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In-depth Feature:  Focusrite Saffire Pro i/o
Shorn Rah and a couple of top celebs put the new blue interface to the test
Shorn Rah writes: .


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10:18 mins
Saffire Pro comes to town
In the first of a series of episodes live (well, nearly) and direct from Studio Paranormal, Shorn Rah reviews the new Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 i/o FireWire audio interface for OS X and Windows XP.


Clive Deamer

Toby Longworth

We borrowed the voice of world class actor and voice artist Toby Longworth and drum skills of top drummer Clive Deamer, to assist in getting to the bottom of this new unit.


Saffire Pro- Loadsa front

With a lustrous reputation to uphold, Focusrite have placed a hi-spec, competitively priced interface into the arena. Featuring a comprehensive monitoring mix control panel and plug-ins too, it's designed to be at home in both the live recording and studio situation. The Saffire Pro has numerous i/o (26 in fact) on a variety of connectors - 8 XLR, 8 1/4 jacks with 2x line/instrument inputs, SPDIF and 2 banks of ADAT I/O too AND it handles sample rates of up to 192kHz (s-pdif only ADATs up to 96kHz).

Power is nothing without control

Monitor mixing is handled by the Saffire Control PRO panel which sits between your recording software and the hardware itself. When tracking and setting up monitor mixes for overdubs, you'll need to switch between this and the host DAW to flip and change settings. However, for less of a faff, you could just monitor through the DAW - the latency ain't bad at all - in fact hardly noticeable- at least on our dual G5 machine.

For your hard earned cash, you also get the Saffire plug-in suite, comprising EQ, Compression, Amp Simulation and Reverb, in both VST and AU format - and I tell you what, they're pretty hot - but more on that in the next installment.

The hardware features 2 headphones outputs and a global monitor control with mute and dim options, as well as two channels featuring variable mic impedance and instrument input, all on the front panel.

One thing that did baffle us was that initially, the unit operated with a crazy amount of recording delay - after a lot of head scratching, we checked the Focusrite website and found that Apple have released a new FireWire update that means that this delay will disappear and everything is hunky dory - BUT - you will need to download and install a rather confusing Apple FireWire SDK developer kit which is basically aimed at boffins - not yer average dumbass musician - a simple, large, text step by step instruction document would do wonders here chaps...

But no problem. Fortunately, we had the assistance of a couple of top-notch performers to help out. As Shorn says:

"So I pulled out all the stops called on a few celebs to help with the test and off I went....

WORLD WATCH OUT !! IT'S WILD AND WICKED !!"

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       8 Comments...  
    Jordaan    Said...

    I just finished watching the “World Exclusive of the Focusrite Saffire Pro� which is perhaps at best a good example of a useless review. I can respect that Shorn wants to perpetuate his image as a juvenile clown, we all have aspirations in life, but in all honesty I hardly think that fits with the purpose of this site as an information resource. The only perceivable message this review offered was an unequivocally biased endorsement of Focusrite's product. Shorn stated that an interested buyer will look at the manufacture's website and visit a store to conduct their research before purchasing.. Hello in there? Is not the role of sonic state to provide product information and critical review? Or do we again leave this up to the users who post in the GAS station? Shorn's presentation lacks any useful considerations about the product in question and devalues any retaining value of this site with his frivolous antics. My beef is not with the Shorn, his interviews are quite engaging, but I feel it somewhat disheartening that this site does not care to maintain any degree of professional integrity.

    09-Dec-06 07:13 PM


    Nick    Said...

    Ouch, well that stuck it to us didnt it?

    I agree that it was a little lite on the facts, and will take the wrap for that and have discussed this with Shorn. But to insinuate that our entire professional standing is ruined by this piece is rather strong I feel.

    The recommendation about checking the website, is a little misleading - what actually he was getting at (and perhaps failing for you) is that there significant technical difficulties in getting the unit working as advertised. This was dues to the grey area of FireWire firmware that neither Apple nor Focusrite would accept as their problem - although it was fixed in an Apple firmware upgrade - the facts are in the supporting article.

    Yours (humbly)

    10-Dec-06 02:52 PM


    Jordaan    Said...

    Dear Nick,

    You are correct, I did not state explicitly what I was refering to, thank you for pointing out my omission. As to what I was refering to with regards to Shorn's recommendation, allow me to quote him; “none of my viewers would ever go into a shop and just buy something and they didn’t really know how it really worked, hadn’t read the small print, hadn’t gone to the manufacture’s website and hadn’t really checked out the specifications, and got the advice of a professional.� My trust is that the reviewers on sonicstate.com are professionals, that was my point.

    Moreover, Nick, please don't construe my words beyond what was actually said. My comments did not state that the site lacked integrity, but rather the integrity of this site is compromised by content like this review.

    Though I can appreciate the amount of editing and time invested in creating this piece, I'm disturbed by the fact that it fails to serve any immediate purpose beyond simple entertainment. It is my hope that sonicstate will continue to deliever valueable information like the tradeshow videos, pod casts, news updates, and more tasteful reviews.

    Thank you for reposting my comments and for your thoughtful response Nick.

    11-Dec-06 12:32 AM


    7strun    Said...

    Hallo! i have 1 essiencial, crucial, main question. Where do you set the latency coz i do not see it in the driver and what is the minimum latency (in samples as 64 or in ms like 5 ms) thanx cheerio

    26-May-07 11:05 AM


    Bunker 8 Digital Labs    Said...

    I think everyone needs to calm down a bit and just enjoy the fact that the content is being provided FOR FREE...Someone took a good deal of time to shoot and edit the video, invite some great musicians by and generally, just have fun.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it, all the clowning around and being silly, why the hell not? Who needs another gearhead style review. It was entertaining and really enjoyable. I will tune in again.

    For those that didn't enjoy it, I say bully to you and do it yourself.

    09-Jun-07 03:09 PM


    Chunkybloke    Said...

    @ 7strun,

    see this link: http://www.focusrite.com/product/saffire_pro_26_i_o/faq/ to answer your question about latency - the buffer size is set in the DAW not the control app

    06-Jul-07 09:22 AM


    Wade Palmer, USA    Said...

    I was thoroughly entertained...

    keep up the good work...

    rah rah rah

    29-Sep-07 08:09 PM


    me    Said...

    OMG!! Get him out of there!!

    Guys keep the fantastic work going, you rock n roll.

    Cheers from switzerland (chees is not everything & choclate is not enough!)

    Peace n Love n Se?

    08-Sep-08 09:59 AM


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