The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
presonus firebox vs focusrite saffire usb 6
Old 2nd March 2010
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
presonus firebox vs focusrite saffire usb 6

Hi, I know this has sort of been discussed already but I haven't gotten any clear opinions one way or the other.
I'm looking at purchasing one of these two boxes and wonder if:
Is there another comparable device I've missed in my research?
And, does anyone have any experience with either of these and if so, which would you recommend?

My computer is a desktop PC with Windoze vista (ugh) 32 bit SP2, triple core AMD 2.9 Ghz CPU and 2 Gig RAM.
I mostly record acoustic guitar and vocals using cheap APEX condenser mics.
Overdubs would be nice for vocals and leads so monitoring is a must.
What do you think? Anyone have a suggestion? Thanks!!
Old 2nd March 2010
  #2
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimmpickens View Post
Hi, I know this has sort of been discussed already but I haven't gotten any clear opinions one way or the other.
I'm looking at purchasing one of these two boxes and wonder if:
Is there another comparable device I've missed in my research?
And, does anyone have any experience with either of these and if so, which would you recommend?

My computer is a desktop PC with Windoze vista (ugh) 32 bit SP2, triple core AMD 2.9 Ghz CPU and 2 Gig RAM.
I mostly record acoustic guitar and vocals using cheap APEX condenser mics.
Overdubs would be nice for vocals and leads so monitoring is a must.
What do you think? Anyone have a suggestion? Thanks!!
i cannot speak to the focusrite, but i will tell you, presonus has notoriously bad drivers. as you know, it's doesn't matter how good the converters in your box are if the driver sucks... as all audio has to pass through that before anything can happen.

in that price range, i think the m-audio fast track line is good... not great, but very stable, predictable sound, great features. probably, in my experience, the best i've owned in terms of external interfaces in that price range.
Old 2nd March 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
thanks!

Thanks fuze, I've been hearing similar things.
I appreciate the recommendation but I'll not tread the M-Audio path again, I've cursed their name enough for several lifetimes.
I will look into it but doubt they could impress me enough to try a third product. I'm still looking at the Firebox, Saffire by Focusrite and also the Emu 0404 USB.
Cheers!
Old 3rd March 2010
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimmpickens View Post
Hi, I know this has sort of been discussed already but I haven't gotten any clear opinions one way or the other.
I'm looking at purchasing one of these two boxes and wonder if:
Is there another comparable device I've missed in my research?
And, does anyone have any experience with either of these and if so, which would you recommend?

My computer is a desktop PC with Windoze vista (ugh) 32 bit SP2, triple core AMD 2.9 Ghz CPU and 2 Gig RAM.
I mostly record acoustic guitar and vocals using cheap APEX condenser mics.
Overdubs would be nice for vocals and leads so monitoring is a must.
What do you think? Anyone have a suggestion? Thanks!!
Coming from me...someone who has direct experience with a
Presonus firebox I can tell the ADA conversion slightly colours sound but to me sounds pretty tight, definitely a steal interface at 150.00USD, what I paid on Amazon last year...

FW due to its architecture allows for more instrument/track usage and
can record multi channels at once...Sans the RME multiface USB 2.0 version...not so much with most USB 2.0 interfaces...

I also run Vista Business 64 bit
Cubase 5 64bit and a Gigabyte motherboard, no issues.
Nothing has ever crashed, not even C5!

I'd say the drivers are rock solid and reliable.
Your system congruency may have a lot to do with drivers, moreso than
the drivers themselves.

Presonus to me is quality but with anything, lemons do exist.
Many errors are/were due to not using a T.I. chipset, which is a requisite for stability concerning FW to begin with.

I would personally get the Firestudio mobile funds permitting if I were you.
Better S/N ratio, better converters and mic pres.
Old 13th April 2010
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I can't tell you much about the Presonus except that I've read some complaints. I chose the Saffire 6 usb from Focusrite, and I'm really glad I did. The custom drivers are light on my Vista OS laptop and seem to have been designed by people who understand how Windows records audio. The Saffire 6 uses the same mic-pres as their other high-end studio products, so vocals really shine, and the sturdy little box offers every option that's commonly needed in a home studio environment, like phantom power and headphone monitoring. But the Saffire also has multiple output options that allow for live mixing and queing, and offers low latency recording.
Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
the firebox preamps suck, in case preamps are a deciding factor. they're low gain and have some kind of digital noise going on. the latency is on the high side. 14 ms (actual roundtrip) is the best that i could get here at the firebox's lowest buffer setting.
Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #7
PDC
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerfuze View Post
i cannot speak to the focusrite, but i will tell you, presonus has notoriously bad drivers. as you know, it's doesn't matter how good the converters in your box are if the driver sucks... as all audio has to pass through that before anything can happen.

in that price range, i think the m-audio fast track line is good... not great, but very stable, predictable sound, great features. probably, in my experience, the best i've owned in terms of external interfaces in that price range.
Presonus doesn't have bad drivers. I don't know where you heard that. Most people do not bother to read the compatibility sheet and ASSume that the drivers are bad. We sell loads of them (when we have them. All of the FW stuff is on back order because the FW chips are on back order with the manufacturer). We set up the systems to spec and do not have issues. We sell Focusrite and they have more issues than Presonus.
Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
SynthLine09's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I had the firebox for 2 years, and it never limited me in my recording process. I had an SM57 and a Blue Bluebird at the time and both sounded fine through it. Now if you want to expand and record multiple tracks/start stacking tracks the preamps might be an issue, but if i recall theres a few line ins on the back for external preamps. You won't have a problem with it starting out, its a great unit
Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadOwl View Post
I can't tell you much about the Presonus except that I've read some complaints. I chose the Saffire 6 usb from Focusrite, and I'm really glad I did. The custom drivers are light on my Vista OS laptop and seem to have been designed by people who understand how Windows records audio. The Saffire 6 uses the same mic-pres as their other high-end studio products, so vocals really shine, and the sturdy little box offers every option that's commonly needed in a home studio environment, like phantom power and headphone monitoring. But the Saffire also has multiple output options that allow for live mixing and queing, and offers low latency recording.
What exactly do you mean by "the same preamps as their high end stuff". Do you really think they would put the same preamp as IN their ISA, or red series in an interface that's around $300??!? I find that hard to believe, I own an ISA 110 and compared even to their plAtinum series, it's completely a different sound, I mean the digi 002, has focusrite pre's and those things are harsh in the highs, and sound muddy in the lows, I mean why would focusrite make $2000.00 dollar pre's if you can get them in a 300-400 dollar interface??makes no sense at All!!
Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
Presonus Firebox has been a tank for me for four years. Don't believe the negative hype.

Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
Presonus Firebox has been a tank for me for four years. Don't believe the negative hype.

maybe it has been a tank, but that has nothing to do with performance or sound of the unit. what does that mean any way? have you been driving your firebox to the middle east to shoot down terrists? heh
Old 13th April 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I run Vista SP2 64 bit and I've had no issues with my EMU 0404 usb but obviously YMMV.

I used to use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 i/o I had some issues with drivers that and the unit ended up failing so I sold it to a friend and he spent the $250 and got it up and running and it works great for him but he's using a mac.

I think for the price and quality it's gonna be hard to beat the EMU 0404 USB 2.0 interface unless you need more i/o.

The converters in this unit blow away everything else within the $500 range that's for sure at least that's PC compatible, I'm sure the Apogee stuff would give it a run for it's money.

I found the original Firebox I owned to be a worthless, lifeless, hunk of junk. Drivers weren't an issue but at the time I was running windows XP. I just didn't care for the sound or the conversion and the preamps were incredibly weak to the point they could barely drive my condensers let alone my dynamic mics.
Old 14th April 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Deleted User
Guest
I had the firebox a few years back on XP ()

For the price it was good. Very stable IME, and decent sound.

The only thing I hated about it was that it got really really hot... well it's a fire box, what should I expect?
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pier View Post
I had the firebox a few years back on XP ()

For the price it was good. Very stable IME, and decent sound.

The only thing I hated about it was that it got really really hot... well it's a fire box, what should I expect?
I too noticed that it got really hot. Idk with all the other stuff out now I wouldn't bother getting the firebox it's outdated and it wasn't that great when it was the cool new toy.
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Bristol_Jonesey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've had a Focusrite Pro 26 for the last three years and it's been as solid as a rock, no problems at all.

The Pre's are exactly what you'd expect at this price point.
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Seventh Knight's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
I run Vista SP2 64 bit and I've had no issues with my EMU 0404 usb but obviously YMMV.

I used to use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 i/o I had some issues with drivers that and the unit ended up failing so I sold it to a friend and he spent the $250 and got it up and running and it works great for him but he's using a mac.

I think for the price and quality it's gonna be hard to beat the EMU 0404 USB 2.0 interface unless you need more i/o.

The converters in this unit blow away everything else within the $500 range that's for sure at least that's PC compatible, I'm sure the Apogee stuff would give it a run for it's money.

I found the original Firebox I owned to be a worthless, lifeless, hunk of junk. Drivers weren't an issue but at the time I was running windows XP. I just didn't care for the sound or the conversion and the preamps were incredibly weak to the point they could barely drive my condensers let alone my dynamic mics.
How has the EMU 0404 held up for you? That's one of my choices but I didn't know if there were any issues with Windows Vista 64bit!
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisinhell View Post
maybe it has been a tank, but that has nothing to do with performance or sound of the unit. what does that mean any way? have you been driving your firebox to the middle east to shoot down terrists? heh
Yes, yes I have
Old 16th April 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
Bater's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have a Firebox right now. I think its OK, but thats about it. It is definitely a step up from where I was, but there are some bugs to figure out.

I am running winxp with a C2D and 2gb of ram with a mild OC and I can run a monitoring latency of about 6ms. Less than that and I get pops and clicks.

Also, you have to make sure that there are no hardware IRQ conflicts. This also caused me quite a headache. I think this might be where most people are having "driver" issues.

I think the preamps sound pretty great until they get cranked. Once you get past about 90% gain they have a wierd digital noise, but with condensers and my dynamics I never had to crank it that high. They only produce 55db of gain so you'll need something a bit stronger for ribbons and some dynamics.

You'll also have to make sure you have the proper gain staging for your montors or else you will hear an annoying whining noise from them.

Over all I think its a great little box, but if you dont need the FW for recording multi channels then I might look into a good USB system.
Old 16th April 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seventh Knight View Post
How has the EMU 0404 held up for you? That's one of my choices but I didn't know if there were any issues with Windows Vista 64bit!
so far so good with mine, I've had no issues but I guess it's been well taken care of and receives moderate-light use.

But I found it night and day from the Firebox I once had.

And the Firebox preamps do not have 55db of gain available (my Soundcraft blows the Firebox away in terms of headroom and it's preamps only have 55dB of gain), maybe when you engage the boost on the software it comes with but I'm pretty sure you can only get 45dB out of it, which is not enough for most dynamic mics and is barely comfortable for most condensers I thought the pres were pretty lifeless and noisy especially once you hit the 75-100% part of the gain range, which for these pres is typical usage area (at least for most instruments and voices that I encountered).

I think the EMU is a safer bet honestly. The conversion is better both in hearing and on paper, the preamps sound better (and are better from a technical standpoint on paper), the drivers aren't great but I haven't had any issues with them on my Acer laptop running Vista 64bit.

I just picked up a Soundcraft EPM6 to use as a submixer and when the EMU doesn't provide all the ins I need I just run the stereo out from the Soundcraft to the EMU and it's worked great.

Honestly the recordings I've made with my EMU were done in an apartment with NO TREATMENT. Just good mic placement/positioning and good settings on the hardware. But I've noticed less noise floor and a bigger dynamic range than on the Presonus and Focusrite units I used to own. Other units I've used haven't really touched the quality of the EMU I own or the 1616m and 1820m my friends have in their studios.

I think to beat the quality of the EMU you really have to drop some cash. If sound is your main concern I'd choose EMU. I think if compatibility and stuff like that are your focus there is probably a better choice, but like I said I haven't personally experienced issues, but really every unit on the market has positive and negative experiences.

So really the best thing you can do is trial and error. Find a place that will let you return it within 14-30 days. That should be plenty of time to figure out if it just WILL NOT WORK for you.

The Firestudio Mobile might be worth a look, but I'd personally steer clear of the Firebox.
Old 17th April 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerfuze View Post
i cannot speak to the focusrite, but i will tell you, presonus has notoriously bad drivers. as you know, it's doesn't matter how good the converters in your box are if the driver sucks... as all audio has to pass through that before anything can happen.

in that price range, i think the m-audio fast track line is good... not great, but very stable, predictable sound, great features. probably, in my experience, the best i've owned in terms of external interfaces in that price range.
Presonus Firebox makes some very reliable, stable and solid drivers.
You must have either been misinformed by novice builders or suffered issues due to user error.


Quote:
Originally Posted by travisinhell View Post
the firebox preamps suck, in case preamps are a deciding factor. they're low gain and have some kind of digital noise going on. the latency is on the high side. 14 ms (actual roundtrip) is the best that i could get here at the firebox's lowest buffer setting.
My Input latency is 4ms and the Output is 5 making it a 9ms RTL integer.
My Firebox Pres don't suck, not in the least.
In fact they are very exceptional for the price.
Of course they colour sound!
What are you expecting?
World class transparency at a sub $200 price point?

If you were bold enough to attempt to use a ribbon mic, then
I could foresee a digital noise problem.

I have a tube mic, a cheap MXL V69 and my setup sings.
Be sure to use a Texas Instrument chipset, not Agere, VIA, O2micro
or some other inferior chipset.
Old 17th April 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
Presonus Firebox makes some very reliable, stable and solid drivers.
You must have either been misinformed by novice builders or suffered issues due to user error.




My Input latency is 4ms and the Output is 5 making it a 9ms RTL integer.
My Firebox Pres don't suck, not in the least.
In fact they are very exceptional for the price.
Of course they colour sound!
What are you expecting?
World class transparency at a sub $200 price point?

If you were bold enough to attempt to use a ribbon mic, then
I could foresee a digital noise problem.

I have a tube mic, a cheap MXL V69 and my setup sings.
Be sure to use a Texas Instrument chipset, not Agere, VIA, O2micro
or some other inferior chipset.
I will respectfully disagree with you. The drivers weren't that bad with mine but the A/D conversion and preamplification left A LOT TO BE DESIRED with me. If you actually compare the preamps in the Presonus to those in a Focusrite Saffire, the EMU 0404 usb, etc you will notice a difference. Like I said the Soundcraft EPM board I use has better pres than the Presonus, the A+H Zed series boards have better pres than the Presonus.

At the time I owned my Firebox I had a pretty impressive rig and using all these mics (all of which I owned at the time) I was never impressed by the quality of the Firebox like I was using my Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 i/o or friends rigs (which were EMU 1616m and 1820m and another friend was running a PT HD rig).

Audio Technica AT4040
Audio Technica AT4050/CM5 x2
Audix D6
Audix i5
CAD M177 x2
Electro-Voice N/D-767a x2
Electro-Voice RE-410
Groove Tubes GT66 (US made)
MXL 604 x2
Sennheiser e602
Sennheiser e604 x3
Sennheiser e609 silver x2
Sennheiser e835 x 2
Shure Beta57a
Shure SM57 x 2

I used Blue Kiwi quad mic cables and Mogami Gold Studio series cables for everything else. At the time I had KRK reference monitors, mo pads, treatment, etc. Also my trusty Beyerdynamic DT770 pro headphones.

Now when the Firebox came out years ago it was pretty good for it's modest pricetag, but in fairness there wasn't much competition much less that could give it a run for it's money but in about a year all that changed and there were lots of interfaces for around the same money that just blew it away. Honestly don't waste your $200 on the Firebox it's really not worth it for the same money or more you can get MUCH BETTER stuff.

I couldn't imagine running any of my mics on the Firebox now, I have a pair of Cascade Fathead II, a Heil PR-40, BLUE Encore 200, and an Audix OM5.
Old 17th April 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
The A/D conversion and preamplification left A LOT TO BE DESIRED with me. If you actually compare the preamps in the Presonus to those in a Focusrite Saffire, the EMU 0404 usb, etc you will notice a difference. Like I said the Soundcraft EPM board I use has better pres than the Presonus, the A+H Zed series boards have better pres than the Presonus.
Different strokes, I use *one* mic, no guitar, just vocals.
Everything else is VSTi based.
Define "not that bad" when describing the Firebox's drivers?
It sounds like Bias.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
At the time I owned my Firebox I had a pretty impressive rig and using all these mics (all of which I owned at the time) I was never impressed by the quality of the Firebox like I was using my Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 i/o or friends rigs (which were EMU 1616m and 1820m and another friend was running a PT HD rig).
What is interesting to note is that each audio interface/piece of hardware
you mentioned (as you put it) "has better pres" or "blows it away" needs to be put into a comparative context.



EACH interface brand new (reflecting discounts of course)
is priced AT LEAST double to that of the Firebox (at the time) of my purchase which was $150.00.....not really apples to apples is it?

Of course they should be better, even if they are *only* subjectively
say $100 more expensive than the Presonus Firebox (currently, of course)

The Steinberg MR816 "blows" away those aforementioned interfaces you brought up, not just in PreAmp quality
and AD conversion, but in its Preamp gain...higher noise floor and build quality...
but at double the price, it should.


Plus, I need firewire.
USB 2.0 doesn't "do it" for me and my workflow.heh

I had to skimp on the my interface purchase due to my allocated
budgetary constraints, but I got a TOTL DAW, and a plethora of VSTi's.

I didn't want to skimp on those.



Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
I used Blue Kiwi quad mic cables and Mogami Gold Studio series cables for everything else. At the time I had KRK reference monitors, mo pads, treatment, etc. Also my trusty Beyerdynamic DT770 pro headphones.

Now when the Firebox came out years ago it was pretty good for it's modest pricetag, but in fairness there wasn't much competition much less that could give it a run for it's money but in about a year all that changed and there were lots of interfaces for around the same money that just blew it away. Honestly don't waste your $200 on the Firebox it's really not worth it for the same money or more you can get MUCH BETTER stuff.

I couldn't imagine running any of my mics on the Firebox now
I bought the Firebox last year, and it has provided me a rock solid recording environment
without any issues, glitches, pops/clicks. Define much better stuff?

USB 2.0's burst architecture cannot compete with Firewire's sustained bandwidth.
A perfect all in one solution for little money does not exist.
For me the Firebox has done its job and at such a small price to pay-it delivers solid performance and decent pres.

I have vocal recordings and people don't believe I use a Firebox.
Old 17th April 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
My Input latency is 4ms and the Output is 5 making it a 9ms RTL integer.
My Firebox Pres don't suck, not in the least.
In fact they are very exceptional for the price.
Of course they colour sound!
What are you expecting?
World class transparency at a sub $200 price point?

If you were bold enough to attempt to use a ribbon mic, then
I could foresee a digital noise problem.

I have a tube mic, a cheap MXL V69 and my setup sings.
Be sure to use a Texas Instrument chipset, not Agere, VIA, O2micro
or some other inferior chipset.
did you measure that latency or are you going by the reported latency from the firebox to your host? i measured it. you can use centrance ltu or do a manual loopback in your host. please do and post a screen shot here. as far as the preamps, i didn't say anything about color. i mentioned noise and low gain. the preamps suck in comparison to everything else that i've tried. if i can't get a healthy signal from an sm57 (maybe the most common mic in the world) without a bunch of noise from the preamps then something is wrong. also, i don't think that the firewire chipset has any significant influence on the available gain or noise of the mic preamps. if you know otherwise, enlighten me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
I bought the Firebox last year, and it has provided me a rock solid recording environment
without any issues, glitches, pops/clicks. Define much better stuff?

USB 2.0's burst architecture cannot compete with Firewire's sustained bandwidth.
A perfect all in one solution for little money does not exist.
For me the Firebox has done its job and at such a small price to pay-it delivers solid performance and decent pres.

I have vocal recordings and people don't believe I use a Firebox.

if your computer is running half way decent, just about any interface should provide solid performance without glitches, pops, or clicks. from what i've seen on the various forums, firewire interfaces are more prone to have issues here. 'much better' to me would be lower latency, decent preamps, and any additional useful functionality.

i have a usb 2.0 interface here that kicks the firebox in the ass in every way possible, and usb 2.0 is providing plenty of bandwidth. my 6 analog in/out usb 2.0 interface works fine at 5 ms true latency.

i don't doubt that you get good recordings using the firebox, but like you said, you're using condensers, which have a high sensitivity (read, not much gain required). i'm not a big fan of the chinese sizzle, and i prefer mostly dynamic mics, which are low sensitivity.
Old 18th April 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisinhell View Post
did you measure that latency or are you going by the reported latency from the firebox to your host? i measured it. you can use centrance ltu or do a manual loopback in your host. please do and post a screen shot here. as far as the preamps, i didn't say anything about color. i mentioned noise and low gain. the preamps suck in comparison to everything else that i've tried. if i can't get a healthy signal from an sm57 (maybe the most common mic in the world) without a bunch of noise from the preamps then something is wrong. also, i don't think that the firewire chipset has any significant influence on the available gain or noise of the mic preamps. if you know otherwise, enlighten me.
I've never seen the Firebox (dialog box) show input/output latency, just input. My figures come from the numbers shown in the sample engines I use.

I completely agree the gain is low compared to many other interfaces.
See this for even more info: Firebox gain update I don't run off the bus, I use the adapter.

You keep pressing your POV and it is noted.
For someone like me who doesn't buy a plethora of Mics and simply uses
a high sensitivity tube condenser mic (and who had a small budget)
the Firebox was a great choice.



Quote:
Originally Posted by travisinhell View Post
if your computer is running half way decent, just about any interface should provide solid performance without glitches, pops, or clicks. from what i've seen on the various forums, firewire interfaces are more prone to have issues here. 'much better' to me would be lower latency, decent preamps, and any additional useful functionality.

i have a usb 2.0 interface here that kicks the firebox in the ass in every way possible, and usb 2.0 is providing plenty of bandwidth. my 6 analog in/out usb 2.0 interface works fine at 5 ms true latency.

i don't doubt that you get good recordings using the firebox, but like you said, you're using condensers, which have a high sensitivity (read, not much gain required). i'm not a big fan of the chinese sizzle, and i prefer mostly dynamic mics, which are low sensitivity.
Having a *decent* computer isn't everything.
Pops and clicks don't really come from an interface unless the drivers
are junk -or- your system's hardware isn't (from a technical aspect) functionally congruent-which happens more often than the former.

How many simultaneous tracks can you record at once?
Unless you're running an RME USB 2.0 interface (due to its superior
code and architecture) I don't believe you or agree your usb 2.0 interface can out-track a Firewire interface
nor have more bandwidth period due to:

USB 2.0= asynchronous/chain while
FireWire= peer to peer/dedicated bandwidth.
Because it can also run asynchronous AND isochronous it is simply
a better, and more reliable way to go.

I'm curious what the going price is for your interface
and what it is? If it is considerably more money than the $150 I paid
or even $200 then there you go. More money SHOULD give you better
specs/features right?

Care to post any figures to back up your claims concerning
the aforementioned superior pres on the nameless USB 2.0 interface?

What do you mean true 5ms latency?
What is your total Round Trip Latency?
Old 18th April 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
I've never seen the Firebox (dialog box) show input/output latency, just input. My figures come from the numbers shown in the sample engines I use.

I completely agree the gain is low compared to many other interfaces.
See this for even more info: Firebox gain update I don't run off the bus, I use the adapter.

You keep pressing your POV and it is noted.
For someone like me who doesn't buy a plethora of Mics and simply uses
a high sensitivity tube condenser mic (and who had a small budget)
the Firebox was a great choice.
35 db of gain? enough said. i also used the power adapter rather than bus power. i'm pressing my point of view because i don't want other people to go through the same thing i did with the firebox. no other interface that i know of has preamps with 35 db of gain (outside of presonus's stuff).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
Having a *decent* computer isn't everything.
Pops and clicks don't really come from an interface unless the drivers
are junk -or- your system's hardware isn't (from a technical aspect) functionally congruent-which happens more often than the former.

How many simultaneous tracks can you record at once?
Unless you're running an RME USB 2.0 interface (due to its superior
code and architecture) I don't believe you or agree your usb 2.0 interface can out-track a Firewire interface
nor have more bandwidth period due to:

USB 2.0= asynchronous/chain while
FireWire= peer to peer/dedicated bandwidth.
Because it can also run asynchronous AND isochronous it is simply
a better, and more reliable way to go.

I'm curious what the going price is for your interface
and what it is? If it is considerably more money than the $150 I paid
or even $200 then there you go. More money SHOULD give you better
specs/features right?

Care to post any figures to back up your claims concerning
the aforementioned superior pres on the nameless USB 2.0 interface?

What do you mean true 5ms latency?
What is your total Round Trip Latency?
ime, pops and clicks are more often than not a result of system configuration. my current laptop was pretty much useless for recording as it came from the store - i didn't fix it by buying new hardware. i can record on all 6 analog inputs simultaneously. i don't have any external gear with spdif outs, so i haven't tried throwing the two digital inputs in there. believe me, i was surprised to find a usb interface that performs this well.

my current interface is a fast track ultra. going price is around $300, and well worth it for the performance and functionality. i don't know what figures you want on the preamps, but the specs say >60 db gain (more than 60). i can use all of my mics (dynamics and condensers) without any gain or noise problems. the differences in the preamps of the firebox and fast track ultra in sound, gain, and noise are huge.

i should also mention that if you're going with a firewire interface, you might need to buy a 4 pin to 6 pin firewire cable and a new firewire card, which could offset the price difference a little more.

by 'true latency' i mean actual roundtrip latency - 5ms on the fast track ultra - 14 ms on the firebox. the firebox has a hidden safety buffer. do a loopback test or use centrance ltu to see for yourself.

for the price difference you get an extra independent headphone out, 2 more line inputs, 4 very usable mic preamps with 60+ db gain and 20 db pads, 2 inserts, and much lower latency. the monitor mixer and dsp fx (cheap sounding fx but good enough for monitoring) are also nice features.

i think that buying a firebox is a waste when better interfaces are around for barely more money. i'm only sharing my personal experience, use whatever works for you.
Old 19th April 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisinhell View Post
35 db of gain? enough said. i also used the power adapter rather than bus power. i'm pressing my point of view because i don't want other people to go through the same thing i did with the firebox. no other interface that i know of has preamps with 35 db of gain (outside of presonus's stuff).



ime, pops and clicks are more often than not a result of system configuration. my current laptop was pretty much useless for recording as it came from the store - i didn't fix it by buying new hardware. i can record on all 6 analog inputs simultaneously. i don't have any external gear with spdif outs, so i haven't tried throwing the two digital inputs in there. believe me, i was surprised to find a usb interface that performs this well.

my current interface is a fast track ultra. going price is around $300, and well worth it for the performance and functionality. i don't know what figures you want on the preamps, but the specs say >60 db gain (more than 60). i can use all of my mics (dynamics and condensers) without any gain or noise problems. the differences in the preamps of the firebox and fast track ultra in sound, gain, and noise are huge.

i should also mention that if you're going with a firewire interface, you might need to buy a 4 pin to 6 pin firewire cable and a new firewire card, which could offset the price difference a little more.

by 'true latency' i mean actual roundtrip latency - 5ms on the fast track ultra - 14 ms on the firebox. the firebox has a hidden safety buffer. do a loopback test or use centrance ltu to see for yourself.

for the price difference you get an extra independent headphone out, 2 more line inputs, 4 very usable mic preamps with 60+ db gain and 20 db pads, 2 inserts, and much lower latency. the monitor mixer and dsp fx (cheap sounding fx but good enough for monitoring) are also nice features.

i think that buying a firebox is a waste when better interfaces are around for barely more money. i'm only sharing my personal experience, use whatever works for you.

Thanks for that detailed post
This actually helps out anyone looking for an interface.

When I get around to testing the firebox I'd be happy to post anything I
find. FWIW, its easy to say something sucks, and I can just honestly say
I have no issues with gain, or anything with my firebox given my setup
and my needs. Latency above all else is pretty tight and *I* do not hear nor feel latency with anything I play/use.

I'm in the market for an interface and even though your interface sounds
really good...it's made by M-audio and I don't feel I could take a chance with it. I'm probably going with another underdog interface out there:
Steinberg MR816 which has superior gain, AD conversion, preamp quality and a higher S/N ratio/noise floor than the fast track, or Pro Fire 26 for that matter.

In terms of performance Firewire is better than USB 2.0 and my motherboard has an onboard Texas Instruments chipset.
I own a desktop, not a laptop so that added cost point is moot.
The Firebox is half the price and I doubt the sound quality that comes out of the fast track ultra is twice as good.
The gain on the Firebox isn't good, in fact it is subpar (for your mic usage) not mine, so it isn't for everybody, but
then again, what audio interface is?

No doubt the Fast Track Ultra seems a much better interface than the Firebox but
I want to know how many tracks do you record at once?
Since you own or have owned a firebox....which interface could track more (at once) ?

Do you work in a 64bit environment?
I run Vista Business 64bit.

There are many reported issues of this interface not being able to run in performance mode
on 64bit operating systems? -Meaning, not at a low buffer setting.
Old 19th April 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm not comparing apples to oranges man you are. Because at $200-$300 there are better interfaces to buy then the Firebox simply reading the specs on paper should reveal the lagging technology used in the Firebox.

Weak Preamps
Less than stellar A/D conversion

I don't know what else you could see as a positive in the interface with those two sore thumbs sticking out at you. Because for me sound quality trumps all other features. I'm more about quality over quantity.

Honestly if you hooked up my EMU 0404 USB (which cost me $180 brand new in box shipped to my door from an authorized dealer) vs a Presonus Firebox (which usually costs about $200 new, when i bought mine it was $300) you will be BLOWN AWAY at the difference.

And I don't think the Steinberg MR816 blows away the EMU Mastering grade interfaces with conversion quality. The EMU uses the exact chipset you'll find in Pro Tools HD rigs, 120dB dynamic range. Yeah that doesn't look on paper or sound like what's in the Steinberg (which I'm not attacking because it's a great unit, just get your facts straight).

I mean honestly the M Audio Profire, Focusrite Saffire 24, EMU 0404 USB, etc are all within the class of the Firebox imho and they all blow it away. I would know from using them and testing them.

If you like your firebox fine just don't go around misrepresenting it claiming it's the absolute best for the money, when in reality it's not.

And if you think 35dB of gain on a preamp will cut it with 95% of mics on most applications you are VASTLY mistaken.

The reason I compared the Firebox to those interfaces I did is because they are what I was using the most often as comparing references.

And when I owned the Firebox I had to use the power supply as my laptop only had a 4 pin firewire port on it. Even running off the psu it still lacked headroom and power.

And your whole USB 2.0 vs Firewire argument is some of the most ridiculous non sense I've ever read in my life.

You talk about how you only use your interface for one vocal track, yet you need the superior bandwidth of firewire and you mention pops and cracklings.

A USB 1 interface can probably handle your tasks remember the original Mbox yeah it would probably work fine for you lol.

Now if you were talking about recording 8-16+ tracks simultaneously firewire or pcmcia would be a much wiser option BUT YOU AREN'T.

Quite honestly USB 2.0 isn't that inferior to Firewire they have very comparable specs, the problem most people have with USB 2.0 is that they usually run several peripherals via USB so it doesn't perform as well as it could as the bus is busier.

I'm pretty sure PreSonus has addressed my complaints and gripes about the Firebox with the new Firestudio Mobile. If you were going to consider a PreSonus I'd look at that unit. From what I've read it might be decent. But the Firebox definitely not worth your time or money seriously look elsewhere.

I should mention if I didn't earlier I run Windows Vista 64
Old 19th April 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
I'm not comparing apples to oranges man you are. Because at $200-$300 there are better interfaces to buy then the Firebox simply reading the specs on paper should reveal the lagging technology used in the Firebox.

Weak Preamps
Less than stellar A/D conversion
At the time of my Firebox purchase (at the price I paid)
it was the best decision for me (obviously not for you)
For me, my situation, my environment, AND for the budget I had...
it was a good choice. I don't have 30 mics.

I multi track, but not often (live instruments)
I do record many VSTi's at once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
I don't know what else you could see as a positive in the interface with those two sore thumbs sticking out at you. Because for me sound quality trumps all other features. I'm more about quality over quantity.

Honestly if you hooked up my EMU 0404 USB (which cost me $180 brand new in box shipped to my door from an authorized dealer) vs a Presonus Firebox (which usually costs about $200 new, when i bought mine it was $300) you will be BLOWN AWAY at the difference.
K. I'll be sure to check out the EMU 0404 USB.
I'm open to anything out there. I've never said the Firebox is the best
nor was it vastly superior, nor does it blow submarines out of the water.

You can find them used for $150 or less, and for that money
(which I paid NEW) the firebox has worked for me, and I'm sure many people out there would agree that still use one. If the end result sounds close as professional as possible then WGAS how awesome your interface's preamp gain is?

The Firebox hasn't been $299 for a LONG time now, just an fyi.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
And I don't think the Steinberg MR816 blows away the EMU Mastering grade interfaces with conversion quality. The EMU uses the exact chipset you'll find in Pro Tools HD rigs, 120dB dynamic range. Yeah that doesn't look on paper or sound like what's in the Steinberg (which I'm not attacking because it's a great unit, just get your facts straight).
K. Perhaps I was sold on your choice of terminology...
As it stands from a reputable source that reviews these interfaces and tests them, SoundonSound felt the 1820m sounded better than the 0404 USB....subsequently, they also felt the Steinberg MR816 sounded better than the 1820m.

1.) Emu 0404
2.) Steinberg MR816 CSX

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
I mean honestly the M Audio Profire, Focusrite Saffire 24, EMU 0404 USB, etc are all within the class of the Firebox imho and they all blow it away. I would know from using them and testing them.

If you like your firebox fine just don't go around misrepresenting it claiming it's the absolute best for the money, when in reality it's not.

And if you think 35dB of gain on a preamp will cut it with 95% of mics on most applications you are VASTLY mistaken.
K. I agree. It doesn't change the fact that the Firebox has done its job, and has done it well. USB 2.0 has left a bad taste in my mouth due to the ones I've used/or tried to use in the past.

I like what works. It doesn't mean I'm a Presonus fanboy.
I'm a fan of things that work. Given your environment is different than mine, then SURE, you needed something better. I'm going to need more pres, and more analog inputs-which is my only reason for needing to upgrade. I can appreciate you've used the Fbox, and other interfaces.

You are vastly mistaken if you think people work in the exact way you do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
And when I owned the Firebox I had to use the power supply as my laptop only had a 4 pin firewire port on it. Even running off the psu it still lacked headroom and power.
I don't use a laptop.
I also KNOW a 4 pin firewire port cannot power a firewire device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
And your whole USB 2.0 vs Firewire argument is some of the most ridiculous non sense I've ever read in my life.
Your labeling doesn't change the facts concerning both protocols.
FACTS, not opinion. Get your facts straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
Quite honestly USB 2.0 isn't that inferior to Firewire they have very comparable specs, the problem most people have with USB 2.0 is that they usually run several peripherals via USB so it doesn't perform as well as it could as the bus is busier.

I'm pretty sure PreSonus has addressed my complaints and gripes about the Firebox with the new Firestudio Mobile. If you were going to consider a PreSonus I'd look at that unit. From what I've read it might be decent. But the Firebox definitely not worth your time or money seriously look elsewhere.

I should mention if I didn't earlier I run Windows Vista 64
I already own a firebox is this thing on?
I'll be purchasing an SM7B in the near future so I don't want
poor preamp gain to worry about, hence my thoughts on the Steinberg MR816.

Just another fyi...just because I do not mention my entire recording
history doesn't mean an omission equals exclusionary terms akin to a heavy drawn up contract written by a lawyer. I do multi track as mentioned earlier.


The firebox isn't the best out there, we all know this.
It is an inexpensive firewire interface that works.
It doesn't work for every (person's) application, and for you to assume people have your exact setup is ridiculous. This is what YOU don't get.

To be completely blunt:
This whole argument is pretty pathetic.

If X doesn't work for you?
You slander the product, and act as if you were on some sort of
witch hunt to denigrate the "Firebox" because it sucked for YOU.

You've already stated your personal feelings...let it go.

Different strokes, man.

IT works for me.
IT works for others.
IT didn't work out for you.
IT does not work for everyone.
The end.
Old 19th April 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
Thanks for that detailed post
This actually helps out anyone looking for an interface.

When I get around to testing the firebox I'd be happy to post anything I
find. FWIW, its easy to say something sucks, and I can just honestly say
I have no issues with gain, or anything with my firebox given my setup
and my needs. Latency above all else is pretty tight and *I* do not hear nor feel latency with anything I play/use.

I'm in the market for an interface and even though your interface sounds
really good...it's made by M-audio and I don't feel I could take a chance with it. I'm probably going with another underdog interface out there:
Steinberg MR816 which has superior gain, AD conversion, preamp quality and a higher S/N ratio/noise floor than the fast track, or Pro Fire 26 for that matter.
14ms might be ok for some soft synths, but it's not ok for anything else, imo. i know what the research says on latency, but i call bull****. if my brain tells me that things don't feel right, well it's time to move on. why do you think these interface manufacturers strive for lower latency?

i feel the same about presonus. look on the front of your firebox. the gain markings say -10 to 30 db for instrument, 0 to 60 db for mic. what's up with that? what about the buffer settings for the firebox? the lowest setting says 2ms but is actually 14ms. also, anyone remember the 96 khz fiasco.......whoops.....guess they thought they were fooling their customers for a minute. how about that uber loud headphone amp to offset the weak preamps while monitoring? i just don't trust those guys - this stuff is wayyy shady. heh

there's a reason (or 10) why presonus dropped the price on the firebox, and it isn't because they wanted to make less money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
In terms of performance Firewire is better than USB 2.0 and my motherboard has an onboard Texas Instruments chipset.
I own a desktop, not a laptop so that added cost point is moot.
The Firebox is half the price and I doubt the sound quality that comes out of the fast track ultra is twice as good.
The gain on the Firebox isn't good, in fact it is subpar (for your mic usage) not mine, so it isn't for everybody, but
then again, what audio interface is?

No doubt the Fast Track Ultra seems a much better interface than the Firebox but
I want to know how many tracks do you record at once?
Since you own or have owned a firebox....which interface could track more (at once) ?
performance isn't any better when they both work within their given bandwidths, and i don't have a ti chipset btw (i think that point is grossly over-blamed for performance issues).

to be honest, i never tried using all of the inputs simultaneously on the firebox because i hated it from the get go. i have used all of the inputs on the ftu, and it works as expected. i use this thing at home and typically only use a couple of channels at a time, but it's nice having the other inputs when jamming/recording with others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Innovation View Post
Do you work in a 64bit environment?
I run Vista Business 64bit.

There are many reported issues of this interface not being able to run in performance mode
on 64bit operating systems?
-Meaning, not at a low buffer setting.
i don't run 64 bit. i don't see any real benefits in doing so at this point, unless you just like to use bigger numbers. heh maybe in a few more years.

with high performance mode off, and at the 128 sample buffer setting, latency is 5ms here on xp 32 bit.
Old 19th April 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
What a nice Firebox related discussion....anyone got any thoughts on using the Firebox strictly as a converter? I mean...bypass its preamps and use it to interface another dedicated preamp via trs inputs?
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 2 views: 999
Avatar for Methlab
Methlab 7th August 2007
replies: 52 views: 15548
Avatar for bokonon
bokonon 22nd April 2013
replies: 187 views: 116595
Avatar for djshire
djshire 20th February 2015
replies: 4702 views: 1239857
Avatar for dickiefunk
dickiefunk 6 days ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
πŸ–¨οΈ Show Printable Version
βœ‰οΈ Email this Page
πŸ” Search thread
πŸŽ™οΈ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump