iMac and audio interface compatibility

Could really use some advise from you techies out there.

I am looking to invest in a new imac and I have run intro a slight problem. My current audio interface is the m-audio firewire 410 and it appears that the new imacs are running only thunderbolt and usb 3.0. The most obvious solution that I can come up with is to buy an adaptor from fw 400 to fw 800 and then from fw 800 to thunderbolt. I wonder if this will effect the audio processing?

Would it be advisable to buy a new audio interface instead? If so, are there any suggestions? Preferably I would like about 4 ins and 8 outs and the interface must be Pro Tools and Renoise compatible with a budget of £100 to £200.

FW800 ports are compatible with FW400 hardware are they not? All you need is an adapter cable, so should be no loss/latency in that part.

Simple Thunderbolt -> FW800 adapter from Apple: http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD464ZM/A/thunderbolt-to-firewire-adapter

Or for more options Belkin have got (or are releasing) a Thunderbolt dock with multiple interfaces supported: http://www.belkin.com/us/thunderbolt

Thank you for your reply.

It seems like the simplest approach however I have 2 concerns about this direction. Please excuse me as I am not as knowledgable on some technical issues as I should be. First off, I think it is commonly known that the more wiring/ step downs/ adaptors/ conversions that you submit your audio to will result in some kind of loss of quality or even hardware confusion. And secondly it will end up costing somewhere around £40 to get all of those adaptors.

Would it not be more beneficial to invest £100 or so to go move to interfaces using USB 2.0? And if so, which ones?

8 output USB2 audio interface for under £200? You’d be lucky to get one that works well to be honest! From some reports you’d be lucky to get 8 outputs working well on USB at all, especially if duplexing with inputs…

~£200 Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (8in, 6out - Not 8. Heard this Focusrite range are meant to be OK though, within your budget and close to your requested specs.)
~£300 M-Audio Fast Track Ultra (8in, 8out. Mixed reviews on this in general.)

Also note I have as little to do with OSX as possible! (Although I do have to support some machine at work.) Most hardware these days in compatible with most systems though…

  • 1

Native Instruments rocks in the audio interface department. I think you have to be able to up the budget quite a bit (to about $1000), before you can get something better than NI.

NI converters are great, preamps are clear, asio is well coded, the boxes themselves are well built/rock solid… So you really need to start looking at thunderbolt, or rednet, or expensive stuff, before you can best NI.

Thanks Tehnik but a lot of my gear uses quarter inch jacks.

@kazakore Thanks for your input. I will check into the ones you listed. I have had some other people suggest the Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 before as well so this may be a good solution. Because im only using one pair of monitors I shouldnt need any more outs than 4. Perhaps getting a model with less ins and outs and a small 8 channel audio mixer? In theory I could expand my options with a mixer right?

Really? I’d been told the exact opposite. But that is going on their old range of hardware and I know the reviews say their new stuff is much, much better. But I also know reviews are often favourable for the people who pay their revenue! (IE advertising)

I agree with Kazakore as NI spends a lot of their efforts on advertising and on solid reviews. As do most other companies. Also, I have the tractor scratch pro and I have had several issues with it in conjunction with the pro soft. Could be mostly due to programing issues rather than the hardware I suppose. But on occasion I have had issues with the RCA jack connectivity. Sometimes if Im not getting a good signal I have to reach down and wiggle it a bit. But this is on rare case…

well, ok… apparently there are some different viewpoints.

The komplete audio 6 that I have has worked out quite well for me. I haggled on price and picked it up @ guitarcenter for about $170 + sales tax. I find the preamps very clear, the knobs and metal box very well put together, the converters sound very clear, and the asio driver is really good.

The big bonus… because when I bought this KA 6 last december, ni was doing a promo and I got a full license to Guitar Rig Pro 5 for free.

My budget for interfaces has never been, “all that great,” so I’ve collected a lot of crap. A mackie onyx, a stealth plug, an audio dj 2, and an art usb. The audio dj 2 rocked… but had no inputs, yet, I am sorry I lost it. The onyx asio driver was nothing but bug ridden… the stealth plug was crap… the art usb was crap.

I am interested in FocusRite’s Rednet System, but don’t have the funds… I wouldn’t go near UAD, Mackie, or Loud Technologies…

but I really like this KA 6. Maybe a Focusrite or something from Presonus is better? I guess anybody looking for a new audio card should check out those companies too.

I used to think that but recently heard very good things about the Apollo.

http://www.uaudio.com/interfaces/apollo.html

Need quite a hefty budget to get one though ;)