The Audio Fire 8 and Audio Fire 12 go on sale later this month
For a company who've seemed ever-present in the soundcard market in recent years, it's a little surprising that Echo's new Audio Fire 8 and Audio Fire 12 interfaces are their first Firewire devices.
But there’s a good reason — both incorporate the company’s own Firewire chip, which has been over a year in development.
The Audio Fire 8 (pictured above) looks very similar to the PCI-based Layla 3G's breakout box (you can find the review of the Layla 3G from SOS January 2005 here) and, indeed, the two share much in terms of technology.
The 24-bit/96kHz Audio Fire 8, which is compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X, has two mic/line combo jack inputs on the front panel, with individual trim knobs and three-segment LED level meters, along with a global phantom power on/off switch and a headphone out with its own volume knob.
Around the back, there are a further six line inputs and eight line outputs, all on balanced TRS jacks, co-axial S/PDIF I/O, MIDI In and Out ports, two Firewire 400 ports, word clock in and out BNC connectors and, last but not least, an IEC mains socket — no wall-wart adaptors here!
The interface supports full duplex 10-in, 10-out operation at 24-bit/96kHz with a 114dB dynamic range, allows direct monitoring of the analogue inputs, and can sync to an external clock signal via word clock or S/PDIF.
The Audio Fire 12 (above) is designed to meet slightly different requirements, offering 12 simultaneous inputs and outputs at 24-bit/192kHz via balanced TRS jacks, plus MIDI and word clock I/O and two Firewire ports.
Each of the 12 inputs and outputs has its own four-segment LED meter on the front panel. Like the Audio Fire 8, the Audio Fire 12 is mains-powered and also boasts a dynamic range of 114dB.
Both units feature sturdy aluminium cases and can be rackmounted. They'll go on sale later this month, with the Audio Fire 8 costing £499.99 and the Audio Fire 12 costing £649.99.
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