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  • Ole....

    Thanks for writing. You are correct. For the US, we are starting to ship units into the channel this week. I will do my best to answers your questions.

    To start, I am attaching a pdf of the technical specs for the CI2. Additional documents and information can be found at www.steinberg.net and/or www.steinbergnorthamerica.com.

    The CI2 and MR816 Series are two different units when you compare the individual spec sheets. Still, the CI2 features high-quality mic preamps and converters developed by the same engineering team responsible for the Steinberg MR816 Series interfaces. In the end, the CI2 will offer clean sonic quality in a small-sized and well integrated unit. If you require more than 2 in and 2 out.... you will be best suited to consider the MR816 Series.
    Best regards,

    Brian McGovern
    Steinberg North America

    Comment


    • To the Steinberg folks, isn`t it time to shed some light on the CI2 unit ??
      It`s not that long `till it`s being released..
      I find it strange that no one can come up with details about the preamps & converters. Are they different in quality to the MR816 ?

      I think I`ll be getting the RME Fireface 400, as I seriously doubt the CI2 can compare in sound quality. (I know the CI2 is alot cheaper).


      Once you starting hitting a dynamic range of 96dB, then the mic preamp will tend not to be the issue with noise - it's more likely that the background noise of whatever you're recording will be considerably higher. And a THD+N spec of 0.05% certainly meets "pro" specs.

      You might want to look over post #97 on page 4 of this thread regarding mic preamp quality in general. These days, differences among mic pres in the same general price category are minimal. Once you can't hear any noise, it doesn't really matter if you can't hear any noise, or you REALLY can't hear any noise.

      I've used RME interfaces and they have excellent sound quality, but I have to say that the MR816 mic pres are also excellent. You might want to audition the RME and Steinberg units carefully, as there might not be a noticeable difference, and you can spend the money you save on other goodies.
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      • There's a dedicated Pan continuous knob, with the same "accelerometer" feel of the EQ knobs, and a moving fader. This brings up an interesting point about the power supply: The CC121 is USB bus-powered, except that the moving fader draws too much power for the USB bus. So, if you want the fader to follow automation moves, you need to hook up the included AC power supply. (The PreSonus FaderPort works the same way.)

        Once that's out of the way, the fader of course follows your mixing moves. It's a 100mm fader, so it's pretty comfortable. And I don't know if Steinberg was just being accommodating to me , but as I do mix moves with my left hand, I appreciated having the fader on the left side of the box.

        The CC121 duplicates most of the other channel strip controls (see the attached image): Mute, Solo, Read Automation, Write automation, Monitoring, Record enable, Edit, and open/close VST instrument window if one is present in the track. As with the other buttons, these have a solid, positive feel.
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        • Ole....

          Thanks for writing. You are correct. For the US, we are starting to ship units into the channel this week. I will do my best to answers your questions.

          To start, I am attaching a pdf of the technical specs for the CI2. Additional documents and information can be found at www.steinberg.net and/or www.steinbergnorthamerica.com.

          The CI2 and MR816 Series are two different units when you compare the individual spec sheets. Still, the CI2 features high-quality mic preamps and converters developed by the same engineering team responsible for the Steinberg MR816 Series interfaces. In the end, the CI2 will offer clean sonic quality in a small-sized and well integrated unit. If you require more than 2 in and 2 out.... you will be best suited to consider the MR816 Series.


          Thanks Brian, I really appreciate your reply.
          I`m really interested, can`t wait to get some more feedback on the CI2

          Comment


          • Once you starting hitting a dynamic range of 96dB, then the mic preamp will tend not to be the issue with noise - it's more likely that the background noise of whatever you're recording will be considerably higher. And a THD+N spec of 0.05% certainly meets "pro" specs.

            You might want to look over post #97 on page 4 of this thread regarding mic preamp quality in general. These days, differences among mic pres in the same general price category are minimal. Once you can't hear any noise, it doesn't really matter if you can't hear any noise, or you REALLY can't hear any noise.

            I've used RME interfaces and they have excellent sound quality, but I have to say that the MR816 mic pres are also excellent. You might want to audition the RME and Steinberg units carefully, as there might not be a noticeable difference, and you can spend the money you save on other goodies.


            Thanks Anderton!
            You have a point there with regards to the mic pres.
            Let us know asap when you`ve tested CI2

            Comment


            • Our final part of the CC121 journey is the Function section (see the first attached image), which consists of four buttons and a Value knob. Under Device Setup, you can assign the knob to Main Mix Volume, Metronome Level, Control Room Volume, or Control Room Phones.

              As to the buttons, there are three "banks" of control options, which you also select under Device Setup (see the second attached image): Studio Control, Monitor Control, and my favorite, User Assignable, which lets you choose from a variety of options. The buttons can work as switches (for example, if you assign Zoom Out, successive presses zoom out further) or in conjunction with the Value knob. As an example of the latter, if you select Studio Control the buttons select the fader for a particular output level fader, and the Value knob adjusts the level.

              The third attached image shows some of Categories from which you can choose a command - there are too many to fit within the artwork size constraints of this forum, but you get the idea. After choosing a Category for a function button, you then choose a Command and when you enable the function, the Value knob controls the parameter value if applicable. You can control a huge variety of parameters this way, but remember, you have a max of four functions available at any given moment. Still, this is enough that you can put several strategic commands under hands-on control, and it's easy enough to change functions that you can re-assign the group of four functions for tracking, mixing, editing, etc.

              This is also where you assign a function to the rear panel footswitch jack (fourth attached image). The obvious choice is to assign this to a transport function like Record, but as with the other functions, you have plenty of choices for how you want to use it - for example, for dropping in markers, or going to a locator.
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              • There's absolutely no question that both the MR816csx and CC121 enhance the "Cubase experience." So, given that the combination isn't particularly inexpensive, they need to be evaluated as to whether they're cost-effective for your situation. Let's turn to the MR816csx first.

                The MR816csx has a street price of around $1,300. If you want to save $300, the MR816X is identical except that it doesn't have the channel strip DSP (although it does include the REV-X reverb). Having hardware dynamics and EQ seems worth the extra three bills to me, but your mileage may vary.

                If you're in the market for an interface, use multiple mics, and work with Cubase, the MR816csx gives you eight quality mic pres, the channel strips, and the REV-X reverb. Granted, you can't use all eight channel strips and the reverb at the same time, but you can allocate the DSP as needed for a given situation. The Quick Connect feature is very convenient, and although there are plenty of reverb plug-ins, the REV-X really takes advantage of having its own DSP rather than sucking CPU cycles from your computer. It has excellent sound quality, which is one reason I included so many audio examples of what it can do.

                The "Sweet Spot" morphing will take care of what you need most of the time, but you're not locked in to those settings - you can adjust EQ and dynamics if your idea of a sweet spot differs from Steinberg's. And don't forget that while the point of the MR816 family is Cubase integration, all of its main functions (other than Quick Connect) work with other DAWs, and that includes the DSP. So if you do the math, the argument is pretty compelling: DSP channel strips, hardware reverb, excellent mic pres, ADAT interfacing, work clock, sample rates up to 96kHz...and you can use it as a stand-alone digital mixer for, say, your keyboard rack (although I can't imagine too many people tearing it out of their studio rack for gigs).

                Where the cost-effectiveness falls down is if you already have a bunch of great mic pres, some channel strips, and a quality reverb. In that case, you're basically getting the MR816csx for the Quick Connect feature...and the option to sell your other gear on eBay. But it's also important to remember the MR816 doesn't cut corners; for example, being able to enable +48V phantom power individually for each channel isn't that common a feature on audio interfaces, which often enable phantom power for groups of mics. The front panel hi-Z input is convenient for guitar and bass players, and having dual headphone jacks is a nice touch.

                As to the CC121, although it generates MIDI control messages and can be used with other programs, it really comes into its own only when linked with Cubase - if you want a general-purpose MIDI controller, there are less expensive options. However, the beauty of the CC121 is that it's not general-purpose; it fits Cubase like a glove, and the sturdy construction coupled with an ergonomic layout promotes flying around the controls. I'm particularly fond of the AI Knob for editing effects and instrument parameters; it's just plain brilliant. The fact that it doesn't always work with non-Steinberg plug-ins is a bit of a downer, but I'm pleased that it does work well with many of the non-Steinberg plug-ins I tested.

                One of the issues with a product like the CC121 is that as soon as you see it has one fader, you'd like to have two. And if you have four buttons, you'd like to have eight! Obviously at some point, a manufacturer has to choose where to make compromises in terms of price vs. functionality. But the idea of a single-channel controller is a proven one - Fronter Design's AlphaTrack has been a success - and that concept translates well to the CC121. I particularly like the hands-on control for EQ, which is exceptionally fluid. Couple that with a moving fader, the AI Knob, transport buttons, footswitch, and custom functions, and I'd say the CC121 makes the right choices regarding cost vs. features.

                The bottom line is that if you're a Cubase (or Nuendo) user, these two units will help you get around the program in a faster, more elegant way. They definitely improve workflow, and simplify control. Furthermore, they don't have a very big footprint, either in your rack or on your desktop. Steinberg has given its user base high quality devices (they don't feel, look, or act cheap) that seem aimed squarely at serious project and professional studios.
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                • I saw the CI2 interface at AES for the first time - there's a video in the Theater as part of our AES show coverage. What impresses me the most is that it has the AI knob that works like the one in the CC121. So, you can get the interface AND the very cool AI feature at a pretty reasonable price. Steinberg's Greg Ondo told me off-camera "It's addictive," and I'd have to agree.
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                  • It's not quite "last call" time, but I wil need to be sending these units back sooner rather than later. If you have any additional questions or comments, now would be a good time to slide 'em in here.
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                    • Question about the MR816csx:

                      Is the REV-X verb available to only 1 pair of analog outputs for monitoring?

                      I'll elaborate a bit...
                      Ideally, I need to route each of the 8 analog ins to each of 8 analog outs respectively. (input one, through the pre, eq, comp to output one). I also need the ability to add verb, selectively, to the output signals 1-8.

                      Reading the manual, from the best I can tell it looks as if REV-X is only available to 1 pair of the outputs at a time however, the manual skims over this so it's not very clear.

                      Hoping somebody here can give me the answer.

                      Thanks

                      Comment


                      • I'm assuming the question involves using the REV-X with Cubase, not the MR editor for use as (for example) a stand-alone digital mixer.

                        First of all, if you want to use the channel strip on eight channels, that precludes using the REV-X. The most you can do is six mono channels of morphing channel strip, and one instance of the REV-X.

                        In my testing, I used the REV-X mostly as a traditional send effect, where the output dumped into the master out. And I've since packed the unit up in order to return it...but if I recall correctly, the answer to your question is "sort of." You can select any one stereo output to be processed by the REV-X, however, you can have preset levels set for different outputs. For example, if you assign the REV-X to process the Studio 1 output, it can have a different return level than when it's switched to process the Studio 2 output.

                        But I'm not quite sure what it is you're trying to accomplish. If you want to add different amounts to each incoming signal as you record eight signals to eight tracks, it seems to make more sense to add the reverb on mixdown, where you can set the level of reverb for each channel independently. If you want to monitor diferent amounts of reverb on the different tracks, why not monitor the output to which the reverb is applied?

                        The only instance I can see where this is a problem is if you want to print the reverb as you record, and print different amounts of reverb on each track. But that's a moot point anyway, because you can have only one instance of the REV-X. You can insert this as a plug-in on an individual channel, or as a send effect.

                        But I may not have interpreted your question properly...please elaborate on exactly what you're trying to accomplish if I didn't get it right, and also, I've asked Brian McGovern to check in and see if he can offer any insights.
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                        • Thanks for the time Anderton & sorry I wasn't very clear.

                          Actually, my needs are two-fold. Before I explain those, let me describe the overall environment.

                          The setup we (the band) currently use for live shows is:
                          - 16 channel mic splitter; one to the house, one to our monitor mixer
                          - The monitor mixer serves two functions
                          1. Mix control for the drummers in-ears
                          2. Via channel insert loops, each channel is sent to an Aviom AN-16i

                          If you're not familiar with the Aviom product, what it does is gives each band member their own 16 channel mixer for their monitor. All mixers are fed a data stream and controlled individually.

                          That said, in the current configuration - since the Aviom system is fed from the channel inserts we do not have the ability to process (eq, compress, f/x) without having 16 channels of processing available. Alternatively, If we used the MR816crx for mic pre and processing before entering the Aviom system (remember, 16 inputs to this system) we would have the flexibility I'm looking for.

                          My original intent had nothing to do with changing the way that our monitors work, rather it was to find an interface that would allow us to record our shows onto a DAW (laptop) with the full flexibility of 16 recorded tracks (second part of my two-fold needs). However, after researching the products available today I've latched on to the idea that it would be most beneficial to have the ability to sweeten up our monitor feeds via Eq, compression, and verb.

                          I NEED to be able to use these in stand-alone mode. No PC attached. I'm not going to rely on a PC during performances.

                          There are a couple of other products that come close to having the flexibility to do what I need, but not entirely:

                          -Lexicon FW810s has built in DSP, but currently they do not have the drivers to daisy chain two units. Also, all DSP is sent out the analog AND DAW (firewire) outputs simultaneously. I prefer to record the tracks dry.

                          -MOTU 828mk3, however I'm really taken back by the fact that they don't publish their manuals. If I can't read the manual first, I'm not going to buy it since I really don't know what I can and can't do with it.

                          Steinberg seems to have the best solution for me? Quality mic pres and A/D-D/A converters and built in DSP that can be used Stand-Alone...without a PC.

                          Aside from the two primary uses I've described, I also want gear that I can use when we want to do some more serious recording. Again, Steinberg seems to be a great product for that too!

                          As a side note, I know that I won't need to apply verb to EVERY channel. We have 4 vocalists, so if I'm only able to apply verb to four of the analog outs that will work fine. It would be nice to have a more available for some light verb on drums however.

                          Thanks

                          Comment


                          • I will do my best to answer your question.

                            First, let's remember that the MR has 8 analog and 8 digital I/O. That is how you will get your 16 channels.

                            In order to use the MR816 in stand-alone, you would be best served to plug it into a computer before taking stand-alone to create and save your template. This is not unusual for some interfaces, for example the RME Fire face 800. I happen to have one from years past and take it's I/O via ADAT into my MR816.

                            As far using the Rev-X Reverb for monitoring, currently, you can only apply it to one output pair. What you can do is send an output pair with just Rev-X into an input pair into the AVIOM and blend the dry and wet signal. But, you will not have 8 independent discreet Rev-X settings for each individual analog output from the MR.

                            Please let me know if I should dig into this deeper for you.

                            Thanks for supporting Steinberg.
                            Best regards,

                            Brian McGovern
                            Steinberg North America

                            Comment


                            • Thanks Brian! Again, I really appreciate your participation in this thread and I'm sure the people you've helped appreciate it too.
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                              • Thanks Brian.

                                I've attached a one-line diagram of the setup as I foresee it based upon your info. Can you take a look at it and tell me if this will work. A little explanation of what doesn't show on the diagram:

                                Channel EQ and compression on each of the 16 channels within the MR's. REV-X applied to Voc 1 and Voc 2 on MR#1

                                Then of course, at times we will connect a DAW via firewire for tracking.

                                Thanks guys for your time.
                                Chad

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