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  #1  
Old 09-23-2015, 10:57 AM
masterkeith masterkeith is offline
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Default Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Hi Everyone,
I'm a recording engineer in London but currently working to kit out a new studio. I'd say I have a fair understanding of what I need technically but am a little out of whack with the most recent interfaces and wanted to ask members here for advice. Go easy on me and don't judge me if I don't know the ins and outs (that was a joke).

Simply put I'm looking for a 16 in 16 out Thunderbolt interface with analogue I/O (happy with jack or D-Sub) that's compatible with Pro-Tools. This is essentially it.

I've had a look around and although most fit the bill they also seem to have more than what I need which pushes the price up unnecessarily. I don't really need a monitoring section directly from the interface nor do I need pre-amps or any fancy DSP or software mixers etc.

The main requirement is that's its simple and above all has the highest quality converters that my budget allows.

Contenders so far-
MOTU 16A
U.A Apollo 16

Ive also seen a lot of people mention Metric Halo but I have to say that's the first I'd heard of them. Can anyone else suggest a highly regarded manufacturer that I could do a little more research into? I really appreciate any help.

Many Thanks

Keith
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2015, 01:47 AM
VRW VRW is offline
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Default Re: Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterkeith View Post
Hi Everyone,
I'm a recording engineer in London but currently working to kit out a new studio. I'd say I have a fair understanding of what I need technically but am a little out of whack with the most recent interfaces and wanted to ask members here for advice. Go easy on me and don't judge me if I don't know the ins and outs (that was a joke).

Simply put I'm looking for a 16 in 16 out Thunderbolt interface with analogue I/O (happy with jack or D-Sub) that's compatible with Pro-Tools. This is essentially it.

I've had a look around and although most fit the bill they also seem to have more than what I need which pushes the price up unnecessarily. I don't really need a monitoring section directly from the interface nor do I need pre-amps or any fancy DSP or software mixers etc.

The main requirement is that's its simple and above all has the highest quality converters that my budget allows.

Contenders so far-
MOTU 16A
U.A Apollo 16

Ive also seen a lot of people mention Metric Halo but I have to say that's the first I'd heard of them. Can anyone else suggest a highly regarded manufacturer that I could do a little more research into? I really appreciate any help.

Many Thanks

Keith
Straight 16 analog In/16analog Out audio interfaces are really rare on the market indeed.
You already have found yourself 2 of 3 I personally have found finally.

The one I additionally have found is the Symphony 16x16 from Apogee. Apogee is one of
the very best quality brands on the audio recording market but unfortunately it is not very
affordable too.
http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/symphony-io
https://www.kmraudio.com/apogee-symp...-64-bundle.php

Apogee products are worth the money for sure if you can afford it.

Details about the others you already have found you may find there.
http://www.uaudio.com/interfaces/apollo-16-mkii.html
https://www.kmraudio.com/universal-a...hunderbolt.php

This is version 1 (Firewire, Thunderbolt optional).
http://www.uaudio.com/interfaces/apollo-16.html
https://www.kmraudio.com/universal-audio-apollo-16.php

http://www.motu.com/products/avb/16a
https://www.kmraudio.com/motu-16a-th...-interface.php

Metric Halo has aquired great renown in the audio scene, make high quality products
but I am afraid they don´t offer what you are looking for? You may check it out yourself.
http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/products.html

Anyway if you can build yourself something with 2x8 (1x 8 channel audio interface+an
external 8 channel input device connected via ADAT e.g.) you may find even more affordable
solutions too...?
For example you could try to combine the brand new Focusrite Clarett 8pre Thunderbolt
or the Clarett 8preX
with another external 8 channel I/O device like the Focusrite Octpre MK2 or something similar.
I know you said you would not need any additional preamps but those are affordable anyway.
http://uk.focusrite.com/thunderbolt-...s/clarett-8pre
http://uk.focusrite.com/thunderbolt-.../clarett-8prex
http://uk.focusrite.com/mic-pres/octopre-mkii

https://www.kmraudio.com/focusrite-clarett-8pre.php
https://www.kmraudio.com/focusrite-clarett-8prex.php
https://www.kmraudio.com/focusrite-octopre-mkii.php

Similar to this guy´s set up.
http://www.barryrudolph.com/stellar/...reoctopre.html

It of course depends on what you are expecting as for the "level" of audio quality and A/D
conversion finally as well as what you can afford.
The advantage of such a combined system could be that you could exchange the external device
for another (a better and more expensive) one later if this would be required one day.
The disadvantage of course will be a more complicated system with 2 units instead of only 1.

I personally think if money is an issue the best bang for the buck probably will be the Motu 16A.
Those offer a lot and I have heard them to be very good sounding for this price range.
If money is no issue I think I personally would head for the Apogee Symphony 16x16 except you
want to get into the UAD plugin world as well. Then the Apollo 16 will be the right direction to go.
Well, the Apollo 16 Thunderbolt is the more recent piece of gear as well. Another + for the Apollo.

Btw you can´t escape software mixers with recent interfaces as almost all will be managed this way
nowadays.

Hope you will find a suitable solution for your new studio finally.

The best of success to you, VRW
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2015, 07:20 AM
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Table Syrup Records Table Syrup Records is offline
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Default Re: Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Just a side note... if you don't have your mind made up yet, you may also want to consider other connectivity, such as ethernet (Cat5e/6). I'm presuming you are looking at TB due to specific machines (lacking PCIe, etc), but all of them will have ethernet. It's a solid platform. Stable. Portable. Inexpensive to hook up. Can make insanely long runs easily and cheaply. Most I/O's using it are networkable.

Off the top of my head, Waves and Focusrite have some nice solutions.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2015, 08:09 AM
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V5V V5V is offline
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Default Re: Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterkeith View Post
I don't really need a monitoring section directly from the interface nor do I need pre-amps or any fancy DSP or software mixers etc.
I hear ya. I understand that some people want an all-in-one solution, but the rest of us just want a reasonable number of clean, quiet ins and outs with no unnecessary, complicated routing software or cheap preamps that can't be bypassed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by masterkeith View Post

Contenders so far-
MOTU 16A
U.A Apollo 16
I've never used the UA but the number of posts praising it suggest it must be worth checking out.

The MOTU stuff offers really good bang for the buck, and the analog stages are not feeble like so much of what's out there. I was impressed to read that the new units, while offering the ability to set up monitor mixes and routing, also offer a mode I call "Don't help!" that bypasses all that nonsense and just presents the inputs and outputs to the computer with no fluff.

The Apogee symphony is really nice. It's not inexpensive but good stuff never is. It requires a little external interface box to use it with Thunderbolt, which is a minor nuisance but not a big deal.

The only other suggestion I can think of off the top of my head is Lynx http://www.lynxstudio.com. I haven't used their converters but someone I really respect recommends them highly. We have their PCIe cards in a couple of playback machines and they've been rock solid.
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2015, 11:04 AM
masterkeith masterkeith is offline
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Default Re: Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Thanks so much for all the advice everyone, I think all the info I'm gathering is steering me towards the MOTU at the moment.

At the moment I'm veering away from the Apogee and U.A simply because I'll be paying for external DSP connectivity that i just don't need or want. Its a shame these high end companies don't offer their products without all the extra bits, a stripped down version for those already using a mixing console/pre-amps etc would be fantastic!

Something else that puts me off a lot of interfaces is additional mixing software (called things like 'The Console' etc). Frankly it confuses the hell out of me as I'm just used to mapping the interfaces I/O directly in the PT Hardware IO Setup page.

Quote:
also offer a mode I call "Don't help!" that bypasses all that nonsense and just presents the inputs and outputs to the computer with no fluff.
That's brilliant!, just what I'm after.

Thanks for the suggestion too Table Syrup Records. I haven't ever used Ethernet for this use before so I'll check it out. I naturally assume Ethernet is a bit archaic but I suppose if its stable and quick then it makes no odds!


Just so you all know the idea is to hook this up to an Audient ASP 4816 alongside a Mac Pro (the black bin type ones). Exciting times indeed!

Many thanks for your responses!

Keith
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2015, 10:01 PM
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V5V V5V is offline
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Default Re: Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterkeith View Post

At the moment I'm veering away from the Apogee and U.A simply because I'll be paying for external DSP connectivity that i just don't need or want.
My needs and wants in an interface are very much like yours. I want something that is straightforward, simple and QUICK to use.

That said, don't be too quick to dismiss DSP completely. In cases when you want to hear a plug-in while tracking, that DSP makes practical what would otherwise be a monitor mix so delayed relative to the live input that it's useless.

Since I do post and never record anything at all, much less while trying to monitor through plug-ins, that's irrelevant to me. It may not be to you.


EDIT: PS. Sweet console! Can I afford one?
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Last edited by V5V; 09-24-2015 at 10:16 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2015, 12:51 AM
VRW VRW is offline
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Default Re: Advice Regarding Thunderbolt Interfaces

Although the Motu 16A seems to suit your needs pretty well let me show you the Focusrite Rednet series again.
I missed that although it is of course a great idea as well (thanks to Table!).

And although Ethernet may sound archaic the Focusrite series is rather new stuff on the market, very modern, recent devices.

You may have a look there.
http://uk.focusrite.com/ethernet-aud...erfaces/rednet
This one may be quite interesting even if more expensive than the Motu but maybe in another class as for audio/conversion quality?
http://uk.focusrite.com/ethernet-aud.../rednet-2?rd=1
Available there in the UK e.g.
http://www.eastwoodsoundandvision.co...udio-interface
All Rednet units there.
http://www.eastwoodsoundandvision.co...usrite-rednet/

Just as a final heads up.
However the Motu will be a really nice piece of gear for a really fair price for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V5V View Post
PS: Sweet console!
+1

The best of success to you, VRW

Last edited by VRW; 09-27-2015 at 12:37 PM.
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