#1
Sometime within the year I have plans on upgrading my PC setup, my boyfriend is gonna build one with me but I'm running into an issue. Firewire is no longer a thing, so along with the PC Imma have to upgrade from my interface with it. =\ And no, Firewire PCIe cards or converters do not work with Saffire interfaces, I asked Focusrite's tech deptartment directly.


Would REALLY prefer not to downgrade to USB because of all the issues and instability that comes with it, unless it's literally my only option. Thunderbolt is kinda the new thing so that's where my focus has been.


Been looking at the Focusrite Clarett range mostly but their prices are kinda high for what I can currently afford. But I do like their preamps and as of recently they've announced Windows compatibility so it's what I've been leaning towards.

Another consideration is getting a low-dollar Thunderbolt interface that has lightpipe/ADAT connection (if there is one) and invest in an upper-mid $$ preamp like an Octopre or Digimax, under the assumption the ADAT connectivity is decent. But at the same time I don't know how reliable they might be. I may just have to save for the upper-end Clarett like I was initially planning.


One additional thing I've been wondering for other alternatives to new interfaces: almost every motherboard with integrated audio or half-decent sound card has a TOS-jack, usually for optical SPDIF. The same connectors are used for ADAT, which is what those preamps use. Are there means of making the soundcards communicate ADAT through those ports? I'm assuming no.

I've done research on ADAT cards or motherboards compatible with it but what I'm looking for either doesn't' exist or is in the $500+ price range which at that point I might as well buy a Clarett.
#2
PCIE to firewire does work, actually. Just requires the right card with a TI firewire chip.

Regardless, thunderbolt... Clarett and Apollo are your main options. I believe Zoom makes one as well but I'm not exactly confident in that quality.

Regarding optical outputs: no, unfortunately.

As far as ADAT cards, the only one I know of is the RME Raydat and that costs $950.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#3
Oops didn't realize this thread got replies. What's weird is Focusrite's website has a page for Firewire card compatibility but several guys in the tech department recommended very strongly against it. Also said Firewire-to-Thunderbolt adapters on Windows machines don't work.

I could try borrowing a fw card from someone to see how well it works when the build is done so I can get more life out of my Saffire. ADAT cards under $600 don't seem to be a thing, and searching is hell because so many card sellers label optical SPDIF as ADAT incorrectly.

Really don't wanna do USB but it may be what I'm stuck with in the end. :
#4
Thee problem with Thunderbolt on PC is that very few manufacturers have yet to adopt it, and even the one who has (Asus) has problems with it. Now, the Z270 chipset has helped that a lot, but it's a fairly pricey upgrade (I think about 100 dollars for the Thunderbolt card) and only works on selected Motherboards.

Most people are saying to stay away from Firewire as the format is practically dead for all intents and purposes.

You should be fine with using USB. I'm not sure off the top of my head how many interfaces are USB 3.X only at this point, but judging by Intel's spec it should me sufficient for 48i/48o with no issues.

Edit: I haven't encountered any instability in USB in years.
Quote by Watterboy
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Last edited by the chemist at Feb 19, 2017,
#5
That's why I'm doing all my research before the build is done, I'm not gonna pull the trigger on any MB unless I have 100% affirmation that the thunderbolt works with whatever interface I obtain (likely a Clarett). Focusrite has a list of boards they've been testing on Windows machines and that they've had luck getting to work with.

I haven't had luck finding any USB 3.0 interfaces, all are seemingly stuck on 2.0 currently. And maybe it's because I have an older (not to mention lower-cost) motherboard but I've always had a TON of noise issues using anything USB, not to mention the low latency and clunkiness dealing with universal "ASIO4ALL" drivers. Modern USB interfaces that are higher quality are likely easier to deal with, but I have yet to encounter one that I'd be happy with keeping. Even Firewire can be a pain in the ass at times.
#6
How about MOTU? I know a few manufacturers are doing Thunderbolt and firewire combined on their interfaces...I think MOTU is one of them.

Good for you - I wouldn't touch USB for anything data intensive. I have a USB interface for travel and playtime mixing, but that's about it.

If you don't go laptop, firewire is still here on the desktop, so you're ok. I've stocked up (have 2 spare TI fw PCIe cards) just in case I decide to upgrade at this point. I am actually on a laptop running fw (Win7 HP ProBook with side expansion card running SYBA FW), while my very solid workstation is usually off as I haven't upgraded from Win XP. The mobo manufacturer went out of business, so I am not ready to risk as I have quite a few programs I still use on there and am in the process of transferring projects. I'm also using an aged PreSonus FP10 (Firepod) that is like a pair of old shoes and I have 2 channels of high end preamps if I want to get fancy. The FP10 support ended and it is stuck on Win7 drivers which is OK for me as I'm not switching out of Win7 until 2020.
#7
I can't say I've tried them, but I am aware that Universal Audio and presonus have usb 3 interfaces.

Doesn't your focusrite have ADAT I/O?
It might take a little research and fucking around, but if it does, then you should be able to slave your focusrite into another ADAT compatible interface, regardless of whether it's usb, thunderbolt or whatever. Granted my knowledge of ADAT is pretty sketchy.

I've not tried thunderbolt; but the protocol definitely seems superior to USB.
RIP Gooze

cats
#8
It does have ADAT I/O but regardless if I move to a new machine it's not going to matter. The Focusrite won't be able to be connected which is a problem, the whole reason this thread was created. New motherboard won't have Firewire as they're no longer made and Focusrite's tech dept recommended staying away from Firewire cards (despite what their website says).
#10
Integrated FW is no longer included on 90% of high-performance new motherboards sold, and Focusrite over the phone recommended not using firewire cards if doing anything remotely professional (which I've been trying to make a thing, I'm not just some kid making mediocre Youtube guitar covers).

Maybe as a temporary fix I'll purchase a FW card that works and use that until I can afford a Clarett or MOTU but I'm not cheaping out forever. At this point I want to work with quality as I intend on doing serious recordings and mixes at a pro level (and recently have been).
#11
Cherry Vulpine whatever Focusrite are trying to tell you is not necessarily the truth, they're trying to sell you a new unit, so that's their main goal in life

Since I've been in the biz for a while, and have done things exclusively on firewire, granted on PreSonus interfaces, I can guarantee you that
1) you don't want a motherboard with onboard firewire
2) firewire PCI and PCIe cards with the TI chipset work wonderfully on pretty much anything that is fw 400 compatible as long as the manufacturer has drivers for the OS

So with that in mind - you can build your new system while staying on the current one you have. Pop in a TI chipset PCIe card and test your current equipment. If it doesn't work, you lost $30, sell fw card, sell the current interface, upgrade to whatever on same said system.
I'd imagine that if you're buying or building PC you'd want something that is top of the line so it should have at least 3-4 PCIe slots on the mobo, maybe even some of the PCI slots as I think some mobos might still have one or two left.

While you're testing this out, you still have your old system for serious professional mixes for clients.
I've done this for quite a few years and we've never rolled out a new PC on the floor at the studio until we were sure it was solid. It usually even involved me calling a local band that needed a demo and couldn't pay and they'd help me fix the kinks out of the system, doing full blown sessions for day or two.

I really don't see what's the big deal there

Two cards with TI chipset:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815255014

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815150151
#12
Quote by the chemist
Thee problem with Thunderbolt on PC is that very few manufacturers have yet to adopt it, and even the one who has (Asus) has problems with it. Now, the Z270 chipset has helped that a lot, but it's a fairly pricey upgrade (I think about 100 dollars for the Thunderbolt card) and only works on selected Motherboards.



Gigabyte has thunderbolt integrated on a few boards as well, so no cost for a card there.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#13
Quote by Cherry Vulpine
It does have ADAT I/O but regardless if I move to a new machine it's not going to matter. The Focusrite won't be able to be connected which is a problem, the whole reason this thread was created. New motherboard won't have Firewire as they're no longer made and Focusrite's tech dept recommended staying away from Firewire cards (despite what their website says).

What I'm meaning is that you may be able to use your focusrite as a slave device to another audio interface via adat, allowing you to keep access to it's preamps etc, whilst using the other audio interfaces computer connectivity. So that in your new setup, with a new interface, you may be able to retain use of the focusrites additional preamps.

I don't know enough about the focusrite device to know how easy this is to do or anything though. But it should be possible


I agree with diabolical regarding firewire cards though - TI chipset is the way to go and really should be fine with the interface, so long as focusrite retains driver support.
RIP Gooze

cats
#14
I found a few $60-$70 add on thunderbolt cards, considering that you build your own PC and can return interfaces/cards if they don't work (most US retailers will allow you return) you can just test it out. I'd go first with the firewire solution and see if it works. Try them out, don't give up just yet.

I am rocking a 2005-purchased FP10 on Windows 7 laptop and a desktop, no issues. I don't plan upgrading soon, but if I do, those machines will probably stay as I need to have at least one solid machine.
#15
Quote by diabolical
So with that in mind - you can build your new system while staying on the current one you have. Pop in a TI chipset PCIe card and test your current equipment. If it doesn't work, you lost $30, sell fw card, sell the current interface, upgrade to whatever on same said system.
I'd imagine that if you're buying or building PC you'd want something that is top of the line so it should have at least 3-4 PCIe slots on the mobo, maybe even some of the PCI slots as I think some mobos might still have one or two left.

While you're testing this out, you still have your old system for serious professional mixes for clients.
I've done this for quite a few years and we've never rolled out a new PC on the floor at the studio until we were sure it was solid. It usually even involved me calling a local band that needed a demo and couldn't pay and they'd help me fix the kinks out of the system, doing full blown sessions for day or two.
I might give it a shot, they didn't explicitly say it wouldn't work, just not recommended. And just thinking in theory I feel like the round-trip latency would be increased, but as long as a temporary fix is applied to where i can still do my thing all is well.

Currently my only clients are local rappers and upcoming local bands who need near professional-sounding mixes. And possibly someone commissioning me to create a radio spot...obviously nothing huge quite yet, I'm still a student in this field portfolio building. xD


Regardless I'd prefer to not have to keep my old build around, I don't have the space for a second PC station and it's not efficient to constantly be switching machines. Part of the desire to upgrade is also my system specs being behind with the times, I can't even install Pro Tools on this machine (needed for the industry) because I don't meet the system requirements.


Quote by mulefish
What I'm meaning is that you may be able to use your focusrite as a slave device to another audio interface via adat, allowing you to keep access to it's preamps etc, whilst using the other audio interfaces computer connectivity. So that in your new setup, with a new interface, you may be able to retain use of the focusrites additional preamps..
Not really necessary since I have the Pro24 which only has 2 preamps, wouldn't do me much good to go down that route.
#16
I don't see why latency will go up. Focusrite wanted to sell you a new interface, that's what they're in there for
Try it before you knock it down. I was never going to do my main production on laptop, until few years ago when life landed that's the only thing I could use.

If you're working on rappers I don't see why you need to go so overboard, after all all you need is an SM58, one input audio interface and a rap synth like this:



Seriously though - until you start making the $ don't go overboard on this stuff, you could easily do it all on an Audient iD24 and expand via ADAT eventually, if yours doesn't work.
#17
Quote by diabolical
I found a few $60-$70 add on thunderbolt cards, considering that you build your own PC and can return interfaces/cards if they don't work (most US retailers will allow you return) you can just test it out. I'd go first with the firewire solution and see if it works. Try them out, don't give up just yet.


Big issue is that thunderbolt cards require a header on the motherboard to work.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#18
Yes, so apparently there's a limited version of Windoze thunderbolt options, but it is doable, just verify with manufacturer beforehand.
This support 2 Asus mobos - ASUS Z170 and X99.
https://m.newegg.com/product/index?itemNumber=9SIA24G4R64815&Keyword=thunderbolt%20windows%20motherboard