2 preamp mobile interface needed for friends new setup.

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by Antho, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Hi. I posted a topic about a recording interface & laptop and it got removed and relocated. Sorry if it seemed in the wrong place, I felt that since the setup required an interface it might warrant being at recording gear...so to rectify, I've divided the post up. I've put the recording interface question here in pro audio gear, as that's what it is, an ive seen similar Q's in this section.

    "I need a two mic pre in interface that runs off USB or firewire (no xternal power). I was thinking presonus firebox, but it need power. so something similar, but able to be powered by the laptop. pref: two mic ins and two line ins..but open to anything at this stage. also considered the MOTU traveler, but too pricey and to many I/O at this stage."

    Many thanks for any help. Greatly appreciated.
  2. tengu

    tengu Guest

    Make sure your laptop has a 6 pin firewire plug. From my understanding the 4 pin plugs (which most PC laptops use) do not transfer power through the connection.

    The new Echo firewire interface might be worth looking into. A good price for a lot of connectibility. I don't use one, but Echo has a good reputation for drivers, support and AD conversion.
  3. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I think the Presonus firebox is your best bet. It can be powered by your laptop as long as you use a 6 pin firewire cable (a normal firewire cable). If your laptop is like mine it uses a 4 pin firewire connection and you have to use a 4 pin to 6 pin cable. This will not power the firebox. You have to get a firewire card that has the 6-pin connection. These are pretty inexpensive and sometimes can actually improve the performance. The firebox is the perfect companion for a laptop because it is so small/mobile and can be powered by the computer!
  4. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Sorry to disappoint here. But there is not a single laptop Windows PC to buy today that supplies power on the firewire interface. Some Macs do, they tell me, never used one. I´ve looked hard and if anyone finds one, please tell us all.

    So if you want to go without external power supplies, the choice is limited to USB. I do not know the full market, but I believe you will be limited to 2 in and 2 out then. Generally at 44.1 or 48kHz, but most what we do end up at CD sample rate of 44.1 anyway so that is not a problem if you ask me.

    Personally I find the MBox rather decent. 2 channels of decent mic pres and decent AD. And there is a lot of them around on the used market. You might not get the latest Protools LE version then, but you should be able to upgrade. Otherwise it runs with most other sequencers with the ASIO or Wave driver. No midi connectors though, but you can run a separate USB unit in parallell (I do).

  5. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    You can power it with the firewire as long as you use a separate laptop firewire card.
  6. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Jeremy, i was thinking the Firebox. I have the firepod, and only recently learned htat the 'box can accept firewire power, where my pod can't (i wish it could!)

    So six pin eh? I'm really glad you told me that guys. This will assist with the laptop purchase, which hasn't occured yet. JB & ghellquist, Which is it? Firwire 'can' or 'can't' power a unit like the firebox. This is pretty important! And does firewire require more power than USB? This too is important, cos at this stage we are looking at a P4, which apparently only run for a short time for mobile recording anyway...so 'battery suck/draw' will be a factor to consider. I'd like for my friend to save up a bit more and get a Centrino, which seem to be more suitable for mobile recording...or so my research has so far told me.

    re: the m box...an option i'd forgotten about. Possibly. I and he aren't a fan of protools though. We both use cubase SX, as we are heavily into the midi side of things as well as recording. Still, options at this stage are great. all angles considered.

    I hadn't seen Echo, thanks for that suggestion tengu. I will look at it in more detail momentarily.

    This is great. This is helping us a lot

  7. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    Firewire will power the firebox. What ghellquist is saying is that there is probably little chance that you'll be able to find a laptop with a built-in 6 pin firewire slot. You'll have to buy a $20-$40 separate laptop card to do that...but no biggie.

    If you're planning on doing mobile recording with the laptop, I would stay away from the p4. The intel centrino (pentium m) and the AMD 64's have been smoking the p4's in tests with audio software. The p4 just seems pretty inefficient for recording.

    If you're going with the mbox, you need to be real careful what laptop you get. It has a ton of compatibility issues, so you're pretty limited. If you want, I'll post a link to a forum that discusses in detail which laptops are working well with the mbox. There are certain ones that get excellent performance, but you have to know which one to get.

    The firebox is a little more versatile as far as laptops that will work with it, but I'd still go with an AMD 64 processor or a Pentium M.
  8. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Sweet. An SOS article I read completely confirms what you've said re: laptop processor choice, but it didn't mention AMD 64s. I'll check 'em out pronto.

    At this stage, the firebox will be the most likely tool of choice. As he wants Cubase on there, and it's what I use and I've already been very impressed with how the firepod has run in my setup, so many factors adding up to make it an easy choice 8)

    The box also have a sweet amount of I/O which just doesn't seem available anywhere else for that price and at that size.

    Thansk a million for all your help!
  9. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    I´ll try to be very clear and add one more option.

    This is all about PC laptops. It is not about PC fixed boxes.

    First, a lot of boxes can be powered from firewire. It takes a 6 pin connector at the computer end. But it is not all there is to it. Even if you computer has a 6 pin connector, it has to supply power to it.

    And there is not a single Windows laptop you can buy that it inself supplies power on the firewire. And it does NOT help if you add one of these PCMCIA cards. Many of them has a 6 pin connector but requires you to have an external power supply to feed that power to the firewire. I believe the reason for this is that the PCMCIA bus as such allows very little power draw from the card.

    The only way around this that I know of is to get an external battery. Something like a 12V motorcycle battery could probably power both the laptop and the firewire interface for a long time.

    The new option I have seen lately is the EMU 1616M. This seems to be a PCMCIA card with a breakout box with two mic pres. Also some extra inputs and outputs if you need them. Seems to be powered fully from inside the laptop. Not seen it in real life though.

    Anaway, if anyone can show a working solution for feeding firewire from a Windows laptop I want to be the first to know.

  10. freelight

    freelight Guest

    Try and track down an M-Audio OmniStudio (Mobile Pre). It's a discontinued model, but it's much better quality than the units M-Audio has been releasing recently. It's USB 2.0 and powered by either your USB connection or a DC adaptor (it's your choice). There are 2 pre-amps, 4in/4out, 4 FX send channels, 2 channel independant headphone mixer, monitor control, pad, phantom power, etc. This unit is rack mountable and it's an amazing little interface. Does everything you could ask for.
  11. Antho

    Antho Guest

    Sweet as. Thanks guys, ghellquist, thanks for the clear explanation, and thanks freelight for an older cheaper option. That's a plus, as my mate said when I started researching this stuff for him "if there's older cheaper options let me know". I guess part of me just wants to get him rocking on the lates stuff...but that isn't necessarily a good thing in his situation.

    Ghellquist...my friend has actually also mentioned the powering of this setup on a battery. In fact he said this was always his plan, he just neglected to mention this to me when he got me researching :) So I guess this changes things re: which processor to get. We could probably now afford to look at an older p4 system perhaps due to this. The Centrino's just seem quite a bit out of $reach$ at the moment. Im also looking at AMD64's. but they seem to be $imilar.

    Thanks for your help guys, I appreciate it lots. I'll be jumping back here in a day or two.

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