Advice on some firewire soundcards

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Advice on some firewire soundcards

Post by martianredskies » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:03 am

After a rather terrible/disastrous experience doing an Ableton live set (glitches, audio locking up, dead in the water), I've sworn never to go back to USB (which was a ESI U24).

So, I'm looking into a portable firewire device. While multiple Ins/Outs would be great, stability & reliability is at the top of my list. Unless I have 100% faith in the reliability of my hardware, I'm not prepared to perform. I'd rather have no reputation than a bad one :)

But, I've only got about US$200 to expend, which seems to buy a lot. I've narrowed it down to;

-Yamaha GO46 (4 in 6 out + midi), supposedly good preamps though don't know how much experience they have in making soundcards.

-Tapco link Firewire (says 4 x 6, but really it's only 2 analogue in and 4 analogue out unfortunately, and you lose the headphones out).

-Echo AudioFire2 (no bells and whistles, just 2 in and 2 out....but seems to have some backing from the ableton community?)

-Phonic FireFly 302 Plus (3 in 2 outs + midi..... cheap, bout as cheap as I'm confortable going with).

I think i like the robustness of the Yamaha, but i can't find any reviews online or anyone using it by searching the ableton forums.

What are peoples opinions on these cards, and just as a side note.....whats considered the "de facto" soundcard for ableton live laptop musicians and dj's?



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Post by dru » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:17 am

What system are you using? If you're using a Macbook Pro, avoid the Audiofire2 as there's been problems with them from what I've read on the forum (unless they've been fixed?).

I'm using a PreSonus Firebox with my MBP and it's rock solid besides the fact that I need an adapter to boot it up (but can unplug once it's sync'd).

Go the Apogee Duet. :wink:

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Post by Mark-K. » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:28 am

I used to have the EchoAudiofire 2 a few month ago..i got heaps of i plugged it in and after a week or so..the card always f***** up my audio runs through it anymore..even if i plugged another Interface in..i always had to set up the whole mac again with a clean install...then after a week or so same problem..!!!

so i sold it and got an ESI Quatafire610..was quite nice but as i upgraded from an Ibook to a Macbook only two Outputs were i sold it again...and guess what..i bought an Echo Audiofire4..cause it sounds really damn good in my opinion and got very good specs at 128*oversampling..very good converters and yer..enough i/o s to handle my setup..and yer its quite decent..runs like a charme!!

so i can actualy recommend the Audiofire4!!
but lost a lot of money with all that buying and selling...:(

but ok..thats how it is...

good luck

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Post by martianredskies » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:32 am

It's a 2ghz core-2-duo latitude, so running XP.... I think i've tweaked it out as far as it can go, including creating a seperate hardware account running minimal background services specifically for audio work.

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Post by Pasha » Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:15 am

I don't have experiences about the fore mentioned cards, so be good to me...;-)
I got both a MacBook (used now 100% of the time) and a windows PC. I useFCA202 from behringer. Apart the lack of XLR inputs and gains (it accepts only Line signals) it sounds great, never had a problem. I'm running on 128 samples and 8ms latency here @44 Khz, 24bit. I'd recommend one, should cost 99 Euros. If you complement it with the Xenyx 502 Mixer from behringer you have an excellent portable pack for the price. Of course this is not considered pro stuff, but if compared to the problems reported on this forum from more expensive gear.... I'm trying here to respect your budget, but I think that to a have a very reliable sound card you need to go to Edirol FW66, Presonus Firepod and something in the middle. This will cost you more.

- Best
- Pasha
Apple iMac 2013 / Macbook Late 2012
Live 10 Suite,Zebra ,Guitar, Bass, VG99, JV1010 and some controllers
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Post by grizzler » Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:40 am

I have the same problem but i think i am gonna go with FA101

I wanted the limiter on the USB version but the firewire has to win.

Anyone used this ? ... jectId=702

Ableton live 6, X- session , Axiom 25, Mbp 2.2ghz 2gb ram, BCF 2000, Reason 3, Zebra

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Post by bragi0 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:39 am

My MOTU Ultralite is awesome. Never had a driver problem, never had a hardware issue, and it runs fine bus powered from my MPB 17" (C2D). I do externally power it during gigs (what can I say, I'm paranoid).

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Post by martianredskies » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:52 pm

dru's sparked my interest in the PreSonus Firebox, that looks like a powerful & compact lil' box. I heard about some bus powering problems on MBP's, but I use a PC and I've heard a lot of people echo that it is a "no hassle" card.

Besides that, 4 in 8 out + midi is a sweet package.... fits in my budget as well (seen them as low as US$250).

Thanks for all the replies so far


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Post by martianredskies » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:58 pm

The Ultralite is way out of my budget.....and a little overkill for myself. It does look like a hell of a unit though.

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