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A good interface to use with Sonar?


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Guys, I'm using Sonar on a Windows XP machine and am about to buy a new audio interface. I'm leaning towards either the Echo Layla or Mona right now, but I'd like some advice before I pull the trigger. Has anyone had any trouble interfacing Echo products with Sonar? Also, I'd love to hear from anyone who thinks there's a better solution out there for me. Basically I need 4-8 inputs, 4-8 outputs and S/PDIF I/O. A decent built-in mic pre would be a plus (to hold me until I can afford a nice tube pre). MIDI I/O would be great too. I've looked at the Digi-01 and the MOTU stuff, but they seem too "MacIntoshy" for me. :) Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm in the <$1000 ballpark. I'd appreciate any info at all!!! Thanks, Rog
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You can't go wrong with Echo hardware. I have a Mona running on my XP box and it's a total champ! 1.5 ms latency with Sonar with my measly Duron 650MHz CPU. The sound quality is fantastic and the mic pre's are great as well. Plus, it rules having the instrument pre's! Jim @ [url=http://www.studiocat.com]www.studiocat.com[/url] got me a great deal, so I'd recommend contacting him if you do go with an Echo product as his prices and service can't be beat.
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I'm using Sonar on a 1Ghz Win 98se machine, with MOTU 2408 and a MOTU Midi Express XT. I had some WDM driver issues with Win 98se, but got that cleared up. It's wonderful to have a system that wil run gobs of MIDI and audio tracks. The 2408 allows me to import digital tracks from my DA-88s or ADAT or SPDIF. The MOTU stuff is great. Their tech support is horrible. Who's isn't? Good luck!

GY

 

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[quote]Originally posted by Dylan Walters: [b]You can't go wrong with Echo hardware. I have a Mona running on my XP box and it's a total champ![/b][/quote] Thanks for the info, Dylan. If you don't mind me asking, do you do any MIDI stuff in conjunction woth your digital audio? If so, how do you handle that? Unless I miss my guess, the Mona has no provision for MIDI. It sucks, but it seems like I need a cross between the Mona and Layla. I like the I/O scheme on the Mona but I like the MIDI implementation of the Layla. Any ideas? Thanks again!
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[quote]Originally posted by GY: [b]I'm using Sonar on a 1Ghz Win 98se machine, with MOTU 2408 and a MOTU Midi Express XT. I had some WDM driver issues with Win 98se, but got that cleared up. It's wonderful to have a system that wil run gobs of MIDI and audio tracks. The 2408 allows me to import digital tracks from my DA-88s or ADAT or SPDIF. The MOTU stuff is great. Their tech support is horrible. Who's isn't? Good luck![/b][/quote] OK...this is kinda what I was getting at in my reply to Dylan. Whether I decided to go with Echo stuff or MOTU stuff or something else altogether, do I need to get a seperate MIDI interface above and beyond my audio interface? If so, how do you maintain sync between the two? Sorry if it's a beginner question; I've actually done lotsa stuff syncing MIDI to tape using SMPTE in the past, but this is my first foray into digital audio. Thanks for your help and patience! :)
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[quote]Originally posted by rog951: [b] If you don't mind me asking, do you do any MIDI stuff in conjunction woth your digital audio? If so, how do you handle that? Unless I miss my guess, the Mona has no provision for MIDI. It sucks, but it seems like I need a cross between the Mona and Layla.[/b][/quote] Yeah, I do some MIDI, which is handled by a Yamaha UX 96 USB interface. It is a bummer that the Mona doesn't have MIDI. It would be perfect if it had MIDI and channel inserts for putting in an external compressor. Since MIDI and Audio are on different clocks, it doesn't matter if the MIDI is coming from a different interface than your audio source. Another good choice for an interface that is similiar to the Mona is the MOTU 828, as this would gain you a MIDI port. But, you'd only have 2 Mic pre's and no cool meters on the front panel :D . Plus, you'd need to throw in a Firewire card as well.
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[quote]Originally posted by rog951: [b]You know, there's something by ST Audio, called the C-port I think, that has EVERYTHING we've just listed.[/b][/quote] I've got the C-Port as well, and it's a good product for the money. But you get what you pay for when comparing it to the Mona which cost hundreds more. First, the mic pre's on the C-Port don't have as much gain or dynamic range, and you only have 2 of them. The Mona preamps work on you instrument as well unlike the C-Port. The other 8 analog ins on the C-Port are fixed at -10dB, which is fine for keyboards or unbalanced gear, but can be a bit limiting when working with something like an external mic preamp or other gear operating at +4dB. The plus to the C-Port is that you have S/PDIF Optical and Coax plus AES/EBU, where the Mona lacks AES/EBU. But, unlike the Mona, the C-Port doesn't have ADAT lightpipe. My only gripe about the C-Port is the noisy headphone output. Otherwise, the drivers are good with flexible routing software and the audio quality is what I'd expect from other low-end 24-bit audio cards in the same price range (i.e., Delta 66). The C-Port also has an extra set of stereo outputs on XLR jacks for the mix buss, which is a plus as you don't need to sacrifice the main 1+2 outputs for your monitors. If you are looking for tons of analog I/O with MIDI, then C-Port is very a good choice. It's a perfect card for a dedicated soft synth PC. Otherwise, if you'd like less analog I/O but with higher audio quality and more digital I/O, then the Mona is a better choice. I know the guys over at ST Audio and they have great support, so that's something to consider as well. They have a dedicated support forum over at http://www.staudio.com/service/qa.html that you might want to check out. Either way you can't go wrong, it just depends on what you are looking for.
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Frontier Designs has 2 cards which have integrated midi - The wavecenter PCI and the Dakota. Both come with 2 midi ports but can be expanded to use their 8 X 8 midi interface called "Sierra". I've used them all and have no complaints except for they are slow in finalizing a WDM driver ( currently Beta 6 -yeesh...) Very easy installation and cost effectiveness.
Woof!
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[quote]Originally posted by Dylan Walters: [b] snip>>> If you are looking for tons of analog I/O with MIDI, then C-Port is very a good choice. It's a perfect card for a dedicated soft synth PC. Otherwise, if you'd like less analog I/O but with higher audio quality and more digital I/O, then the Mona is a better choice. <<
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[quote]Originally posted by rog951: [b]I still don't quite get exactly how the MIDI/audio sync will happen, but since all the data will be coming and going thru Sonar, I'm guessing that it'll happen in there somewhere and that it won't be any big deal. [/b][/quote] Sonar handles this, so there is nothing fancy for you to do. Simply select the MIDI device from the device setup, and that's it. Really, it's pretty easy as you'll find. If you do find the 4 mic pre's to not be enough I/O you can always add 8 more channels via the ADAT lightpipe port. With something like the PreSonus Digimax, you could have 8 additional mic pre's giving you a total of 12 mic inputs.
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