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Looking for cheap firewire Vista-compatible interface

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by ender21w, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. ender21w

    ender21w Active Member

    Hey guys,

    I'm new to the whole recording game, and I'm trying to get started. Here's what a buddy of mine uses, with pretty good results, and what I'm trying to approximate:

    -Presonus Firepod (not sure what model)
    -EZDrummer/Drumkit from Hell

    I already have Cubase and an SM-57 from a past attempt at starting a mini-studio for quick recordings. I'm working on buying podfarm/EZdrummer, so that just leaves a firewire interface.

    I have Vista, and am lazy and don't want to upgrade to 7. If you guys think 7 would make recording a ton better, then I can go ahead and stop being lazy since I can get it pretty cheap through college discounts.

    My main question is: What is a good firewire interface for (preferably) under $300? I mostly will be recording metalcore, pop punk, stuff like that, so think a few guitar tracks, a bass, the programmed drums, and a few vocal tracks. Also, I'll be recording one track at a time almost exclusively, since I'll pretty much be recording all of the parts.

    Also, being a super noob to firewire, I have a 4-circuit firewire input on my PC, as opposed to the 6-circuit ones that I see on my friend's mac. Will this affect anything or will I simply need a different adapter?

    Thanks in advance for any help, I really appreciate it!
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You're kidding right? Vista is the pig of all pigs of an operating system. Windows 7 is very good for audio and in fact eliminates much of the pigginess of Vista as well as most of the problems.

    The onboard 4 pin firewire port on your computer is 99% likely NOT to work for audio recording. You want a firewire adapter that has a Texas Instruments chipset that fits into your Express Card slot or Cardbus slot if it's an old laptop.

    You will also need to tweak your computer for audio. The best guide IMO is the Black Viper tweaks easily found via a google search or the sticky in the computers forum. For firewire interfaces, go with Presonus or TC Electronics or MOTU or Mackie.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There's nothing inherently wrong with a 4-pin FireWire port - it simply does not have the power connections that a 6-pin port has. If you use an external power supply unit for your interface, you should be fine. You will need the correct type of cable to go from your 4-pin port to your interface.

    However, what Jack is getting at is that it's very likely that the FireWire chipset used in your computer is not made by TI, and so is not recommended for audio interfaces. This is independent of the type of connector fitted. Get a plug-in card that has a TI FireWire chipset and you should be good to go.

    In terms of a 2-channel FireWire interface, there are several from reputable firms like Presonus and Focusrite at around the $300 mark, but I would look to see if you could stretch another $100 to get to the TC Electronic Impact Twin.

    Oh, and do upgrade to Win7 - this is not a laziness issue, it's an imperative.
  4. ender21w

    ender21w Active Member

    Ok so 7 is a must. I ordered that through my school and should be getting on that.

    I'm unfamiliar with Express Card slots and what not. I have a slot that I take is one, and it just has a black plastic HP piece in it that I got with my laptop. From a quick wiki it looks like there are Express Card 34 and 54. The plastic piece in my PC is in the 54 shape, so I'm assuming I need chipset that fits that. Can you guys recommend a good TI firewire chipset? Also I have a 64bit HP laptop.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You can use a 34 card in a 54 slot no problem. SiiG makes a good card but any with a TI chipset will work.
  6. ender21w

    ender21w Active Member

    Ok cool. So looking at the SiiG cards, it seems there are FireWire 800 (1394b) and 400 (1394a) ports, and that the 800 ports are backwards compatible. Is the difference between the two ports just speed? Is it suggested that I got a card with an 800 port?

    Again sorry for all the noob questions. I really appreciate the help!
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Generally, most interfaces are firewire 400 so that is what you should get unless you chain to something like a Glyph GT050Q first. I use 800 speed cards because my interfaces are 800 speed and I chain them up with 800 speed hard drives too. You can use 400 speed devices on an 800 speed port without issue but some computers get squirrelly with dual 400/800 cards. There doesn't seem to be any issue with cards that use the Oxford 924 or 934 chipsets but not all interfaces seem to like dual speed cards.
  8. 3daudio

    3daudio Active Member

    Here is my experience with Ti chip. It is absolutely important to have a Ti chip for Firewire 400 interface. Do not buy the one which has Ti chip with Firewire 800 (newer specification with double speed) interface as Presonous driver may not work with it. Learned the hard way after burning some money ordering Ti chip Syba card with Firewire 800 interface. Hope it helps.

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