As you may know, I have the buggy version of Pro Tools M-Powered, which allows 32 tracks of simultaneous recording, and an M-Audio ProFire Lightbridge. But I have no converters yet, so this system is useless for now. I was considering a couple of Behringer ADA8000s for the time being. The mic pres are crap but the converters are OK (though one can get a lot better). However, if I want to record hi-res (88.2 or 96 kHz sample rates), I need 96k converters.
Well, they're not so hard to come by, although they're very expensive. And they're mostly A/D converters only. Wouldn't it be nice to have ADAs? There are a few things around, for a lot of money, like Lucid and Lynx. But these either have no ADAT lightpipe I/O, or not enough. For example, the 16-channel Lynx Aurora has an optional ADAT card, but that has only two ports which would allow 8 channels of S/MUX, not 16. The Sonic Core (was Creamware) is the same.
I just discovered that the new Focusrite Octopre comes in two versions: mic pre only with ADAT out, and mic pre with dynamics and ADAT in and out. The ADAT ports on both are capable of S/MUX operation, providing 8 channels lo-res or 4-channels hi-res.
So to do 16 channels hi-res I would need two of these. I could then use another 16 channels of converters without the hi-res option to do 32 channels lo-res, because of course the Octopres can do lo-res too.
And the best bit? RRP on the ADA version is $900 a piece!