USB 2.0 or Firewire audio interface? (latter runs hot?)

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Greenone, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Greenone macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2005
    Just been reading up on this a bit and it seems there are some issues with laptops (macs at least) getting really hot when hooked up to some firewire audio interfaces (probably not only a mac issue but not sure).

    Also been reading that USB 2.0's are actually really good, fast and in some ways possibly better/more convenient (ugh - I hope you don't ask for sources but I suppose I can find at least one). Ok here's one (scroll down to "firewire versus USB"):

    But still...everyone loves firewire and more importantly, I'm leaning toward getting the Presonus Firebox just because it (and the Firepod) have such good reviews pertaining to macs - but not because it's firewire necessarily.

    Anyone care to chime in w/ their own opinions/experience/info?

  2. SimonTheSoundMa macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2006
    Birmingham, UK
    Three problems with USB2.

    1) The protocol only runs at full speed in short bursts, the overhead is also high giving poor multiplexing.

    2) You can't daisychain.

    3) USB uses the CPU for its control, where Firewire has a dedicated processor. This slows your machine down.

    USB for audio is not really used in any decent equipment. USB is designed for devices such as mice, keyboards and joysticks.
  3. Luap macrumors 65816


    Jul 5, 2004
    I cant see any reason why a USB or Firewire audio interface would run hotter than the other. There is no logic in that theory I think.
    Anyway, Simon has it right.. USB can be pretty good, but on a Mac at least, for best results and dependability, you really want a Firewire interface.
  4. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2005
    Thank you both...that was good to hear (read) and puts my fears to rest. ;)
  5. cgingrich macrumors regular


    Oct 19, 2005
    Firewire hands down. I just got the Apogee Duet and it runs like a dream. Seamless integration into Logic Studio as well which is always a plus!
  6. DJJONES macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2008
    Newengland usa!
    firewire is much better man!!!!!

    it can be a little jittery at times depending what os your running and which company made drivers but overall
    i would take firewire in a heartbeat.
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    USB 1.1 is only good enough for 2 - 4 tracks of audio, but USB 2.0 interfaces are quite capable. If you are recording up to 4 tracks of audio in simultaneously, then USB 2.0 is fine. Firewire is better, and if you want to record 10 - 16 live tracks at a time then Firewire is the way to go. But you don't have to reject a USB 2.0 audio interface out of hand if your needs are modest.
  8. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2005
  9. bash54 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2008
    what about for recording to external disk?

    Is firewire also superior to USB 2.0 for reading/writing audio to disk? My G5 just died and I need to transfer my Logic projects to my macbookpro, and I'll need an external drive to make room for everything. I assume firewire is the way to go but just want to make sure. Btw, I have the 15" version so Firewire 800 isn't an option for me.

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