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PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:26 pm
by pee.gee
Hi guys. I'm doing an upgrade. Has anyone moved from PCI to firewire and...given that now PCIe is an option, will firewire feel sluggish by comparison ?..Cheers...Paul.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:08 pm
by Sammas
I moved the other way, from firewire to PCIx.

PCI/x/e all the way in my opinion. I spent years using firewire interfaces (duet, audiofire12, ensemble), and while they were decent, the switch to PCI made an outstanding improvement - particularly when it comes to latency, lower sample buffers and high I/O counts.

If its just a small session (voice over for example), I would go with firewire just for the convenience of a laptop though.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:19 am
by pee.gee
Thanks for the reply Nath. Its kind of what i'd expected. I want 16 outs. I'd considered the Audiofire 12 in a pair. But i couldnt cop any latency issues. Cheers mate.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:13 am
by lonearranger
Hi Paul,

You might want to consider the future life of your hardware - so if you are a mac user, then PCIe is already off the table, if you are PC, then lifespan is somewhat longer. Solutions where the audio hardware is seperate from the computer card, and where there is a history of different card formats, would help to mitigate this risk.

Guess the other issues to think about is what are the latencies that you are expecting, what hardware offers this performance on paper, and how close to that, and what problems, happen in the real world.

Have you had a look at the Apollo series, there is now a 16 in/out version, and has the option of thunderbolt which might help squeeze a bit more performance out if needed + access to the UAD plugs...

Cheers

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:07 pm
by pee.gee
Thanks , yes I only became aware of the new Thunderbolt format a matter of days ago. Firewire desks also caught my eye. Obviously a neater arrangement can be put in place. That was one of the reasons my curiosity re firewire has been stirred. Having said that..being an old fart....i liked being able to lift one channel strip out if necessary. Modern manufacture has me in an " Iffy " place. The idea of every in and out being the same format, instead of 6 channels of this and 4 of that plus 2 channels of aes....for example.....does my head in...even though i can understand it from the manufactureres costings. I dont know, it seems that my upgrade timing isnt the best. But as far as i can see , apart from the thunderbolt, there is nothing available with faster transfer rates than PCIe x16. I went from Mac in sydney to PC up here, as a matter of convenience.
Cheers L R.....appreciated.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:12 pm
by pee.gee
And..Michael, when you say that PCIe, being off the table and the general direction to be moving everything external of the mobo yes ? There in lies a problem re data flow transfer rates yes ? Is there anything else happening besides thunderbolt thats heading in this direction ? Thanks again Paul.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:33 pm
by lonearranger
Paul,

My comment about PCIe being off the table relates to apples product range, the new mac pro is no longer in a tower config, or has any expansion slots, so in terms of apple they are banking on thunderbolt for a while. Given that most motherboard makers still offer some products with good old PCI, it would be fair to expect that pcie would be supported for a while to come.

The bandwidth of USB2/Firewire/USB3 and Thunderbolt are all theoretically high enough to handle 16 ins/outs, and in some ways the latency available is influenced by the OS, motherboard, type of audio drivers etc. The option of integrated I/O desk is somewhat convenient. I ended up going with the yamaha N12 a few years ago, and for me its a nice solution. If you do have a desk already, then maybe look into the a straight interface, as you rightly mention, a new integrated solution will not give you the same character variation you talk about, although you could still patch in some of your other channel strips or pres - esp if the desk has inserts.

I would suggest come up with a shortlist, and then hit the forums to see how people are finding them in the real world, in terms of audio and software reliability/latency/performce and if you do go firewire, check that the firewire chipset in your PC is compatible, or factor in a pcie card.

Cheers

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:33 pm
by pee.gee
Thanks Michael. Firewire on a PCIe card...is that an improvement bandwidth wise , over the standard firewire connection. To put you in the picture.....had a little heart problems a while ago and the docs pensioned me off. So for startes..all expenditure has to be considered and planned out. With the budget the way it is, ive stuck together a Mackie 32/8, and an RME 3296 with add on boards,Tannoy 8D's, still running sx3 temporarily on xp. An o1v in my other room for editing vid. I know some people may snicker at the 32/8..but hey it has an old school feel and it fitted the budget .Practically everything is outdated, but thats ok, it all still makes reasonable sounds. Cheers.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:54 pm
by lonearranger
HI Paul,

The bandwidth of firewire is theoretically the same, regardless of on board or via PCIe. There are a few makers of the firewire chipsets and some play nicer with audio interfaces than others, so its only a concern if your onboard chipset is the wrong kind. Generally Texas Instruments works with everything, and other chipset brands may have issues with certain audio interfaces - some of the audio interface makers do publish the brands of chipsets they support. This is why I mentioned a bit of pre-purchase research is a good idea.

The RMS stuff is pretty highly regarded both sonically and technically. There is probably nothing on the market that will give you better latency. Low latency is really only key if you are monitoring via software or using soft synths - cubase handles all the latency/compensation stuff really nicely.

If you monitor via your desk then latency is not such a big deal. Can you expand the RME stuff up to the track count you need - there should be a fair bit of ADAT IO floating around these days. A mate of mine is running a pretty busy studio on RME and it works nicely.

Cheers

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:45 am
by pee.gee
Hi Micheal. yes i'm happy with the performance of the RME....Its just a track count thing. Latency isnt an issue, ive always used a desk...it was more data flow and bottle necks i was curious about affecting performance. Seeing as PCIe doesnt share its bus , i wasnt sure how firewire worked like that.
The only way i can see of getting 16 physical in and outs on rme is to go Maddi.....Thats stretching the fiscal friendship at the moment........as far as i can see.
I did look at the ada8000 i/o option but the s/mux count always topped out at 48k...ive been running a lot higher on rme and feel a bit weird about lowering it.
I have unintentionally stumbled across a variety of chip issues on the net. I'd better pay a bit more attention eh ? haha. Thanks mate appreciate your help.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:21 am
by Drumstruck
<edit - so rude of me - Hi Paul :-)>

All the above advice is good.

As a comparison e.g.

- a few years ago I had a Mackie (24/8 + 24E) going into 3 x sync'd Delta 1010s (PCI) for 24 I/O on an eight-core PC running PT8 - 16 I/O was fine, but when I went to 24 I/O I started to get clicks and pops......

- currently I have a MBP (OSX Lion) with 32 simultaneous I/O from my console using firewire 400 over thunderbolt and running PT9 - also have a firewire 800 drive in the I/O chain - no issues related to I/O with this setup......

So I don't think that firewire 400 is likely to be the limiting factor......

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:06 pm
by pee.gee
Thanks Ian and Michael. Was just looking around and found this controller. Have either of you guys heard of it ? http://www.onevideo.co.uk/allegro-firew ... -card.html

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:17 pm
by Drumstruck
Sorry, I don't know that card Paul.

I'd strongly recommend going with the chipset supported by the manufacturer of the device you select - the TI ones seem to be the most widely supported. fyi I had a lot of trouble with various f/w chipsets incompatibility with my console - the same TI chipsets worked well with M-Audio 2626 so it was just a compatibility issue with the console s/w. I eventually gave up on the PC and went Mac with no further problems.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:45 am
by pee.gee
Thanks guys. Its looking like either audiofire 12 / focusrite liquid or saffire 40 x 2. Focusrite's support for thunderbolt has me looking at new mobo's and ssd's on i7..to which i think should give me a moderate 64 bit system...for a little while. Cheers ,thanks for your guidence guys.

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:09 pm
by Paul Maybury
Hi , we have been using Audiofire at work for a while now. They sound good, very stable too.
One thing to note though is that +4db equates to -12dbdfs on these. We ended up padding the inputs down 6db.
Cheers,
Paul

Re: PCIe to firewire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:23 am
by pee.gee
Hey thanks for that info Paul. All positive reviews for the audiofire unit ive seen so far. And line level is all i need. Cheers guys for your help.