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usb vs firewire - opinions


bwayne

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i record everything myself , like many of you out there , and i never do more than two tracks at a time , and usually only one. i am in the market for an interface for logic 6 [7 soon] and my powerbook g4. a key board controller that is portable , and can tweak the logic soft synths , is ideal for me , but the one i'm most interested in [novation] is usb. i am trying to avoid m audio. will usb [x station 25] be adequate?
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I find it tough to give you advice because I have never heard of x station 25 and Google doesn't provide any detail

 

And M-audio is the key player with USB controllers.

 

It sounds like you are looking for an audio interface for your PowerBook . And that you are debating FW vs USB for that ?

 

You don't say what your budget is.

 

Try again

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[70's Songwriter]

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thanks for the reply.

the novation x station got a key buy review in the 9/04 issue of keyboard. it is a jack of all trades that covers all my basses , except that it's usb , which i am trying to get around , if possible. my budget is up to $800 but i'd rather spend less , so i can get the logic 7 upgrade. i really don't need alot of ins and outs. x station has 2 high quality xlr combo ins , and 1 midi i/o. what do you think?

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When discussing USB, it's helpful to distinguish between USB 1.1 and USB 2.0. USB 2.0 has similar specs to Firewire, if not better.

 

However, I think most of the USB midi and audio devices on the market are still USB 1.1, even though USB 2.0 has been out for a couple of years, and is now standard on new PC's.

 

Are MAudio or any of those companies making USB 2.0 audio or midi devices yet? I haven't been keeping up...

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Almost all USB audio interfaces on the market right now are USB 1.1. I can only think of one interface that uses USB 2.0, an Edirol box.

 

So, the biggest difference is one of bandwidth - how many channels can you record/playback at once. USB 1.1 can't record and playback two channels of 24-bit, 96kHz audio at once. You're basically limited to 48 or 44.1 kHz of you want to do any kind of multi-track recording.

 

Firewire can do hundreds of channels of recording and playback - even at 24-bit, 192 kHz - simultaneaously.

 

There are a few other differences, but they aren't that important in practice. USB has lower CPU overhead, and can theoretically have lower input and output latency - though latency is much more dependent on the driver design than the hardware. USB - 1.1 or 2.0 - is also a lot cheaper to implement for the manufacturer.

 

Besides being able to handle more audio channels, Firewire has the advantage of letting you daisy-chain devices. This is a minor feature for most people, but can be useful for laptops where you can have a limited number of I/O ports, and it's not always convenient to have cables dangling all over the place.

 

Ben, Alesis guy

 

Oh, and at the risk of spamming, we make a similar product that you might be interested in:

 

Photon X25

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Hi Ben! see you often on the A6/ION Yahoo group.

 

while you're here, wanted to ask you two things about A6:

 

any chance of another OS update before discontinuing it?

any time frames exisiting to possible discontinuation of A6? there were lot of rumours going on arround forums that Andy is no more..

 

sorry for the hi-jack guys.

 

thanks

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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Try to stay away from USB 1.1 devices as the technology is already old. I added a firewire card to my laptop with plans of adding the MLan card to my Motif ES. Many of the external HD's and CDRW's now operate on both USB2 and Firewire. Watch NAMM to see if someone releases USB 2 based controllers before you buy something with USB1.
This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by Anoplura:

Firewire can do hundreds of channels of recording and playback - even at 24-bit, 192 kHz - simultaneaously.

Let's do some nitpicking... 400Mbit / (24bit * 192k) = 86 channels [theoretical limit].

 

Still: wow that's a lot!

 

With some lossless encoding, like wma-lossless, hundreds might actually be possible.

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I've had this thought about the Firewire/USB question, but never saw anyone else raise it:

 

Your PC probably has a boatload of USB devices. I know mine does: keyboard, mouse, printer, midi box, camera hookup, Sandisk, external CDR, Oxygen-8, external modem...

 

But my firewire port is sitting there, alone and unloved, for now.

 

So, the point - Doesn't all that bandwidth sharing cut into what's available for a USB audio device? Even on 2.0? And wouldn't the relative scarcity of useful Firewire devices be beneficial to a Firewire audio setup - no competition for thruput? Or does all that USB traffic cut into what's available to Firewire as well?

 

Daf

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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Yes is does, and the point has been raised before. That is why I do not have a USB mouse or keyboard on my system. I reserve all USB activity for my Motu MTP/AV USB MIDI box. A lot of activity on the channel could throw the timing. My hard drives are all SCSI, IDE or Firewire.
This post edited for speling.
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