Neecing New Front End

I’m so confused

Looks like my PA is finally sold. The mixer I use in the studio goes with it. Will be needing a new front end.

If I had the $$$ I would get a Heath & Allen ZED 16-R. TomS and his MOTU are fabulous sounding but it is also out of my price range. Any one have any experience with a mixer with firewire or usb connect?

1) How many channels via firewire can be recorded at once?
2) How many via USB?
3) When your signal is returned from the DAW to the mixer is it automatically routed to the CR-out or can you assign it to a channel or alt-mix?
4) Latency issues with either bus?

Likes, dislikes, pointers, tips, what I be looking for?



Hi Duff,

1. A PILE of channels can be recorded with a FW interface. I think the RME ($$$$) Fireface supports 56!

2. USB2.0 devices are available with 16+ channels I believe? I think the Tascam 1641 supports 16 simultaneous inputs. I’m not sure about the USB version of the MOTU 828 mkIII? I personally would be paranoid going above 8 simultaneous inputs at 24.44.1 with USB but that’s just me.

3. The interface device will likely have several outputs that you can route wherever you want in your hardware mixer. For example the M-Audio FW-610 has six in’s and 10 outs. The software application for the FW-610 allows you to route the signal from your DAW software to whichever outputs you want… possibly multiple outputs. I’m not that familiar with M-Audio’s stuff though.

4. Better low latency performance will be found with RME and MOTU firewire devices but even better performance with a PCI or PCIe based device. This should really only concern you if you are using software instruments or effects while recording or performing live. If you are just tracking with no software effects, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep over latency. Especially since you seem to want a hardware mixer for a front end. Monitor through the mixer and basically use the interface and PC as a digital tape deck right?




Thanks for the great info. I have 3 sets of monitors so I would like to able to auditon mixes in each. I need another “out” to drive my headphone distr. amp. Those are my concerns for outs. As for ins…I would just like to be able to laydown 2-stereo pairs at the same time. I am also lazy…I keep everything hooked up and leave all the channel settings in place. This way when the wife blurps at me to quit I can stop and retain my settings/sound.

Right now I can do 2 mono-ins with my AudioPhile192 and monitor/headphone routing taken care of by a Mackie BigKnob. Be nice to get some desk realestate back and get rid of some wires.

Again, thanks for the info. Been a help.


I hope TomS replies here…
I am headed in some direction towards Audio A/D and D/A hardware… Whatever TomS has these days sounds fabulous… Maybe he can post the hardware he has in his setup, so we can compare all the toys he uses and all…


Hey Bill!

MOTU 828 mk III, a couple of good preamps/channels a couple not so good - UA LA 610, a Presonus Eureka, a couple of ampex 601 preamps, a couple of symetrix, 2 nicely rackmounted Yamaha PM 1000 channels - that’s about it. Mostly I use the US LA 610 and Eureka, but have been having lots of fun with the Ampexes…

The MOTU was such a huge step up from the Aardvark.


The MOTU was such a huge step up from the Aardvark.

It's amazing the difference a few years makes eh? I can remember when Aardvark were considered the bees knees for "pro-sumer" AD/DA converters. The improvements in conversion and equally important, clock technologies in recent years are just astounding.


S’truth, D.