Which 24-track interface?

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Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Red Bladder »

We decided yesterday that the 48-track Radar is just no longer providing fast enough turn-around and that we need a 24-IO interface that can be used together with any DAW and will be acceptable for any visiting engineers.

The ideal candidate would be extremely easy to use, be capable of stand-alone recording and export via USB-3 to an SSD caddy, or have such a caddy drive built in. It would also act as the IO for any installed or visiting PC or Mac.

We use a 60-frame desk and the IOs to and from the patchbay are on D-Subs. So we obviously do not need mic-pres or any gimmicks or toys built in.

With our move to being a film and TV studio, we no longer need 48 IOs, but we do need the ability to swap-out SSDs and give customers their recordings either that way or on their memory sticks.

What do the assembled cognoscenti recommend? I am open to suggestions at all levels of the market.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

One of the Blackbox machines?
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Red Bladder »

I couldn't remember their name - yes! Just the ticket! I'll give them a call.

I've just read your review here https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/jo ... x-recorder

Thanks!
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by James Perrett »

I'd echo Hugh's suggestion for one of the JoeCo devices - the Blue Box range are the ones with audio interface functionality AFAIK.

The other alternative would be one of the RME interfaces with built in recording coupled with some of the Ferrofish (or similar high channel count) convertors. If you use the UFX+ you get a MADI connection which simplifies connections when using high channel counts.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Humble Bee »

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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by fatbenelton »

Not stand alone, but the TB2 Presonus Quantum 4848 (32 I/O on Dsubs plus 16 Adat) is cheap enough that you may consider that and a stand alone device....apparently won a blind shoot out with Apogee, but whether it did or not it still sounds perfectly fine.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by ore_terra »

fatbenelton wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:56 pm Not stand alone, but the TB2 Presonus Quantum 4848 (32 I/O on Dsubs plus 16 Adat) is cheap enough that you may consider that and a stand alone device....apparently won a blind shoot out with Apogee, but whether it did or not it still sounds perfectly fine.

I have one of those and like it very much… but it has no internal mixer that allows you to have it routed directly to an external device
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by fatbenelton »

True but was thinking easy to integrate with the studio mixer for real routing as opposed to virtual.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Arpangel »

https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/external-au ... gIR-vD_BwE

One of these, great sound, reliable, easy to use.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Red Bladder »

Arpangel wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:48 am https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/external-au ... gIR-vD_BwE

One of these, great sound, reliable, easy to use.

I don't see any analogue inputs on that thing!
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Arpangel »

The Red Bladder wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:56 am
Arpangel wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:48 am https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/external-au ... gIR-vD_BwE

One of these, great sound, reliable, easy to use.

I don't see any analogue inputs on that thing!

Oh dear! failed to notice that!
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Mixedup »

JoeCo BlueBox or BlackBox of some sort is probably is the closest thing to what you want, since it does computerless recording.

Cymatic is the affordable alternative. But it can't do individual track overdubs/punch ins etc. On the plus side, it has a MADI card option.

Surrely a computer can do the USB transfer though? I'm using an RME MADIFace USB with Ferrofish converters and very happy. You'd just need a suitable drive system... but USB would work. Some of the other MADIFace and equivalent options might appeal too — with Dante, AVB options etc, and with a couple of analogue I/O and headphone out built in. Might be a better option for visiting clients. Digiface USB would be cheaper if ADAT suits — 32 channels at base sample rates, 16 at x2 etc.

But... if you're happy with the RADAR converters/sound, there are ADAT/MADI options for that... just add an ADAT/MADI interface and you might have what you want already, no?
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Red Bladder »

First off - thanks everybody for the suggestions. Esp. Hugh for jogging my memory on the JoCo range!
Mixedup wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:10 am JoeCo BlueBox or BlackBox of some sort is probably is the closest thing to what you want, since it does computerless recording.

It looks like the BlueBox with 24 analogue IOs is going to be the winner! I have been chatting to Jo Bull and it ticks all the boxes I need to see ticked and does not provide needless features that we do not need.

Mixedup wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:10 amCymatic is the affordable alternative. But it can't do individual track overdubs/punch ins etc. On the plus side, it has a MADI card option.

The U-Track-24 could act as an emergency back-up machine and as a multitrack for the post room.

Mixedup wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:10 am But... if you're happy with the RADAR converters/sound, there are ADAT/MADI options for that... just add an ADAT/MADI interface and you might have what you want already, no?

Not any more! We need to record IN the DAW and not export to the DAW. As much as the Radar is pish-easy to use, FTP'ing stuff back and forth is not an option. Some sessions can be over two hours long and the tracks have to be instantly available within PT, Reaper, CuBase, whatever! At the same time, we have to be able to integrate all analogue FX within the Daw environment via the desk.

So BlueBox it is - and the price is really low, given the quality of the thing.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by James Perrett »

The Red Bladder wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:56 am
Arpangel wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:48 am https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/external-au ... gIR-vD_BwE

One of these, great sound, reliable, easy to use.

I don't see any analogue inputs on that thing!

There's the 24ai which has analogue inputs instead of the analogue outputs.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Mixedup »

The Red Bladder wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:51 pmNot any more! We need to record IN the DAW and not export to the DAW. As much as the Radar is pish-easy to use, FTP'ing stuff back and forth is not an option.

Moot now, if you've settled on the BlueBox (a perfectly good choice!), but can you not just use the RADAR as a set of converters, with the inputs relayed over ADAT/MADI to an interface? I've not used a RADAR that way (and not used one for years!) but I can use my Alesis HD24 like that, for example. You'd need the right RADAR card of course...
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Red Bladder »

Mixedup wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:13 pm can you not just use the RADAR as a set of converters, with the inputs relayed over ADAT/MADI to an interface? I've not used a RADAR that way (and not used one for years!) but I can use my Alesis HD24 like that, for example. You'd need the right RADAR card of course...

That is a perfectly good question (and a philosophically good one!) - but if I did that, it would be symptomatic of gear obsession and I need to concentrate on what is important - and that is what happens on the other side of the glass and how to convert that into an end product for the punter!

The customer is always 100% of what I have to think about and we are moving from catering to musicians, producers and labels, to producing end product.

Our new business model is to worry about the end user and not the business user. The end user cares nothing for what you used to get to an end product.
All that matters is to get to that product.

By getting rid of the Radar, I can get to that end product a bit quicker!

Over the past few years, I have seen companies like Avid, Apple, Adobe and others, expect me to pay them money and simultaneously jump through hoops of their invention. That ain't gonna happen!

The digital nerd community seem to think that I and everybody else has nothing better to do than install this, configure that, and download the other. What I need above all other considerations is speed and simplicity.

I employ someone to deal with finances because I do not have the time or the inclination to pratt about with bookkeeping software and rubbish like car insurance and dealing with pin-headed officials. Similarly, I have two accountancy firms on tap to deal with the likes of HMRC and the German Finanzamt. The last thing I need is for our core activity to be polluted by complication.

(More than a bit of a rant - but who knows! Maybe some tech developer or exec will read this and learn to keep things simple. We do not need more pointless features and protocols outside of WAV and USB. And don't get me started on the absurdity of film/video formats!)
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by James Perrett »

The Red Bladder wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:51 pm It looks like the BlueBox with 24 analogue IOs is going to be the winner! I have been chatting to Jo Bull and it ticks all the boxes I need to see ticked and does not provide needless features that we do not need.
...
So BlueBox it is - and the price is really low, given the quality of the thing.

Given that the team behind the JoeCo boxes is the same team who designed Sadie, I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Mixedup »

Oh. That's anteresting take on it... I wasn't thinking of gear obsession. More of simplicity. From a user POV it would be one USB cable to the computer, one USB drive caddy if you want to use one. Job done. But as I and others say, the JoeCo BB should be a perfectly good solution and it's certainly a neat one. The RADAR should still command a price that will offset some of the cost, too....
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Arpangel »

Mixedup wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:58 am Oh. That's anteresting take on it... I wasn't thinking of gear obsession. More of simplicity. From a user POV it would be one USB cable to the computer, one USB drive caddy if you want to use one. Job done. But as I and others say, the JoeCo BB should be a perfectly good solution and it's certainly a neat one. The RADAR should still command a price that will offset some of the cost, too....

RADAR is amazing, even by today’s standards, better in terms of sound quality "in my opinion"
I’d love one, but I’m afraid it’d just sit there unused, like most of my other stuff these days.
I can understand the workflow thing, it is annoying in a lot of ways, and if you want to transfer files quickly, you’re better off with something else.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Korff »

fatbenelton wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:56 pm Not stand alone, but the TB2 Presonus Quantum 4848 (32 I/O on Dsubs plus 16 Adat) is cheap enough that you may consider that and a stand alone device....apparently won a blind shoot out with Apogee, but whether it did or not it still sounds perfectly fine.

I read the post title and came here to recommend same! The fantastically low latency of those Quanta is also a big plus — but as you say, no standalone recording... For that, I think the JoeCo recommendations are pretty spot on, though the RME UFX boxes would also tick the same sort of box (although they're less console-friendly, with half their inputs on the front and half on the back, and in a variety of TRS/XLR/ADAT/etc formats).
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Sam Inglis »

For me one of the hidden disadvantages with most standalone digital recorders is track and file naming. If you're recording to a DAW, each input comes into a named track, and each file that's created inherits some version of that name, making it reasonably easy to identify. Most hardware recorders don't do that so you either have to spend ages manually naming the files or give the client a bunch of files named 'Audio_01' and so on.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by fatbenelton »

The Korff wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:44 am
fatbenelton wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:56 pm Not stand alone, but the TB2 Presonus Quantum 4848 (32 I/O on Dsubs plus 16 Adat) is cheap enough that you may consider that and a stand alone device....apparently won a blind shoot out with Apogee, but whether it did or not it still sounds perfectly fine.

I read the post title and came here to recommend same! The fantastically low latency of those Quanta is also a big plus — but as you say, no standalone recording... For that, I think the JoeCo recommendations are pretty spot on, though the RME UFX boxes would also tick the same sort of box (although they're less console-friendly, with half their inputs on the front and half on the back, and in a variety of TRS/XLR/ADAT/etc formats).

Yes, brilliant interfaces. Just sold mine as don’t need the amount of I/O any more but still got my Quantum 2 and DP88 - super low latency as you say.
I’m not an expert and Mr R B clearly knows what he’s doing, but still not sure why you just can’t ‘burn’ to a USB from within the DAW?? It’s still pretty quick; unless modern muso’s put down their instruments and walk out immediately and expect the USB stick there and then!!
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by OneWorld »

The Red Bladder wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:57 pm

The digital nerd community seem to think that I and everybody else has nothing better to do than install this, configure that, and download the other. What I need above all other considerations is speed and simplicity.

I employ someone to deal with finances because I do not have the time or the inclination to pratt about with bookkeeping software and rubbish like car insurance and dealing with pin-headed officials. Similarly, I have two accountancy firms on tap to deal with the likes of HMRC and the German Finanzamt. The last thing I need is for our core activity to be polluted by complication.

Take a bow, spot on and back of the net, you got it in one there
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by Arpangel »

If you used the RDAR just as a converter, how much would that add to your workflow in terms of complication and a corresponding decrease in speed?
I know you’ve made a decision, but I for one still remember that session at your place, the quality of RADAR is still unique, sorry to see it go, nonetheless.
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Re: Which 24-track interface?

Post by The Red Bladder »

Radar as a converter box - a great deal of faffing about involved and the Radar would still be in the machine room because the fans are noisy. A modern box can live in the FX rack - or even in the patchbay as it is only 1U high.

I for one still remember that session at your place, the quality of RADAR is still unique, sorry to see it go, nonetheless.

That probably had more to do with the mics (M149 pair) the mic pres and the fact that I track directly from the Direct-Out point immediately after the mic pres, than with the quality of the converters.

Yes, they were the best money could buy at the time, but that was 20 years ago! At that time, most converters had clocking problems that gave (for example) the older ProTools (before HD came out) a nasty upper edge that became known as digital harshness - in reality a nasty high-pitched noise out of hearing range that interfered with HF in the audible range. I used to get mix sessions from punters that suffered from this and I had to get rid of it by putting a brick-wall digital filter at about 15kHz on each track.

latency - not an issue any more, unless one does in-track drop-ins and I have never done that with any digital system. In the days of tape - yes. But today?

Anyway, the Radar will still be here for a while, but I did promise the wife that I will be unloading piles of equipment soon as we are just filling up with stuff and running out of places to put it all! Redundant stuff includes DAT recorders, video recorders, SD cameras and their lenses, 3 or 4 DAWs and their associated PCs and Macs, more test equipment than I had when I was working in an electronics workshop and add to all that about 12 synthesizers! Add to the above, all the vintage stuff I do want to keep like Hammond A100 with Leslie, transistor organs, Wurley, an old in-line 24-channel desk with 16 off-line groups - the list just goes on and on.

Add to all that the huge amounts of film stuff I've acquired like a large 5m jib, dolly system, 24kW of lighting, an entire 6kW PA system with eight very large JBL speakers, a giant sub that came off Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' tour, an entire lighting and PA gantry with wind-up towers, guitar amps, a six-channel valve mixer from about 49BC - and that lot is just the stuff I can remember! A quick walk through next-door and I will definitely find more that I have forgotten!

I either start off-loading some of that stuff or I build a fourth building on-site just to house all the surplus!

(And then there's all the farm machinery and tools!)

Take a bow, spot on and back of the net, you got it in one there.

Thank you Sir!

Even within the realms of artistic and creative endeavour, be that making films, making music, or any other creative activity, if one is getting paid to do these things, it is extremely important to remember that one is primarily running a business. Complications lead to mistakes and confusion and that costs time - and we all know what time is!
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