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Old April 25th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #1
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Firewire Audio Interfaces

Hi everyone!

I'm composing music as a hobby, and now it looks like I'm going to need some more professional equipment, but because I also do film, I decided I need something that I can use for both.
The most universal and mobile way to go is, as it seems, either a firewire or a USB audio interface, with balanced XLR inputs, phantom power, and preamps. With such setup I can connect it to any PC, a laptop in particular, connect the mic, launch some multitrack recording app like GarageBand, Sountrack Pro, Cubase, Logic, or any other, and there we have our sound recording kit.

So far, there's M-Audio Firewire 410, Edirol FA-66 (which among all others is the only unit that lets you record @ 192kHz), and a couple more, like Echo and ugly overpriced Mbox from Digidesign (I really don't like its color and shape, so I doubt I'm ever gonna buy it :grin: ).
I also encountered UR-80, which seems as an ideal solution for me, - a nice small mixing surface connected via USB; low latency input, 2 XLR ins with phantom power and good preamps, 24bit/96khz recording, + direct control over the levels of the input without the need to touch the mixer on the screen. Of course, all of the faders and buttons are reassignable, as they simply send a MIDI signal which can be directed to any function in the multitrack software (I use Cubase). There's also a review of UR-80 I found. The only small drawback I found is that it seems that it can't be powered off USB, while, say, Firewire 410 can be powered from a 6pin firewire bus.

* Picture of the rear side of the interface (the round INs you see are universal inputs, XLR+1/4" combined).

Also there is another device from Edirol, 'targeted at the video market', M100FX. I find the effects a bit useless, since I can do it all in 'post', and also I cannot control more than 6 channels, whereas with UR-80 I can switch 'groups' of controls with controlling up to 32 channels.

If you're on budget, there is TASCAM US-122, for $199, with preamps and 2 XLR ins.

All units in this price range have only 2 XLR ins (the only exception is Presonus Firepod with 8 XLR ins for $599).

My question would be, does anyone have some particular interfaces in mind? For below $1000 I don't really see any alternatives apart from those mentioned, but maybe there's some kick ass piece of gear I haven't heard about? :)

EDIT: Note to admins - it'd really help to make the links a brighter shade of blue so they can be distinguishable or at least underline them.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 09:23 AM   #2
 
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Ironically, you missed the echo in your list, and I'd put them first in the sub 1K range. www.echoaudio.com
Then the M-Audio would fall in line after the Echo.
I'm a little confused by your comment about "connecting to any PC/laptop in particular" and then you go on to mention Apple applications, but I'm probably misunderstanding something there.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 09:51 AM   #3
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1 - Yeah, I didn't mention their Firewire8 unit, mostly because of its size.
2 - PC means Personal Computer, doesn't it? I didn't say Windows-based PC. I know, PC is mostly used in that content.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 10:11 AM   #4
 
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the EchoFire is only a couple inches longer, and not as deep as the M-Audio, per square inch they're likely nearly the same.
If you're in Apple-land, don't discount MOTU. Great stuff on the Apple side of the fence.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #5
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Thanks! I'll consider MOTU.
I noticed their units are more expensive, but have a lot more functions, and from my sound sources I know MOTU is outstanding in terms of clarity and noise level.
+ Most of them record in 24bit/192kHz
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