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Steinberg MR816 CSX FireWire Audio Interface

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Product Description

Steinberg MR816 CSX FireWire Audio Interface is a fully featured FireWire interface with built in Digital FX!
The Steinberg MR816 FireWire interface offers functionality that reaches above and beyond the abilities of other competing interfaces or other audio devices. Fusing a fully-featured FireWire interface with built-in DSP FX power and next-generation integrative technologies, the MR816 CSX is one powerful production system. Manufactured and developed through collaborations between Steinberg and Yamaha, the MR816 Advanced Integration DSP Studio is the epitome recording and monitoring in a latency-free environment, fully exploiting Steinberg's powerful and versatile premium music production software, Cubase!

Steinberg MR816 CSX Features

  • True Integrated Monitoring with full faderless mixing with no latency
  • DSP-powered FX and dynamic 1:1 hardware/software mirroring with Cubase
  • Complete Cubase user interface integration throughout
  • Direct access from Cubase with no additional software mixing application required
  • Eight discrete Class A analog D-Pre mic preamps
  • Combination XLR and TRS analog inputs with advanced inverted Darlington circuits
  • Hardware gain knob, phantom power and -26dB Pad switch per channel
  • Quick Connect: next-generation of plug and play
  • On-the-fly routing of inputs to Cubase channels from with the push of a button
  • DSP Power for Cubase: VST3 onboard DSP-powered FX
  • Eight Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strips
  • Compressor and EQ and one REV-X reverb
  • Instant setup: Cubase automatically detects the MR hardware
  • Ready made templates and auto-project I/O configuration
  • Eight analog, one ADAT, one S/PDIF and Coaxial I/O and WordClock sync connectors
  • Extendable system with daisy-chain three units to provide up to 24 inputs and outputs
  • Includes Cubase AI4: hassle-free recording and creating music out of the box
  • Supports Apple OS X 10.4/10.5 and Windows XP/Vista
  • Includes ASIO and CoreAudio drivers
  • External software mixer and plug-in editors for using with 3rd party audio software
What is the difference between the MR816 CSX and MR816 X?
Basically the MR816 CSX and MR816 X are the same device. The only but not unimportant difference between those two units are the eight DSP-powered channelstrips that the MR816 CSX provides. The innovative Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip is a unique new compression and EQ tool that runs on DSP inside the MR816 CSX.

Take a look at Steinberg's MR816 X! STE MR816X

All other features of the both units are the same: Both provide best sound quality and outstanding preamps as well as the same quantity of inputs and outputs. Also MR8168 CSX and MR816 X offer one REV-X reverb, a complex reverb algorithm developed by Yamaha which provides a high-density, richly reverberant sound quality, with smooth attenuation, spread and depth that work together to enhance the original sound.

True Integrated Monitoring
Offering real-time, independent and most importantly no-latency mixes with FX for several performers is an engineering challenge in itself, and there are only one or two FireWire I/O interfaces on the market that can achieve this. Even these units are functionally isolated from the DAW software forcing the user to use additional mixing applications, in turn hampering workflow and splintering what should be a truly integrated production system.

The answer? Cubase and MR816 CSX. A solution defined by its ease-of-use, flexibility and pure functional elegance. Running with Cubase, MR816 CSX removes any need for additional mixing software between DAW and I/O (all aspects of I/O handling), DSP management and independent performer mixes are handled directly from within Cubase itself. With Cubase 4, these performer mixes are realized using the Studio Sends in the Control Room; a unique system that is completely integrated into the Cubase 4 mixer.

With the unique True Integrated Monitoring technology, Cubase manages all audio streams with perfect sync. No-latency mixes for performers with DSP FX are managed side-by-side with mixes played back through the Cubase audio engine that combine hard disk audio data and live streams being recorded at the same time, all within Cubase. Combined with other unique features, True Integrated Monitoring allows a highly efficient workflow that boosts productivity to new levels. The technological know-how required for this level of integration results directly from the ongoing cooperation between Steinberg software engineers and the hardware experts at Yamaha.

D-Pre Mic Preamps
The MR816 CSX features the latest generation of Yamaha microphone preamps: The D-Pre.

Meticulously engineered to the highest standards, these discrete Class A analog mic preamps feature combination XLR and TRS analog inputs for connection of 8 1/4 inch jack plugs or standard XLR connectors, supporting both balanced and unbalanced signals. Each D-Pre is fitted with a -26dB Pad selector as well as true 48 volt phantom power per channel. An additional phase inversion capability and High Pass filter are available directly from the Cubase mixer or MR editor software via remote control.

What sets these preamps apart? The audio quality of the eight D-Pres can only be described as stunning. Each utilizes an advanced inverted Darlington circuit design and electronics components specifically designed for the MR816 CSX. The result is a sumptuously smooth and richly detailed sound normally only attained by preamps costing many times more; the outstanding sound of these mic pres obviate the need for all but the rarest vintage preamps.

Just as important as the preamps are, of course, the converters behind them. The MR816 CSX includes first-rate A/D and D/A converters that offer absolutely crystal-clear sound that portrays the sound with astonishing precision and clarity. Each D-Pre is paired with a useful signal/peak lamp that lights up green when a signal between -40dB and -3dB is connected, warning with a red light if levels reach -3dB. Unlike many other preamps, the red warning light alerts the engineer not just when it’s already too late and a signal has already clipped the converter behind it, but indicates that gain levels should be checked and monitored closely.

DSP Power for Cubase
On top of its excellent I/O capability, the MR816 CSX features an onboard DSP chip that runs up to 8 instances of the highly acclaimed Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip plug-in, featuring the latest compression and EQ technology. The MR816 CSX also features the renowned REV-X reverb, which is also featured on many top Yamaha hardware mixing consoles.

Each independent monitor mix can utilize the DSP capability for an outstanding sound that every performer will feel extremely comfortable performing to. Optionally, the FX can be included in the signal recorded to the input track. The signal can, of course, also be recorded dry with no FX or bypassed completely.

The Advanced Integration of MR816 CSX in Cubase goes even further. The full DSP capability is also available as VST3 plug-ins in Cubase when mixing! With MR816 CSX, up to 8 instances of the Sweet Sport Morphing Channel Strip plug-in can run as an insert plug-in in Cubase, as well as one instance of REV-X. This adds additional first-class FX capability that is available even when the computer’s CPU is running under a high load.

For Cubase owners, MR816 CSX combines not only outstanding I/O capability, extremely easy handling and no-latency monitor mixing, but also a powerful DSP capability – a peerless combination with an almost unbeatable price/performance ratio.

Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip with Compressor and EQ
The innovative Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip is a unique compression and EQ tool that runs on DSP inside the MR816 CSX. While the first-class algorithms developed by Yamaha deliver sonically excellent equalization and compression, this unique new plug-in has also been designed for convenience, accessibility and simplicity of operation.

The Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip consists of a sidechain-enabled compressor and a 3-band parametric equalizer, which can be applied to up to 8 mono input channels or 4 stereo input channels on the MR816 CSX or on Cubase tracks during mixing. Both EQ and compressor were developed to attain a highly musical sound that can not only give audio signals new sparkle and punch or help (re)define their sonic personality, but also work adaptively on audio signals to blend them satisfyingly into a mix.

The first-class sonic qualities of the Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip are not the only aspect that set it apart. It also features a unique new way to set up a great sound for just about any audio signal in next to no time: the Morph knob. Simply turning this knob smoothly morphs through both EQ and compression settings in combination, allowing the user to dial in the ideal sound very quickly just by using one single control element.

Using the Morph knob is especially useful for recording situations where quick setup for EQ and compression is paramount. Newcomers to recording will also find this system very helpful, as presets for many common recording situations are included. The presets were designed by veteran audio engineers using their many years of recording experience, and cover ideal EQ and compression settings for instruments, drums, vocals and many more situations. Each of the parameters can, of course, be edited singly from the interface, and individual setups stored as presets for later recall.

As an additional workflow enhancement, MR816 CSX also features built-in hardware control for the DSP effects, because both the Morph and Drive knobs can be remote controlled from the front panel of the MR816 CSX! The two multifunctional knobs can be assigned to these two settings simply by setting the MR816 CSX to MORPH mode on its front panel. This offers very intuitive hardware control over these two parameters directly from the MR816 CSX.

REV-X Reverb
The REV-X built into the MR816 CSX is a complex reverb algorithm developed by Yamaha. It provides a high-density, richly reverberant sound quality, with smooth attenuation, spread and depth that work together to enhance the original sound. Yamaha's REV-X digital reverb algorithm is renowned for its high resolution and extraordinarily natural sound.

The MR816 CSX features three types of reverb effects: Hall, Room and Plate simulations with reverb time and level control. Reverb Time and Level can be controlled either through Cubase or from the front panel of the MR816 CSX. This superlative reverb processor also featured on Yamaha’s premiere digital consoles is ideal for monitoring mixes for performers, but also adds a further excellent reverb to your available VST plug-ins on mixdown.

Complete Cubase user interface integration throughout
MR816 CSX features direct integration into Cubase through unique windows and views within Cubase that appear only when they are connected. These interface element allow full control of the hardware’s functionality from within Cubase itself. This includes not only the Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip and REV-X reverb DSP effects, but almost all hardware functionality in the MR816 CSX including performer mixes and their levels, phantom power selection, -26dB pad, High Pass filters and phase inversion switch per input channel.

The benefits are an extremely fast and intuitive workflow that handles software and hardware effectively as one system! Attention is focused on Cubase at all times without creative flow being broken off by having to open or edit in other applications. And because the features are all embedded in the Cubase graphic environment, they’re very intuitive to use for anyone who is already used to Cubase (no need to adjust to another graphic environment to adjust levels for performer mix), for example. This is only one of the many Advanced Integration features between MR816 CSX and Cubase, which effectively meld hardware and software together into perhaps the most sophisticated production system available today.

Quick Connect: next-generation of plug and play and instant setup
As soon as the drivers are installed, Cubase automatically recognizes when the MR816 CSX is connected, featuring complete plug and play and very fast setup. MR816 CSX offers another stunningly unique feature: instant routing and rerouting of inputs to Cubase channels on the fly from the front panel of the I/O with the push of a single button! Just select a Cubase channel, and press a channel button on the I/O front panel, and that channel is instantly routed to the selected track. To help quickly identify which input is routed to the selected Cubase track, the front panel light for the channel flashes, showing which input is currently routed to that track.

Setting up a project with MR816 CSX is extremely easy and intuitive. Templates offer pre-made setups with routing and I/O configurations already set up, automatically creating and assigning inputs and outputs for connected devices. Additionally, if no input busses have yet been created within the project, selecting a Cubase track and pushing the button of the desired channel on the front panel not only routes that input to that track, but automatically creates either a mono or stereo bus as desired. The bottom line? No need to manually create busses or reassign I/Os in the VST Connections window, with obvious benefits for project workflow. No other combination of FireWire hardware and software offers such flexible and intuitive I/O handling within a software DAW. As one of the unique Advanced Integration features, Quick Connect helps MR816 CSX integrate completely into Cubase to form a next-generation software and hardware system that discards traditional boundaries between these two previously separate worlds.

Extendable system
Developed using advanced technologies to offer seamless scalability, this mixing and recording system offers many options to increase the number of available inputs, preamps, outputs and DSP capability; all on the same FireWire port. Up to three MR816 CSXs can be used simultaneously by connecting them in daisy-chain fashion to a computer via IEEE1394 cables. The number of available channels for input and output across the system can be easily expanded simply by adding up to two more MR816 CSX. MR816 CSX supports up to 48 input and output channels; using only one FireWire port on the computer. All connected I/Os are recognized by Cubase simultaneously, with no additional setup required. Cubase also automatically assigns the correct I/O port configuration for one, two or three units, depending on how many are connected. Even when multiple MR816 CSXs are connected, parameters such as those for digital audio input/output, Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip and REV-X are available for each device individually.

The available DSP power of the entire system is also scalable with the addition of more units, as each DSP is available to Cubase in the form of VST3 plug-ins during mixdown. A system composed of three MR816 CSX offers not only 48 inputs and outputs, but also 24 instances of the unique Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip plug-in and three instances of high-quality REV-X reverb.

Because of the highly flexible driver architecture, both MR816 CSX and MR816 X models are fully compatible with each other and run daisy-chained together on the same system, allowing full flexibility in creating a customized system that offers the needed number of inputs, outputs and DSP capability.

Cubase AI4 included
Cubase AI4 is a special, compact version of Steinberg’s famed music production system. Based on the same technology as Cubase 4, Cubase AI4 offers powerful yet easy-to-use software tools for audio recording, editing, MIDI sequencing and mixing; exclusive to customers of selected Steinberg or Yamaha hardware.

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