Echo Layla 3G
For digital recording and playback, I use two Echo Layla 3G units. Each is capable of eight channels of analog input and output at 96khz/24bit resolution. In addition, 16 channels of ADAT are available, as well as S/PDIF and AES/EBU. These units have a great sound and low noise floor. I am disappointed, however, that the -10/+4 db switching is simply a software attenuation and does not actually change any analog circuitry, so the noise floor is higher for -10db output than +4db output at the same perceptable volume. To remedy this, I just keep it at +4db all the time and use the gain knob on my mixer to match the audio level. This produces a SUPER LOW noise floor with incredible clarity. It would have been nice to see them use a different analog signal path for -10db, so that the noise floor goes down with the audio signal, but this is really not a huge complaint since the rest of the unit sounds so great and you can run it at +4db all the time if you have a decent mixer. Overall, these units are very good.
The amount of features available in these MIDI interfaces is incredible. It does patching, merging, distribution, and so on, all WITHOUT the aid of a computer to perform these functions. As for being a computer interface, it works very well at that too! It has very low latency and very accurate timing. Sadly, I guess these didn't sell too well (not sure why) because Edirol only makes one, two, and three port interfaces now. They have discontinued their 8-port models completely. Thankfully I have two, so with 16 ports (256 channels) I have plenty of room to grow in my studio. Considering how fundamental software synths are to electronic music nowadays, this should last me for as long as I need. I hope the drivers will continue to work smoothly with Windows 8 and newer...
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