Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 Firewire Audio Interface Review
If you’re ready to move up from your two or four channel audio interface to have more inputs for multitrack recording and to expand the customization of your playback setup, we highly recommend checking out Focusrite’s Saffire range of FireWire audio interfaces.
Available in models ranging from 8 – 28 inputs, the Saffire are designed for the demanding project studio owner or smaller commercial recording facility. Here we’re looking at the Saffire Pro 40 which features 20 inputs and 20 outputs, eight of these inputs equipped with legendary Focusrite preamps—all at a wildly affordable price.
Focusrite Saffire Pro 40
- 8 high-quality award-winning Focusrite preamps
- High-quality 24-bit/96kHz FireWire interface
- 20 inputs and 20 outputs
- Suite of Focusrite VST/AU plug-ins
- 2 separate headphone buses
- Saffire Pro 40 control zero-latency DSP mixer/router
- Mac and Windows compatible
- 2 Mic/Line/Inst Combo XLR (Inputs 1 and 2)
- 6 Mic/Line Combo XLR (Inputs 3-8)
- Automatic switching between inputs
- Stereo S/PDIF I/O on RCA
- 8 ADAT I/O Optical Connector, reduces to 4 I/O at 88.2/96kHz
- 8 TRS jack (outputs 3-10)
- 2 monitor mix outputs on TRS jack (outputs 1 and 2)
- Stereo S/PDIF output on RCA
- 2 x 6-pin FireWire sockets
- MIDI I/O
- Very “all-in-one”
- High quality preamps
- MIDI I/O
- S/PDIF and ADAT I/O expandability
- Super Afforable
What sets Focusrite’s Saffire audio interfaces apart from their competitors are their precision analog/digital conversion quality, their multi-layer board layout and component choices, and their award-winning, super clean mic preamps that are transparent with minimum noise and distortion. They connect seamlessly with any DAW of choice on Mac or Windows and comes loaded with plugins and samples.
Focusrite are well-known for using high-quality preamps that combine low noise, high gain and exceptional headroom, allowing you to get the best out of any microphone. This means you can use any dynamic microphone on any whisper‑quiet source and still get an outstanding, clear signal, which can’t be said for a lot of budget gear.
The mic pres are combined with precision digital conversion offering the lowest possible latency. Saffire includes MixControl DSP-based zero-latency mixing software that allows the maximum monitoring flexibility, a clear and concise mixing layout and large on-screen metering for inputs, outputs and submixes.
Furthermore, two independent headphone channels are equipped with their own level controls that really deliver massive power, and will be sufficient for any set of headphones that require it
The main eight inputs feature combo XLR/TRS connectors which automatically detect which is in use. Inputs 1 and 2 appear on the front panel and support mic, line and instrument operation, while the remaining six are on the rear panel and offer mic and line input functionality.
Each channel is equipped with 48V Phantom Power and the first two channels feature -9dB pads for extra headroom while tracking loud sources. Five-step LED metering for each channel offers accurate display of incoming levels.
The Saffire PRO 40 offers an impressive amount of I/O and connectivity into a single-rackspace unit, while also offering plenty of opportunity for expansion. The rear panel has ten analogue outputs to enable an array of customizable speaker setups and there are also a pair of Toslink I/O connecters and coax S/PDIF I/O and MIDI I/O on standard 5-pin DIN connectors. This can elevated your project studio into a large-scale recording facility in no time.
Finally, users can take advantage of Focusrite’s Red 2 and Red 3 Plugin Suite, Softube’s Time and Tone Pack, Focusrite’s Xcite+ bundle, Ableton Live Lite DAW software, Novation’s Bass Station soft synth, and over 1GB of royalty-free samples—all included with the Saffire Pro 40.
Mac OS X: OS X 10.9 or greater
512MB RAM minimum, more recommended
Windows: 900MHz AMD or Pentium; 1.5GHz or higher recommended
Windows 7, 8 512MB RAM minimum, more recommended
To help you out on your quest for the right audio interface for your home studio, we’ve included links below to detailed reviews of a few models that would make a great runner up to the Focusrite Saffire 40.
We’ve put together The Ultimate Guide to Audio Interfaces that will teach you all the essentials to make an informed decision in getting your home studio connected and up and running in to time.