Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

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mekanism1200
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Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by mekanism1200 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:11 am

I'm in the market for a new interface, and have been eyeing the Focusrite Saffire 14 as it has virtual routing capabilities that no other company has in this price range. I have noticed for the price the firewire interfaces are much cheaper for the amount of I/O's and features you get compared to the USB stuff. My Windows laptop has a firewire 400 port which I'm assuming would work for this.

Would I be shooting myself in the foot long term as firewire becomes obsolete or I'm guessing as long as I dont upgrade my computer I'm fine?

For those of you using firewire how stable is it compared to USB 2.0?

Machinesworking
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Machinesworking » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:31 am

Firewire is dead stable on OSX. Yes, for Windows laptops you might be shooting yourself in the foot.
With Apple they sell a firewire to thunderbolt converter, so it won't be obsolete for years.

This all depends on how stable USB3 to firewire converters are for Windows 10 really.

Emanresu0891
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Emanresu0891 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:36 am

I have this interface. I have not used it with windows, but I have had problems with osx.
In Elcapitan the os will shut off the device when the os thinks its not and use. The only way to get the device to work again is to reboot the system.
In Yosemite the device will stop working when the system goes into sleep mode which again you have to restart the system.


On the focusrite website it says that you are not suppose to unlpug or plug in the device unless the computer is completely shut down because it can ruin your firewire port.
I dont know if you have a thunderbolt port on your computer but you can hook the device up via a thunderbolt adaptor... This is how I use mine.


I traded in a focusrite 2i2 for this interface not really knowing about the issues before hand.
Its a decent interface but I feel its definitely at the end of its life cycle.
If I could go back I would have just spent more money on a usb 3 interface.... But I didn't and since the work around for the issues are simple (dont allow the computer to enter sleep mode) I guess I will keep it for as long as possible.

That said If I am having issues on mac I can imagine pulling my hair out with windows 10. Every interface I have had has serious problems with windows.

beatz01
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by beatz01 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:13 am

The key with Firewire is to make sure your machine has a Texas Instruments FW chip.My laptop hasn't, so i bought a Cardbus FW card with TI chip instead (i didn't even bother to see if the onboard FW would work simply because i know it's not TI).Works like a charm with my totally outdated Firewire audio interface.No crackles, no dropouts, nothing.

There are plenty of good USB interfaces out there, but for me the advantage of FW is a) you're utilizing a bus that's totally seperate from the USB stream and ) bang/bucks ratio.

If my laptop had a USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt port, i'd probably go for a TB interface because it can't be beaten latency wise.

So yes, FW still makes totally sense i think.

Guillermo Barrancos
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Guillermo Barrancos » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:24 am

I wouldn't buy Firewire anymore. It's obsolete technology and as such many haven't updated their drivers in years.

And the Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter from Apple is hit or miss really. With my old M-Audio FW Interface it was a miss. Didn't work.
Luckily I could bring the adapter back for refund (they are expensive).

So I wouldn't do it. Go either USB or Thunderbolt.

But beware, if you run Windows 10 and/or OSX 10.11, stay away from Presonus and Focusrite. Go for either Steinberg or RME.
I had a lot of issues with Focusrite ( 2i2 and 6i6 ) and traded it in for Steinberg UR44. This Interface is rock solid so far.

Gnuus
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Gnuus » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:34 am

I can recommend the Zoom TAC-2 thunderbolt interface, really fantastic!
1.45 ms latency!
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malenko
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by malenko » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:29 pm

I also have this interface, the DSP version running on Windows 7 and I bought it shortly after it was released. I've not had a problem since owning it although I always find myself scratching my head when trying to change things on it through the GUI, and the second headphone output has given up. But apart from that it's been great and extremely stable.
It is plugged in constantly in my studio so never moves. I went for firewire back then because it was a great way to have a dedicated way to port my audio without using usb of which I wasn't a fan of at the time. Yeah the tech is becoming outdated but if you get it working, it works extremely well.
Not tried it with windows 10 though, and as someone has already mentioned, make sure you have a Texas Instruments Firewire chip.
Also check the DSP version, the VRM is great if your gonna use headphones a lot.

doghouse
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by doghouse » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:19 pm

I'm using a Saffire Pro40 with the Apple Thunderbolt-FW800 adapter. Keep in mind you also will need a FW400 to FW800 cable :? because FW audio interfaces are all FW400.

Don't let the computer go to sleep and you'll have no issues. I always fire up interface first, then the computer, finally launch Live. Then close in opposite order...Live, then computer, then interface. Works perfectly every time.

BTW that holds true whether it's FW, USB, Windows, Mac. Letting your computer sleep is just asking for trouble with peripherals.

Of course, you can now buy Thunderbolt interfaces including ones from Focusrite. If I was buying a new interface for a Mac today, that's what I would get. I don't think we'll see USB 3 interfaces for a while.

chrk
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by chrk » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:33 pm

malenko wrote:I also have this interface, the DSP version
Also check the DSP version, the VRM is great if your gonna use headphones a lot.
... he's talking about the 14, not the 24...

The Saffire 24 pro dsp seems to be delisted, you don't find it on the Focusrite site anymore, not even in the download (i.e. support) area. And looking at European online stores, I don't see many FW interfaces anymore.
I went for firewire back then because it was a great way to have a dedicated way to port my audio without using usb of which I wasn't a fan of at the time.
I've gone the same way, too, also with the 24 dsp, for exactly the same reason, plus I wanted to keep audio, controllers and external drives apart. You don't want an audio stream and data transport accidentally running into the same internal USB hub, do you?

Guillermo Barrancos
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Guillermo Barrancos » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:33 pm

doghouse wrote:
Of course, you can now buy Thunderbolt interfaces including ones from Focusrite. If I was buying a new interface for a Mac today, that's what I would get. I don't think we'll see USB 3 interfaces for a while.
If they are smart we will not see USB 3 Interfaces at all, but an immediate jump to USB-C. As a lot of the new Laptops come with USB-C now, instead of Thunderbolt/DisplayPort.

Tagor
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Tagor » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:16 pm

If you plan to use it only for 2 Years, then go for it. It should serve you well in thst time.
But if you want use it for 5 Years i would re-think.

malenko
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by malenko » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:21 pm

... he's talking about the 14, not the 24...


Sorry my bad, indeed I was. Didn't know they not making anymore either. Deffo worth picking up a second or refurbed one then

Machinesworking
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by Machinesworking » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:50 pm

Guillermo Barrancos wrote:
doghouse wrote:
Of course, you can now buy Thunderbolt interfaces including ones from Focusrite. If I was buying a new interface for a Mac today, that's what I would get. I don't think we'll see USB 3 interfaces for a while.
If they are smart we will not see USB 3 Interfaces at all, but an immediate jump to USB-C. As a lot of the new Laptops come with USB-C now, instead of Thunderbolt/DisplayPort.
Honestly my guess is USB 3 becomes the standard, I think developers are taking a huge risk with Thunderbolt. Audio is really a very slow technology, if you can run an RME interface on USB 2 with extremely low latency and no issues then the interface hasn't been an issue for a while. It's the quality of the drivers etc. Even using all the ins and outs of your device, USB 2 is fast enough. USB 3 just ensures that there's plenty of room for low bandwidth things to not interfere. Even using a USB 2 interface on a USB 3 port is enough .

mekanism1200
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by mekanism1200 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:56 pm

Thanks for the replies guys. Good tip on the chipset type, I believe my chipset is TI but will re-check. The port on my laptop is a mini FireWire port so its already 400. The one thing that sucks is it doesn't supply power so I would have to use the wall wort with any interface on that output.

I haven't seen many USB 3 interfaces or type C stuff either. M Audio has new interfaces that use type C but have heard their drivers are unreliable. I wish I could find a USB 3 interface that can do what the saffire 14 does as I have 2 USB 3 ports, but it looks like FireWire is the way to go for my needs.

nuxnamon
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Re: Too risky to buy a firewire interface these days?

Post by nuxnamon » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:04 pm

just to add.. I transitioned from a mac pro to a imac 5K (thunderbolt only, no FW) and used a FW>TB adapter and it worked flawlessly. This was a RME FF800.. Shortly after, I sold my RME and bought a apollo blackface for the UAD plugins.. while UAD plugins are great, latency wise, I saw very little difference and I was actually getting a bit better latency with the RME in comparison to the Apollo.. long story short, FW still works great as far as RME (I think they do their own drivers like metric Halo).. anyways, good luck..

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