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Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 forums
Review of the Focusrite Saffire PRO 14Published on 12/10/14 at 08:25
The audio device connects with the computer via a high speed FireWire connection via the latest interface technology. This means that the device can easily be connected to computers that have this connection and will begin communicating with software quickly and effectively. The Focusrite Saffire PRO 14 audio interface has also been designed to be incredibly stable and will not let you down during those important recording sessions. If you have a Mac that uses a thunderbolt port you can use this on the latest version of the Focusrite Saffire PRO 14 interface. You simply need a FireWire 800 adapter and a thunderbolt to FireWire adapter and you can make the connection. Luckily I had this connector for my Mac and was able to easily connect the devices together.
The interface contains 2 analogue inputs, 4 outputs that are also analogue, 2 mic preamps that are of a high quality, as well as MIDI and S/PDIF which offers a selection of abilities when carrying out multi track recording tasks.
In addition to this the audio interface has two instrument inputs which allow you the ability to plug-in instruments so that they can be recorded and played back on digital devices. There are also inputs which have loopback capabilities and allow you to root audio that is digital between different software applications. The sound quality is of a high level and has little to noise when recording intruments. The qulaity is also perfect for mixing donw and gives the user a great sense of clarity within the mix. I instantly noticed problems witihin some of my mixes when I started using the device.
The Focusrite Saffire PRO 14 interface is fairly similar to the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. However, this device features eight preamps that have won awards because of their high-quality 24 bit/96 kHz sound ability. This device runs USB instead of Firewire and is compatible with a number of different operating systems, including Mac, Windows as well as the iOS platforms and mobile devices such as the iPad.
The key features of the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 is that it comes with very low noise mic preamps which create the minimal amount of distortion and offer a dynamic range which is extremely wide. However, because of the exclusive USB interface, this may only suit those who are happy to use this means of communication between devices.
Pros and Cons
This is a solid sound card that will work well in the studio, just as much as it will work well when taken to gigs, and used whilst recording on the road. The mic preamps really do offer a sense of clarity to the sound and one is able to hear the low end and the higher end of the track clearly and effectively. This is incredibly useful for when an individual is mixing down the track and needs to hear these frequencies, as they are the most important frequencies within the track and sometimes the most complex. Many sound cards find these frequencies difficult to process. However, the Saffire does the job incredibly well.
The only real problem with this unit is that it can be slightly confusing to set up at first. However, there are some helpful tutorials on YouTube which can get you on your way. I was able to set up the sound card relatively quickly with out the need for instructions. Once you have set up the device you will begin to notice the clarity of sound straight away.
If you're happy with a simple audio interface that comes with two high-quality preamps that are designed with the famous focusrite name on them, then you can do well to go with this device. This device uses the high-quality preamps that focusrite have developed and allow the individual to create sound which has no noise and low distortion qualities. The ability to connect via FireWire insures that the individual will be able to communicate with digital devices and software quickly and effectively so the recording sessions can be completed smoothly and without any problems.Focusrite Saffire PRO 14
Focusrite hit the target with the Saffire Pro 14Published on 09/09/14 at 09:07
The Saffire pro 14 comes with 2 Neutrik inputs that allow both XLR input connections for microphones and jack inputs for guitar cables and...…
The Saffire pro 14 comes with 2 Neutrik inputs that allow both XLR input connections for microphones and jack inputs for guitar cables and keyboards etc. These are located conveniently on the front of the interface, along with 2 input gain knobs for each of the inputs, a red O/L light for each channel to tell you before or during recording when the input levels are peaking past 0 and a green 'Sig' light to show when your signal is reach -12db which is what you should be aiming to keep it nearer to rather than the red light. Also on the front is a 48v phantom power switch for using most condenser microphones for example, a monitor knob to control how loud the output volume to your speakers is from 1-10 and a headphone input jack with a separate volume adjustment for that, so switching between monitor volume and headphone volume is very easy to do unlike some other interfaces i have used previously.
My setup with the pro 14 is a Macbook pro from 2009 with 4GB RAM, 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo on OSX 10.6.8 and works perfectly ALMOST all of the time. Around the back of the interface are 4 line inputs for things like speaker cables and 2 more line inputs, along with a MIDI in and MIDI out section, an external power supply input and S/PDIF connection points. Personally i just use the firewire connection to power the interface (also located on the back along with a handy diagram on which way to connect the firewire) it also has the capability of being connected to newer 'thunderbolt' inputs but you will need a special adaptor to allow this, i use the firewire myself. The benefit of firewire over usb 2.0 is that it transfers data faster and free's up a USB slot on your computer that can be used for other things like external hard drives etc and is more stable in my experience. The pro 14 basically has all the home recording studio needs in mind.
From what i have seen on the Focusrite website, the interface drivers are updated whenever necessary, with the pro 14 having been released in 2009 and currently having 3 updates - version 2.4 in 2011, version 3.3 in 2013 and version 3.4 in 2014 for both Windows and Mac. The driver focusrite uses is called 'Mix Control' which is a very detailed extra virtual mixing desk basically, which can control different levels being sent to your monitor mix and headphone mix with zero latency before it reaches your DAW and is pretty much a separate product in itself. Excellent value for money there. Mix control is normally very stable, the only issue i have came across is every now and then the sound will cut out completely so when you hit playback - nothing happens, should this happen to you all you need to do is open up mix control, select the sync source and switch it to SPDIF for 2 seconds and then switch it back to Internal and playback should go back to normal. It took a quick phone call to Focusrite customer services to figure that out, who were very helpful. The Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 works very well with Logic Pro 9 which is my main DAW of choice.
Because i bought the pro 14 second hand, i did not receive a manual with it, however online manuals can be downloaded from the Focusrite website and has a lot of individual tip sections and youtube videos to get you up and running with the interface. It can be a bit tricky getting started with the Mix control software driver needed to control the interface so again i would recommend a combination of the online manual and youtube tutorial videos to get you up and running because it is worth any initial hassle.
There were no compatibility issues with my computer, only the firewire chip which i mentioned at the beginning of the review which was the previous owners fault as he 'hot-wired' the input which means plugging in the interface to your computer's firewire connection with the computer switched on, the manual strongly advises against doing this. For latency settings, in the mix control driver software i have mine set to the default medium and have not experienced any issues regarding this.
The sound quality from Focusrite preamps has always been highly praised, and the Saffire Pro 14 is no different. It has a very warm and full sounding preamp section, unlike my previous interface (E-MU) which was admittedly slightly cheaper but also thin and over-trebly sounding when recording. Another huge benefit it has over my old interface is that it is free of 'Digital artifacts' when recording, such as random clicks and pops that add up during a recording and are noticeable and a pain to get rid of. It is very versatile, portable and perfect for home recording. The mix control software is fantastic and can be used to a basic level to meet your needs or more in depth if you wish to pursue that.
Overall i would recommend buying it new as opposed to second hand incase you get a nasty surprise, there are some negative reviews out there from users who have had a bad experience with the Saffire pro 14 but so far mine has been positive and i would make the same choice time and time again if given the chance. If you need a high quality sounding interface under £150/$300 then shop around and get this.
Had minor issues with my system not recognizing itPublished on 03/03/13 at 22:05
Installing all of these plug ins and included software does take some time, so getting the interface running will take a few moments for all of that software to load. Having the proper drivers installed and loaded is very important because I have had many issues in the past with Focusrite drivers and updating. I was running this interface on a Windows Vista 32 bit machine with firewire 400 ports. I had 2 GB of RAM and a fast processor and never had any issues with the Pro 14 but sometimes I have to restart my computer for the interface to read. I am not sure why but sometimes the interface just isn’t recognized by my computer and restarting it is the only way. This interface can also be used on a Mac computer as well if you are running 10.5.8 or higher.
The manual was very easy to read and work through. I had to refer to the manual many times during the set up process.
I do love this interface and I was using it for months but soon found out that there are many other interfaces that are just as good and if not better for the same price range. The sound quality was good and the value of t was great for this price.
Not bad for a compact, portable FW drivePublished on 03/06/12 at 11:45
I have the most recent update from Focusrite and everything is working great. The beauty of this unit is the ultra low latency (1.4ms I believe) dsp Mixer built in that allows for near zero latency monitoring. Coupled with the included SaffireControl software, my audio inputs are routed directly to the outputs and Ableton is set to monitor off and simply just takes snapshots of the incoming audio that I can then control in Ableton as "Clips." Being under 2ms, the latency is imperceptible to the human ear. I don't really track much with this unit yet as I also have a RME Fireface 800 for studio stuff. In the live performance stuff I use up to 6 tracks but these are not being simply recorded, but used as sampling pathways so the CPU is not consistently being taxed. In this setup I have very low usage of CPU, no dropouts or glitches and no crashes.
The manual is very helpful in explaining most everything. The only confusing stuff can be understanding the Software. I have used similar stuff including RME's Totalmix, so I was off and running after a few minutes. The setup of the interface is extremely easy, plug in Firewire cable, load DAW, set up in preferences, and then start recording/listening. The software is a little bit trickier. Basic setups are pretty easy, but the using the routing matrix, or Loop back channels can be confusing at first, but it will become second nature. In fact, I am so use to it from the RME that I decided I could not have an interface that doesn't have a loop back feature. The two main functions that need to be accessible on an interface is the main volume and headphone volume. Unfortunately the RME only really has Headphone output control, but the PRO 14 has both!! This is excellent as I treat the PRO 14 as my main mixer and having the main volume fader makes is a lot easier to control the final volume when I need to.
What I like most about this unit is both the pretty solid preamps and the SaffireControl software. The preamps are much better than the Presonus Firebox I first started off with. They are very quiet and not "stale" like I thought the Fireboxes were over time. They aren't as good as my FireFace's nor my Allen and Heath MixWiz but they are definitely good enough for live performance. I got one refurbished off of ebay for $175 which is a fantastic price for this unit. I give the sound quality a 9 out of 10. It's not a high end piece of gear, but in this price range, I don't think you find better. The software allows for internal routing which I think should be standard with the amount of software users these days. Nothing I can say I dislike about this unit. It does it's job well. I used the Presonus Firebox for awhile and thought it was OK, but the Preamps didn't offer enough boost and the sound wasn't that great either. I am happy that I got this unit instead. It's cheap, solid and sounds great.
- Manufacturer: Focusrite
- Model: Saffire Pro 14
- Series: Saffire
- Category: FireWire audio interfaces
- Added in our database on: 08/11/2010
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Other names: saffire pro 14, saffirepro14, saffirepro 14, saffire pro14