Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Orion Satori
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:38 pm

Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by Orion Satori » Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:08 am

Too many choices with no logical direction. Very little data is given on any of these cards, so what do I go off of to decide which card? I'm using a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24. I've looked at the compatibility chart, which is somewhat useful, but is still somewhat vague. Assuming it's a good brand with a good chipset, what makes a $70 card better than a $30 card?

BentoSan
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:48 am

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by BentoSan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:49 am

Make sure its a texas instruments card, i know first hand they work and have quality drivers - a bit of research on google would tell you the same.

jestermgee
Posts: 3680
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Contact:

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by jestermgee » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:59 am

BentoSan wrote:Make sure its a texas instruments card, i know first hand they work and have quality drivers - a bit of research on google would tell you the same.
I think you are confusing the FireWire chip in the PC side. TI FireWire chips are indeed best, but not what you would look for in the sound card.

Audio output will probably be the same from one card to another. Just look at the frequency Spanish of the output. The extra price will probably start applying to the opamps for the inputs and mic pre amps as well as additional inputs and outputs.nif it's purely for sound output almost anything will be comparable these days.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4133
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:03 pm

nope, i think the OP is talking about something like this:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw800 ... ard34.html

jestermgee
Posts: 3680
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Contact:

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by jestermgee » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:10 pm

Ah, my bad. Should read it properly... Then forget most of what I said then. :roll:

Orion Satori
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:38 pm

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by Orion Satori » Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:56 pm

BentoSan wrote:Make sure its a texas instruments card, i know first hand they work and have quality drivers - a bit of research on google would tell you the same.
I already know TI is good, but spending lots of time on google hasn't answered my question of why a $60 is better than a $30 card, if they both use TI. I see absolutely no comparisons anywhere between cards.
fishmonkey wrote:nope, i think the OP is talking about something like this:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw800 ... ard34.html

Yup.

Tyko
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:20 am
Contact:

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by Tyko » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:01 pm


Hermanus
Posts: 1648
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:47 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by Hermanus » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:08 pm

jestermgee wrote:
BentoSan wrote:Make sure its a texas instruments card, i know first hand they work and have quality drivers - a bit of research on google would tell you the same.
I think you are confusing the FireWire chip in the PC side. TI FireWire chips are indeed best, but not what you would look for in the sound card.

Audio output will probably be the same from one card to another. Just look at the frequency Spanish of the output. The extra price will probably start applying to the opamps for the inputs and mic pre amps as well as additional inputs and outputs.nif it's purely for sound output almost anything will be comparable these days.

BentoSam was Right for sure.

Many many require TI chipset or at least they work without any problem, not the same joy with other chipsets...
example: Focusrite>> Texas Instruments chipset strongly recommended.

One thing though, expresscard ports are becoming rare on new laptops

Orion Satori
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:38 pm

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by Orion Satori » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:44 pm

Vimid wrote:Orion what are you doing with http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw800 ... ard34.html ?
Playing...music? I'm not sure how else to answer that question. lol, what exactly is needed to be known for it to be relevant to my question? Music is going from the firewire card to my audio interface, same as in any situation with a firewire card and an audio interface. Not trying to be a smart ass, I just don't really understand the point of the question.

I take it no one really knows if a more expensive card is actually any better.

crumhorn
Posts: 2503
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:04 pm

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by crumhorn » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:03 pm

I had a cheap firewire express card and something has broken off it and remained lodged in the socket, now I can't plug anything into it without getting it repaired.

I can't say for sure that this would not have happened with a more expensive card, but it's enough to make me cautious in future.
"The banjo is the perfect instrument for the antisocial."

(Allow me to plug my guitar scale visualiser thingy - www.fretlearner.com)

savyurrecords
Posts: 320
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:38 am
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by savyurrecords » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:14 pm

There isn't going to be a side by side comparison that will help.

Just get one with a TI chipset and hope for the best. That is the only way to know if it works with your particular setup.

rikhyray
Posts: 3644
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by rikhyray » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:43 pm

Orion Satori wrote:
I already know TI is good, but spending lots of time on google hasn't answered my question of why a $60 is better than a $30 card, if they both use TI. I see absolutely no comparisons anywhere between cards.
fishmonkey wrote:nope, i think the OP is talking about something like this:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw800 ... ard34.html

Yup.
The one here is FW800 so that justifies higher price, worth it if you have FW800 devices

Orion Satori
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:38 pm

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by Orion Satori » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:36 pm

rikhyray wrote:
Orion Satori wrote:
I already know TI is good, but spending lots of time on google hasn't answered my question of why a $60 is better than a $30 card, if they both use TI. I see absolutely no comparisons anywhere between cards.
fishmonkey wrote:nope, i think the OP is talking about something like this:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw800 ... ard34.html

Yup.
The one here is FW800 so that justifies higher price, worth it if you have FW800 devices
That was just an example someone posted - not a specific card I was looking at. I think I'll compromise and get a card for about 45 bucks instead of 30 or 70.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4133
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:40 pm

one consideration is going with a solid company that will continue to develop their drivers...

TheUriah
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 9:42 am

Re: Are more expensive firewire expresscards better?

Post by TheUriah » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:26 pm

From the side of a consumer/prosumer, company support is key, yes. From the purely quality concern side, what you are looking for and likely paying for, is the quality of the D/A, A/D converters, and if it has them, the preamps.

And by quality convertors, I don't just mean the sample rate. 2 products can have the same sample rate while one does much higher quality D/A,A/D conversion. ( Heck, at my school many of the teachers complained when they got rid of a Studer Digital console to install a Pro Tools Icon and HD convertors. The reason for the switch was that the Studer only did 96k while the Pro Tools converters did 192k....though by comparison tests and also by the ears of MANY pro engineers, the Studer A/D convertors sound WAY better at 96k than the HD cards do at 192k.)

I recommend checking reviews at Gearslutz.com ( That place tends to be populated by real pro engineers who can give you a very qualified opinion. )

Post Reply