Best firewire audio interface for under a grand?
April 28, 2006 1:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to set up a small recording studio for use in an educational setting. I'm leaning towards a firewire interface into a PC. I have mics/mixers/monitors/everything I need except for a way to get the audio into the PC.

I want at least 8 mic inputs, 10 would be ideal. I really don't care about any other bells and whistles. (unless you can tell me about something I may not know about)

What is the best firewire audio interface for around $1000?
posted by davey_darling to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From everything I have heard, do not buy m-audio.
posted by empath at 1:05 PM on April 28, 2006

I'm not audiophile, but this seems quite comprehensive.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 1:11 PM on April 28, 2006

Presonus Firepod
posted by Dean King at 1:48 PM on April 28, 2006

The Mark of the Unicorn 896 works real nice. I've had mine for a few months and just love it.

I tried to use a Firepod but had no success - I got two lemons, one right after the other. The first one lasted a week. The second one lasted only a couple of days. Both generated loud bursts of static and had all kinds of driver problems. The service people were real nice and really wanted to hook me up with a working unit, but I'd had enough and decided to to with the MOTU 896.
posted by Rubber Soul at 1:55 PM on April 28, 2006

I have personal experience using a Tascam FW1884 firewire DAC/ADC with integrated 8-channel mixer and DAW control surface attached to a G5 tower running ProTools and Digital Performer in an educational setting (as a student, in class and independant study work where I was basically my own tech support). It's a bit of a pain to set up, but once you get it going, it plays nicely with CoreAudio/etc.

The FW-1082 looks like a slightly watered-down version of the same concept.

I have no experience using these devices with PCs, however, and I've read reports of people having their share or problems, both PC- and mac-side. Apparantly there are 3rd-party

I have no personal experience with the MOTU 896, but I've seen it used, and heard its' output, and it seems like a solid little box.

If you want to work in ProTools, the MBox is a decent place to start, but it has far fewer I/O channels than you want, and as people have commented, M-Audio is known for poor build quality. I have a Radium 49 keyboard, and while it works, it definitely has that plastic feel.
posted by Alterscape at 2:29 PM on April 28, 2006

(oops, that third paragraph should end with "apparantly there are third-party drivers that work better than the TASCAM drivers for the 1884, but I have no experience with them, either." Sorry for the doublepost. If any admins see this and feel like correcting my post and deleting this one, feel free; I will not be offended).
posted by Alterscape at 2:31 PM on April 28, 2006

Lots of good starter info at Audiominds

More depth at ProRec
posted by Artful Codger at 3:06 PM on April 28, 2006

Empath : So what have you heard about M-Audio?

I'm a long term M-Audio user - numerous cards / external interfaces / other hardware. Overall, my experiences have been extremely positive.

Their Audiophile 2496 PCI card is probably the best value 2 in / 2 out (4 in 4 out if you include S/PDIF) PCI interface out there. I've mixed several commercially released albums on one, and they've always sounded great.

As for the original question : I'd suggest a used MOTU 828 mkII, possibly expanded with a used ADAT or Behringer ADA8000 for another 8 ins/outs over ADAT. This is all assuming your mixer has the requsite mic pres and direct outs / busses.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 4:36 PM on April 28, 2006

I second the suggestion of the MOTU 828 mkII; it's an amazing piece of hardware. I use mine nearly every day :)
posted by starscream at 6:52 PM on April 28, 2006

I have been very happy with my Alesis MultiMix 8 FireWire mixer. It is an 8 channel mixer with 24Bit /44.1/48kHz eight channel recording direct to your firewire port, bypassing the need fo a sound card. It works with Cubase (SE version included) and Audacity, and most other mixing/recording packages.
posted by dafair at 11:01 AM on April 30, 2006

« Older Hopefully this question isn't too crass of me to...   |   Lazy Man's Matrix Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.