Here’s how it works. I get up in the morning (or afternoon, unfortunately) and check the recording forum here at RecordingReview.com. There are usually a handful of new members who are asking for specific advice about a specific product. Typically, the audio interface is the least understood link in the chain so I take extra time to help with the audio interfaces.
Today on the forum a dude asked how many simultaneous inputs the Alesis Multimix 16 Firewire mixer / audio interface could send to the computer at once. In other words, how many tracks can he record simultaneously?
I head over to Musicians Friend and read the description. Of course, it’s all useless marketing hype with no clear indication of the features. (This is normal, UNFORTUNATELY!).
So, I head over to the Alesis website.
_Compact, affordable 16-channel analog mixer and Multi-channel FireWire Audio Computer
Compact? Really? WOW! (highest form of sarcasm possible). Thanks!
Affordable? Really? WOW! (like I can’t see the damn price is $500 at Musiciansfriend) Thank!
16-channel analog mixer? Okay, that’s useful. That means it probably has X amount of mic preamps and X amount of line level inputs, but that tells me something.
Here is the part that pissed me off so badly, that I actively refuse to EVER recommend another Alesis product again for the rest of my life. You have not only lost me as a customer for life, you have completely lost all of my recommendations.
Let me say that again.
On their own website they leave out the single most important piece of information possible for an audio interface. Are they out of their damn minds?????? How is it that a manufacturer of an audio interface can’t see the worth in being clear enough to illustrate the most important feature in an audio interface? I’m positive that there are some extremely intelligent electrical engineer and software engineers have designed this audio interface. I surely can’t do it! I tip my hat on my bald head to them.
However, what incompetent moron is in charge of writing the product descriptions for the Alesis website and Musiciansfriend? Fire them immediately! They are costing you money! Fire them. Go a step further. Put a hit out on them! This is so big of a mistake that it had to be on purpose. No one with any understanding of the product would possible leave out the number of simultaneous inputs. This has to be part of some bigger New World Order conspiracy or something. It makes no logical sense.
It’s Not Just Alesis – It’s M-Audio, Presonus, Mackie, Digidesign and Every Other Manufacturer Of Audio Interfaces
I’ve been planning on updating the Home Recording Soundcard Wizard to include the latest audio interfaces that have came out recently. Every time I start to go through each audio interface and deduce what features it has (yes, I have to use some kind of deductive reasoning to figure out the stupid features of a given product) I end angry. I’m angry because I want the information on my Soundcard Wizard to be accurate. I owe that to the visitors of RecordingReview.com. However, when they simply do not tell you ANYWHERE the number of simultaneous inputs and other features on the description of an audio interface, I don’t know what to do!
I believe in capitalism. (Don’t get started on another anti-socialist rant). I believe that the market caters to the demands of the customer. If a business does something in a strange way, it’s probably due to the fact that customers want it that way. What possible customer would have any interest in pulling out their credit card for a product that they have absolutely zero idea even does what they think it does?
This blows my mind!
Misleading Input Figures
Another problem which is almost as huge as not stating the number of inputs at all is the problem of over-inflating the number of inputs. Digital inputs should not count as the number of inputs in an audio interface! Why can’t the ad for the Presonus Firestudio (which I happily own) say “Featuring 8 analog inputs out of the box, but expandable to 26 simultaneous inputs with ADAT Lightpipe”. Instead, they just say “24 inputs”. Then they say “26 inputs”. (I guess they forgot to count S/PDIF the first time!) There is absolutely nothing on the Musiciansfriend Firestudio ad to suggest that without buying a bunch more stuff, you can only record 8 inputs at once. NOTHING! A beginner is completely screwed. You are going to pay $500-600 minimum for an 8 channel preamp / analog to digital converter with Lightpipe. Nowhere does the Firestudio say that it’s going to cost an additional $1000 to get up to 24 simultaneous inputs. Why keep this a secret? Since no one is being up front and honest about their audio interface products, it seems that if there was one company who laid it all out there, the buying public would be shocked by the straight forward nature of the company and the company would explode with sales!
I remember when I first bought my M-Audio Delta 1010 back in 2001. I was shocked to see that it did not have 10 inputs. It had 8 analog inputs and 2 S/PDIF, but no one told me that I would need to buy more stuff to take advantage of the other 2 inputs. If this wasn’t fraud, it was flat out intentional deception. (I think that is fraud!).
A Picture Is Worth A Million Trillion Words
I’m the kind of guy who likes to read. I LIKE books. (As long as they involve Nazis, the Cold War, or socialism.) I don’t mind reading a description of an audio interface. However, because the ad for the typical audio interface is so disgustingly uninformative, I have to look at the damn picture! Why! Am I 4 years old? I can color in the lines now. I should not have to recourse to looking at the back of the unit to figure out what an audio interface can and can’t do. The ad says “4,000 inputs made of gold for pristine fidelity” and the back of the unit has 8 holes for XLR mics and an ADAT input.
The bigger problem arises when the USB and Firewire mixers don’t specify how many ins and outs their audio interface portion contains. There is no back of the unit to look at! Obviously, the text in the ad and the website is going to be useless. It’s a guessing game as to whether the unit has 2 inputs or 16 inputs!
So, in this case a picture is not worth 1,000 words. Not when the words are useless! In fact, a picture is worth an infinite amount of words in this case, but I’d rather sound like a mafia dude who says “million trillion”.
Make It Easy On Beginners!
I’m curious just how many people start to consider jumping into home recording and then get confused by the unnecessary complications of audio interface ad writers that they say “Screw it!”. I bet the audio interface world is losing millions of dollars each year because they don’t accurately describe their products.