Need help choosing audio interface...

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Member Since: Nov 12, 2005

Hi everybody,

I recently purchased a Mac Mini with 512 MB of RAM and a 1.42 GHz processor, and I'm trying to choose a USB- or Firewire-based audio interface to do some home recording with.

I've narrowed my options to the Presonus Firepod, the Firewire 410 and the Mbox 1 or 2. I've read the most positive things about the Firepod, though I would really like to have something that runs ProTools, since I've used it in the past and have half-finished PT projects that I would like to do additional work on.

I know the Firewire 410 can run ProTools M-Powered, but I've read that it has compatibility problems with Macs. And while the Mboxes also have ProTools built in, I've read about people disliking the slowness of the USB connection.

Anyway, I'd really appreciate some opinions about this. I'm a singer/songwriter who'll be recording mostly solo, though I'd like the option to expand into MIDI and/or band recording. I'm hoping to spend no more than $500 to $600 on an interface.

Thanks for any help.


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Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 13, 2005 01:43 am

Well, honestly the last couple months have seen many incompatability issues raised here regarding Mac, ProTools and USB/Firewire interfaces. It seems that a lot of these things dont play nice with one another depending on what version of PT you have, what drivers are installed, what OS version you have on the Mac and so on.

The firewire and USB connectivity has not worked out well for many folks. But that said, there are some who seem to have conquered the bugs and issues to get them going.

There are a few users here who can probably give you better insight as they are Mac users or allready have dealt with the issues you are worried about. I run PC for those very reasons, compatability issues are very slight and rare here.

I would give it a bit and some one should catch this post and maybe give ya some insight.

I can't spell.
Since: Nov 10, 2005

Nov 13, 2005 12:24 pm

I have a Firepod and love it. It comes with Cubase LE which is the lowest of the low in the Cubase hierarchy but still gets the job done. It is a very easy yet powerful program to learn, and you can always upgrade it whenever you have the money. It directly says in the manual however it doesn't run with ProTools though, so if that's the deciding factor for you then there it is.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 13, 2005 01:22 pm

jon, the alternative if you want the Firepod is to transport yoru projects in wave format. Then you will be able to share them with your friends and they with you by simply sending wave files for the tradck files.

I do that all the time and it works fine.

Since: Nov 12, 2005

Nov 14, 2005 05:31 pm

Thanks for the advice, everybody.

Nobody has mentioned the Mbox, either positively or negatively. From a financial standpoint, it looks like a good value, but I've heard it has problems with latency. Can anybody tell me from experience how bad the latency is?


jimmie neutron
Since: Feb 14, 2005

Nov 14, 2005 08:13 pm

What's wrong with the 1814? Too much gear? I'd stay away from the USB interfaces, pretend that they don't exist. Unless you *really* just gotta have Pro Tools LE (& the "M" Box), instead of "M" powered PT... If ya gotta have Pro Tools, ya gotta have it...
wander around their site and read up on it all. The "M" stuff is not very compatible with the LE, which isn't really compatible with HD, from what I understand, tho I've never used it. Don't care too, either...

Since: Nov 12, 2005

Nov 16, 2005 11:32 pm

I think the 1814 might be too expensive, and plus, I'm a solo singer/songwriter, so I don't really need the capability to record drums. I'll have percussion in my songs, but I can do it two tracks at a time if necessary.

So, if I'm staying away from USB, it looks like the only real options in my price range are the Firewire 410 and the Firebox. (I'd like MIDI capability, so the Firewire Solo is out.) And I'd like ProTools, so I guess I'm going with the 410 with ProTools M-Powered.

Tell me if I'm making a big mistake. :)

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