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#2927133 - 05/15/18 08:37 AM Firewire cable question
BluMunk Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 688
Loc: Burlington, VT
Sorry if this is a dumb question; I can't seem to google myself a straight answer. I've got a Firewire interface, and a Mac with Thunderbolt ports.

I'm going to get this thunderbolt to firewire adapter.

But then I'm a little confused. I can buy a 9-pin to 6-pin cable like this. Is that all I need?

There are also 'Firewire 800 to Firewire 400 adapters' (like this). Do I need this also, or does the 9-to-6 cable accomplish the same thing?

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#2927134 - 05/15/18 08:44 AM Re: Firewire cable question [Re: BluMunk]
JB Sherry Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 176
Loc: Saugerties, NY
The 9-pin to 6-pin cable is an 800 to 400 cable. It's the same as the adapter but has a cable built-in. The Thunderbolt adapter is Firewire 800 to Thunderbolt. So if you're going to a 400 device you should be able to use the 9-pin to 6-pin cable plus the Thunderbolt adapter.

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#2927138 - 05/15/18 09:14 AM Re: Firewire cable question [Re: JB Sherry]
BluMunk Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 688
Loc: Burlington, VT
Great, thanks! It's what I thought, but I admit to being a little overwhelmed at the moment keeping the details about a seemingly endless number of ports and protocols straight in my head.

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#2927139 - 05/15/18 09:18 AM Re: Firewire cable question [Re: BluMunk]
Steve Force Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 8771
Loc: Metro-Detroit, Michigan
Originally Posted By: BluMunk
Sorry if this is a dumb question; I can't seem to google myself a straight answer. I've got a Firewire interface, and a Mac with Thunderbolt ports.

I'm going to get this thunderbolt to firewire adapter.

But then I'm a little confused. I can buy a 9-pin to 6-pin cable like this. Is that all I need?

There are also 'Firewire 800 to Firewire 400 adapters' (like this). Do I need this also, or does the 9-to-6 cable accomplish the same thing?


That is exactly what I use on two mac systems.
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#2927308 - 05/16/18 07:56 AM Re: Firewire cable question [Re: Steve Force]
Karl Sutton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 448
Loc: Mount Juliet, TN
Hey FWIW I had two MOTU 828mkII fail using these cables in this configuration. I discovered it was actually better to hang the interface off of the back of a drive instead of connecting directly to the computer. Not sure if that's true for all firewire interfaces. I've since switched to USB.
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#2927329 - 05/16/18 09:10 AM Re: Firewire cable question [Re: Karl Sutton]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Registered: 02/21/05
Posts: 19709
Loc: Heaven, Hell, or Houston
I have a iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017) with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, and I still have a bunch of FW 400 drives as well as the original Apogee Duet that ran off FW 400.

I have an adapter chain of "Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter" to "Apple Thunderbolt [2] to FireWire [800] Adapter" to a FW800 to FW400 adapter (that one I've had since 2009 to use with the MBP that was 800 instead of 400).

The three adapters together are over 12" long. When I don't need the FW800/400 adapter it's 11.5" long.

I don't have any accessories that run TB 3/USB-C but maybe someday. grin
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#2927395 - 05/16/18 04:47 PM Re: Firewire cable question [Re: Joe Muscara]
Lady Gaia Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/18/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: Joe Muscara
I have an adapter chain of "Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter" to "Apple Thunderbolt [2] to FireWire [800] Adapter" to a FW800 to FW400 adapter (that one I've had since 2009 to use with the MBP that was 800 instead of 400).


I used the same chain without issues on a 2017 MacBook Pro with an old Focusrite FireWire interface without any problems at all. It seemed perfectly functional and stable and may be somewhat reassuring that the FW800/400 cable isnít an active adapter, itís just a passive cable that uses a different pinout on the two ends.
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