Anybody using a Yamaha i88x with 'N'?

Does it work?

Doiing some research on this unit, the Yamaha i88x. Seeing mixed reviews, but an important factor is whether or not it is compatible with n-Track. I imagine it is, uses ASIO drivers (or WDM albeit with limitations in input channels), but I want to make sure before I get my hopes up.


I’ll reply to my own post…it makes me feel better! :)

The main thing that I’m wondering is how ‘N’ will see the I/O channels. The i88x has up to 18 simultaneous inputs and outputs via firewire using the analog and S/PDIF connections on the unit itself as well as ADAT Lightpipe at 24-bit 48KHz (14 simultaneous inputs and outputs at 24-bit 96KHz). Will n-Track recognize all these inputs and outputs?

N will recognize what ever the drivers will let it see. That is a driver thing, not an N-track thing. So long as Yamaha has their software in order, you should be swell…

Thanks, Bubbagump.

The reviews on the drivers have been the dodgey issue with this unit, though from what I can tell it is possibly more of a user issue as the install process appears to require a bit more babysitting than the average.

It uses ASIO drivers, and I’ve seen a number of reviews that cite the use of Cubase SX. Is it safe to assume that if it works in that environment, there isn’t a reason why it SHOULDN’T work with n-Track? I realize that there is no gaurantee…it will depend on my individual hardware/install, but in the ideal world…?

I’m pressing the issue because these things are going for $399 from a number of retailers, and as low as $319 for factory refurbed units…where else can you get a 24-bit 18 in 18 out (14 in and 14 out at 96KHz!) rackmount firewire interface for under $400 with two pro quality pres and a bundle of decent full-version plug-ins? I’m tempted, but its got to work with my ‘N’.

I think if you have found out that it’s ASIO capabilities work with Cubase then it should work with n-Track. To be safe though, I’d want the option to return it…


There is a real long thread about the i88x on the Gearslutz board.

It seems to me for the money-$400, there is no better (meaning quality, clean and versatile) fw interface out there. The pre’s are supposed to be really good too.

I seriously doubt that there would be an issue with the ASIO drivers. N sees all mine- a MOTU 828MK2. The number of selections is a bit daunting at first, but I only use the main outs and analog in channels.

If I hadn’t already gotten the MOTU (though it was 2 years ago) I’d be getting the Yamy before they run out.

You didn’t mention your current sound card or interface, but I’d be willin to bet since you’re looking at it, then it would be a HUGE improvement! Get it and let us know what you think of it, too.


Rick (et al),

Thanks for the reply(ies).

It is awfully tempting. Musician’s Friend has refurb units with full warranty in factory packaging for $320 with free shipping…! Any opinions on refurb vs. new?

I guess my only hangup at this point is that the i88x uses Yamaha’s proprietary protocol mLAN. Not that this is necessarily BAD…I’ve used Yamaha drums and other Yamaha electronic equipment and I have been consistently impressed with the quality and engineering…its just a diversion from standard Windows firewire protocols, which are far more common and therefore better supported. I read in a thread somewhere that the mLAN drivers are “resource hogs”, and aren’t getting the best support. Resources are maybe a concern as I’m using a Pentium M equipped laptop with a 1.6GHz processor, and 512mb of RAM. I do have it outfitted with a 7200rpm HD though. I would just hate to make the purchase and not be able to take full advantage of the multi-channel I/O capabilities of the i88x. I’m so not in a position to upgrade my computer. I’m also grappling with the issue of spending $100-150 more to get an integrated interface/DAW controller like the Tascam 1082. I’d be sacrificing 8 channels of input and 14(!) channels of output, but an improvement in the quality of the controller (I think) over a Behringer BCF2000, which is what I would be getting with the i88x. The Tascam 1884 has it all, but is less portable (something I need right now as the shop has not been converted yet, and it may be awhile…) and there is certainly a major cost factor there, though they can be had for about $1100 new from an authorized dealer, and if purchased prior to 12/31/05 you get a set of powered monitors valued at $299 with it. Turn those around at maybe $250 and you are out $850 net. Good deal, but still too much of a stretch for me.

Sorry for the long post. Just spilling my brain a bit in hopes of some comments from my trusted peers.



I guess my only hangup at this point is that the i88x uses Yamaha’s proprietary protocol mLAN.

If this was going to be my only I/O, and it probably would be, then mLAN wouldn’t be bothering me. Even some of the best, eg. RME FF800, i/o’s are using proprietary protocols over the fw cable. It could be a problem if you wanted to add a fw drive to the laptop. Course you can find more USB drives than FW anyway.

I would just hate to make the purchase and not be able to take full advantage of the multi-channel I/O capabilities of the i88x

I would look at it like this: IF I had an ADAT box or a stand alone converter, or a pre with digital outs then the extra digital i/o would be icing on the cake. But 8 channels of analog with 2 exceptional mic pres is what I’d be getting it for primarily. Most pres don’t have digital i/o anyway, so nothing lost there really. If you later wanted to upgrade to a better converter, you will have the digital i/o to connect it.

You could also get 2 of the i88x and chain them together for 16 analog ch’s. for the same price as a MOTU Traveller, 828MK2 or other 8-10 ch. boxes. That would be a great portable rig for on location recording!

If you want really great quality from a unit that always gets great user reviews then the RME FF800 at $1500 is your best bet. And until tomorrow at midnight you can get them for $1400.

I wouldn’t know how to compare with the Tascam’s you mentioned, but there are lots of DAW controllers out there that use USB instead of FW ports if you need a controller. The USB Frontier Tranzport ($200) comes to mind.

If you already have the FW ports on your laptop, then I don’t see any need for any upgrades to it, otherwise PCMCIA firewire cards are pretty common.


Sweet_beats, I just ran across this on the same board: mLAN/i88x FAQ

This might help you out.


Thank you, thank you for the thoughts and perspective.

I’ll likely be picking one up.

I’ve been working with a Tascam US-122, so the difference in terms of features and quality should be apparent. Not that the Tascam is a bad box. Wasn’t displeased with it, just wanting more simultaneous I/O as a drummer.

I’ll post back if I have some news.