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Old September 9th, 2006, 10:05 PM   #1
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External Sound Card for Mac Pro?

Stopped by Guitar Center today to try and get an adapter that would let me connect my M-Audio LX4's studio monitors to the new Mac Pro. They connect via 1/4" Balanced TRS plugs. They only had one type of 1/8" to 1/4" TRD female adapter but it wasn't balanced.

I wondered about simply porting the M-Audio Audiophile 192 card over until I realized it was a PCI card....Mac Pros only have PCI-x I believe.

The specialist at Guitar Center suggested I invest in an EXTERNAL sound card. What is a relatively good one without breaking the bank. The only requirements I have is that it will accept the 1/4" balanced TRS plugs from my LX4s and maybe even an onboard XLR for when I want to use the Voice-Over feature in FCP. TIA
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Old September 10th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #2
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The Fast Track Pro by M-Audio is decent. I use one w/my MBP and like it a lot. It has two 1/4" TRS balanced outputs, and two XLR mic ins that are great for VO recording. About $250 i think.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 06:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
...
The specialist at Guitar Center suggested I invest in an EXTERNAL sound card. What is a relatively good one without breaking the bank. The only requirements I have is that it will accept the 1/4" balanced TRS plugs from my LX4s and maybe even an onboard XLR for when I want to use the Voice-Over feature in FCP. TIA
You might want to consider the new AudioFire 4 from Echo. 2 Univeral XLR Mic & TRS Line/DI inputs, 2 more TRS line inputs, 4 TRS Outputs, SPDIF I/O, plus MIDI ... http://www.echoaudio.com/Products/Fi...ire4/index.php
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Old September 12th, 2006, 10:12 AM   #4
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Is there any benefit or drawbacks to the USB vs the Firewire units?
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Old September 12th, 2006, 01:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
Is there any benefit or drawbacks to the USB vs the Firewire units?
These days in firewire vs usb for sound cards is pretty dead. What fits your needs go for it. For external audio cards, firewire or usb the biggest difference is in the drivers. Audio manufactures could use top quality parts in a device and then make lame drivers that either cause trouble or could actually affect the quality of the sound.

Example is (there getting much better) Motu. Their devices use to seem to always work well on macs but for lots of pc people there was nothing but trouble. The problem wasnít firewire, usb, or the electronic parts in the device but the drivers to communicate. There was so much different pc hardware the drivers werenít very supportive.

That said sure whenever you need to record 12 or 24 channels of audio simultaneously firewire has proven more reliable because of the bus architecture, but in this case no difference.

That said the Fast track pro performs quite well for its price. Iíve used one on a pc (not a mac) and it performs fairly stable. You mentioned doing voice over work, the pres in the fast track pro are not magical you get what you pay for but it does the job.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 01:56 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the input.

I ended up ordering the M-Audio Firewire Solo ($189) from B&H today.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #7
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That's the one I ordered as well...120 off of ebay...I had to ship it to the states though and some friends have shipped it to me in Thailand...should be here soon...can't wait to play around with it...love that it can do Pro Tools as well...though not Pro Tools DV

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Old September 13th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #8
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I have been following this thread bacause I'm in a similar situation. I have an LX4 system that I want to connect to a new iMac. But, am I correct, that the solutions suggested here all refer to a 2.1 setup? For 2.1, I already have a Griffin iMic that, I think, will give me a stereo output, and the ability to add voice-over at a sound quality equal to miniDV. What external devices are available for connecting the LX4 5.1 setup? Thanks.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 01:34 PM   #9
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Wow that's actually a really good question. I never even thought about the concept of trying to connect a 5.1 system.

Looking forward to seeing th responses on this as well.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 06:05 PM   #10
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Just a heads up if anyone is interested. There are currently NO firewire Mobile Audio Interfaces that currently work with the Mac Pro. I found this out after experiencing difficulty in having the Mac Pro recognize my M-Audio Firewire Solo. Apparently they changed the firewire architecture on the Mac Pros and M-Audio is working on releasing a driver that will allow the Firewire units to be used. Currently there isn't any known issues with comparable USB units.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 02:56 PM   #11
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I just found out the M-Audio firewire/Mac Pro thing myself. I am in the process of switching over to Mac, and just purchased a Mac Pro last week. I couldn't get it to recognize my Firewire 410, contacted support and they confirm, no workie with Mac Pro. No ETA on updated drivers.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 04:10 PM   #12
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Well, heck, they posted the drivers today! I'm in the process of downloading and will let you guys know about the Firewire 410.

Glen, driver is for the Firewire Solo too.

http://m-audio.com/index.php?do=support.drivers

UPDATE: So far so good with the new driver. The Mac Pro recognizes it, and I got sound, which is further than I've been able to get.
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Last edited by Sheila Ward; September 28th, 2006 at 06:31 PM.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Schweer
What external devices are available for connecting the LX4 5.1 setup? Thanks.
I connect a Logitech 5.1 monitor system through a MOTU Traveller. When playing a DVD the controller takes in 2 audio channels (AES or TOSlink from the computer) and does the demuxing (surround mode). When working with FCP you have to assign the channels as you want them and the 6 individual inputs come from 6 analog outputs from the Traveller (direct mode).
[Logitech added]

Last edited by A. J. deLange; September 28th, 2006 at 08:36 PM.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #14
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Another one to take a look at is the Presonus Inspire 1394 for about the same price, under $200 http://presonus.com/inspire1394.html
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 01:05 PM   #15
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A. J., that MOTU Traveller looks like a solution, but for me it might be like buying a Ferrari to drive to the grocery store. I guess I'm looking to something like this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

but that can be used with an Intel Mac. Do you think a device of this general quality would suffice? Or something between the MOTU and this?
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