Firewire to Thunderbolt 3 Adapter

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jodeo, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Jodeo macrumors regular

    Jodeo

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    #1
    I recently purchased an iMac 2017, which has Thunderbolt 3.

    My old 2007 iMac has Firewire, and I used it for my digital camcorder and for an audio interface. I'm almost done converting the videos, so that's not a huge concern.

    The external audio interface is a PreSonus FireStudio Mobile. It works great and I'd like to keep it (as replacing it would be around $300 or more). The only ports it has are two Firewire ports - no USB, etc.

    Since it uses Firewire I'd need an adapter. There's an adapter on Amazon but it's for Thunderbolt 2 - apparently not compatible with the new iMac.

    Is there an adapter for Firewire to a current (2017) iMac (Thunderbolt 3 or USB3)?
     
  2. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #2
    You need the Apple Thunderbolt 3/USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adaptor, THEN the Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    Yes, you need 2 adapters, "daisy-chained".
    Might be worth hunting these up "slightly used" on ebay.
    Each one is fairly pricey if "bought new" from Apple.
     
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #4
    In theory, you should be able to combine the Apple TB2-to-TB3 adapter ($50) with the TB2-to-Firewire adapter.

    In theory

    (Might want to wait until someone responds who has actually done it before blowing the thick end of $100 on adapters).

    I don't think any of the current crop of TB3 docks include Firewire - and anyway, a TB3 hub would cost almost as much as a new audio interface.

    Sucks, but it might make more sense to look in the mirror, say "sunk costs" three times and get a shiny new audio interface.
     
  5. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    “Agreed.”
     
  6. kanselmo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #6
    I do the daisy chain - MacBook Pro 2016->TB3-TB2 adaptor->TB2-FW800 adaptor->PreSonus FireStudio Tube interface. Other than looking ugly it has worked great for me for years now. While I'd love to replace with a newer interface, it's very hard to justify when this works so well.

     
  7. fedtho macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    #7
    Thank you so much for having tried the daisy chaining AND posting the result.

    I was really suspicious about the two adaptors solution but, llike you, wanted to keep my (incredbly resilient AND fantastic sounding) Presonus Firepod (over 10 years old I believe, no reason to replace it as you say)
    I'll go for the 2nd adapter and cross my fingers.
     
  8. kanselmo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #8
    Happy recording! I think these interfaces still have some perfectly good years ahead of them, ugly cabling aside.
     
  9. Jodeo thread starter macrumors regular

    Jodeo

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    #9
    Hey Kanselmo and Fedtho,

    I wanted to check in to see how it's going. I know Kanselmo said it's been fine, and I wasn't sure if Fedtho's had a chance to try the daisy chain method. Dropping ~$80 new for two adapters sounds hefty, but to replace the Presonus FireStudio will take at least $300.

    I'd like to know if you experience latency with audio - and if so, how much? If I'm playing my keyboard live (in my home studio, that is), I'd strongly prefer to have no discernible delay.


    Thanks, everyone - this has been a rather fascinating thread.
    :)
     
  10. rboy505 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    #10
    Just wanted to add a recent experience to the thread. I'm an audio engineer, with a remote rig, and like many of my peers I still have some great sounding and bulletproof gear with FW, so I've been keeping an eye on docks, etc. Fortunately, my audio computers are a 2015 and a 2009 MBP as backup, and even though the former has no FW, its TB2 ports enable the use of Apple's FW adapter, which has never hiccuped. However a friend with a great home production rig has a newer TB3 MBP and has been using the OWC TB3 dock with one FW port with much success for about a year. Until it took a dump yesterday. Ouch. Studio down. I'm near both B&H and a MicroCenter in NYC, so I figured how hard will it be to get him up and running? Turns out very hard. After spending the entire day on this one conundrum the result is that the ONLY solution for getting FW out of a TB3 Mac is the two adapters, TB3 to 2 for $49 and TB2 to FW800 for $29. There simply is no other solution short of finding a discontinued, older dock with FW. But this isn't as simple as it could have been, because as docks moved on to TB3 the ones that had FW800 took it off. I wasn't able to find a single TB3 dock with a FW port by any manufacturer. And, figuring if I grabbed the $49 TB3 to 2 adapter and a mini TB2 dock with FW it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Except that no one is stocking those TB2 docks anymore! OWC not only doesn't stock the model that croaked, but they offer no solution at all for this. The vendor he purchased his dock from can't replace it with another, only with a new, non FW model.

    So in case anyone is still wondering, the $78 two adapters is the only way it can be done at all : (
     
  11. Jodeo, Apr 22, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019

    Jodeo thread starter macrumors regular

    Jodeo

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    #11
    Thanks rboy505,

    With these two adapters, how bad is the latency? If I a key on my synth, how much of a delay is there in the audio when played back (e.g. in LP or even GB)?
     
  12. Jodeo thread starter macrumors regular

    Jodeo

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    #12
    UPDATE (May '19): I tried the three cables — They didn't work.

    I spent $80 on..
    * FW400 to FW800 cable (4+ star reviewed on Amazon),
    * FW800 to TB2 cable (Apple), and
    * TB2 to TB3 cable (Apple).

    Mac OS (Mojave) didn't detect anything on either TB port and the Presonus Firestudio Mobile's indicator flashes red and blue - meaning no signal is detected. (I do have the Presonus Universal Control app running, btw, and I also have it powered using the power supply.) Without the Presonus power supply the FireStudio was dark (no power or flashing indicator). System Report showed nothing on either TB port with the three cables connected and the audio interface powered using its power cord.

    Next I tested the FW-only adapter cable on my old iMac, which has FW800. It recognized the FireStudio right off, so that cable's fine. It's running El Capitan, btw.

    I then tested the set-up with the next cable (FW400 > FW800 + FW800 > TB2) with my wife's 2013 MacBook Air (Mojave). The FireStudio drew power but that's it - it wasn't recognized by the Mac (though the first cable, FW800 to TB2 was, according to System Report) - even with the Presonus drivers installed.

    I haven't tested the TB2 to TB3 but I suspect that's not the issue (given the test just above). Then again, it may be dead.

    Very disappointed that this didn't work. At least I can return the cables and save up for a replacement audio interface.


    [​IMG]
     
  13. kanselmo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #13
    I am bummed out to hear of your experience. That being said - it had been a couple months since I had last recorded so I wasn't sure if a recent update had locked things out. I tested my rig this week after reading about this and my Presonus unit works with no issues. Linked right up, solid blue light, and showed up in the OS and in Logic as it always has for me. While getting an audio interface with modern connections is probably the best way to go overall, it may be possible to get this one going yet.

    Just to compare, I am using a 2016 13" MacBook Pro (Touch Bar). I tested it with the latest version of Mojave this week. Connections were: MacBook Pro->Apple TB3 to TB2->Apple TB2 to FW800->FW800 to FW400 cable->Presonus Firestudio Tube. I did install the Presonus Universal Control software when I bought the computer but haven't touched it since.
     

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12 February 9, 2019