Now that I have selected my Presonus Firestudio, I need an AD converter with ADAT Lightpipe to expand the Firestudio up to 18 simultaneous inputs. (8 analog inputs in the Firestudio and 2 S/PDIF inputs with my Mytek AD96). 10 inputs simply isn’t going to cut it in full band land.
I already own a Presonus M80 8 channel preamp. I bought it for a $1,000 used a few years ago. I’ve been pretty happy with it overall. No complaints. I’d rather have have an API Lunchbox, but I’d also rather have a juicy steak instead of this microwave burrito. Then again, this burrito is better than Ramon noodles. Long story short: I’m happy with the Presonus M80.
The only problem is the Presonus M80 is entirely analog. There are no digital outputs on the Presonus M80.
Shopping For A Mid-Grade 8 Channel AD Converter with ADAT Lightpipe Outputs
So I started doing a little bit of searching. Maybe I’m an idiot (I don’t expect to see a flood of emails disputing that one), but I didn’t see a single 8 Channel AD converter (disregard the Behringer ADA8000) for under a grand. Note: It’s not the Behringer sound quality that bothers me so much. It’s the fact that Behringer doesn’t appear to test the products before I buy them. I don’t have time for that. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I have had in the past.
I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t an 8 channel analog to digital converter with ADAT Lightpipe outputs for around $300-1000. I find it shocking! I don’t need anything to hardcore. I don’t expect to have high end conversion on every channel in my studio until I have more money than sense. (I appear to be low on both these days! Ha ha).
I Guess I’m Buying More Preamps
The preamp situation is a funny one. The biggest reason I started Recording Review back in the day was to really help home recorders make better recordings and quit feeding them horse crap about how they need this $2000 per channel signal path. In short, my biggest issue is with the way preamps are glorified online before the most important parts of music and recording. So, there really isn’t anything exciting about buying a new preamp. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to try out a new API A2D again, but the notion of buying an 8 channel preamp just to get the ADAT converter is less than fun. Maybe I’m a snob, but I feel like I’m forced to buy a Musician’s Friend guitar amp because I need X functionality even though I have some REAL amps at home.
So here I am. I have a fairly okay preamp in my Presonus M80. There doesn’t appear to be any standalone AD converters with ADAT out. My only option? I ordered a M-Audio Octane. It’s an 8 channel preamp with ADAT output. So, I paid $600 for preamps I don’t need just to get an AD converter. While I’m not convinced that converters are something the average home recording idiot should put too much thought into, if I’m going to blow $600 on a converter, I’d prefer all $600 of that go towards the converter. In this case, I’m going to guess that about $300 of that went into preamps I don’t need and the other $300 went into the converters. There is nothing more pleasing than purchasing $300 worth of gear for $600!!
I Should Have Done My Research
I’m not sure why I didn’t look into this whole ADAT situation beforehand. I just assumed that I’d have no problem finding an 8 channel AD converter with ADAT. Nope! I was dead wrong. I can’t believe there isn’t a product out there for this. I guess with the boom of 8 channel preamps with ADAT outputs, there isn’t much need.
Putting My Money Where My Back Pocket Is
So, it’s about time I step up to the plate. I’m going to give these M-Audio preamps a real test and see how they stack up with the Presonus M80. I’m really going to put them through the ringer. (How you ask? Easy. I’m going to mic up a guitar amp. When I don’t like the sound, I’m going to adjust the tone controls on the guitar amp or fiddle around with mic placement! I’ll mic up a snare drum. When I don’t like the tone, I’ll ask the drummer to adjust his/her tuning of the drum. Maybe I’ll tell them to hit the snare harder or something. Then I’ll use parallel compression on the snare in addition to compression on the entire drum bus. Maybe I’ll move the mic). Long story short. I highly expect to be selling my Presonus M80. Maybe not, though.
It just doesn’t make sense to have a Vintech 1272, a Trident S20, 8 channels of Presonus M80, 8 channels of stock preamps on the Presonus Firestudio and now 8 channels of M-Audio Octane preamps.
This gear stuff is ALWAYS confusing. WHYYYYYYY!!!!!!!