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Your Recommended FireWire Adaptor Cards

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

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 8-)

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 8-)

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 8-)

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.
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