Love for Focusrite Saffire with Reason

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
groggy1
Posts: 424
Joined: 10 Jun 2015

Post 16 Jan 2016

Hi, for years I've been using the Audiophile 2496 audio card, and loved it: Latency was reasonably low, and I loved how it let me do looped-back audio between DAWs without installing extra software.

BUT, that computer died a few weeks ago, and when I was looking at new computers, the one I liked didn't have a PCI slot (it only had PCI Express). So, after using my Audiophile 2496 for YEARS (it's a full PCI card), I had to move on to a new audio card. :(


I heard that Focusrite was good audio quality, and I heard that they also have the ability to route audio between my DAWs (looped-back audio), just like my last audio card!

So, I got the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, which is *USB 2.0* based. The folks at Guitar Center told me that USB is just as low latency as my old card, and I believed them.

I hit two problems:
1) It turns out that only SOME Focusrite devices have loop-back audio. Does Scarlett? No. I was royally pissed off, but it's my own fault for not reading the website descriptions fully. So just a heads-up to others: Many Focusrite audio devices do NOT do the loop-back audio.

2) It turns out that latency was a touch higher than I wanted. It looks like if you want the LOWEST latency, using something that's directly on your computer's bus (PCI, PCIe, Thunderbolt) is much better. I was even using a USB3 port on my new computer with the Saffire that was *dedicated* to only the audio-card, I had a hard time getting it below 5ms without crackling at higher audio-rates.

This is just my experience, maybe USB works great for others at low latencies.

Btw, I care a lot about latency, because I use VSTs in another DAW, with audio-looped back to Reason - and then playing out through the audio-card. So, the audio is going through two "hops" since I want the effects to play live on them. And with that double-latency, plus the latency of a few Reason devices, it can come close to being noticeable latency.



Anyway, so my solution was to install a firewire card in my PC, and get the Focusrite Saffire audio card instead (this is their Firewire device).

And it's AWESOME! The loop-back audio works perfectly. And latency is solid at 3-4ms. I'm really happy with this device!


So wanted to share my experience with others. I'm sure USB devices work great for tons of people, but it just didn't work with my PC as well as I had hoped.


Thanks!

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phasys
Posts: 199
Joined: 17 Jan 2015

Post 18 Jan 2016

Is that the Saffire PRO14 that you're using now? I got that one myself, very happy with it, and yes the loopback works great.

I just had to get a different FW card with my new PC because the onboard FW was VIA chips (which suck), so I ordered a dual TI chip FW card straight from China and now it works great.

groggy1
Posts: 424
Joined: 10 Jun 2015

Post 18 Jan 2016

Yeah, it's the Saffire Pro14. I also heard that TI chipset on the firewire card is very important. In-fact, on the Focusrite site, they even listed a very specific Firewire card that they said they got the least complaints about:

NN-FW0012-S1
http://www.siig.com/it-products/firewir ... -pcie.html

Focusrite mentions it here:
http://us.focusrite.com/answerbase/how- ... -interface



So, I just got that exact card. Works like a charm, no audio dropouts yet.


Anyway, I totally agree with you: You need to make sure you have the right Firewire card/chipset apparently if you don't want problems.


Thanks!
-Ido

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pushedbutton
Posts: 1274
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Lancashire, UK

Post 18 Jan 2016

Yeah I use the Saffire Pro24 FW version at work, had to fit a TI chipset but great results and very low latency as groggy states above. So nothing new to add only that I probably wouldn't have gone for firewire but it works a treat and I'm glad I did.
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

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gak
Posts: 2840
Joined: 05 Feb 2015

Post 19 Jan 2016

The drivers are great, the sound quality isn't quite as good. (I too have the saffire 14 pro)

LSS

Profire 610: Great sound, dodgy drivers, 10ms in/out
Focusrite 14: Not bad, not great sound, really decent drivers, 9ms in/out
RME babyface pro: Great sound, fab drivers, 7ms in/out.

It is what it is. But yes, FW focusrite cards are very stable.

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phasys
Posts: 199
Joined: 17 Jan 2015

Post 19 Jan 2016

gak wrote:The drivers are great, the sound quality isn't quite as good. (I too have the saffire 14 pro)

LSS

Profire 610: Great sound, dodgy drivers, 10ms in/out
Focusrite 14: Not bad, not great sound, really decent drivers, 9ms in/out
RME babyface pro: Great sound, fab drivers, 7ms in/out.

It is what it is. But yes, FW focusrite cards are very stable.
For RME you pay RME money. :) Also, Focusrite has great preamps.

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gak
Posts: 2840
Joined: 05 Feb 2015

Post 19 Jan 2016

You ain't kidding about the price :x

Anyways, shouldn't have rained on the parade, great drivers, very solid, ENJOY!

groggy1
Posts: 424
Joined: 10 Jun 2015

Post 19 Jan 2016

Thanks for the info, glad to know this card works for others too!

I've never done Firewire before, and I was very scared when I bought the Saffire that this may not work out (given Firewire is on its way out). But so far, it's all rainbows and smiles using it.


-Ido

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Lizard
Posts: 432
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 29 Jan 2016

I'll take part of this RT / Focusrite group hug. I have the Saffire 24 Pro DSP (discontinued) and have been very happy with it. I mainly got for the low latency and loopback audio. Loopback audio works fantastic for me. I run all my VST as stand-alones with SaviHost and control them from an EMI. I record my whole track MIDI and when complete I bounce the audio back to an Audio Track on the loopback channel. After bounced you don't need to run the VST oe EMI device anymore. This method keeps my track work completely in Reason. Happy camper here!

SymphonicDischord
Posts: 51
Joined: 01 Feb 2016
Location: Cold Ass North

Post 01 Feb 2016

I have the Liquid Saffire 56 as well as the Scarlett 18i20 and over this past weekend I just started tracking drums for my band's album. 10 tracks of audio fed into the Scarlett and Saffire with the Saffire as my master controller (ran the Scarlett into it via ADAT).

So far everything has gone off without a hitch and I've been happy with the sound of the drums and how clean the pres are on both devices.

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