help with interfaces

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by TheUkProducer, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. I've got to questions here,
    1st one i may answer my self...
    how many of you would chose a firewire interface over a usb? and would you chose the firewire, becuase of the high speed transfer?

    2nd, Ive been looking at interfaces for a little while now and;
    ive got a budget of up to £200 (roughly $400) and £200 is the max as ive been told by a few to buy things way out of my price range.

    Ive looked at usb interfaces and firewire interfaces mainly:

    Lexicon Omega
    M-Audio FireWire 410

    The M-audio seem to get a bad review and has got a few problems with it, so im pretty unsure about heading in that direction.

    On the other hand ive heard good things about the Lexicon Omega apart from one comment.

    I mainly want the interface for recording, a mic (vocals), guitar and maybe at a sound module or a synth keyboard later down the line.

    So can anyone help me out with a few suggestions or a comment on the two above?

    thanks in advance.
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I don't know either of those products personally, though I haven't heard too many good things about M-audio.
    Anyways, I use an Edirol UA-25. Cheap and cheerfull stuff. For the money I paid I'm stoked, easy as to use and clean sound.
    I should hit em up for marketing fees.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    There's a great post by someone about why Firewire beats USB.
    It's to do with USB being a shared protocol and so any device can request bandwidth from the computer and potentially cause dropouts in your audio streaming. Firewire doesn't allow this, so the audio interface *always* has enough bandwidth to carry down it.

    The search isn't being too helpful, as ever. I don't think I've EVER found anything specific using it.
  4. yeah i just read up on the omega, and that is only a usb 1.1 connection so it does have a hard time.

    I think a firewire interface is looking stronger and stronger the more i look into it, just a debate now to go for the m-audio 410 or look for simular in the price range...
    any suggestions, thanks greener for the tip as well im looking at it right now..
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    There's a slight advantage to USB though if configured right as it's a "dumb" protocol. This means that it simply passes the data straight to its intended target (DAW/HD). FW requires additional steps. (Hence the need for a driver for anything Firewire but not necessarily anything USB.) However, as you mentioned, since it is a shared protocol, anything requesting information across the same bus as the USB (say a keyboard/mouse, dongle, etc.) could cause a skip. This is why, if you're using a USB HD or interface, you should minimize all USB connections to only those necessary (use a USB to PS2 adapter for your keyboard and mouse) and if possible, keep your interface and/or hardware on its own bus/irq.

    That being said - check out the TC Konnekt 8. I have it's bigger brother and can tell you, it's an amazing box and it should come in less than $400 USD.

  6. thanks Jeremy, by the big brother i take it you mean the konnekt 24D?

    the TC Konnekt 8, does seem good, but it only has two inputs correct or did i miss something?
  7. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Jun 9, 2008
    People's Republic Of Mancunia
    I don't actually agree with all of this. the reason is fairly straightforward in that, as you say, USB is just a dumb port, while Firewire is isosynchronous, meaning that it guarantees the delivery of time-critical data up to the limits of its data transfer rate. It was designed specifically with multichannel audio and video streaming in mind.
  8. Greener

    Greener Guest

    And like other proprietary formats such as Beta, Firewire will die a lonely death.

    USB is a nifty (cheap) way of sending digital data. Don't be a fool and what you get is a HUGE amount of trouble free streaming.
    If you're a fool and can't get your head around a flow chart, get Firewire.
  9. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta Canada
    Can you elaborate on why and when Firewire will die?

    I'd also like you to elaborate on the flow chart. Perhaps provide one. Maybe explain what you mean to all the "fools" out there, instead of just insulting people.

    Back up your claims. Show us fools what you are talking about.

    I'm getting a little tired of your five plus posts per day filled with what often appear to be insults followed by an insinuation that you know better. I don't know you from a hole in the ground, but you sure come across as a bit of a wanker.
  10. mhutch

    mhutch Guest

    At the risk of being insulted, I agree with VonRock. Greener, I am curious as to why USB would be preferable to Firewire after all the research I've done says otherwise. Not to mention the advise of other people on this forum...

    I apologize in advance if I've made any grammatical errors.

  11. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Firstly. I know nothing, I make everything up and have no empirical evidence to support anything I say, ever. I don't keep paperwork.

    Secondly. What I do with my hands and bits in my free time is my business.

    Thirdly. You put a comma where you should have put a full stop. It's cool mhutch, I forgive you.
    //Edit: If you read your signature as being apart of that post
    then that comma is justified. You run a tight ship mhutch.

    Next up Firewire.

    Firewire is a proprietary protocol and hardware chipset. You can think of it like Beta video tapes.
    USB isn't. You can think of it like VHS tapes.
    Beta was better than VHS. I can still buy and rent VHS.
    Last time I saw Beta was in the 80's...

    Flow chart. Cpu -> bus -> device
    If you go: Cpu -> bus -> device + device it will still work for mice and keyboards but will usually give you errors when streaming a boat load of audio.
    USB can work fine if you understand this... Infact, used like this it will push almost as much data as Firwire.
    But Firewire has expensive built in routing tech which aids people who probably can't figure out how to wank.

    I use my brain, I save dollars and get the job done.

    If that makes me a wanker that insinuates I know better it could be because I am and do.

    If my posts sap your precious energy, vonRocK, don't read them.
    Though I don't think you do actually read them. Most of the time I'm chewing out people getting them to explain wtf they are on about so someone who has the experience can come in and answer helpfully. Some of the time I share things I know and some of the time I poke fun at idiots.

    And sometimes, like this one, I don't know what the ^#$% I'm doing.
  12. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest


    I don't think that firewire is going anywhere. It just might not be built into your Dell/HP computer. If you want something better it will almost always cost more. This is a simple fact about technology.
  13. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Firewire is built into my computer, an Asus.

    Look, I like alot of the features you get with Firewire. And I understand that _all_ off the high end gear comes with Firewire. I'm not knocking it. I just can do exactly the same thing with USB, for a lot cheaper.

    "* USB runs with a 5 V power line, whereas Firewire can supply up to 30 V. "

    So how does my USB 1.1 mic pre give me 48v phantom power?
    A voltage transformer.

    USB 1.1 is fast enough to give 2 channels of 96k 24bit audio streaming.

    USB 2.0 is as fast as Firewire 400... How many channels is that? Enough for a home studio?

    I really can see the day coming when Apple will have a new chipset and protocol to ride and that will be the new industry standard and that's what all the pro-sumer gear will come with... USB will still be chugging along. Just like your PS2 port on your motherboard... Redundant? Yes. Gone? No.
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Well...USB is capable of delivering its entire bandwidth as long as it doesn't have to compete for resources. Firewire, as Greener mentions, takes that guesswork out by negotiating its protocols and connections in advance. If you're careful with system implementation and planning, this should be a non-issue.

    Second, Firewire wasn't designed with multi-channel audio and video in mind, that's just how it found its niche in the market.

    Don't get me wrong -
    I personally use and prefer Firewire interfaces over USB. My only point is that you shouldn't simply rule out USB - it's a viable, tested and reliable format.
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Two analog line inputs (includes the mic pres- which, BTW, are as good as you'll find on any interface), 2 SPDIF channels and/or 8 ADAT inputs.

    Start with this and add a nice pre with digital outs or a separate AD converter and you've got a rockin system that will outlive any of us.
  16. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Dec 25, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    FWIW - I had a FW410 for a few months and it was really bad IMO.

    Everything sounded horribly digital. Granted my skill level wasn't that great, but I wasn't really doing anything at that time other than trying to record an electric guitar with an SM57 and some vocals with an SM58.
    The software also was a bit buggy as I recall. This is going back about 18 months or so.
  17. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta Canada

    I personally don't care what tools somebody uses. A common mantra around here, the equipment is secondary to the skill of the person using it. I come to these forums, and having been doing so for some time, to get advise from people who are in the know.

    Cucco shared some valuable information about USB. He is an obvious professional that wanted to clarify that USB is a perfectly good protocol for recording when it is set up properly. He did not insult anybody who doesn't use it, and he backed up his statements with a simple, consise explanation.

    You just claimed that everybody who uses firewire is a fool, and that it would die a lonely death. That, in my opinion, is bad advise. Firewire is a widely used protocol that is not going to go anywhere soon.

    But then I see the real reason why you don't like Firewire and had to add the snide comment about all of us fools.

    You don't like Apple.

    So please Greener, stop drinking and posting. Don't use sarcasm. And don't give out bad advise interlaced with insults.

    You could have stated that USB is a less expensive protocol that is perfectly good for the data transfer needs of sound recording if properly set up and a common format that will be around for many years to come. You could have added that you dislike buying into proprietry systems like firewire because (insert reasons here).

    Anyways, for the click only crowd that want to know a little more, here is a wiki link to concerning firewire, and another all about USB.

    At this point, both are required reading.
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    One thing of interest in the USB wiki -
    The apple iMac G3 of 1998 was NOT the first computer to offer USB terminals standard. I was selling computers in 96, 97 and 98 and we had Packard Bells, Compaqs and IBMs along with the Macs. The Packard Bells were the first machines that I saw (in mid-97) to have USB plugs. Despite the common gripe that Packard Bells were entirely proprietary, this new architecture that they went to at this time used an ATX form factor motherboard with only a mildly funky power plug (internal from PS to MB). Everything else was quite non-proprietary.

    Just a thought.
  19. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta Canada
    Good eye. Must be one of those Apple zealots trying to steal the glory!


    Here's something from the Firewire Wiki

    "However, the royalty which Apple Inc. and other patent holders initially demanded from users of FireWire (US$0.25 per end-user system) and the more expensive hardware needed to implement it (US$1–$2), both of which have since been dropped, have prevented FireWire from displacing USB in low-end mass-market computer peripherals, where product cost is a major constraint"

    I wonder when they dropped this royalty? And did they drop it in order to compete with USB, or maybe they had well recouped the cost of development?
    Or, like Greener suggested, maybe they have a brand new protocol ready for deployment?
  20. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Interesting questions vonRock,

    I wonder if it applies to both Firewire 400 and 800.
    Going from 400 to 800 looked very much a staged upgrade to keep the royalties rolling in.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Firewire dropped off Mac sometime in the near future.
    Seen a serial port on a Mac recently?

    I'm interested to know the theoretical limit of Firewire. What is the maximum sample rate for 24bit (32bit unsigned data) streaming audio that can be pushed through Firewire 800.

    Anyone know the Kbps for 24bit single channel 48khz and for say 24bit single channel 96khz?
    And what's the kbps bandwidth of Firewire 800?
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