Saffire

Lucas Fackler

I've been growing my collection of Focusrite gear since I used an ISA One in a session brought by an upright bassist. That was his DI preamp. That and my experience with the Forte Console at Oceanway, I knew I'd be a Focusrite user for life. I had used a few Red pieces in various studios as well, but it wasn't really until the ISA that I saw the value in the current line of Focusrite.

About 4 years ago I was about to move from my bedroom/house chaos studio, into a place with a dedicated studio next to the house. Knowing I'd have 2 ISO booths and plenty of space, an upgrade from my 002 interface was absolutely essential. There were many things to consider; fidelity, I/O, how would it interface, and of course, cost. I spent quite a lot of time deliberating and reading reviews on interfaces from $500-$3000. That was the window I granted my self. I could have gone with a card based interface for my Mac Pro but amidst the changes occurring at Avid, I chose to steer clear of that - I'm not saying that with any malice toward anything form Avid, I just didn't want to get locked into an now "older" TDM setup or pay a premium for being an early HDX adopter. Thanks to their bold move on Pro Tools 9, I could now choose whichever interface I wanted.

I effectively upped my preamp selection by 11 (10 emulations and the standard preamp)

So there I was, with money to burn on a new interface and so many choices to consider. On my check list were a few important things for my new PT10 HD interface. The first being better quality, I could hear the shortcomings of the graying 002; converter and clock technology had improved quite a bit from the days of the 002 and it was time to experience that for my new studio. I had been happy with the firewire interface and also had taken full advantage of expanding I/O via ADAT and S/PDIF with the old 002. So those things narrowed my field a bit. The next thing I was sure of was 8 preamps this time - none of that 2 or 4 preamp nonsense! Narrowed even further I thought, ok, now I have to consider the ability to craft complicated headphone mixes. Why complicated? Because some people are picky and the last thing I want is a sessions screeching to a halt because I can't give the singer less drums and give the drummer...well, less vocals. That sort of thing. The other major feature on my list, was the ability to track with zero latency. Lastly, I needed a monitor section; I use a minimum of 3 sets of speakers. Avoiding as much extra cabling and spending more money was a priority for that. Quite honestly, by the time I checked off those things, there really wasn't much left in the field. I started getting excited when I looked at the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56. 8 preamps, S/PDIF, monitor control and zero latency...check, ADAT....double check! Not to mention the color choices via the Liquid emulations on 2 of the preamps. So I effectively upped my preamp selection by 11 (10 emulations and the standard preamp). It became obvious to me that I was going to choose the Liquid Saffire 56. Since I had an extra MOTU Traveler and PreSonus DigiMax preamp, I could immediately expand my I/O to more than I'd ever had. So I pulled the trigger and dug into the beast that is the LS56.

The Saffire Mix Control allows me to craft any kind of mix I can dream of. Sending the I/O in literally any way I can imagine. It's honestly what I always wanted in an interface. I've been so pleased with the routing that I bought a second LS56 to take full advantage of all of the ADAT I/O. So now I've strapped 2 together, and I've still got a PreSonus DigiMax and MOTU Traveler using every pathway I have at my disposal. I've also added an API A2D into the S/PDIF input. Going back the the ISA, I bought one shortly after the LS56 and have since added a second. Then there's my trusty Avalon 737 which I've had since my M-Box 2. It has always sounded great but it was losing some of its mojo with the M-Box as well as the 002. Now I can hear all the subtle sweetness that comes out of that beautiful box! I won't bother mentioning the rest of my gear, but I will say that I'm getting better results now than ever before. I even nabbed a Scarlett 2i2 for a laptop rig, for the price you can't beat it! The preamps are actually useable, I say that because usually the 2in, 2out interfaces don't have preamps you would want to use.

Ok, so it's obvious I'm a fan, so much so that I've turned about 5 or 6 people on to the LS56 and about the same for the 2i2. Come to think of it, I've probably helped sell 4 or 5 ISA One's as well. I'm constantly in touch with the Focusrite Tech Support about the Saffire Mix Control as well as turning clients and friends onto Focusrite gear. Keep up the good work and thanks for the great products!

Thanks,

Lucas Fackler
Producer/Engineer/Songwriter

lucasfackler.com | SoundCloud | thewillrock.com