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-   -   Mixer Board for 2010 Mac Pros (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/486930-mixer-board-2010-mac-pros.html)

Ray Ellis November 2nd, 2010 09:52 AM

Mixer Board for 2010 Mac Pros

I just purchased a 3.33Ghz 6-Core Mac Pro and of course, my Tascam FW-1884 is not supported by this new computer. Tascam has discontinued this board and has no plans to update any drivers. So currently, my Dynaudio Acoustics BM5A's are sitting idle and I have to monitor audio through the speakers on the Cinema Display.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a mixer board that will work with the new 2010 Mac Pros. I would even settle for a small mixer without the versatility of the FW-1884 just to be able to monitor audio again. Any advice is much appreciated.

Ray Ellis
Footpath Pictures
Raleigh, NC

Steve House November 2nd, 2010 10:28 AM

Are you looking for a mixer per se or are you looking for a digital mixer that will include the audio interface A/D converters?

Ray Ellis November 2nd, 2010 11:06 AM

I would settle for just a mixer at this point to save some money. I can wait and evaluate digital mixers with all the bells and whistles later on.

Steve House November 2nd, 2010 12:36 PM

What will you use to convert the analog to digital and get it in/out of the Mac. Planning on using the builtin soundcard or do you have another inteface

Ray Ellis November 2nd, 2010 01:47 PM

Just using the built in sound card. The FW-1884 ran me about $1000 four or five years ago. I'd like to find another FireWire board (800 instead of 400 since the new Macs don't have FW400 ports) with XLR or Phono outputs to feed my speakers for around $500 or less. I can go with four channel instead of eight and be fine. I have a client review coming up next week so I kind of need something fast to feed sound to the Dynaudio speakers.

As you probably can tell, I'm not well versed in audio. I'm mainly a cameraperson and editor.

Thanks, Ray

Ray Ellis
Footpath Pictures
Raleigh NC

Andrew Stone November 2nd, 2010 11:35 PM


Are you familiar with Firewire Audio Interfaces? This is how most people (musicians, sound engineers and so on) drive their monitors as well as receive inputs and outputs. Your Dynaudio monitors are probably self powered so you just need to control the levels. I know more than a few who had your TASCAM unit and abandoned it as it took up a lot of real estate and it was overkill for their needs.

I run an audio interface (MOTU Traveler mk III) for my ins and out and use a Mackie Universal controller to send midi back and forth from it to my DAW (Logic, Ableton Live, Reason and FCP). Not suggesting you go this route but most audio people do ins and outs from an audio interface and if they go protools and the like they get a mixing console if they are audio mixing pros that specialize in that.

If you really want to go back to the TASCAM kind of unit you might want to look at the Mackie Onyx line. They have come down in price over the past couple of years and of course mackie mixers are the ones by which others are measured.

If you want to consider an audio interface look at both firewire and USB 2.0 interfaces. MOTU, Presonus and M-Audio immediately come to mind. There are over 20 manufacturers of well known audio interfaces ranging from a couple of hundred bucks to a few grand. Quite a few good ones in the $400 to $1200 range depending on the number of channels and features you want.


Just reread your orginal post. I know your speakers are self powered. And this may sound ghetto but it will give you an immediate solution and that is to run your monitors from the audio out on your MacPro and make sure you set the levels in your sound control panel before you hook them up and cook the bass driver. This will buy you some time. You'll just have to pick up or fashion yourself a cable in the mean time.

Finally you can hook up a Firewire 400 to a Firewire 800 port without any issues. Most computer stores now stock 400 to 800 cables.

Ray Ellis November 3rd, 2010 08:53 AM

Thanks Andrew! Lots of great information. I think your advice on firewire audio interfaces is the way I should go and hold off on the controller until more are compatible with 64bit Snow Leopard. The MOTU you mentioned looks nice, but probably out of my price range. I may go with the Presonus FireStudio Project 10x10 which is just under $500.

I really appreciate all the helpful information!

Ray Ellis
Footpath Pictures
Raleigh, NC

Andrew Stone November 3rd, 2010 08:26 PM

Spend a day reading up on firewire interfaces, not just the few brands I mentioned. I got the Traveler because I can power it with a 12 volt battery and use it as a field mixer but MOTU have other options that give you more bang for the buck. Check their website. Also you might want to check for local used on craigslist. Musicians are often in need of money and will sell off gear to pay for rent and groceries or kids just get over their head with gear payments. A lot like students and motorcycles.

Good luck in your search but spend a bit of time researching. It will pay off in the end. I have seen good used MOTU 896HD units going for a few hundred dollars. This is an excellent unit and the Ultralite is another one that is excellent especially if you do remote setups with a laptop for video or if you are a dj/turntablist or the like. You don't have to get this year's model of a MOTU unit to be in business.

Kevin Spahr November 7th, 2010 06:46 AM

I always look for equipment that does not require drivers.

Interfaces such as USB and FIREWIRE have set standards and can be designed so that they conform to these standards - like most external hard drives.

If an external audio device needs a driver the maker is locking you into something or locking you out of something. Either way you will end up getting burned.

If everyone would avoid equipment requiring drivers this problem would disappear real quick!

Jon Braeley November 7th, 2010 08:00 AM

For the Mac I use Focuswrite - the Saffire. This is the new version:

Saffire PRO 24 DSP Audio Interfaces Saffire PRO 24 DSP

I run a surround 5-speaker set up from my Saffire. This works well with Soundtrack Pro which I run in surround sound mode for mixing and output to Dolby 5.1 (Final output is DVD).

I thought the days of physical mixers were over.

Steve House November 7th, 2010 08:08 AM

Harware always requires drivers - that's the nature of an operating system. Your monitor, your keyboard, your mouse all require a driver to permit the OS core to communicate with them. The question is really whether the hardware is sufficiently generic and the drivers required sufficiently standardized for them to be bundled along with the operating system when you install it or if the hardware has unique functionality or ways of implementing its functionality that the manufacturer provides his own drivers to address. Like HP didn't release an updated Windows 7 driver for my older HP photo printer. The generic printer driver in Win 7 works just fine for printing but there are a few non-standard printer functions, like display orf remaining ink levels on the screen, that don't work without a specific updated driver from HP.

Steve House November 7th, 2010 08:16 AM


Originally Posted by Jon Braeley (Post 1585669)
For the Mac I use Focuswrite - the Saffire. This is the new version:

Saffire PRO 24 DSP Audio Interfaces Saffire PRO 24 DSP

I run a surround 5-speaker set up from my Saffire. This works well with Soundtrack Pro which I run in surround sound mode for mixing and output to Dolby 5.1 (Final output is DVD).

I thought the days of physical mixers were over.

Some people still like the tactile feel of fingers on physical sliders or the twist of a control knob. It's hard to get a feel for the subtlelty and musicality of a mix making mouse moves over rubber bands on the screen

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