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Nicky McFicksurschitz Nicky McFicksurschitz

« a hidden gem! »

Published on 06/26/21 at 03:06
Value For Money : Excellent
Audience: Anyone
this is my current sound interface in 2021, it is borderline legendary, and i'm in the market for a second one!

win 7
echo audiofire 12 into via 1394 chipset
external preamps include focusrite isa one, tl audio 2051, aphex 207D, focusrite platinum channel strip.
mics include rode ntk, heil pr20, pr30, AT4033, AT4040, various others.

used as my primary home studio interface for two years now, with NO desire to change! i have one album production released on this unit, and 4 more scheduled over the next 2 years.

driver stability is borderline flawless, the windows based software is simple without losing functionality, and performance is legendary!! i even sandwiched this thing between the tl audio 2051 and the aphex 207D (a total of FOUR tubes between the two) and ran it for upwards of 6 hours of scratch tracking, just to see if i could make it thermally fail. i could not break it!

i started with 2x m-audio delta 1010's (on pci cards, not pci-e), but ended up swapping all those mid-fi channels for the tc electronic impact twin - which was no better but smaller and had two onboard preamps. that unit crapped out so i bought the echo audiofire 12 used for $100 as a temporary sound card to do basic DAW playback.

it turned out to be next level gear! i later discovered that it is on par with rme fireface, minus the preamps! once i learned about the gem i picked up ONLY due to circumstance, i quickly grabbed some decent mic preamps to really put this unit to the test.
because of the quality i was getting, the band i'm in chose to track at home instead of renting a proper studio. we slapped up some mediocre room treatment, and we were blown away at the fidelity we were getting! we upgraded the mediocre treatment to fairly good room treatment, and recorded our album!

there are NO mic preamps on this unit, but the line in's are surprisingly transparent and separated from each other! using 6 different mic preamps on the drums had no issues with electrical bleed. even blasting a metronome out from ANY of the output channels has pretty much zero electrical bleed into the inputs, but @ 24 bit 96 khz it is VERY easy to hear the metronome bleed from the headphones of the drummer in between playing. the noise floor is very low!

pros:
very simple 12x12 sound interface
pro class a/d conversion, almost pro class d/a conversion
fully routable with 1/4" trs patch cables (any in to any out)
super easy interfacing with win 7 in both ASIO and WDM
legendary stability
STILL is on the active mod list @ black lion audio
CHEAP because it's mostly ignored due to firewire & no mic pre's (most are sub-par on sound interfaces)
stackable up to 36 channels
insanely fast throughput: 2.9 ms @ 24/96khz, using 256 sample/buffer size
true realtime monitoring of any dry channel
has been ON for almost two years straight now, and IN USE for at least 6 hours per day, still runs perfectly! (i think there MIGHT be a total of 15 hours that it has been OFF in two years)

cons:
sometimes i have to turn it off and on again, if my pc was powered down for more than 20 mins or so. firewire is hotswappable though, so it works within 10 seconds of powering it back on. this ONLY happens when my pc is OFF for a while.
sometimes the WDM side gets hung up in windows and will stop movies and mixed media from playing (loses audio sync). the asio still works, but to get the wdm to work again i switch it from stereo to surround and back to stereo again, and windows will re-sync again. could also power it down and back on again.

some people might think that the firewire is a con, but now that thunderbolt 3 is standardized, it is very easy to run this on a new machine.
i have ZERO regrets with this unit, and i'm looking for a 2nd one to send to black lion audio for the mods so i can compare the two!

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