A Question For Gear Junkies

I’m currently looking into getting a Macbook, but I noticed that the new aluminum ones don’t have firewire ports built in unless you go for the macbook pro… which is a difference of $700

So my question is: How much do you gear junkies use firewire? Do most of the devices out there have USB2.0 flavors, or is the industry based more around firewire these days?

If all else fails, I can always go for the non-alluminum macbook… which is actually $250 cheaper than the standard aluminum macbook… but significantly slower, and not as rugged.

So what do you guys think? Firewire or no?

I should add that firewire and display size aside, there’s not that much of a difference between the macbook pro and the macbook. Even the .4ghz processor speed difference doesn’t equate to that much of a cpu usage difference in Renoise. I tested some of the demo songs on both models and it was a very little difference.

Sometimes, its best to have the option… Whats the spec like on the cheaper ones too? i haven’t checked in a while.
Can you upgrade it to a similar power?
I’ve had my Macbook Pro for about 3/4 years now…no problem…(touch wood)

Yeah, people were furious about that change. I know a lot of people in the video editing sphere that will have the same problem.

I currently am using Firewire card, but on a Mac.

The short answer is that it depends how many channels you want. All the 8-in/8-out options seem to still be Firewire, but the 2-channel jobbies all seem to have a USB counterpart.

Not so, my Edirol UA-101 is 10 in 10 out, also comes in firewire.

I think firewire is a good option to have, but I am not at all convinced that it is superior for audio devices because the speed of USB 2.0 is perfectly fast enough. I certainly wouldn’t spend $700 extra to have firewire. That said, I use a PC and I think firewire is bigger with macs generally (but maybe not if they are selling them without), so maybe you wouldn’t want it? I’d base the decision on which is the better laptop generally, i think.

My experience of firewire versus USB 2.0 audio devices was that the USB ones worked better, but think that has way more to do with the drivers and compatiblity with the hardware, and likewise that may be because i was using PCs. So maybe the answer to your question depends on whether you already have a sound card, or if your buying a new one, assuming you want an external one, and in that case what are the best devices available for the money with good drivers that work… and then are they firewire or USB? I wouldn’t necessarily rule out a good internal soundcard either, depending on what you need (if you do want lots of in/outs and XLR inputs it has to be an external), because having 20,000 external usb devices like i do makes your laptop basically immobile. You might also consider if you are ever likely to want to use the soundcard with any other computers, because if they don’t have firewire you obviously won’t be able to. However the reliability of USB connections is also frequently disatisfactory imo, like if you unplug them or put them into different ports it messes everything up… but again, may just be windows…

i’m pretty sure that usb is capable of handling more than enough transfer of data regarding “normal” audio production. But if you’re planning to record like 10 channels of 192khz, then firewire might be necessary to cope with the stream… but i guess that’s not what you’re after anyway? :)

my motu (22 ins) is firewire only… but i rarely use more than 4ins/4outs, at max 88khz, so it could might as well have been usb for better mobility.

but as moss said, the fw option may come in very handy one day, soo…

It’s ok guys, I found a better build for slightly cheaper: http://store.shopfujitsu.com/ca/EcomCA/pag…i\a6230_ts

I AM still furious!!

But BYTE go for the mac!
You won’t be sorry! I assure you!

I don’t own a mac (and never will), but does mac have PCMCIA Card space?
If so, then it is possible to buy an internal PCMCIA card that will probrably run fast enough.

Charly: It’s possible to run MacOS on non-macs these days… “hackintosh” … I’m more interested in getting the best hardware bang for my buck ;)

without actually talking about ******tosh, my sig says it’s pretty easy to do. :D

The only advantage of FireWire over USB (more or less summarizing Bantai’s information) was that FireWire has it’s own subprocessor which causes a lot less cpu consumption than USB does and it has its own interrupt that is not shared with other devices.
FireWire is not superior in speed indeed and also the drivers that come along with the devices that you attach to it, have to coop with the chipset. So far only the Texas Instruments chipset seem to understand how firewire should communicate with the platform. All other chipsets suck on this area, specially VIA.
I have no idea how this works on a Mac though as most Mac hardware is specific.
But on a PC, the above info applies completely.

I think that PCMCIA is dead long time ago. Everything now is USB (or FW) plugable. The issue about Macs no having FW ports is not really a problem for me, the FW devices I have are also USB.

One thing I can tell you, Byte: I am an iMac user. I had a Mac laptop some years ago. After buying a Wintel laptop last year, when it gets broken, as sure as hell I will get a Mac laptop again. B)

That is why the mac is a bit more expensive.
The hardware in it just doesn’t break after a year ;)

Thats not entirely true.
The reasons why the macbooks is a “bit” more expensive than a pc laptop is:

  1. The design, fancy lamps and such are expensive aswell.

  2. Mac OS is kinda idiot proof. hard to get virus and malwares and such. plus you can always just take the macbook to the store if you get the angry maccomputer sign on your screen…

I would say, if you know what youre doing (and it sounds like that, when youre talking about hackintosh and all), then definetly get the fujitsu.

Yes, you can buy pc laptops with same or even better specs for around the half of what the mac computers costs. And if youre not happy with windows, DOS, linux or whatever, you can always install mac OS.

I have never owned a mac, but i have used them around in schools and places, and i must say that most of the time they just work and seem pretty failsafe, but they are just too crammed up with glittery smartness and “cool” designs for me. I find it very uninspiring and it must take alot of the CPUs resources.

But i guess if you like shiny objects, go for the mac.
Actually i must conlude that the only fair reason , IMHO, to chose a mac over a pc is if you like the design enough to pay the price.
or offcourse, if youre so afraid of electronics that you cant read up on google on how to install mac OS on a PC. My mother is like that. But she still uses a pc with win xp and is pretty satisfied with that.

I sound so angry, im really not. These are just my observations. correct me if im wrong.

Firewire is on the way out. USB 3 is on the way in.

Apple was the first to support it (Firewire is an Apple trademark), now they are the first to drop it.

People are furious, yes. But it’s a dying standard.

I owned 4 types of firewire cards (ESI, Presonus and Alesis)
I cannot say how frustrating it was to get these things to work like my X-station (which is USB)

Problems with: Weird sounds while loading songs in Renoise, on/off/on till it syncs, weird plops/dropouts, losing the card (yes my cable was ok)

Indeed, I found a TI chipped card that served the interface but only belkin makes those for my new laptop.
sweex is still very bad is still my conclusion after buying the expresscard (Belkin is expensive and hard to get).

Not wanting anymore trouble, I also ordered an Edirol UA-101


Unfortunately, USB3 won’t be here till 2010, and chances are it won’t provide backwards compatibility for firewire. So just like old standards like vga, serial and cat5, firewire’s not going anywhere any time soon. Not until firewire devices start becoming paperweights will the standard disappear.

usb wont be compatible with firewire at all just like current usb devices, but it will be backwards compatible with usb 2 devices. firewire, to me is already a legacy port. along the lines of is serial and parallel port brethren.

Nothing but trouble with USB audio interfaces. USB and audio simply don’t mix. Constant pops and clicks (no matter the latency), strange artifacts…

Pfff, I wish I bought that firewire card…

PCI-e or PCI-x buddy…