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Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

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Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:51 am

Hi Everyone!

So many musicians are struggling to marry Firewire audio interfaces and DSP units to PCs with varying degrees of success due to Firewire controller chip issues that it seems sensible to amass some recommendations of what's worked well (or not) for you. We'll need to know:

1. FireWire Audio Device:

2. Adaptor Make & Model:
e.g. Belkin F5U504

3. Card Format & Ports: e.g. PCI Express, 2x 400 External, 1x 400 internal

4. Adaptor Controller: e.g. Texas Instruments XIO2200

5. Rating:
Excellent (achieves low latency with no clicks or pops)
Good (works, but not as low a latency as you expected)
OK (mostly works, but with occasional issues)
Poor (drops out a lot, or other issues)
Non-starter (no audio at all).

Over to you!


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Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O

Postby Hypagen » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:17 pm

1. FireWire Audio Device: Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O (Focusrite recommend having this device on its own bus. In order for this device to have it's own firewire bus, it is necessary to install a PCI firewire card with only this device attached.)

2. Adaptor Make & Model: Dynamode PCI-3PFW

3. Card Format & Ports: PCI, External 3 x 400 (1 of which is 4 pin) Internal 1 x FireWire interconnect Port for connecting to PC Case FireWire output port if required.

4. Adaptor Controller: VIA VT6306 (Recommended by Focusrite along with TI TSB43AB22 & NEC uPD72874. Any card used by the Saphire must be OHCI compliant and type 1394a).

5. Rating: Excellent had no problems.
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Focusrite Liquid Mix

Postby Hypagen » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:20 pm

1. FireWire Audio Device: Focusrite Liquid Mix (Focusrite recommend having this device on its own bus. In order for this device to have it's own firewire bus, it is necessary to install a PCI firewire card with only this device attached.)

2. Adaptor Make & Model: Dynamode PCI-3PFW

3. Card Format & Ports: PCI, External 3 x 400 (1 of which is 4 pin) Internal 1 x FireWire interconnect Port for connecting to PC Case FireWire output port if required.

4. Adaptor Controller: VIA VT6306 (Recommended by Focusrite along with TI TSB43AB22 & NEC uPD72874. Any card used by the Liquid Mix must be OHCI compliant and type 1394a).

5. Rating: Excellent had no problems.
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:04 pm

Thanks for starting the ball rolling Hypagen, and for the excellent detail

Anyone else care to contribute?


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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby longfade1 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:32 pm

A friend of mine who's an audio dealer/consultant recommended this one for use with my Liquid Mix:

http://www.amazon.com/SIIG-FireWire-2-Port-PCIe-NN-E20012-S2/dp/B000G6U8VY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1244651472&sr=8-1

I haven't ordered it yet, but will certainly post the results when I get it!
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Mock Element » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:53 pm

1. FireWire Audio Device: : Mackie Onyx400F

2. Adaptor Make & Model: Belkin Firewire 3 Port PCI Card (F5U503 Rev.S-3)

3. Card Format & Ports: PCI, 3 External Ports

4. Adaptor Controller: TI Chipset(unsure of chipset version)

5. Rating: Good

Depending also on whether the 400F is the limiter of a possible lower latency performance, I'm fairly confident this is a good card to solve firewire problems. This goes for all three cards I am reporting...


1. FireWire Audio Device: Onyx400F

2. Adaptor Make & Model: Siig NN-440012-S8

3. Card Format & Ports: 32Bit PCI, 2x 400 External, 1x 400 internal,

4. Adaptor Controller: TSB43AB23 (TI single chip)

5. Rating: Good



1. FireWire Audio Device: Onyx400F

2. Adaptor Make & Model: Lycom PE-101

3. Card Format & Ports: PCI Express, 2x 400 External

4. Adaptor Controller: TI Chipset (unsure of version)

5. Rating: Good. (Still testing as to whether there are any benefits of PCI Express FW cards compared to PCI firewire cards. Seems as though there may be little difference.

Most likely the Onyx400F and its drivers are the 'bottleneck' as all cards perform similarly and without any problems.

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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Hypagen » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:32 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Thanks for starting the ball rolling Hypagen, and for the excellent detail

Martin

No problem, I'm pleased to be able to contribute something useful to the site!
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Drongoloid » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:11 am

hi all. A while ago I started a thread regarding my audiofire 8 and my system freezing when I switched the unit off. I am still doing some research into this and still nothing conclusive. One suggestion from Echo Audio was to insert a third party firewire card.

And this is where I have a few results for this thread. First I bought a Belkin PCI (2 6-pin/ 1 4-pin) card that has a VIA 6306 chipset (looking on the echo website I realised this was chipset that was not recommended). It seemed to work OK but didn't improve things greatly. So I bought a Lacie 400 firewire PCI card; this has a texas instrument chipset and is recommended by Echo. This has been fairly poor causing endless glitches, ticks and pops. This morning I removed it and went back to my onboard (TI chipset)firewire device.

All is OK again on the glitch front - haven't test the freezing issue. On this latter issue I have read recently that different firewire products (I also have an external DVD player (Lacie) that is firewire)should be plugged into different cards.

Sorry this is all a bit garbled but in trying to solve two different problems (but probably related)there seem to be endless parameters to cover.

So, Martin, sorry that the idea of a third party card has not worked here - I was willing it to do so, so that I could sleep at night!!

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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Drongoloid » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:14 am

sorry Hypagen, it was you who suggested having different firewire devices on different cards!!
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby James Perrett » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:41 am


1. FireWire Audio Device: Focusrite Saffire Pro26

2. Adaptor Make & Model: e.g. AIST Movie DV PCI Firewire Board

3. Card Format & Ports: e.g. PCI, 3 x external FW400 and 1 internal FW400

4. Adaptor Controller: e.g. Texas Instruments

5. Rating:
Excellent - provided you are careful about installing windows updates.
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Re: Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O

Postby boofy » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:26 am

hi guys, i must say i found this thread very helpful, its made re consider my audio interface choice.

hypagen, know you said u hooked up your saffire interface to your pc using an adapter.

can i ask, what model of pc have you got, is it a laptop?

and are these adapters difficult to hook up to your computer?

and, do these adapters compromise any recording qaulity that they would have if the saffire was hooked up to a mac?

im still confused, as you know i wana saffire. i find my self getting stressed about all these compatibilty issues?

and martin, can i ask you something?

i see sometimes pc laptops (dell, toshiba, vaio, and even my gfs hp has got it) with a firewire port already there from purchase, is it possible for an firewire interface to work on these prots already there?
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby OneWorld » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:07 pm

I have an M-Audio FS410 bus powered and it connects to the PC by way of a cheapo USB/Firewire PCI card. DOn't know what the chipset is but the properties say VIA OHCI. My motherboard is an Intel - quite an old P4 board, but it keeps going!

Installing was easy and I already had a DELTA 1010 installed, my plan was to get 2 FW410s afte reading somewhere that there would be multiple device suppose like the Delta range - though it's not to be.

The FW410 chunters along quite happily and 'frozen' only a few times and that was more to do with syncing it to a hard disk recorder when doing digital transfers
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Re: Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:15 pm

boofy wrote:hi guys, i must say i found this thread very helpful, its made re consider my audio interface choice.

hypagen, know you said u hooked up your saffire interface to your pc using an adapter.

can i ask, what model of pc have you got, is it a laptop?

and are these adapters difficult to hook up to your computer?

Hi boofy!

And welcome to the SOS FOrums

I thought through the format of my original post carefully so that this information would be apparent. hypagen specified both of his recommended cards as PCI, so he has a desktop PC (laptops provide either PCMCIA slots on older models, or PCI Express on newer ones, while PCI slots are only found inside desktop PCs).


boofy wrote:and, do these adapters compromise any recording qaulity that they would have if the saffire was hooked up to a mac?

im still confused, as you know i wana saffire. i find my self getting stressed about all these compatibilty issues?

As long you don't get any clicks and pops, or have to run at a higher than normal buffer size (which is why I started this thread), your recording quality shouldn't be compromised in any way.

boofy wrote:and martin, can i ask you something?

i see sometimes pc laptops (dell, toshiba, vaio, and even my gfs hp has got it) with a firewire port already there from purchase, is it possible for an firewire interface to work on these ports already there?

Yes, it's perfectly possible, but if the Firewire controller chip inside that laptop turns out to be incompatible with your particular audio interface you'll probably have to buy an adaptor anyway.

It's safest to find out what chip is inside, and then check with the manufacturer before buying a particular audio interface.

Hope this helps!


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Re: Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O

Postby Hypagen » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:06 pm

Martin has answered all the questions, but I'll just add that with my previous PC, the Saphire would work connected to the onboard TI firewire as long as the Saphire was switched on before the PC, if I switched on the Saphire while the PC was running I got the 'Blue Screen of Death'!!!

The solution was to connect the Saphire to a PCI adapter, and connect the Liquid Mix to the onboard firewire connection, which worked fine.

My current motherboard doesn't have onboard firewire which is why I now use 2 PCI adapters.
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Re: Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O

Postby javier53 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:07 am

How is better devices USB or devices PCI?
Thanks.
My web site
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Re: Focusrite Saphire 10 I/O

Postby Hypagen » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:57 am

javier53 wrote:How is better devices USB or devices PCI?
Thanks.

The Focusrite Saphire only connects via Firewire 400.
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:15 pm

boofy - I thought your queries on the Sapphire were better put in a separate thread to keep this one on track. Here's the new thread I set up for you:

www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php ... ber=751082


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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby studer58 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:12 am

Hi everyone, and apologies for (somewhat) sidetracking this thread with my question...I moved it here because it seemed a little more relevant in this section than in the general PC sub-forum ? I'd love to contribute my findings here, but first I need to determine which type of card I should get, as my new (but old !) laptop has both ! Like Drongoloid I have an Audiofire 8 which is prone to random FW dropouts when using Reaper, and by dropouts I mean complete loss of FW connectivity, requiring a complete interface reboot and re-starting Reaper (an infuriating exercise when recording a one-off orchestral concert with no chance of 're-runs' !!) Hence my question below. As soon as I've obtained a card I'll report back here with findings.

I'll be getting an older IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T43 soon, for mobile recording duties using an Echo Audiofire 8 interface. The Thinkpad doesn't have onboard Firewire at all, but DOES have both a Cardbus type 2 (PCMCIA) slot and an ExpressCard slot. Which type of (TI chipset, of course) Firewire adapter card should I get for use with the Audiofire...the Cardbus or the Express version ? Is it true that there are data bandwidth/speed limitations with Cardbus that aren't there with Express Card, as this might become significant if I'm recording at say 24/96 over 6 to 8 inputs at once ?
Thanks for your advice,
Ray
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby joakes » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:50 am

1) Firewire Audio Device : PreSonus FS 26x26

2) Adapter : LaCie Firewire 400

3) Card Format : PCI 3x400

4) Chipset : TI TSB43AB23 1394A-2000

5) Rating : 5 (solved problems for me that I had with the on-board A&T Lucent adapter.

Cheers,
Jerry
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby GlennKay » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:17 am

I can pass on the name of one that did not work for me, the StarTech 2-Port PCI-Express card. The firewire chip is the JMicron JM381.

Apparently some more-or-less current PC motherboards comes with JMicron SATA controllers that are problematic in terms of hard drive throughput.

On my DAW, the StarTech Firewire card resulted in pops and crackles when connected to a Liquid Mix, and there was no Firewire connection at all with a Saffire (Pro 26 i/o).

For some reason, here in Toronto, it's like looking for hen's teeth trying to locate Belkin, Siig, Lacie PCIe Firewire400 cards. I've tried literally a dozen computer and music stores with no luck so far, same with some of the web retailers.

Regards
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby GlennKay » Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:35 pm

Greetings Part 2:

I replaced the StarTech firewire card from my previous post with a Siig NN-E20012-S2 (Firewire 400, 2 ports, PCIe). It works perfectly with my Saffire Pro 26 i/o.

The firewire chip on this card is Texas Instruments. One thing i noticed, unlike with the Start Tech product, this card has a a plug into which to connect a lead from the power supply -- makes total sense for a device needing a powered firewire bus.

Regards
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby vegas71 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:38 am

As with OneWorld i bought just a cheapo firewire card and it works fine (i suppose i got lucky, i'm not too sure of the make, although i seem to remember i bought it from PC World, and the only one they appear to sell is made by Dynamode?)

1. FireWire Audio Device: : Edirol FA-66

2. Adaptor Make & Model: possibly Dynamode?

3. Card Format & Ports: PCI, 3

4. Adaptor Controller: VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller

5. Rating: Good

As this works absolutely perfectly with my Edirol FA-66, if i was to buy a new pc, could i just take this out of my current pc and put it in my new one, and have it continue to work well, or is there other factors to consider?
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Marc 'Kundalini' » Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:07 pm

Hi guys

I'm planning a Windows 7 PC DAW to incorporate my new MOTU Ultralite Mk3. I'll probably go with the Intel I7 860 or 920.

Any suggestions on a good combination of motherboard & PCI-FW card?
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby basic channel » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:34 pm

1. FireWire Audio Device: Powercore Firewire

2. Adaptor Make & Model: ST Labs 2:1, from Maplins:

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=221528#Faq

3. Card Format & Ports: PCI Express, 2x 400 External, 1x 400 internal

4. Adaptor Controller: Texas Instruments

5. Rating: Excellent (so far - all crashes experienced with onboard Agere chip (Asus P5KE) have disappeared)
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:55 pm

Marc 'Kundalini' wrote:Hi guys

I'm planning a Windows 7 PC DAW to incorporate my new MOTU Ultralite Mk3. I'll probably go with the Intel I7 860 or 920.

Any suggestions on a good combination of motherboard & PCI-FW card?

Hi Marc,

And welcome to the SOS Forums!

As you'll notice if you read the existing contents of this thread, it's the combination of Firewire card and audio interface that's important, rather than FW card and motherboard.


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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby mjfe2 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:10 pm

hi, just wanted to hijack this thread to ask about my mackie onyx 400f which i use with a blekin firewire pci port attached to an old pentium 4 beast (512mb RAM).

the latency in cubase reads 11 ms input and 20 ms output latency -- is this a generally acceptable length?

cheers!
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby kenwyn » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:46 pm

Hi Guys

So I want to buy one of these cards and I am finding it hard to find a place to buy. I went to this site

http://www.stuff-uk.net/c-1384-firewire-cards.aspx

They start at 6 then go to 94 pounds. The maplin one quoted above is out of stock at the moment. Anyone have a link for any others already reviewed above.

Thanks
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby kenwyn » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:46 pm

P.S.

Would rather pay 6 pounds if poss
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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby kenwyn » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:55 pm

Thought I would post this link with the recommendations for the Focusrite range,

http://www.focusrite.com/answerbase/en/var/attachments/Focusrite_IEEE_1394_compatibility.pdf

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Re: Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

Postby Basari Studios » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:24 pm

Interface: TC Impakt Twin
FW Controller: SIIG; http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/629062-REG/SIIG_NN_E38012_S3_FireWire_800_PCI_Express_x1.html
Chipset:TI XIO2213
Rating: EXCELENT!!!

Never had anything better in my life or any better configuration.
Working on 128 BS, no clicks, no dropouts, freezes or anything at all.
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