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  #1  
Old 03-22-2013, 02:26 AM
daChayce daChayce is offline
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Default Saffire Pro 40 w/ External Converter/Preamp

What up, I'm hear for some help because I'm just getting to confused reading various threads. Here's my situation !

I have a Saffire Pro 40 and was looking into buying one or to channel strips or preamps. Preferably an Avalon VT‑737 and maybe a Great River or a Grace 101. Unsure of that yet, but my question is, what is my best option to hook these up to the Pro 40.? I've read threads about using the Pro 40's line inputs and setting it to unity gain which is about 4-5. Than I read threads that say your better off getting an external converter and wiring the pre's into that. However, how does that work? I know you hook the converter up to the Pro 40 via ADAT, but than what?

In all reality, whats the best way to wire an avalon to the pro 40 or any other preamps/outboard gear? This is with setting price aside. Should I get an external converter or sell the Pro 40 and look into another interface that is suitable for what I'm looking to do.

Any help, recommendations, or advice is much appreciated.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:25 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Saffire Pro 40 w/ External Converter/Preamp

What inputs does the Pro 40 have? For a single outboard preamp, I think coming in line level(balanced from the Avalon to a TRS input) will work fine(I would set the GAIN on the Pro 40 all the way down first and see how much it needs to come up for proper recording level from the Avalon). I suspect all the way down may be where that knob stays. The lightpipe input is a great place to patch an 8 channel preamp(like the OctoPre Mk II Dynamic?). If you have a SPDIF input(I think you do) that's one more option and would make the most sense for 1(or 2) outboard preamps with an outboard converter(such as made by Apogee and Lavry). A retired DAT recorder might also fill the bill. Some external preamps have a SPDIF option that allows a second input to the converter(because SPDIF is a 2 channel protocol). The old Presonus Eureka may have that feature(not sure as I've never owned one). Lots of options(and tons we haven't touched on) but just remember, no song became a hit because of the converter
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:12 AM
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EGS EGS is offline
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Default Re: Saffire Pro 40 w/ External Converter/Preamp

Well, the Pro 40 has lots of I/O options. From the Focusrite site:

Analogue Channel Inputs (Inputs 1-8)
  • 2 Mic/Line/Inst Combo XLR (Inputs 1 and 2)
  • 6 Mic/Line Combo XLR (Inputs 3-8)
  • Automatic switching of Mic / Line (e.g. inserting a jack switches from Mic to either Line or Instrument)
Digital Channel Inputs (Inputs 9-18) 44.1-96kHz
  • Stereo S/PDIF input on RCA
  • 8 ADAT inputs on Optical Connector, reduces to 4 inputs at 88.2/96kHz • Optical input can be switched to S/PDIF 3/4 in software preferences (ADATs disabled)

I think the Pro 40 pres sound good. I'd rather spend money on better mics rather than outboard pres, but that's just me. Hope this helps!!!
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:52 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Saffire Pro 40 w/ External Converter/Preamp

Depending on how much cash you can spend, there is another route to consider. Both the UA 4-710, and the Focusrite ISA-428 have digital cards(optional on the ISA-428) that allow 4 more analog preamps to jump the lightpipe stream(in addition to the 4 on-board preamps). I use the ISA-428 here and have 4 more outboard preamps feeding the digital card. Both these units are a step up from the Saffire, plus they give you a better converters for your Avalon(or whatever preamp(s) you want). In my case, I use this path for a pair of Vintech Neve clones and a pair of Five Fish Audio API clones. 2 flavors of "character" preamps and 4 channels of really good "clean" preamps. Not the cheapest way to go, but it sure does work nicely

http://us.focusrite.com/mic-pres/isa-428-mkii
http://www.uaudio.com/hardware/mic-preamps/4-710d.html
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:46 PM
daChayce daChayce is offline
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Default Re: Saffire Pro 40 w/ External Converter/Preamp

See, but the thing is your using a different interface than me. From what I'm told, the pres on the saffire pro 40 cannot be bypassed. So running external pres such as the ISA or UA wouldnt work so well for me. I wish the Pro 40's pres could just be bypassed and this would all be so much easier. Thats the only reason I was looking into an external converter, so I can run it into my Pro 40 via Adat and than run several pres into the converter.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:26 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Saffire Pro 40 w/ External Converter/Preamp

One of us is confused(and it could be me). My point was all about using the lightpipe input of the Pro 40 to add 8 external preamps to your existing Pro40 preamps. By using a lightpipe solution, you retain all of the onboard preamps of the Pro40 and it would be the main interface(Pro Tools would see the lightpipe preamps as inputs 9 thru 16).

Better preamps improve almost any microphone, but having said that, what mics do you have? What do you need to record? Do you mostly record 1 person at a time, or are you looking to track small bands? With my 18 total inputs, I track a full drum kit(10 mics), bass(DI), Keyboards(DI or just midi), guitar(electric or acoustic) and a scratch vocal(with a leftover input for a talkback mic) As for mics, while i do have some that are not cheap, there are several very affordable choices out there that will get results according to your skills
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