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USB & FireWire?
Old 19th January 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
USB & FireWire?

Hey guys! I'm just wondering what the main differences between a USB Audio Interface and a FireWire Audio Interface? Quality & feature wise.
(Interfaces around 300~400$)

Thing is, my PC doesn't have a FireWire port installed at the moment, so my better & faster choice would be USB. But it seems LOTS of Audio Interfaces have FireWire, so is it better or something? If so, how?

& How would I hook up a FireWire device to my PC?

Thank you guys for ANY HELP at all, you guys are awesome on here.
I highly appreciate it!
Old 19th January 2013
  #2
Gear Head
 
Galleddrim's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
USB uses CPU cycles for some of it's processing while Firewire does everything in the interface so has no load on the CPU, if I understand correctly. USB, on the other hand, is much more widely available. I have a Firewire interface (Saffire 24 Pro), and while I love the interface, I can't use it with my laptop since it only has USB.

If you're only working on a desktop, I'd go with Firewire over USB. Firewire interface cards are pretty cheap. Less than $20 a PCI-E card.
Old 19th January 2013 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galleddrim ➡️
USB uses CPU cycles for some of it's processing while Firewire does everything in the interface so has no load on the CPU, if I understand correctly. USB, on the other hand, is much more widely available. I have a Firewire interface (Saffire 24 Pro), and while I love the interface, I can't use it with my laptop since it only has USB.

If you're only working on a desktop, I'd go with Firewire over USB. Firewire interface cards are pretty cheap. Less than $20 a PCI-E card.
Whoa, thank you! Might just get one of those. But, in terms of quality. Which would be better? Like is there a significant difference in quality between both?
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
Galleddrim's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBwai ➡️
Whoa, thank you! Might just get one of those. But, in terms of quality. Which would be better? Like is there a significant difference in quality between both?
Sound quality-wise, probably more depends on the make of the interface than than whether it's USB or Firewire. By the time it gets to the USB or Firewire transfer stage everything is 1s and 0s. Either should do fine transferring digital information, in general.

That said, this can also depend on your USB bus or Firewire chipset. I have had trouble in the past with USB direct to my motherboard, though I think my USB bus might have been sort of on its way out at the time. If you go with Firewire, make sure you get a card with TI chipset. Not that others will definitely not work, but that's widely recognized as the most trouble-free chipset.

All other things being equal, I'd tend to favor Firewire over USB. I just wish they still made most laptops with Firewire or with PCMCIA slots so I could use Firewire interfaces on the go.

Bottom line: if you think you will EVER want to take your interface on the road, I'd go with USB and save yourself the trouble of finding a laptop that has Firewire. If you are definitely sure you're just going to use it on a desktop, I'd go Firewire.

As for brand, for either USB or Firewire, I really like Focusrite.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBwai ➡️
Like is there a significant difference in quality between both?

USB and firewire are just ports into and out of the computer.
They do not have a 'quality'.

Quality in them is all in the audio>digital conversion chips and preamp circuits.

The ports are just a data highway.
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
Galleddrim's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimOBrienFlorida ➡️
USB and firewire are just ports into and out of the computer.
They do not have a 'quality'.

Quality in them is all in the audio>digital conversion chips and preamp circuits.

The ports are just a data highway.
Right. Assuming the busses are operating properly, quality of audio on both should be the same, all other things being equal.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galleddrim ➡️
Sound quality-wise, probably more depends on the make of the interface than than whether it's USB or Firewire. By the time it gets to the USB or Firewire transfer stage everything is 1s and 0s. Either should do fine transferring digital information, in general.

That said, this can also depend on your USB bus or Firewire chipset. I have had trouble in the past with USB direct to my motherboard, though I think my USB bus might have been sort of on its way out at the time. If you go with Firewire, make sure you get a card with TI chipset. Not that others will definitely not work, but that's widely recognized as the most trouble-free chipset.

All other things being equal, I'd tend to favor Firewire over USB. I just wish they still made most laptops with Firewire or with PCMCIA slots so I could use Firewire interfaces on the go.

Bottom line: if you think you will EVER want to take your interface on the road, I'd go with USB and save yourself the trouble of finding a laptop that has Firewire. If you are definitely sure you're just going to use it on a desktop, I'd go Firewire.

As for brand, for either USB or Firewire, I really like Focusrite.
Thank you so so so much. You've helped me like craaazy right there! Just the answers I wanted!

& Thank you TimOBrienFlorida also!

You guys rock!
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