firewire upgrade woes

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by cotenyc, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. cotenyc

    cotenyc Active Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    Long story.. a little shorter--

    For a few years I've been using a pci Audigy2 card, running from a mixer with pretty impressive results. I've had this time to upgrade bug and recently tried a few firewire cards with kind of disappointing results.
    I tried the presonus firebox 1st, which sounded and operated great, only thing were the preamps, they may sound good, but the gain is so low that you have to crank them, which adds all the noisey goodness. (already spending $300+ and I'd have to buy more gear?)

    I did return the firebox and pickup an m-audio 410..

    I spent a few days running tests.. m-audio vs Audigy2 audio quality/ recording.. to see the differences with my own ears.
    Turns out, the m-audio did have a bit more punch to the sound, a hair more clarity, the difference wasn't stellar.. at least not $300 worthy.
    It felt kind of cheap (compared to the firebox solid design).
    The headphone output was also pretty low.
    I ended up returning the M-audio and now have store credit.

    Can any of you guys (gals) offer any suggestions?

    I'm looking for something portable, so I can use it on my laptop as well. Firewire, excellent-high qual and output preamps.
    I do like using soundfonts, which is why I'm into the audigy2..
    but maybe a can do without it, being that I use sonar 6pe and it does have sfz for soundfonts built-in.
    I was checking out the emu 1820m, but I don't care too much about all the dsp stuff, or at least I'm not savvy enough to care.

    I was also looking at the motu ultralight, but it seems a bit too advanced for me ( I know recording, but by no means am i an engineer with bus mix, routing, etc.etc. )
    Also the Alesis IO|14

    Thanks for any 411
  2. Mises

    Mises Guest

    Echo AudioFire

    Link removed

    I wasn't really clear if you require preamps... in not, look at the AudioFire as an inexpensive alternative.

    (1) Its firewire

    (2) Converters are said to sound fantastic for the price. Better than the MOTU, but some are claiming they like them better than the RME's... debateable... but in any case, it looks like a nice product.

    (3) The drivers are not flaky as hell like MOTU's.

    (4) No fancy extras. Just 1/4 inch jacks. If you dont need 'bells and
    whistles' this simple unit does the trick and you pay much less because of no bells and whistles.

    (5) Comes in different models with various numbers of inputs to suit your need and price. Even the 14-in/14-out unit is a fantastic price. Minor warning. The converters chips in the bigger units are different, I believe, than the ones on the smaller units. Both are standard converter chips found in other units on the market though.
  3. GregP

    GregP Guest

    Does your laptop supply bus power to FireWire devices? "Portable" becomes less portable when you still need your wall wart and an outlet.

    I don't know of any laptop FireWire interfaces that supply bus power, but I'd be very keen to know of one-- I'd like to add this capability to my own laptop.

  4. Mises

    Mises Guest

    AudioFire2 provides power directly from the FireWire bus.

    I'm sure a lot of the smaller interfaces must do it. Its only the units which have the preamps or ther 'bells and whistles' that probably necessitates the wall-warts.
  5. cotenyc

    cotenyc Active Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    I'm using a pcmcia card and it seems that pretty much every external fw box needs to use the wall plug if you use one of these..
    I could really care less, if it sounds good, I'll carry it with pleasure.
    I'm gonna search the audiofire in a sec too.. thanks.

    oh yeah, I definately want great preamps!
  6. Mises

    Mises Guest

    Hmmm. PCMCIA cards dont output bus power? ... or the power they do output is too weak to drive outboard boxes? Anybody? Thats good to know in either case.

    I just bought a PCMCIA firewire card for a live show I did the other day and it all went rather smoothly, and I was hoping to use that in the future some more. Though the particular interface I was using required a wall-wart because it had preamps... I was planning to change the interface to something that was bus powered because that would be just one less thing I'd have to plug in at stageside. If PCMCIA doesnt provide bus power... that would kind of suck.



    FROM M-AUDIO WEB SITE: "However, PCMCIA cards with 6-pin connectors are the only exception from this rule. The PCMCIA bus itself doesn't have the capacity to provide enough power to a FireWire audio interface - even if the PCMCIA FireWire controller card is equipped with 6-pin connectors. Please DO use the provided power supply when connection your M-Audio FireWire audio interface to a PCMCIA FireWire controller card."

    Damned that sucks. So apparently, either your interface has to use teh wall-wart, or your PCMCMIA firewire card has to be the type that has a wall-wart to provide driving power.
  7. cotenyc

    cotenyc Active Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    Mises, the pcmcia cards do provide power, but usually not enough for these boxes (my expereince so far)
  8. pollysix

    pollysix Guest

    (edit: shortened) How very interesting. It seems I am not the only one with Firebox preamp woes.

    I recently bought a second-hand firebox to replace my old m-audio mobile pre. Only thing is that apparently just to get a medium level I need to add both the +48V and the +12dB as well as crank the input knob. Even my PolySix needs to be cranked to get a decent signal

    Needless to say it's been driving me a little insane. I thought is was maybe that the firewire wasn't giving it enough power, bu after some tests it seems the AC makes no difference to the levels.

    So what's the deal with the Firebox? I thought it was supposed to have decent preamps? Seems to me my M-audio mobile pre had more gain.
  9. mugtastic

    mugtastic Active Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    i'm going for the combo of an fmr rnp and an echo audiofire 2 for a portable laptop setup.

    any specifics on the diff between the chips in the the 2 and the 12?
  10. GregP

    GregP Guest

    A bit lagged, but yeah, that's what I meant Mises-- not that the audio interface must be able to use bus power. Most do! My concern which has since been clarified was that the FW "port" on a laptop won't usually supply bus power.

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