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New interface... Metric Halo 2882 vs RME FF800/UFX vs MOTU 896mk3... feedback?

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by yeloop, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. yeloop

    yeloop New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I am using Logic Pro 9 with a Mac Pro (2009 Quad).

    I am about to purchase a firewire interface for using with Logic... I am looking for something with very low latency drivers in particular, as well as great sounding preamps and converters (of course!). Latency is my main concern, as I need to monitor through Logic.

    I'm now down to these interfaces...

    Metric Halo 8228 Expanded: ($2200 AUS)
    - I believe this has very good low latency drivers, also has "console connect" which allows settings to be stored in each Logic project.

    RME FireFace 800 ($2000 AUS)... or FireFace UFX ($2500 AUS)
    - I have also heard good things about this one... people have said they have the best low-latency drivers. But I just read a post about this saying that at 32 or 64 sample buffer, there are crackles and the sound breaks up...

    MOTU 896 mk3 ($1500 AUS):
    - The consensus is that this sounds very good but not nearly as good as the RME or MH. However, I have heard that it can go as low as 2ms latency under a 32 sample buffer. I have also heard that this one is quite noisy with line-level inputs like synths.

    As a user of a lot of virtual instruments (including BFD, which really needs low latency to feel real with the V-drums!!) and also monitors through Logic quite often, latency is absolutely crucial to me.

    I would LOVE to hear from Logic users regarding their thoughts on the above!

    If you are using Logic 9, it would be awesome if you could let me know the latency you are getting at 32 and 64 sample buffer (you can see it in PREFERENCES -> AUDIO... it shows "round trip latency").

    Would love to hear the good and the bad as well... I am hoping to pick up the interface in the next week or so!

    Thanks guys, appreciate your feedback!

  3. mattrixx

    mattrixx Senior member

    i have used the MOTU boxes and yes, the drivers work well, but they're not really on par with RMEs latest offerings. BTW the FF800 sounds great.. the UFX will be my next purchase having used an 800 for the last 5 years!!
  4. Eddie Sullivan

    Eddie Sullivan Senior member

    MOTU 896 mk3 ($1500 AUS):
    - The consensus is that this sounds very good but not nearly as good as the RME or MH. However, I have heard that it can go as low as 2ms latency under a 32 sample buffer. I have also heard that this one is quite noisy with line-level inputs like synths.

    Who do you mean when you say 'consensus...'

    (I vote MOTU- historically their driver support is stellar...I've owned a bunch of MOTU gear and I absolutely love my UltraLite...)
  5. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    I own 2 FF 800s, a Metric Halo MIO 2882 + D2 and a ULN 8.

    Choosing between the FF 800 and MIO, here are a few things that might be worth bearing in mind:

    Both are excellent units, well supported by two companys who have both deserved their reputation for being amongst the best in the business - especially when it comes to make or break issues such as driver reliability, service, support etc.

    The MIO can be bus powered, the FF 800 requires mains (note that there have been issues reported with newer Mac Books not being able to provide enough power to start the MIO)

    The MIO has 8 Analogue inputs all of which can be switched between Mic (all with seperately switchabel P 48) and Line. The FF 800 has 10 analogue inputs, 4 of which have Mic Pres with P 48.

    The FF 800 can access up to 16 channels of TOSLINK, the MIO 8.

    It may not be relevant to you, but the MIO is Mac only, the FF 800 cross platform. I mostly use my two Metric Halo units with my Macs, the FF 800s get used with my Studio PC.

    AFA latency in concerned, I have run both on my Mac Pro at 64 samples without issues. A few years back, a number of LUGers went to a lot of effort testing throughput latency on their systems, I compiled this and added it to the files section of the mailing list at yahoo. There are test results of MH, RME and MOTU devices:

    HTH, kind regards

  6. yeloop

    yeloop New Member

    Hi Eddie,

    You make a good point actually, re "consensus"... I guess I was referring to the various posts I have read. People seem to think the MOTU is brilliant for latency and drivers, but doesn't sound as good as the RME or Metric Halo.

    I would LOVE to hear otherwise, 'cos the MOTU is slightly cheaper and has all the other functionality I am looking for!
  7. yeloop

    yeloop New Member

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for such a comprehensive reply - really appreciate this!

    I'm still unsure on which of the FF or MH to go with... glad to hear they have both run well on your system.

    How would you compare their mixing software (totalmix vs whatever MH's version is)? This will also be quite important for me in situations where I want to monitor straight through the interface, not through Logic...

    Also, have you used the mixing software of either of these interfaces with a control surface?
    I was hoping to control their direct monitoring with my Mackie Control Pro, fo quick changing of levels etc when in a session.
    Would then want to flick back and forth to Logic, and use the control surface for Logic as well.

    The latency table was very interesting... hard to tell ultimately which interface does best though, because there are so many variables in there (different platforms, processors, DAWs, etc!). But still an interesting resource!

    If you are running Logic, I would absolutely love a comparison of the actual latency figures you are getting for your FireFace and your 8228 - ultimately whichever delivers lower latency will probably be the one I go with! I just haven't had any way of doing a direct comparison.

    Thanks again for your advice!


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