Finally decided on a Firepod

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by faintember, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. faintember macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #1
    Just an FYI out there for everyone...

    As many of you know i have been debating which audio interface to purchase, and (finally) i have decided on the Presonus Firepod. Based upon specs, reviews, friends reviews and real world use (though limited) the Firepod won out against the MOTU 828mkII. Basically, i didnt need all of the bells and whistles (word clock, light pipe, etc.) and Sweetwater had the Firepod b-stock, which is $100 less than the normal retail price. So basically i purchased the Firepod, a Gator 4U shallow rack and a Pro Co 10' 8 channel TRS-TRS snake for less than the price of the 828mkII.

    It should be in sometime next week (probably tuesday or wednesday), so after i get it unpacked i will post a full review of the Firepod after i put it through the ringer. Thanks to those on the Digital Audio forum that have helped me along the way with advice (even though you might not have been necessarily addressing me). I just figured this would be a good chance to review a piece of gear, and maybe help out some other posters.

    Cheers
    -Cameron
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    all right, let me try this: congrats!

    make some music.
     
  3. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #3
    ^^^^^ Thanks, and Oh i will test the living snot out of it...

    I have a Max/MSP patch that is just waiting to reek havoc on the Firepod, so as soon as it arrives my Max patch will be the first test, then i will try some recording of various sources to see how well the Presonus mic pre amps work. The big big test will be my recital (march 24th....). I have four 8-channel pieces that will be performed on that recital, two of which will use multiple input sources (2 mic, 1 line) ran through my computer and Max. The other big big (big) test will be my thesis performance where i will be using a hyperinstrument i am building running through Max/MSP which is dispersing in 8 channels. I just hope that i can keep my CPU usage down (it is currently at 70% now with a little over 2/3 of the patch built).

    Anyone want to recommend any other tests that i should put the hardware through? Also, i never thought of this before, but should there be any break-in done to an audio interface?
     
  4. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #4
    It'll be very interesting to read your review. FWIW, over at zzounds they got 104 users rating it a 6.7 out of 10, not exactly a glowing endorsement... if it was just 10 users, well... but it was over 100... what does that mean? Dunno. Whatever /shrug/... key is how it works for you :)
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    i got say, that's about 104 opinions i don't care about. a piece must be evaluated within a context of use and i don't believe that can be gauged for an interested user from such polls.
     
  6. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #6
    The zzounds rating system is, well a bit, well dumb...

    Read some of the reviews and look at the spelling/grammar...lol
    Honestly, i dont know anyone that uses zzounds (although it may be a great company) for audio equipment.

    Over at Sweetwater the reviews are much better (and so is the spelling and grammar). Also check out this, this and this review(s).

    The thing is how it works for me, totally agreed. The MOTU stuff is great, but pricey. I see an impending Macbook Pro purchase for me later this year, plus starting my doctoral programs, so money is a big issue.

    But thanks for looking out for me OldCorpse. Once it is in we will see how it really works. I was a bit worried about buying the b-stock version, but the same warranty still applies so that pretty much squashed my fears.

    Here's to waiting for my shipment!
     
  7. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #7
    Yeah, well I wasn't putting much stock in the zzounds reviews... it was more a kind of "weird, huh" type heads up :)

    You've been so helpful with advise, and so knowledgeable, I'm really looking forward to your review :) :) :) !

    Presonus has a good rep, so prolly no need to worry abou the b-stock. New macbook later this year, huh? Well, good luck... I personally don't need one this year, so I'm more than happy to wait for the promised super-efficient Intel chips that are coming out mid 07... but if you need one now, you need one now (or later this year) :D
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    you get full warranty w/ the b-stock, right? if so, i wouldn't worry about it. sweetwater's taken care of me every time i've had an issue.
     
  9. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #9
    ^^^^Yes, a full standard warranty.

    From their website:
    Sweetwater has always taken good care of me as well.
     
  10. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #10
    Alright, my shipment finally came in. Here are some pictures! :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So far so good. The firepod hooked up quite easily. Just hook up the FW cable to the computer, hook up the power to the Firepod and flip the switch. Thats all that there is to it. There is, however, no documentation that came with the Firepod, although Presonus does have the instruction manuel on their website in pdf format. I did update the firepod firmware via the Presonus website, but other than that everything is working well.

    Basic I/O is fine. I will have the time to give her a good workout on Friday as i have a rehearsal for two 8-channel compositions. Tomorrow I have a masterclass with Robert Carl, so time is pretty short at the moment.
     
  11. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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  12. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #12
    And finally here it is.... (it has been a busy busy month or so!) Glad to be back (at least for a little bit)

    Ok:

    Installation: Very much so a breeze. Plug in the Firepod and go. There is also a firmware update, but the process is quite simple. Coreaudio recognizes the Firepod with no problems.

    First impression: Wow, easy install, works, but what is with the damn buzz coming from my PB??? For some reason, when the Firepod is connected to my Ti PB i get a wonderful hum from my PB. It is faint, but it is really, really annoying. I havent picked the sound up on any recordings, but it is my main concern from the beginning.

    Use: Playback and Recording are pretty dang good. Is it MOTU 828 mkII good? Its close, but not quite there. The mic preamps are clean, and there is plenty of headroom. All eight inputs and outputs are nicely balanced when compared to the others. I have been outputting 8 channels from the Firepod for most of my projects recently, and it has done a very good job of handling the output, even while running 4 input channels. So that pleases me. The vocal recordings that i have done with it have been beautiful running the schools Earthworks through the Firepod. Nice, clean, un-colored.

    Concerns: As mentioned before, the buzz that happens with the interface is annoying, but i can overlook that. What really irritates me is the ease of the OS recognizing the Firepod. Sometimes it seems that coreaudio dosent see the Firepod when you boot up, and sometimes it does. Sometimes it says the Firepod is there (via selection in Audio/MIDI setup) but it still wont input/output sound unless the whole system is rebooted. Recently, during a concert of electro-acoustic music, my power cable became disconnected before the concert, causing my battery to deplete. I noticed the problem, re-connected the power cable and upon the computer waking up coreaudio and the Firepod did not want to play well together. Some Max/MSP patches that i had built that typically use 60% CPU were using 100% CPU. It seems that some portion of coreaudio was still looking for the Firepod upon OS wake up, but other portions of coreaudio thought that the Firepod was already there! After a re-start of the system, the problem persisted. Repairing disk permissions solved nothing. The computer finally started acting normal while watching the activity monitor (which was reporting that the system was using anywhere from 90-100% of my CPU constantly).

    Also, when the Firepod is connected, generally my CPU usage is increased at least 5-8% across the board. I guess this is coreaudio working in the background, but it is still annoying...

    Overall, it is a decent interface. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) i would give the Firepod an 7.5. Not bad by any means, but it could be better.

    -cameron
     
  13. mikeytwice macrumors member

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    Jun 19, 2005
    #13
    I've just ordered a firepod that I'll be using with my 1.42ghz iBook, & while looking around on the web for users' experiences I found this thread. Once I receive the firepod & get things up and running I'll post my experience, but for now I was wondering if you could tell more about these Max/MPS patches of which you speak. Thanks!
     
  14. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #14
    ^^^ Well Max/MSP is a programming language that cane be used for musical applications. The program can be found at http://www.cycling74.com.

    Think of the patches as programs created within the Max/MSP environment.

    Its a graphic way of creating things, such as ring-modulation, synthesizers, sequencers, etc. I use it to do various things, such as pitch detection (and acting upon matching the input), spectral filtering controlled by the partial content and their amplitude, etc.

    If you want to know more about Max, check out the link above. However the best way to learn about Max is to play with it. The software is available for a 30 day free demo.

    Good luck with your firepod. Hopefully you wont have some of the problems that i have had.
     
  15. mikeytwice macrumors member

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    Jun 19, 2005
    #15
    thanks for the response. i hope that i'll be able to avoid those problems as well, though if not, the firepod has a high resell value. i could probably get more than i paid for it.

    what recording software is good for macs? logic pro?
     
  16. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #16
    ^^^No problem.

    As to the software, there are plenty of threads around here that have info on the software topic. Basically, decide what you are going to be doing, assign them to priorities and then select the software that meets it. Cubase, Logic and Pro Tools all work well, but have their strengths in different areas. Some of the threads around here can tell you the difference, and will probably hi-light some of the problems/good points about the software that i might leave out.
     
  17. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #17
    i'll just add that you can rule out pro tools, unless you want to buy more hardware.
     
  18. faintember thread starter macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    #18
    ^^^True, but maybe that isnt such a bad thing...:p

    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
    I HATE PRO TOOLS/DIGIDESIGN!!!!!!!!!!
     

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