Firewire Vs. USB

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by zapta, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. zapta

    zapta Guest

    My upcoming question:
    In quality is there difference between an external recorder connected by USB or connected to a firewire card? Are there any obvious differences which apply to all products?

  2. moonz

    moonz Guest

    USB 1.0 has gotten a lot of bad press, even though most soundcard manufacturers offer at least a model or two using that very interface.

    Seems that quite a few people don't completely trust the guys making the equipment to look after their best interests...:roll:

    It looks to me like the latest external soundcard trend is creeping in the direction of FireWire...I can only think of one external multi-port audio interface (Edirol UA1000) that is offered in a USB 2.0 flavor, just now.

    If your recording requirements are more demanding I'd say you might want to skip the USB 1.0 stuff, and take a look at something Firewire...I don't expect that there is any difference in recording quality between any of em due to the use of a specific interface, unless maybe you really tax the interface.
  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    in my experience -- no.

    I´ve always thought it was USB 1.1? Anyway, I´ll call it that here. (Agree on all you write).

    USB 1.1 stuff is limited by the bandwidth. Maximum is 10MBit / s. In practice this is quite sufficient for 4 channels of 24 bit audio at 48kHz Sample frequency. Mostly used as 2 in and 2 out at the same time. At 96kHz 24 bit you will get only 2 channels. (Some may do a few more channels, not much though). If you want more channels, firewire or an internal card is the way to go.

    Quite a different thing is that a lot of "budget" type equipment has been made for USB. Obviously, when a producer makes things to a budget they have to make compromises.

    Firewire, so far, has been aimed a bit upmarket, ie a little higher in price, and generally a little less compromises. Lately prices has gone down on firewire cards as well, and a few of them has quite a few compromises to get the price down. Well, generelly you get what you pay for.

    One more thing to add though, is that many older computers did not handle USB 1.1 very well. They simple did not have the "power" to support a sound card all the way. My old computer sure had that problem, my newest runs circles around that one in performance.

  4. moonz

    moonz Guest

    That is right...USB 1.0 was revised to 1.1 several years ago...anything USB 1 since then is actually built using the revised 1.1 specifications guidelines.

    These specifications are of course just guidlines that manufacturers use to build compatible equipment...manufacturers are free to use any circuitry they can come up with to enhance the functionality of their equipment.

    For instance...Edirol uses special circuitry to enhance their USB 1.1 MIDI interfaces, to help make up for the potential shortcomings in the 1.1 USB bus design.

    This may allso be true with audio interfaces.

    In otherwords...not all USB 1.1 equipment should be expected to perform at the same level.

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