Expensive Gear Woes...

Hi fellow musically inclined peoples,
I thought I’d start a thread here that’s been building up my frustration for nearly 2 years now.
I dedicate it to those of us who have lived with expensive mistakes for too long.

I know, there are people in the crowd who are quite happy with their setup, and it works just fine in most situations. This isn’t for you. This is for people who are new to it or just for those who have suffered (if no one else, just me :) )

Two years ago I decided to invest in an Edirol FA-101. I wanted something I could run hardware synths through software fx, something that could serve as a virtual mixer, something portable, and could plug into my iBook (which I’d bought a couple of months before. In Australia it costs just over two weeks pay working full time to purchase one of these little red boxes, so I imported it. First mistake- always try before you buy.

I get it home all excited, plug it in, and hey, it’s on. Trouble was, it was relatively new, and didn’t work with any of the software I had (I refuse to use a timeline sequencer ala cubase/logic/tracktion etc. They’re anti creativity for me). I was stuck with it, becaue returning it wasn’t an option, and I was optimistic that I could get it to work one day. Second mistake.

Two years later and software support is still sketchy outside of the expensive sequencers. Most likely it doesn’t conform as well to the coreaudio spec as advertised. What’s more, it uses 10-15% of my cpu just sitting idle (no software using it), and when something does use it, the cpu usage jumps tremendously. And this is just outputting 44.1kHz stereo. It’s on-board mixer is inaccessible on os X, and due to it’s performance problems I find it completely unusable for anything serious. It is grumpy, i.e. adfter a period of being operational it occasionally glitches out, or even just on startup, and needs to be frequently reset if the cpu overloads (a PITA because it means i have to close and re-open everything).

It absolutely hates more than one app using it at a time, and also hates other sound cards (it misbehaves when combined with the internal sound card, and any virtual ports eg soundflower or jack). This means that it is constantly chewing cpu, because it is impossible to turn off the internal sound card in my laptop.

I’ve heard wonderful success stories of this card used on windows machines. Do I have a lemon? Maybe, I won’t ever know due to my first mistake.

Well, sorry for putting you all through that (for those of you who haven’t left already). If anyone else has a sob story, whack it here.

here where i live we also dont have much in stores so i have to import as well (web stores etc) But i always search the internet for reviews, oppinions and post on different forums before i place the order…

But maybe this will cheer you up a lil bit: here we have to work full month to buy that little red box ;)

EDIT: and yes ALWAYS try before you buy, if you have an opportunity for that, i have been left dissapointed with many products… (not only music related)