Should I go from ProFire 2626 to MR816??

Hi all:

I’m contemplating selling my M-Audio ProFire 2626 and buying an MR816csx. I’d like your advice as to whether it is worth the change.

First a confession: I only really use one mic-level input, one stereo output, and the two independent headphone jacks. I bought the 2626 because prior to moving to all ‘in-the-box’ production, I had a Yamaha 01v with an ADAT card. And because the mic preamps were the best m-audio made. But as a home studio hobbyist, I rarely need more than a single mic input.

My system consists of my PC (specs below), a pair of original Mackie HR824s connected directly to a pair of the 2626’s analog line outs, and a Yamaha EX5, which I use solely as a nice, weighted key MIDI controller.

Here are the pros:

  • My ProFire has been rock solid.
  • I am able to run fairly consistently at 64 samples latency: the lowest the ProFire allows
  • I am able to turn off much of the unneeded I/o in the control panel
  • It has MIDI in for my EX5
  • It has 8 ‘pro-grade’ mic preamps

But I have some complaints:

  • the analog line outs have much more hiss than my 01v mix outs had.
  • I can’t change the latency at all while Cubase is running. This just makes me mad.

I’m intrigued about the MR816 because I’ve heard raves about the quality of the preamps and the rest of the audio system. The integration with Cubase is also interesting and I would like to understand how this would help me. I don’t seem to need more integration than I have but I’d be interested in understanding if I don’t know what I’m missing. And I also am interested in the on onboard DSP. I wonder if I would actually use direct monitoring if I had onboard dsp. I also wonder if the channel strip is good enough to use on all my mix busses (I usually have 6-8 so that lines up with the number of 'morphing channel strips available). I don’t have a good x64 buss channel strip and would love something like sonnox dynamics that’s native 64bit.

If I did change, I’d have to either sell my EX5 and get a USB controller or I’d have to get a 1-in MIDI interface.

What do you think? Don’t fix what’s not broken? Or sell and trade up to an MR816csx?

(Also is there a head-to-head between the two?)