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FireWire interface for Ableton on Windows 7

Sendrith

Member
Messages
165
Howdy.

I am getting a new computer this week, mainly with the intention to record, and it is likely to be a Windows 7 machine. I emailed a guy on craigslist yesterday about his Phonic Helix Board 12 he had for sale, and only afterwards did I discover that Phonic has no drivers for that interface for Windows 7. Are there a lot of compatibility issues with interfaces and Windows 7?

I am hoping for a couple suggestions from the very knowledgeable Gear Page :)

My current computer is an XP PC, old slow and so on. My current interface is a Tascam US-144MKII, so almost anything will be an upgrade.

Ideally I would be looking for something that is 6-8 input channels, compatible with Windows 7 and Ableton 8.

Now, mic inputs. I have mic preamps that have both XLR and 1/4 outs. I have been using the 1/4 outs into my Tascam. Will I get a better sound from XLR connections? (I would think that it doesn't matter, its all the same cables isn't it?)

Anyways, any help appreciated. I got bummed out because I was going to get that Phonic board for a song, saving money is always good.
 

slayerbear17

Member
Messages
3,457
Some companies keep up...others dont. My Alesis FW interface (6 YO) works fine on XP Vista and Win 7. Alesis did a great job keeping up with driver updates and fixes.
 

scotchtape800

Member
Messages
198
I would suggest either:

- M-Audio Profire 610
It's "cheap" and good in my experience. I've only owned a crap Presonus audiobox 2x2 USB prior, so what would I know. However the profire got lots of good reviews and has REALLY GOOD latency. It only has 2 mic pres though, but I think it has a couple of other ins. I am using this on Win7 + Ableton and it is pretty good. Only thing is, if you lose connection while Ableton is running (jostle the cable or something), you have to close Ableton, reconnect, then restart Ableton. It could be just me but otherwise I blue screen if I try to reselect the interface in Ableton.

- MR816x
I've heard really good things about this unit, lots of mic preamps for ya.
 

Sendrith

Member
Messages
165
Anyone have experience buying a pre-owned interface? I'm just wondering what kind of things can go wrong with em if I don't know what I'm looking at.

There are quite a few on the local craiglist, and a couple catch my eye.
(I'm in vancouver, CAD prices)

MOTU Ultralite MK3, asking $450
M-Audio 2626, asking $550
Edirol FA-101, asking for offers, but previously posted at $400
Alesis Multimix 8, asking for offers
Presonus Firepod 8, asking $225
Echo Audiofire 8, asking $300
ART TubeFire 8, asking $400.


EDIT: link http://www.echoaudio.com/Products/FireWire/AudioFire8/

Thinking about the Echo Audiofire, seems to have everything I'm looking for, and reasonable.

Is the amount of ADAT outputs what I should be looking at? Does 8 channel ADAT outputs = I can record 8 tracks simultaneously from 8 different sources, each into separate tracks?
 

jb4674

Member
Messages
6,769
Look for a used Presonus Firestudio. It runs pretty stable on Windows 7 64-bit and it sounds pretty good.
 

mwe

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
406
Look for a used Presonus Firestudio. It runs pretty stable on Windows 7 64-bit and it sounds pretty good.
I spent about 7 hours today doing mic tests with a Presonus Firestudio 26x26 and it was rock solid. We were only using one input at a time though so we weren't pushing it.

Howdy.
I am getting a new computer this week, mainly with the intention to record, and it is likely to be a Windows 7 machine. I emailed a guy on craigslist yesterday about his Phonic Helix Board 12 he had for sale, and only afterwards did I discover that Phonic has no drivers for that interface for Windows 7. Are there a lot of compatibility issues with interfaces and Windows 7?
I'd recommend also doing some research on the FW chipset in the computers you're considering. Many FW interfaces can be picky about which ones they'll cooperate with. Texas Instruments chips seem to be the gold standard.

Now, mic inputs. I have mic preamps that have both XLR and 1/4 outs. I have been using the 1/4 outs into my Tascam. Will I get a better sound from XLR connections? (I would think that it doesn't matter, its all the same cables isn't it?)
The short answer is the cables are the same as long as you use a balanced, TRS-TRS 1/4" cable. The long answer is, well, long. Those XLR connectors on your interface are inputs to the built-in mic pres. So if you're using an outboard pre and XLR cables you're cascading two pres together. The 1/4" inputs 'sort of' bypass the mic pre stage but different makers have their own take on it. I think most just pad the input down a bit. It's still running through a gain stage though, just at a lower level. The trick is to find a setting on the interface where the 1/4" input is at unity gain, essentially making it a line level input. The Presonus we used today had markings on the gain controls indicating where +4 and -10 inputs should be set. Probably approximations but also probably not too far off.
 




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