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.


Edirol UM-880

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...