I guess there will be other thoughts so I will stick with my thoughts and use the Firewire. If USB2 can handle 8 track recording at the same time I would think Yes as USB2 has been around for awhile and music has been made on that config but I stand corrected if this is incorrect

If you want to use the T/Bolt ports there are great adapters like Tbolt - FW and Tbolt - ethernet etc and it works perfectly.

Best Regards
Christopher
Thanks Christopher. That is my first reaction as well. But in terms of the future, the Scarlett is the newest model, with word clock and iOS compatibility. That's why I posted. And I am curious if it can handle 8+ tracks, simultaneous recording.

Tim
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  #4  
Old 07-19-2013, 01:03 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

USB performance on newer, more recent interfaces is as good or better than firewire at any buffer. It can also easily handle the amount of I/O on the unit, and then some.

This is why even Apogee has gone almost exclusively to USB 2 on their newer products like the Duet 2, Quartet, and even the high end Symphony IO.

People have discussed the Scarlett 18i20 on Gearslutz and it goes down to a buffer of 32, same as firewire.

I have personally used a USB 2 interface, the Komplete Audio 6, and at any given buffer size it was actually lower latency than the equivalent buffer size on my firewire 003.


So, there should be no worries there.

I highly recommend that you go with the Scarlett, because it's a newer interface and will probably be supported longer. Also, this allows you to keep your interface on a separate buss from any firewire hard drives you might have, which also helps performance. Plus, as is starting to be evident, manufacturers are moving more to USB and away from firewire, as are the Apple computers (and Windows computers were never that big on firewire to begin with).
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
Thanks Christopher. That is my first reaction as well. But in terms of the future, the Scarlett is the newest model, with word clock and iOS compatibility. That's why I posted. And I am curious if it can handle 8+ tracks, simultaneous recording.

Tim
Yeah, I really believe that you will record 8 tracks at a time for sure otherwise there is no use for 8 mic pre's if you wouldn't be able to use them all similtaniously so I would not worry about that at all. Also, after reading up on the interface here http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audi...scarlett-18i20 I would be very surprised if that would be any issues at all doing what you are asking for. As I understand the 8 preamps are made for the ability to record 8 at a time.

Maybe someone else can chime in here but if you want my opinion (15 yrs of Pro Productions and charting songs) I am certain you will be very happy with that setup
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2013, 01:16 PM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nst7 View Post
USB performance on newer, more recent interfaces is as good or better than firewire at any buffer. It can also easily handle the amount of I/O on the unit, and then some.

This is why even Apogee has gone almost exclusively to USB 2 on their newer products like the Duet 2, Quartet, and even the high end Symphony IO.

People have discussed the Scarlett 18i20 on Gearslutz and it goes down to a buffer of 32, same as firewire.

I have personally used a USB 2 interface, the Komplete Audio 6, and at any given buffer size it was actually lower latency than the equivalent buffer size on my firewire 003.


So, there should be no worries there.

I highly recommend that you go with the Scarlett, because it's a newer interface and will probably be supported longer. Also, this allows you to keep your interface on a separate buss from any firewire hard drives you might have, which also helps performance. Plus, as is starting to be evident, manufacturers are moving more to USB and away from firewire, as are the Apple computers (and Windows computers were never that big on firewire to begin with).
nst7, Thanks so much! My only concern going forward, is that I notice on the newer macbook pro's, there are only 2 usb3 ports!! 1 for the interface, one for the axiom pro, where's the ilok go? I assume there are usable usb3 hubs?
Thanks again.

Tim
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2013, 01:20 PM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southsidemusic View Post
Yeah, I really believe that you will record 8 tracks at a time for sure otherwise there is no use for 8 mic pre's if you wouldn't be able to use them all similtaniously so I would not worry about that at all. Also, after reading up on the interface here http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audi...scarlett-18i20 I would be very surprised if that would be any issues at all doing what you are asking for. As I understand the 8 preamps are made for the ability to record 8 at a time.

Maybe someone else can chime in here but if you want my opinion (15 yrs of Pro Productions and charting songs) I am certain you will be very happy with that setup
I assumed that as well, but going forward, the Scarlett 18i20 seems ready to accept something like an Octopre, which would provide an additional 8 ins via optical outs. So would it be able to handle 10-16 tracks simultaneously?

My guess is yes.

Tim
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2013, 03:41 PM
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dr_daw dr_daw is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Tim,

I don't have any experience with the Scarlett; but my experience with the Saffire has been great. It works great with a TB-FW adaptor, also works well daisy chained (but can be tempermental). As for lack of USB ports, I ran into the same issue on my machine. I ended up using a Belkin active USB hub for my Keystation, wireless mouse/key combo, and iLok. Use the second USB port on my MBP for a USB backup drive.

If you're thinking 16 tracks is in your future, you will definitely get it going with a Saffire Pro 40 and Octopre. Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:30 PM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

So I bought the 18i20. I installed the drivers, then the firmware update as directed by a pop-up. Dutifully restarted as directed, and had no luck in PT 11 or 10. Pro Tools would see the mic in's, but would not register any audio. Scarlett Mixcontrol worked, but no go with 10 or 11.

At this point, very frustrated and not happy to wait til Monday for Focusrite customer assistance, I reinstalled the drivers. Voila! I'm a happy camper, having spent the last three hours tracking drums- kick, snare, OH L, OH R. Too much fun!!

Thanks everyone for your insight!

Tim
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:34 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
So I bought the 18i20. I installed the drivers, then the firmware update as directed by a pop-up. Dutifully restarted as directed, and had no luck in PT 11 or 10. Pro Tools would see the mic in's, but would not register any audio. Scarlett Mixcontrol worked, but no go with 10 or 11.

At this point, very frustrated and not happy to wait til Monday for Focusrite customer assistance, I reinstalled the drivers. Voila! I'm a happy camper, having spent the last three hours tracking drums- kick, snare, OH L, OH R. Too much fun!!

Thanks everyone for your insight!

Tim
Possibly you just had the wrong playback engine selected in Pro Tools, then Pro Tools automagically selected the Focusright.
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