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Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby MOF » Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:00 am

The OP's problem is the failure of the Firewire port on a machine he would otherwise like to continue to use

The OP has already upgraded and wants to use the files from the old computer. I suggested copying them over with a usb drive but everyone else keeps suggesting interfaces for an old computer.
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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Mar 14, 2020 7:58 am

I suppose we're all reacting to this paragraph from the OP's, er, OP.

Rololux wrote:So a few years ago, I upgraded to to a Macbook pro running Logic Pro X, etc., etc. All good. However, I still want to be able to access all the many hours of recording done on the old rig. I do not need to record into the powermac, just to be able to playback existing recordings. I guess it is still possible to find an old interface (simple Motu or similar?) on Ebay - if so, what would be the most reliable piece of kit to go for, bearing in mind it is likely 10-15 years old!

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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby fatbenelton » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:51 pm

Will the old mac support target disc mode? You may need a pc firewire card if yours is bust, but then you could open old projects from Logic X by having the laptop see the old desktop as just another disc. Not sure how far back Logic x goes in terms of old file compatibility but should be a few.
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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby BenWilesMusic » Sat Mar 14, 2020 6:30 pm

There's a bit of confusion in this thread as to what you want to do and what the problem is. If you still want to use your old powermac, it would be worth finding out whether the firewire sockets on the mac is at fault, or whether it's the audio interface, or, indeed, whether it is the cable between them. The cable is the easiest to check (swap it out for a different one and see if that improves things), and the most likely suspect. The audio interface is next most likely, though it's tricky to test without another computer with firewire which can run the drivers. You can test the computer's firewire sockets by plugging in a firewire hard drive, if you have one, and doing a speed test - if the hard drive is stuttery and slow that points to the firewire on the computer, in which case your best bet might be a firewire PCI card; there were several mac compatible cards made in the 90s, which you may find cheaply on ebay. Or, frankly, you might as well buy a new powermac with working firewire - a new g5 can be had for £50, it seems.

If the computer's firewire is fine, then there are many decent firewire audio interfaces available on ebay for very little money. You may well find a replacement tascam.

If you want a modern interface, you will be after a class compliant USB interface (i.e. one that doesn't require a driver). There are many to choose from, and you can get one with average mic inputs for less that £100 (e.g. from Behringer or Presonus). You can pay more, but first you'll be paying for better mic preamps, which aren't necessary if you are no longer recording onto the machine.

But USB won't be much use for you if you want more than stereo, or if you want high sample rates and bit depths, because your G4 only has USB 1.1 ports. Most, if not all, modern USB interfaces are USB 2; USB 1.1 is much slower, so could be tripped up. The USB 2 interfaces *should* work with a USB 1.1 host, though. Note that the G5s had USB 2 on board, so if you had one of those that wouldn't be a problem. Indeed, were I in your position I might well consider buying a second hand G5 and cloning the G4's hard drive onto it so I could reliably use a USB2 interface.

But if you just want to listen to the music already on the machine in stereo, why not use the headphone output? Apple audio hardware isn't bad at all, and a 3.5mm stereo minijack to 2 x 6.4mm mono jack lead can be had quite cheaply. It's sufficiently low tech that you might not have considered it.

And if you no longer want the machine, just the audio files on it, you could, as many have said, transfer files onto a hard drive and listen on your MacBook. Of course, there is no telling how well old daw flies would play back on a modern system, even if you have the same plugins on both.

Hope this has been a useful summary of options. Working with old hardware is full of pitfalls - not least because the manufacturers won't offer support on old systems. Best of luck solving your problem.
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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby al_diablo » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:43 pm

Rololux wrote:The FW failure is the interface, not the MAC. 10.4 is definitely the latest version my MAC can support. I think I'm going to have to find something second hand from that era - just would like to know what interfaces are regarded as being most long lasting / robust!

If you think the firewire ports on the mac are sound or just want to test I can send you an old m-audio firewire audiophile I have. I think they worked with 10.4.

Let me know if you want it, no cost. Would be nice to know it's getting some use (it was in perfect working order when I last used it a couple of years ago so hopefully still fine now)
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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby ef37a » Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:13 am

al_diablo,
Do you perchance have the original driver disc for the 2496? If so I would very much like a rip because a change to the free W10 and roll back to W7 removed it from my PC and the Avid drivers are not the same or as complete.

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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby al_diablo » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:51 am

ef37a wrote:al_diablo,
Do you perchance have the original driver disc for the 2496? If so I would very much like a rip because a change to the free W10 and roll back to W7 removed it from my PC and the Avid drivers are not the same or as complete.

Dave.

Let me have a look and get back to you. I think sadly not but will check
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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby fatbenelton » Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:48 am

I still maintain that if it's only to get files off the old computer and play them in Logic then Target Disk mode should work fine - assuming the old Logic files are v7.2 or newer (I think). No interface required - you can import the logic projects into Logic X on the MacBook.
If the project is in Logic 5,6 etc then you can still grab the wavs etc and drag them over.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/m ... lp1443/mac
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Re: Simple audio interface for powermac running 10.4

Postby Rololux » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:37 pm

BenWilesMusic wrote:
But if you just want to listen to the music already on the machine in stereo, why not use the headphone output? Apple audio hardware isn't bad at all, and a 3.5mm stereo minijack to 2 x 6.4mm mono jack lead can be had quite cheaply. It's sufficiently low tech that you might not have considered it.

Not sure if you're a genius or I'm incredibly stupid, but either way this option works perfectly for what I need! Needed to disable a few options to stop repeated error messages, but I am now able to access all my old recordings, play around with them and basically operate exactly as I did before, sans control surface of course, but I can live with this.

Many thanks,

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