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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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No flash plug

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....


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