Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56
Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56

External Audio Interface of the Saffire series

User Reviews: 4.518 Average price: $1,000

All user reviews for the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56

Average Score: 4.5 ( 4.5/5 based on 18 reviews )
  11 reviews 61 %
  6 reviews 33 %
  1 user review 6 %
Value For Money: Excellent
robdelap 07/22/2014

robdelap's review "Spot-on features and flexibility."

5
There comes a time in every audio engineer's life when you just need lots of I/O at a time; recording drums with a variety of mics, a couple of musician's at the same time, or perhaps you're tired of plugging and unplugging your external gear every time you want to change setups.

I'm a hardcore pro tools user, and I felt that avid's options back then didn't fit my needs. The 003 rack just had four preamps, and the other high-end options were just way too out of my league. Fortunately, Avid realized they had to let pro tools go out and play with the other children in the park and so, since pro tools 9, we can all look at the plethora of options out there and choose whatever suits us. Good times.

This firewire interface caught my eye because it was one of the first to offer eight preamps, either XLR or line. Two of those can be used for direct instrument inputs, wisely located in the front. Each one has individual phantom power and HPF, though just two of them have pad option and only three phase reversal, which is no big deal if you plan your input list ahead. The real beauty of this interface though, is that it has two ADAT I/O, meaning you can add two additional ADAT-capable interfaces (like the underrated, inexpensive Behringer ADA8000) and get 24 analog I/O at the same time at 44.1Khz, which is more than enough to tackle 90% of mixing and recording situations. This without counting that it also has two dedicated outputs for your monitors and the traditional digital SPDIF I/O, which adds 4 I/O and thus, the 56 in the interface's name.

"Liquid" comes from Focusrite's own preamp simulation technology, which is available on XLR inputs 1 and 2. These range from the Avalon 737SP, Helios, Neve 1271, Focusrite's own RED 7, UA's 610 and a couple more. The simulation, or 'color' of the preamps can be varied with an "Harmonics" knob, located in the software controller of the interface. Frankly, with the amount of processing we put on today's music, I feel preamp voodoo comes after to musician's performance, instrument quality, a faithful mic and it's placement. That being said, I've been surprised more than once with the timbre changes these simulations give; you can really feel a difference and most of the time for good. I'm particularly fond of the Neve 1071 simulation and I reserve these inputs for lead instruments or vocals.

Most of the deeper features of the interface are controlled through Saffire's MixControl software. It's main purpose is for signal routing, say, connecting 'Analog 1' to 'Line Out 8'. This is of little relevance if you're mixing in your DAW since most of the routing should be done there, but some cool things can be done here, like routing two independent monitor mixes from your DAW to the headphone outputs, sparing the need for headphone amps fed through analog outputs in some situations.

Oh yeah, it also features a loopback virtual input so that you can record whatever comes out of the interface, just watch out for feedback!

UTILIZATION

I use this interface everyday, from simply watching a movie at the studio to mixing a ton of tracks while recording another 8. Not once have I waged war against it to get a youtube video to sound through the monitors (hello, avid interfaces) or routing 16 tracks to their destinations. Drivers are very, very stable but mixing can get frisky when there's a ton of tracks with tons of plugins (I'm on a dual quad core intel Mac pro with 2Gb RAM) but I fear most of it is the computer's fault.

I'm mixing on pro tools most of the time so latency isn't an issue. But when I do need low latency monitoring I can always monitor directly from the interface (this is when the MixControl software comes really handy, even for multiple inputs) or use some of the other usual workarounds. On Ableton live it runs as smoothly and other apps like skype don't have any troubles recognizing the interface.

Syncing it to other interfaces via ADAT has also been easy. I've paired it up with a 003 for 16 channel recording with no issues other than 003's need for attention and MixControl's cumbersome GUI, which is the saffire 56's weak point, but an easy one to overcome.

One of the saffire's intended purposes, apparently, is to be used standalone as a live mixer of sorts. All the band can plug into it, get mic/line gain and phantom power and come out of every output you want without the need of a computer connected to it. It's sort of silly if you ask me, since most of live mixing IS riding the faders constantly to make up for all the variables in a live situation. You can however plug it to a cheap laptop just for the sake of loading MixControl software and you got yourself an 8 channel live mixer without EQ, if you must.

GETTING STARTED

I had no issues getting the interface to work. It is a fireware interface though, so it's wise to remember that you have to install whatever software comes with it first and that you shouldn't plug/unplug it when it's on. It uses a firewire 400 cable, so I expect that it can be somewhat incompatible with newer computers that don't have it, but a quick check to focusrite's site shows that they're giving away thunderbolt-to-firewire adaptors, so perhaps it's not that big an issue.

After installing everything and making the proper connections everything went smooth. As I said, all the software recognized every input immediately. Then I popped the rack-ear covers (they're there in case you want to use it outside the safety of a rack, like cavemen) and screwed it in place. Unfortunately, I do have to practice my best yoga poses when I have to change connections on the back until I get a patchbay.

OVERALL OPINION

I love it, I almost hate it because it has so many features that I just spent 4 hours reviewing it. It's not built like a tank, but it has got me through many audio battles in the studio and out of it in almost 3 years, and it doesn't have a single dent or loose knob. It's not the greatest sounding thing in the gear industry, and I'm sure many pre's out there sound better in hand to hand combat, but then again you shouldn't blindly trust gear that sounds "amazing" just because you plugged something in.

This interface is great, amazing if you will because it can adapt to a lot of situations and does it so while sounding nicely, and it even has you covered if you want a more colored sound with the liquid preamps.

This is one of those pieces of gear that on hard days, give you the feeling of being of your side and not against you.
mrjason 12/29/2012

mrjason's review "This has some Classic Pre-Amps"

4
The Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 is an interface that connects to your computer via FireWire. It is very stable and will not crash or cause you system any problems at all. The drivers have not been updated for my desktop computer yet but so far I have not had any issues to want to update. The pre-amps are very good; you can choose which style of pre-amp it is you want to use. There are a total of ten different pre-amps to choose from and all of have a different “feel” and warmth to them since they are based off of classic pre-amps.

UTILIZATION

There are 28 inputs and 28 outputs on this interface which is plenty for your set up. Depending on how many instruments and microphones you have set up you could need more or less. But for me I have a drum set and about 7 other instruments that are all ready to be recorded so I needed an interface to be able to handle that.

GETTING STARTED

One thing I can say about this interface is that it can cause some issues with you computer if you don’t have a fast processor. My processor is an i7 core and it runs smoothly but I can only imagine using it on a slower computer. It would cause a world of problems especially when using certain pre-amps.

OVERALL OPINION

When you purchase this you will also get some great plug-ins from Focusrite too like the reverb and gate plug-ins. You can use these plug-ins in any program you want because they are VST’s. The only reason I really chose to go with this interface is for how many inputs it has. The pre-amps feature played no part in my decision though it was a nice bonus to be able to switch pre-amps on the fly and get some different sounds instantly. This price of this interface does cost more than I wanted to spend but after working with it I see why it cost so much.
sebastos08 04/10/2014

sebastos08's review (This content has been automatically translated from English) " LS56 review"

5
Complete map with simulation preamp liquid, nb inputs and outputs
Used mainly i / o analog

UTILIZATION

The latest driver is stable v3.4, I had a big worry at the beginning of purchase with v3.2 or I lose sync card when changing sample rate. After numerous exchanges with the support fr uk. A beta driver has been redeveloped for testing and since v.3.4 has been released. Since this new version so more pb
The hotline even if a bit slow in response time does not let you in any case before finding the cause of your problem. These are real teachers of music not responsible sidestep the telephony platform ...
This is a very very big plus and a big thank you to them.

GETTING STARTED

Easy and clear
Must digest a little the interface MixControl. But this is quite intuitive

OVERALL OPINION

8 months
Value for money very very correct.
The only negative point would be the quality of inputs knobs which are very sensitive to adjustment. But it really is not penalizing
PurpleHazeRiddimMaker 04/07/2014

PurpleHazeRiddimMaker's review (This content has been automatically translated from English) " perfect for my config!"

5
10 audio outputs, 4 can be used for 2 independent headphone outputs.
I use it with a dynamic extension Octopre Mk II connected in ADAT to have 18 outputs.
Easy to handle software.
Just a big catch initial head, cubase output mono out channel 9 is denoted ADAT 1 (in cubase) and corresponds to 13 DAW! the Saffire Mix Control not the DAW software ... 9 (ADAT and 2 to 10 DAW ...) in short we go from 8 to 13 DAW for live audio outputs.
I own preamp tube adapted to my needs and does not use those cards, even emulation Liquid.
I mix analog console on a TASCAM M-320, for the Reggae / Dub old and it sounds nickel.

UTILIZATION

I use it with Win 8 64-bit, the new driver on the Focusrite site is stable.
6 ms latency input, output 8 ms with an AMD 2.8 GHz processor and 4 GB of RAM.

GETTING STARTED

easy installation, manual is useless, anyway!

OVERALL OPINION

I use it for 1 year without any problem, I hesitated with a much more expensive RME and I have no regrets for the config of my home studio is enough and it leaves a budget for the rest ...
mamat27 12/09/2013

mamat27's review (This content has been automatically translated from English) " Excellent sound card"

5
Firewyre sound card.
Both Pre-amps Liquid was one of the reasons that motivated the purchase compared to the MOTU.
These two pre-amps are very effective and can dramatically change the color of its micro without investing big bucks in pre-amp.
2 jack inputs on the front for connecting a guitar or bass, etc. ...
The panel settings are very practical and effective.
I use it with a PC, Proc: AMD Phenom IIx4 955 - 3.2 GHz and 8GB RAM Windows 7 full 64.
My monitors are Mackie MR8 MKII.
I use this card to make models of album and to compose.
Either track by track or multi.

UTILIZATION

I never had any problems with drivers origins, or with updates.
I use Cubase 5, Addictive drum, Amplitube 3 and plug-in lexicon / Focusrite / waves.
I do not do more than 8 simultaneous tracks taken its because I do not have the need and I read up to 50 tracks sometimes mix.
The plug-in offered with nice sound card but I only use the compressor which is not bad at all.
Live taken "instruments" I have no audible latency so I can play on AmpliTube in real time.

GETTING STARTED

For instalation just 3 minutes to make.
The general configuration is very intuitive, and to assign different mix on headphones and the monitors just follow the tutorial is very simple.
I never had a compatibility issue with my software.
The instructions are simple and well made.

OVERALL OPINION

I use it for 2 years and I've never had any problems.
Before buying, I had the chance to test dozens of cards from my job (sound engineer) and because I've worked more than a year in a shop selling computer music.
The strong points are pre-amps very good, access to instruments 2 sockets, 2 independent lines headphones and the Virtual Console.
Weaknesses .... never encountered problems it is difficult for me to find ..

Compared to the quality of the physical product, the encoding quality and accessibility of functions and two Pre-amp integrated LIQUID, I find that it's price is largely justified by its competitors.
uttrillo 12/08/2013

uttrillo's review (This content has been automatically translated from English) "A very good sound card for home studio!"

5
What characteristics have motivated your choice?

8 preamps and the fact of having the mic input AND lines + 10 analog outputs and 18 (16 ADAT and SPDIF 2) digital channels. The standalone mode allowed me to use the card as converto which is handy! And the best of the best is the second firewire port that allowed me to connect an external hard drive to record concerts! Great!

Which instruments and systems (console, preamp, DTD ...) you use it and how connections? ...

I use Direct to Disk coupled to an adder and a UA2192 Phoenix Audio nicerizer. I use Pro Tools 9, which allowed me to keep this card!
Here is my patchwork: Sound Card Focusrite used as a converter (I mainly mix) Firewire connected to the computer - UA2192 clock World clock connected to the Focusrite master - Eleven Rack connected to the SPDIF and Focusrite AES to UA2192 - The first 8 outputs are connected to the Focusrite Nicerizer outputs a LR to enter the UA2192.

For what purpose? What is your config (Motherboard / CPU / Ram / Hard, ...)?

Essentially rarely mix up taking it except a few guitars but with the eleven rack and I happened to save battery with Focusrite preamps of:
- Kick
- Snare
- HH
- Tom 1
- Tom 2
- Tom 3
- OH The preamp with Liquid in TRANY fashion 1H (API) that I love the drums
- OH R Liquid preamp with same mode

My config:
- Mac pro 5.1 quad core 2.6Ghz 10GB RAM
- 1 internal 256GB SSD for the system
- Disc 1 "hybrid" 516Go for sessions
- 1 standard 1TB disk for backup


UTILIZATION

The drivers are stable? Are they often updated? What software do you use most often? What you get lag? How many tracks you get record / playback simultaneously? ...

So that's where things get tricky. I had several problems when using particular level of stability. Before moving to Pro Tools 9, I had to turn on the map and then the computer so that all goes well but then the sound was cutting and I had distortion in the signal. It took me some time to realize that I had to do the reverse to fix the problem.
But since the last update (2.4) from time to time, happily ever when I run audio software, map frieze for a few seconds and made the Christmas tree before everything returns to normal. Nothing too good but well ... not tip top. Focusrite but frequently releases updates, besides I did not the latest (3.2) so I do not worry too much. In addition they offer beta versions we just try and replace the advice directly to the brand!

GETTING STARTED

The installation is done it without problems?

Installation is no problem whatsoever on Mac OS or Windows, I've done both and I have not encountered any problems.

Have you experienced any incompatibilities?

Never

The general configuration is easy?

Very simple and intuitive. The Saffire Mix Control software is really well done and complete and the best of the best is the monitor section:
- Possibility to go up to 7.1 through all configurations
- Sun and mute
- Mono function (very convenient, I do all my EQ mono, I think it is more accurate and to check the phase is top!) And reverse L / R

The manual is clear and sufficient? ...

Very clear as long as you take the trouble to read it! Besides, I advice to all those who are interested in this card to consult, it is free to download on the website of Focusrite. Come on, I'll mash the work:
http://global.focusrite.com/firewire-audio-interfaces/liquid-saffire-56/downloads

OVERALL OPINION

How long have you use it?

I use it for almost 3 years.

What is the particular feature you like best and least?

Goodies: 8in/8out converter very good quality for the price. In comparison, the eleven rack is rather vague at the bottom and the lower medium is a happy mess. With Focusrite, there are a lot of precision in the bass and lower midrange is less clutter. I prefer to be honest with you, considering the price of this card and what it is intended, the converters are not at an RME or Apogee for example, but they remain, and this is just my opinion, above brands like Motu or TC Electronics.
Number of inputs digital outputs = top! 18 to 44.1, 10 and 96 6 192.
Both pots Firewire.
Saffire mix control software and monitor section with the possibility of two independent networks headphones.
Both pramps liquid, which provide a choice in the color decision myself I used it mainly to saturation by adjusting the harmonic distortion, emulations old tube (Pultec) and 72 deutsch (telefunken) do the job very well. But do not tell you that this is the perfect emulation offered in the manual machines. I had the opportunity to hear almost all original designs and I can assure you that the reproduction of the liquid is far preamp (see far depending on the model) of the original. BUT, they nevertheless provide a choice of color that can be interesting to see really good decision (for a grand piano, I find emulation Class A2A really nice!).
She has a pretty face (because it counts too!).

Cons:
- Gain preamps a little weakling must push 3/4 according to sources.
- Small stability problems on version 2.4 but I have not installed version 3.2 and as I said above, Focusrite offers beta versions so good ... not really a downer.

Have you tried many other models before buying it?

Motu 896mkIII, Mbox 2, Digi 003R, RME Fireface 400 and 800, lexicon ionix FW810, Prism Sound Orpheus (if only it was cheaper ...), Metric Halo ULN8 (... no comment ...).

How would you rate the quality / price?

Even today, I think it's one of the best quality / price ratio: 26I/28O 8 pramplis, Mic AND lines, 2 ADAT ports, port 1 SPDIF switchable to AES converters above average, all for 700euros!
Shop around, me personally I have not found equivalent (except 896mkIII Motu I do not really enjoy) at this price!

With experience, you do again this choice? ..

Currently I go to a range above as I pass the apollo 16. So I do not have all the same value or the same config before. But if I had a small budget (less than 1000euros) and need a map that embeds several preamps, lots of digital inputs / outputs and decent converters, I do it again this choice without hesitation. To me this card is part of the top of the basket as regards sound cards at less than 1000 euros!



ostrovitch 08/22/2013

ostrovitch's review (This content has been automatically translated from English) " Excellent value for money .... More"

2
For the home studio, I let myself be seduced by this card, as given the number of inputs and outputs
and a sound that is quite correct, I could only buy that one.
I used it on a PC core i7 3GHz, 24GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory, and several Teras disk.

UTILIZATION

So this is where it goes bad.
The drivers are not updated often, but I also felt like they were coded
with the feet.
Let me explain: This is what happens on my machine when I use: occasionally
the sound cuts 2 or 3 seconds and the LED will turn off firewire and therefore comes back three seconds later. Wholesale firewire stream disconnects from time to time.
it happens when I play the music (about 1 every half hour), when I watch a DVD ditto, and if I play a video game while there, it makes me one every 5 minutes.
I called the support that made me try a lot of useless stuff or that I had tried to come to the conclusion that my PC "would be" incompatible with this card.
Possible, but if instead, I connect an M-Audio profire 2626, so using the same machine and the same firewires, it works perfectly. So now I use the M-Audio.
It is beyond doubt that this card works with other ordis, but how do you know, as they do not even know where it comes from.

Another concern when it plays sound whatever the scenario (music, watch DVD etc ...)
sometimes the sound is completely distorted like that, for no apparent reason, and the only
solution is to turn off and on the map. It's probably related to the same things as the rest.

Latency is also not famous, but hey, this is often the case with firewire cards, so do not throw the stone.

GETTING STARTED

Installation is very simple, by against the config is not what you might call intuitive.

OVERALL OPINION

I used two years. I had no problems with mute older drivers
which were, however, less optimized with more latency. Previously I had a Motu828mk2 but drivers for PC at Motu, again, could do better, it's made for Macs.
on the other hand I did not break with his Motu.

So what I like most is the number of inputs and outputs sound, and what I like least, bugs drivers.
The value for money is excellent, if indeed we have a computer where the bugs do not occur. I do not do it again this choice of course. It's a shame because the sound is very correct.
moustick 08/19/2013

moustick's review (This content has been automatically translated from English)

4
For specifications, see the manufacturer's website

UTILIZATION

The drivers are quite stable and I have no complaints about this interface if not 2 or 3 crashes in 2 years due to losses syncro Firewire. In terms of latency it's okay if you have a good processor. Finally special mention routing of this card, the virtual mixer is really great, a little bewildering at first, but once in hand it is really powerful!

GETTING STARTED

Regarding the install is very simple. No conflict for me on windows ...

OVERALL OPINION

So frankly to summarize, I would say that the preamp liquid are pretty good, others too ...
Unfortunately, these preamps are not supported by good converters ... This is the big Achilles heel of this interface. In my case it is not a problem, I use this sound card via external digital converters as well as with good quality preamps dedicated! For the home studio, it is relative is still good stuff for the studio pro but there are better elsewhere for much more! I like cete sound card unless its converters I found a way.
Guitar Killer 05/06/2013

Guitar Killer's review (This content has been automatically translated from English) "Quiet life ..."

4
What characteristics have motivated your choice?
8 mic / line / instrument 10 Digital in / out analog outputs, quality pre-amps, 2 "Liquid Pre-amp", two independent outputs headsets, sampling 96kHz/24bit, Midi In / Out, the seriousness of the mark.

For what purpose?
Recordings pieces / models ranging from Heavy Metal to the French song.

What is your config (Motherboard / CPU / Ram / Hard, ...)?
PC i7 2.93 Ghz - Motherboard ASUS P7P55D LE - 16 Gig DDR3 Ram (soon 32 Gigas) - Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit - Dual screens

Which instruments and systems (console, preamp, DTD ...) you use it and how connections?
Cubase July 64 bit - Taking guitar sounds - voices - Midi (Roland keyboard) - Using Home Studio - Production models - Micro Sennheizer MK 4 - Shure SRH840 - Alesis M1 Active speakers (soon replaced by JBL LSR2325P) + a Creative System Multimedia for the "mat".

UTILIZATION

The drivers are stable?
Yes, absolutely nothing to say to that level.

Are they often updated?
We will say yes: 4 updated 2 years (yes, it was well calculated: it's SHIFT 2 per year.).

What software do you use most often?
Cubase July 64 bit

What you get lag?
Well, when you start a new project, I rule 128 or 256 44kHz 96kHz with buffers "means" to save the scratch in Cubase internal monitoring so as not to feel "lag". Then, the more advance project, the more it stuck and increases ... ALL for this to continue reading ...

How many tracks you get record / playback simultaneously?
Aahhh, here's a question, it is good. Everything depends on the number of tracks AND the number of "Plug In" per track. I never record more tracks at once. on the other hand read, I can go up to 20, 24 tracks, sometimes BUT as mentioned above, depending on the number of "Plug In" and "Plug In" themselves, their qualities are starting to become very well (more in 64 bit): some puff a lot more CPU than others ... and here begins the dance to "freeze" tracks. Pffffff! Come on, we'll try 32 gigabytes of RAM.

GETTING STARTED

The installation is done it without problems?
Yessssss

Have you experienced any incompatibilities?
No

The general configuration is easy?
Yes: it does not have to be a graduate ES to understand the beast, although the Mix Control is not obvious

The manual is clear and sufficient?
Yes, although as mentioned above, a better explanation of the Mix Control was not superfluous sometimes we do not understand everything. Anyway, must go to document too!

OVERALL OPINION

How long have you use it?
A little less than two and a half years

What is the particular feature you like best and least?
Plus:
For me, the quality of pre-amps. I also like the 2 "Liquid Pre-amps" which, after testing on various simulations channel strip, have a very different record. I also like the two separate outputs headsets. Even if it is "Made In China", all Cheap does not at all. It smells serious, solid. I also enjoyed the bargraffe five segments (when we know that now we often green or red LED and then basta). I also enjoyed the "design" of all inputs and 2 3 and 4 front.
The least:
All inputs on the back (but hey, you can not put everything in front). But for me, this is not a handicap: the cable into the 1 (microphone) is always connected and inputs 3 and 4 guitars before: therefore, personal, no prob but I could understand that it bothers some users.
Sometimes the transition frequency between 44 kHz and 96 kHz and / or pass my session "Register" to my session Mutimedia forces me to restart the card and / or the PC because there is more sound. Is the interface itself, the connection between the Control Mix and card or firewire? I do not know. Annoying but nothing more. And it does not happen all the time either.

Have you tried many other models before buying it?
Before Saffire 56, I worked with the Saffire Pro 24 DSP I was very satisfied and before I get into buying the Saffire 56, I learned about a lot of forums. I also had the opportunity to work on a MOTU MK II (which got me back because there was a big discrepancy between the PC band in which I played before and MOTU itself. Had the impression that the MOTU that was born to run on Mac). I also had to work with a secondhand Presonus 1818VSL. And dare I say that in a distant time (though not so far that) I worked with Isis Guillemot "".

How would you rate the quality / price?
Nothing to say. I think it was worth the money. We can do a good job! I definitely would put in the category of "semi-pro" very ... respectable.

With experience, you do again this choice?
Yes, no problem, although I have long hesitated with RME 800 (with fewer opportunities) but the budget has prevailed and I do not regret. But it is clear that I would have liked to compare, being able to work in exactly the same way with other interfaces. But that very few people can do (Aahhhh, lucky. Ha Ha).
undylen 11/05/2012

undylen's review (This content has been automatically translated from English)

4
A complete map, a little mass and does not want to lug around too. Used to send sound in Logic Pro or Protools, no worries config met.

UTILIZATION

Nickel, nothing to say. (Except that it makes fun of running gear without confusing!) Very low latency, which varies softwares.

GETTING STARTED

THE strong point. It runs on Mac directly.

OVERALL OPINION

The highlight is undoubtedly its price / quality ratio. There are good and less good at Focusrite Sapphire and 56 is on the right side. Convolution preamps are actually used, the "real" preamps are quite honest about the competition, map effective, well thought out.
Rather use fixed in my opinion. (The knobs are a bit fragile, finishing nice but a bit plastoc)
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