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Best portable firewire interface for Merom MacBook Pro?

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:22 am
by last man on earth
I finally have the $ to get an interface to use portably (I've been using my MX002, but it sucks and always gives me firewire drops - bullshit). I'm now using a Merom MBP.

Anyway, in researching the subject, I came across some pretty intersting info on the RME website regarding firewire, which is convincing me to possibly go for a
Fireface 400

but I would even consider the
Apogee Duet

or the new
MOTU Ultralite 3

- out of the three, I would say that it's a tie between the MOTU and the RME, based strictly on outputs. I have also been thinking about getting the TI Snow since it works as an audio interface, but the USB thing doesn't appeal to me.

On the RME site, they make some pretty interesting allegations regarding the inferiority of firewire technology used by other companies ... o_firewire

and I wanted to know if anyone had any good or bad reviews for either of the pieces mentioned above. Or, if you know of something else that isn't as popular but works great, feel free to chime in.

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:54 am
by duluxdog
I have a Presonus Firebox. I'm happy with it. I plugged it in and can't remember having to even do much to get it to work. Good product.

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:18 pm
by swishniak
im in the same place - need a new portable firewire interface. that RME page is an intersting read. it seems like they know what theyre doing.. and they sound really good.

but i ordered one of the new ultralites for a few reasons; a couple exciting new features (onboard dsp), the cue mix software, and its 300 euros cheaper!

still waiting to get it though..

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:28 pm
by Tarekith
Ultralite is my vote.

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:43 pm
by m:o
love my multiface

but, don't miss to check out the Metric Halo interfaces - superb too

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:15 pm
by leedsquietman
RME are the king of interfaces for which you pay a (often substantial) premium.

Their converters are usually better than most other consumer audio interfaces and they have always been capable of running on very low latencies, although certain cheaper FW chipsets and getting a good configuration (esp on PC) are big factors on performance.

MOTU's interfaces give you better than average converters and a lot of features for less money, although they are not exactly cheap either.

In an ideal world, you'd be able to audition them all to see which gives the best performance to price ratio, but as we know that is unlikely these days with open box and return policies being what they are.

Metric Halo - excellent but be prepared to remortgage your house to afford one ;)

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:19 pm
by Rahlo
m:o wrote:don't miss to check out the Metric Halo interfaces - superb too
+1. The Metric Halo interfaces are among the best out there. They also have dsp, and very, very low latency drivers.

You can check them out at here.

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:02 pm
by Daim
having a motu ultralite myself i recommend the rme

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:45 pm
by dcease
rme. latency is fairly low, not sure how low you need to go, i can *reliably* get mine down to ~11.5 ms on my mbp, even better performance on my ole p.4 xp machine, ~6-7 ms ( that's round trip for both systems). sound is nice, i/o is good, very flexible. i plan on adding another 8 inputs via adat soon (prolly the motu 8 pre). the stability is fuckin awesome. VERY portable, small footprint, connectors all click satisfactorily. VERY limited front panel level metering, the single knob is actually pretty quick to use for setting i/o levels, but really only useful for the phones/mix outs.

i've tried a few diff interface's, and the totalmix software is cool, ultimately the reason i went with rme. fuck interfaces w/o direct monitoring, and great software to route with. if you do decide for the ff400, haggle a bit with your dealer, i picked mine up for ~900usd, brand new (was 1150), cause i was *more interested* in the ultralite <snicker>.

those mh's look real nice, ass well... but i'm not currently on the market for another interface :wink: (although i'm sure i wouldn't be with one of them, either!!!)

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:56 pm
by last man on earth
Good recommendations, folks - thanks.

I think if I had money for a Metric Halo, I still wouldn't get one since I would probably want to throw down for a desktop synth to go with that interface, but that's for another time.

So far as the metric halo's go, they wouldn't fit my needs anyway, since they don't seem to be bus powered, which is a minus for MH even though their specs are worthy otherwise.

Points to dcease for mentioning expanding via ADAT which is also knocks out the MOTU, and pretty much anything else but the RME, so I'll probably go for that. Direct Monitoring (FTW!) is also definitely a plus, so the RME keeps gaining points, along with converter quality being on the upper end and the firewire stuff that I have mentioned as well. I do wish that the FF400 had 600 or 800 MBPS, but it's tolerable for what I want to do with it, which is gig.

Good warranty and resale value on the piece make the RME a winner - I may even try to pick one up used, if I can find one, although I'm not worried about haggling - used to work retail, so the local guys know when they see me that a) I know what I want when I come in so they aren't wasting time and b) they are going to get ground by the best grinder on the block :twisted: .

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:12 pm
by Rahlo
last man on earth wrote: So far as the metric halo's go, they wouldn't fit my needs anyway, since they don't seem to be bus powered, which is a minus for MH even though their specs are worthy otherwise.

I only use my metric halo box bus powered. I don't even know where the adapter is, to be honest.

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:01 am
by dysanfel
The Duet is bus powered and thus extremely portable. Plus, the converters and preamps sound incredible.