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firewire interface end of life?

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firewire interface end of life?

Postby FSamuel100 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:27 pm

Hi,
I have an FA 1010 firewire interface running Sonar8 under windows XP. This has served me well for a number of years (I have very simple needs hence not upgrading Sonar) but in spite of changing to an SSD to speed the machine up it is now starting to fall over with multiple tracks and plugins. There is nothing wrong with the interface but I am considering an upgrade to a desktop or laptop ( laptop would be more flexible) running Windows 10. My question is - has the interface reached the end of life or is there way to continue using it with a modern laptop none of which seem to have firewire ports as standard.

cheers

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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:17 pm

I'm assuming that you are talking about the Roland FA101? I'd probably look for a refurbished laptop from 6-7 years ago. The Lenovo T4xx and T5xx ranges from that time were highly regarded and could be used with Firewire interfaces. I use a refurbished Dell Precision M4600 although its built-in Firewire doesn't work properly with my Focusrite interface (which isn't a problem as I use another USB interface with it) .

You may also have to settle for a machine with Windows 7 or 8 as the FA101 doesn't seem to be supported under Windows 10 although there may be tricks to get it to work.
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:45 pm

Obviously you can fit a FW card in a desktop, but if you prefer a laptop, it's probably time you switched your interface to a USB one, You won't have to spend a lot to get an interface with better quality and more features than your existing interface.
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm

I nearly bought an early 2011 Mac running Lion, just to get my Profire Lightbridge interface working again, but thought better of it.

I was watching a mixing tutorial recently, by a bloke who still records to 2" tape and he had a very interesting take on the old analogue v digital chestnut. He was much more concerned by the life span of the medium, rather than the differences in sound quality. How many incompatible variants of digital media have we seen in a couple of decades - DAT, MiniDisk, CD, Sony Digital Tape, ADAT, and so on. To get the signals to and from the medium we also have USB, USB2, USB3, Firewire, Optical, and AES/EBU etc.

Until I came to live here, I used a 24 track 2 inch analogue tape deck, and a two track analogue tape deck (both Otari) and they came from ex BBC Studios with boxes of tape. The recordings on the tapes were from the 70's and were pristine quality.

I miss those big analogue recording machines, and simple quarter inch jack cables to transport the signals to and from the tape.
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:43 am

Howdy Doody Time wrote:I miss those big analogue recording machines, and simple quarter inch jack cables to transport the signals to and from the tape.

I'll bet you don't miss the tape costs though. I've just done a quick calculation and I could fit the equivalent of nearly 70 reels of 24 track tape on a £25 memory stick. At today's prices the tape would cost over £17,000.

Mind you, I've just got the big Otari going again and there's definitely something special about working with old tapes.

Sorry for the thread hijack.
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:49 am

I only got as far as a ½" 8 track Tascam and a Revox ¼" half track/high speed rig. I do miss it, but I don't miss 'sticky tape syndrome' or the sheer cost of magnetic tape. Overall I'm much better off with a computer based system and it will be a very long time before it becomes impossible to read/transfer those various digital media (and it's very easy, with foresight, to transfer anything that is likely to become obsolete, without any loss of quality, before it becomes unreadable).
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:56 am

And it occurs to me that you could get most (if not all) the benefits of tape by transferring to tape and back again, the media could be used again and again before it would start showing degradation (though a tape plug-in would probably do exactly the same job with less hassle and cost.....).
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby resistorman » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:37 am

A new laptop and a USB interface Is what I would do. I usually recommend Win 10 Pro because you can defer updates. However, it looks like that feature will be coming to Win 10 Home.
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:28 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Howdy Doody Time wrote:I miss those big analogue recording machines, and simple quarter inch jack cables to transport the signals to and from the tape.

I'll bet you don't miss the tape costs though. I've just done a quick calculation and I could fit the equivalent of nearly 70 reels of 24 track tape on a £25 memory stick. At today's prices the tape would cost over £17,000.

Mind you, I've just got the big Otari going again and there's definitely something special about working with old tapes.

Sorry for the thread hijack.

Well I inherited a stack of 2" and 1/4" reels when I bought the machines, so I never really experienced the cost of new tape. I had advertised in Reading for old tape stock and got a huge stash there too. One bloke asked me sheepishly did I know anyone for Sony 3348 tape as he had boxes of it. I happened to own a couple of PCM3348's so I said Mmmmm...Tricky...They'd have to be cheap. I got 10 boxes of unused Sony Digital Tape for about the cost of one reel. :) There IS definitely something special about working with tape, might be just nostalgia, but when you listen to music recorded in the 60's you tell me just what's wrong with it - heres a hint - Absolutely Nothing at all.
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:22 pm

I was re-listening to some classical solo piano tape recordings made in the mid 60s recently. Wonderful performances. Lovely sonics. Really annoying flutter... :lol:

The flutter was very small and extremely good for the age, but on the source tapes (I was replaying on a Studer A807 which is extremely stable). It's remarkable how my tolerance of wow and flutter has been completely removed thanks to the stability of digital... Even minuscule amounts stand out like a sore thumb. I remember accepting it as inherent back when I started in this crazy business...

Yes, handling tapes has a nice nostalgia about it, and it does change the recorded sound in a way which is often attractive. But equally, those changes can often be very frustrating too and I remember the relief when I started working with digital formats and could switch between the desk out and the recorder replay and hear the same sound coming back at last!

And I really don't miss lugging a pair of Studers or Revoxes into a makeshift control room for a session, or having to arrange the reel overlaps on long live performances!

H
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Re: firewire interface end of life?

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:29 am

Hugh Robjohns "I was re-listening to some classical solo piano tape recordings made in the mid 60s recently. Wonderful performances. Lovely sonics. Really annoying flutter"

Proving the point the engineer was making. You took a 50 odd year old recording, and played it back on (presumably) a different machine without any hassle other than mounting the tape and aligning the machine. You heard lovely sonics, and some flutter.

But if the recording had been made 30 years more recently, on digital media, you may well have struggled to hear anything.

Of course I know digital recording can be far superior in the right circumstances and with the right equipment, and there's no argument about the cost savings and convenience. You subtly make the comment about the performances - another thing about which analogue is much less forgiving, and of course you are correct. But I still miss analogue tape, warm and smelly, cumbersome and big, and forty eight quarter inch jack cables, and big mixing desks, with "Tape in" printed under a switch somewhere. :)

Wow! I just realized I wouldn't know flutter if I heard it.

By the way Mr F. I apologize for diverting your thread. In reply to your original post I would recommend moving away from Firewire, as painful as that seems having invested in it, but it has no future.
:)
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