[applebashing] Beware Apple Firewire Drivers

Hi all,
The other day I stumbled across a forum discussion that put a few things in perspective. I couldn’t find this posted here before (except in past discussions of my own creation) so I’ll post this link to a forum where I found it all nutted out and explained by some pretty level-headed dudes:

Macintouch Forums on CoreAudio Firewire Drivers

Firewire drivers for coreaudio devices in os x are incomplete at best, and dodgy at worst. I've felt the pain of unexplained cpu spikes and jittery performance when using my Edirol Fa-101 on my ibook.

It was torture when after explaining it to someone I’d just get an empty face and either ‘Did you reinstall your system? That might help…’ or even better ‘Well that just goes to show macs suck’. There’s nothing like ignorance or blind prejudice to blunten a perfectly good pointed question. I like os x, I like the idea of coreaudio, and I’ve seen and used some pretty decent coreaudio setups.

It’s just the denial that I can’t take. No system is perfect; Apple and their religious users must acknowledge mistakes. But it took THIS LONG (at least two years) before some reasonable discussion surfaced on the matter.

Apple hasn’t corrected the issue, and I don’t think they will until someone important squeals. Since Bebob devices are bottom to middle range, only home users wiill be squealing and they don’t count.

Bottom line: CoreAudio and Bebob firewire devices don’t mix. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

For clarification, bebob devices include (but are not exclusively limited to) the edirol ones (fa-101, fa-66) and Presonus Firebox. Not included are MOTU devices and a few other manufacturers. Some common sense advice is to always check to see what chipset your card is using.

good to see you around bruv! :)
do you by chance know of a full list of these BeBob Devices?

its a pity Apple ‘only’ caters to the Rich.
its very sad…
its variations of this fact, that have led me to begin despising Apple, and begin bashing them publicly. they have turned into what microsoft always aspired to be.

bloated! lol

G’day Choice, good to see you too. It’s been a while since I last posted i guess. Life has been awfully busy!

I agree, they’ve made product decisions I’m not really behind, and funnily enough it’s those products that sell the most (itunes drm anyone? ipods?). Having said that I’m not a microsoft fan either ;)

I don’t know of a full list of bebob cards. It’s fairly easy to find out though if you already have a few cards in mind. Strangely enough from all accounts these cards work quite well under windows. It’s all about you driver support.

yes, the funny side about these new Apple strategies is that if ever Microsoft would have released something exactly as the iPod, everyone would have screamed that Satan had come to Earth



I really don’t get apple and the hype around them. But I wont start a rant, I did that some time ago in this board regarding another topic.

Thanks for the heads up, I was thinking of checking the firebox out at a local shop and would have never been told about this.
What about M-audio on the mac? I’m thinking about getting the audiophile. I hear they don’t have the best drivers either.
Also,does Presonus or Apple have plans to deal with this?

From what I hear, M-Audio devices don’t suffer from the cpu spikes that Bebob and other devices do.

I did a bit more searching, and found some interestiing stuff. From march this year, here’s a short discussion between someone with an FA-66 and an apple dev.


They apparently haven’t fixed anything officially (yet).

However, I then found this:


This is software for a different sound card. Scroll down to see the Apple firewire audio updater. Apple apparently have a new version of AppleFWAudio.kext (version 2.02fc7-e3) but it’s still in beta stages, midi is disabled (wtf?) and it only works in 10.4.8 or higher.

The interesting thing here is it says it’s an update specifically to fix cpu spikes in the Saffire PRO and maybe other firewire devices. Here’s hoping, eh?

Another link to problems relating to the FA-101 on os x.


This one has a list of some cards that are affected. These are from 2 years ago and are still relevant.


I think I might start up some kind of awareness campaign, since it has been ignore for so long.

I just skimmed that thread, and it seems to be all about the ieee 1394 chipset. VIA = bad, T.I.=good, agere=??? (I have an agere in the mail, when it arrives I’ll let you all know how it goes on the FA-101).

Working firewire setups can happen on windows, as long as you have good hardware on your mobo.

Apple’s hardware shouldbe good considering they invented the interface, so I’m assuming it’s all down to software. gnashes teeth

Audiophile works fine btw. fewer features than the fire box,but it works ok. the volume knobs on the hardware side are useless. have to use the mouse. but what do you expect for $98.
Also, don’t buy a computer with Windows XP media center edition. Almost no sound card works with it. My friend got completely screwed on that one.

I have had a Behringer FA-202, but that was a genuine bebop interface (clicks, CPU spikes, relatively high latency)…

I can recommand Echo AudioFire interfaces for Mac, I have an AudioFire 12 and I don’t have sudden CPU peaks or other problems whatsoever. :)
Minor note: it costs over ¤600…

I have t.c. electronics konnekt 8. At the time of this original post, there was 1 glitch: Opening a new application caused a hiccup in the sound. Extremely annoying sometimes.

Now since Apple released the 10.4.10 Tiger update, and t.c. electronics released their new drivers. This problem is resolved. So I believe that t.c. electronic’s FW products are a very good choice. I have heard that RME FW interfaces do not have any problems either. I also believe Apple has worked steadily to improve the quality of their firewire and audio implementations and the results a positive.

How do you like the konnekt 8 w/ mac?? I’m about to get both soon I think.

Every where I’ve checked (places such as gearslutz.com), people say for the money it is one of, if not the best bang-for-the-buck interfaces. The DACs are great, it blows away anything I’ve had before (PC with Audiophile 2496 and Emu 0404). I don’t do recording through it, but I have read the mic pre’s are very good and respectable. And this is also comparing the $300 device vs everything else including $1000+ interfaces. The konnekt 8 will take you out of the pro-sumer class and into the low-end pro-audio class. I haven’t personally compared the konnekt 8 to any other firewire devices except I had purchased the Emu 0404 FW, which I quickly returned. The emu0404 FW sounded worse than the PCI card 0404 (how is that possible?! if they’re the same electronics.) I have no regrets on the konnekt 8, it is very fine. I think unless you are prepared to spend a lot more money than what the konnekt 8 costs, it will be a challenge to find something that sounds as good.