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February Giveaway

Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP Reviews

4.5 stars based on 17 customer reviews
  • from DC February 4, 2014

    Clean/Quiet

    Very clean, easy to use. I had a set-up questions and was blown away when I called UK support on Skype (I'm in the US). A PERSON answered and connected me to support. I had my answer in less than 2 minutes.

  • from Griffith, IN July 24, 2013Music Background:
    I make noises

    Better than expected

    Since my Mac Pro died, I replaced it with a 2012 Mini and ever since my Apogee Duet was causing a weird sound through the monitors. Long story short, I bought this as a replacement and was blown away by the quality. I hear no discernible difference in quality, and now have WAY more I/O. I haven't yet tried the DSP or other features yet and I would still recommend this unit without hesitation.

  • from Memphis, TN June 11, 2013Music Background:
    Home Studio hobbyist

    Can't Be Beat

    I got tired of trying to figure out latency issues on my older setup so I started looking for a new interface. I don't know about you but ratings and reviews mean a lot in my book. You work hard for your money so you want to spend wisely.

    I came across the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP and all I read were praises, especially about the pre-amps and the 2 separate headphone jacks. I decided to order and I cannot say how happy I am with this product.

    I am a hobbyist with a home studio and I cannot express how all my latency issues that I previously had with my older interface are now gone. It was a very easy setup. Just make sure you read your directions and follow along. Its really a no-brainer. (If I can do it, you can do it).

    I will say the Mix Controller software is a bit perplexing but if you search the Internet (Google it) you can find videos of people that have great tutorials about this part of the interface.


    The VRM are just plain ridiculous! (Awesome!) You can find those little bits of your mix that "fall-off" much more with this incredible tool.

    If you are thinking of moving to the Saffire Pro 24 DSP. Don't think about it any longer. Just do it. You will be glad you did!

  • from central Ohio October 3, 2012

    VRM is very Good

    I recently downgraded to a smaller system. I had previously owned a Focusrite Octo Pre so the familliar preamps on this were a plus. This does alot in a small package! My main reason for purchasing was because the preamps and the VRM. The VRM is a very nice tool to have. I did notice however that with different sets of headphones it sounds different. Better quality phones will produce much better results. A cheap set of ATM 50's got blown away by a nice set of Shure SHR440's. This one is definitely worth the extra $$$ for the added VRM and FX. If your on the fence about getting this one or another interface with more mic preamps, do yourself a favor. Get this first and then add an adat equipped pre later.

  • from Sugar Land, TX August 9, 2012Music Background:
    Recording engineer, voice talent, producer

    Excellent processor

    This small portable unit is everything you could want and more. The software package allows incredible molding of your audio prior to being recorded into your DAW. The smooth eq and mic pre's from Focusrite make it the perfect traveling companion.

  • from Portsmoutn, VA, USA October 29, 2011

    Even better than I expected!

    When I ordered this interface I had extremely high expectations but once I got it hooked up and started playing with it a bit I can't believe how good the mic pres sound and how much control the mixer gives. If you are looking for an interface in the $500 range with a small footprint and a lot of expandability then don't waste your money on anything else! Thanks goes out to Andy Miller who got it out to me in 3 days, regular shipping!

  • from Los Angeles, California October 6, 2011Music Background:
    Professional Recording Engineer, Producer, Musician

    This this is awesome, and sounds amazing

    I'm blown away by this interface. Incredible value and sound! I already owned an Apogee Ensemble but needed a portable interface to bring with me during my travels. After much research I decided on this unit. There is a lot to be said about the I/O possibilities of this thing.

    I've been using it during recording sessions in my Hollywood studio, and as the centerpiece to my electronic production rig.

    For tracking bands I use it in conjunction with my Ensemble which i connect through the ADAT input. The 2 mic pres on are fantastic, they see just as much use as my API and Ensemble pres and the front metering is great. We have a DBX channel strip that we connect to the SPDIF input, and that still leaves 2 line level analog inputs on the back open for more mic pres.

    My production rig currently consists of Ableton live, Korg R3, and EMu XL7 synthesizers, as well as a turntable for sampling vinyl. Plugging the R3 synth into inputs 3 and 4 and setting those inputs to INSTRUMENT in the saffire mix control gives the synth just the right amount of gain and an incredibly neutral sound. I plug the XL7 synth digitally into the SPDIF input, and use the front panel mic/line inputs for sampling vinyl, or recording vocals. With that all my bases are covered without even needing an external mixer.

    It took me a few sessions to get my head around the power of the Mix Control software, but once I did it has been indispensable for digitally routing audio all over the place, as well as providing flexible control over headphone mixes.

    I've barely gotten a chance to use the VRM monitoring but that alone is a $100 value.

    Tons of inputs, 2 headphone amplifiers, VRM, mix control, 2 mic pres with eq and compression, selectable line/instrument analog ins (more valuable then u know), and front metering for the analog ins, WOW!!

    This thing is pro!, and did i mention the build quality is outstanding...

  • from asheville, nc July 28, 2010Music Background:
    hobbyist for several years.

    pro 24 dsp

    so far works flawlessly, ... software definitely a plus, including the focusrite effects plugins.
    VRM extremely interesting, ... doesn't sound 'nice', but on certain settings definitely reveals flaws that any headphones would never be able to reveal, ... not to mention effortless cross referencing.

  • from Brooklyn, NY March 14, 2010

    Virtual Reference Monitoring !!

    Focusrite pre-amps sound quality is incredible, but the VRM (virtual reference monitoring) was the main buying reason.

    For 3 years I used the Saffire LE but mixing was always trouble because most of the time I have to work with headphones (small apartment in Brooklyn) and the acoustics of my home studio are not optimal when working with speakers.

    VRM allows me to continue to work with headphones (AKG 701) but I can "hear" like if I was working with speakers at a professional studio. It's really amazing !!





    beside

  • from Phoenix, AZ November 4, 2010Music Background:
    Jack of All Trades

    Perfect for those on a budget

    The Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP is an awesome interface!!! The only reason I gave it a 4.5 is because of the large list of incompatible firewire cards. This is my first piece of firewire gear though, so maybe Im being a little to critical. I did purchase a Lacie Card for under $20. This interface blows away my previous out dated Tascam US-144LE. I like the 2 headphone outs on the front and both take advantage of the VRM feature. Also I know its little, but I like the fact that the monitor and the headphone volume knobs function independently, so no more up and down to turn my speakers on and off during recording sessions. The Vol Meter could have been a little larger, but who needs that when you use Saffire Mix Control? This thing has the most flexible routing options I have ever dealt with in an interface. And you can save upto 8 differant mix settings. I could go on and on for hrs about this interface but I think you should stop wasting time and go pick one up, trust me, you wont regret this one.

  • from Coudersport, Pa USA August 27, 2010Music Background:
    Worship leader, recording, live sound, approx. 10 years

    A great interface for the rest of us.

    I would love to have a nice studio with great reference monitors and great rooms for recording and monitoring. What I have is a small square room with no door and 3 & 4 yr old grand kids running around and a busy wife. I have to wait until after every one goes to bed to record in my "studio". Occasionally I take my setup out to record singer/sonwriters and acoustic duets. Thanks to VRM and my Audio-Technica ATH=M50s I can monitor, mix, and edit any time. I can't comment on how accurate VRM models their list of monitors having never used any of them, but I can say VRM makes a big difference. I prefer the American Yellow Cone pro (KRK) setting. VRM is now available on both headphones.

    The pres are great. I think you would have to spend a LOT more to top them. A while back I had the chance to compare them side by side with Onyx pres on a 400F. I owned them both and was not rushed. I really like the onyx pres. Nice and warm, but in the end the Saffire's detail just barely edged out the Onyx. Both are quiet and have good headroom.

    I like that I can use this live for solo gigs. I can send a mono feed to the mains with or without reverb, yet record clean via firewire, and monitor clean or reverb'd in ear with my Shure E3s.

    I would like to see a variation of this unit that swaps the ADAT and MIDI for two more combos with pres and DI. I understand that the majority probably want all the capabilities of ADAT and MIDI, but many of us are primarily concerned with acoustic or acoustic/electric instruments and vocals. My 2nd choice would be if they just allowed the line ins to be switched to DI. You can use the high gain setting on the line ins and plug a guitar into them, at least with my guitar (Martin with LR Baggs M1 active) the sound is much more harsh. But that's what I have to do when my wife joins me. It works, but could be better. The loop back etc is great when there are singers singing with pre-recorded tracks (very common in churches). The only other thing I'd like to see is some sort of mic stand adapter so I can place it where I need it on those solo gigs.

  • from Branson, MO June 6, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musicain, recording Engineer

    it's Great!!!

    I love that it has everything i need in one box. and it's a whole lot smaller than my old interface. so it's easier for traveling and on location recording
    i love the fact that i can record efx on the track I'm recording on

  • from Germantown, Ohio February 26, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Live Sound, Recording Engineer

    Great Unit, But...

    This is a nice piece of equipment in my recording chain. The pres seem to do well, and I don't seem to experience any latency issues. However, unless I just haven't learned how to fully utilize it, the VRM has not really impressed me at all. I made this purchase solely on the idea of mastering (as best as possible) with headphones, as opposed to purchasing high dollar monitors and completely remodeling a room for this process. You can purchase less expensive monitors, but let's be honest, you're not going to get excellent quality mastering - you get what you pay for. If I had the opportunity to decide on a unit again, I would forgo the VRM and other less significant bells and whistles and pay a little more to get even better mic pres (and possibly 192 kHz).

  • from Columbus,Ohio February 25, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Pro Musician, Hobbyist, etc)

    TAKES A LITTLE GETTING USED TO

    This is a great interface with excellent preamps and D to A convertors but the software that comes with it takes awhile to figure out. Once that learning curve is climbed all is well, however the way the spdif input on it is set up renders it almost useless in that whatever one plugs in there has to match the sample rate of the settings on the interface. I have used several other makes down through the years and this feature was just plug ang go on them with the interface automatically accomidating the device. Not a deal breaker but annoying. I did find the zero latency, built in monitoring effects quite usefull but the headphone thing (VRM) seemed rather useless. Over all I say very good sound at a reasonable price.

  • from Earth July 18, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, composer, engineer, producer

    A great interface with some flaws

    I would have loved to give this interface 5 stars, but it has some flaws that are too important not to mention.

    First the good points:
    • The preamps are superb—clean, quiet, and they sound great.
    • The front panel LED meters are fast, accurate, and useful.
    • The unit has two headphone outputs with their own level controls, which is a must for me, and the headphone amps have plenty of gain.
    • The Mix Control software is well designed (with one horrifying exception; see below) and easy to use.

    Now for the bummers. The unit provides no input gain (trim) for analog inputs 3 & 4. The front panel gain controls work fine for inputs 1 & 2, but if you're feeding hot line level into inputs 3 & 4, you'll get digital clipping, and there's no way to attenuate it...not even in the Mix Control software. Yup…you read that right: there’s no input gain control in the software! That is such an incredibly barbaric design shortcoming that it's difficult to believe a company as (justifiably) well respected as Focusrite could have done anything so stupid.

    Here's what the User Guide says about clipping:

    CLIP LIGHT
    “If the red portion at the top of the fader lights up, then the signal level is too high. You will need to turn down the signal level by either using the gain knobs on the front panel for the analogue inputs, using the gain on the external devices connected to the digital inputs, or using the gain within the DAW."

    ...er, OK---but the gain knobs on the front panel only apply to inputs 1 & 2, not to inputs 3 & 4. As for "using the gain on the external devices", that's fine if you have a gain control on the external devices, regardless of whether they are digital or analog. If not, and you’re feeding hot line level to inputs 3 & 4, you’re boned; the input will clip.

    I don't blame Focusrite for not including two more hardware gain controls (physical knobs), but excluding input gain control from the SOFTWARE is unconscionable. Inputs 3 & 4 are wide open, all the time, and there's no way to change that.

    The User Guide's advice about "using the gain within the DAW" is absurd. Trimming the gain in the DAW isn't going to mitigate the clipping at the Saffire's input, which is exactly what happens when you hit it with a hot signal. The damage is already done at that point. Turning it down on the DAW just gives you quieter clipping.

    When I discovered this problem, I thought I might work around it by using the "Input FX" (effects) in the Mix Control software…for example by using the compressor with an infinite compression ratio and setting the threshold at a high enough level to use the compressor as a peak limiter. Nope...can't do it---at least not to trim the level on inputs 3 & 4. The two effects channels work ONLY on inputs 1 & 2, which already have the front panel gain controls. You can't assign the Input FX to inputs 3 & 4. So you still end up with no way to trim Inputs 3 & 4. That’s a FAIL!

    One other thing: Occasionally (but rarely) the unit loses its FireWire connectivity; however, it has never done so during a recording, and I'm not sure the fault there isn't on the computer’s side. In any case, shutting down the computer, doing a power cycle (off/on) on the Saffire, and then rebooting the computer restores FW connectivity. To be fair, the lost connectivity doesn't happen often...maybe once per year, and I've been using mine continuously for a few years. I’m only mentioning it because it happens, not because I consider it a problem. It doesn’t affect my rating of the unit.

    I'm still giving the Saffire Pro 24 DSP four stars because it's a superb unit in every other respect. In fact, Focusrite probably could fix the Inputs 3 & 4 input gain problem described above by redesigning the software, in which case I'd change my rating to five stars in a heartbeat.

    The bottom line is that I'm happy with the unit's performance, and especially with its sound quality. If having input gain trim or Input FX on Inputs 3 & 4 is not important to you, then you'll love this unit, and you'd be hard pressed to find something of similar quality for anywhere near the same price.

  • from Dallas, TX. USA May 30, 2013Music Background:
    Bachelor of Music Education - Baylor University

    Great for Headphone Mixes

    I like the convenience of the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP. I am using it in standalone mode for headphone mixes when recording. Hooking it up to a PC/Mac and setting everything up as far as EQ, Comp and Verb was a snap. Then, save settings to Hardware and you can run it by itself. It's a very convenient way to have a near zero latency mix for talent when recording!

  • from Bs As, Argentina June 13, 2011Music Background:
    Musician, Amateur recording engeneer.

    Exellent product

    I don't want to repeat what's already in other reviews. I agree with almost every other user, this is a great product and on OSX has rock solid drivers.
    If it helps:
    The thing you can hear most doubts or complaints about is preamp volume and noise, you can read a lot about it in forums. But as one should know this posts are usually written by people that spend too much time posting and not much actually recording.
    In my opinion, in the real world with proper recording techniques you won't find it problem at all. Unless you are expecting it to perform like a top of the line interface, which obviously you wont get unless you are willing to spend another kind of money. I mean, for the price I don't think it gets better than this.

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