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Yes, another audio interface question.

Otto Tune

Member
Messages
3,849
I want to use garage band. My I-Mac has both firewire and USB 3.0 terminals.
I'd like to upgrade my interface to something with maybe 4 discrete channels.

If I do that, when I go into Garage Band preferences, will I see the new hardware and the maximum number of channels it supports? (Right now nothing is showing, when I have the M-Track connected it shows USB device and two tracks.)

I don't want to go crazy expensive, because this is just for fun, but I'd like to mic two amp cabinets and a vocalist. I'll say $300. Seems like Focusrite and Presonus both make terminals in that range.

I know Garage Band isn't the best, but I can deal with that later. I have it, I've used it. It works.
 

Ken Whisler

Member
Messages
591
My own experience is with Windows, and when it came to lower priced interfaces, I personally have had better performance with the Focusrite stuff.

A DAW is a DAW is a DAW. It's all io's and .wav files. The only things that set any DAW apart from another DAW is how well it adapts to -your- preferences, habits, and workflow.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,784
If the device you buy is class compliant, then yes, as soon as you plug it in your Mac will recognize it and its capabilities.

If not, you may have to go to the manufacturer's website and download a driver for it. Even if it is class compliant you may still have to download the latest update for full functionality or compatibility.

Both Focusrite and Presonus will have the proper software available (some companies are still including DVD-ROMs event though the latest Macs have done away with CD Drives (!)) either with the product or as a download. Sometimes additional software is available for advanced features. I'd go Focusrite too but it's a pretty level playing field in certain price ranges.

It's all pretty painless usually.

FW is an interesting thought as it would not take up one of your USB ports, which could be a good thing. But it seems like FW has gone the way of Beta. If you can get FW 800 and your Mac supports it, great, otherwise the USB 3.0 will be best.

Nothing wrong with Garageband either. There are people making great music using it exclusively in some cases. Personally, I like to take an "old school" approach and despite all of the great tools technology gives us (and entices us with), I like to just treat the computer as a "tape recorder" and try to focus on making good music and getting a good sound without having to use technology as a crutch (though it certainly does have other advantages).

Good luck,

Steve
 
Messages
536
FW is an interesting thought as it would not take up one of your USB ports, which could be a good thing. But it seems like FW has gone the way of Beta. If you can get FW 800 and your Mac supports it, great, otherwise the USB 3.0 will be best.
Newer Macs have Thunderbolt which is Firewire compatible with just a cable.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,184
You can get 4 channel units from a few vendors in the $300 or less range. Quality will be comparable. You may want to check out the DAW software that comes with each interface, since that's what you'll REALLY be working with on a regular basis (much more than the interface itself). Presonus has recently upgraded StudioOne, and it's a pretty comprehensive setup that I've used for the past 7 months with no issues. Very easy and intuitive, yet powerful.
 
Messages
4,157
Newer Macs have Thunderbolt which is Firewire compatible with just a cable.
In my experience, this isn't a happy solution... I had an Apogee Duet (the original FW version) and, using the Thunderbolt to FW adapter, wasn't a great solution. It introduced some buzz that I just couldn't get rid of. Used the opportunity to get a Quartet instead.

FWIW, to the OP, bear in mind that, on the Mac, you can very easily aggregate products; which is to say that you can plug in two or three different interfaces and aggregate them, logically, so that they appear to be as one in GarageBand (or Logic or other stuff). The reason I mention it is that it's sometimes nice to have discrete devices that can operate on their own if you just need X or Y or can operate together if you need X and Y. Another benefit is that you can buy a USB mic to play around with... then later buy a dual input interface and aggregate them. Just something to think about.

Or, you could just go out and get an interface that does everything you want right from the get go ;)
 

Cgkindler

Member
Messages
6,245
I use the Steinberg UR22 and it's GREAT......it does a very fine job getting my signals into Logic Pro X.....

FWIW!
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,356
I would say if your computer is 3 years or older and it does not already have Thunderbolt native, you should be thinking ahead. Firewire is being phased out. The better new Thunderbolt interfaces are few
at the moment and expensive, but that is where things are headed. It's not just an Apple development.
Apple launched, but 7 Intel partners were involved with Thunderbolt development.

If you have FireWire now fine, just think ahead.

Thunderbolt is like Apple taking the lead on original USB when everyone was still on serial ports.

It's going to be standard tech.
 

Otto Tune

Member
Messages
3,849
I want to use garage band. My I-Mac has both firewire and USB 3.0 terminals.
I'd like to upgrade my interface to something with maybe 4 discrete channels.
I outsmarted myself.
I settled on a used (haven't bought it yet) Presonus fire project 10 x 10 that has 8 discrete mic/line inputs.
And it has firewire connectivity.

But I noticed that My I-mac has Thunderbolt, not Firewire connectors. DOH! My macbook pro still has a Firewire.

I see there are adapters to connect firewire to thunderbolt, but will it support the Presonus fire project? I won't need power, but is the flow rate as good?
I won't buy the interface if it's going to be a boat anchor.

It's going to be standard tech.
......for six months until the new Snapflash standard replaces everything. :)
 
Messages
4,157
As I said a few posts ago, the FW to Thunderbolt adapter wasn't a happy solution for my Apogee Duet (version 1), there was an introduction of noise to the signal... I have no idea on the Presonus.
 

Otto Tune

Member
Messages
3,849
As I said a few posts ago, the FW to Thunderbolt adapter wasn't a happy solution for my Apogee Duet (version 1), there was an introduction of noise to the signal... I have no idea on the Presonus.
I saw that. Does the Duet use the buss to power the unit or is it A/C powered?
I've heard the Thunderbolt adapters don't play well with buss power.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,356
I outsmarted myself.
I settled on a used (haven't bought it yet) Presonus fire project 10 x 10 that has 8 discrete mic/line inputs.
And it has firewire connectivity.

But I noticed that My I-mac has Thunderbolt, not Firewire connectors. DOH! My macbook pro still has a Firewire.

I see there are adapters to connect firewire to thunderbolt, but will it support the Presonus fire project? I won't need power, but is the flow rate as good?
I won't buy the interface if it's going to be a boat anchor.

......for six months until the new Snapflash standard replaces everything. :)

I'm sure there will always be something cooler and faster in the works.
The main idea is opening up that data transfer bottle neck as much as possible.

I would not invest in new FireWire This late in the game.


Also, NEVER Hot Swap a FireWire connection.
With Macs and surely others, you can blow your FireWire port, thus your logic board if you
don't turn both the computer and the device off before connecting or disconnecting.

Not sure about Thunderbolt, so I'd take the same precautions.
 

Otto Tune

Member
Messages
3,849
If I may think out loud, here's what I've learned today.

USB 2.0/3.0 Although on paper it's a faster data transfer, but it uses packets instead of streaming like Firewire or Thunderbolt. Also, USB uses a buss so many devices are using the controller at the same time. In my case, the keyboard, printer, disk drive, and my powered speakers on a DAC.

Firewire. Looks good except it's being phased out. 4/6/or 9 wire connectors. Lots of gear available using firewire. I-Macs after 2012 don't have firewire connectors.

Thunderbolt. Newer standard. Not much gear available, and it's expensive. However Presonus FAQ says they like Apple products and keep their products current using the Apple firewire to thunderbolt adapter. ($29) Since I'll have a/c power for the unit, that may be the route.
Focusrite also says their interfaces are compatible with thunderbolt adapters. (Users say bus powered devices are hit and miss. I've found that USB buss powered devices have a hard time with mic preamps.)

But! Apple is coming out with a new connector on their Macbook that is a one-in-all. Called USB-C. Then, you purchase an $80 dongle that has three connectors.
Guess what? Thunderbolt is not one of the three. You'll get a USB-C passthrough, a USB-3, and a HDMI.

One port for everything, even the charger.

At this time, I think my budget is best served with the used Presonus 10 X 10, and the firewire to thunderbolt cable.


I remember when I was happy with USB. What's with this learning thing? (hell, I remember dial-up)
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,356
With a FireWire to Thunderbolt adapter, you'll only be getting FireWire bandwidth, just being able to connect
to a Thunderbolt system.

Just be careful when you size up different offerings, so if you want true Thunderbolt bandwidth, you'll want a native Thunderbolt interface.
 




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