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Best FireWire Interface for £300 -

Hi, I'm looking for a firewire interface that is £300 and under
It should have at the minium 4 mic inputs, and 4 1/4" jack inputs
could anyone recommend a good one ?

Thanks alot


Boswell Sat, 01/20/2007 - 15:29
guitar10 wrote: would the Alesis MultiMix FireWire Mixer Range be any good ??
You would have to go up to the MultiMix 16 FireWire to get the 8 inputs you need, but you should be able to get one for £300. It would work OK, but the sound quality would not be quite as good as the FirePod.

The FirePod has only two instrument inputs, so that is why I suggested that you use a couple of DI boxes for the other two instruments. You plug the DI box outputs into any of the other XLR inputs on the FirePod.

Since you have now clarified that the 4 jack inputs are for instruments, forget the Inspire 1394s. They wouldn't do what you want unless you bought 4 of them.

Boswell Sun, 01/21/2007 - 04:05
There are line ins and line ins. Live sound equipment manufacturers all seem to have their own definition. For pro studio equipment, "line in" usually means a balanced (differential) input with a signal level of +4dBu nominal and an input impedance of 10-20K Ohm (600 Ohm on older gear). This type of input is unsuitable for an instrument such as a guitar pickup, which needs an input impedance of 100K to 1M Ohm and gain that can cope with signals as low as -40dBu. Note this is still much higher than the output of a dynamic microphone.

Mixer manufacturers often use the term "line in" to distinguish a lower-sensitivity jack input from an XLR microphone input, and the jack inputs are usually designed to cope with instrument signals as well as studio level inputs. That's why you can get away with plugging your guitar straight into a jack input on your mixer.

On the FirePod, the inputs are switchable to be microphone or jack. Two of the eight jack inputs are specifically designed to handle instrument levels as an alternative to microphones, but the other six jack inputs need studio line levels as the alternative to microphone. So the suggested solution for your case is to use DI boxes for two of the four instrument inputs. A DI box takes a high-impedance unbalanced input from a guitar and turns it into a low-level, low-impedance balanced signal that can be plugged into a microphone input. On the FirePod, you would use the two instrument inputs for two of your instruments, two microphone inputs for the DI box outputs for the other two instruments and the remaining four inputs for microphones.

By the way, a "combo" input usually means a special type of socket into which you can plug either an XLR plug or a 1/4 inch jack plug. It saves space on the panel of the device, but electrically is the same as separate XLR and jack sockets.

Boswell Sun, 01/21/2007 - 14:51
The two inputs of the FCA202 have a maximum level of +2dBV (roughly +4dBu), so would not take the outputs of a mixer that has levels of nominal +4dBu, peaking to (say) +22dBu.

Personally, I wouldn't use an FCA202. You would be better going back to the Alesis Multimix 16 FireWire mixer. There are also FireWire-equipped mixers from M-Audio, Phonic and Mackie, although not all of them would fit within your stated budget.

Boswell Thu, 01/18/2007 - 15:55
For lowest cost, you could try a daisy-chained pair of PreSonus Inspire 1394s. They should come in at under £220 for the pair. They would give you 4 mic ins and 4 line ins (but on phonos).

Better would be to look at the Presonus Firepod. There are several of them going on Ebay UK at the moment, and UKProAudio has them at £299. The Firepod has 8 input channels, 6 of which can be switched to be line or mic ins. The line ins are on rear panel 1/4 inch jacks. The other two inputs can be switched to be mic or instrument.

The foregoing assumes you mean the jack inputs are for line level and not for instrument level (guitar). If you want 4 instrument inputs, you have less choice. Maybe the only option you have in this case is the Firepod plus 2 DI boxes or the pair of Inspires plus 4 DI boxes.