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Old October 26th, 2006, 01:00 PM   #1
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FireWire hub - good idea or not?

I tried to get a feel for whether FireWire hubs are a good idea for video editing or not. I got very mixed results from a search, but mostly in fairly old posts, so I am hoping for some feedback from more recent experience that you guys may have made.

My equipment includes an early 20" Intel iMac with two FireWire-400 ports, a Sony HDV camera, two FireWire harddrives, and a Tascam firewire mixer. To that, I will likely add another FireWire audio device for more audio outputs in the not too distant future.

Right now, I always have the two external harddrives connected (the first one to the iMac, the second one to the other port of the first). The iMac's second port I use either for the mixer of the camera, depending on what I need at the time.

To extend this setup (or make it more convenient), I can think of either chaining devices more (such as adding the mixer to the harddrive chain), or using a FireWire hub. I don't know much about this topic, but I expect that either approach may have some difficulties or things to consider.

Any advise would be appreciated!

- Martin
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:48 PM   #2
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Devices like video capturing, sound capturing, control surfaces, etc. will play up as soon as you put a firewire hub in line. I think a lot comes down to the individual device. Some will function fine on an externally powered hub, others will not. Check the documentation of the specific devices. I currently have four Lacie Firewire 400 Hard Drives daisy chained, with no issues so far. So maybe keep your hard drives on one firewire bus/point, and your audio gear on another. You could try putting a hub AFTER any gear that is incompadible with a hub.

Same with USB. Some devices work fine via a hub - others will not. For example, my ProTools M-Box will not work properly when you put it via a HUB.

As you can't add any more Firewire ports on your iMac, I guess you'll just have to play around until you can get all your devices working...

Hope this helps...
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:49 PM   #3
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Oh, and I ALWAYS keep my camera/deck on a SEPERATE firewire port for capturing.

Maybe a Firewire Switch (ie. so you can route specific firewire devices to you machine when you need them) is worth looking into?

See: http://www.signvideo.com/firewire-switch-ieee-1394.htm
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