The Focusrite Saffire series of DAW interfaces were a FireWire based interface. Sadly, FireWire’s prevalence in the industry came and went pretty fast and so those of us who splashed the cash on one, such as the Pro 40 I have, found ourselves with an interface that very quickly got left behind. Most recently it’s completely incompatible with the latest MacOS and Windows versions.
So I thought I was left with a very expensive door wedge…but maybe not!
Today I discovered that (assuming you still have an old machine to do this first bit), using the Mix Control app you can route the analog inputs (and those lovely preamps) to the ADAT outputs (all 8 in the case of the Pro 40), and then pick those up with another interface that is compatible with your machine and ADAT.
Last year I bought a Behringer UMC1820 as a replacement for my Focusrite since I needed something compatible with plenty of inputs, but this time preferably without so much expense. The preamps were less of an issue and the Behringer has decent quality ones, even if not as fancy as the Focusrite.
Side note – The Behringer is serious bang for buck. If you’re looking for just one interface with a lot of inputs and options to expand later I couldn’t recommend this one enough.
The cool thing here is that I can hook up the Optical output of the Saffire to the optical input of the UMC1820, and then my DAW of choice (Logic Pro) recognises all 10 inputs I already had, plus the extra 8 that are being fed to the ADAT. So now I have 18 inputs to the DAW, and I can make use of those lovely Focusrite preamps again. Yay!
I’m so happy to have found a way to do this because I actually run quite a lot of guitar recording interfaces (2 Kempers, Quad Cortex, TwoNotes Captor X, Line6 HX Stomp, Mooer Preamp Live) so it’s very easy to swallow up a lot of inputs quickly so now instead of having to swap connections around I can actually have everything hooked up and also still run various mics (vocal and instrument) and also a couple of direct inputs to connect guitar/bass for software based sounds (Neural DSP for example).
I really hope this info helps out someone else because I looked for ages before I started finding snippets of information referring to the Mix Control software and having to route the analog inputs to ADAT before it would work.
One more thing to note, this works great for the Saffire Pro 40. Sadly not all interfaces have this facility. For example the UMC1820 does now enable you to route the inputs to ADAT so it can only function as a master interface, not a slave.
Let me know if this saved you a headache.