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Discussion Starter #1
Is a firewire device *better* than a usb device to hook up musical instruments to a pc/mac?

According to wikipedia, "Perhaps more importantly, FireWire makes full use of all SCSI capabilities and, compared to USB 2.0 High Speed, has higher sustained data transfer rates, a feature especially important for audio and video editors."
 

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ofender said:
Is a firewire device *better* than a usb device to hook up musical instruments to a pc/mac?

According to wikipedia, "Perhaps more importantly, FireWire makes full use of all SCSI capabilities and, compared to USB 2.0 High Speed, has higher sustained data transfer rates, a feature especially important for audio and video editors."

Actually if you can find Firewire 800 audio devices and adapter cards it is the way to go. Twice as fast as 400. Either way Firewire seems to be more of an industry standard. I have my Onyx on one Firewire controller and my recording HD on another Firewire 800 controller and it works like a charm.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Jeff. Yeah this opens up *doors* or interesting possibilities about home recording. This may be common knowledge but I'm sure that I'm not the only one *searching* for the best possible home recording setup. It seems that Firewire is definetely it. And it's seems that a lot of people got on the USB bandwagon a little too easily, some with regrets.

USB ostensibly, ;) was adopted *against* Firewire as a *standard* computerized device interconnection on the principle that it costs less to license the patent, therefore being cheaper to offer as a standard. The research continues for me but I'm thinking that both USB and Firewire offer similar transimition speed but that Firewire can handle more devices at once. They're both good I guess especially if a small USB device is all you need at home.

Edirol (Roland) has some pretty cool firewire devices. And I found a few others today. But the one that got my attention is the Firepod by Presonus. 8 channels can be recorded at the same time and there's also the S/PDIF in and out. I believe that the S/PDIF "in" serves as the 9th input. It'd be good for me 'cos I have the S/PDIF out of the CT.

If I ever wanted to record all at once and on seperate tracks an acoustic drum kit (kick, snare, 2 overheads), I could and I'd have another 5 channels for guitar, bass and let's say 3 vocals. If you're into it, go the Presonus site, under "Quick product list" on the upper left hand corner, select Firepod. Go down that page and you'll see a couple of diagrams about studio setups (including the Firepod).

Presonic also has the Inspire 1394. Give that a look. It's pretty cool.

http://www.presonus.com/index.html

Edit: I'm so excited that I forgot to mention somethin' I shoudda mentioned. If you get a firewire device with 2 firewire jacks, you can link other firewire devices and therefore increase the number of inputs that you can record at once. The memory characteristics of your pc might be the issue then.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
USB can operate at 1.5 Megabits per second (Mbps), or 12 Mbps, or both at the same time! On systems with USB 2.0 support, USB can operate in Hi-Speed mode, 480 Mbps. Typical USB devices include keyboards, mice, joysticks, game pads, and other low-bandwidth, low-cost devices. Unlike FireWire, USB controls peripheral devices in a master/slave relationship. (from Wikipedia).

All kinds of rules and regulations seem to have been established for the use of USB. To the end user, all USB ports look the same but they are classified into 2 general categories: type A and type B. I’m still digging and trying to understand but an example may be that the USB port behind your pc might be a type B (a “peripheral port” which would be more of a general port? With a *wider* range of applications?) and the USB port in front of your printer for instance, might be type A (in which case the manufacturer of the device should replace the USB standard logo with a camera logo to tell the end user about the specific usage recommendation of this particular USB port).

I found out for instance that on my iMac G5, that the 3 USB ports behind the computer are USB 2.0 but that the 2 USB ports on my keyboard are USB 1.1. So I used to transfer my pictures from my camera to iMac using one of the keyboard USB ports. Next time I will use one of the ports behind the Mac to take advantage of USB 2.0 and see if it’s any faster.

I’m looking into USB now because generally speaking, it’s lower cost than firewire. I’m curious as to find out if let’s say 2 different USB units with 2 xlr and 2 instrument inputs could work if they were connected to 2 separate USB ports on your computer. Two of these units would mean that 4 xlrs and 4 intruments could be recorded at the same time. And I have 3 USB 2.0 behind the iMac so I’m thinking that 3 similar USB devices would allow to record 6 xlrs and 6 instruments at the same time.

I’m not 100% sure at this point but I believe that each USB port behind your pc/mac might be separately controlled by a *host controller* for each port.

Anybody who knows about this and wants to help us further understand either USB or Firewire is more than welcomed to jump right in. On the other hand, if you feel that I’m annoying the crap out of you and that this is so common knowledge or so not interesting at all, feel free to say so (or keep on saying nothing) and I’ll shaddup :)

Let the debate begin! (or not)
 

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Make sure the ports just aren't on the same hub, which may cause problems when using other USB devices and recording. I've also heard that slower devices on a 2.0 hub can cause issues.

I really think you should go Firewire with a dedicated controller for your audio interface.

.02
 

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ofender said:
What do you mean by a dedicated controller?

Edit: Wouldn't the Firewire unit be the controller itself?
No, the firewire controller is in your computer between the firewire port and your system bus. The audio interface unit is just a firewire device that knows how to talk/handshake via the firewire protocol.


Same principals apply to USB, but they come with hubs that allow many devices to share the same controller. Of course they all then need to play nice and not steal bandwidth at inappropriate times.

Audio recording at higher bit and sample rates is pretty data intensive and that's why I recommend a dedicated firewire controller for your interface. Zero chance of other devices getting in the way then.


.02
 
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