What We Like
- Eight XLR/quarter-inch inputs.
- High-quality preamps.
- Affordable price point.
What We Don’t Like
- Not all the inputs are on the same side of the interface.
The Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 earned that name from its combined 20 inputs and 20 outputs, giving you plenty of options for recording. But is more always better? We’ll answer that question below.
The Saffire Pro 40’s long body allows it to have detailed controls on the front, including a gain knob for each of the eight inputs (two of which are on the front), a monitor volume knob, and a volume control for both of the headphone jacks. The levels of the individual channels are clearly labeled and use LED lights, helping you avoid peaking and setting the volume just right.
Additionally, it comes with a bundle of software, including the Midnight Plug-in Suite, which gives you enhanced compression, reverb, gating and EQ.
Some users are not too happy about two of the inputs being on the front and the other six being on the back, so that’s a practical consideration you’ll want to keep in mind.
Overall, the Saffire Pro 40 seems to have everything you’d need for a professional-sounding home recording, but let’s take a closer look at what is special (or not) about it.
The highlight of this interface is the number of inputs and outputs. With eight XLR/quarter-inch inputs (two in the front, six on the back) and eight preamps to match, you have so much freedom to record different things. You could mic every piece of a full drum kit, you could record a huge choir, or you could record a song live with your band. Plus, having two headphone jacks will make things super easy for recording with another musician (or multiple, if you use the monitor outputs on the back).
On the back of the interface, you’ll also see in and outs for MIDI, SPDIF, and optical. It’s also compatible with both Firewire and Thunderbolt, but not USB, which some may be turned off by, but Firewire and Thunderbolt work perfectly fine.
Getting a software bundle with an interface is always great (who’s going to turn down free extras?), but it’s Saffire MixControl, which not one of the more reliable names, like ProTools or Ableton Live. Saffire MixControl is simple and doesn’t offer as many options as some other DAWs.
Compared to other interfaces at this price point, you get pretty good bang for your buck.
It looks cool and it does some neat things, and when it works, users love it, especially the quality of the preamps. But some engineers have complained the sound delivered by the preamps is bland and not unique and sometimes too quiet when recording acoustic instruments.
But overall, you’ll get a decent deal with the Saffire Pro 40. It has pretty much all the features you’ll need to record from home at a very affordable price and will allow you to get professional-level audio quality. The clean sound of the preamps is really the high-point of this device, making it worth a try.
The Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 is one of the best audio interfaces for its value. With eight XLR/quarter-inch inputs and a preamp for each one, the professional sound quality it delivers makes it stand out.