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Old 05-07-2021, 09:36 AM
Justin1524 Justin1524 is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 633
Default Presonus 4848, Mac Mini M1, and an upgrade path I can be happy with...

As my maxed out 2010 Mac Pro cheesegrater with HD Native is now 11 years old, I'm looking to upgrade in the next year or two. With quite a few choices, here is what I'm thinking about doing...

Currently I have 2 Digidesign Blue 192 interfaces and a Waves Soundgrid DLI with impact server connected - all work fine and give me a nice mix of analog and digital I/O. I have 4 rackmount 8 channel preamps: 1.) a Digidesign PRE 8 analog pres, 2.) a Panasonic wz-ad96m which has really nice pres but no analog line out only AES or ADAT 3.) A Mackie Onyx 800R which has both analog and digital outs and 4.) A Focusrite Octopre MKII which has analog and digital outs. Yeah they're not the greatest pres, but they're all mine!

So here's the plan - ditch the 192s, ditch Soundgrid (err maybe), ditch the HD native card and ditch my 2010 cheesegrater (eventually sell it all off) and replace it with...

...a Presonus 4848 and a Mac Mini M1.

Ok so there are some gotchas here but here's my thinking: I get to use my outboard pres and then some, 32 analog I/O is sweet plus an additional 16 I/O adat. I'll probably choose to clock it to my Apogee Big Ben and I have a hearback system for monitoring which can be either analog or digital inputs. And you hear me refer to analog and digital a lot here - why? Because we all want the best sound analog-to-digital conversion possible right? From what I've read the Presonus 4848 has great sound quality. It does one thing and does it well, getting sound in and out of the computer. The one critical piece here is how solid the driver is and how solid it is with Pro Tools. That I don't think I can know until I get into it. And then there's latency. Is the Thunderbolt 2 good enough to give me glitch free tracking at a low, low native buffer setting. My gut tells me yes, but with a fast computer. And that brings us to the heart of the system, the Mac Mini M1...

Now I'm fully aware the software is not ready yet for the M1, so I'm definitely waiting until I get a sense that it really is and this might be at least a year from now. I also really hate that the form factor is so small and you can't easily replace parts like you could with a PC, such as the power supply, ram, video card etc. But on the other hand, having a fast, inexpensive computer that you can more or less throw-away and replace isn't such a bad thing. I would want the most ram, the faster ethernet, at least a 1 TB boot drive. I also want support for at least 3 monitors (1 will be mirrored). It's all gotta work, low latency native. I would want to keep using Pro Tools but also start using Studio One more and more like I'm already doing. The number one reason for the Presonus is it allows me to keep using the preamps I already own and then I can upgrade them at my own pace later. And all of this upgrade comes at a price of about $3K total - a lot for me but something I can live with and sure a lot less money with a lot more IO then some other options.

Anyone have any thoughts? When the new M1s come out (M1x) I'll be watching very carefully and hoping my plan comes together. If I find the Presonus is unreliable, I can still keep my old HD native stuff and get a expansion chassis but trying to avoid that route. Oh and a side benefit is lightening my rack space quite a bit. Also, you can get longer thunderbolt 2 cables cheaper so I can potentially put my M1 in a separate room if I want.
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Justin (Proud Pro Tools Ultimate PERPETUAL license owner)
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Studio: 2010 Mac Pro Tower Intel Xeon 12 core 3.33 GHz, 64 GB macOS Mojave PCIe SSD 1TB Boot | Pro Tools Ultimate 2021.3.1 | HD Native Card | Digi 192 Analog & 192 Digital Blue | Digi PRE, FR OctoPre MKII, Mackie Onyx 800R, Panasonic WZ-AD96M and DA7, Eleven Rack, Apogee Big Ben, Waves DLI, Impact Server, Horizon, Rode K2, Slate VMS ML-1. Laptop: Dell Inspiron 5559, i7-6500U 2.6Ghz, 16 GB RAM, 15.6" 1920x1080 1TB SSD
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