Presonus 4848 or other options for SSL X-Desk/Panda?

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bwhittington
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Presonus 4848 or other options for SSL X-Desk/Panda?

Post by bwhittington » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:09 pm

I recently purchased an SSL X-panda. I'm planning to deal with a few limitations running it by itself with an eye on expanding down the line.
I've really struggled with choosing an audio interface for this mixer, though. I mean literally for years. :hihi:

I tried to figure out Alphalink (see, Dave Peck, we had this convo years ago), which seems great for X-desk at least, plus or minus MADI-related issues with Apple products.

Some of the other big options--Burl, etc, just seem silly expensive for my amateur use.

Chaining smaller interfaces for more i/o presents the most options but seems to get messy when I visualize the cable spaghetti, sync issues, etc. Even having the i/o split between the front and back as so many do complicates patch bay wiring. But it seems like there must be a really nice recommendation in this direction?

Or . . . Presonus Quantum 4848, which *seems* great to my eye. Tons of i/o to take advantage of the mixer's routing flexibility, compatible d-sub i/o, seems like just add a patch bay (and output monitoring) and its a nice lean solution. But the limited reading on the Quantum line (mainly from Gearslutz) runs the gamut from someone comparing it favorably to his Alphalink to Presonus being described as a step down from other lines.

With the possibility of a signal being routed in and out of the 4848 a few times, it seems important that the converters be 'good stuff.' Unfortunately for me, I really don't know much about how to measure that beyond reading up and asking smarter people than me (this means you!). Any thoughts would be amazing. I'm open to other options new or used. I like the price point of the 4848 but could pretty easily be persuaded to bust the budget if it isn't the right pick.

Hoping to make a purchase in the next couple of days.

Brian

PS. I can't name one user above without also thanking Coyoteus for heroically and patiently entertaining my SSL queries again and again. And then again and again. 8-)

calaveras
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Post by calaveras » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:22 am

wow, where did you get an Xpanda?
I've been looking for one!
They seem quite rare. Not sure why they were discontinued so fast.

The UAD Apollo stuff is really good. I have a pair of those routed through a Soundtracs Solo. I plan on ditching the Solo eventually and getting an X Desk + Xpanda, or possibly an X-Rack. The UAD stuff does a good job of obviating the need for 500 series stuff. But I'd still want some legit pres to run stuff through.

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bwhittington
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Post by bwhittington » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:59 pm

Which model do you have? Can I step back to the silverface Apollo 16 Quad and still be good? I know they've upgraded their convertors with each iteration. But it has MADI, so I could still expand with a cheap SSL Alphalink for more i/o.

Oh no, now I'm flitting around on this again. :hihi: Or a used RME MADIface Pro and Alphalink would be be a similar price, too, and carries the advantage of being able to use the RME on the go . . .

The 4848 seems to be the streamlined solution, though. Trying to figure out what the compromises might be in that choice. Is whatever quality it is better or worse than something 10 years old that I can afford from those other lines? The new Apollos 16's are pretty spendy to me.

I just got lucky and found the X-panda on Reverb. I checked after someone mentioned getting similarly lucky once, and one happened to be there, with a slightly off heading that might have affected its visibility. I went with it first because the X-desk is a bit small for me, and obviously the X-panda is the harder piece to come by. If I'm not into it, I'd be happy to keep you in mind. The price I paid was pretty reasonable, I think. Not that I'm planning to sell, but one never knows.

calaveras
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Post by calaveras » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:20 pm

From what I understand the older converters are great too. The new ones are better, but it’s not the same jump in quality as with old MOTU and their current AVB stuff.
Also, I think the MADI only works with other Apollo 16 units. It’s how you cascade them without saturating FireWire.
That is also a consideration. If you don’t already have FireWire on your computer it is a fools errand to retrofit it to use this box. The Apple FireWire thunderbolt adapter works fine though. Used that with my UAD dsp for years.

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GrantB
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Post by GrantB » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:22 pm

I was looking at Reverb and there seems to be a lot of Lynx on there. DB25 to DB25 might be convenient with the panda, depending on how you want to hook things up.

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Post by bwhittington » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:27 pm

Yes, DB25 i/o is my focus. Still need a patchbay or breakout, but it seems very convenient for the X-line.

I found a blind test on Gearslutz where 75% either preferred the Quantum to the Apogee Ensemble or couldn't tell the difference, so that helps validate that option to me. Still feels like the easy way, though I'd be into something used/cheaper.

Great to know that about Apollo's MADI jacks. And of course now I'm staring at Aurora 16, too. :doh: Nice that that one is/can be Thunderbolt. Thanks for the thoughts.

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